Saturday, July 20, 2019

CORRECTION: Not Raising Campaign Cash: Tony Buzbee

I recently posted Raising Campaign Cash: Houston City Elections. Final. Thoughts stating Tony Buzbee has $5.1 Million cash on hand and raised $5.5 Million. That is not true and I have since corrected it.

Tony Buzbee did not raised any money, as in, zero dollars. The $5.5 Million came out of his own pocket.  Buzbee unlike the other candidates running for Mayor or any other office in Houston is wealthy. In his case, filthy wealthy. He has enough money to spare that he does not need to ask people to donate to his campaign because they believe in his stance or his support of Trump. He doesn't have to spend half a day on the phone asking for donations. He doesn't have to have fundraisers. He doesn't have to prove he is a viable candidate for a very important office.

So, he raised $0 because he is filthy rich. I stand corrected.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Raising Campaign Cash: Houston City Council District C

I reported on Anthony Dolcefino and became interested in the other candidates in District C. Beside poor fundraising numbers, no fundraising, and a loan of $20,000 there is nothing grossly unusual. Abbie Kamin had a very strong showing of $175,490. The others raised so-so money.

Kendra Camarena$13,625$13,638$12$0
Candelario Cervantez$1,908$1,954$46$0
Anthony Dolcefino$2,800$2,800$0$0
Rodney Hill$0$0$0$0
Abbie Kamin$141,382$175,490$44,557$0
Shelley Kennedy$6,677$39,651$40,600$0
Greg Meyers$34,297$25,722$10,004$20,000
Bob Nowak$4,488$13,186$8,697$0
Daphne Scarbrough$22,195$31,195$5,849$0
Mary Jane Smith$38,209$58,906$20,696$0
Kevin Walker$0$0$0$0
Amanda Kathryn Wolfe$19$63$43$0

Spending Campaign Cash: Anthony Dolcefino

Even a Caveman can do it
UPDATE: Mr. Docefino has responded to my request to clarify his spending:

Website is free website builder, domain name I already owned, literature was in-kind after the June 30th deadline, FB ads have been bought in July, etc.
Yesterday I posted about Anthony Dolcefino's fundraising numbers. Anthony is running for City Council District C. Anthony seems to be picking up where his father left off back in 2005 by attacking Mayor Turner.

Wayne Dolcefino was an investigative reporter (sic) for KTRK-TV. He had a boner for Sylvester Turner back in 1995 when Turner first ran for Mayor. Dolcefino was eventually sued and lost for a story about insurance fraud and a jury awarded $5.5 Million. 

Since 2008 I have been interested in what elected officials are spending their money on in my series called Spending Campaign Cash. Here is an entry for Anthony and it is strange. I have reached out to both Anthony and his treasurer for a response.

Anthony filed a paper report because he raised less than $20,000 and does not have access to an computer. He is listed as his own treasurer and he claims to have spent $0 during this period. This is strange because he has a website, a domain name, a facebook page, a twitter account. He has made online ads and he has campaign literature with the required disclaimer "PolAds paid for by Anthony Dolcefino Campaign, Linda Fowler Treasurer".

According to the Texas Ethics Commission expenditures must be reported including what was purchased, how much was paid, who was paid, when it was paid among other things. Even if the website, domain name, and campaign literature were donated, that must be reported as an in-kind donation.

Look...I'm not an expert on the laws in Texas but I can read and it's not real hard to understand. If you receive money, report it. If you spend money, report it. It really is that simple.

Even a caveman can do it.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Raising Campaign Cash: Anthony Dolcefino District C

I was looking at campaign finance reports for Houston City Council races that voters in District E would be interested in. You can view that here if you would like. I also became curious about a couple of other candidates, one being Anthony Dolcefino, the son of Wayne Dolcefino. From a previous post;
Wayne Dolcefino was an investigative reporter (sic) for KTRK-TV. He had a boner for Sylvester Turner back in 1995 when Turner first ran for Mayor. Dolcefino was eventually sued and lost for a story about insurance fraud and a jury awarded $5.5 Million. 
But back to campaign reports....I couldn't find his reports online until today with the help of Shelby. He filed a paper copy. Based upon his totals I would have too. You can find his complete report (all 6 pages worth) here. I can summarize.

He has raised $2836 of which $1086 was in-kind donations provided by his father. He has recorded $0 spent even though he has put out a couple of political ads, printed door hangers, and has a website. all "Political advertising paid for by the Anthony Dolcefino Campaign." His father only gave him $500. 

His affidavit claims he nor anyone associated with his campaign uses computers to keep track of his donations. 

He also delivered the hand written report by horse and carriage since no one has a car.

Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards joins the race to unseat Cornyn

I heard rumors about Houston City Council Member Amanda Edwards considering a run for US Senate so I googled her resume. It is impressive. From her bio on the City of Houston website:
Amanda’s connection to service is evidenced through her early endeavors. Amanda attended Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Emory University, where she served as president of the undergraduate student body and was later inducted into the Emory University Hall of Fame. While in Atlanta, Amanda gained valuable community building and public policy experience working in community development corporations as a Community Building and Social Change Fellow and in the Georgia State Legislature. Amanda’s experiences broadened her perspective about how to effect change through urban policy and collaboration. Soon thereafter, Amanda worked for Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in Washington, D.C. before earning her degree from Harvard Law School. 
That is just a part of her resume. Very impressive candidate. She will be competing against State Senator Royce West, former Congressman Chris Bell, and MJ Hegar for the position.
Edwards and MJ are my favorites. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The hoods are off!

It was an easy vote against racism but after all but 4 republican Congressmen voted in support of the racist comments made by Trump, it is very clear the hoods are now off. We knew who you were. Now we can see your faces.

New voting machines. A first look.

I was invited to attend a press conference with Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman during the International Association of Government Officials conference. We were allowed to visit with the vendors of new voting machines, all including a paper trail. Here are the highlights of the press conference:

  • Our current machines are over 20 years old
  • New machines are targeted for the 2021 elections
  • It will cost roughly $74 Million to procure about 5000 machines (Very rough estimate)
  • The goal is to make it simple to vote and trustworthy
  • Harris County received a $250,000 grant to educate the county on voting centers
  • Voting centers have been implemented, voting hours have been extended, early voting locations are now voting centers, its easier to vote in Harris County.

Old Voting Machine Technology
Remember that at one point or another a ballot is scanned and tallied by a machine. 20 years ago the paper ballots (shad ballots) were tallied by a machine but the ballots could be manually recounted if needed. I didn't hear anyone complaining about those machine being manipulated to skew the vote.

We then converted to a Hart machine with the strange dial. That machine allowed the voter to make their selections and  the machine would tally the votes. There is no paper trail.

Dominion Voting Machine
New Voting Machine Technology
The new machines will eventually tally the vote just like they did 20 years ago but there will be a paper trail. A touch screen will allow a voter to easily make their selections. Then a ballot is printed for the voter to review. That paper ballot is then scanned, tallied, and securely stored.

But, there are options. The voter can actually simply print a ballot, color in the dots with a sharpie, then have the machine tally the vote and store the ballot. Or a configuration (one I did not like) would print the ballot and display it behind a glass screen for review before being tallied and stored.

I found that most of the screens were easy to use, allowing the voter to increase the font size, color, background, and more. They were easy to use. The Hart machines were small. I wasn't impressed. I found the machines by Dominion Voting to be easy to use. Election Systems and Software was BIG. 

Trautman has a schedule to bring a new system to the voters in 2021 and will be looking for input from the Harris County community.

This was a rather large voting machine that could show the entire ballot.

This is their version of a paper ballot that would be inserted into a tally machine.

This is the tally machine provided by Dominion Voting. The paper ballot would be scanned, tallied, and stored below.

A blank ballot could be printed and the voter could use a marker to color in the circles, then inert the ballot into the tally machine.

Ballot being inserted into the tally machine.

This is the tally machine for Hart's voting machines.

Raising Campaign Cash: CD22 Kulkarni out raises Olson

My previous post on this fundraising period was incorrect. Let me try this again:

Sri Preston Kulkarni raised $420,824 during the last reporting period. Pete Olson, the incumbent in a once safe red district, raised only $380,317 with $275,412 coming from special interest PACs. 

Olson has $482,712 COH and Kulkarni has $345,421. Nyanza Moore, who is challenging Kulkarni in the primary raised $73,705 with $5,586 COH. There are a couple of fringe candidates that have no idea what they are doing.

Buckle up Pete. After voting to support Trump's racist comments you have a very tough race on your hands. The following is based upon 2 quarters:

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

City Council Member Dwight Boykins. Up in smoke.

Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins has filed to run for Mayor and has been endorsed by the Houston Fire Fighters Union. He has had a couple of hiccups already, the leaked video addressing young women and his anemic fundraising numbers with only $70K COH. I've also noticed he enjoys cigars and has used his donors money to buy them. 

According to his report ending June 30, 2019. He has 14 entries in 4 months for about $3000 worth of "Gift Awards" from Stogies on Westheimer, Heights Cigar Lounge, Cigar Distributors of Houston and Masculino Premium Cigars.

That is a lot of smoke and where there is smoke.....there is a Fire Fighter Union that may want a mulligan on their endorsement of Boykins. $3000 worth of cigars in a 4 month period is a lot of cigars if that is what he is purchasing. It is hard to believe there are that many individuals to give these cigars to as "gifts".

Over the last ten years I have seen elected officials spend their donors money on fancy custom boots, cattle, vintage cowboy chaps, antique books, and condos. Many have been fined tens of thousands of dollars. Cigar purchases using your donors money is mild to many of the other cases but it is strange.

