Supporters of Beach City Mayor Billy Combs defended the Chambers County Pct. 4 commissioner candidate Thursday, after his opponent sent out flyers accusing him of a “conflict of interest” from his real estate business.
With early voting ending today, the local races are entering the final stretch before Election Day, and in the primary race for Chambers County Pct. 4 Commissioner, the heat has been turned up.
“I’m very sorry to be in a situation where I need to defend myself against false accusations and innuendos spread by my opponent,” Combs said.
“It has gotten to the point where morals and integrity have no room in politics and one can only win by bashing their opponent. A candidate running on their own record, accomplishments, and what they can do for the citizens is not newsworthy and doesn’t make the headlines. I was raised in a family with high Christian morals, and I believe honesty and integrity matter, so I chose to campaign on my own merits, and never even thought of bashing my opponent. I am proud of my record and want to represent all citizens of Pct. 4 as I have represented Beach City for the past eight years.”
Combs received an outpouring of support from community leaders over the allegations made on a flyer sent out by his opponent, former commissioner William “Bill” Wallace. The Beach City mayor has received endorsements from local community leaders and organizations like Baytown Mayor Stephen DonCarlos, Councilman Bob Hoskins and the Chambers County Officer’s Association.
“I wholeheartedly endorse Billy for this race,” DonCarlos said. “ I think he is a fine ethical man. I think he has done a fine job as mayor of Beach City. I think he’ll do a great job as commissioner for the folks in Chambers County.”
Baytown Councilman Chris Presley also had kind words for Combs.
“I have known Billy and his son, Adrian, in a professional manner for over 10 years,” Presley said. “They’ve always treated me fairly and honestly. I believe that Billy is a man of integrity.”
Beach City Alderman Doug Walker described Combs as an “above-board, honest man who wants to hear all sides of the issues.”
“I chalk up Mr. Wallace accusations as a dirty politics-type approach,” Walker said. “Wallace is throwing up a bunch of dirt and trying to get it to stick to the wall.”
Baytown Councilman Bob Hoskins said he supported Combs “100 percent,” and that in his dealings with Wallace, he felt the former commissioner wanted to distance himself from Baytown.
“He has done very little to work on any relationship with Baytown,” Hoskins said. “He simply doesn’t like Baytown. I have a very hard time supporting someone like that, who is that way toward this town.”
Repeated calls and emails to Wallace were not returned.
Combs said he found it “interesting” that Wallace chose to “campaign on an innuendo” about an alleged conflict of interest over his real estate business. Combs added that Wallace also invests in real estate.
“In fact, (Wallace) has employed me multiple times to help him buy and sell commercial and industrial properties,” Combs said. “He owns 15, non-homestead properties in Chambers County, has purchased and sold properties to Chambers County, and has sold at least one property to one of the industrial developers he has been so vocal against.”
Ian Steusloff, general counsel with the Texas Ethics Commission, said there were no existing laws saying a county commissioner who owned a real estate business would not likely have a conflict of interest.
“The commission campaign finance laws primarily address disclosure requirements and certain restrictions on spending for political contributions and political advertising laws,” he said. “They don’t get into a conflict of interest, at least not at a local level. But still, I am not aware of any.”
Combs highlighted his accomplishments such as participating in planning meetings with the Texas Department of Transportation and Houston-Galveston Area Council to find solutions for reducing traffic congestion and improving safety on Highway 146.
Combs also says he is the first mayor to bring Cedar Park Industrial owners to council so they, and citizens, could hear their development plans. He also said he negotiated with Cedar Port to clear trees at intersections along Fisher Road and FM 2354 for citizen’s safety, and for a greenbelt to separate industrial developments from neighborhoods. In addition, Combs is a member of the Rotary Club of Baytown.
“I am qualified, have the experience, leadership ability and integrity to be commissioner,” Combs said. “In a fair race, I would have no problem winning. My opponent knows this, and in desperation, he has resulted to smoke screens and fear tactics to keep (people) from talking about the issues and his qualifications. I have not spoken to one person Mr. Wallace has visited with that said he had anything to say about himself, the subject is always about me.”
Early voting ends today. Election Day is Tuesday.