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2014-11-06

City election - it ain't over till it's over!

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Pictured: Bandera's new mayor, longtime councilman John Hegemier


The 2014 City of Bandera mayoral election was a barnburner until the end and the final tally of votes was probably not what anyone expected.
When the electronic ballots settled, Mayor Pro Tem John Hegemier, director of the Bandera County Library, came out on top with 117 votes or nearly 45 percent of the total votes cast - or did he? However, entertainer and business owner Brian Black nipped hungrily at Hegemier's heels, garnering 111 votes for 42.86 percent of the total in a close second.
Former city councilman Maggie Schumacher finished a distant third with 32 votes - 12.36 percent of the total number of votes cast. A total of 259 votes were cast for mayor with 158 during early voting and 101 on Election Day.
Black lost by a little over 2 percent of the total votes cast. More incredibly, according to the latest statistics, an amazing 82 percent of the city's population is registered to vote.
However, revelations that led up to the election practically dictate that a complaint will be filed with the Office of the Texas Secretary of State. Apparently, everyone - including Election Administrator Toba Perez-Wright - has been aware that egregious voting irregularities have been going on in city elections for years.
As just the latest example, when this writer cast her ballot on Nov. 4, the person standing in line behind her explained to Election Judge Charlie Baker, "I live in Helotes, but I own property in Bandera County and have always voted here."
Additionally, a second election judge was purportedly dismissed from her duties although the reasons for the removal have not yet been clarified.
Adding fuel to the fire, in a 2008 court case, Jim Willet v. Thomas Cole Jr., MD, an election was contested after an appellate court found that illegal votes had been counted in an election.
Other council members include incumbent Jim Hannah, newcomers Charlotte Browning and Sheila Pumphrey, who is filling the unexpired term of the late Nita Jenkins. All of these candidates ran unopposed. Councilmen not up for election are Suzanne Schauman and Glenn Clark.
Winners in the Bandera Independent School District Board of Trustees election included Place 1 John Junker with 2,161 votes for a total of 60 percent of the total votes, and Place 2, Laurie Neff with 1,895 votes and 51 percentage of the total.
In the Medina ISD Board of Trustees election, Place 1 went to Dr. James Lindstrom, who garnered 402 votes for 65 percent of the total. Taking the Place 4 seat was Laura Ortiz with 331 votes - nearly 54 percent of the total. Finally, Jennifer Evans swept Place 5, capturing 427 votes, which represented 70 percent of the total votes cast.