Houston City Council Race District E. Martin, Cleveland, Lee

District E covers Kingwood and Clear Lake. (go figure) There are three candidates running for the office, only one seems viable. Council Member Dave Martin has raised about $50,000 and has a balance of about $151,000. This is a good amount for a competitive race but this race is anything but competitive.

Sam Cleveland  is a "conservative Republican running for Houston City Council District E. I am an active Houston Police Officer"  has not raised any money. He is having some issues filing his reports but he has said no money has been raised to date and his website is down. He is a Trump supporter.

Ryan Lee is a Houston Fire Fighter Union Trustee. He has been running for months but hasn't filed an Appointment of Treasurer so he cannot legally raise or spend money. Maybe that is why he does not have a website. He is using his twitter feed (free) and Facebook page (also free) to bash the Mayor even though he is not running for Mayor. He is a very angry tweeter. He has sided with Tony Buzbee, even though his Union has endorsed Boykins. He also supports Trump. Ryan is what we call a UFO.

Unfit For Office.

Raising Campaign Cash: Houston City Elections. Final. Thoughts

I have said it before.
It's not a game. Running for office is not a game......Don't cheapen the office by running just for the sake of running and distracting from those who have a clear understanding of what they are doing and are qualified to run.
The deadline for filing has passed. Some individuals should consider dropping out of the race. If you can't follow the law, you shouldn't run to make the laws. Sue Lovell may not have an appointed Treasurer so that may be the reason for not filing. Ryan Lee has been running for months but has not appointed a Treasurer. Sam Cleveland has raised $0 and has had some trouble with filing. Woods has filed but the city has had problems with the report.
Anton Dowls
Naoufal Houjami
Sue Lovell
Dementria Smith
Amparo Gasca
Sam Cleveland
Ryan Lee
Michelle Bonton
Georgia Provost
Goku Sankar
Tiko Hausman
Brad Batteau
Ralph Garcia
Ashton Woods 
The amounts raised for candidates for Mayor, Controller, District E and At Large 1-5 are below. These are positions those in the Bay Area would be voting on. 

Mayor. Mayor Turner had a good report. King's report need to be better. Boykins is not viable at this point. The Fire Fighters Tony Buzbee should quit. Dosls, Houjami, Smith should quit.

Controller. Chris Brown should not be challenged. He is rock solid in his job. Gasca should quit.

District E. Martin had a good report. His challengers haven't filed and might want to just quit. Lee and Cleveland should quit.

Position 1. Great report by Salhotra and poor showing by the incumbent Knox. Bonton and Provost should quit.

Position 2. Robinson has no competition. He had a great report. Carmouche and Sankar should quit.

Position 3. Kubosh had a poor showing. McClinton had a poor showing. Someone need to seriously challenge Kubosh. 

Position 4. Amand Edwards had a good report. No one else is viable.  Hauman should quit.

Position 5. Sallie Alcorn is killing it. Plummer needs to step it up. The others should step it out. Batteaut, Boone, Garcia, and Woods should quit.

Sylvester Turner (inc)$3,218,268$1,698,596$1,362,879$0
Kendall Baker$260$15,810$15,650$0
Derrick Broze$1,190$1,379$188$0
Dwight Boykins$69,783$140,174$93,219$0
Tony Buzbee$5,140,725$0$1,814,754$5,500,000
Anton Dowls
Naoufal Houjami
Bill King$318,320$684,842$580,062$100,000
Sue Lovell
Demetria Smith
Chris Brown (inc)$234,350$66,611$36,522$75,000
Amparo Gasca
District E
Dave Martin (inc)$151,184$49,450$18,939$0
Sam Cleveland$0$0$0$0
Ryan Lee
Position 1
Mike Knox (inc)$41,171$40,295$45,555$0
Michelle Bonton
Georgia Provost
Raj Salhotra$178,536$220,377$30,340$0
Position 2
David Robinson (inc)$262,221$88,616$0$0
Willie Davis$807$10,250$3,051$3,000
Emily Detoto$439$2,600$2,660$500
Position 3
Michael Kubosh (inc)$122,870$43,875$20,319$276,000
Janaeya Carmouche
Marcel McClinton$8,675$25,823$21,739$0
Goku Sankar
Position 4
Amanda Edwards (inc)$192,791$73,807$42,179$0
Christel Bastida$750$1,103$51$200
Tiko Hausman
Ericka McCrutcheon$2,875$5,100$11,625$5,000
Position 5
Sallie Alcorn$252,366$204,247$75,393$0
Brad Batteau
Jamaal Boone$0$0$0$0
Catherine Flowers$3,700$13,543$9,918$75
Ralph Garcia
Marvin McNeese$7,206$23,100$45,893$30,000
Giang Nguyen$20,241$250$8$20,000
Letitia Plummer $43,795$64,519$36,356$0
Sonia Rivera$0$2,260$3,895$1,695
Ashton Woods