The very first City Council of Sandy Oaks, Texas was elected August 9, 2014.
Political games started the same month that Sandy Oaks incorporated. The Committee to Incorporate Sandy Oaks had said at a public meeting before incorporation that they would announce the deadline for application for people to run for city office. But instead, CISO remained silent.
A full month ahead of the deadline, CISO leaders Pedro Orduno and Jim Clement gathered together 4 more people to run for office. The group of 6 ran as the Sandy Oaks Political Action Committee.
Jim Clement ran unopposed for mayor. Pedro Orduno, Earnest Gay, Doglas Tomasini, Joel Ortega, and Dale Burmaster ran for the 5 Alderman (City Council) positions.
3 more candidates ran for Alderman positions, including David Tremblay, Cathleen Recio, and Micki Ball.
Between the deadline to file and the actual election there were 3 meetings set up for the public to meet the candidates running for office. Members of SOPAC only went to the first meeting, which Clement organized.
The only candidates who went to all 3 meetings were the women.
SOPAC had over $3,000 in campaign contributions. $1,000 was given by Linebarger, Gobban, Blaim & Sampson PLLC, a law firm that specializes in liens, tax collection, and evictions. Another $1,500 was given by the Von Ormy PAC, closely associated with Art Martinez de Vara who is the Mayor of Von Ormy and the legal adviser to SOPAC.
Just before early election started, Art Martinez de Vara created a newspaper called the Sandy Oaks Chronicle which was distributed to the community of 4,000 people. The newspaper lied about inviting all candidates to submit their platforms and instead only showed SOPAC members.
Besides Martinez de Vara’s newspaper that lied, most attacks centered on one single candidate.
Just after the first “Meet the Candidates” meeting, Clement went to the Bexar County Election’s Office to see if Cathleen Recio could be removed from the ballot since she had only lived in the Waterwood community less than a year. Texas law, however, says that a person can run for Alderman as long as he/she has lived in the community for 1 day.
Pedro Orduno filed a Texas Ethic’s Complaint against Recio because her homemade campaign signs didn’t have the proper legal subtext. The same night he had to go around and collect the “Vote to Incorporate Sandy Oaks” signs that had been up illegally for 2 months.
227 people turned out to vote in City Council election; 15.9% of the registered voters.
The election had 77% more voters participate than the vote for incorporation in May.
Although Jim Clement ran unopposed, only 63% of the voters actually voted for him. Some exit voters said they felt pressured to vote at all because the voting computer reminds when a position doesn’t have a vote and reminds again when it gives a summary.
The following candidates won Alderman positions:
- David Tremblay 128 votes
- Earnest Gay 122 votes
- Douglas Tomasini 118 votes
- Joel Ortega 118 votes
- Micki Ball 114 votes
Results for the other candidates:
- Pedro Orduno 112 votes
- Cathleen Recio 110 votes
- Dale Burmaster 94 votes
Texas state law states that a newly elected city official takes office 5 days after election, not including Sundays.