Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tyler voters pick schools over jails

Tyler voters said "Yes" to schools, but "No" (for the third time in three years) to a new jail. The vote was closer than I'd expected - about 55-45 - but bottom line: No means No. Or, as the political committee created to oppose the jail was named, "What Part of 'No' Don't You Understand?"

Whatever else was going on in this election, we know it's not fears about the economy that drove voter decisions; a $125 million school bond on the same ballot overwhelmingly passed. Surprisingly, after the local newspaper boosted the project for weeks, there's not even a story on the Tyler Morning Telegraph website today about the jail bond's defeat. Until they get around to covering the story, see the anti-jail committee's list of reasons why Smith County voters rejected a new jail for the third year running. IMO they cover most of the bases.

Despite these embarrassing, perennial defeats, I wouldn't be surprised if the Smith County Commissioners Court proposed a new jail for the fourth year in a row in 2009. A better plan, though, would be to more ardently embrace jail diversion strategies and reduce their incarceration rate instead of trying to build their way out of the problem.


Anonymous said...

I don't imagine that the recent "$8-million Drug Bust" had anything to do with how close the vote was on the jail bond. Sigh.


Anonymous said...

Well, you'd think that with the amount of seized contraband steadily rising over the years, the every-3-months "Biggest Bust Ever!" would become rather embarrassing. When the Feds nab tons and tons and TONS of drugs, and the price keeps steady and the purity remains the same, it's kinda hard to say with a straight face that a 'dent' is being made in the supply.

Every time this happens, I am reminded of the old Soviet commissars in Moscow, and how they were lying through their teeth about the 'successes' of their Five-Year Plans with record harvests, while grocery stores for the common folk were empty and the people in the sticks were starving.

Sooner or later, the reality of the fiscal situation overtakes the propaganda. And we're getting there, right soon...