APRIL 21, 2011    , 4:14 pm:

I spent less than $1000.00 of my own money for my PEC Director campaign. I did not solicit nor receive any contributions. I did receive endorsements from a variety of individuals and organizations but I have no idea what they may have spent or what they may have done to support me, other than notifying their friends or members of their endorsement.
  ...
Regards,
Chris Perry

APRIL 21, 2011

I spent $0 other than my time running for the PEC Board.

Geoffrey VanderPal
APRIL 21, 2011

I think I spent about $2,500, all out of my own pocket and almost exclusively for local newspaper ads.

I believe that a group sent post cards to its members that endorsed me and one other candidate for the other place. I am not advised what the total was that they spent, but I was told that they would send about 4,000 postcards. If you assume the cost of printing and mailing at $1 per address, then the portion spent in support of my candidacy would be about another $2,000.

Of course, I came in second out of five candidates, so maybe the guy who got 200 more votes than I did spent $295,500 more than I spent. But you'll have to ask him about that as I am not advised. I actually don't think he spent as much money as I did, but then he's younger and more photogenic. Actually, the single biggest shortcoming in the current Co-op election rules is that there is no requirement to disclose financial support for a candidate, a shortcoming that should be address, but is apparently not on Sen. Fraser's radar screen.

I do believe that the Co-op should make a greater effort to inform its members as to who the candidates for the board are and what they say they stand for. This could be done by utilizing their space in the Texas Cooperatives Magazine for each candidate to make his own "pitch" in an allocation of ten column inches or whatever. The Co-op currently does a pretty good job of making information on the candidates available through its website and inserts with billings -- quite a bit more than the State of Texas does for the edification of its electorate, it might be observed.

On another note, while I recognize (due to first-hand experience) the formidable task of communicating successfully with 200,000 other members, it is hardly a less formidable task to communicate with even one-seventh that number, or about 30,000 households, if the Co-op were to adopt single member districts. Is one-seventh of Sen. Fraser's suggested $300,000 cost of running any more affordable to your average Co-op member who might offer him or herself as a director?

As a Co-op member, I would stongly object to being limited to voting on only one out of seven board members, and being able to express my approval or disapproval of board policies only once every three years rather than every year through my vote. I can think of no example of another corporation where the stockholders are limited to voting on but one member of the board and doing so only once every three years.

...

Regards,
Steven A. Carriker

APRIL 21, 2011

Senator Fraser is right that it is cost prohibitive to reach over 210,000 PEC voters.   A candidate must be willing to spend money in order to compete with the special interests who want to raise rates in order to finance an environmental agenda.  Single member districts would make it financially feasible for an average ratepayer to run for the PEC Board, and would increase meaningful communications between members and their Board.  I spent less than a dollar per vote received to communicate directly with PEC voters in order to overcome a coordinated effort to control the PEC Board.  (See the attached lettter.)
Ross Fischer
PEC  Director, District 5

APRIL 21, 2011

...I spent about $2,700 of my own money - raised none, and traveled extensively throughout the territory to meet members.
 
Regards,
 
Ken Rigsbee

Principally signs and gasoline.

(Ken Rigsbee)


APRIL 27, 2011

(1)  Less than $4,500 total; spent on flyers, advertising, phone calls, member outreach, email, mail, and other incidental expenses.
 
(2)  No advocacy groups spent any money on my behalf.

(From Ross Fischer)

About $4200 total.
 
In my comment below, I didn't claim that any of the advocacy groups spent money in PEC races; I don't know whether they do or not.  I said that their efforts (meaning those of PEC4U and Clean Water Action) are well coordinated and designed to elect as many like-minded directors as they can.  The letter I sent to you makes it very clear that they recruit and endorse candidates, that they claim to have allies in the press, and that they have certain expectations of those Directors that they help elect.  The bottom line is that it takes some amount of money to compete with organized special interest groups that have learned to dominate an at-large voting system.

(From Ross Fischer)

APRIL 23:

I ran as a candidate last year. And although I won my district, I was wiped out in the other districts.

I had little money, less than $3,000 and had to depend on volunteers and word of mouth.  As for the $300,000 I have no way to confirm that number.

However, unless a candidate has the backing of special interest groups and/or political parties the common candidate has little chance of winning....especially when only 10-12 percent of the members vote. 

The PEC area is over 8,000 square miles.   Five of the six candidates have won because they had the support of various special interest groups.  I believe you have a letter which indicates such.  The special interests want to maintain the at-large system because any candidate with their support has a tremendous advantage.

We no longer elect directors at the PEC we elect politicians beholden to the special interests who got them elected. Reference the letter you have.

The system now has been established to keep a certain elite in power.  Transparency and democracy does not exist.  This power and control politics is the same game as some claimed the original proxy method was just with a different method, different players and different agendas.

Respectfully,

Joe Summy
APRIL 24, 2011:
I spent very little on my campaign and received no outside donations.  I purchased t-shirts, yard signs, and a few ads.  All told around $1,000.
 
Dan (Pedersen)


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Urgent PolitiFact Texas Query
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 15:18:18 -0500
From: Ted Lehr
To: Gardner Selby <wgselby@statesman.com>


...

I spent less, much less probably, than $500.  I came in a respectable 3rd.

Regards,
Ted