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Brandon Burkhardt of the River City Tea Party and Weston Martinez of the Bexar County Conservative Coalition and Southside political consultant Gina Castaneda.

NDO opponents finally concede defeat
QSanAntonio, March 5, 2014

Opponents of the city's recently enacted nondiscrimination ordinance have finally raised the white flag admitting defeat in their efforts to overturn the measure and recall the Mayor and City Council members, most notably Diego Bernal, who voted to approve it.

In an interview with San Antonio Express-News columnist Brian Chasnoff, Gina Castaneda, one of the organizers of the attempt to recall Councilman Bernal said, "We called it off. We had several things that were going on, and we felt it would be best, instead of spending our time getting recall signatures and having to go through the whole process, we're going to keep a very watchful eye on all the council members, including the mayor.

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.

Castaneda says opposition groups were only able to collect 4,800 signatures out of approximately 6,000 needed to set a Bernal recall in motion. The city would have had to validate all the signatures and a special election would have to be scheduled.

A move to collect signatures to recall Mayor Julian Castro appears to have withered on the vine as well.

Along with Castaneda, the effort to oust Bernal and Castro was spearheaded by Weston Martinez of the Bexar County Conservative Coalition and Texas Freedom PAC, and Brandon Burkhardt of the River City Tea Party Patriots.

“We agreed that it would be best to go after the head of the snake rather than the tail, so we agreed on Mayor Julian Castro and District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal,” Burkhardt told the Washington Times in an interview last September. In that same article, Martinez said the groups already had collected 3,200 signatures needed to put the Bernal recall on the ballot.

Councilman Bernal with Darrell Parsons at an HRC fundraiser on September 27, 2013 at Sparky's Pub.

With a recall looming, the LGBT community stepped up it's efforts to raise funds for Bernal at a series of well-attended events which netted thousands of dollars for the councilman's re-election campaign.

“I’m confident in saying I’ve moved my district in the right direction,” Bernal told the San Antonio Current last September. “If these people want me out of office simply because I want to treat everyone in this city fairly and equally, it says more about them than it does about me.”

From the day the nondiscrimination ordinance passed, protestors had encamped daily in front of Bernal's field office, near the corner of Vance Jackson and IH-10, where they held up posters and collected petition signatures.

“I don't apologize for the positions I take, before their efforts, during and after,” Bernal told the Express-News. “My staff and I continue to work on behalf of the district and the city. That's how I choose to spend my time."

“If I could take a moment to really thank and commend my staff because they had to endure a lot on a daily basis,” Bernal continued, “both with regard to months and months of an antagonistic presence on our front lawn and more and more emails and phone calls, and they always conducted themselves like true professionals and public servants.”

Members of the Tea Party Patriots and the Bexar County Conservative Coalition collecting recall signatures across from the Conerstone Church.

This most recent admission of defeat from NDO opponents comes on the heels of another effort that came up short last October: The campaign to collect signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance.

A coalition of 53 anti-gay churches under the leadership of Pastor Charles Flowers and Pastor Gerald Ripley, two of the ordinance's most vocal opponents, was seeking to overturn the new law. In order to force a referendum on the issue, they needed to get 61,000 signatures by October 15. They only managed to collect 20,000.

Mayor Julian Castro responded to the news of the petition's failure by telling KENS-5, "I'm glad people can move on from divisive attempts to undo an ordinance that was always commonsense about treating everybody the same,"

Interestingly enough, in an October 10 report about the referendum petition on WOAI Radio, Castaneda said, "We think in about two weeks we will be giving City Council the signatures necessary for a recall of Councilman Bernal."

Five months later, Castaneda and company's efforts have proven futile.

A coalition of 53 anti-gay churches under the leadership of Pastor Charles Flowers (center in blue shirt) and Pastor Gerald Ripley sought to repeal the nondiscrimination ordinance.

Bernal antagonist calls it quits
ExpressNews.com, March 4, 2014
All right, let's hear it, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal: a big sigh of relief. On Monday, the lead organizer of a months-long effort to recall Bernal said the sustained endeavor at political payback is over.

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.

NDO repeal drive lacked signatures
MySA.com, October 15, 2013
Opponents of San Antonio's nondiscrimination ordinance spread the word at churches and parks about their petition drive to place the policy on a citywide ballot. A few hours before Tuesday's deadline, they informed city officials that effort had fallen short.

Local effort to force referendum on NDO fails, not enough signatures
KENS5.com, October 15, 2013
he effort to force a referendum on the recently approved non-discrimination ordinance in San Antonio has failed. Opponents of the updated ordinance did not collect enough signatures to force it onto the ballot.

Church Groups In San Antonio Fail To Put Non-Discrimination Ordinance On The Ballot
By Jay Morris, NewCivilRightsMovement.com, October 15, 2013
After the San Antonio City Council passed a fully inclusive non-discrimination ordinance last month by a vote of 8-3, proponents of discrimination mobilized a recall effort to force the ordinance to a city-wide vote.

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.