Friday, August 15, 2008

Smith County voters ask commissioners, "What part of 'no' don't you understand?"

In East Texas, the "What part of 'No' don't you understand?" Committee formed this week to oppose Smith County jail bonds for the third year in a row. Tyler attorney Jeff Weinstein is the PAC treasurer and another lawyer, Ken Good, produced much of the research on the group's new website. Here's the announcement of the committee's launch.

The voters of Smith County have voted against three separate bond proposals to build a new jail. In 2006, the voters defeated two proposals. In 2007, the voters defeated another proposal. For some reason the Commissioners Court has yet to get the message. The voters of Smith County do not want to build a jail. They have said no to a remote jail. They have said no to a downtown jail that was not integrated with the rest of the county’s facilities and they have said no to a downtown jail that was integrated.

At every turn the Commissioners Court has proven that it is deaf to the wishes of the public. The Commissioners Court has been focused on its own personal agenda and not what the public wanted. This was prominently on display when the Commissioners Court decided to give itself a 40% raise over three years after the first bond election failed. As the public uproar against the raises rose louder and louder, the Commissioners Court dug in their heels and refused to listen. This is the moment we no longer trusted this group of commissioners. ...

This committee was born out of a complete frustration with this Commissioners Court. It appears that they do not trust the public and we know that we do not trust this commissioners court. It is time for us to take back our County Government. It is time to clean house. It is time to elect people who will listen to the voters and not develop secret plans behind our backs. We say enough is enough. We say “What part of NO don’t you understand?” The Commissioners Court has had its say in this election. It is now time for the citizens to respond.

They've even created a blog as part of the site, with an RSS feed and everything!

The last Smith County jail bonds went down by a 68-32 margin. This time they're asking for less money for a smaller project, so that might help proponents a little, but factors mitigating in favor of the opposition are more compelling - particularly the likelihood of a high turnout in a presidential election and the school district putting $125K in bonds on the same ballot.

I'd earlier predicted Smith County is headed for a jail bond rejection hat trick, and nothing I've seen since has convinced me voters will buy into this jail after they've rejected three versions before it. Grits' prediction: Somewhere between 60% and 2/3 of Smith County voters will reject the jail bonds. Again. And then commissioners will put it on the ballot again next year.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why isn't one asking where the money to maintain the current jail building has gone? The building was built in the 70's and is falling apart. Why spend millions of dollars on a new building that won't be maintained. It's not just the commissioners that need to go. we need a new sheriff, DA and at least one judge needs to be replaced. The current DA just wants to lock up as many people as possible. Guilt or innocence doesn't matter. He will lie, withhold evidence or do whatever it takes to lock someone up. He's a sadistic sociopath. He is just like his mentor, former DA and current judge Jack Skeen, Jr. Until we get some honest people in office I won't be voting for any bond proposal.

A Jeffersonian said...

This would all be hilarious if it were not so sad. All this wasteful tilting at windmills...

Anonymous said...

I think an audit of the money spent for maintenance on the jail facilities for the last 30 years versus the maintenanc work actually completed would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

If the council is deaf to a NO, then they need to be replaced. They are elected after all. get out and vote for people that pay attention.

A Jeffersonian said...

Had the Commissioners court taken the action they should have, we would not even be talking about this now. The court has had opportunity to fund several alternative programs which we already know will work, this would all be just a bad memory.

A Jeffersonian said...

Had the Commissioners court taken the action they should have, we would not even be talking about this now. The court has had opportunity to fund several alternative programs which we already know will work, this would all be just a bad memory.