San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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November 16th, 2010
Commentary: Who paid for ACC annexation campaign?

Commentary
By ANDREW GARY
Citizens Advocating Responsible Education – SMCISD treasurer

The voters of SMCISD need to be informed about the financial disclosures made by San Marcos ACCess, the local specific-purpose committee which supported the Austin Community College (ACC) annexation initiative, and Friends of ACC, the Austin-based political action committee that supports various ACC initiatives throughout the region.

Through open records requests to ACC, the entity to which San Marcos ACCess makes its reports required under the Texas Election Code, CARE-SMCISD obtained copies of documents covering the period from January 27, 2010 (the date of San Marcos ACCess’ organizational meeting) through October 25, 2010 (the eight days before election report).

The financial disclosures made by San Marcos ACCess for the period reflect the following contributions:

Undated, total political contributions of cash in the amount of $50 or less (identification of donors not required): $70. Undated, in-kind contributions for postcards: $116.72. May 14, Lockwood, Adams, Newman, Inc. Engineers, Houston, cash contribution, $500. Undated, John Hernandez, Friends of ACC, cash contribution, $2,500.

As reflected in its report, the total of all contributions made by the local group, San Marcos ACCess, is the sum of $186.72.

Financial disclosures made by Friends of ACC for the period reflect the following expenditures:

May 14, Hunter Ellison, Austin, Texas, for printing and mailing in connection with the SMCISD petition drive, $1,546.53. Oct. 12, San Marcos ACCess for advertising and mailing, $2,500. Oct. 21, San Marcos ACCess for advertising and mailing, $2,500.

The source of the $5,000 paid by Friends of ACC to San Marcos ACCess (only $2,500.00 of which was reported by San Marcos ACCEss) was from contributions made by various consultants, contractors, lawyers, and architects located in Austin and San Antonio, who apparently do business with Austin Community College.

None of the reports filed by San Marcos ACCess or Friends of ACC reflect the expense for the many red and white signs that were displayed throughout San Marcos prior to the election and which indicated that they were paid political advertising by Friends of ACC.

Based on the foregoing, it is obvious (1) that the co-chairs and members of San Marcos ACCess reported total monetary contributions toward their support of the ACC annexation initiative to be less than $200, and (2) that all except $186.72 of the reported expenses for mailout of the petition and flyers, signage, advertising in the San Marcos Record and University Star, block walking, postcards, printing, etc., were paid from funds received by San Marcos ACCess from Friends of ACC, derived from contributions received from consultants, contractors, lawyers, and architects located in Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, that do business with Austin Community College.

Was the financing of the initiative a “grass roots” effort?

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0 thoughts on “Commentary: Who paid for ACC annexation campaign?

  1. Mr. Gary,

    Your politically motivated lawsuit against Mayor Narvaiz and Councilmember Porterfield cost us tax payers thousands of dollars. I would assume that a man of your intelligence, or perhaps a man of your ignorance would at least know that it was council policy to defend it’s leaders sitting at the dais.

    Will you give my neighbors and I our money back?
    Why were you and C.A.R.E-SMCISD not present at the superintendent search committee meeting?
    Will your group start the initial plans for the ‘San Marcos Community College?’
    Will you and the rest of your cohorts do ANYTHING to help local education?

    It seems to me that there a lot of questions that you need to answer.

  2. Yes plese give us our tax dollars back for you the lawsuit you filed. You had no faith in the voters seeing this for what it was. I want my tax dollars back from this lawsuit.

  3. Despite all the paranoia about San Marcos losing control of its educational destiny and the hue and cry about Austin fat cats robbing our hard earned money through the establishment of an ACC taxing distrcict, it iis evident to me that CARE-SMCISD does not care about San Marcos. The fact of the matter is put rather succinctly by Dave Spence, President of the Southern Regional Education Board: “Where trained workers live, good jobs will follow”. A vote for ACC was a vote to create an affordable education and training option for San Marcos residents who currently do not have that option. This lack of affordable educational and training capacity is a big reason why Hays County is the 8th poorest county in Texas with a population over 65,000. The top seven are all in the Rio Grande Valley. (USCensus Bureau, 2009 American Community Survey) So we live in the largest city in the poorest county for hundreds of miles in every direction. I predict that with the addition of an ACC campus in the Kyle Buda area, Kyle and Buda will continue to prosper, and San Marcos will remain one of the poorest cities in the State offering little in the way of opportunity for the majority of its year round residents.

  4. Congratulations to the voters of San Marcos ISD for recognizing that ‘public entities’ are always looking for more ways to fund their financially inefficient and undisciplined growth. If any of them were to really take an inward look and clean up their financial houses, they would be able to reduce their costs (read tuition in this case) and still be viable enterprises. They at least recognized an operation that is needing a house cleaning from the top down.

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