Friday, February 21, 2014

Yet More Political Antics | Last Word

I’ve been covering politics now for more than 40 years, and yet I’m still amazed by the antics of some politicians.

Consider events of just the past week.

State District Judge Angus McGinty resigned from the bench after the Express-News reported that he was under federal investigation.

McGinty hasn’t been charged with anything yet, but he allegedly reduced bail on defendants in exchange for repairs on his automobiles.

Really, Judge? Automobile repairs?

I know San Antonio is a low-wage town, but a district court bench shouldn’t go that cheap.

Meanwhile, a candidate for district judge lost the endorsement of the San Antonio Police Officers Association after being caught on video slashing a campaign sign of his opponent.

Joseph Appelt was caught by a motion-activated camera set up by the husband and brother of his opponent, Stephani Walsh.

The sign sleuths are both former police officers.

The incident brought to mind a controversy back in 1978, where two Central Catholic High School students were caught defacing the incumbent district attorney’s campaign signs.

(Note to Appelt: It’s not hard to get high school students to do stupid things.)

The boys were caught by two of then-DA Bill White’s staff investigators, who drew their guns on the culprits.

White suggested the boys were lucky, telling reporters his investigators would be justified in shooting to kill anyone messing with his signs.

White would last only one more term as DA.

One of the boys, Roger Perez, went on to become a city councilman.

Then there was Alan Baxter, the mayor of Windcrest.

He came on this program last week as one of three Republican candidates to replace Tommy Adkisson as county commissioner.

Money isn’t everything in politics, but I wanted to know if any of the three showed the kind of fund raising ability to compete with Democrats running for the seat.

Debra Guerrero had raised about $48,000, according to campaign finance reports, and Tommy Calvert had raised about $35,000.

I had found Kirby Mayor Tim Wilson’s report through the Bexar County Election Department’s online database, but not those of Baxter or Reinette Alecozay.

I asked both if they had filed. Both said they had.

Both said they didn’t remember how much they had reported in the most recent report, due just 10 days before our interview.

But Baxter was adamant that he was competitive, saying he raised about $35,000.

This week I checked up at the Elections Department.

Alecozay had indeed filed her finance report.

The staff triple-checked.

Baxter hadn’t.

Baxter at first expressed surprise to me.

He had no idea why.

But the next day he told me he had filed the report at the Windcrest City Hall and “assumed they would forward it to the county elections department.”

You filed at the Windcrest City Hall for a county office, I asked?

“Windcrest is in the county,” he replied.

He also said the reports were time-stamped by Windcrest staff.

Late Tuesday he delivered copies to the Elections Department.

They are not time-stamped by Windcrest.

I’m skeptical about his failure to remember how much he had reported in campaign contributions.

The number wasn’t hard to remember.

It was zero. The only income was $2,000 he had loaned himself.

Baxter says now has raised $25,000 to $30,000 since the last report.

Maybe he has.

The next report is due Monday – if he remembers where to file it.

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