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Rosenberg Treasure: Galveston’s July 1987 Recall Vote

Galveston’s July 1987 Recall Vote

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month

Last Updated: July 1, 2018 by Rosenberg Library | History


In the spring of 1987, a group of Galveston residents organized a committee, “We the People,” in reaction to the city’s adoption of a new trolley car system.  These individuals contended that the trolley primarily benefited tourists, not tax-paying residents.  Further, they questioned the decision to focus on the trolley project rather than hiring additional police officers and improving local roads.  “We the People” created a petition to recall the Mayor of Galveston (Jan Coggeshall) and four members of the City Council (Barbara Crews, Steve Greenberg, Sonny Nelson, and John Sullivan).  The group successfully secured enough signatures to schedule a formal vote in which citizens could cast their ballots for or against removing the mayor and council members from office, each on an individual basis.

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month - July 2018

Signs Like These Were Displayed Throughout The City Prior To The July 1987 Recall Vote.

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month

Signs Like These Were Displayed Throughout The City Prior To The July 1987 Recall Vote.

An opposing group, “C.A.R.E.” (Citizens Against the Recall Election), urged Galveston residents to go to the polls to vote against recalling any of the city’s leaders.  “C.A.R.E.” argued that citizens had not spoken out against the trolley project when it was first proposed, and that the city leaders were justified in moving forward with a project that had initially been supported by residents.  They were also concerned with the costs and disruption associated with a recall vote.

The recall vote was held on July 11, 1987.  More than 8,600 residents showed up to the polls to cast their votes for or against recalling the mayor and individual council members.  In the end, all five city leaders retained their positions, as the majority of voters opposed their removal from office.

The Galveston recall vote of 1987 garnered national attention, with both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times covering the local story.

The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s second floor near the East Entrance.  It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.  For more information, please contact the Museum Office at 409-763-8854 x. 125 or visit us on the web at rosenberg-library-museum.org.


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Rosenberg Library

Rosenberg Library has offered over a century of community service to the Galveston area, and is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. The building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of its patron, Henry Rosenberg. The Moody Memorial Wing opened in 1971, more than doubling the floor space and allowing for a children’s library, a history center, several galleries to showcase museum collections, and later, a computer lab. The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Each month they display a “Treasure of the Month”. Learn more by visiting the Rosenberg Library page and the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg section.

2020-01-22T15:16:45-05:00

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