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The Score on Eckhardt v. Brown: from inside the Democratic Party

Here’s a letter from Democratic precinct chairs, a comparison from Reuben Leslie (a 20+ year Democratic Precinct and and party activist), and a fundraising report — all very instructive, in our view, on why Andy Brown should not be our next Travis County Judge:
Letter Pct Chairs Signed
FROM REUBEN LESLIE, Democratic Precinct Chair #259:

Sarah’s record

  • 14 years of public service experience, 6 years as County Commissioner for Precinct 2 and 8 years as a prosecutor and civil attorney in the Travis County Attorney’s Office.
  • Leadership roles in regional intergovernmental bodies. Adjunct professor at the UT LBJ School. Named outstanding elected public official by the American Society for Public Administration in 2013.
  • A true progressive good-government-practicing and liberal democrat with the ideas, passion and skills to engage all stakeholders and work out solutions in the public interest.
  • She is the daughter of Bob Eckhardt who was my Congressman when I was a student at Rice University in Houston.
  • Sarah, like her father, is one of those amazing public servants who take on the most difficult work and make it look not only easy but also a lot of fun. She was recognized early this year by the American Society for Public Adminstration for epitomizing ASPA’s principles, which are (in reverse order of importance):

Advance Professional Excellence; Promote Ethical Organizations; Demonstrate personal integrity; Fully Inform and Advise; Strengthen social equity; Promote democratic participation; Uphold the Constitution and the Law; and Finally, the most important principle, not only for public administrators but for elected officials and citizens too, is Advance the Public Interest:  promote the interests of the public and put service to the public above service to oneself. I know of no one else who better epitomizes these values, especially putting the public interest first.

Andy Brown’s record

  • No elected public office experience.
  • Record of ineptitude, resulting in unprecedented dissension and dysfunction during his 2 and a half terms, in conducting party business meetings in compliance with the law, something a county judge must do well.
  • Outrageous record of putting donors’ and his own personal interests above democratic process and community interests.
  • Dishonesty and delay disclosing party finance information to the governing body of the party.
  • Deliberate sabotage of democratic reform efforts. Failure to follow through on commitments and basic unfairness in committee appointments. Exclusionary cronyism, bullying, and bossism in running the party.
Travis County Democratic Party Fundraising Reports
TCDP Cash on Hand Spend Contribs
Nov-10  $130,113.00  $104,612.00  $75,392.00
Dec-10  $59,770.00  $98,919.00  $24,907.00
Jan-11  $45,307.00  $22,436.00  $7,710.00
Feb-11  $33,544.00  $25,377.00  $6,674.00
Mar-11  $36,557.00  $19,645.00  $22,299.00
Jan-12  $57,812.00  $12,984.00  $52,754.00
Feb-12  $106,666.00  $54,378.00  $66,702.00
Mar-12  $120,304.00  $12,805.00  $9,602.00
Apr-12  $114,346.00  $13,816.00  $7,298.00
May-12  $114,914.00  $21,611.00  $16,220.00
Jun-12  $127,322.00  $24,921.00  $27,755.00
Jul-12  $114,466.00  $21,417.00  $11,260.00
Aug-12  $114,549.00  $21,212.00  $17,912.00
Sep-12  $94,370.00  $38,881.00  $22,293.00
Oct-12  $127,163.00  $46,910.00  $80,679.00
Nov-12  $122,352.00  $91,599.00  $84,525.00
Dec-12  $45,052.00  $122,900.00  $48,658.00
Jan-13  $30,349.00  $25,453.00  $8,500.00
Feb-13  $25,271.00  $8,615.00  $8,778.00
Mar-13  $29,135.00  $8,273.00  $12,023.00
Apr-13  $23,858  $9,385  $3,530
May-13  $14,870  $9,797  $6,337
Jun-13  $25,086  $10,500  $20,260
Raised for TCDP Thru June 2013  $30,668.00
Raised for Andy Brown thru June 2013  $178,413.00
TCDP Spend 2012  $495,903.00
TCDP Raise 2012  $401,404.00

