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Councilman Bernal with Darrell Parsons at an HRC fundraiser on September 27 at Sparky's Pub.

LGBTs and allies continue fundraising as Bernal recall looms
QSanAntonio, October 11, 2013

With a recall looming, the LGBT community is stepping up it's efforts to raise funds for District 1 City Councilman Diego Bernal.

This week, opponents of the city's newly-enacted nondiscrimination ordinance said they had collected 5,000 of the approximately 6,000 signatures needed to recall Councilman Bernal.

"There is not much any of us can do to 'combat' the petitioners except to report any possible irregularities like churches being involved in recall petition drives (illegal) as opposed to efforts to repeal the NDO (legal)," wrote CAUSA co-chair Dan Graney in a Facebook post.

"The best thing we can do is help Diego or any other council member who becomes the subject of a recall election by donating money and helping with their campaigns against the recall if and when they happen," Graney said.

Bernal is the author of the nondiscrimination ordinance that made changes to sections of the city code that cover public accommodations, fair housing, city employment, city contracts and appointments to city boards and commissions. The language in the code was changed to include sexual orientation, gender identity and veteran status as protected classes.

The ordinance was passed by the City Council on September 5 in a vote of 8 for and 3 against. In the days after passage, conservative opposition groups and Christian extremists began collecting signatures to recall Bernal, often using misinformation to get voters to sign the petition.

The move to recall Bernal is spearheaded by Weston Martinez of the Bexar County Conservative Coalition and Texas Freedom PAC, and Brandon Burkhardt of the River City Tea Party Patriots.

These same groups, along with a coalition of 30 anti-gay churches, are also collecting petition signatures to recall Mayor Julian Castro and to force a referendum to repeal the nondiscrimination ordinance. These efforts require about 75,000 signatures and in the case of the referendum, those signatures would have to be presented by October 15.

Councilman Bernal has proved an easier target for ordinance naysayers because they don't have to collect as many signatures.

According to the city charter, a council member is subject to a recall election if constituents can get signatures from 10 percent of the registered voters in their district. In Bernal's case that comes to approximately 6,000 signatures.

On October 10, WOAI Radio reported that Gina Castaneda, a political consultant and a spokesperson for opposition groups said "We think in about two weeks we will be giving City Council the signatures necessary for a recall (of Councilman Bernal)."

The city's charter requires the City Council to call a special election within 30 days after the city clerk verifies all of the signatures on the petition.

Since the ordinance passed, protestors have encamped daily in front of Councilman Bernal's field office, near the corner of Vance Jackson and IH-10, where they hold up posters and collect petition signatures.

Standing with Diego

On September 27, the San Antonio chapter of the Human Rights Campaign held a fundraiser for Bernal at Sparky's Pub. At that event, HRC officials report they raised $5,500 for the councilman.

There are two more fundraisers scheduled in the coming week.

On Saturday, October 19, a cocktail hour patio gathering will be hosted from 5 to 7 p.m. at a private home in Alta Vista. There will be appetizers and beverages and Councilman Bernal will be on hand to meet and greet attendees. It's also his birthday. To attend, RSVP to Bren Manaugh at bmanaugh@gmail.com or call 210-677-2696. (Click here to view event Facebook page.)

On Thursday, October 24, former City Councilwoman Elena Guajardo, CAUSA co-chair DeeDee Belmares and other supporters are hosting a Friends of Diego fundraiser from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Deco Pizzeria, 1815 Fredericksburg Rd. (Click here to view event Facebook page.)

"Please join us in showing support for Councilman Bernal. Not only did he show leadership by helping San Antonio pass a fully inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance, he also works tirelessly on a variety of issues on behalf of all of his constituents," says Guajardo.

Using lies, NDO opponents seek referendum signatures at Rialto cinema
QSanAntonio, October 7, 2013
In their effort to force a referendum to overturn the city's newly enacted nondiscrimination ordinance, opponents are now targeting movie theaters as places to seek signatures for their petitions often using outright lies to persuade people to sign.

Are anti-gay churches violating tax law with recall efforts?
QSanAntonio, September 27, 2013
Last week, Pastor Charles Flowers and his wife Janice hosted an invitation-only meeting of over 30 pastors at their church, the Faith Outreach Center International. At that gathering, there was a discussion about recalling City Councilman Diego Bernal and Mayor Julian Castro, and support was voiced for a referendum to overturn the city's new nondiscrimination ordinance.

Acrimony persists after passage of NDO
QSanAntonio, September 20, 2013
In the two weeks since the passage of the city's nondiscrimination ordinance that added protections for LGBT citizens, there is still much resentment and acrimony among opponents who are intent on exacting revenge from Mayor Julian Castro and the city council members who voted for the measure.