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

October 8th, 2010
Democratic Party chief says Cobb behind ‘lies’ in e-mail


The Hays County Democratic Party had nothing to do with a widely circulated e-mail purporting to be from the party that criticized county judge candidate Jeff Barton for declining a pay raise and then accepting it, party chair Katie Bell Moore said this week.

Moore accused Republican nominee Bert Cobb’s supporters of being behind the letter, the gist of which is that Barton has lied on the campaign trail about declining to accept a pay raise as a county commissioner in 2008. The e-mail is headlined “Important Announcement from Hays County Democrats” and signs off with a statement crafted to look like a small-print disclaimer, “Political announcement by Hays County Democrats.”

“That e-mail is a fraud, filled with lies, and sending it out was a crime. It did not come from the Hays County Democratic Party and we are outraged at this cheap, dirty political trick. The party is committed to using all its legal options to make sure the perpetrators are held responsible,” Moore said.

Moore’s statement goes on to ask Cobb to “disavow this kind of classless campaign conduct and keep this election season focused on the issues that matter to the people of Hays County.”

Cobb denied involvement in sending the e-mail and suggested Barton shouldn’t blame him for discord in his own party. Cobb said, “Neither I nor my campaign had anything to do with the recent email by unnamed Hays County Democrats that called attention to Jeff Barton’s selfish pay raises. Any accusation by Mr. Barton and his party leaders to the contrary is categorically false.”

The pay raise criticism, coincidentally or not, dovetails with Cobb’s criticism of Barton on fiscal issues, particularly his own pay.

In 2008, Barton and fellow commissioners Will Conley and Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe initially declined to accept an increase in their salary from $56,757 to $65,048. But a few months later – after a blindly selected committee of citizens unanimously said that commissioners should make even more – the three accepted the pay raise.

The citizen committee, working with consultant Ray Associates, found that Hays County elected officials make on average 20.6 percent less than people doing the same job in 11 comparable counties.

Commissioners in particular are underpaid compared to their counterparts, making 25.9 percent less than commissioners in the benchmark counties, which include Comal, Bastrop, Williamson, Ellis, McLennan, Guadalupe, Denton, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Travis and Montgomery counties, the study stated.
The committee ultimately recommended commissioners earn $87,869.

Moore said she has consulted with attorneys about the use of the party name in distributing the e-mail but that it’s too early to say if civil or criminal action could reasonably be brought against the e-mail’s author.

“What’s important to me is to get the information out there that this is not coming from the party. It’s definitely trying to confuse people and I just want to make sure everybody who received it – and it sounds like a lot of people – know that its false,” Moore said.

San Marcos Mercury Editor and Publisher Brad Rollins is also editor of the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Free Press and the Mercury.

Email Email | Print Print


4 thoughts on “Democratic Party chief says Cobb behind ‘lies’ in e-mail

  1. “Democratic Party chief says Cobb behind ‘lies’ in e-mail”

    What an unsurprising slanted headline for a Barton paid reporter!

    A more accurate headline would have been, “Hays County Democrats claim Barton’s pants are on fire!”

    And where are the “lies?”

    Anyone who can read would see the difference between Hays County Democrats and Hays County Democratic Party, so no lie there.

    The the message is that Barton told voters he wouldn’t take a pay raise but then took a hefty pay raise, so no lie there.

    Then the email says Barton’s pants are on fire! Everyone knows what that means,and public documents show there is no lie there.

    The only lie was Katie Bell Moore, Hays County Democratic Party Chair, claiming that Barton’s opponent, Dr. Bert Cobb, was behind the email. She provides no evidence to support her claim and Dr. Cobb denies any connection whatsoever with the email that tells the truth.

    So readers of the Mercury can only conclude that the Barton reporter has purposefully written a slanted article.

    And the truth is that Barton’s pants are on fire!

  2. Seriously, the most interesting thing to come out over this whole e-mail thing is the Charles O’Dell-Bert Cobb alliance. I guess some people are willing to do anything, associate with anybody, to be elected. Have you no shame, Dr. Cobb?

    Second most interesting is how Chucky keeps repeating “Barton’s pants are on fire” as if the incantation will seep into the public mind and force their hand at the voting booth. Get real. Barton is far and away the most qualified. Cobb doesn’t even both to show up at Comissioners Court to learn about the government he hopes to lead.

  3. Perhaps we could focus on the actual issues, instead of this pointless back-and-forth he said she said nonsense. If Commissioner Barton really did make a back-pay request in ’08 after saying he wouldn’t, then that’s an issue and we should talk about it. But right now we have far too many important issues to bicker over who sent out an email.

  4. The basic issue here is the matter of trust—trust in what Commissioner Barton says, and trust in a reporter who writes for Barton’s newspaper and who publishes the same article on this site as the Mercury publisher.

    Barton’s September 08 showy public refusal to take a hefty pay raise during the financial meltdown (see commissioners court minutes or video—both found on the Hays County government web site)is a matter of easyly accessible public record.

    In contrast is Barton’s secret hand written note three months later to the County Treasurer noting he will take the hefty pay raise (despite the worsening economic crisis). Barton’s excuse for changing his mind about the $8,500 pay raise for which he voted? “The consultant made me do it.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *