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Reports out for BISD hopefuls

Candidates report contributions, expenditures

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Posted: Saturday, October 15, 2016 10:52 pm

The candidates for the Brownsville Independent School District Board of Trustees report having received nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions and spending just shy of $96,000 in their efforts to get elected to the board.

The election takes place as part of the Nov. 8 general election in which voters will choose the nation’s next president. BISD voters will choose trustees to fill four vacant seats on the board of trustees. All four incumbents are running.

Here is a rundown of the candidates, with contributions, major contributors and expenses listed for each. The information is contained in filings required 30 days before the election and posted on the BISD website. Two of the 19 candidates had not filed the report as of 5 p.m. Thursday. Candidates are listed in the order they appear on the ballot:

Position 3

>> Jorge Valdez lists total political contributions of $3,173. of which $1,948 was in contributions of less than $50. Expenditures totaled $3,154 for photography, push-card printing expenses and other campaign expenses. Valdez reported a $500 contribution from Larry M. Polsky of South Padre Island, contributions of $250 each from Dr. Carlos Barba of Brownsville and Polsky, two $75 contributions from Happy Thomas of Brownsville, and one in that amount from Jorge Kowalski. Expenses included printing costs $XXXX for push cards.

>> Herman Otis Powers, the incumbent, reported total contributions of $12,240, including $4,740 in donations less than $50. He reported expenses of $11,823 and a balance of $1,060. He reported two contributions of $1,000 each from BISD attorney Baltazar Salazar and one from his wife, Sandra Powers, a BISD employee, for $4,000. Brownsville attorneys Dino Esparza and John Shergold contributed $500 each.

>> Josette A. Cruz reported no contributions and no expenses.

>> Argelia Miller reported no contributions, expenses of $351 and an outstanding loan balance of $2,649.

>> Phillip T. Cowen reported total contributions of $11,500 and $1,025 in amounts less than $50. He reported expenses of $15,363, a loan of $4,000 and $105.93 in funds maintained at the end of the reporting period. He reported two $5,000 contributions from John Ford Cowen in addition to a $1,000 donation from Salazar, the board attorney. Of his expenses, $9,350 was to the Breeden McCumber agency.

Position 5

>> Laura Perez-Reyes reported total contributions of $20,950, expenditures of $16,882 and a balance of $4,068 maintained at the end of the reporting period. Contributions included $2,300 from Jaime Escobedo of American Surveillance, the brother of former board president Enrique Escobedo, $2,000 each from Salazar and Claudio Antonio Reyes of Brownsville, $1,500 from Brownsville bail bondsman Javier Rivera, $1,000 from Cameron County Court-at-Law Judge David Gonzalez III, and numerous contributions ranging from $100 to $500 each.

>> Erasmo Castro reported $2,220 in contributions and $2,320 in expenditures. He reported contributions of $200  from Lesley Manautou of Brownsville, of $100 from Brownsville Scrap Metal and the Luis V. Saenz campaign, and $80 from Angelita and Martin Leal.

>> Laura Castro had not filed a report as of Thursday.

>> Catalina Presas-Garcia, the incumbent, reported $3,250 in contributions, $620 in amounts less than $50. She reported $3,053 in expenditures, $659 in amounts smaller than $100 and a balance at the end of the reporting period of $94.79. She reported contributions of $1,000 from Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson LLP, the delinquent tax collection firm, and from Rene Oliveira, the state representative from Brownsville. She also reported $500 contributions from Shergold and Esparza & Garza LLP in Brownsville.

Position 6

>> Roberto Uresti reported zero contributions and zero expenditures.

>> Kent Whittemore, a retired BISD employee, reported zero contributions, expenditures of $32,425 and a balance of $4,575. He reported a loan of $37,000 to himself. Expenses included $24,000 to Pink Ape Media, $1,500 to Elite Promotions for advertising, and $700 to Kimberly Dale for phone banking.

>> Rhonda Cavazos had not filed a report as of Thursday.

>> Minerva M. Peña, the incumbent, reported a $1,019 contribution from herself, $2,403 in expenditures and $1,384 in outstanding loans. Expenses expected to be repaid from personal funds included $1,159 to Solice for political signs, $719 to Salazar for paid political advertising and $225 to the El Valle Noticias website for web advertising.

>> Anna E. Hernandez-Oquin reported contributions of $15,808 and an equal amount of expenditures for political advertising.

Position 7

>> Rigoberto Bocanegra reported $1,250 in contributions, $1,795 in pledged contributions and $3,557 in expenditures. Contributions included $750 from Shergold and $500 from Brownsville lawyer Alex Begum. Reported expenditures totaled $1,771 to The Grafix Spot in Brownsville.

>> Jose Hector Chirinos, the incumbent, reported $1,800 in contributions, $1,450 in expenditures and a balance of $350. Contributions included $1,500 from Salazar and $300 from Juan J. Sanchez of Southwest Key. Expenditures were $1,450 to Solice of Brownsville for advertising.

>> Norberto Rangel reported no contributions and $365 in expenditures from personal funds: $324 to The Grafix Spot and $40 to the Home Depot.

>> Sylvia Perez Atkinson reported $21,869 in total contributions, $3,032 in amounts less than $50. Expenditures totaled $30,049. She reported a balance of $4,000 and outstanding loans of $4,180. Contributions included $1,000 each from Gilberto Hinojosa and Associates, Deborah Montoya, Jennifer Lainez Trucking, Samuel Guerrero of Brownsville and Dr. Jose Luis Casteñeda of Brownsville; $400 from Mr. and Mrs. Renato Cardenas and $600 from Mr. and Mrs. Carlos Atkinson. The filing also lists a $1,500 contribution from Salazar, an in-kind contribution of $1,400 from the Texas Democratic Party and a similar one from Cynthia Hinojosa of Brownsville for $900 for voter file access.

>> Orlando C. Treviño listed $820 in total contributions and expenditure of that same amount to Solice of Brownsville for advertising signs.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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