New Controversy in District 10 City Council Race
Race for Council continues with high heat
There's no shortage of controversy in the race for City Council District 10. This week, incumbent Sheri Gallo is being accused by her opponent of purposely omitting two voting locations where challenger Alison Alter polled well (including one in Alter's home district) during the Nov. 8 general election, from her list of sites to be reinstated for the run-off election on Dec. 13. Gallo's amendment, introduced during the Nov. 22 City Council meeting, named four polling locations to be restored for the run-off, alleging that those were the only sites not scheduled to be open during the run-off election. But Alter told the council in a Nov. 23 email that two sites – Congregation Beth Israel and Great Hills Baptist Church – in her home precinct were also excluded from Gallo's requested amendment.
Travis County Clerk Director of Elections Michael Winn added the site in Alter's home precinct, as well as a site on Gallo's list, and an extra day to the mobile early voting locations after hearing of her complaint, according to a city clerk email sent to City Council. The Nov. 23 email, forwarded to the Chronicle, notes that the election day and permanent early voting sites could not be modified because logic and accuracy testing has been completed, thus "no other changes can be made to the ballot." While Gallo responded to the Chronicle's request for comment on another story this week, she avoided questions on the polling location scandal.
Elsewhere within the district, Gallo's emails have come back to haunt her – again. This time, the situation involves information the incumbent sent to supporters of her re-election bid. A Chronicle reader sent in a tip about a Gallo campaign email that listed the names and physical addresses of people who donated to the Crestview-affiliated Arbor PAC, an outspoken critic of the incumbent, and supporter of her opponent. The Chronicle received both a redacted and clean version of the Nov. 8 email and, sure enough, the donors' information, along with the amount contributed, had been listed. While this information is public through campaign finance reports, its compilation is questionable when tacked on to the email's eight preceding paragraphs taking a swipe at the PAC and Alter, whom Gallo accuses of mudslinging and negative campaigning. "I don't know why she would do it," said Mary Kahle, an Arbor donor listed in the Gallo email, which was titled – somewhat ironically – "The Political High Road." "Was it to intimidate us?"
The info dump comes on the heels of the Chronicle's investigation into allegations that Gallo misused her government email address to facilitate a real estate transaction related to the controversial Grove at Shoal Creek planned unit development (see "Sheri Gallo's Darned Emails," Nov. 25). The Chronicle reached out to Gallo's campaign for comment on her "High Road" email but hadn't heard back at press time.
Early voting for the District 10 run-off and two ACC Board seats begins today (Dec. 1) and runs through Dec. 9. See voting info and Chronicle endorsements on p.10.