Horseshoe Bay mayoral candidates Donald Beeman and Elsie Thurman are in a heated race to serve as the city’s fourth-ever mayor. Staff/courtesy photos
Horseshoe Bay mayoral candidate Donald Beeman is accusing city officials of sending a letter to residents, along with other city-related mail, that contained “disparaging and defaming misinformation” about his campaign. Beeman is running against Mayor Pro-Tem Elsie Thurman to replace Mayor Cynthia Clinesmith, who is not running for re-election due to term limits.
The letter, sent after a town hall on Sept. 13, includes accusations that Beeman has deployed unlawful campaign signs, made illegal campaign promises, and never attended the Horseshoe Bay Citizens Academy.
“They have no credibility because they won’t sign it and won’t put a name on it,” Beeman told DailyTrib.com in reference to the letter’s author. “They’re a gutless coward.”
Beeman responded to the letter with a full-page ad in a Horseshoe Bay newspaper on Sept. 28 with the headline: “My Reputation is Above Reproach.”
“The vicious anonymous letter contains a number of unfounded allegations and misinformation with the clear and sole purpose of damaging my character and reputation,” the ad read. “I received quite a number of phone calls over the last few days from residents who are outraged at the audacity this individual had to print and mail these defaming comments.”
Beeman explained his lack of attendance at the city’s Citizens Academy, a program designed to educate residents on the inner workings of Horseshoe Bay government through visits to city facilities.
“I’ve been to all of these facilities through the years of being here, but as far as just going to a class in a school room, locker room deal to get your little certificate, no, I have not, but I could teach the class,” he told DailyTrib.com.
The candidate also defended the legality of his campaign signs. The letter claimed Beeman didn’t have the disclosures he was supposed to have listed on the bottom of the sign, among other things.
“We’re totally legal,” he said. “We have both TxDOT and political statements on both. All of our banners and our yard signs have it, too.”
Another of the letter’s claims that Beeman denied was that he would place a moratorium on building within the city.
“What we do need to put a moratorium on is annexation,” he said. “That’s exactly what I said. … They twisted that and flipped it to put a moratorium on people that have the rights.”
In the Sept. 28 advertisement, Beeman claimed Clinesmith was responsible for the letter.
“The City of HSB was contacted and asked directly if this letter came from the City and the communications department informed that ‘the letter did not come from the city, it was sent by the Mayor,’” reads the advertisement.
Clinesmith denied those allegations, saying the misunderstanding was due to miscommunication on a call between Communications Director Dan Herron and the Beeman campaign.
“In that ad, he said the communications director had said ‘the mayor mailed it out’, but that’s not really true,” she said. “(Herron) immediately called them back and said he misunderstood what they were talking about in terms of mailings. In terms of that letter, the city didn’t mail it, the mayor didn’t mail it, nobody in the city mailed it. (Beeman) knew very clearly within 10 minutes, but the following week, he decided to send that (advertisement) anyway.”
Thurman, who is the incumbent mayor pro-tem, also denied having anything to do with the letter.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” she told DailyTrib.com.
Thurman said the letter opposed her core values as a candidate.
“I want everything to be positive,” she said. “This is a community of happy people that want to get along with each other. That’s the kind of leadership that I want to present. I don’t want neighbors to be mad at each other. I want them to be supportive of each other because that’s the kind of community we have.”
An emergency notification sent out by Horseshoe Bay City Manager Jeff Koska on Sept. 28 echoed comments made by Clinesmith and Thurman.
“After researching the letter in question, the resident who inquired about the letter was called by the Communications Director and told, ‘The letter did not come from the City, Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem or City Council,’” Koska said. “The resident then asked the city to come to a campaign meeting to refute the letter but was told the City does not engage in political activism.”
A forum between the two mayoral candidates is at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at Quail Point Lodge, 107 Twilight Lane.