Even though I just posted Part 3 earlier today, I have some new information that warrants a quick update, which I think I will call Part 4. If you missed Part 3 earlier today, be sure to go check it out – not only does it clarify a lot of the aspects of the Fair Campaign Chapter, but I also respond to a number of “corrections” sent in by former candidate Monica Gonzalez (or if you don’t want to wade through Part 3, see last paragraph of this article). Or, if you want to start from the beginning, then see Part 1 and Part 2 as well.
A few minutes ago I spoke with Austin election clerk Ann Franklin and she answered a couple of questions that we have had since Nov 4th.
According to Ann Franklin:
She checked the amount of the Fair Campaign Fund sometime last week and it was about $83,000.
Her office is currently going through the Fair Campaign award process and she expects it to be complete in about a week and a half, more or less.
For historical perspective: Tovo received $64,157 from the fund in 2011, Morrison received $66,543 in 2008, Clarke received about $91,000 in 2005, and Spelman received about $18,000 way back in 1997. In 2011, Tovo received her awarded funds about 12 days after the election. Opponents of Tovo and Clarke unsuccessfully tried to prevent the awarding of the funds through the use of ethics complaints. I am uncertain as to whether Morrison or Spelman were also targeted by ethics complaints during their races.
If you read Part 3, then you are aware that former district 4 candidate Monica Guzman sent a couple of emails my way and posted several comments on my articles, containing information that I guess she thought I didn’t know, as well as a number of “corrections” to things I wrote that she believes are in error.
Because she sent me so many “corrections”, some of which were peppered with statements like “Also learn to share correct information, information based on FACTS.” and “…make sure you have your research nailed down!”, I felt compelled to break down her points, one by one, which I did in Part 3.
There were a couple of items in Part 3 that involved the Austin City Clerk (specifically, the election clerk). Since that is who I spoke with a little while ago, I was able to verify a couple of things during our conversation:
I explained to the Clerk the disagreement between myself and Monica over the 30-day provision and when you become a “candidate” (see Part 3 if you want that explained). I told the Clerk that Monica had said that she had “had conversations with City/Election Clerk staff on issue”. I asked the Clerk to verify if she recalled those conversations and, regardless, if she could clarify the matter. Unsurprisingly, and as I had written in prior parts, the Clerk said that they only take the filings and they make no determinations as to the validity or legality of any filing. So, I’m not sure exactly who Monica talked to, but either they steered her incorrectly or perhaps she misheard or misunderstood what she was told.
Of course, since the Clerk does not make the determinations as to the legality of validity of any filings, I could not get a definitive answer as to how they are going to evaluate campaign contracts that were signed more than 30 days after the signee became a “candidate” in the eyes of the Texas Election Code (via the filing of a Campaign Treasurer’s Appointment). So, there is still a bit of uncertainty as to how they will act. I still contend that all of those contracts are invalid and essentially never existed as Fair Campaign contracts, regardless of being filed with the Clerk. I see no reason why the Clerk would rule those valid, rather than following the law as it is written and the Clerk’s own candidate brochure But, we’ll see, perhaps they will ignore that provision or perhaps I am misinterpreting it. Anyway, we should know in a couple of weeks. I feel confident that Pool, and only Pool, will get the more than $83,000 award, but stranger things have happened, so Renteria and Almanza can hang onto a thread of hope I suppose.
For those readers that don’t want to read the blow by blow breakdown of my response to Monica Guzman’s “corrections” in the very lengthy Part 3 article, then you can just watch this very short video to get the gist of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDzWyhXonMU