Friday, April 29, 2016

Tax Assessor Collector Debate

The video is still loading. I don't know what the problem is but I've started it over a few times. But its over 50% now, so I'm hoping that by election day the damn thing might actually be done!

Here's my analysis of the Tax Assessor Collector Debate:

Ruben Gonzalez is essentially the incumbent and as such joins the District Attorney Jaime Esparza as the two incumbents in a run-off facing younger Latina candidates. And both incumbents have a path to victory which is remarkable considering incumbents in run-off elections lose.

SIDEBAR: I was able to actually find ONE instance of an incumbent in a run-off. Jaime Esparza's predecessor was in a run-off against Danny Anchondo way back when, and he pulled off a very close win. The campaign manager was then the First Assistant to the DA and is now, Judge Bill Moody.

Other than that, being in a run-off is a political death sentence for an incumbent. Interestingly both Gonzalez and Esparza each have a decent shot at fending off their challengers.

Although lets be real, Ballard Shapleigh is one of Esparza's top assistants and his brother Elliot damn sure didn't do him any favors the other day on KVIA.

It explains why Cain killed Abel I guess.

Any who, back to the Tax Assessor candidates.

Siria Rocha and Ruben Gonzalez don't like each other. Its not even a secret.

When the debate started Rocha came out gunning after Gonzalez and didn't let up until the end of their time on the stage. She had a pretty blistering attack on an expenditure that Gonzalez approved for covered parking at the Ascarate Annex.

To be fair, it was a project that was left over from his predecessor Victor Flores. Siria Rocha used to work for Victor Flores for a very short period, about 8 months or so.

But the bottom line is that Gonzalez has to won the project. He signed off on the damn thing.

Its $10,000 for a parking cover for four spots. So essentially is $10,000 of tax payer money so that he can park in the shade.

There's no real way around that and its a fair critique on the part of Rocha.

What isn't fair is for Rocha's campaign lit which is at the very least, extremely misleading, but at worst is a flat-out, bold-faced lie. And Rocha is kind of in the same situation as Gonzalez in that it was done by a subordinate, but ultimately she signed off on it.

Her campaign messaging guy, Ernesto Bustillos put together the lit and it says something along the lines of "Stop Tax Hikes". That gives the impression to the voter that the Tax Assessor Collector's Office actually has anything to do with tax increases.

It doesn't.

It might Bustillos' screw up, but she is the candidate and she approved it. Just like Gonzalez approved an expenditure of $10k so he can park in the shade.

Both candidates were asked about their respective screw ups during the debate and both candidates proceeded to make their situations much worse by refusing to own up to a mistake. And honestly I can't tell you who's answer was worse.

Gonzalez blames Shadeghazi on his predecessor and his former deputy. What he should've done is owned the mistake, acknowledge that he should've killed the project, but now only uses the parking as an incentive for high-performing employees. Or something along those lines.

People can forgive a screw up. We all do that. But people hate when you refuse to take responsibility for a screw up and pass the buck to someone else.

Rocha's tactic was different, don't pass the buck - stick to your guns and pretend your campaign lit lie isn't actually a lie. I know, it was a bad as it sounds.

When I asked her about the claim that her lit makes the implication that she can control tax hikes rather than acknowledge that her campaign guy screw up, she actually tried to stick to the narrative that she can control tax hikes.

If that office could, more people would know and care about the job. But they don't.

The Tax Assessor Collector does not have an impact on your taxes. She tried to make the argument that through controlling spending in her office, that she (indirectly?) has an impact on your taxes. Which sounds great, except that that is a lie too.

Department Heads don't set their own budget at the County. Their budget is set by Commissioner's Court. Every year the department heads present to the Court their budget and their requests for funding. You can guess how often a department head goes to the Court and says, Hey y'all, I don't need all this money you allocate to me for my office to do its job, please don't give me more and cut taxes. Okay? Thanks. 

Just doesn't happen. And the Tax Assessor Collector is not a policy making position, the Court is. Its just not accurate to imply that the Tax Assessor Collector can do a single thing about your tax bill. They can't and its dishonest to imply that they can.

I'm a veteran and even I am tired of the amount of focus the two of them put on their military service. You'd think being able to low crawl, pass a PT test, qualify with a weapon and go to BNCOC are a prerequisite for the office listening to their speeches.

Gonzalez was a combat vet in Vietnam. Rocha served a hitch in the Army as support personnel. Both of them have admirable service.

Can we move on to an actual issue related to the function of the office now?


Anonymous said...

Weird you write nothing about Rubens staff campaigning on County Tax payer time. Lastly their are plenty of instatnces where department heads request less money for the budget because they eliminate waste. Essentially giving them county commissioners an option to decrease some form of taxes. If all department heads decreased their budgets and eliminated waste taxes would go down. You know this but apparently have a grudge on the candidate.

The Lion Star said...

I have a grudge on Siria?

Oh by all means, do explain!