San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

October 28th, 2010
Barton calls out opposition at ‘showdown’

Pct. 2 Commissioner Pct. 2 Jeff Barton, running for county judge, is confronted by San Marcos activist Sam Brannon at the "high noon" showdown in downtown Kyle on Monday. PHOTO by BRAD ROLLINS

by BRAD ROLLINS

No one came forward to say they wrote potentially slanderous e-mails at Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton’s “high noon” showdown on Monday and the opposition podium stood empty.

Cheered on by about 50 supporters, Barton denounced  thousands of e-mails distributed under pseudonyms that allege, among other things, that he has funneled millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to his friends. On this point, Barton produced a letter from County Auditor Bill Herzog that said the county abides by state law in awarding contracts.

“This is a debate against anonymous hoodlums who did not show up,” Barton said.

Another e-mail said Barton engages in drunken brawls with his sister even though, Barton noted, he doesn’t have a sister. Still another rehashed Republican nominee Bert Cobb’s criticism of Barton for declining to take a pay raise and then accepting it retroactively; that never happened, Barton said, and he produced an e-mail from treasurer Michelle Tuttle, a Republican, who wrote, “I am not sure where the incorrect information was gathered which states that Jeff Barton accepted his full raise in the FY09 budget year.”

Supporters of Cobb, including Sam Brannon, an activist whose causes include exposing a conspiracy for world domination between the Nature Conservancy and the United Nations, heckled Barton from the crowd. He was not allowed to debate, however, because he declined to sign an affidavit saying he was the author of the e-mail.

“This is why you’re not fit to be County Judge,” Brannon said, leading about a half-dozen Cobb supporters away from the gathering on a streetcorner in downtown Kyle

Cobb himself, who has failed to show up to debate Barton at both the Wimberley League of Women Voters and the Friendship Alliance, did not attend Barton’s showdown.

“Jeff Barton is engaging in cheap political theater to distract the public from his record of irresponsible tax increases, selfish pay raises, and wasteful spending,” he said in a statement e-mailed to reporters on Monday morning.

Barton said he called the debate to highlight how far political discourse has degenerated. Now, he said, “it’s time to focus on creating jobs, protecting our water and fixing our traffic.”

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4 thoughts on “Barton calls out opposition at ‘showdown’

  1. “an activist whose causes include exposing a conspiracy for world domination between the Nature Conservancy and the United Nations”… Straight from Mr. Barton’s mouth.

    Here’s what’s happening… Most county and city officials today – including the Hays County Commissioner’s Court – have become little more than locally-elected federal bureaucrats, implementing policies set forth by the EPA, Dept. of Interior, HUD, Dept of Transportation, etc, through a variety of “regional councils” and through federal and state pass-through funding and grants (your federal tax dollars).

    Our Commissioner’s Courts and City Councils do as the federal government wishes, usually without discussion on whether it actually suits the needs and wishes of local residents. That’s what this is about.

    I spoke on this at the Commissioner’s Court, and Judge Sumter attended attended a conference on how this works, and at least one other Commissioner is getting up to speed on the issue. I honor them for their efforts to do what’s right for the People of Hays County.

    Do better than this, Brad…

  2. Not that I care, but the wording of these two statements is just a little incongruent:

    “…criticism of Barton for declining to take a pay raise and then accepting it retroactively”

    and

    “I am not sure where the incorrect information was gathered which states that Jeff Barton accepted his full raise in the FY09 budget year.”

    That “full” jumps out at me, for some reason.

    Did you decline a raise and then go back later and accept it? Well, not the *whole* raise.

    Luckily, I’m happy to let O’Dell and Knight slug it out in the virtual septic tank over this one. I just found the wording a little odd.

  3. The wording that Barton did not accept his “full” raise did stand out and should have been explained in the article. According to the explanation on Jeff Barton’s web site he did not take a recommended 15% raise but instead took a 3% cost of living increase.

  4. It was a 14.61% pay raise they voted themselves. Barton took 3% of it starting 10/1/08(the start of the 2009 fiscal year)and requested that it be noted as a cost-of-living increase. On 12/22/08 he submitted the letter requesting the other 11.61%. That pay was effective 12/15/08. Its a minuscule point except that he so vehemently denied it, but there was one week retroactive pay. This according to the County Auditors office.

    But all that’s not the issue. They took 2% in 2008, then 14.61% in 2009, and then came back and requested 2% more in 2010 along with asking for a property tax rate increase. All this in the worst economy in generations, and when so many people are struggling.

    It took a few hours to get that info, request to delivery. Surely the newspapers can do the same. So could the candidate.

    Sam

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