San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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September 2nd, 2008
O'Dell accuses commissioner of running on "entitlement" platform

I had a shocking experience while collecting voter signatures in San Marcos to get Bill Wyatt’s name placed on the Hays County November election ballot as a write-in candidate. Bill is running for Hays County Precinct 1 commissioner against 12-year incumbent Democrat Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe.We were knocking on doors of homes in the Sunrise Village Retirement Community and enjoying the opportunity of visiting with the elderly residents who often invited us in to talk and to sign our Petition in Lieu of a Filing Fee for Bill Wyatt. One elderly lady wanted to vote by mail, and I promised to deliver a mail ballot application to her. An elderly gentleman was born on Pearl Harbor day in 1942, and we chatted about our fathers’ World War II military service. Behind every door was someone who greeted us, engaged in welcome conversation and either willingly signed our petition or chose not to for their own reasons.

Sunrise Village is a development by Southside Community Center, a non-profit funded each year by Hays County, City of San Marcos and other sources. Ruben Garza is Executive Director of Southside and Ralph Gonzales (Commissioner Ingalsbe’s father) works for Southside as a carpenter. Commissioner Ingalsbe serves on the board of Southside Community Center. Ralph, Ruben and Debbie are a team.

We encountered Ralph Gonzales while working our way through Sunrise Village and he inquired what we were doing there. Not that it was any of his business, but we told him we were collecting signatures of registered voters to get Bill Wyatt on the ballot as a write-in candidate for Precinct 1 county commissioner.

“Why are you running someone against my daughter, Debbie?” Ralph asked. “Why don’t you like her?” he said. “Bill Wyatt is not a minority and every county must have a minority elected, and Debbie is a minority, and she has to be elected,” Ralph went on to say.

I was dumfounded. Debbie “…had to be re-elected because she is a minority?” What happened to giving voters the right to choose their elected officials? “Surely you don’t believe Debbie has an entitlement to be Precinct 1 County Commissioner,” I responded. “Precinct 1 voters will decide who their commissioner will be.” Not knowing what else to say, I asked Ralph if he would sign the Wyatt petition. He declined.

Ralph then hustled over to the nearby Village office. It wasn’t long before a woman claiming to be Beatrice Natal, the leasing manager, interrupted a voter signing our petition by telling us that we had to leave. No reason given, we just had to leave. I tried to explain that we were simply giving these voters an opportunity to exercise one of their most important civil rights, but Natal insisted that we leave.

Ralph stood by watching. He had been successful in violating the civil rights of these elderly voters who he believed, for some unfathomable reason, had no right to vote for anyone other than his daughter, Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe. I assume Ralph made clear to Natal that her job could be in jeopardy if she allowed us to continue our time-honored efforts.

As they have done in the past, I expect Ralph, his daughter Commissioner Ingalsbe and other members of their family will confront some of those who signed the Wyatt petition. This is not how their democracy works in Precinct 1. The Gonzales view reminds me of politics in Mexico. His daughter is entitled to be Precinct 1 Commissioner, and through Debbie, Ralph and Ruben Garza can continue their hold on Precinct 1 for their own rewards.

When informed voters go to the polls I believe they will act in their own best interests, and not in the self interests of elected officials. And no one should interfere with our democratic process for electing public officials. Fair, open and honest competition is a hallmark of the American way. Entitlement is a perverted view of democracy.

By Dr. CHARLES O’DELL
Co-founder of HAYSCan

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0 thoughts on “O'Dell accuses commissioner of running on "entitlement" platform

  1. While it is true that we asked Mr. Odell to leave our property, the following is not true.

    The city and Hays county do not fund Sunrise Village. They are self sufficient on their own merit.

    There is a no solicitation policy and we ask everyone to leave. It doesn’t matter who they are, Ralph knows this and of course informed the office that we had solicitors. He is one of our employee’s and we expect him to do his job.

    The solicitation policy is in place so that people like Mr. Odell and others cannot take advantage of our most senior citizens. They have kids that help them vote and don’t need Mr. Odell to help them.

    As for the fact that Debbie is on the board, true, I also have 22 other members on my board.

    Mr. Odell seems to always go back to the patron system, or the entitlement system. It is obvious an attempt to paint Hispanics in such a way to make them seem less then what they are.

    God forbid that anyone is entitled to the position because they have a degree, or that they earned what they have. No lets twist Mr. Gonzales words to make it sound that he expects Debbie to be re-elected because she is a minority.

    It might surprise you Mr. Odell that I raised over 8 million dollars to build affordable housing for seniors in our community.

    It might also surprise you that we also take our job of making sure they have a safe environment free of vendor, politicians, and so called self proclaimed heroes of the people from taking advantage of them.

    Their children expect us to take all precautions to protect them from those that would prey on them.

    Let me ask you a question there are thousands of people in surrounding neighborhoods, why didn’t you go there to get your 100 signatures.

    Is it because you knew that Ralph Gonzales worked there and that Debbie was on the board, it is no secret that she is on my board. It is also no secret that Ralph Gonzales works at Sunrise. He has worked for us for many years.

    Your side show has been seen before in Hays County, it is scare the people, accuse those who oppose you of foolish things and hope some of it sticks. Accuse Hispanics of having a patron system, and hope people believe you.

