San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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This could be your county commissioner. This photo, taken from a web archive of Sam Brannon’s old travel blog, shows the scraggly future Hays County commissioner candidate hanging out in India. Brannon moved to Hays County less than two years ago after returning from his travels abroad.

COMMENTARY by BRAD ROLLINS

You might catch me grumbling about career politicians from time to time. I enjoy doing so as much as the next guy.

Lately, though, the trend in some quarters of the Republican Party of preferring any alternative against every incumbent is reaching absurd lows. It seems every outlier in a $200 suit thinks he’s a latter day Patrick Henry and every officeholder a cowboy boot-wearing King George.

This single-minded anti-establishment mood is so pronounced in two Hays County races that intra-party challengers apparently are seeking to turn not just incumbency, but residency, against their targets, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith and Hays County Commissioner Will Conley.

Damn those sneaky politicians and their schemes to live in the same community for a long time, making friends and neighbors! Some people apparently think we’d be better off with total newcomers with no roots or history at all among the people they seek to represent. Those people, therefore, have thrown their hats in the ring.

Take Smith’s main challenger, Richard Mack, who recently moved to Fredericksburg to run in Congressional District 21, which takes in a large slice of central Hays County including western San Marcos.

Mack is no fan of consistency. The former Arizona sheriff has switched parties four times that I can count — Democrat to Republican to Democrat to Republican – and engaged in some heavy petting with the Libertarian and Constitution parties along the way. He’s run for public office in three states — Arizona, Colorado and Texas — and now he’s auditioning to be your congressman versus Smith, the soft-spoken and courtly chair of the U.S. House’s judiciary committee.

Mack is looking to make political hay over Smith’s sponsorship of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. But to make a statement on SOPA, Hays County Republicans will have to stomach Mack, who co-wrote a book with white separatist Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge fame and who keynoted the John Birch Society’s annual banquet in December.

Mack sounds like a colorful character, for sure, but the award for must shiftless aspiring local politician certainly goes to Sam Brannon, who little more than two years ago was bumming around Europe and Asia, posting naked photos on the Internet under the pen name Alias Jones. When he returned from his travels, Brannon announced his bid to run for Congressional District 25 as an independent, with a campaign headquartered in the Dallas suburb Richardson.

He raised nearly $6,000 for that bid, wrote generous checks to himself with the donated money and dropped out of the running in time to surface in Hays County as vocal supporter of County Judge candidate Bert Cobb. He fell out with Cobb shortly after the November election when Brannon demanded a job, a car and a $2,500 loan for services rendered during the campaign. Cobb refused and Brannon re-emerged in commissioners court days later as a vocal Cobb critic.

Now Brannon is running to be Cobb’s colleague on the Hays County Commissioners Court against Conley, who is seeking a third term as commissioner for the precinct that includes Wimberley and a large portion of western San Marcos. Brannon says he “works in education” and has told people he does consulting work for San Marcos CISD; he is a substitute teacher there. Conley is the owner of a successful small business. We’ll let you decide who has more real world experience.

The fearless crusader against government spending and the welfare state list as his residency on election filing documents the government-subsidized Mariposa senior apartments where his father is a resident. If he lives at Mariposa he’s a hypocrite who still lives with daddy; if he doesn’t live there, it begs the question whether he lives Precinct 3 at all.

There is always room for a robust debate about the size and role of government but the throw-the-rascals-out elements of the GOP are scraping the bottom of the barrel if they’re turning to the likes of Mack and Brannon to carry their banner.

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105 thoughts on “Brad Rollins’ blog: Descent of the gypsy politicians

  1. Then there is Elizabeth Ames Jones, former Railroad Commissioner, who has some residency issues as well. The RR Commission job requires living in Austin, yet she started running for Senate Senate District 25, claiming a San Antonio address.

  2. So, what is a reasonable amount of time to live here, before running for office?

    Just curious, because I can think of a LARGE population of people who haven’t been here long, who would take exception to the notion that they should not run, and I can think of one former council member who would liken such talk to the atrocities of the civil rights era.

    Just sayin’.

  3. What the hell is wrong with you, Brad? This is just cheap. I have not posted anything in 2 years, but this has me completely disturbed. I wonder what Peterson would say about all of this. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  4. I can think of one City Council Member who was the long time companion of someone much more scruffy than that ~ he,he~! People do grow, change, and gain experience, respect, and come from all kinds of backgrounds. Learning about other cultures and how they live shouldn’t be a bad thing I would think ~ broadened horizons are a plus on my list ~ living in a bubble is on the negative end. I believe Sam actually stated he was a consultant to the group he worked for in India….not SMCISD, if he said that, I missed it.

    I was a friend of Alias Jones about the same time I became friends with Sam on the “webber-net”. This may be down right scandal to some, but to me it’s not. Hey he’s a person who had things he wanted to do and see, and a big part of that was ditching corporate U.S. and going to see how others lived ~ if he were a professor they’d call that sabatical.

    I’m not advocating for him one way or the other, but I do find him interesting and want to hear more ideas from him. Sick of the same old boys club for sure, but given the financial implications w/in this article, if true, I would want Sam transparency b/4 I plunked any $$ into his campaign for sure.

  5. Reminds me of something someone once wrote, about people who “think San Marcos would be a better place if only the right kind of people were allowed in.”

  6. Great job of investigative journalism Brad. For those of you who are offended by the truth, I suggest you confine your reading to the Daily Record which tries to never offend anybody. You guys love Brad when he reports on some story that you agree with. Real reporting cuts both ways. Some of you people need to grow up. I knew nothing about this guy before I read this story. Now I know a lot more than I did. Would you have rather Brad did a puff piece?

  7. Actually, re: the candidate, I do agree, as I did with his position on the beer ban, and, for that matter, the unfortunately timed opinion piece about another local “activist.”

    None of that changes my points one bit.

  8. My problem with Sam Brannon, before I knew this recent stuff, is that he’s a tea-partier. I’m as tight as anybody but I know you can’t run a county on fumes. We’re one of the fastest growing counties in the state and we have needs – roads, water etc. Not necessarily Taj Majal county palaces but you have to spend some money sometimes. It’s very revealing to see Sam exposed as an opportunist. Pieces are falling into place.

  9. My problem is that, whichever side he is on, he always seems to be wrapped up with a group of people I just don’t really care for, and to be clear, those are people on both sides.

    I’m disappointed to see Brad wading around in that mud, again.

    More than that, I am disappointed to hear that short-term residents have less standing than the rest of us (or, is it just *some* short-term residents?). I am disappointed to learn that apparently part time teachers also have less standing, despite the fact that most of our residents are stuck working part time, and many TXST grads, desperate to stay here, look to substitute teaching as an option. I am disappointed to learn that, apparently, how we look is still a key deciding factor in determining who gets our vote.

    The rest may be perfectly accurate and valid. For me, it is completely overshadowed. Did I mention that I am disappointed?

  10. If the guy tells people he “does consulting for SMCISD” but really has only ever done substitute teaching then it’s about obfuscation, not about judging someone for their temporary career situation. If that misrepresentation has truly occurred, even once, it’s enough to totally discredit him. What I’m reading here makes me feel better about Will’s chances. I think Will does a good job and I was afraid Sam had developed a little following. I agree with Charles that it’s good investigation and I appreciate it.

  11. It is not just about how long he has lived here. That is just part of the package. Where does he live? Is he, in fact, living in government subsidised housing for senior citizens with his father? I would be interested to know if he is “registered” to live in that facility. Is this just an address that happens to be in the precinct that has an open commissioners court race? All of this speaks to a persons integrity. I don’t think Brandon is a “tea partier”. I think he may be a member of the Charles Odell (RIP) group. That would make a big difference in my perception. I really don’t care if he spent time as a hippy wondering around the world.

  12. Thanks Brad for showing who the real Sam Brannon is! A “taker” who wants to drift around , get a haircut, cowboy boots, and seek the opportunity to take from the people of Hays County. It’s not crude what you did, but it is shocking. Thats what make this paper good. I’m glad that your organization lets you have the freedom to investigate the facts and is not so obligated to its advertisers to avoid any controversy.

  13. And regarding short term residents: They certainly have and I personally encourage and embrace their right to come in and try to make things better in their new community. But if that’s not their true intention… Let it be known, dammit!! Why doesn’t Sam talk about his past life? Let’s see if he’s willing to show his tax returns. I’d be willing to bet that he hasn’t averaged over 10k a year for his whole working life. And now he wants us to gamble letting him run one of the fastest growing counties in the country. Well he obviously doesn’t have anything to lose.

  14. I think it’s appalling that you have dug up an “archived” photo of Sam naked to attract negative attention to his campaign. Sam probably should have pulled the photo, but then part of his platform is transparency. If Sam lives with his father and teaches as a substitute, he can relate to those persons in this county and residents of San Marcos who choose to live and work in the community in which they reside. Sam’s resume has been posted for public interest. Included in his resume are corporate positions that indicate he has the skills needed to represent the people of Hayes
    county.

    The naked truth is Sam knows when the emperor has no clothes.

  15. Ive been to Hooka bars too, but somehow I always thought that I should wear more than Gollum’s loincloth. I guess Sam got more for his buck or gave more of his buck to hook up with some real hooka. We cannot discount his experiences and should be gratefully honored that he offers his worldly knowledge to us common folk, who know no better. This is just a taste of what he has to offer!!

  16. Short term residents. Makes me remember the old Good Government League not wanting SWTSU students to vote.

  17. Thanks, Brad, for the excellent research and good writing. I knew much of the Brannon story but appreciated the run down on Richard Mack’s gallivanting politics. Heavens, both Randy Weaver and the John Birch Society? I’m old enough to remember when William F. Buckley read the Birch Society out of the conservative movement for calling President Eisenhower a communist sypathizer. It should stay out.

    There are a couple of other items about Mr. Brannon that need mentioning. Mr. Brannon owns no property in Hays County, so he pays no property taxes. Yes, I know that is not a legal requirement, but it makes up part of the whole picture. Also, a little something that might interest Ms. (North) Martin and her minions: Mr. Brannon opposes the issuance of all county bonds, including parks and open space bonds, of which you seem to be an obsessive supporter. Sorry I had to break that to you, Chris.

    Here’s a tip. Anyone who appreciates good tongue-in-cheek political satire shouldn’t miss Hayshypocrite.com. Visit it for some fun.

  18. Mr. Green are you saying that a person who lives in an APARTMENT doesn’t have a right to run for office?? I know people who have chosen, for many reasons, to never own property. Some of them even remain in their chosen communities, as renters, for decades.

    Apartment dwellers certainly DO pay into the property tax system – it is part of their rent! Do you really think that landlords just subsidize that out of the goodness of their hearts? Not likely!

    I offer no opinion regarding Mr. Brannon’s suitability for office; it’s the tone of this piece and the resulting commentary that are the most disturbing.

  19. Mr. or Ms. (blank) Cori or Cori (blank), perhaps you should read more carefully. What’s this about rights “to run for office”? I didn’t say that renters couldn’t run. I simply wrote that voters might wish to take into consideration whether or not a perspective candidate owned property and thus paid property taxes. That fact should be included in any article about a candidate. And besides, Mr. Brannon is the subject here, not some unnamed persons you know, and it has nothing to do with landlords. He lives rent free, so he says, at the government subsidized senior citizens facility where his father lives. So you don’t misread this comment: If that is true, it means that Sam Brannon pays no rent. Is that understandable?

    Per other comments: Sam Brannon is not a tea partier. I agree with Mr. Sims earlier statement. He has been and is now more closely associated with the late Charles O’Dell’s scatterbrained, hysterical Hays Roundup group. Brannon seems to share their conspiratorial mind set and strident anti-everything politics. Unfortunately, some gullible conservatives right here in River City have fallen for his flim-flam.

  20. A story like this is intended only to divert your eyes from the real news; Will Conley’s debt binge and sketchy dealings with various development interests, and projects involving tens of millions of your tax dollars.

    Since Will Conley can not defend his record, people like Rollins are hired to draw your attention away. One of the good things about a small town like San Marcos is that most folks understand the game being played on them. I suspect the Mercury’s advertisers are growing increasingly uncomfortable with this yellow journalism.

    The story in this campaign is:
    – The 810% growth in debt under Will Conley, and where it went.
    – The Texas Bond Review Board now lists Hays County as #1 Worst in “county-debt-to-appraised-property-value” and #6 Worst in “county-debt-per-person” among the 254 Texas counties.

    All in less than two terms under Will Conley. THAT is the story.

    To address Rollins’ numerous fictions and insinuations…

    1) Shock-value cover photo:

    The cover photo for the story is from a hookah store / gift shop in the Taksim shopping district of Istanbul. I was photographed being a tourist. No scandal here.

    2) Alluding to my short time here in Hays County:

    Yes, a little over two years. But this is my home, and I treat it that way. Its a free country, and I’m allowed to vote, I’m allowed to take part, and I’m allowed to run for office. There are a lot of people who are grateful that someone is willing stand up to the crony-capitalists, special interests and power brokers. I’ve got a track record of doing so since I’ve been here. I see this article as an indication of our success so far.

    3) Claim: “was bumming around Europe and Asia”

    I did travel. And I read about 20 books per year, and studied society, politics and faith in the context of various cultures. I hosted a radio program for 16 weeks in the south of Turkey, and was offered a spot on the number one station in Istanbul (but declined it). I met and broke bread with famous photographers, teachers, artists, doctors, poets, politicians, students, musicians, mafia, moguls and small business men and women, movie directors and producers, university professors of economics, religion, sciences, and mathematics, and visited their classes to answer questions about all things American. I lived in historically significant capitols and in 800 year-old monasteries in unmapped villages. I interviewed best-selling authors Noam Chomsky and William Greider, and a man who was 9 years into 12 years of walking 75,000 miles around the globe for world peace. There was, of course, more. It was a books-worthy experience, and I highly recommend this to people if they feel so inclined.

    4) Claim: “posting naked photos on the Internet”

    Not exactly. Only one photo could reasonably be called “naked”, and that description doesn’t fit. There’s certainly nothing pornographic about it. I’d prefer to not have to discuss these photos in the context of a campaign, but there’s nothing scandalous about any of them.

    5) Claim: “Brannon announced his bid to run for Congressional District 25 as an independent, with a campaign headquartered in the Dallas suburb Richardson.”

    My goal in that effort was to make a point on the 4th Amendment. My campaign treasurer was an attorney that I went to the University of Texas with, and who is also politically interested. His office was in Richardson, thus the address. No scandal here, either.

    6) Claim: “He raised nearly $6,000 for that bid, wrote generous checks to himself with the donated money”:

    True on the amount, but your link didn’t indicate anything was amiss. I reimbursed myself for legitimate out-of-pocket campaign expenses and for mileage, and in more than 18 months they’ve never been challenged. Another false implication of scandal.

    7) Claim: “… vocal supporter of Bert Cobb… fell out with Cobb shortly after the November election when Brannon demanded a job, a car and a $2,500 loan for services rendered during the campaign.”

    Not even close. Cobb raised the topic of me working for him about election time via his son, and before he turned on his supporters. I did fall out with Cobb over his “direction” after the election. I’ve demanded nothing from him or anyone.

    8) Claim: “… and Brannon re-emerged in commissioners court days later as a vocal Cobb critic.”:

    “Months later” is more accurate. During Cobb’s campaign, I told him I expected him to keep to his promises. In his car one day, Cobb told me, “You’ll be my conscience.” I do my best.

    9) Claim: “Brannon says he “works in education” and has told people he does consulting work for San Marcos CISD”:

    “Works in education” is an appropriate description for the summary conclusion of a 20-year professional bio. I’ve never “told people” I’m a consultant for the ISD. My resume has been posted publicly at the following link, and includes a discussion of my work in the schools, as well as my previous business career… http://www.hayscountyroundup.blogspot.com/2012/03/democrats-can-vote-in-may-29-republican.html

    10) Claim: “The fearless crusader against government spending and the welfare state list as his residency on election filing documents the government-subsidized Mariposa senior apartments where his father is a resident.”:

    That’s a little heavy on the hyperbole. My understanding is that some of the units at Mariposa are reserved for subsidy. I signed no such papers as part of my lease. I haven’t asked my father about his lease, and its not my business. My 75 year-old father and I enjoy our time together. Its a shame that Conley and his backers continue to demonstrate their contempt for renters, fixed-income seniors, and for caring families in this manner. These people all contribute their taxes to pay his steadily-increasing salary.

    What this all comes down to…

    A) As witnessed in the March 25th debate in Wimberley, Will Conley can not defend his record. Search youtube, you’ll find the videos.

    B) Conley’s team was doing some polling last week in the neighborhoods we were door-knocking. I’m thinking they don’t like the way the numbers are coming in, and felt they needed a smear campaign from Rollins’ to keep them in the game. It does seem early to throw a Hail Mary but maybe Conley really is polling that badly.

    Last week Will Conley informed the San Marcos Area Republican Texans Group that he will not participate in their April 22nd Debate. Its unfortunate he’s not willing to face his constituents on the issues of the day. I’ll be there. Everybody in San Marcos and Hays County is invited to attend.

    Sunday, April 22nd, 6pm
    The Hill Country Event Center
    107 Centerpoint Road (at Hunter Road)

    The “rumor and innuendo” crowd has been stalking me since I began raising important issues relating to county business – that goes with the territory. I’m confident that most voters understand that this is an attempted distraction brought to you by the folks who run our Commissioners Court and City Council.

    Thanks for drawing more eyes to the race for Hays County Commissioner Pct. 3. We appreciate it.

  21. As someone who frequently disagreed with the late O’Dell, Sam’s response is nothing like Charles. Can’t say I’m a fan of Sam, but the debt issue is vital for Hays County.

  22. Do we get a similar article on Conley? Where he has lived? What’s on his facebook page? That would be fair and balanced.

  23. Mr. Green, how does Sam’s response read like O’Dell seeds? The blog by Rollins’ is full of information intended to discredit his campaign. The more I read this nonsense, the more I am convinced Hays county needs someone like Sam to challenge the status quo. Maybe, this is the reference you are alluding to with “O’Dell seed,” someone willing to challenge the status quo.

    I rarely comment on these blogs, yet found myself unable to read the content of this blog without voicing my opinion. It appears, not only do we need to hold our elected officials accountable, but also the news sources that report disinformation without verifying the facts. Do I sound like a conspiracy theorist, Jim, or just another citizen looking for “facts” that will be used to decide who will receive my vote in the primary election.

    I am insulted by the comments on this page that expect a candidate to be of a particular socioeconomic background. If all our candidates were homeowners paying taxes on their home or business owners like Conley, whom I have respect for as a business leader in our community, we would limit the potential pool of candidates willing to serve the interests of the people who elect them.

    As a registered voter, I want to know the facts before casting my vote. I am pleased to read the response made by Sam regarding the “facts” spun by Mr. Rollins’. Everyone knows politics is dirty and mudslinging can be expected during election time. In my opinion, it takes courage and strength of conviction to stand up to this tabloid news article. Sam shows more integrity in his response than Mr. Rollins has in writing his shocking expose of the gypsy politicians.

    For the record- Mariposa homes is an income restricted property, meaning there is a cap on the amount of income one receives as an eligibility criteria to live there. Most student housing in San Marcos have lower rents than the income restricted properties, but then, a large percentage of the students, have 2-3 roommates and rent based on bedroom occupancy opposed to unit occupancy. Rents in San Marcos do not represent the median income and are overpriced due to the student population occupying most rental units.

    While we are on the subject of students, I will point out that students vote and sometimes run for office in our community. How are they any different from Sam in that they may have a short period of residency in Hays county? Since Hays county is one of the fastest growing counties in the country, many of our residents may have resided here a short time. These residents should be encouraged to engage themselves in the political process rather than be demeaned for participation. It takes years to become part of the “old regime.” This county doesn’t have time to wait for newcomers to become part of the old regime. Spending is out of control and the new kid on the block isn’t afraid to point out this fact.

  24. It is seldom Charles Sims and I agree politically. But, I raise my glass to you, Charles, for your comments. While our agreements are rare, I want to inform the community that you are astute and a hell of a guy to argue against.

  25. Nakedtruth, as one long time SM resident told me decades ago, “You will never be a BISM”

    In fact Sam’s life experience may make him the best qualified to say the emperor has no clothes.

  26. nakedtruth, I suspect that the difference between Sam and a student, working part time, making little money, with limited time here, is that it is politically beneficial to support the student.

    I’ll be voting for Will, and reading less of the Mercury. Sadly.

  27. I wouldn’t mind hearing specifically from Mr. Brannon which of Mr. Conley’s spending initiatives he thinks were wasteful. I know of some but I never met a politician I agreed with 100%.

  28. Ted, is that a choice between the devil you know and the one you don’t? On a personal level, I like Will; we’ve gotten along fine, again on a personal level. He has asked my advice on some issues that I am both informed on, and deeply interested in. As a Commissioner, he’s been OK. Better than Burnett, much better. I’ll give Will a better grade than Powers. But the spending and debt is out of control. In my personal life I try to minimize debt. I’d rather make interest than pay it. Some times debt is unavoidable. Not too many can pay cash for a house; not the County for real estate or roads. But at what point do you say enough?

  29. Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember that Sam Brannon suggested that the county stop construction on the new Government Center midway, and sell the shell of the unfinished building to the highest bidder. And I remember thinking that this was the most ridculous ideas I had ever heard.

