Monthly Archives: April 2010

Early voting began this week for May 8 city elections

Early voting began this week for City Council elections across Rockwall County. Election day is Saturday, May 8.

In Rockwall, David White is challenging two-term City Council member Margo Nielsen. Bill Bricker is challenging first-term Council member Mark Russo. Cliff Sevier is unopposed.

In Fate, Richard Johns is competing against current Mayor Bill Broderick. Three Council members are unopposed: Steve Skipworth, Sheri Garber and Tammy Ryan.

In Royse City, since the terms of Russell Summers and Gary Gregory are expiring, Jim McLeroy and Brooks Williams are competing against each other for the Place 4 seat. Tom Crowley is running unopposed for Place 6. Incumbent Clay Ellis is unopposed for Place 2.

Early voting will continue through May 1, from 8 am – 5 pm at the locations below. Early  voting will continue May 3 and 4 from 7 am – 7 pm.

Early voting locations are the:

  1. Rockwall County Elections Office, 107 E. Kaufman, in Old Town Rockwall across from the Old Courthouse.
  2. Fate Community Center, 104 S. W.E. Crawford.
  3. Royse City City Hall at 305 N. Arch St.

On May 8, hours will be extended to 7 am – 7pm.

Locations will be the Fate Community Center, Royse City City Hall and in Rockwall at Utley Middle School, 1201 T L Townsend, next to the RISD stadium.

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Apparent murder-suicide in Fate Sunday night

The bodies of a woman and man were found dead in their home in Fate Sunday night in what a Rockwall County Sheriff’s Department spokesman said appears to have been a murder-suicide.

The bodies of Judith J. Johnson, 50, and Vincent Michael Oliver, 50, were found after a man at their same address called 911, said his wife had been unfaithful, requested police assistance and then hung up.

For more details about this breaking story, visit TheRockwallNews.com.

Low voter turn-out due to lack of information about candidates?

I have a new idea about why the voter turn-out was so low in the March 2 Rockwall County election (22 percent) and in the April 13 run-off election (9%).

Why did a whopping 78 percent and 91 percent, respectively, of our 45,134 registered voters not show up at the polls during either the early voting or on election day?

We’ve often heard about “voter apathy” and how citizens just don’t care about elections.

That may be partially true, but I think there’s another very important reason.

I’ve had several people tell me that since they just didn’t receive or see any information about the candidates and had no idea who to vote for, they just stayed home.

Think about that for a moment. How do people obtain their information nowadays?

If people aren’t reading newspapers much anymore, do voters see the candidates ads in the local weekly newspapers? Not many.

Do road and yard signs explain why voters should vote for a candidate? No.

Do direct mail pieces to home mailboxes work? No. Even direct mail experts will tell you that only about 5 percent of direct mail pieces are read – if they’re lucky!

Does door to door campaigning work? Maybe a little,  but how many people are ever home anymore and how many will actually answer the door to strangers?

Public speaking by candidates works, but few people show up to hear them speak because most folks are either too busy trying to provide for their families or are turned off constantly hearing about roads and taxes.

I believe that all candidates and especially Rockwall County candidates can increase voter turn-out and get more votes by putting their messages where people already are and make it easy for people to learn more.

That’s essentially the definition of marketing. Give people what they want and where they want it.

Research shows that over 70 percent of Americans now use the Internet regularly. YouTube is a worldwide phenomenon. Email is so much a way of life that mail delivery is way, way down over what it used to be.

If candidates would simply learn to use the low-cost Internet for campaigning, I believe we would see much higher voter turn-out and candidates would get far more votes.

Gov. Rick Perry easily won the GOP primary, partially because he used the Internet effectively. Instead of using road and yard signs, for example, he used email.

Besides having a simple but decent website, newly-elected Rockwall County Judge Jerry Hogan also used web videos on his website, advertised on TheRockwallNews.com and regularly made comments on his Facebook page.

It will be interesting to see which, if any, of the city election candidates will effectively use the Internet to get elected in the May 13 election.

Perhaps we’ll go interview some more people who didn’t vote and run a news story about why they didn’t in TheRockwallNews.com.

Any volunteers to comment?

Political candidates losing votes by not effectively using Internet to campaign

Has anyone seen even one email from a local political campaign during this election season telling you why you should vote for a Rockwall County candidate?

Not me.

How about one even just urging you to vote?

Not me.

Considering I’m active politically and the publisher of one of the County’s leading news providers, I’m shocked that I have not yet seen even one email from a candidate.

I’ve seen a few posts from candidates on Facebook  and Twitter. That’s good. But many people still don’t use those either of them, plus entries are only brief and not always easy to find amongst the clutter of games like Farmville and other posts about what somebody had to eat that day.

Considering that over 70 percent of all Americans regularly use the web and it’s now a way a life, I ask why candidates don’t use simple emails, email newsletters, videos, websites and more to campaign?

After all, they’re practically free to use.

Instead, most candidates still are spending thousands of dollars on yard and road signs which most everybody hates that rarely even has a message on it other than a name announcing that someone is running.

I just don’t get it. Few candidates even have a decent website.

What I do know is that political candidates are losing votes by not effectively using the Internet.

One reason that Gov. Rick Perry easily won the GOP Primary for Governor, for example, is that his campaign decided to use the Internet effectively and forget about signs. All expensive signs do is announce candidacies anyway.

Another old school campaign tool is direct mail. How many of us really read the deluge of junk mail we receive? Few is the answer. Businesses that advertise using direct mail know that they’re lucky if they get even a 5% return of coupon mailers. But Rockwall County candidates continue to use costly four-color mailers rather than basically free email newsletters.

I guess campaigns just didn’t want or didn’t think to do the work to compile email lists.

I’d recommend that future candidates begin to learn to use the Internet when they campaign to tell voters why they should vote for them and urge people to vote.

Maybe then we’d also have more than a 22 percent turn-out rate, such as we just had in the County elections, or a 9 percent turn-out as we had in the County run-off election.

After complaint, conservative Heritage Alliance raises their grade of Fowler

I did some investigating last week to learn why and how the conservative religious/political Heritage Alliance graded Rockwall County run-off election candidates Jerry Hogan and Nancy Beaty with A grades, Kevin Fowler with an F and Judges Larry Holloway and David Karr with Cs.

What I learned concerned me and caused me to complain to Heritage about what I believed was an unfair grading system – especially for Kevin Fowler.

This morning Johanna Runnels contacted me and said – after consultation over the weekend – they agreed with my arguments and raised Fowler’s grade from an F to a D, but lowered Holloway’s and Karr’s grades to Ds.

Sorry, Judges!

My complaint had primarily been that Fowler was getting a raw deal, because although he had completed 12 or their 18 questions virtually the same as  Hogan did, they were failing Kevin for not answering six thought questions within only a day or two’s time, when the Judges were awarded C grades after not answering even one single question on their questionnaire.

Johanna told me that other factors were also considered in their grading system – such as campaign contributors and how liberal their supporters are – but she admitted they gave the Judges C grades last week without any info  about them.

She added that had Fowler answered the remaining six questions as conservatively as he did the first 12 then he would have received a much higher grade. But because some of his supporters are considered pretty liberal, I’m guessing it wouldn’t have been higher than a B anyway.

Kevin explained to me that he wanted to complete the questions but when he tried to finish, the website wouldn’t allow him to do so because it said the deadline had passed. Problem is he only had two days to finish, and they didn’t tell him so when they asked him to complete it.

While I may not be voting for Kevin, I still believe he deserves a fair grade and not rumors that conservatives gave him a F!