Collin County Politics: A Redistricting Nightmare

November 9, 2021

Covid Update: Collin County has 130,260 confirmed Covid cases. That’s 713 more cases than I reported last week and 1,140 of our Collin residents have died (an increase of 10 people who died since last week). The numbers continue to go down, showing that vaccine mandates work. I hope the vaccine for younger children helps even more.

Commissioner’s Court: The November 1st meeting was the most infuriating, hilarious, and vomit-inducing one I’ve seen thus far. With redistricting on the agenda, the commissioners’ true colors were in high relief. Susan Fletcher’s husband called Darrell Hale a bully, all of them got freaked out by Josh Murray, Hale was indeed a bully, and the commissioners clearly telegraphed their disdain for their liberal constituents. They don’t care about us, not even a little, and they never will.

Dwight Briggs began public comments on the redistricting discussion by presenting a proposed map that’s everything it should be: preserves communities of interest, is statistically robust, and doesn’t take into account where anyone lives. In other words, it’s a map that isn’t drawn for political benefit. Of course, the commissioners weren’t interested; all they want is power. It’s hard to believe that allowing lawmakers to draw their own maps is legal but it is. It’s also legal for them to specifically target political communities, something heard repeatedly during the meeting. Each and every one of them mentioned how they’re drawing maps in order to purposely keep the districts red. Some states use bipartisan commissions to redistrict. That’s exactly what should happen since they’re more likely to be fair but fairness isn’t on the agenda in Collin County.

Kathy Bolner asked why they drew the maps without citizen input, how they safeguarded fair and accurate representation for all, and how they’re ensuring that minority voting strength is growing. Naturally, none of them answered any of these questions but Chris Hill condescendingly responded that this was the public input part of the process. That’s such bunk. They allow people to speak (while making it incredibly difficult for us to do so) and take nothing we say into consideration. And his response was an utter lie, one completely dispelled within the next 5 minutes by Fletcher’s husband.

Brian Fletcher started his three minutes by saying he was part of a 4-person group enlisted to help Hale draw the maps. So that group was the true public input but one you could join only if you’re a friend or family member of the commissioners. How cozy. Mr. Susan Fletcher continued his attack on Hale by saying he was trying to bully the other members of the court into approving his map, probably because he wants to hand-pick his future replacement. Hale denied this but I have no doubt every bit of it is true. Once again, this is why it should be illegal for current lawmakers to draw their own redistricting maps.

The fireworks continued when Josh Murray came to the podium and asked if he would be allowed to speak twice, once on the redistricting issue and again on other agenda items. Hill clearly didn’t want to be on record as saying that the only citizen input allowed for their proposed redistricting maps was the usual public comment time during meetings. He knows that’s absolutely unacceptable, so he tried to weasel out of admitting it. No such luck, evil troll. We have your number. Hale falsely claimed that people had two weeks to talk with commissioners individually about the proposed maps. We can’t even get them to respond to our emails but they expect us to believe they’d meet individually with anyone who asked? I would say don’t be stupid but clearly that sentiment is lost on Hale.

Once it was determined that he could only speak once, Murray discussed the Turnover Report which showed a high turnover rate, one that’s unsustainable. He asked how we can operate an expanded jail with a 40% turnover rate and wondered about the impact of having senior-level positions in law enforcement filled with inexperienced personnel. He pointed out that lawsuits tend to occur when you can’t retain, recruit or train employees. He’s absolutely right. The most recent Voluntary Terminations report (September FY2021) and the Collin County Turnover Report (FY2021) both show an incredibly high number of county staff who’ve departed, including 12 members of the detention staff leaving for other job offers or dissatisfaction.

What followed was a good 10 minutes of the commissioners dancing really hard to dismiss Murray’s comments. Fletcher tried to dismiss their accountability by saying that lots of businesses throughout Collin County are having problems with staffing because people no longer want to work due to high unemployment benefits. That’s a false Republican talking point (do they have any other kind?). Unemployment benefits have dried up, especially in red states that don’t care about their people. What’s actually happening is that potential workers are concerned about safety (Covid is still a problem), others are trying to find better jobs or can’t leave home for long periods of time until the care infrastructure for children and elderly people is fully running again.

