Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Mayor and the Schools: Candidly

Yesterday, we looked at a controversy Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka created by recording a robo-call endorsing a candidate in the Richardson ISD school board race.

Today, we look at how Maczka herself sees the controversy.
Candidly, the reason I did the call is because I was asked. Rachel Chumney is my neighbor, our children attend the same school, and I got to know her in the last school board election, but as I told the city manager yesterday, endorsements matter but they really don't.

I honestly don't know if my endorsement is really all that important.
After the jump, candidly.

Anytime a politician starts a sentence with "Candidly..." it's either an admission that the politician wasn't candid before, or a warning that the politician is about to start spinning now.

In Mayor Maczka's case, it's probably a bit of both. She claims the reason she did the robo-call was "because I was asked." Not because Chumney was clearly the better candidate, but because Chumney is a neighbor. If Maczka's being candid now, then she wasn't being candid when she recorded that robo-call.

The mayor tries to sidestep the controversy by saying that her endorsement maybe isn't all that important anyway. Being important is an entirely separate question from being prudent or not, but let's examine the question anyway. Obviously, Chumney thought the robo-call was important, but in the end, Chumney lost by a large margin anyway, so maybe the mayor was right. Even in precincts inside Richardson, Justin Bono out-polled Chumney by a comfortable margin. In precincts outside Richardson, Bono out-polled Chumney by a huge margin. Given that 58% of the registered RISD voters live in Dallas, and only 35% live in the City of Richardson, it's possible, if not likely, that the Richardson mayor trying to influence voters might have backfired on Chumney with Dallas voters. No exit polling was done, so we'll never know for sure.

There's been a concerning trend developing in Richardson politics recently. In the 2013 mayoral election, city council members for the first time took sides in a city council election. In the 2014 political party primaries, the political action committee that's been so influential in multiple city non-partisan elections took sides for the first time in a political party's primaries. Now, in the 2014 school board race, the mayor and some city council members for the first time took sides. It used to be that school board elections, city council elections, and state and federal elections were all separate and independent. More and more, the boundaries are blurring, to the detriment of the local elections. It's a threat to a long tradition of non-partisan elections that has served local government well.

No comments: