EDITORIAL: Publisher admits to criminal past; calls candidate despicable

This if from the publisher of Ellis County Citizen, Dave Vance.

Frank Sanchez and his campaign are despicable. I won't claim to be a victim because I signed up for this job. However, I will hold our elected officials and candidates for public office accountable.

I had planned to stay out of the race for Ellis County Commissioner Precinct 3 because I am/was friends with both candidates: the incumbent Paul Perry and challenger Frank Sanchez.

However, the personal attacks by Sanchez's campaign toward me leave me no option rather than to weigh in personally. This is something I had promised not to do until the personal attacks against me began.

Sanchez stepped off on the wrong foot immediately during his campaign when he refused to answer the candidate questionnaire and confronted me stating he would not participate. He threatened our friendship and being good neighbors over the questionnaire. He confronted me with this at my normal daytime job, putting my job at risk.

His diatribe mentioned that we had been good neighbors and that if I wanted it to remain that way, I shouldn't have sent the questionnaire.

The questionnaire my online newspaper sent, compiled by numerous volunteers, asked two questions that seemed to set Sanchez off. One was about any past financial problems within the past 10 years. The other was about property ownership. The Waxahachie Daily Light followed up later with the same question about financials, but without the 10-year limitation.

I will make this clear, which can be verified with the candidate questionnaires published. We asked EVERY candidate running for commissioner about property ownership. We also asked EVERY candidate running for a county position about their past financial difficulties.

I made Sanchez's confrontation with me public and that was the end of it for me, so I thought. My goal was to set the boundaries. That boundary was set, but the personal attacks from his campaign moved to online.

Not a single candidate raised issue except for Sanchez.

The questions weren't intended to judge a candidate about past problems, but rather how the candidates handled those problems and how they overcame them. Some of our currently elected officials have had past financial problems. They answered honestly and honorably.

Sanchez refused to answer. Not only did Sanchez refuse, some of his family members, campaign advisors and staunch supporters began attacking me by bombarding my news page with posts about my criminal history.

That's okay, I can handle it. However, those attacks don't come without consequences. I am about the truth and revealing the truth. I will begin with my truth.

I'm an admitted felon, not a convicted felon, but an admitted felon. I stole from a company 23 years ago when I was 17 years old. I worked at Toys R Us and stole from them. I admitted to it then and I admit to it now. I took deferred adjudication for my crime.

There was no excuse but I will never hide from my past mistakes. I own up to my mistakes. I have never hid from this and I have never taken the legal action to hide the deferred adjudication, which is an option. I will never take the option to hide my mistake; I own up to what I did and I will let it remain public record.

Frank's niece, campaign advisor and admitted Democrat, decided to begin posting my problem from 23 years ago on my news page. So did a number of Sanchez's other friends and family members.

I and my volunteer staff banned them. I'm not the one running for public office and I will not tolerate a candidate running for office to hijack a media page to harass me or anyone on the staff to strongarm the media into backing off.

However, it's funny that Sanchez's clan attacked me for asking legitimate questions yet they turn around and make personal attacks to distract from Sanchez himself.

Residents dug into Sanchez's past. They uncovered questionable financial problems, hence Sanchez's anger at the initial questionnaire we sent.

I had no problems with Sanchez prior to the election. I was friends with him and I am neighbors with some of his family members.

I will be friends with Sanchez after the election, providing he issues an apology for what his campaign has done. I have nothing against his family members whom I have had friendships with.

I just want to leave you with this; do you really want an elected official representing you who leaves his clan to harass and strongarm you if you disagree or do you want an elected official who will stand up for you even if he disagrees with you?

Will Sanchez admit to his past mistakes, be a man and own up to them or will he continue allowing his clan to harass, intimidate and strongarm people who ask questions? Will this continue if Sanchez is elected?

I won't be holding my breath for Sanchez's apology. Hopefully I will be surprised.

— Dave Vance