Saturday, May 25, 2024

Voters recall Denton City Council member

A Denton City Council member has been recalled by her new constituents because of her political views and a misunderstood meme.

The recall effort of Alison Maguire, spearheaded by Robson Ranch residents, was approved by about 64% of 13,556 District 4 voters, according to unofficial results from the Denton County Elections Office.

The path leading to the recall effort was laid late last year, when the City Council approved a new council district map, moving Robson Ranch into Maguire’s district. Maguire said she supported the new map “because it was the right thing to do, even though it wasn’t going to be good for my political self-interests.”

“The precinct where Robson Ranch is located is historically one of the most conservative in Denton,” she said in an interview earlier this year. “I’m clearly not a conservative.”

Then in January 2022, Maguire shared a long Facebook post in response to an editorial by Chris Watts — Denton’s former mayor, now Denton’s District 6 councilman and former board member of the Denton County Transportation Authority — about DCTA. With her post, she used a popular meme format that comes from a scene in the Eric Andre Show in which Andre’s character shoots comedian and actor Hannibal Buress many times, then turns to the camera and says “Who killed Hannibal?” The meme format has been used countless times online to depict someone openly and obviously causing harm and then acting like they don’t know what happened or blaming someone else for it. Maguire’s version of the meme was only meant to illustrate her opinion that Watts was not supportive of DCTA’s bus ridership.

Watts, former Councilman Don Duff and many Robson Ranch voters, however, took issue with the meme format itself, its use of violence and the fact that both men in the meme are black.

“I would show (voters in Robson Ranch) that picture and point out that it wasn’t actually Chris Watts,” Duff said. “I thought, ‘Really? I don’t even care what your point is, you don’t use gun violence and whatever racial thing that is.’”

Duff, a Robson Ranch resident, acknowledged that he and other Robson Ranch residents also oppose Maguire’s political views and hope to replace her with a council member who is more aligned with their views. This spring, Duff printed out a picture of the meme and a list of viewpoints and council votes that Maguire has made, and he showed it to voters outside early voting locations and collected their signatures on a petition to recall Maguire. Duff got the required number of signatures, they were verified by the city and the recall effort was placed on Tuesday’s ballot.

The election results, including the recall and an ordinance decriminalizing low-level marijuana offenses, will go to Denton City Council for certification later this month. Maguire’s lawyer told the Denton Record Chronicle that he thinks a majority of council won’t certify the recall because of their ongoing lawsuit. Maguire’s lawsuit claims only residents within Maguire’s district when she was elected should be able to recall her. It was dismissed recently, but she and her attorney are appealing.

Upon certification of the recall, Maguire’s seat will remain vacant until the term ends in May 2023, when a new council member will be elected to begin a new term.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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