Tamarac’s “Team Recall” successfully gathered enough signatures to recall Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad during the first round of the process with 1,556 valid signatures.
This was the second attempt at the recall by the volunteers in District Two of Tamarac which stretches from the Woodlands Country Club on Commercial Boulevard West to the Sawgrass Expressway with the Northern border on McNab Road.
The recall started its first attempt in January when volunteers lost by 18 signatures. They gathered a few hundred more than what was needed, but did not verify each signature before it was turned in, so many voters who claimed they were registered, either weren’t registered in the district, or weren’t even registered voters.
During this round, the volunteers used the computer expertise of Coral Springs Resident Andrew Ladanowski to help them map and visit registered voters in the area. This helped them potentially avoid making the same mistakes again. After a signature was gathered, they were verified again with data from the Supervisor of Elections office to make sure they were confirmed as registered.
Back in 2009, 200 residents voted for Atkins-Grad as City Commissioner, however, In the Woodlands alone, 529 residents signed the petition during this round.
The Woodlands recall team headed up by Section One Resident Phyllis Kelley successfully got volunteers and neighbors out to knock on doors.
“Democracy works,” said Kelly. “We pay a very high price for being silent.”
Changes that occurred during the second go-round were that many more people stepped-up to volunteer than the first time. The first time their were only 15 volunteers, this time they had nearly 30. Also, many more residents were familiar with Atkins-Grad’s corruption charges as it had been several months since her acquittal and reinstatement.
Atkins-Grad’s public antics were also fodder on Facebook as well. For instance, when she used her telephone or texted during city commission meetings, people could watch them during the recently launched web-streaming that the city had just installed. Other notable moments were when she would walk out of a meeting before an important Firefighter’s pension vote, or not even show up at all. All of this did not win over her constituent’s support.
Even though the jury found Patte Atkins-Grad not-guilty, the citizens of Tamarac didn’t buy her “stupidity” defense, and held their own public trial in the form of this recall.
This is only the beginning. Unless Atkins-Grad does the right thing for the city and her constituents and resigns this week, Team Recall will once more go out in force and do it all again and make sure to finish the job they started: To Recall Patte Atkins-Grad.
Phyllis Kelley is ready to start round two and will be meeting with the rest of the volunteers Thursday night along with a crew from Channel 10 News to discuss the task ahead of them.
“This recall process is giving people hope that they actually can effect change.”
- Sharon Aron Baron created the Woodlands Tamarac in 2010 for original News for the community. In 2011 she went on to create Tamarac Talk, in 2012, Coral Springs Talk and 2017, Parkland Talk.
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