Cindy Ramirez

A petition to recall city Rep. Cortney Niland was rejected by the Municipal Clerk's Office a day after it was filed.

The 500-signature petition was filed by former El Paso Mayor Ray Salazar and signed by others who are upset over plans to tear down City Hall and build a $50 million ballpark in its place.

The 54 pages Salazar submitted to the city did not comply with a requirement in the City Charter that on each page someone must make an oath "that each signature is that of the person whose name it purports to be," Municipal Clerk Richarda Momsen wrote in a letter to Salazar.

Instead, each of the pages of the petition bears a notary public's stamp next to a declaration that Salazar had sworn "that the statements contained are true and correct" standard wording when a document is notarized.

See timeline, read past stories on the stadium.

Fernando Chacon, Salazar's attorney, could not immediately be reached Thursday evening with questions about the petition's rejection. Earlier Thursday, he declined to discuss the attempt to recall Niland.

Niland seemed relieved at the news that the attempt to recall her was dead -- at least for now.

"I absolutely respect this citizen-protected right, but there are laws that have to be adhered to," she said. "I love this job. It's a privilege to serve my community."

It's unclear whetherÊSalazar and his group, the Coalition for Responsive Government, will restart the petition pro cess. They would have to gather 385 certified signatures to put a Niland recall to voters on the May ballot.


Members of the coalition have threatened to recall the five city representatives who have supported the ballpark and its planned location in part because the matter was not put to voters.

Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative to defray stadium costs with an increase in the hotel-occupancy tax and a $473 million bond package, part of which would fund projects that would complement the Downtown stadium.

Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd also are facing a recall from the group El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values and others because they voted to restore health benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees after voters ended the benefit in a 2010 ballot initiative.

That recall effort is tied up in the courts.

Cindy Ramirez may be reached; 546-6151.

Marty Schladen may be reached at; 546-6127.