    Some of you may not approve of the tone of Brad’s attack on Mr. Brannon, but lets face it, it got us talking, and it seems that is what a good newspaper is supposed to do.

  30. Winchester, I agree that our debt needs attention. I wouldn’t classify him as the devil I know, vs. the devil I don’t. I’m just not interested in the baggage, like this article, that comes with Sam Brannon.

    I feel a bit bad for him, because I’d say most of the time, it is some of his supporters and some of his adversaries who are repeatedly lowering the bar, not him. I can’t say that I can recall hearing much from him directly, prior to the post above.

    Will’s not perfect, but there is a lot about him that I like. If a better candidate came along, I’d listen. In this case, Sam Brannon is not afforded the opportunity to be a better candidate. IMO, that has a lot to do with the people around him – both those who support him and those who don’t.

  31. Hey all.
    This piece is just what it seems, a smear campaign. A smoke and mirrors modern example of politics at its’ worse. How many skeletons are in your closet Brad. I can only imagine. Oh, we could make up the stuff or create a polemic environment that muddles the waters.

    I have to really ask if we really trust the person that is connected to the Greater San Marcos Economic Development Corporation (Will Conley)? Whose board members and contributors are many of San Marcos current developers and Consultants Darren Casey and Ed Theriot aka ETR consulting, Daniel Guerra the mayor, Wayne Becak(city councilor), Jim Nuse (city manager), Denise Trauth (Tx State President, Patrick Rose Corridor title company and ex legislator, and many others in our community

    These seem more like the cronies and more prone to corruption than a newbie like Sam Brannon. Yes, I believe that the focus of this article is not really germane to the merits of the political race. Some comments above seem to to be saying that Sam doesn’t have the pedigree, again I say that those commentators are hypocrites.

  32. Not saying I support him or not, but it seems like Brannon at least did a reasonably straight up job of answering the charges leveled against him. As far as this discourse here (and elsewhere) goes, might I also add that it would seemingly add to some of the comments if people would post non-anonmously. If you have something to say own your words.

  33. Born In San Marcos, Naked.

    Hey Scarlet, the way that deal works is that a vendor who can not, or does not want it known that they, deal with the government, city/county; cuts a deal with a vendor who already has a contract with said government that has been properly vetted. The subcontractors, to use a phrase loosely, don’t face the same scrutiny the original contractor does. COD could have a field day with this one.

  34. Keith, I can’t speak for the others but I post anonymously so as not to involve my employer. I try to post as if my name were up there. I don’t think it really subtracts too much from the discussion.

  35. Keith, I assume that’s your name, don’t really know, and to be real, don’t really care; are you suggesting that the writings of Poor Richard and Mark Twain don’t matter as much as others because those were not their real names? I hope not.

    As for my handle, it’s a nickname I’ve been known by in SM for over four decades. Got it while in public school in SM, was known by it while I graduated from SWTSU, and all the years since. Just because you don’t “know” who I am, doesn’t mean others do not. How long have you been here? Not that it matters, just asking.

    The real issue is do you care about San Marcos/Hays County. I may not always agree with Dano, but he cares. Same for Ted, and a host of others.

    Just because you claim to use your real name, doesn’t mean it is your real name. As for who we are, that’s an issue the owner of the board must deal with. If they wish to changes the rules, so be it. But the public discourse is made better, IMHO, by allowing the use of handles; and to suggest otherwise demeans your argument against those of us who choose handless. Perhaps we could all go by our Hays County CAD numbers, that might make some more comfortable.

  36. Mr. Cunningham it’s easier to snipe from the dark than to stand tall in broad daylight. So don’t hold your breath about people here using their own names cause truth be told some people are just cowardly. Just a little fyi, some of the people here have already done a google search on you and with the Hays County Central Appraisal District. Some of the anonomous ones can be a little stalker-ish that way.

  37. Wow, such harshing on Keith, he doesn’t really deserve that. I should be afraid to type or speak or do whatever b/c I work at the University, and behind the veil….they are there. For those of us who stand up w/ our names, it’s a big deal in a community where SO many who care won’t.

    I don’t Judge anyone for having a moniker or real name, b/c you/we all have our unique circumstances….yet I can understand the constant frustration of those who chose not to be nameless/faceless towards those do b/c they could be helping to make a difference, whatever their opinion. blogging is blogging ~ doing is doing. If you can’t for fear of losing income, it’s totally understood…if you can’t b/c you’d rather drink beer, eat chips and just blog ~ that’s a shame.

  38. Scarlet: with your idea of making up a story about Brad Rollins to discredit him, makes me believe that you must be a familiar fan of the Hays Co Roundup, where they present fiction as though it’ were news. (or at least they did until a couple months ago) Sorry , but like it or not the mercury does publish real facts.
    So maybe Sam should become the new Sewell Park icon. He could pose and flex in his skivvies, grow his hair back, and become a credible contestant against frisbee Dan

  39. If Mr. Rollins actually does a piece on Mr. Conley I hope he reminds the voters that 1)Will Conley recently hosted a fundraiser for Jeff Wentworth
    2)has transferred money out of his campaign coffers to Mr Wentworth and 3)reimbursed himself and other family members out of his own campaign account in amounts much greater than Mr. Rollins calls into question about Mr. Brannon.

  40. Everybody, Keith is ok, it’s not that harsh. The reason, in my mind, for the use of a handle or moniker is, that in a small town, people will remember everything and secretly use it to discriminate. That is a harsh outcome for speaking the truth. So you be the judge. You don’t even have to be risking a work contract. I believe that if the commentaries are not overly ad hominem attacks, then alias’s are ok.

    June, it sounds like you pegged it, Brad Rollins is presenting fiction couched in a legitimate sounding rhetoric. That the Mercury is publishing only facts is really funny. Your comments seem like some not very good muckraking. You get a “F” for your obviousness and creativity.

    Winchester, can you elaborate on “COD” in your above post?

  41. COD, Charles O’Dell.

    I have no issue with Keith. Just annoyed that the handle v. real name issue has risen again. Neither adds, not detracts from the opinion expressed in any post; and that’s what they are, our opinions.

    My questions to Keith were merely rhetorical. Because the answers do not matter.

    In the end the only thing that will matter is what the voters decide.

  42. Gosh Melissa, I was right there with you until you harshed on Budweiser and Doritos. 🙂 I wonder how much activity this board would have if real names were required. A lot less, I bet.

  43. I’m not s blogger. My Pseudonym is a pun intended to poke fun at the photo. When I do blog, I eat carrot sticks and drink water.

    Steve, who is checking the Hays Appraisals?

  44. LOL 95, I’m positive you are right, but you have got to get better taste in beer for me take you seriously 😉 Sorry, I’m a beer snob ~ ha!

    I just think that in times like these, when the stakes are high and passions run deep, it’s a shame more people can’t openly participate in conversations here and at the city for fear of judgement ~ that’s all. I enjoy everyone’s comments, real name or not, a lot of food for thought comes from this forum.

  45. Naked, quite some time back S Hernandez and I got into it online, don’t remember if it was here or the late Newstreamz, about the real name v nom de plume issue. SH dropped the popular “I own property in Hays Co” argument. So, yes, I checked. And at that point in time, the CAD had no record; so I pointed that out.

