The Plano City Council approved moving forward with a recall election for an embattled Plano city council member.
Tom Harrison came under fire in February after sharing a meme on social media about banning Islam in schools. He later apologized. But even after the city's mayor called on him to resign, Harrison vowed he wouldn't resign.
At Monday night’s meeting, critics and defenders came to express what they want to happen next.
Last week, organizers delivered a petition seeking a recall election to the Plano City Council. They needed around 2700 signatures but ended up getting about 4,400.
The city secretary delivered that petition and verified it to council members Monday night. The council eventually voted to set a recall election for Harrison in November.
But Harrison's supporters are arguing that they can't do that Monday night because the ordinance allows Harrison to request a public hearing first. His supporters plan to present evidence that the petition was ‘circulated in a misleading manner.’
Some of those supporters, as well as opponents of Harrison, spoke at Monday’s meeting.
“I was handed this petition. It didn't include any attachments,” said Allan Samara, Harrison’s spokesperson. “In fact, the person who handed me the petition made some false claims.”
“This is why I stand here again tonight,” said Ranya Rahim, a supporter of the petition. “Words matter. Actions matter. Solidarity matters. The message we give out to our Facebook posts matters.”
Even Harrison himself spoke at the meeting.
“Listen to the city’s attorney. That’s fine,” he said. “But I want you to know that I am requesting that I have my public hearing.”
There was a debate about whether or not a public hearing had to be held before a city council vote and as to whether the city council could vote against calling the recall election. The city attorney advised the council to take a vote on whether to hold a recall election.
Harrison says he has yet to determine if he’ll take any legal action.