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SBISD candidate challenges standing of opponent's place on ballot.

Good morning, readers; we hope this update finds you well. As you may recall, Elizondo vs. SBISD is stuck in limbo as we await the United States Supreme Court's possible involvement in that matter. Limbo is a great place for SBISD to be.

We have heard from some of you over the last couple months asking about the upcoming SBISD Trustee election and have done our best to answer you directly by email. We're sorry that we are sometimes slow to respond, but please understand SaveSBISD is our passion project, not our full time jobs. Having said that, we will always get back to you, eventually.

We recently received information from a reader we thought rose to the level of public interest. It's not electorally determinative by any means, but indicates that we, and you, might want to start paying closer attention.

We are in receipt of correspondence that shows contention in the upcoming SBISD election beyond the typical my platform / your platform debate.

Matthew T. Cone, candidate for SBISD Board of Trustees, has formally challenged his opponent's standing on the ballot. Mr. Cone retained the law firm Baker Hostetler to handle this challenge.

Mr. Cone is running against David Slattery, among others, for a seat on the Board. Mr. Cone did not believe that Mr. Slattery had, in fact, lawfully filed his paperwork to run for office and therefore Mr. Slattery's place on the ballot "must be rejected because it does not comply with the requirements as to form, content, and procedure."

In a local election, putting one's name on the ballot is an extraordinarily simple process. All anybody has to do is:

  1. Complete a one page form with your name, address, date of birth, etc.,

  2. have that form notarized, and,

  3. submit the form to the jurisdiction to which you are seeking election.

In fact, the Cone campaign was thoughtful enough to hire a professional videography crew to produce a brief but riveting documentary of this process for Mr. Cone's own filing. Watch:

David Slattery was more workmanlike with his filing. He submitted his forms by fax to the district shortly before the window to file for office closed.

The candidates stylistic differences aside, filing for office is a purely administrative matter. Papers move through a bureaucracy, get checked and double checked, and get put in a file cabinet somewhere. There is an audit trail.

There may be some strategy played by candidates when determining when to file or even when to publicize a filing. Some advise to be the “first to file” - giving the candidate additional time to campaign; alternatively, some take an “at the final bell” approach for the very reasons you may think… campaigns are tiresome, expensive and, if the community knows you, do not need to drag on and on. But other than personal preference for strategy, normally no one really cares exactly when you file within the required time.

But, this is where things get interesting. Mr. Cone sought out Mr. Slattery's filings. Upon reviewing them, Mr. Cone had questions about the time & date stamp that the remitting fax machine affixed to the header of Mr. Slattery's transmission.

Matt Cone has easy access to the highest levels of the school district. Mr. Cone served as Trustee John Perez's campaign treasurer in his recent State-level campaign, and Mr. Perez has enthusiastically endorsed Mr. Cone's campaign for School Board.

If Matt Cone or John Perez had a question about a simple, administrative matter either could have picked up the telephone and gotten whatever answers he needed to clarify any concerns he had about Mr. Slattery’s documentation.

But Mr. Cone did not do that. Instead, Mr. Cone concluded that the SBISD administration had falsified records in collusion with his opponent.

Attorneys for Mr. Cone said:

Mr. Cone’s formal legal challenge to the integrity of the SBISD Administration of course triggered a response from SBISD’s own legal department. Counsel for SBISD clarified for Mr. Cone and his attorneys 1) how telephonic facsimile technology works, and 2) that Mr. Slattery’s application had, in fact, arrived in good order before the applicable deadline.

So, there it is. A simple question with an easy answer that could have been resolved in 15 minutes over email escalated to a game of lawyerball between one candidate for office and the jurisdiction he is trying to govern.

In the end, this was much ado about nothing. But, if this level of contention exists behind the scenes, Save SBISD is duty bound to watch closely and keep our readers updated.

If you would like to receive our future updates, follow us on Twitter here and subscribe here. You can always email us at

Complete copies of the legal documents are linked below.

Baker & SBISD letters
Download PDF • 5.18MB


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