    It would appear that dustup meant a lot more to SH than to me.

    Just add the CAD to the list of reasons Scarlet, Melissa, SM and others have given to not use your real name.

  46. Ok Winchester, you talked me into it, I’ll try a Bridgeport IPA. As you see, I’m not that hard to persuade. As to aliases, you never know who you might upset. I’d rather not have them show up at my door step.

  47. Wrong, again, peashooter…I never said that I own property in Hays County….you’re just not a very good stalker. So, your stalking is justification for others to not use their real names….nice.

  48. “News” like this leaves me cold and makes the Sam Brannons’ of the world more appealing not less. Alias Jones is old news… reported in the Houston Chronicle June 18th, 2006.Yes… 2006. Anybody truly researching candidates could have found the information. http://www.chron.com/life/travel/article/Texan-satisfies-midlife-crisis-with-grand-escape-1884539.php
    The link in this BLOGGER’s “story” is a fabricated link created by “It’s a secret” with 1 friend. Smells like good old fashioned mudraking to me. I suspect that Will Conley is the 1 friend and hope that voters will spend as much time researching Mr. Conley’s internet life as they spent researching Mr. Brannon’s.

  49. Unless they’re packing a 6 pack of really good beer. Now if you’re into a serious hop bomb, the Bridgeport Hop Czar is great.

    And Stevo, I never stalked you. I could paraphrase Harry Callahan …

  50. Careful there Mr. “Rollins”. What you publish for public consumption is subject to scrutiny as to truth. Should you continue to conjecture and make further libelous assertions and statements you will be held accountable to the extent the law allows. The onus of proof lies upon you as in this regard. While Mr. Brannon has made appropriate responses to your obvious attempt at tabloidesque ‘newspaper writin’ there are many of his supporters who will not stand for such blatant libelous conduct on your behalf. In your effort to service Mr. Conley, you have not dealt fairly in fact but rather have made gross negligent assumptions and assertions concerning Mr. Brannon in order to attempt to distract from Mr. Conely’s apparent shortcomings as a commissioner. These gross and negligent assumptions and assertions are what you should be most concerned about. I aver that Mr. Brannon’s education and professional background, not to mention his keen grasp of the complex issues concerning the solutions to the mismanagement of the county’s business resulting from the irresposibility and impropriety of Will Conley’s actions in his tenure as commissioner, are far more impressive to the voters than your current obsession with a nude yoga photo.

  51. Ha! Pretty much the reaction I expected to my theoretical statement regarding clarity and full disclosure. Note, in my post I was simply stating an opinion, not attempting to trample your right to claim you are the Easter Bunny, Elvis or Rasputin. To each their own, by all means.

    And I was not even passing judgment on the merits of the ideas thereby espoused or the folks doing the espousing. Clearly the art can be judged separate from the artist. Rousseau was a jerk, but he had some pretty interesting things to say.

    Since we went here though, please allow me to explain my thinking.

    By using my real name I am publically associated with my words; if I say something stupid or hurtful or speak truth to power that does not want to hear it, when I run into someone in town I have to live with my words and their meanings. Perhaps this might even lead to a conversation at the grassroots level that will lead to more conversations elsewhere that might eventually help bring this town towards a brighter future.

    If I use a pseudonym there is a reduced chance of that happening and that, to ME seems a shame since I believe a truly democratic society needs more grassroots discourse, not less. And while most of you might not know if I exist or not as my name suggests, several people that read here do know who I am and I think this helps further the communal conversation in a positive way. At the very least it serves as a check on my behavior, right?

    Basically, I believe that an optimally functioning democratic society would approximate a tribal structure as closely as possible. We would hold meetings with other members of our tribe, where I would stand up, express what I thought and why I thought it, then others would do the same and we could then have a discourse and come to some consensus about what should be done.

    I lay my cards out on the table and you do the same. You know who I am, I know who you are. We thereby learn more about each other and I propose this makes for a more civil society. Or, conversely, we learn that the other is a jerk and can deal with them accordingly. This is why, when you speak before city council you state your name, not some handle with a bag over your head. This is a reflection that our system attempts to tilt toward the light of transparency (not very well, far too often, I’m afraid, but hey, we gotta try, right?).

    Can this sort of communal familiarity really be replicated in the modern nation-state? Probably not. I’m not sure if this sort of process can exist above the village or tribal level or possibly a well run polis type thing, but, the closer to such we can move, the better in my book. Can it be replicated in San Marcos? I think we could get relatively close if we worked at it.

    And I am also intrigued by the possibility the Internet offers towards expanding the scope of this sort of body politic discourse and leading us closer towards full popular sovereignty (did I mention I am an avowed fan of popular sovereignty?). And for this to happen I believe requires that we know each other on a more substantive level which means I know you not as one name in the electronic world and another in the “real” world. We actually need to get to know the other members of our community in a more meaningful way.

    I’m convinced this is the quickest and most democratic way to bring about much needed societal change and using pseudonyms detracts from this. Once again, sorry if you disagree. Note, also, I am not holding my breath this change – getting to know each other more substantively, that is — is imminent, but we must fight the philosophical battles that make the most sense to our own understandings. Besides, writing crap like this is enjoyable to me…

    In sum, I believe that the democratic process I so fervently wish we would take more seriously than we collectively do at this juncture in history would be better served if we would only make more of an effort to communicate with each other as members of our collective communities and the more we know about each other the more this process occurs.

    My optimistic (perhaps naively, but it makes it easier to sleep at night) hope is that humanity could actually thereby progress – someday, perhaps centuries from now, but remember it took hundreds of years after the Enlightenment for universal suffrage to come to the USA – from the madness we have now and move closer to solutions to our many socioeconomic problems, both on the global level where, for instance, untold masses suffer from completely preventable things such as dysentery because they do not have access to clean water while other untold masses have 100x more than they need for survival, as well as on the local level where we could probably forge some sort of consensual master plan that would appease the environmental, business, university and other interest groups if we could actually come together and discuss things without hurling simplistic pejoratives.

    Not that we’ll ever truly hit terrestrial nirvana as long as us humans are involved, but I very much believe that the more we get to know each other and our biases, interests, fears, etc., the closer we come to a situation where we can constructively solve some of our societal problems. And, once again, using our real names facilitates this in my humble opinion.

    At any rate, that was the philosophical point I was attempting to make. On the practical level, considering this article concerns a political issue, I very much believe it would benefit the conversation if we knew the name of someone posting and if they were from one of the competing camps for instance. I definitely think this would be pertinent information that would add or detract from the message. To say otherwise is nonsense.

    I also question/am sickened about what danger one could have for posting with your real name on an article having to do with an election. I get that if you work for a realtor maybe you would not want to be associated with the debate about the Sessoms Mall for instance (although I think that if you work for someone who would fire or harass you because of YOUR opinion given on YOUR free time that does not involve you bringing your employer into said posting – and I also get why you should not be allowed to do this – your boss should be forced to write the contents of the 1st amendment 1000 times on a chalkboard and sent back to high school government class with a dunce cap on for a refresher or be summarily exiled to a Banana Republic).

    But, how would this apply to this particular story, unless, say you work at Conley’s (oh and Brad, I’m looking forward to your forthcoming expose about WC’s sexualizing his carwash. What do you think they mean by “You know you want it!” wink, wink, nudge, nudge)?

