Mailer in Current Campaign Draws Criticism From Former Councilman

Published 06/19 2014 11:47PM

Updated 06/19 2014 11:57PM

Griffith campaign mailer with the 34th St. statement highlighted.
Griffith campaign mailer with the 34th St. statement highlighted.
LUBBOCK, TX -- Former City Councilman Paul R. Beane issued a written statement Thursday about something he called “untrue information” in the ongoing runoff for City Council District 3 between Jeff Griffith and Deanne Clark. Neither candidate earned more than 50 percent of the vote in the May 10 election – creating the need for a June 21 runoff election.

Last week Griffith sent a mailer saying Clark is part of the “against everything” crowd that “opposed the 34th Street reconstruction bond.”

Clark denied the allegation, and her campaign manager, Mikel Ward, called it a “bold faced lie” in a written statement.

In a sense, the allegation in Griffith’s mailer is more about Ward than Clark. Ward has led a taxpayer watchdog group that on many occasions over the years opposed higher taxes and more municipal spending – thus the claim of being “against everything.” But specifically, did Clark, Ward, or Ward’s taxpayer watchdog group oppose the 2009 bond election for 34th Street?

“Ms. Ward was an active supporter of the 34th Street project,” Beane’s statement said. “I appointed Mikel Ward to the Bond Oversight Committee.”

Ward did oppose taxpayer debt for splash pads and a soccer complex, but those items were separate from 34th Street on the ballot.

Griffith defends the mailer, saying, “I stand by that.”

“I’m not saying Ms. Clark was [against 34th Street]. I’ve never said that,” Griffith explained.

“I’m explaining that the position is we need to go forward, not backward,” Griffith said. “I’m not knocking Ms. Clark at all.”

Griffith said he had proof to back up the claims on his mailer – including the specific claim that Clark is part of a “crowd” that opposed 34th. But the proof wasn’t handy at the time, he said, because he was at an event when reached by cell phone for comment.

Beane’s statement said, “Mr. Griffith has been informed of the facts yet he refuses to apologize for the mistake.”

In his statements by phone Griffith raised one more issue. He said that Clark had accused him of waging a war on women during a radio interview.

“When she said I declared war on women, I’d love for you to qualify that,” Griffith said. “Windy Sitton, our only female mayor, is my campaign treasurer.”

Ward said Clark was joking about a war on women.

“It was a joke. It was silly. It was not serious at all,” Ward said.

The election is Saturday (June 21). Only residents of District 3 are allowed vote – regardless of having voted or not voted in the May 10 election.

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