Collin County Politics: 2nd Annual Awards Edition

December 27, 2022

It’s that time of year again, faithful readers! Add this column to the plethora of year-end lists as I discuss the good and the bad in local politics for 2022. As always, I can only comment on information received from other warriors for democracy, so if you have something you want me to mention, you must report it. Here’s to a positive and productive new year!

Best Performance in an Elected Role: Julie Holmer and Gere Feltus (tie)

Plano City Council member Julie Holmer was such a bright light on council that even dyed-in-the-wool Republicans had positive things to say about her! She reached out and talked with constituents, did her homework, and tried to find good solutions to difficult problems. In contrast to almost all of her fellow council members, Holmer kept an open mind and actually listened to those who needed help, even those with whom she disagreed, and that matters to how people view the council. If only all city council members would do that!

McKinney City Council member Dr. Gere Feltus seemed to be settling into her role on council and it showed. As the only woman and person of color on the council, she’s uniquely positioned to understand issues her white male colleagues do not. Dr. Feltus spoke out on issues of diversity and privilege, reminding her fellow council members that not everyone has the same experiences they do. She also refused to be silent, even when the going got tough. This was particularly evident during the endless redistricting discussions when the Feckless Four were determined to construct the city map in a way that marginalized people of color and of lower income. Dr. Feltus refused to let them bulldoze her and, in so doing, managed to get a map that, while imperfect, isn’t as bad as it could’ve been. And although she shouldn’t have to, she managed to be assertive while still being reasonable and gracious. Several of her fellow council members need to take lessons!

Worst Performance in a New Role: Marvin Lowe

Let me be frank. Frisco School Board trustee Marvin Lowe is an embarrassment. He campaigned by appealing to ignorance and fear (by saying he was anti-CRT in schools) and only won because it was a 3-way race. If all the Democrats in Frisco had actually gotten off their behinds and voted for the only Democrat in the race, I wouldn’t be forced to listen to and write about this guy but here we are. Lowe refused to show up to feel-good events for the schools choosing instead to nap through boring votes. When he decides to engage, he wastes everyone’s time for outrage theatre – banned books, bathroom use for transgender students –and consistently bullies staff members. Lowe leverages his Christianity in order to look righteous but few are buying his act. It’s so bad that the entire audience laughed when he claimed to care about transgender students. Let’s hope he’s a one-termer.

What Were You Thinking Award: Democrats Who Stayed Home During Municipal Elections

Although many of us have been preaching about the importance of municipal elections for years, our voter turnout rates for city council and school board races are still abysmal. This is enraging and appalling because, if we could get the Democratic turnout for municipals that we got for mid-terms, we could be winning many of these races! Republican voters don’t turn out for these elections either, so this is our chance. If we get a lot more Democrats out to vote, we could be electing more officials who will fight for our rights and generate quality solutions instead of being saddled with the extremists who currently occupy seats on every elected body in the county. Come on, Democrats! We can do this!! Show up to vote in May!!

Most Disruptive School Board Meetings: Almost All of Them

Before 2020, school boards weren’t elected bodies we monitored extensively because nothing much was going on. Hoo-boy, has that ever changed! With the advent of Covid and with the evil machinations of the treasonous assholes in the White House, school boards turned into battlegrounds. Last year, rightwing extremists flooded school board meetings with anti-mask demands. This year, parents are still showing up, sometimes stretching the meetings into hours-long endurance fests for both reasonable and unreasonable issues.

Richardson School Board lost their popular superintendent over constant parent bullying. Allen School Board battled the parents of fragile students, often turning a blind eye and a cold heart to their needs. Most recently, they bungled the closing of several schools, leading one trustee to resign during a meeting. Frisco School Board mollified the extremists by removing a lot of books from the shelves and developing an unnecessary written guideline for bathroom usage. Prosper School Board had to listen to many angry parents rightfully upset over the mishandling of a bus driver who sexually assaulted students. And of course, the McKinney School Board has a bi-weekly circus with extremists holding ridiculous prayer meetings (seriously, it would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous) and issuing complaints about “pornographic” books and consequences for their bad behavior. One trustee is so terrible (see below) that lawyers had to get involved.

Biggest Crybaby Bully: Chris Hill

After bungling the vaccine rollout last year, enduring the protests over the murder of Marvin Scott III, and embarrassing himself with his scheming against Lynne Finley (because she dared to stand up to him), I hoped he’d be somewhat chastened and do better this year. Nope! As his electoral opponent Josh Murray kept putting Hill’s flaws in public for all to see – not adequately funding county services, providing cover for sexual harassers, using county funds badly, etc. – Hill increasingly got upset. He broke his own rules about responding to public comments by saying snide things about Josh and others who had to abide by the rules and couldn’t talk back. Things came to a head right before Election Day when Hill shoved and slapped Josh after court. Josh, a veteran, could’ve flattened Hill without even trying but refrained from using violence. Hill tried to backtrack and cover his cowardly behavior by claiming (falsely) Josh was in contempt of court. Even the video of that day’s meeting was changed to cover his assault. Since that day, Hill hasn’t shown up during Public Comments time and has missed several consecutive meetings. As is typical of a bully, he becomes a crybaby whenever people push back. Collin County deserves better – much better – than Chris Hill! Winner of the Getting Under His Skin Award: Joshua Murray (for the 2nd year in a row) for his persistence in speaking truth to power and his grace when treated badly while trying to participate in democracy.

Biggest Bozo Award: Chad Green

Once again, this award was hotly contested – see the Runners-Up below – but I went with McKinney School Board’s Chad Green for his stupid big hat (I’m sorry, it just bugs me!), his overall lack of knowledge or care about how things work, an aggressive disregard for following the rules, and a willingness to kowtow to his puppet masters. He’s consistently refused to complete his mandatory education hours, he’s disrespectful to his fellow trustees, and he wastes a lot of meeting time by being purposefully obtuse and disruptive. The district lawyers had to get involved when he violated protocol by visiting campuses without notification for the express purpose of harassing librarians. The Board is much poorer for his participation, so much so that even his fellow Republican started arguing with him. Like Marvin Lowe, I hope this guy is a one-termer.

Dishonorable Mentions:

  • Rainey Rogers (McKinney City Council) for his constant racist and sexist comments to fellow council members and the general public alike, persistent refusal to champion affordable housing, bullying tactics, and his lack of any good solutions. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
  • Dave Shafer and Dave Cornette (Allen City Council) for their lack of understanding of how government works, their strong ties to right-wing extremists, and just general idiocy. Allen really stepped in it when they elected these two yahoos.
  • Cheryl Williams (Commissioners Court) for her poor attendance at meetings, refusal to engage with constituents who don’t agree with her, and yes votes on difficult issues without even attempting to consider other points of view.

Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.

Thomas Paine

Best Watchdog: Liberal Women’s Action Network

The Republicans have their own monitoring organization which is (per usual) incredibly well-funded and corrupt. In contrast, LWAN runs on about 5-10 awesome and dedicated volunteers who keep watch on the myriad Republican politicians trying to steer us into tyranny and fascism. Thomas Paine knew the value of fighting for democracy. LWAN does too. We need YOUR help to hold back the tide of garbage headed our way. Winner of the Makes Politicians Shake in Their Boots Award: LWAN warrior Larel Bender whose finely tuned bullsh*t detector, willingness to undertake pertinent research (she knows to always follow the money), and delightfully snarky comments make her so fabulous.

Comments 1

  1. Great column. And I concur with all your awards, including the funny (and unfortunately correct) Larel.

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