    If you work somewhere where expressing an opinion on the electoral process can get you in trouble, my God, we’re screwed and its time for me to buy some land in the Hebrides and go live with the sheep and ghosts of ancestors. The fascist state is much closer than I feared.

    Thanks for listening, blah, blah, blah…oh and since someone asked, I’ve been here since the late 90s when I bought my house and plan on staying here to metaphorically see my grandkids dump my ashes into the river, assuming it is still there by then…or unless I feel the need to repatriate to Scotland as mentioned above…obviously, though, I sadly don’t have the cool-kid BISM label, but my two little ones do so I’ll have to settle with living vicariously through them…

  52. Keith, once again, nail on the head from start to grassroots to dunce hat. BTW, I’ve met him, he’s real 🙂 he,he~!

    I’d love to meet each and every person who regularly posts on these issues, we can all learn from the other side about possible compromise etc… but as Keith sort of says ~ hiding behind the veil of a moniker makes that difficult, and also makes it MUCH easier for people to attack others as they would NEVER do if speaking face to face. When those situations occur with people who are nameless and faceless, it seems cowardly to me….hiding behind a computer flinging insults etc.. that you would never be caught dead doing in public or in front of your peers….

    I will never forget the guy (what he looks like, the name is lost) who spoke against the original Sessoms project even though he worked for the city and said he would more than likely lose his job for speaking. I wanted to hug him now, worse than I wanted to hug him then…it was just too crowded. No one expects that kind of sacrifice, but some of us are making it in order to make a better San Marcos…and some of us are hiding b/c we are afraid of losing jobs, or are shy or just want to be a bully – troll.

  53. And I also like to think that if more of everything was transparent, those who use their position to lord their power over others would be called out for it and the rest of us could collectively call out and combat their antisocial behavior…on a more cheerful note, experts suspect that we will have more than 30,000 drones over United States skies within the next couple of years keeping an eye on stuff…sigh…

  54. Well said, and well reasoned.

    Paragraph 5. A fair number of SMers know my nickname, and I must admit it’s much more defining than my very common name. So that serves as a check on my behavior. Well, not really, an attempt to be a decent human being serves that purpose.

    Paragraph 6. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a democracy. And a city of the size of SM prevents it from being very tribal, to darn many people/voices.

    Paragraph 7. When I’ve spoken before the Council and the Commissioner’s Court, I’ve used my “real name”

    Paragraph 8.I heartily agree.

    Paragraph 9. I too am intrigued, but real names, hence the chance identity theft etc, not going to happen. But we do get to feel the ebb and flow of community opinion, even w/o ‘real names”

    Paragraph 10. I believe the quickest way for change if for people to get off their fat asses and vote. But I like writing this crap too, see, we are not that dissimilar.

    Paragraph 11. Agree. Just have my reasons for not using my “real name”

    Paragraph 12. Agree. But when did I hurl a pejorative?

    Paragraph 13. The free flow of information and opinion are what matter to me, names are meaningless. Does anyone here know Lenin’s real name. Did he influence the course of human events?

    Paragraph 14. I don’t have a dog in this political fight. Will not vote in the GOP primary. What got me involved was the I Am Curious Yellow journalism.

    Paragraph 15. In both the city of SM and the liberal bastion of Austin, I have had my home vandalized after stating/writing views that were not universally accepted. It’s not a perfect world, some feel threatened by differing view points, and have no compunction against expressing that displeasure in violent ways. Hence, the nom de plume.

    Paragraphs 16 & 17. I’m all in.

    Paragraph 18. Glad you came here. What part of Scotland? I’m of Welsh extraction. So perhaps a spot of fermented beverages are in our future.

  55. Melissa name the time and place, I’l be there, then you can put a face (not a pretty one) with the moniker.

  56. For a tabloid I guess The Mercury serves its purpose. I for one, have never been huge a fan of the kind of ” Yellow Journalism ” that appears here so often. The fact that some choose to remain unknown to the world, and speak their OPINIONS means little to me, until they elect to attack others with sometimes baseless arguments and hurtful, untrue accusations. I guess this is the way politics work, especially in a small town environment, where it is possible to know, actually, most everyone that is a permanent resident. As for the article here about Sam Brannon, I find it a sad and weak attempt to discredit a man that appears to be trying to do the right things for the future of our county. Fiscal integrity means much more to me than living in the past, and trying to judge someones actions, according to your own viewfinder of what life is supposed to look like. I too, have personally had a far form typical journey in this world, and also, have come under senseless srutiny, from those that i would have expected it last from, those that i was the very closest to. Well, for those that like to connect the dots, this has absolutely EVERYTHING to do with the big picture. I for one want someone to represent not just those with power and money in this county, but also those that simply want to have a fiscally sound, fair and impartial government that will not ignore the least among us. For that, I respect what I see in Sam Brannon, and the potential that he represents for change, long overdue and always welcome. Happy Thursday 🙂 JLB

  57. For those of you concerned about fiscal issues the facts are plan and simple.

    the voters approved most of the debt the county holds
    the county has performed beyond expectations on performance
    the county has lowered your tax rates, not rasied them
    the county is the smallest tax bill you pay to anyone at all levels of government
    the state of Texas is paying us back almost 70% of our road bond debt which is the lions share of the debt the county holds.
    the county has balenced budgets and has passed with flying colors all audits
    what more do you want to see, what has Sam offered? If you dont like the road program just say so, dont hide behind fiscal issues. He never mentions the pay back from the state because he is hoping you dont know the facts and he can misled voters so he can gain employment. Service and country has nothing to do with his agenda, wake up Hays County and look at the facts.

  58. Aside from road bond reimbursement, are we actually paying down principal on our debts, or just the minimum to stay technically ‘ Balanced” on the books. i hate thinking about these things, math was my fav in school, not so much now. Facts can be facts sometimes, just not the entire picture. At the national level we seem to have the same problem, barely keeping our head above water while merely making token payments on the actual debt to reduce it, all the while spending more and more. When we will be debt free again, at current projections/management of repayment on our present county debt???? How much are we reducing the existing totals by each year???? Just currious…JLB

  59. The local bonds — note, I’m no expert on this issue so please don’t crucify me if I get something slightly askew –are basically like a home-loan with the terms set before the loan is issued. Each payment covers some interest and some principal. And all this info is included in the lead-up to the bond election, so a large chunk of the blame or credit for the debt and the things it is used to build is on the voters.

    At the national level the Federal Reserve and Congress more or less simply get together and print the money they need. There is no intention to pay this debt down in any real sense despite all the “small government” rhetoric spouted by certain segments of the aristocracy. But, there is very little understanding by the American public of how this thing works so we needn’t worry our little heads about such things…

  60. Thanks Keith, except, perhaps, the better we understand something the better we can participate in the solutions, possibly. Apathy is a poison to success, at a minimum, a sedative to it. Off topic, has anyone heard about all the wars raging, wars on women, wars on race, wars on the poor, wars on people that wear hats, wars on people that like cats, should we be seeking cover somewhere? Sounds like the old Chicago “smoke and mirrors” machine is ramping up, yet again…..:-)jlb

  61. The county owed $291 million at the end of the last fiscal year of which $92 million the voters did NOT approve.

    The county shows only $138 has been borrowed so far towards the $200+ million bond package, so there is a lot more debt coming.

