It was 30 days ago when the Recall Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson Committee, also known as Apopka Citizens for Honest Government, took on the task of collecting 1,762 signed petitions from registered Apopka voters in order to move on to the next stage of the recall process. But today, the 30-day deadline ended, and their goal fell short. According to New, he and his team of volunteers collected 1,692 - 70 short of the mark.
New released a statement to The Apopka Voice.
"Recall final update,
"First and foremost, I want to thank the people who are on the committee, Abbey Mckimmie, Ace Woodham, Jodi Bengston, and Kelley Butcher, as well as all the other people who put in so much hard work, Mr. and Mrs. William Mcleod, Jim Meadows, Sylvester Hall, Leroy Bell, and so many people who still are concerned with retaliation as proven by history.
While the fight was uphill from the start, our group and the people who helped did it with respect and by following the law as written. Be proud that we did not violate the intent of the recall statute, we did not use connections in the media to print a rebuttal before the law said it was allowed or longer than the law allowed.
While we fell short of the stated number of petitions needed, we did achieve a remarkable number. In the end, 1692 petitions were signed. The sad part is the people who stopped to tell us they supported the effort but could not sign due to fear of retaliation. It’s sad that in this day, citizens must fear their own local government and retaliation. But please understand this fight is for our city, as we now face two more lawsuits from developers after the last council meeting.
As legal fees escalate and some use unfettered power to ruin this city, we must continue to challenge the dictatorship-style approach of the mayor. Our city charter needs to be corrected and clarified to prevent the kind of questionable actions as were involved in the firing of the attorney. That clarification still needs to be obtained so that all will know the legal intent of the charter.
As well, it’s past time for this city to switch leadership powers from the so-called strong mayor to one where the mayor is just the chair of the council. The city manager operates the city at the direction of the entire council. It’s time to remove that layer of confusion and control.
Again, please remember that the recall statute was written by elected officials that don’t want to lose their plush elected jobs. It, like so many other items, is played by elected officials to their own benefit, not the good of the people. This nation was founded on we the people, not one self-proclaimed strong mayor running amok.
In closing, I thank you all for your support. We got close, we made and will continue to make a difference. Stand Strong, speak out, email the council, call the council, come to a meeting, and speak out.
If we don’t, we are not "we the people", but we the subjugated. I am sorry I failed this city in our efforts to save it from tyranny.
Dennis New, Chairperson Apopka Citizens for Honest Government