Unite Norman, a local group formed to recall several city councilors and the mayor, has issued a cease and desist letter to Ward 1 councilor Kate Bierman, according to a statement released Tuesday.
Bierman is leading an effort to challenge the petition in court. On Monday, the Norman city clerk verified sufficient signatures to recall Ward 3 councilor Alison Petrone. Bierman said Monday she intends to publish the names of residents who signed petitions on a forthcoming website.
Unite Norman called her plans an intimidation tactic that put the public’s safety at risk.
“It has come to our attention through various media reports as well as your own social media posts, that you intend to ‘doxx’ — the practice of publicly exposing for the purpose of shaming, intimidation and retaliation — the private names and personal home addresses of the 30,000 citizens who signed petitions for recall,” the letter reads.
“During a climate in which violence against police is raging across the nation, supporters of yours have already doxxed the fine officers of the Norman Police Department — a department that is known across the region to be an exemplary department. Those actions put their lives and the lives of their children in danger,” the letter states. “To publicly doxx or expose citizens who simply sought to hold their elected officials accountable via their constitutionally protected rights to petition their government leaders, would not only put a chilling effect on the democracy that you so claim to love, but it would also endanger the lives of your own constituents in your ward that you serve, as well as endanger the lives of 30,000 fellow Normanites. Please reconsider this dangerous act.”
Bierman said her intention is to allow anyone who believes their names were added fraudulently to check the record.
“The petition pages are already a public record, and will also be entered into the record during any court challenge,” she said. “Because of the way this petition gathering was conducted, many residents have asked to know if their names ended up on this petition without them signing it, but PDFs (in court) are notoriously difficult to keyword search unless they are scanned in a specific way. It is unduly burdensome to ask residents to comb through hundreds of scanned pages for their names themselves.”
A Tulsa firm, Norman Wohlgemuth Group has taken the councilor’s case and plans to file a challenge, Bierman said Monday.
Mindy Ragan Wood