Of course, none of the commissioners would ever admit to these issues. Instead, Hill pointed out how much they pay detention officers and went on an odd tangent about Democrats attacking law enforcement. He even bent over backward to thank Skinner – someone with whom he’s often in conflict – and his department for their work. This was clear pandering from Hill since Murray’s comments are consistently in favor of law enforcement.

If good salaries aren’t enough for the sheriff’s department to keep their employees, then there are obviously other factors at work. Towards that end, a diverse group of community leaders tried to get a tour of the Detention Center and have a chance to speak with Sheriff Skinner. Strangely enough, after scheduling the visit and forcing the group to deal with a lot of bureaucratic paperwork, the sheriff’s department suddenly wasn’t able to do it. What are they afraid of? Why is citizen input so scary to them and to the commissioners?

The remaining explosions involved Fletcher and Hale going after each other in an effort to get their preferred map approved. Fletcher wanted to get rid of an out of alignment “hook” which was drawn ten years ago for political reasons while Hale didn’t want to sever his relationships (as if you can’t have a relationship with someone you no longer represent). Both Fletcher and Hale kept talking about these great “relationships” they have with their constituents. Who are these people and how are they developing these relationships? We rarely get responses or meetings with them.

All the commissioners kept talking about keeping the districts Republican. While it’s not surprising to know that the people who supposedly represent everyone don’t care a fig about us, it’s still infuriating. Eventually, Fletcher caved and Hale’s map was approved 5-0. Fletcher could’ve voted against it but chose not to take a stand on principle. Typical.

Allen Elections: Only 13% of Allen voters took the time to let the city and the school board know where they stand. That’s a pathetic turnout. Come on, fellow Democrats! We should be voting in every single election! Low turnout elections like this one would especially allow us to shine.

Both bond proposals for Allen ISD were soundly defeated. Allen residents must not consider updating tennis courts, turf fields and tracks, a weight room, and the Allen ISD Activity Center worth paying any extra taxes. I can’t say I blame them. Allen ISD already spends a lot on athletics and their performance in terms of safety, transparency, and a good educational environment for all students has been lacking of late.

Allen voters also said no to Proposition A, a proposal to extend the city’s term limits for elected officials from 12 to 18 years and increase the number of consecutive three-year terms the elected officials can serve from two to three. Proposition B, a charter amendment to shorten the time city officials must sit out before running again from three years to one year did end up passing.

The concept of term limits is a controversial one. In general, there are many good arguments against term limits, including interfering with the will of the voters, hobbling city leaders when working within regional organizations, and losing out on experienced leadership. However, the biggest case against term limits for me is that Ted Cruz is for them. In fact, many Republicans seem oddly in favor. That should tell us everything we need to know and was the reason why Allen Democrats urged people to vote for increasing the limits. Sadly, voters rejected this, thus paving the way for the no-nothing members of the council and those in the We the People Allen PAC to get their foot more firmly in the door of Allen city governance.

McKinney City Council: Mayor George Fuller allowed the Salvation Army to give the invocation and pledge. He also issued a proclamation for their kick-off campaign and let them give a commercial for their organization outside of public speaking time (and for longer than the average citizen gets). The Salvation Army does good work but they are unabashedly Christian. This wouldn’t be a problem if Fuller let other religious-based charities do the same thing (or any other charity period) but this is the first charity I’ve seen practically take over the meeting. There’s a reason why we have separation of church and state. Too many of our local governments don’t pay any attention to the dictates of our First Amendment. Why must we start meetings with prayers? It’s unnecessary and performative.

