Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mayoral Race to the Bottom

Yesterday, I deplored that the Richardson mayor's race is turning into a race to the bottom. Both of the candidates' closing remarks at the Mohawk Elementary forum turned personal and negative.

Omar accused Maczka of accomplishing nothing during her term on council, of putting her service on city council "on cruise control" for two years waiting to become mayor.

Maczka accused Omar of having his eye on the mayor's seat for at least two years; of being "beholden to unions and special interests"; of being more a "community organizer" than a president, er, mayor; of having an approach to governing of "ready, fire, aim."

So much for running positive, uplifting campaigns. After the jump, other examples of both candidates and their supporters trying to ruin their opponents' reputations, and as a result, risking ruin of their own.



A week or two ago, Amir Omar mailed a glossy brochure to voters in which he questioned Laura Maczka's motives.
If you believe we need a Mayor who will work for what's in the best interest of Richardson -- and not for the benefit of a few politicians at City Hall -- then I would be honored to have your vote on May 11.
Source: Amir Omar mailer.
Really? Does Omar not think that Maczka has the best interest of Richardson at heart?

Laura Maczka has the backing of the Richardson Coalition PAC. She has said she is proud to have their support. She and the PAC also share the same campaign consultant, so it's reasonable to infer that the Richardson Coalition PAC's own glossy brochures would not be odds with the interests of the Maczka campaign itself. The "Richardson Coalition 2013 Voters Guide - Senior Citizen Edition" questioned Amir Omar's motives.
If elected mayor, he promises to be "more hands on," which we fear would lead to daily micromanagement for re-election purposes.
Source: Richardson Coalition mailer.
Really? Does Maczka not think that Omar has the best interest of Richardson at heart?

The Richardson Coalition PAC's mailer also makes allegations about Omar's personal finances (bankruptcy, child support, taxes) that Omar has said "are absolutely false, baseless, and misleading." Maczka herself endorsed these allegations in an email to her mailing list.


Richardson Coalition Voters Guide
Source: Richardson Coalition PAC.

So, what's the truth about Omar's personal finances? The Richardson Coalition PAC has posted the court documents on its website, so readers can judge for themselves. The court documents show some truth behind the allegations. They also show that the Richardson Coalition PAC went beyond just laying out the facts in the court documents. Omar has not tried to explain himself, other than to flatly deny the allegations. Omar is damaged by silence. If he tries to explain away the allegations (that is, if he even can) he only gives the allegations wider publicity. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Good politics for Maczka either way. Not so good for Omar. Even worse for Omar's children, who now become collateral damage in the campaign to elect Maczka.

Both Omar's and the Richardson Coalition PAC's attacks were done in mailers, so it's reasonable to believe that they were done carefully, deliberately, and with forethought. Scott Dunn, a Richardson City Council member and supporter of Laura Maczka, expressed his own opinion in a Facebook/Twitter post. It's indicative of how this mayor's race is turning into a race to the bottom.

Scott Dunn Facebook Post
Source: Facebook.

Both candidates, the city council, even the city itself, are at risk of emerging from this election with tarnished reputations. A Pyrrhic victory perhaps for the winner.

2 comments:

Paul Peck said...

The Richardson Coalition "senior edition" voting guide of last week "re-evaluates" their 2011 endorsement of Mr. Omar, using a combination of what I would call opinions and statements of fact. I would expect a "race to the bottom" based on opinions, but I am a bit concerned by their statements of fact citing evidence that existed prior to their 2011 endorsement of Mr. Omar. At a minimum, we might question why these carefully selected facts have just now "come to light" and were not discovered (or is it revealed?) 2 years ago.

Mr. Omar has made no secret of the fact that he is a divorcee, pays child support for his children, and suffered a personal bankruptcy 13 years ago. I would not expect it to be necessary for him to go into the excruciating details unearthed and displayed by his opponent over the last week. This is indeed turning into a race to the bottom. It appear that Mr. Omar was not prepared for such a race.

I am always looking for the possibility that, in a conflict, both sides of the story might be true, or, based on a simple mistake and/or misunderstanding.

Regarding "arrears on child support": The document on the Richardson Coalition's website is missing a page. Mr. Omar maintains that the document is in error, that the arrearage amount was in fact the balance owed on the divorce settlement (not the same as child support) and that the obligation was paid on time.

The document related to wage garnishment is required by employers to do payroll deduction for child support, and does not prove delinquency. So when Mr. Omar denies that he was ever late with child support payments.

The document listing debts in the 2000 bankruptcy does not necessarily indicate that all such debts were eliminated by the bankruptcy. So when Mr. Omar maintains that he is still paying off the student loans.

If Mr. Omar's assertions are correct, then it's possible this is all a big misunderstanding confounded by a court's clerical error.

I've come to expect a "race to the bottom" in the political arena, where opinions are involved and voter's decide who they align with. We're all entitled to our own opinions, and politics can be an ugly "sausage making" process.

But I don't expect to see factual assertions about personal issues like divorce, child support and bankruptcy thrown into the mix. I can't see how these issues are relevant today, having been ignored 2 years ago. No one is asserting any laws were broken. So this appears to be an attack on character.

Worse yet is the possibility that there is an error or misunderstanding somewhere. If we are in a "race to the bottom with facts about one's personal life, more research is called for.

I have learned from this process what it means to "lead from behind" - a phrase that brings new meaning to the term "negative campaign."

Paul Peck

Paul Peck said...

The Richardson Coalition "senior edition" voting guide of last week "re-evaluates" their 2011 endorsement of Mr. Omar, using a combination of what I would call opinions and statements of fact. I would expect a "race to the bottom" based on opinions, but I am a bit concerned by their statements of fact citing evidence that existed prior to their 2011 endorsement of Mr. Omar. At a minimum, we might question why these carefully selected facts have just now "come to light" and were not discovered (or is it revealed?) 2 years ago.

Mr. Omar has made no secret of the fact that he is a divorcee, pays child support for his children, and suffered a personal bankruptcy 13 years ago. I would not expect it to be necessary for him to go into the excruciating details unearthed and displayed by his opponent over the last week. This is indeed turning into a race to the bottom. It appear that Mr. Omar was not prepared for such a race.

I am always looking for the possibility that, in a conflict, both sides of the story might be true, or, based on a simple mistake and/or misunderstanding.

Regarding "arrears on child support": The document on the Richardson Coalition's website is missing a page. Mr. Omar maintains that the document is in error, that the arrearage amount was in fact the balance owed on the divorce settlement (not the same as child support) and that the obligation was paid on time.

The document related to wage garnishment is required by employers to do payroll deduction for child support, and does not prove delinquency. So when Mr. Omar denies that he was ever late with child support payments.

The document listing debts in the 2000 bankruptcy does not necessarily indicate that all such debts were eliminated by the bankruptcy. So when Mr. Omar maintains that he is still paying off the student loans.

If Mr. Omar's assertions are correct, then it's possible this is all a big misunderstanding confounded by a court's clerical error.

I've come to expect a "race to the bottom" in the political arena, where opinions are involved and voter's decide who they align with. We're all entitled to our own opinions, and politics can be an ugly "sausage making" process.

But I don't expect to see factual assertions about personal issues like divorce, child support and bankruptcy thrown into the mix. I can't see how these issues are relevant today, having been ignored 2 years ago. No one is asserting any laws were broken. So this appears to be an attack on character.

Worse yet is the possibility that there is an error or misunderstanding somewhere. If we are in a "race to the bottom with facts about one's personal life, more research is called for.

I have learned from this process what it means to "lead from behind" - a phrase that brings new meaning to the term "negative campaign."

Paul Peck