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Search for answers over legal fallout in District 3 race

Posted at 10:38 PM, Nov 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-20 23:38:39-05

Since the latest developments in the race for the city council District 3 seat, KRIS 6 News has been asking the city secretary’s office for answers. Can Roland Barrera be removed from the runoff ballot for failing to file his personal financial statement by the September deadline?

Until Tuesday’s drawing to determine the order of candidates on the ballot, we received little to no information. So, we went to Mayor Joe McComb for answers. However, he believes the wait for answers isn’t because of a lack of transparency on the part of city staff.

Our search for clarification started on Friday, when we learned that a concerned citizen wrote the city attorney, asking to have Barrera removed from the ballot. After two unreturned phone calls, a KRIS 6 new crews went to Rebecca Huerta’s office. After waiting nearly an hour, she told us that it was up to the city attorney, Miles Risley, whether or not Barrera was disqualified.

We then followed up with Risley and Huerta on Monday. Those messages were not returned. That brought us to Tuesday’s developments, when the attorney for Eric Cantu, Barrera’s opponent, notified the city that he filed for an injunction to have Barrera removed from the ballot. Risley still had no comment, but Huerta told us that she decided to go through with the ballot drawing after consulting with Risley.

“He advised that I could proceed with the drawing, which is what I did,” Huerta said.

Mayor Joe McComb says the lack of answers from the city may not be a matter of transparency but a matter of the law, saying the disqualification of a candidate was always beyond Huerta’s control.

‘It’s not up to the city secretary to determine if what the allegation is is factual or non-factual,” McComb said. “If they think they’ve violated the law, then that needs to go to court.”

Now the court will decide on the matter. Cantu’s attorney said that a hearing is scheduled on Monday. However, McComb says, as he understands it, Barrera’s failure to file paperwork on time shouldn’t keep him off the ballot.

“That’s not a disqualifer to be a candidate for public office.”

If the court hearing takes place on Monday as scheduled, McComb says that city attorney Miles Risley will be there to make sure the city follows proper procedures and, of course, any decision by a judge.