The other item of importance was approving January 15, 2022 as the date for the special election required to fill Frederick Frazier’s open seat. Frazier is running to represent the newly created House District 61. There was a lot of good ole boy-ing around about this during the meeting, pretending they could refuse to hold the election in order to keep him around. This is one of the reasons we need more women in local government, so we’re not treated to this ridiculous display of pseudo-male bonding. Dr. Gere Feltus, the only woman on council, was out of the country and unable to attend. It’s worth noting that there’s only ever been 1 woman at a time on the council and sometimes none at all. This is deeply problematic.

Princeton School Board: At long last, some good news! We’re pleased to announce the elections of Carlos Cuellar and Starla Sharpe to the Board. A little over 5% of Princeton voters cast a ballot in an election that covered the city council, mayor, and school board races. This is what I’m talking about. If Democrats show up for every single election, we can have a positive impact! Congratulations to Mr. Cuellar and Ms. Sharpe!

Richardson City Council: The city received input from approximately 900 citizens about their planned update on the West Prairie Creek project. They originally intended to completely reconstruct this road from Campbell to Collins and widen it from 34 to 37 feet. Residents asked the city to prioritize saving the trees over widening the road (good for them!) and to consider implementing permit/resident-only parking. Although the council decided against permit/resident-only parking (too many potential legal issues with enforcement), they did listen to their constituents and decide to no longer widen the road. Instead, they’ll only do localized repair with an asphalt overlay as well as improvements to the crosswalk, curb/gutter, water lines, and parking. Never let it be said that local activism doesn’t work!

LWAN: If you enjoy reading these columns, please join LWAN. I can’t write these columns without a lot of help! If we want true change, we must know what’s going on. That means monitoring every city council and school board in Collin County. This is something anyone can do and it’s interesting work. Please email me at and let me know if you’re interested.

Comments 7

  1. Favorite line: “He knows that’s absolutely unacceptable, so he tried to weasel out of admitting it. No such luck, evil troll. We have your number.” LOL

    Of course, I know you’re talking about the elected officials, but you didn’t mention the absolutely revolting comments from the audience members begging the commissioners to keep Collin County RED and STRONG and SAFE from the evil Democrats. It was just stunning, and as there were some shocked gasps from the audience, “Judge” Hill told everyone to be quiet while the speaker talked. That entire “court” is a joke … at running a county … and understanding their own rules … and serving their constituents … at being decent human beings.

  2. It’s interesting that a jail tour was denied to the mentioned group, but the Young Maskless Republicans were on a recent tour of the jail. They posted the photo on their Facebook page recently.

    1. Post

      That is interesting! I’m guessing they’re worried about Democrats being more concerned about conditions and not toeing the party line (literally).

  3. I don’t know how Misty keeps her cool attending those disgusting CC Commissioner’s meetings. Thank you to Misty and others who keep us appraised of the news of Collin Count.

    1. Post

      I watch online. I can’t attend the meetings in person because I’m at work. Most people are which is probably exactly why they schedule them at that time.

      1. I watch McKinney City Council on TV (channel 16), and my impression of the most recent meeting is just like Misty’s. Frederick Frazier already has signs out all over (one in the yard of my kids’ neighbors–grating my teeth). He will no doubt be “my” next state rep, of course, because of the way HD 61 is drawn. Frazier is one of the 2 most reactionary members of the McKinney CC–he never met an apartment complex he didn’t hate; he doesn’t want anyone to live in McKinney who can’t afford at least a $300,000 house. He’s frequently on the opposite side of this issue from Mayor Fuller, who says we need “workforce housing” (i.e., somewhat below “market rent” apartments) so that “people who work in McKinney can live in McKinney.” Good for the Mayor. BUT then Fuller gives Frazier effusive praise and his total support for Frazier’s state rep bid. Grrrr . . . . .

  4. All the disgusting news that must be printed to keep democracy alive. This is the only place to get the facts on the fatal state and toxicity of Collin County Republican-only politics. Spread the word. Thank you Misty and friends.

Share Your Thoughts