    The county borrows the money up front for certain of these road improvements and immediately begins paying interest on those borrowed funds. The state pays us back a little at a time over the next 20 or so years (with no interest). Good deal…..for the State. By the way, be sure to ask how much of this repayment is for roads in precinct 3. Exactly ZERO. All those improvements are on the county taxpayer.

    What balanced budget is he talking about. When you take out of savings to pay your current bills that is not a balanced budget, but that is what is going on. Look at the audit reports, the unreserved general fund was $29.7 million at the end of 2010, $27.4 million at the end of 2011 and is projected to decline about another $2.7 million this year.

    And this big claim of a tax reduction is laughable. The rate was 46.92 cents last year and 46.91 cents this year. Does anyone really believe a one / four thousandth decrease is a big deal. I certainly wouldn’t beat my chest about that one.

    What Mr. Brannon offers is transparency. I would like to try that for a change.

  62. Anyone?

    If memory serves, the county would be reimbursed “up to $133 million,” or something like that, based on vehicle-miles traveled on the roads covered by the pass-through financing.

    I’m pretty sure that is correct, because I was one of the people lobbying for the bond (and working on selecting projects for the bond). It’s been quite awhile, though.

    Since then, I have never seen *anything* showing whether we are getting reimbursed faster than expected, slower than expected, or at all. I’ve never seen any kind of projected repayment schedule, based on observed usage.

    Maybe it’s out there. If so, it would be great to see a link. I used to think that we were probably getting reimbursed faster than anticipated, based on casual observation of road use. Now, I am not so sure. I’m more concerned with the lack of information (that I can find), which makes me wonder if anyone knows, which is why, among other reasons, I say that the debt “needs attention.”

    So, if there is something somewhere that shows we are on track to be reimbursed “almost 70%,” I’d love to see a link. I searched the Hays County website several times, and found nothing.

  63. I’m asking anyone. “Just the Facts” seemed pretty certain that we will be reimbursed. I’d just like to see the supporting documentation.

  64. For further clarification, here is the big bond ($207 million).

    http://www.co.hays.tx.us/index.php/government/comm-court/commissioner-precinct-2/precinct-2-road-projects/

    “1.Projects eligible for Pass-Through Financing reimbursement from the State of Texas (Texas Department of Transportation), which will reimburse up to $133 million through the TxDOT Pass-Through Funding Program”

    *up to*

    133/207 = 64%, not “almost 70%,” but I would still like to see what the current projections for repayment look like.

  65. The county projects to receive about $2.8 million back from the State in 2012. However, just the interest on the road bond money we have borrowed so far will be about $7.0 million this year. We still have another $50 or $60 million to borrow before we hit the $200+ million. You can get a debt schedule from the county auditor which will show the estimate by year for the next 20 years.

  66. Just The Facts

    Just The Facts: Despite several exemptions, the county is the highest tax bill I pay to any taxing entity.

    Can anyone tell me how the new county building figures into the debt numbers, including both building costs, as well as, yearly expenses?

  67. Just The Facts, a few questions, if you don’t mind.

    Voter turn out in the bond elections?

    Who put the bond issues on the ballot?

    Debt per capita for Hays County? And where does it rate in the State?

    Debt per assessed value? And where does it rate in the State?

    How State reimbursement has Hays County received on those bonds?

    Are the projects on time? Are they at or below estimated cost?

    Who said the County has performed above expectation?

    And for Naked, what school district do you live in, I may want to move there. Wimberley ISD is eating my lunch on taxes.

  68. $7,800 per capita and 8.9% of assessed value, I believe. No idea how that compares to the state.

  69. I can answer one of those. The Government Center came in under time and under budget. A recession is a great time to build something.

  70. Just found my tax statement. I don’t know where Naked Truth lives either, but my county tax bill is lower that the City of San Marcos, in spite of the outlet mall, and it is only a third of the SMCISD tax bill.

  71. Just The Facts (cough) I imagine Mr. Brannon could gain employment in a heartbeat with his B.A. Finance degree from UT, his 20 year professional career earning six figures annually, his successful employment track record, etc. He is a man who is willing to follow his heart and conscience to be of service to his community at this time in his life utilizing his formidable experience in business and life generally, be it in education or public office.

  72. I am taxed at both Wimberley and San Marcos rates on a piece of property that includes both jurisdictions. After taking a look at my statements, it appears the largest chunk of money goes to the San Marcos School District.

  73. Now that I’ve looked at the road bond map, I’m curious if the priority projects are eligible for reimbursement or is it just the pass-through projects? I’m starting to think I might save some money living at the Mariposa.

  74. I won’t put anyone to sleep with the details of school finance (I’m tired myself), but for the large part (there are exceptions) most folks who live in Texas will see their biggest chunk of taxes go to their local school district, unless they happen to have a way above average income (but not large enough to be able to pay for connections/accountants to circumvent said taxes), in which case your Fed income bill might be greater.

    And (once again I won’t bore us with the details) due to semi-recent lawsuits and general political caterwauling, said school tax rate is more or less even across the state…which means that property wealthy districts raise much more $$$ with similar rates than poorer ones do, which leads to Robin Hood and lawsuits, blah, blah, blah…at any rate, the point I was attempting to make is that it is much more to the state’s fault/credit what the school districts charge than the district itself…now, how they spend that $$$ is an entirely other issue but I’ll yell about that later…

  75. The tax rate is one thing, the assessed value is another. While my tax rates have not changed all that much, my property is now assessed at 2.5X what I paid for it in 1999.

  76. Very true. My house has magically doubled in value as well in roughly the same time frame. I believe it is part of a systemic (not in a cabalistic sense, but this is where the incentive leads) end-around strategy to bypass the law wherein our political fathers gave us “property tax relief” a few years back. Keep your eye on the school funding lawsuits currently weaving their way through the courts. The system could very well (I’d even say probably will) be blown up again…no doubt leaving us with yet another highly transparent, efficient, and equitable machine…

  77. Thank you REAL FACTS, clarity on the issue was lacking, and the room seems to have a bit of the smoke cleared out now. I am not a CPA, but if your info is correct, this explains the general question I had about clarification on how some presume their info to be ACTUAL FACTS,and now, for the rest of the story….When are developers be more responsible for ALL INFRASTRUCTURE COSTS related to their projects, roads, wastewater, water, etc.,and perhaps more scrutiny placed on the decisions as to where roads will be built,and who stands to profit, and if there are more practical alternatives, locations,etc.And, what will be best for the community, neighborhood integrity, and last but not least,the environment(watersheds)that supports one of the most pristine jewels in the North American Continent,The San Marcos River, if not the most pristine one. Happy Friday, watch out for those black cats and ladders, especially if your kharma is in qustionable status!:-) jlb

  78. Well, let’s see. How many of you paid to see Brad Pitt run around naked in LEGENDS OF THE FALL?
    And how many of you have a son who does swimming competition? That’s our children running around in public with even the imagination hard-pressed to be active.
    And how many of you are close enough to your parent’s to live with them and enjoy their company and assist in their care? Republicans talk about the importance of family, but seem to fall very short on recognizing our elders as part of that family set.
    And then there is the issue of slamming education. How many of you have the will or the capacity to deal with difficult, acting-out children in a professional manner? I understand that among Mr. Brannon’s “on-call” duties to SMISD is to provide the In School Suspension. ANY position in education has my full support and I applaud Mr. Brannon for choosing education as his source of income and utilization of his own education. That education stems not only from his professional career, but all that he learned in his travels. And I dare say that he must have also made a major life decision to leave the corporate world and come back to San Marcos, Texas. I believe that if we do not have passion about what we believe, then we are nothing more than drones who are willing to follow the leader—any leader.
    I may or may not be a fan of Sam Brannon, but I find it very poor journalism to publish an article of this quality. It lowers the credibility of anything published by this media.

