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City election finally over

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

As it is said, "It ain't over till it's over" - and for city voters, the 2014 mayoral election is finally over.
A trial to determine whether voting irregularities had taken place during last fall's election had been set set for the afternoon of Thursday, April 9, in Bandera County's 198th District Court. To contest the election, candidate Brian Black, filed a lawsuit against John Hegemier, who had won the election by six votes. After a recount, conducted just days after the election, resulted in the same vote count, Black filed litigation contesting the election.
However, the seeds for Black's withdrawal of the lawsuit were sewn during a telephone conference earlier last week that had included Black, Hegemier and Senior District Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield of Williamson County. Stubblefield had been assigned to the case by Administrative Judge Stephen Ables.
During the conference, Black indicated he planned to withdraw his motion to contest the election. He formally filed that motion in District Court on Wednesday, April 8.
Stubblefield granted Black's motion with alacrity. Additionally, at Black's request, the judge dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning Black cannot refile the lawsuit against Hegemier. In the words of District Clerk Tammy Kneuper, "The case is all gone."
On March 30, Hegemier, defending himself pro se, filed a request for disclosure against Black. Court records indicate that Black had failed to comply with Hegemier's request, which precipitated the end of litigation.
For his part, Hegemier was understandably relieved that the case had been dismissed. "I'm glad it's over and now the city can move forward." He looks forward to working with facilitator Gene Hartman with the construction of a mixed-use building on Main Street and with property owner Steve Ball to jumpstart re-construction of Bandera's legendary dancehall The Cabaret.
Black, meanwhile, has indicated he is biding his time until he can re-enter municipal politics. He noted, "I dropped the lawsuit because, at this point, I feel [wife] Charlotte (Browning-Black) is doing a fantastic job on city council," Black said. He added, "I know that Sheila Pumphrey's council seat will be open in November. I have decided to run for council at that time and then for the mayor's office in 2016."