By John Waters, Publisher
Alpine Mayor Avinash Rangra has prevailed over the recall effort to remove him from office.
In interviews with the Gazette, all three persons who organized the recall effort said they expected it to fail.
In May, former city councilpersons Carlos Lujan, Hugh Johnson and Diana Asgeirsson began a recall effort to remove Rangra from office, circulating a recall petition for Alpine voters to sign. Late last month, Lujan said they had collected”just shy” of 200 signatures—well below the 325 needed.
Regarding the doomed effort to boot him from office, Rangra told the Gazette, “The gang of three have been trying to ride a dead horse, and have beaten it to death. They need to apologize to the taxpayers of Alpine for badgering them with their delusional activities.”
The former council members have accused Rangra of “Misappropriation of public funds. Unethical Behavior. Obstructionism. Violations of the Texas Open Meeting Act.”
Last Month in an interview with the Gazette, Rangra challenged Lujan to a public debate. After the two had agreed to the debate, Rangra said he wanted Lujan to produce evidence of his allegations against him before he would meet for the debate. After Lujan failed to produce any evidence, the debate prospect fizzled.
Regarding the failure of the attempt to have voters decide if Rangra should be recalled Lujan said, “It seems to me we are going to fail to get the signatures required, I don’t see that happening.”
Johnson said, “We’re not going to make it.”
Asgeirsson said, “The recall will most likely fail.”
While not fully conceding the recall effort, Lujan said he would be unable to meet the timeline to gather the needed number of signatures before the next scheduled election as prescribed by state law.
While the cry for mayoral recall did garner much public attention and press, it did not garner the needed signatures. The accusers speculated on their failure:
Asgeirsson said that “quite a few said they wanted Rangra out, but didn’t want to get involved, mostly because their names would be on the recall list and he would see their names and would then try to retaliate against them or a family member.”
Lujan concurred and said he thought people were reluctant to sign due to “retaliation and intimidation.”
Johnson said there were “not enough people to stand up.”
Lujan mused he was to blame for the recall failure: “I misestimated the time needed to collect the signatures.”