  79. I have lived at Mariposa for 6 years. FACT, Mariposa is NOT government housing. FACT, Mariposa receives NO Fed Gov subsidy. FACT, Mariposa receives NO State Gov subsidy. FACT, Mariposa is NOT a ‘senior home’ although many seniors live here.

    FACT, get YOUR FACTS RIGHT or SHUT UP.

  80. Mariposa at Hunter Road was financed with tax exempt bonds issued through the Capital Area Housing Finance Corporation and supplemented with four percent federal tax credits. Those are government subsidies for which taxpayers pick up the tab. Also, by state law, Mariposa does not have to pay city, county or school district property taxes (although its officials point out that they make voluntarily annual payments to these governments to make up for some of the lost tax revenue.)

    The Capital Area Housing Finance Corp. receives these government subsidies in the course of its mission to build housing for low- and moderate-income residents. To live in Mariposa, you have to be at 60 percent of the area median income or less. (Eighty percent of its units must be occupied by people 55 years and older; the remaining 20 percent can be occupied by someone as young as 40.)

    The hit on Brannon isn’t that he lives in income-restricted, government-subsidized housing or that he wants to be one of five votes to set your property taxes, even though he doesn’t pay any property taxes. It’s that he’s basing his campaign on government spending run amok even as he personally benefits in a substantial, significant way from taxpayer-funded benefits provided in the form of comped housing for a certain vulnerable segment of the population.

  81. I wonder if Sam would be living there if it weren’t for the FACT that his father was living there before he moved in with his father. Sam’s significant benefit is the ability to live with his father.

  82. Sam just moved here a few years go and immediately set up his politics shop. He knows nothing of the struggles of the South Side, nor the working class of San Martians. The blog nailed it! I for one am tired of his Sam Pony Show at the Commish meetings. “OK boys lets keep the budget spending down” oh p-lease Sam, you can’t even read excel sheets. I seriously doubt your past experience in the software industry. Nice Blog Brad.

  83. You really should find a nother bone to pick Brad, one that actually matters to someone besides you. Sam living with his father is the least of the concerns that come to my mind, realizing that family and community will out trump any inflamatory supusition you may choose to concoct! Let it rest for the sake of more important issues, and try to be a journalist of credible character for a change. Just saying….JLB 🙂

  84. I wrote an earlier post that was not posted. No matter. Others have pointed to the critical issues and the mud being slung by the Mercury.
    In regard to those bonds the voters passed. (I did not vote FOR the most recent one) Were the voters ever apprised of the debt the county was mounting and how we as residents and tax-payers would be affected for the next 20+ years? I think not. But in my personal life, I do not create more debt than I know positively I can repay. I certainly do not allow interest payments to be so great that I can not make a substantial reduction on the principal. There have been times when I found it necessary to cut spending entirely, aside from absolute necessities and debt payment. This seems like common sense to me and I would like to see the same approach in our government. Sam Brannon seems to be taking this posture.
    Now, before anyone starts asking about what is necessary, think about that for yourself. Ask yourself if a new road is really necessary, or can we get along a bit longer with what we have? Or about the new County office. PAY INCREASES to county commissioners?
    And here’s a really good one. Tax money to put the current sheriff’s name in lights at the SO. (I believe that Conely is supporting Cutler)
    While Sam’s approach may be a little radical, I think it may take some radical action to get us back to reality. I know that what we have isn’t working, so it is time to try something different. (my opinion)
    One last note, I am using a moniker because the simple truth is that there are those who would retaliate, and I cannot afford that in this juncture of my career. Our American right to free speech is not always respected by everyone. Simple fact, the truth……..

  85. Brad Rollins: You live in an apartment. You do not pay property taxes. Fact: The codes and laws of the county do not require that an elected official own real property to be eligible for office. I would be very interested in looking at which particular rental property you are residing at. My hunch is that nearly every commercial business development and/or enterprise has or is receiving one or more types of tax/funding/assisted benefit by one or more governmental agencies. Care to disclose the name of the apartment building you live in? I am certain I can disclose it for you if you choose not to; and further what type of financial benefits were/are made to the owner/operator/residents by governmental entities.

  86. Everyone who rents pays property taxes indirectly as they are passed on to the renter through higher rent. This seems more or less like a non-issue to me.

  87. Mariposa doesn’t pay property taxes. This is the point. Someone who is so anti government is living on the governments dime. In addtion he doesn’t pledge allegiance to our Country. Check out the Commissioners Court tape of April 18th to see for yourself. Something doesn’t add up here.

  88. No one lives off the government dime. They live on your dime and my dime. Just because someone makes a choice to live close to their parents doesn’t mean they are living off the government dime. It means they care for their aging parent… and this is something we fail to appreciate in our society any more.

    As far as I can tell, the only “government” dime Mr. Brannon takes is from our school taxes since he teaches our children. I would much rather my child be taught Mr. Brannon’s financial values than the “buy now pay later” mentality many young people have developed.

  89. Brad,

    The fault for Mariposa giveaways and tax breaks lies with those who wrote the laws that allowed it — not the residents. When you attack Brannon on that ground, you insult each resident who should be expected to make rational decisions for the benefit of their family. We should encourage those who fall into safety nets to take shelter in them — that is why they are there. Mr. Brannon could remain consistent and vote against such a safety net even if it deprived him or his father of a personal benefit. Until then, as a taxpayer, he can benefit from taxpayer funded programs which he legitimately falls within without betraying his political ideology or opposition to them at a policy level. Now if he voted himself such a benefit while opposing it for others, that would be hypocrisy and a story.

    I will vote for Will but I just don’t see the Mariposa argument and I find it divisive.

  90. In a similar vein, I propose getting rid of all tax write-offs and creating a simplified tax system that does not lend itself to corruption such as we so thoroughly enjoy now. Make me king and this happens tomorrow. Does that make me a hypocrite plebeian for taking write-offs under the current system we have in place?

  91. Here, Here, Here…This talk of rent subsidies and Sam being a short timer in San Marcos and all are just derisive and insulting to honest debate. Let us not forget tax subsidies and rebates for corporations and industry. Let us not forget how some here, on this forum, have tried to get into an office of some sort for many years without success. Does that mean that these people involved are not qualified as well?

    How about less muck raking? The future tax debt/economy in the county seems like a real issue in this time of struggling/sluggish economy. Is Will Conley pumping up and exasperating the problem, or are the expenditures necessary? etc…..

  92. A decent editor would understand that you should never used a racial epithet like “gypsy.” How dare you use a word used to oppress the Romani people for centuries for editorial purposes. Shame on you.

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