The City of Sandy Oaks has a new Mayor, but Micki Ball seems just like the previous Mayor Jim Clement. The similarities between the two are striking.
Both Clement and Ball Work In Secrecy
Both of them kept the salary of Art Martinez de Vara, the City Attorney, private for half a year. As a city employee, Martinez de Vara’s salary was public information. But Ball refused to tell anyone. Here’s an audio of her doing so:
Both Clement and Ball Disregard the Law
Clement received an Open Records Request from someone in the spring of 2015 wanting to know how much the city was in debt. Clement ignored the request. The thing is, Ball received the same request at the exact same time and she too ignored it, violating the Texas Public Information Act.
Both Clement and Ball have violated the Texas Open Meetings Act, a law that is set up to ensure transparency in government. Clement and Ball both participated in a meeting in December 2014 where the location of the meeting was on private land and the owner of that land had banned citizens from accessing the location. Ball even defended the meeting, saying that no one was taking people’s names.
Both Clement and Ball are Arrogant About Being Ignorant
Clement enjoyed the fact that he had more information than other people on certain topics. By working in secrecy he was able to gain that power over people. However, Clement’s arrogance always filtered into unknown territory. It was almost fun watching him try to make up answers for things he knew little or nothing about.
Ball also likes to believe that she and she alone knows the most information and has the most correct perspective on issues. The first example can be found above with the act of hiding a public employee’s salary. Not only did Ball actively work to keep the information private, she incorrectly used the Texas Open Meetings Act as the reason for why she couldn’t give out the information. She even arrogantly stated that she had a certificate in the law.
Gaining a certificate in the Open Meetings Act requires watching a video. Or, you can just scroll to the very end of the video where you get the official pass-code. Once you have the pass-code you can enter any name you want, any date you want, and then you can print out any number of certificates. That’s the sort of “specialized certificate in training” that Ball used to assert that she had more knowledge in TOMA.
A second example can be seen in an email between Ball and a citizen. The citizen was asking for information about a topic and Ball said it was against the law to discuss the topic because of TOMA.
No where in TOMA does it say that a City Council member cannot discuss a topic with a citizen. In fact, the entire point of being on the City Council is to represent citizens and representing people involves discussing topics with them.
Just like Clement on both accounts, Ball is either ignorant of what TOMA is actually about or she’s a liar.
Both Clement and Ball are Controlling
Part of working in secrecy involves being controlling. Clement will go down in history as being a founder of the City of Sandy Oaks. He’ll also go down in history as being a liar to the entire community. He wanted to be in control so badly that he didn’t bother to let the community know about the deadline to run for office immediately after incorporation in 2014. CISO promised the community it would do so, but instead they kept silent.
Ball likes to control things as much as possible and not allow others to do things that she can get credit for. The city’s website is maintained by Ball, although it could easily be maintained by someone else such as the City Clerk. At one point, Ball wouldn’t even let someone have the contact information for the City Marshal.
When the same person invited the Marshal to speak to a community group, Ball attacked the citizen for the attempt and even criticized that an invitation had been made through certified mail.
Related article: Who Controls the Marshal?
Both Clement and Ball Are Manipulative
Clement manipulated others to do his dirty work for him. In the 2014 election, a non-SOPAC candidate had signs that didn’t have official legal language at the bottom. Clement didn’t want the candidate running against SOPAC members, so he had his pawn Pedro Orduno report the matter.
Ball has her own version of Pedro Orduno, who comes in the form of BJ Gillespie. Except Gillespie doesn’t have to be manipulated to do Ball’s dirty work.
Related article: Candidate for Office Becomes Violent at City Council Meeting
Ball manipulates others too. In January 2015, Clement tried having an illegal election for the WPPOA. As a City Council member, Ball knew about the illegal vote and did absolutely nothing about it publicly. Instead, she used an anonymous facebook page titled “City of Sandy Oaks” to post email addresses and phone numbers of WPPOA board members and encouraged others to contact them to get information. Basically, Ball didn’t want fall out from standing up to Clement and the WPPOA so she had others do the dirty work for her.
Both Clement and Ball Benefited By Not Communicating
Clement became mayor because he and the Committee to Incorporate Sandy Oaks didn’t bother to announce the deadline for people to apply to office positions like CISO had promised the community it would. Since most people in the community didn’t even know an incorporation election had taken place, Clement was able to run unopposed for Mayor.
Ball also ran unopposed for Mayor in 2015. The only communication the City Council bothered to put out about the position was through City Council meetings, the city website, and Ball’s social media website. At the time, the City Council had never bothered to set up signs telling people when and where the Council meetings were taking place. The only way to know about the city website was if you had attended the mysterious Council meetings. And Ball’s social media website had less than 200 members on it.