    Hays County is bigger then that now, and people will not just stand around and take your lies, and deceit they know you for what you are.

  2. Ruben,

    While I understand Sunrise Village has a “no solicitation” policy, I was offended by your claim that:

    “The solicitation policy is in place so that people like Mr. Odell and others cannot take advantage of our most senior citizens. They have kids that help them vote and don’t need Mr. Odell to help them.”

    The idea that the elderly cannot think for themselves and are at risk of being “taken advantage of” by poeple talking about local politics is ridiculous and ageist. Many seniors are well informed and if given the opportunity can and will make an educated and informed decision; they don’t need to guiding them around like a shepherd.

    I’ve been a vocal Obama support, but when I talked to my grandfather (68 years young) he made it clear he was a diehard Ron Paul fan. He made an active effort to ‘inform’ ME, not the other way around.

    IMHO, you’re both wrong. Mr Odell, don’t solicit in a “no soliciting zone”. Mr Garza, don’t act like you’re the only person who can think for themselves in Sunrise Village.

  3. This poor candidate must not keep up with the news if he’s recruiting bedmates Carolyn Logan and Charles O’dell to campaign for him. This isn’t the first time the good Charlie has been accused of trespassing.

  4. Hmmmmm…..funny how Mr. O’Dell referred to the following statement “This is not how their democracy works in Precinct 1. The Gonzales view reminds me of politics in Mexico.” I wonder why he would refer to the country Mexico in this particular instance as there are many other countries he could have mentioned with the same political stance he “believes” is going on here.

    This comparasion has me thinking not about what he intended to point out but now about his point of view and that of his “candidate”.

  5. Roberta you are definately right! This was nothing more than a publicity stunt with racial overtones, something that San Marcos does NOT need! O’Dell and his candidate need to grow up and perhaps spend some time in a local church where they can learn that we are all God’s children, and stop this racial stupidity!!

  6. Mr. O’Dell and his sidekick Carolyn Logan have cost this county thousands of dollars under the ‘guise’ of being the community watchdogs. I would seriously have doubts about any candidate that both of them are backing!

  7. Dear Matt:

    I was referring to the ones that do need help, not all, some of our senior do need help,those are the ones that are helped by their parents. I established Sunrise Village, and have seen seniors fall prey to the internet bank schemes, and to door to door salesman.

    We have an attorney which offices out of Sunrise Village to help seniors with these problems, and others that may arise free of charge.

    My parents are both 78 and they still tell me what to do. So I apologize for the over generalization, I should have been more clear.

    I never meant to imply that all seniors can’t think for themselves. However, it is a well documented fact that the senior population is preyed on by people just trying to take their money or get their signature for purpose other then for honorable reasons.

    And your right two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Thanks for your comments.

  8. Mr. O’Dell,

    It is personally insulting to me that you would assume my employment would be threatened for not choosing a certain political affiliation. You are guilty of slandering the good name of Ralph Gonzales by insinuating that he would force my decision in such a manner. The fact that you would slight a hard working man for your political gains is unexceptable to me. In the future please leave me out of your news stories. I take no political sides and do not wish to be mentioned especially by name in your misleading stories.

    Sincerely,

    Beatrice Natal

  9. Wow! I can’t believe you are accusing Mr. O’Dell of taking advantage of the elderly and political showmanship such as this. Afterall, he is on the Board of the Ethical Society of Austin and thus believes in acting with integrity and affirming the worth and dignity of every human being….

    As an aside, I just love Mr O’Dell’s new narrative style. Recalls that conversational tone that Mr. Walsh used on some blog some time back in a spar with Todd Webster in the recreation of some fake conversation before some judge. Maybe “The Doctor” should write a book. It would at least keep him off the streets for a time.

    I wonder why O’Dell has never had the courage to run for public office himself? Let’s all ask him….

  10. I am a resident of Sunrise Village and am offended that Mr. O’Dell reference that we are to elderly to be able to vote our views. We have never in the last six years that I have lived at Sunrise requested or told which party or candidate that I should vote for. I consider it is a fought and bled for, privilege that you vote for who you wish. It is too bad that Mr. O’Dell felt that he was above the rules to come on the properity to illegally solicit signatures to his petition. Why not file for the office during the filing period. Also concerning Debbie, she is a christain and I am honored to call her and family a dear friend.
    I am not a democrat, I consider myself as an independent.

  11. Well, however you see it, one less “entitled” democrat oxygen thief is a welcome sight in anyone’s eyes – old or young.

  12. Since I am 72, disabled, and a resident of Sunrise Village, I wonder why anybody thinks my daughter would influence me.

    She is a liberal, and I am so conservative I quit my job as precinct chair for the Republicans to help Alan Keyes. I am also trying to stir up some opposition to the local option to extend drinking hours to 2 a.m., and started a web site for that purpose.

    Does that sound like a doddering old lady?

  13. Chuckles the love doll strikes again. What a moron. I’m happy to see that I am not the only one who finds his antics self serving and inane. The best part of Chuckles it the company he keeps – a group of sychophantic Myrmadons who take what he says at face value. He has never had a grasp on the truth and tries to bully those who won’t look up the appropriate rule. Hays County is becoming too large for his antics in spite of his antics.

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