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Questions raised about Ballesteros' vulnerability in NxNW motion to rescind endorsement

by: Doug Mayeux

Tue Feb 19, 2008 at 01:00 PM CST

If you're coming here via the microsite attacking Adan Ballesteros, make sure you learn the facts about Michael Cargill as well. -- Eds.

Recent investigations have raised questions about Ballesteros' vulnerability for the General Election. These questions led Donna Beth McCormick to make a motion to rescind Ballesteros' endorsement at the North by Northwest meeting last night. While this motion failed (in an 11-14 vote), it is important to note that some voted against it because a 15-day notice was suspended, which made some members uneasy.

Regardless of the outcome of last night's meeting, some critical questions have been raised. You can read more about the legal issues here and here. Here is a quick summary:

-The DEA made a call to the DPS in January of 1995 to say that they were investigating activities that occurred in 1991 involving Ballesteros, and wanted the DPS's assistance.

-DPS began investigating, and interviewed Ballesteros in May of 1995. After a year and a half of joint investigation by DPS and DEA, a formal complaint was filed against Ballesteros for five counts of allowing confidential informants to import cocaine without interdiction, accepting cash gifts from a confidential informant, and failing to make accurate and truthful reports to his supervisors regarding his activities.

-In May of 1995, Ballesteros was placed on administrative leave (with pay) pending the results of the full investigation.

-When the investigation concluded, most of the allegations against Ballesteros were sustained, and in October of 1997, the director of DPS decided that Ballesteros was to be terminated. His status was changed to "suspended without pay."

-Ballesteros appealed the termination recommendation, and in August of 1998, a full evidentiary hearing was held before the Public Safety Commission. On September 10, 1998, they determinded that Ballesteros was fired for cause. (Bob Vann requested this information via Public Information Act on 01/07/08. See page 7 http://www.co.travis.tx.us/cou...

-Ballesteros sued claiming EEOC violations, and lost. He appealed to the 5th Circuit, and lost again.

So first of all, who is Bob Vann? Bob Vann is the current Constable in Precinct 2, a Republican. Is there any doubt that he will use this information to bury Adan Ballesteros in the General Election?

So what does this all mean? Adan Ballesteros was investigated in a lengthy joint investigation. This investigation resulted in his termination, a termination which was upheld by two attempted appeals.

During last night's meeting, Ballesteros was given a rebuttal. He claimed that the 5th Circuit is pro-employer, not pro-employee. He claims that for 2.5 years he was not allowed to present evidence, and he could not find an attorney willing to take his case. He also cited a Workforce Commmission report (98-027341-1-0498) which gave him the clearance to file an EEOC complaint against DPS.

Finally, he cited that he was allowed independent judgment, and that he stopped a lot of drugs. He also maintains that this was a case of retaliation because he wouldn't fire his secretary (see the attached docs). To my knowledge, he did not mention the cases in which he was accused of letting drugs in.

Ballesteros is a man of apparent questionable character. He was fired by the incumbent because of his history. He did not fully disclose his legal past. How can a man who was fired for illegal activities have any hope of challenging the Republican incumbent in November?

I will close with this. Ballesteros came to the North by Northwest meeting in his scout leader uniform. I am an Eagle Scout, and the Scout Oath is:

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my Country
and to obey the Scout Law;

To help other people at all times;

To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

What kind of teacher fails to live up to the oaths he is teaching his students? Do we want this kind of leader as our law enforcement officer?

The Scout Law:

A scout is













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Getting rid of Bob Vann is going to be tough (3.00 / 2)
regardless of who we nominate.  If Ballesteros is nominated, Vann will jump all over the accusations of corruption. If Paul Labuda is nominated, Vann will jump all over Paul's lack of experience. Either way, I fear that Vann will be re-elected.

In terms of certification, Paul Labuda is as well-prepared as Bruce Elfant was in his first race. That would be good enough for me (if I lived in Precinct 2), and it will be good enough for many die-hard Democrats, but it won't cut much ice in the fall campaign.  

Paul will pound the pavement (4.00 / 2)
There's not much to be done about Paul's experience, but he is willing to reach out to every voter he can through November.    
Thank you for reminding me of Bruce's qualifications in his first run.  I will reiterate that it is not required that the constable be a certified peace officer until 270 days after taking office.  Paul is already certified.  It meant enough to him to seek that certification before entering the race.  He will be applying to be a reserve officer after the primary.

The area is trending blue, what with Mark Strama, Donna Howard, and the rapid population growth in Pflugerville.  We can take the last Republican constable out of this seat, with enough effort.

I have a dog in this hunt, so I am not impartial.  I want Bob Vann out, and I don't think that Adan Ballesteros can get the job done with this kind of baggage.  

Disclosure: Former Political Director for Lee Leffingwell for Mayor of Austin ('09)

[ Parent ]
Here's hoping he can pull it off (0.00 / 0)
But it's still a steep uphill climb.  

[ Parent ]
It's a hill worth climbing. n/t (0.00 / 0)

Disclosure: Former Political Director for Lee Leffingwell for Mayor of Austin ('09)

[ Parent ]
Constable Pct. 2 - Ballesteros (0.00 / 0)
I don't live in Pct. 2, but I am a Democrat and this is my primary.  I also think anyone running for a law enforcement position should be very clean.  How can you enforce the law if you have a questionable record?  How can you run for any office and have baggage?  It will come out - all you have to do if Google somebody's name and it's open to the world.

Bob Vann has history as well. (2.00 / 1)
I remember he was arrested and indicted for discharging his weapon at a child crossing his lawn. He was cleared after claiming he thought it was a dog. Which opens up a whole slew of other questions about him as a law enforcement officer.  According to the Chronicle blog about Vann, it is said that he changed his name after the shooting so not to impact his career. There has to be a public record of that. Also, after reading the chronicle blog someone kept alluding to the fact he was arrested for assaulting his daughter. It may be just trash talk, but it has to be worth looking into. He has to go.

Agreed. Precinct 2 deserves better (0.00 / 0)
It's time for that 12-year incumbent to get sent packing.  

There's a lot of research to be done, but it won't amount to much if Ballesteros should win the primary.  Bob Vann will have more on his former employee than Democrats will have on Vann.  Ballesteros worked in Pct. 2 for eight years.  I don't know the exact circumstances of his departure, but my understanding is that is was not voluntary.

Disclosure: Former Political Director for Lee Leffingwell for Mayor of Austin ('09)

[ Parent ]
shame on u doug! (0.00 / 0)
First of all u only speak of allegations, and then you completely give a false cause for termination. I seriously doubt u were ever an eagle scout. And then to list the scout oath and law and use it to criticize a man who has done more for his community, state and country than you will ever do is simply pathetic. if your argument is so good, why did nxnw choose to maintain their endorsement? You are truly something special, i hope that if you ever actually meet the man and see what he has done, and what has been done to him, you will not be too hard on yourself. Whatever happened to good people, especially in our party. whatta shame.

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