NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A group called “Unite Norman” held a meeting in Norman Wednesday night as they look to recall the City Council after recent decisions to mandate masks and cut police funding.
“They targeted the police department,” said Unite Norman spokesperson, Russell Smith. “The city council made a decision based on people yelling and screaming, and that’s not how you govern the city.”
Hundreds gathered in a private construction area Wednesday night to discuss the group’s plans to move forward with the recall. The meeting came just one day after a mask mandate and weeks after the council decided to defund the police department by $865,000.
“They’re not there to rule you, they’re there to serve you, they’re there to represent you,” Smith said. “And if it starts turning around on you, you can do something as citizens.”
Here’s how it all works. They need 18,000 or more signatures for a recall of Mayor Breea Clark. They also need at least 25 percent of Norman voters living in a council member’s ward to put a member in a specific ward up for recall. Right now, wards 1, 3, 5 and 7 are up for possible recall. They have to have these signatures in 30 days. If the signatures are verified, a recall election will take place.
“I’m not going to go out and collect signatures, but I’ll certainly take cold water to the people that are,” said Linda Langston, a Norman resident and attendee of the meeting.
“I don’t fully agree with everything that our council does,” said Terry Sterling, another Norman resident and attendee of the meeting.
Mayor Breea Clark did not comment on the gathering. However, she stood by her council’s decisions, including Tuesday night’s temporary mask mandate.
“This is a very important ordinance that has been shown by science and medical professionals to reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” Clark said.
According to Smith, they do focus on the defunding of police as a major issue. However, he said it’s several issues that made him work toward a recall.
“We’re here to stay. I hope we stay awake – we need that,” he said.
Supporters said they are taking issues with a lot going on in the city as well. However, they singled out some issues, like the mask mandate or defunding of police.
“I don’t like being told I have to wear a mask,” Langston said.
“The defunding of police was just absolutely ridiculous,” Sterling said. “It was a knee-jerk reaction.”
Smith added that they plan to start taking petitions around neighborhoods and to businesses for people to sign on Friday. He claims they have a political strategist helping their cause.