I am writing in response to an incident that occurred on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, at the Brown County Republican Women's Club candidate forum.
The Adams Center was packed, a really great turnout considering the weather. The format allowed each candidate to make a three minute speech to be followed at the end by a question and answer period. In that period, specific questions could be asked to specific candidates.
The first round of candidates was for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2. Judge Bob Wall spoke first followed by candidate Mike Holder and then John Lawson. During his speech, Mike Holder made reference to a paid political ad disparaging Judge Wall saying, “I did not participate in that, uh, political ad in the Bulletin on Tuesday that was paid for by a group of people at Northlake and they've been threatened with retaliation for doing so, but be that as it may, I still appreciate their support.”
It was at that point I turned to my wife and wondered what that was about. I am the present HPOA president and was concerned what “retaliation” was meant and by whom. This is, after all, the community I am supposed to serve.
Mr. Holder finished and the forum continued. After all the candidates spoke, the question and answer portion began. During that time, Mr. Holder was asked since his brother owns the Monte Carlo Café in Harbor Point and it has eight liner machines, how would he respond if a case came before him concerning what many consider gambling? In a brief summary, Mr. Holder was apparently upset at the question but responded that his brother ran the only amusement in the area and only paid winners with cigarettes and meals. At this time using my name restated his statement about retaliation about the political ad in the Bulletin. Although I am no a candidate for anything, I immediately said from the floor, “I did not ask that question.” Mr. Holder finished his statement and sat down.
When the event was over, I went to the back of the room to speak to Mr. Holder, and once again to let him know I had not asked the question. I put out my hand and said, “Mr. Holder we haven't met, I'm Russ Davis.” He took my hand in a tight grip and said “I know who you are.” When I started to explain that I had not asked the question and had no clue about “retaliation”, he looked at me still gripping my hand and said, “If you're going to lie to my face, I don't want to hear it.”
Still not really understanding about the “retaliation”, I suddenly realized the only person could have conveyed some kind of misguided information to him was standing next to him, his campaign treasurer. While I was unable to have a conversation with Mr. Holder, I can make an assumption. On the second Saturday of each month, HPOA has a board meeting. Saturday's meeting had seven people present, one of whom was Mr. Holder's campaign treasurer, Judy Tessaro.
During that meeting in which minutes are taken, road repairs were on the agenda. My position was that we should not deny road repairs to members by spending our limited road funds continuously repairing roads in front of the two cafes. It was not fair to residents who had voted to fix our two main roads followed by the side streets. This was apparently taken as an act of “retaliation” by Mr. Holder's treasurer.
The reason I am writing this is twofold, but it is not political. Yes, I know Judge Wall; I have appeared before him for HPOA. When I was not correct, I lost. When I was correct, I won, but I always went to court thinking, I was correct. A fair Judge looks at all the facts and makes a decision. At least that's what I thought was supposed to happen.
In respect to Mr. Holder, I have the following:
1. Get all the real facts; then make a decision.
2. Don't accuse someone of something without those clear, unvarnished facts.
3. If you are going to describe how your brother pays off his 8 liners, I would suggest you not do it in a public forum.
4. Don't use someone's name in a public forum without knowing you are correct. This is not the way a judge should act. It brings into question just how impartial a judge you would be in Brown or any other county.
North Lake Brownwood