Collin County Politics: Be Resisters

November 15, 2022

Covid Update: Collin County has 261,269 confirmed Covid cases. That’s 1,198 more cases than I reported last week and 1,566 of our Collin residents have died (0 additional deaths). Our transmission remains Low but that’s a big uptick and right around the time people predicted it would surge. A lot of people are dismissing the effects of Covid because their cases were mild but Covid isn’t that simple. A recent study found that patients with reinfections tended to have more complications in various organ systems and were more likely to be diagnosed with long Covid than people who did not get another infection.

Also, this flu season has been especially bad. Combined with RSV, covid-19 and the common cold, more people are getting sick than ever. More than 100,000 Americans missed work last month because of child-care problems, an all-time high that’s even greater than during the height of the pandemic! Mask up out there! If you need some incentive, remember that masks bother Republicans, so let’s irritate them with our good public health strategies while we’re staying safe!

Education: We’ve got our work cut out for us in the educational realm. On Monday, the Keller ISD school board approved a policy prohibiting library books across all grade levels that include the discussion of gender fluidity. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given that Keller is one where the Patriot Mobile Action (a Republican PAC) bought themselves some school board seats. Keller residents packed the meeting and, after roughly two hours of public testimony, the four newest trustees voted in favor of the policy.

This is a continuation of what they did this summer. In August, the board passed a broad book ban…. umm, I mean, policy…preventing content that includes horror, drug or alcohol use by minors, tobacco use, “glorification of suicide, self-harm or mental illness” (yeah, books are the problem) and material considered sexually explicit from elementary schools. I wonder what’s left! In older grades, the guidelines become less restrictive. Books that were among the dozens removed included the Bible – that one is a surprise – and an adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary.

The board also discussed a proposal to authorize specific employees to have firearms on campuses should they get approval from the superintendent, hold a handgun license and undergo training. That will go well. Before voting to approve, trustees may want to talk with Sansom Park police officer Lina Mino who was shot in the face during an active shooter drill at an elementary school southeast of Fort Worth. The event was hosted by the Forest Hill Police Department, conducted by a third-party trainer and included officers from several different agencies. Apparently, those drills aren’t as safe or effective as they’re supposed to be. Who knew?

This is especially worrisome given the increasingly violent atmosphere in our schools. Stay tuned for a deep dive in a future column on how SROs aren’t the panacea we want to think they are. They terrorized students in Little Elm last year and now in DeSoto. Apparently, security officers get flustered and automatically go to drastic means. After students failed to leave the area following a fight at DeSoto High School last week, officers used pepper spray to disperse the crowd. Awesome. I’m sure all the kids were fine. If that wasn’t bad enough, a second fight led a security guard shooting pepper balls at students standing on top of a staircase. I hope the DeSoto school leadership has malpractice insurance because they’re probably going to need it! Is this the way we want schools to treat our children?

Mid-Terms: Perhaps you’ve heard there was an election last week. It’s been somewhat amusing to watch the rest of the country talk about the Battle Royale that was waged in many of the states while mainly remaining silent on Texas. We’re so out of step with the rest of the country that they don’t even bother talking about us. But they’re wrong. There are some big stories here that are well worth mentioning.

The biggest news for Collin County is that Mihaela Plesa became the first Democrat in almost 30 years to win a Collin County Texas House seat! That’s a significant achievement, especially since the Republicans funneled $3 million into her opponent’s campaign. And we badly needed this victory given the new make-up of the state house. Republicans gained 3 state House seats while Democrats lost 1 (gerrymandering, remember?).

I’ve heard a lot of people – inside and outside Texas – bemoan the idiocy of voters voting against our best interests (they mean Republicans) and rage against the close to 10 million registered voters who didn’t bother to vote. Much has been made of the turnout in 2022 being about 7% lower than in the 2018 election. Sure, it sounds bad, but what the media is ignoring in that analysis is the massive voter suppression efforts enacted into law since 2018. The Texas legislature made mail-in ballots extremely difficult to get, outlawed drive-through and overnight voting, closed voting locations and drop boxes, and gerrymandered the state terribly. With all that, it’s a wonder our voter turnout wasn’t worse which, of course, is their plan. When voters turn out in droves, Democrats win.

