Thursday, May 16, 2013

Election Wrap: Money

Now that Richardson's mayoral election is over, there are a few loose ends to tie up.
Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money money money money money money
Money money money money money money
Get a little money money money
A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound
That clinking clanking clanking sound
Is all that makes the world go around
It makes the world go around!
Source: Cabaret.
It turns out that money didn't make Richardson's mayoral election go around.

Some people tried to make something of which candidate collected more money from outside Richardson or outside Texas or whatever, but I personally didn't see that as a factor in the election. I saw that as mostly a proxy attack on Amir Omar's religion, which I covered earlier.

As for the total amount of money raised, that wasn't a factor in the outcome either. Sure, the Richardson Coalition PAC paid something like $25,000 to mail their noxious voters guide to probably every registered voter in Richardson. No scrimping there. Overkill. But Amir Omar wasn't hard up for money, either. In the last weeks of the campaign, it seemed like every day there was another mailer from Omar in the mailbox, even more insistent than the last in its allegation that a gaffe at a tea party forum revealed a secret plan that Laura Maczka has for covering Richardson in cheap apartments. (I'm surprised he overlooked the idea of reusing a photo of Maczka in a hard hat -- taken in front of the soon-to-be-demolished Continental Inn -- to imply that she was out there building those cheap apartments herself.) I don't need to know the exact amount spent by both candidates. It was a lot. Something like $150,000 or $250,000 will have been spent on Richardson's first direct election of the mayor in a half century. (Belated tip of the hat to Richardson's founding fathers for saving us from that for at least a half century.)

Maybe I should correct myself. Money *did* make the Richardson mayoral election go around, but like a carnival ride that goes around and around and never gets anywhere. And here's the irony: for the backers of direct election who thought this would increase democracy, know that the cost of entry into electoral politics in Richardson just went up big time. Electoral politics in Richardson are likely to get less democratic in future, not more. Who has the deep pockets who can pay that cost of entry? Land developers, for one.

That brings me to the one money angle to this election that, had I noticed in time, I just might have made something of. Laura Maczka collected $5,000 from a developer who has come before the City Council seeking zoning approval for development projects in Richardson, and may do so again in future. That's sketchy, especially when it's this guy. It may not be illegal, but it just looks bad. Really bad.


Mark Steger said...

I'm being told privately that my last paragraph might be just the tip of the iceberg. The developer I cited might have given Maczka $7,000, not $5,000, and Maczka might have collected a lot more from people who had business before the council than just this one developer. I admit I didn't do enough homework on this. This one developer just caught my eye, for obvious reasons if you read the Dallas Observer story.

Mark Steger said...

By the way, anyone who wants to do the homework on this can review the financial reports each candidate files with the city. The city puts all those reports online for all to see. Or will as the city continues its program of more and more transparent government. Right? Right? Anyone on the council care to champion this? Anyone? Anyone?

Peggy Beil said...

pay·o·la [pey-oh-luh] noun Informal.

a secret or private payment in return for the promotion of a product, service, etc., through the abuse of one's position, influence, or facilities.

Mark Steger said...

Tell us what you mean, Peggy. The payment I referred to is not secret or private. It's in the financial reports on file with the city. I said the contributions looks bad. I did not say or imply that it was illegal. If you have evidence of a quid pro quo, produce it or leave the insinuations of illegal behavior out of the comments, please.

Peggy Beil said...

My apologies. I meant it as a joke because everyone on Facebook knows that she frequently promotes "Texas" restaurant as her family's favorite - and I haven't seen her post anything about any other restaurants. I'm sorry for implying anything illegal. Please contact me before posting my comments in the future if they seem a little crazy.