Friday, October 11, 2013

Roy Morales Campaign -Fact Check

I am a citizen watchdog who has been reporting on the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE) for the past couple of years. Because of that, I have copies of the HCDE board meeting minutes back to 2006 which I acquired through public information requests.

Roy Morales served as an elected HCDE Trustee from 1/2007 through 12/2012.

I live outside the Houston city limits so I have not been paying attention to the Houston City Council race this year. But when I received this email the other day from the Roy Morales Campaign something didn't seem right to me. So I dug up some old HCDE board meeting minutes to double check the official record.

roy morales campaign email

After reviewing the HCDE meeting minutes from 2009-2010, I felt the voters who live within the Houston city limits deserve all the facts in order to make an informed decision on their choice for Houston City Council.

#1. Roy Morales claims:

I'm the only candidate that has experience as an elected official.

This may be true because I know nothing about the political background of other candidates in this race. But “experience as an elected official” to most people implies faithful attendance and active participation in the meetings of the government entity to which you were elected.

HCDE only holds 11 regular board meetings per year. Looking at Roy Morales’ attendance record, the chart below shows that as an elected official, Roy Morales was present for entire HCDE regular board meeting for only 8 out of the 22 meetings in 2009-2010. That is well below 50%.

Of the 22 regular HCDE board meetings held during that time frame, Roy Morales was ABSENT for 6 of the 22 which means he was ABSENT about 27% of the time.

On top of that, he arrived late and/or left early for 8 of the 22 meeting or about 36% of the time.

Meeting
Date
Morales
Attendance
Morales
Left
Meeting
Adjourned
1/21/09
Present


2/24/09
Present


4/21/09
ABSENT


5/19/09
30 min. late


6/16/09
Left early
10:50
1:10
7/21/09
Present


8/17/09
ABSENT


9/21/09
ABSENT


10/19/09
10 min late/
left early
1:45
4:09
11/16/09
ABSENT


12/14/09
Present






1/15/10
Present


2/22/10
Left early
2:47
3:40
4/20/10
Present


5/18/10
Left early
3:50
4:29
6/15/10
*? (present)


7/20/10
Left early
2:03
3:57
8/17/10
Left early
1:55
5:12
9/21/10
Left early
2:00
3:38
10/19/10
ABSENT


11/16/10
Present


12/14/10
ABSENT


* Minutes not available so counting "present" to give benefit of the doubt


Or you can look at it this way. While serving as an elected HCDE Trustee, Roy Morales attended the entire regular board meetings about  37% of the time from 2009-2010.

Is that the type of “experience” Houston voters want on their City Council?

#2. Roy Morales claims:

As a Republican Harris County School Trustee, I either froze or reduced your property taxes

Most people reading this would assume that this statement means that the taxing entity being discussed either maintained or reduced its burden on the taxpayers during Roy Morales’ term. (1/2007 - 12/2012)

Yet, HCDE’s own publication shows the HCDE tax rate was reduced twice during that time, but the tax levy INCREASED every year that Roy Morales served on the board. Not only that, in the six years Roy Morales served as an HCDE trustee, the HCDE Tax Levy increased by about 20%.

image

I guess it can be claimed that Roy Morales “either froze or reduced property taxes” because he was ABSENT from the meetings in 2009 and 2010 when the HCDE board voted to approve a tax rate that was higher than the year before.

Roy Morales was ABSENT from the meeting on 9/21/09 when the HCDE Board approved the tax rate increasing from .005840 to 006050.

roy morales absent 9.21.10 page 1 roy morales absent 9.21.10 page 2

And Roy Morales left the board meeting early on 9/21/10, right before the board voted to approve the tax rate increasing from .006050 to .006581.

roy morales 9.21.10 page 1 roy morales 9.21.10 page 2

And this only shows how Roy Morales represented his constituents in 2009-2010. It doesn't even touch on all the shenanigans that Roy Morales pulled in October of 2012 when he pushed for a tax increase to fund $1 million in “seed capital” to start another HCDE revenue producing business – that time in cloud computing.

The HCDE board meeting minutes from 10/23/12  show that Roy Morales was the trustee who actually made the motion to increase the tax rate from .006581 to .006617  by approving what is called the "effective tax rate." Immediately after making his motion and voting FOR the higher rate, Roy Morales returned to his standard M.O. ---- the minutes read:
Roy Morales left the meeting and did not return
roy morales 10.23.12
I recommend that Houston voters who want all the facts, take the time to read through minutes available from HCDE online so they know more about the record of the “only candidate who has experience as an elected official” – experience as a Harris County School Trustee.

Colleen Vera

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