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Friday, April 18, 2008

Maher Maso: Leads scandal plagued Matt Lafata in Frisco Mayoral Race

Matt Lafata has been getting the attention in the Frisco Mayoral Election; sadly for Lafata, it's been pretty negative.

To my embarrassment, I haven't really talked about the man Lafata is trying to beat: Former City Council Member, Former Mayor Pro Tem Maher Maso. Maso is an incredibly educated man, energetic, has taken over 350 hours of additional training and courses in Government on top of his Bachelors and Masters degrees.

But he's no Ivory Tower Prince either. He's a hands-on businessman and has been responsible for a great deal of Frisco's success as it grew from a sleepy town of 10,000 or so in the late 1990's to a vibrant City with over 100,000 residents. He ran unopposed in his last election but Frisco is a term-limited City and Maso has been out of office and out of the limelight.

That didn't mean he didn't stopped working to advance Frisco, just that it was behind the scenes.
And since he declared, Maso has been garnering up just about every endorsement of value, including that of the Former Frisco Mayors, all the current City Council Members (except Lafata and one other), the Collin County Association of Realtors......the list just goes on and on.

The Frisco City Election Laws require a sitting official to resign when he declares for a new office. Lafata didn't, and when challenged on it, he responded with a weak paragraph on a Forum of how he owed it to the citizens to stay on.

Ironically, it was Maso who came to his defense and in an interesting page long explanation, citing City Laws, but also new State laws, the State Attorney General's mixed interpretation of the new laws, and what Lafata's options were under this mountain of conflicting regulation, made the case that Lafata did not have to step down from the City Council under current conditions.

This was one of the first public incidents where Maso and Lafata wrote in the same forum on the same subject from their base of knowledge on government.

Lafata came out looking small, ignorant and simplistic. Imagine needing your opponent to justify you still being able to sit on City Council. Being completely helpless beyond bluster to defend yourself. And a lesser man than Maher Maso would just have stood back and let Matt Lafata twist in the wind. But that's not Maher Maso.

Lafata's frequent gaffs, showing a superficial understanding of Frisco and Texas Government, despite his years on the City Council and some of his "uneducated" statements during the Mayoral Debates which had even Maso supporters cringing in pity, underscored this race:
It was one of Substance versus Style, Maso being the substance.

Under normal circumstances, Maso could have gone on vacation and still won with 90% of the vote. But Frisco is not a typical City. Over 40,000 new residents had moved to Frisco since Maso was term-limited out. They simply never heard of him.

Meanwhile Lafata, of Matt Lafata Marketing, has been shrewdly marketing himself to new and old residents alike. He came out with "non-partisan, informational" weekly newsletters he mass emailed that, when mentioning positive city government accomplishments, always linked Lafata by implication and insinuation as being a leading player.

In fact, in his ENTIRE time on the City Council, Lafata has NEVER had one project that he conceived, convinced, implemented and saw to completion. NOT ONE. All the other Council Members had up to 5 per year, including Maso when he was on the Council.

Charming in person, a master promoter of himself, Lafata had positioned himself perfectly and what should be a slam-dunk for Maso based on accomplishments, vision, and qualifications alone is suddenly a close race.

But then the negative stories about Lafata started coming out. The "enhancements" and deliberate omissions of fact concerning his ever-changing personal and professional resumes. The ethical violations The allegations of personal behavior so egregious that even Bill Clinton would have been impeached, were they about him.

But all this stayed on local Forums. People down here, I've learned, don't like to "get involved" unless it's behind an anonymous avatar on a Forum. They whisper first hand accounts of outrageous things, but ask them to stand up and be counted? It doesn't happen. And what's even more troubling is that the leading Forum's moderators were routinely deleting links to outside articles critical of Lafata, editing posts, and even banning members who were "too pro-Maso".

Until recently. Maybe too recently, and that's what makes this a nail-biter. Former Council Member Tracie Reveal Shipman filed an Official Ethics Complaint against Lafata with the City. She wrote an article about it on That was 9 days ago. Today it made the front page of the local paper which is a weekly. Hats off to reporter Ann Marie Shambaugh for writing it.

I also have first hand knowledge of, and have read a STATE Ethics Complaint being prepared against Lafata, accusing him of far worse than the City Ethics Complaint. And it includes lots of documentation.

But will the Dallas Morning News pick it up? They had the information on the City Ethics Complaint 9 days ago too. But the "reporter" Shipman contacted "decided" that it didn't have merit. Is he an attorney or a so-called reporter? His job is to report the news, which the filing of an Official, recorded Ethics Complaint is; not to judge it. So Ms Shambaugh scooped him.

Will the Dallas Morning News try to play catch-up? Or will they ignore Frisco, reporting only their typical Frisco "happy" news stories or the scandal of a Frisco teacher getting a student a tattoo. That rated two articles!

If this were the Dallas City Council, if someone took a pen home from work they would dedicate 3 pages to it. Frisco has over 100,000 residents now and should not be ignored.

And where are the local TV "investigative" reporters? Not in Frisco.

The question isn't who, objectively, is far and above the superior candidate: that's Maher Maso.

The question is did the Maso Campaign take his obvious superiority and run too soft a campaign up until now? Will they be able to recover from that? Can they get the story of Maher Maso out to those 40,000 new residents in time and in a way which will make a difference?

The question is will the FACTS on both Matt Lafata and Maher Maso get out to enough of the voting citizens in Frisco in time to make the next Mayor of Frisco be one of substance, or of style?

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1 comment:

Sara Thacker said...

Thanks for the info. You're right, the Dallas Morning News needs to pick this up.

Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"