Local Elections

Keller ISD – Swap and Drop or Bait and Switch?

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Keller ISD again is coming to voters asking to increase the tax rate above the max allowed. Apparently, the massive bond money, revenue increases from unprecedented home valuation increases, and long term budget deficits are not enough to cover an apparent inability to spend within their means. They are now planning a tax rate increase so large that it requires taxpayers to vote themselves a larger property tax bill than what we should have to pay. Remember when they did this a few years ago? Voters overwhelmingly said no and then the district punished the voters by limiting bus services.

Over the last several years, the taxpayers in Keller ISD have continued to realize ever increasing and over burdensome property tax increases due to a number of factors.

1. Bonds burdening the district with over $1 billion of debt
2. Long term budget deficits
3. Significant home valuation increases and,
4. Most significant, a school board unwilling to decrease the I&S tax rate so that taxpayers would see little to no increases in their tax bill.

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Probate Court Candidate Goodman’s Fuzzy Math

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Catherine Goodman is using some fuzzy math to manipulate the results of the Tarrant County Bar Association (TCBA) Survey to declare herself the highest rated candidate. Goodman is the candidate for Judge, Probate Court 1 that almost didn’t make it on the ballot. She had to withdraw her application for a place on the ballot and reapply. Inside sources say this was due to problems with her petition signatures. Goodman has also struggled with her campaign finance compliance, as reported by Direct Action Texas. Now it looks like Goodman has chosen to manipulate the results of the TCBA Survey to boost her chances.

The Tarrant County Bar Association asked its members to rate each candidate as well qualified, qualified, or not qualified. If they didn’t know the candidate, they were instructed to answer, “No Opinion.” At first glance, Mark Sullivan has the highest rating with 25% well qualified versus Goodman’s 23.1% well qualified. If you look at the raw number of votes, Sullivan is still ahead with 151 well qualified to Goodman’s 139.

Goodman would like you to throw out the “No Opinion” votes and recalculate the percentages. That would skew the numbers in her favor, giving her 54% for well qualified to Sullivan’s 51%. However, that method is statistically insignificant. Remove the “No Opinion” vote and you are suddenly comparing apples to oranges. The results cannot be compared when there is now a different number of people voting in each candidate’s survey. If you wanted to properly discount the “No Opinion” voters you would have to compare the categories individually, as shown here. Those numbers still put Mark Sullivan on top.

Perhaps the more interesting numbers are not those of Goodman and Sullivan, but those of Patricia Cole. With 117 votes for “Not Qualified,” no matter which way you calculate it, she has the highest number in that category.

Catherine Goodman had difficulties following the law when applying for a position on the ballot, disregarded campaign finance laws, and is now manipulating results to show them in her favor. On the campaign trail she says she writes the law and that she knows the law, but can she follow the law?

Donations to this State Rep. Candidate are Tax Deductible?

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Carlos Antonio Raymond doesn’t need to be elected as State Representative for House District 117, he is already rewriting the laws for himself. This long time Democrat is on the Republican ballot in a swing district in Bexar County, on the Western side of San Antonio. He is running against C.P.A. Michael Berlanga. He perhaps should have asked his opponent’s advice before making his campaign signs. They boast that donations given to Raymond are “Tax Deductible Donations.” He either doesn’t know the law or has a complete disregard for it.

First of all, Raymond is a Democrat. He campaigned for Leticia Van De Putte against Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor and numerous other Democrat candidates. In 2015 he applied to be on the Democrat Primary ballot as a candidate for HD117 but was rejected. He then sued the Bexar County Democrat Chairman for wrongfully keeping him off the ballot. When the lawsuit failed, he ran as a write-in candidate in November of 2016. He received less than 1% of the vote.

Control of District 117 swings back and forth from Republican to Democrat depending on the cycle. Right now, the seat is held by a Democrat, so chances are the next to be elected will be a Republican. This could be why Raymond chose the GOP this time around, or maybe it is because he burned his bridges on the other side when he sued the Dem. County Chair. Either way, voters need to know that Carlos Antonio Raymond is a conservative of convenience, not principle.

One thing is clear, supporters of Carlos Antonio Raymond will not be able to deduct their campaign contributions from their taxes. Hopefully a competent accountant will clue them in, or they will get an unpleasant visit from the IRS. Perhaps Michael Berlanga could offer his services to these unfortunate victims. The District Attorney’s office may want to look into this as well. Is Raymond guilty of fraud for claiming his donations are tax deductible?

Commissioners Declare War on Legislature

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This week Tarrant County Judge Whitley declared war on the Texas legislature. Whitley is attempting to blame the legislature for the massive increases homeowners are experiencing in their local property taxes. In so doing, he declares the legislature the enemy. All 4 senators representing Tarrant County responded in one unified voice, you can read that response HERE.

Whitley is obviously in deflection mode attempting to draw attention away from his tax and spend ways and toward a way to blame others, typical politician. But he is not alone.

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A Costly Contribution

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Probate Court 1 candidate Catherine Goodman exceeded the amount for a contribution by twice the legal limit. Now that contribution may cost her up to $55,000 plus legal fees, should her opponents decide to pursue the violation.

Judicial candidates have to follow stricter guidelines than other candidates for office. For instance, they have limits on how much money they may accept from an individual. This fact is well known among judicial candidates. According to Election Code 253.155, in a county-wide judicial race in Tarrant County, the contribution limit is $5,000 per individual. A recent Campaign Finance Report (CFR) shows that one candidate exceeded that limit. Catherine Goodman, candidate for Judge in Tarrant County’s Probate Court 1, accepted a contribution twice that of the legal limit!

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