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Draft petition started to recall Kyle council member

A civic activist is pushing for a recall election for Kyle City Council Member Becky Selbera, saying she has been investigated for multiple ethics violations and has failed to pay property taxes.

Lila Knight submitted a draft petition for the recall election and is awaiting legal approval from the city before collecting signatures. The petition says Selbera should be recalled for “misconduct and abuse of office.”

Selbera said Friday that Knight, a behind-the-scenes fixture in Kyle politics, has a “personal vendetta” against her.

“For the past few years she has ran people against me and she has failed, which I am not surprised,” Selbera said. “She hates that I do not allow her to manipulate me.”

A draft recall petition also was submitted recently for Kyle Mayor Todd Webster, City Secretary Amelia Sanchez said. Sanchez said she told Jonathan Miller, who submitted the petition, that he needed changes to the form and resubmit it, but he never did.

Webster said both recall petitions are part of an effort by “no growth” advocates — people who oppose Kyle’s rapid development — to gain influence on the City Council.

“Based on my experience with Councilwoman Selbera, I haven’t experienced anything that would warrant or justify a recall petition, and I think it has very little to do with Councilwoman Selbera and everything to do with the person who has filed the petition,” he said. “It’s about taking over the council. They don’t like the fact that we’re getting stuff done.”

In the petition, Knight cited two instances of the city’s Ethics Commission investigating Selbera. Last year, the commission voted unanimously to admonish Selbera for seeking assistance from the city attorney on a campaign issue, violating a prohibition on using taxpayer resources for political purposes. Two years earlier, the commission investigated Selbera for seeking a job with a company that planned to build a facility in Kyle but did not take action against her, according to the Hays Free Press.

Selbera said Friday that she did apply for a job with the firm, which is no longer in Kyle, but that she wasn’t acting unethically.

Hays County in 2012 sued Selbera and her siblings over a tax delinquency issue for a property that Selbera has listed as her address on her campaign paperwork. The property once belonged to Selbera’s deceased father. Selbera said that the reason the property has become delinquent is that it is tied up in a probate dispute between her siblings.

Selbera has also been charged criminally while serving on the council, Hays County court records show. In 2007, she was arrested for failing to appear at a court appearance for a traffic violation. In 2008, she was charged with theft by check, pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation.

For the recall effort to move forward, Sanchez must certify that the petition language is legally sound and Knight must collect signatures from 15 percent of the registered voters in the city, according to the Kyle City Charter. Sanchez said the city had about 16,339 registered voters as of early September, meaning Knight would need to secure 2,451 signatures.

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