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Unite Norman files recall petitions for 5 city leaders after changes to police department funding

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Breea Clark

Mayor of Norman Breea Clark introduces presidential candidate and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker at the Campus Corner Community Block Party Aug. 29, 2019.

A Norman community group filed five recall petitions for city leaders July 10, citing a disconnect between the views of Norman’s city council and Norman citizens.

Unite Norman is seeking signers for their petitions to recall Norman Mayor Breea Clark and city councilmembers Kate Bierman, Allison Petrone, Sereta Wilson and Stephen Holman. 

The group filed the petitions after $865,000 was deducted from the Norman Police Department’s proposed budget. Even after the cut, the proposed budget was still an increase from the previous year’s police department budget. 

Each petition lists the reasoning as “(City leader) does not represent the views of the people of Norman on important issues including, but not limited to, support for law enforcement and public safety.”

According to its website, Unite Norman is seeking to “remove divisive and radical figures from our local political offices while identifying and encouraging qualified candidates who focus on Norman and who will not run based on personal or ideological agendas.”

The group believes leaders have abused their positions of power by disrespecting the NPD, discouraging job creation and “generally abusing public trust.”

According to a notice sent to these city leaders obtained from the Norman City Clerk office, the petitions must be returned to the city clerk within 30 days, excluding Sundays and legal holidays. 

The petitions must have no less than 25 percent of registered voters’ signatures from each of the councilmembers' wards and, for Clark, from the City of Norman. 

According to the Unite Norman Facebook group, the group has set up several locations around Norman for registered voters to sign its petitions and has trained supporters in door-to-door campaigning.

According to its website, the group is partnering with Local Voter Information Network, Inc., a nonprofit social welfare organization.  

The group has also set up a fundraising campaign to raise money for its operations. This includes marketing, political strategy and legal services. The group’s GoFundMe campaign has a goal of raising $100,000 and has currently raised over $40,000.

Editor's note: this article was revised July 13 to revise the headline from "police department cuts" to "changes to police department funding."

senior news reporter

Jordan Hayden is a journalism junior and a senior news reporter at The Daily. Previously she served as the fall 2018 and spring 2019 assistant engagement editor.

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