Dallas Business Owner Hopes Mayor Recall Will Bring City Together

Last September, when Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson told the world he had switched political parties from Democrat to Republican, it ruffled more than a few feathers in the blue-leaning city. Now, a Dallas activist and former City Council candidate named Davante Peters is circulating a petition to recall the mayor.

Johnson’s party switching isn’t the only factor that inspired the petition. Peters said the mayor’s absence from city meetings over the last few years prompted him to file his petition with the city secretary. According to KERA, Johnson has missed more than 130 hours of City Council meetings since 2019, something that Peters takes seriously.

“There’s obviously something that has his attention more than his role at hand,” Peters said. “That’s kind of what led me to jump on this.” Johnson’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the recall effort.

Peters is the owner of a health and wellness business called Tha Alkaline Hour. He’s encouraging people to show up to his Dallas location at 4414 S. Marsalis Ave. to sign his petition.

Recalling an elected official in Dallas is a multistep process. First, a notice of intent to circulate a petition must be filed with the city secretary. That’s what Peters did on Jan. 5. The petition must be signed within 60 days by at least 15% of voters who were eligible to vote in the last election.

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Davante Peters has run for City Council twice and is now the owner of a health and wellness business called Tha Alkaline Hour.

Larfell Tyler

After the signatures have been gathered, the petition is sent to the city secretary to be certified within 30 days. When it’s been certified, the petition can be submitted to the City Council, which will then call for a recall election. This election is to take place on the next available election date no later than 60 days after the certification of the petition.

The recall election is held as if the mayor’s position were vacant. The mayor is automatically placed on the ballot unless he resigns or decides not to run. The rest of the candidates must comply with regular requirements for a general election in the city. The person elected must take the oath of office within 10 days after the canvassing of the election or the seat will be declared vacant.

Peters had perceived an interest in recalling the mayor, but no one had taken the step to file a petition to start the process. He said that he doesn’t identify with either political party, but Johnson’s party change from Democrat to Republican compelled him to file his petition.

“This is something, like he [Mayor Johnson] stated, he’s thought about for a while now, but he didn’t have the confidence to do it until Democrats largely voted him in,” Peters said.

“That’s not somebody the voters voted in.” – Davante Peters, activist

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Peters said he understands that Dallas’ municipal elections are nonpartisan. “However, the people still, even though they didn’t select Democrat on the ballot, they still had in their hearts that they felt he had a certain political allegiance,” he said. “That confidence that the citizens had in him is what put him in there.”

Peters said he would have more respect for the mayor had he announced his party change before he was re-elected. But he didn’t. Peters called the move “a slap in the face.”

“I just feel like that’s not solid,” he said. “That’s not somebody the voters voted in.”

Peters said the vast majority of people he has approached with his petition have been supportive of it. “I haven’t found anyone so far who is not extremely eager and excited to sign our petition,” Peters said. He said the first day of circulating the petition he got about 100 signatures. He has about 150 signatures now and needs 103,595. The deadline for the signatures is March 5, Dallas City Secretary Bilierae Johnson told the Observer by email.

People are mostly supportive because they disagree with Johnson’s party change, Peters said. “There’s overwhelming support,” he said. “I’m just hoping we can get some people that want to take leadership in this process and go out there and get some signatures.”

Right now, he said the effort is limited pretty much to himself, and he could use some help. “It’s really grassroots right now,” he said. But with more organization, he thinks his petition could have some legs.

He knows his petition is just the start of the process but he thinks it could give Dallas residents more of a sense that they’re in control of their leadership. “It will actually give momentum to the city or to the citizens and make us feel like we’re actually part of the political process,” Peters said. “It shows that we can come together, North, South, different class levels, different political interests, whatever, and come together as one and make the changes that we want in our city.”

He added, “I feel like this petition going to the next process will give Dallas citizens a momentum that our Dallas mayor wasn’t able to give us,” he said. 


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