The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Party Bickering and Legal Maneuvers in SA

(Disclosure: Cincinnatus is doing some (unpaid) work for Michael Wright, a 2006 candidate for Bexar County Party Chair. This will be the last time you ever hear Cincinnatus talk about Cincinnatus in the third person.)

The Bexar County Democratic Party, outside of being penniless and nearly irrevalent at this point and time, is also getting a temporary restraining order thrown at its chair:

Citing violations of state law, some local Democrats are suing the Bexar County Democratic Party through its chairman, claiming they've been excluded from important party decisions.

A temporary restraining order, which was signed by a state district court judge Friday and went into effect Monday, stops Chairman Rudy Casias from spending funds other than daily operation dollars and calls for him to fill all precinct vacancies and perform an audit of the party's finances within 30 days.

What are their greivances? Well according to the order (I'd put it up for you all, but I can't do that with blogger) it's the general disenfranchisement of precinct chairs and the county executive committee (CEC). The biggest problem that the plaintiffs have with County Chair Rudy Casias is the fact that he has refused to call CEC meetings and adhere to the resolutions passed when they do have a quorum. Resolutions that have called for a financial audit of the Bexar County books within 30 days, to recruit, appoint and approve precinct chairs for those vacant, and to conduct training and mentoring for new precinct chairs. Not really hard to do, but here's the problem, Casias just doesn't care:

Casias, who had not yet been served with a copy of the restraining order Monday afternoon, said he "could care less" about the lawsuit.


"Nobody can make me have a meeting," Casias said. "I was elected chair and there's not a court or office in Bexar County that can say Rudy Casias must have a meeting."

Wonderful. Casias held one CEC meeting at the very beginning of his term and has refused to hold another one since.

Now as a realist, I understand just exactly how much power these CECs have, and just how many people actually care about the CEC. Which is to say very little. I also understand that you cannot expect to have every detail run through the CEC. But what I would expect precinct chairs to expect is that the chair calls regular CEC meetings... say every six months or quarterly. This hasn't happened.

And this isn't the least of Casias troubles. The county party's treasurer, exasperated by the inept way that Casias has run the office resigned, effective yesterday. Which legally means that the county party cannot raise or spend funds to begin with, much less restrict them to only daily operations. Casias has had a tough time finding someone to replace the outgoing treasurer and is said to be at his wits end. Then again, this doesn't really matter as very few people are donating to the party, and there's very little money in the bank to worry about to begin with.

The disgust for Casias doesn't just start and stop with precinct chairs, there are a number of elected offiicals who want in the worst way to replace him, and are attempting to recruit a candidate to run against him. Fortunately though, there's a qualified, competent candidate already in the race right now- Michael Wright.

I don't know why Casias ever really wanted this office. But to say that he wasn't prepared or qualified to take it would be the understatement of the year. We've gone from having two, paid full-time staffers operating the office in the central portion of the city, to a smaller office on the north side of San Antonio operated, occassionally by volunteers. Casias has alienated donors and grassroots activists alike- something that is really tough to do. And while a large number of our Democratic clubs and organizations are doing quite well fiscally and volunteerwise, our county party flounders. Let's kick the bum out, and let someone who knows what their doing get in.

For a different take on the matter, visit DC9.

Update, 5:53 pm: Oops, the Michael Wright link was messed up. Thattaway to show your support for Michael, Cincy! It's fixed now.