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Username: RShackleford
PersonId: 7708
Created: Tue Jan 10, 2012 at 07:10 PM CST
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Is Ballesteros the Constable We Need?

by: RShackleford

Sun Jan 22, 2012 at 11:37 PM CST

This is a user post and does not necessarily reflect the views of Burnt Orange Report. All users are welcome to register an account and post a user diary. If you're reading this to find out more information about the 2012 Democratic primary candidates for Precinct 2 Constable, make sure you read our coverage of Michael Cargill as well. -- Eds.

When the Austin Central Labor Council made its endorsements for the upcoming 2012 election a few weeks ago, one of the more controversial picks was their endorsement for Constable, Precinct 2. Jaime Adan Ballesteros, who defeated Bob Vann in 2008, was endorsed over all other candidates, despite a very shady history that many voters remain entirely unaware of.

The fact is, Ballesteros was previously discharged from DPS over a number of activities in 1991 which resulted in his being charged with counts of allowing thousands of kilograms of marijuana and cocaine to be smuggled into the U.S., assisting in the distribution of said cocaine, accepting cash gifts from his informant, and failing to make timely and accurate reports to his superiors. While the investigation did not sustain the marijuana smuggling charge, all other counts against Ballesteros were sustained.The Department of Justice declined to prosecute Ballesteros, but the amount of evidence brought against Ballesteros caused U.S. Attorney Gaynelle Jones to express concerns about ever endorsing him as a witness in a criminal case  under normal circumstances, and Ballesteros was terminated by DPS in late 1998.

After his termination, Ballesteros began working for Constable Bob Vann, only to be terminated again by Constable Vann in 2007 after Ballesteros's history came to light. Ballesteros then ran against Vann in 2008 and won the election. Shortly afterwards, Ballesteros filed a lawsuit against Vann, seeking compensation for illegal retaliation, deprivation of property without due process of law, violation of first amendment rights, defamation, and tortious interference with his contract. However, this case was dismissed with prejudice, as it was determined Vann had terminated Ballesteros through due process of law.

After investigating these events, it becomes clear that Ballesteros's viability for Constable needs to be reviewed before the 2012 election cycle. This is not simple mud-slinging as we often see in politics these days. In fact, these concerns were brought to light prior to Ballesteros's election in 2008, right here on the Burnt Orange Report (http://www.burntorangereport.com/diary/5038/). I have since looked into the DPS records relevant to this issue, and found that these claims against Ballesteros are in fact true.

With a resurgent Republican party anxious to reclaim whatever they can in 2012, perhaps it would be prudent to reconsider whether or not Ballesteros should be treated as the front-runner for Constable in this election cycle. While tossing out the incumbent of one's own party may seem counter-productive, there are enough alternative candidates up for consideration that choosing to support them instead of painting a target on ourselves by supporting Ballesteros may be a wise decision.

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