Is The Newest Miller Ad for Real or Political Payback? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/1/08

Is The Newest Miller Ad for Real or Political Payback?

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You hear the voice of a woman who is making serious accusations against Mayoral candidate Tom Martin claiming he pulled out a gun while doing her employee evaluation.   We want to know, is this newest campaign ad for real or is it political payback?

This is the latest ad from the David Miller camp. Sounds shocking if you're sitting in your living room, trying to decide which political candidate to vote for.  And you have to decide fact from fiction.  Incumbent David Miller says there's nothing made up in this ad  "I'd say the truth hurts if you're on the wrong end of the truth," said Mayor Miller.

But to mayoral candidate Tom Martin, the ad is a complete fantasy.  "There's nothing in my experience as a peace officer as an elected officer that bears any resemblance to what's portrayed in this thing (ad), said Martin.

Miller's camp says the information came from a deposition given by the timid and mysterious voice of the woman featured in the ad NewsChannel 11 has confirmed it is the voice of Sharlett Chowning, a former employee of the city of Lubbock. Five years ago, Interim City Manager Tommy Gonzales laid off Chowning as a result of a strained city budget. She filed a sexual discrimination case with U.S. Equal Employment Commission and filed a lawsuit against the city of Lubbock. She was eventually paid $400,000 as a settlement in this case.

Martin was serving on the council during this time, but told NewsChannel 11 Thursday, he recused himself from every discussion and the vote that would allow Gonzales to let Chowning go. Why would Martin recuse?

In the late 80's, Martin was Chowning's supervisor at the Lubbock police department and had suggested to the city manager back then to terminate Chowning for insubordination.  But the city manager wouldn't do it.  Martin says at no time was a gun ever present in this alleged incident more than 20 years ago.

Martin says this is Miller's way of smearing his reputation and his strong campaign just days before the vote.  "They feel they're in trouble," said Martin.

"We've got a lot of momentum," said Miller.  He says it was important for Chowning to share her story.  "She was never pressured or paid, no inducements given whatsoever but it has to be the right time for her and her family (to tell this story,)" said Miller.

Martin says he's not going to place an ad in response to Miller's. He says he's just going to stick to the real issues which deal with our taxes. Miller, however, says he's planning more ads in the coming days.

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