Shame on Them Again!

Shame on Them Again!
Let’s Focus on The Addison Way
Instead of Inaccurate and False Accusations
By Susan M. Halpern
Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)

The progress Addison has made in the past two years apparently doesn’t sit well with the negatives and naysayers.  Without any issues or a positive campaign message, they’ve returned to familiar ground, brazenly misrepresenting issues in an effort to smear Mayor Joe Chow.  They did the same thing two years ago, led at that time by the toxic ex-mayor, who likewise brazenly misled Addison voters.  Today brings us more meritless accusations, despite assurances from their mayoral candidate that he would be running a positive campaign.  But then, who can really be surprised?  After all, their candidate left the “dirty work” to others in 2017 as well, which allowed him to disavow any part in it.  What nonsense.  Deniability only goes so far when the same negativity is repeated over and over.

So, let’s briefly shoot down this latest effort to misrepresent things, so that we can go back to ignoring the negatives and naysayers, and focus our efforts on electing people who truly care about Addison and the rule of law.     

First and foremost, candidates and officeholders are legally permitted to pay campaign funds to businesses they own.  The statement to the contrary made by the negative’s designated blogger is patently false.

Second, the negative blogger doesn’t name the correct statute, which is the Texas Election Code (not the “Texas Ethics Code,” which doesn’t exist).  So, did the negative blogger actually read the law before making outrageous and false accusations against Mayor Chow?  Well, read on…

Third, the quote contained in the negative blogger’s latest missive is utterly incorrect.  It is not found anywhere in Section 253.041 of the Texas Election Code (the correct statute), or anywhere else for that matter.  In fact, the purported quote isn’t even a sentence.  Here it is, verbatim: “Campaign funds used for payments which officeholder holds a participating interest in more than 10 percent of the business.”  It’s indecipherable gibberish.  Needless to say, it also doesn’t accurately recite the law.

Fourth, Schedule H of the financial reports all candidates and officeholders are required to file is titled: “Payment Made From Political Contributions to a Business of C/OH.”  “C/OH” refers to candidates and officeholders. Which is, of course, why Mayor Joe Chow filed a Schedule H (this year and in 2017).  The negative blogger actually quoted from Mayor Chow’s Schedule H filings, which confirms his compliance with his reporting obligations.

Finally, in my last article I quoted the Texas Ethics Commission’s Resolution condemning use of the mere filing of an ethics complaint in political campaign communications. The Ethics Commission called it an “unfair practice,” noting that anyone can file an ethics complaint, which I guess includes people who can’t name the correct statute and who completely misunderstand the law.  In any event, the point of the forcefully worded Resolution is that the mere filing of a complaint is not dispositive of anything, so publicizing it in an effort to smear a candidate is an attempt to mislead the public and is an “unfair practice.”

Well, the negatives and naysayers took exception to my article, and their position is very revealing.  They don’t contest that they engaged in the very conduct condemned by the Ethics Commission, nor do they challenge the logic and reasoning of the Commission’s Resolution.  Rather, they claim that their activities don’t amount to “campaign communications,” which they apparently claim leaves them free to do exactly what the Texas Ethics Commission condemns, which is to mislead the public and engage in unfair practices.  How utterly absurd and shameful.  But again, not surprising.

I’m sure that before early voting begins on Monday, we’ll see many more misleading blogs, mailers and posts from the negatives and naysayers.  I predict that they’ll use their typical alarmist tactics in an effort to sow the seeds of division and in an effort to scare up some votes.  I encourage Addison voters to view their claims with appropriate skepticism.  Make sure you get the TRUTH about the candidates and the issues, whether it is about campaign finances, or debt (I’m on the Bond Committee, and it’s amazing how well we’re doing, one of only ten cities in Texas with the highest bond ratings possible), or any of the other non-issues these folks are trying to raise in their positively negative campaigns.

Let’s keep the negativity out of Addison, and keep Addison moving in the right direction!  The Addison Way is back, and continues to build momentum in Addison.  Let’s keep things positive.