3 Responses to The Score on Eckhardt v. Brown: from inside the Democratic Party

  1. I don’t put a whole lot of faith in Rueben’s article here. I too am a TCDP precinct chair in 308 and have been for the last ten years. I know from having attended many TCDP meetings, Reuben has ALWAYS been an opponent of Andy’s and even of the previous TCDP chair. Reuben has a LONG history of disrupting meetings, going off on tangents totally out of line of topic being discussed, and pretty much constantly badgered Andy during all of the meetings which held up many important votes. This is not just my opinion of Rueben, but MANY other TCDP chairs. So if you want to believe someone who has a personal vendetta and agenda against a hard working democrat such as Andy Brown, then go ahead. But I do believe you had better check out your sources better before publishing such crap.

  2. Hello Jo Ann,

    We’ve known Reuben for years and do trust him, but you are certainly entitled to your own opinion.

    One thing we do know for sure is that Andy interfered with the overwhelming majority of the precinct chairs explicit direction on Prop 2, to stop the Domain subsidies. We have written on our main “You-Decide” page about this.

    Though you clearly have problems with Reuben, you don’t reference in your statement the other well known and longstanding precinct chairs who have signed the letter at the top of this page. We suspect these are some folks you do respect.

    Thanks for chiming in.

  3. Sarah Eckhardt’s distinguished record, thoroughly reported and analyzed in the news media, proves she knows county government well and uses her expertise to get results, always putting the public interest first. Her opponent, lacking any public service experience, cites as evidence of leadership his 5 years as Democratic Party’s County Chair, but the quality of that experience has hardly been examined by the news media, and few outside the party’s County Executive Committee even know or care what the party’s governing body does. Call the facts “crap” all you want, but that doesn’t make what I have to report any less true.

    I have been a precinct chair in Travis County for 20 years, and I’ve had no issues with any of the other County Chairs that I worked with on the County Executive Committee (CEC). I supported Andy Brown when he ran for County Chair because he promised to build on the party’s governing body’s fledgling efforts at sound governance with comittees focused on increasing grassroots organizing. But his performance from the beginning in 2008 showed that he was not able or not willing to keep that promise and lead the party fairly or effectively. He had no clue to how to run a simple meeting. He did not understand or respect any role for the CEC other than hearing his announcements about what he had decided. He withheld financial information from the Coordinated Campaign Committee appointed by the CEC to oversee the 2008 campaign until the campaign was over. When the CEC voted 58-7 to publicly endorse the “Stop the Domain Subsidy” proposition that was on the ballot in November 2008, Andy promised to publicize it but did not, then refused to recognize questions about it (calling them out of order in “old business,” “new business” or even announcements), then almost invisibly publicized the endorsement only after it was too late to make a difference. He put big donors’ wishes and his personal interests in pleasing them above doing his duty to follow the democratic process and keep his promises to the CEC. The precinct chairs who served on the 2008 Coordinated Campaign Committee held their fire about how Andy ran the meetings and the party until after the 2008 campaign, but they committed to confronting Andy and helping him improve. They and others worked with Andy during the next year to reform party operations. But Andy undercut many of the reform efforts. He never followed through on the promise to have an independent audit of party finances. He encouraged the rules committee to propose to give the chair dictatorial powers over the agenda. The CEC appointed precinct chairs to serve on committees, but Andy himself and the chairs he chose refused to accept some as members, leading to conflict and many counterproductive meetings. More recently, Andy also created one barrier after another to the CEC’s consideration of issues important to grassroots Democrats, including changing Austin City Council elections to single-member districts.

    The job of County Judge requires great expertise in running fair deliberative meetings and efficiently administering a huge budget and important functions of county government. Sarah Eckhardt’s performance and record prove she is qualified now to handle it well. Andy Brown’s does not.

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