Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, sharks are biting again. Two reports of killer shark attacks in the last two weeks bring back memories of the summer of 1975 and the movie premier of Jaws. Duh duh–Duh duh Duh duh…. Who doesn’t know that music?! It struck fear in the hearts of theater-goers all over the country that summer, and continues to live in the minds of those who flinched and shrieked when the cadaverous head floated past the hole in a sunken boat and across the movie screen. It still gives me chills just thinking about it.
I hate it when things sneak up and bite me on the butt. So, yesterday, when I saw one of our city council candidates, I hated to tell him that his business cards advertising his candidacy for election as well as his campaign signs violated the Texas Election Code. I know that incredulous feeling when you’re hit with something out of the blue and cluelessness catches up with you like a cat catching a canary. His cards and his signs, and the signs of two other city council candidates, posted in yards throughout town don’t contain a disclosure statement nor do their signs contain the required Right-of-Way Notice. He looked astonished as I directed him to check it out with the Texas Ethics Commission.
So what does the clueless candidate do if he discovers his political advertising does not contain the proper disclosure statement and/or Right-of-Way Notice? According to the Texas Ethics Commission, if he/she learns that their sign is not in compliance with the Election Code, they should make a “good faith attempt to remove or correct the signs that have been distributed.” In the case of other advertising, the candidate is “not required to attempt to recover other types of political advertising that have been distributed with a missing or inaccurate disclosure statement.” So in the situation of the uninformed candidate, he is safe to leave out the business cards, but the signs should come down, if he wants to be considered trustworthy enough to be on the city council.
And if a candidate should win the election, he/she must learn to be more scrupulous as an elected official. Before you go back in the water be sure you know the sharks are cleared from the beaches.