For springtime local elections in Richardson, the "October surprise" comes in April. Right on schedule, this year's April surprise has dropped, in the form of a Richardson Coalition PAC "2013 Voters Guide -- Senior Citizen Edition."In American political jargon, an October surprise is a news event deliberately created to influence the outcome of an election, particularly one for the U.S. presidency. The reference to the month of October is because the date for national elections (as well as many state and local elections) occurs between November 2 and 8, and therefore events that take place in late October have greater potential to influence the decisions of prospective voters.
The surprise is not that the Richardson Coalition PAC has published a "Senior Citizen Edition" of its voters guide for the first time, although there's nothing in it that appears to address issues that are of particular interest to seniors instead of voters at large. That's a curious matter, but irrelevant to our surprise.
The surprise is not the usual innuendo and half-truths. Richardson voters have come to expect that from the Richardson Coalition PAC's "Voters Guide." The surprise is not even that the Richardson Coalition PAC would stoop to springing April surprises. Maybe, in the end, there's nothing surprising about how Richardson politics are playing out this year. I had hoped that our city was better than this, but I can't really say I'm surprised.
After the jump, the April surprise.
The Richardson Coalition PAC's mailer brings Amir Omar's personal financial problems out into the open. And they are surprising, even for those who thought they knew what the rumors were about.
The Richardson Coalition PAC doesn't go back this far, but during an earlier political campaign (Omar ran for the GOP nomination for Congress in Dallas in 2006), Omar explained to Tim Rogers of D Magazine (yes, the same D Magazine that Omar is now touting in his campaign literature) that he bounced a check in 1994, while in college. Youthful mistake or something. Old history. Thrashed out in that 2006 run for Congress. Move on.
This year, at an earlier candidates' forum, an innocent-sounding question, but one obviously targeted at Omar, got Omar to admit to a personal bankruptcy in his past, but he didn't go into any details. In its mailer, the Richardson Coalition PAC does. I won't repeat the details about this bankruptcy here, nor anything about Omar's other alleged and even more recent financial troubles, at least not until Omar has a chance to respond more fully than he did in his initial reaction posted to Facebook, where he said, "the Richardson Coalition hit an unprecedented low today, maliciously attacking my character with no regard for the truth." That's what's known as a non-denial denial. He can't get out of this by accusing the Richardson Coalition PAC of playing dirty. We know that's how they play. Omar has got to explain his own actions. If Omar had any skeletons in his closet, or even anything that remotely resembled a skeleton, he should have gotten them out on his own terms. He shouldn't have waited until his political enemies did it for him. And if those skeletons aren't as bad as this looks, he needs to explain himself fast. After all, April is already half gone.