There were a lot of issues that led to some voters not being able to vote. Mail-in ballots almost took an act of God to get. Many out-of-state college students and Texans living abroad never had their ballots mailed to them. This could be because filling out the application was so difficult. I have a Ph.D. and am the Local Politics director and even I had a hard time helping my son figure it out. Another long-time activist tried helping her daughter to no avail. If we had trouble, just imagine how many others did as well. Asking the Collin County Elections Office was a crapshoot because they admittedly employed temp workers who didn’t know what they were doing and gave out wrong information (typical Collin County). How many people just gave up because they couldn’t figure it out?

Other issues included voting machines changing votes from Democrats to Republicans. This is why I begged people to check their choices twice, once on the machine and once on the paper ballot. Voters who complained were told this happened because they didn’t use the QTip provided for them but that’s ridiculous. If such high-tech equipment needs QTips in order to function appropriately, then we have a problem. And it’s worth ensuring our voting machines are working properly. Although Dominion voting machines got the most attention during the 2020 election aftermath, the voting machines we use – ES&S – have also had problems. Although I hate to agree with Republicans on anything, perhaps we should return to paper ballots.

At least Collin County voters got a paper ballot to check. More than a dozen voting locations in Harris County – home to many Democrats – ran out of the paper used to print ballots in voting machines. Some sites had no ballots on hand for one to two hours. How many voters were unable to vote because they couldn’t wait that long? Isn’t it odd that these problems only seem to arise in strong Democratic areas? This is a story we need to watch closely because it’s only going to get worse from here. Greg Abbott has called for an investigation into what happened there. You’d think he could’ve just asked Felonious Punk Ken Paxton or his own Secretary of State (I can’t be bothered to learn his name) because both sent teams of observers. Democratic leaders in Houston rightfully were concerned about this – they claimed Punk and SoS were trying to interfere – and asked the Department of Justice to send observers as well. Maybe we’ll get our Battle Royale after all.

This was a tough election for Democrats in Texas and I’m just as furious as the rest of you. Believe me, it took me a LONG time to write this column because I started over several times. I had a lot of things I wanted to say, none of them complimentary towards Republicans. However, after getting all of my vitriol out (a process strongly recommended by Dr. Hook), I realized it was time to move forward and figure out what our takeaways should be.

  1. Voter suppression is real and will be tough to manage. This requires a strong voter infrastructure in which Democrats provide needed information about mail-in ballots and voting in general.
  2. Money isn’t everything. The Republican candidate for HD70 far outspent Mihaela yet she (and we) prevailed.
  3. Turnout is key. When voters show up, Democrats win. GOTV, baby!
  4. Republicans don’t care who their candidates are. If Hitler had an R next to his name, they’d vote for him. Happily. Even if Jesus was running as his Democratic opponent. Seriously. They’re brainwashed. We need to focus on Democrats and Independents.
  5. We can’t give up. As the sage Jon Bon Jovi said, “You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got.” We can’t win if we don’t fight.

Nice people made the best Nazis. My mom grew up next to them. They got along, refused to make waves, looked the other way when things got ugly and focused on happier things than “politics.” They were lovely people who turned their heads as their neighbors were dragged away. You know who weren’t nice people? Resisters.

Naomi Shulman

Commissioner’s Court: Susan Fletcher was absent for their 21 minute meeting this week. After doing basically nothing for a few minutes, the court went into executive session for 2.5 hours, effectively preventing many citizens from commenting. When they returned, Chris Hill was mysteriously absent. If only that could happen all the time! It’s anyone’s guess as to why he left. Was it his cowardice or his crybaby tendencies? You decide.

Duncan Webb ran the meeting and his boring demeanor was a relief after Crybaby Chris’ unnecessary emotional displays. Webb took great pains prior to Public Comments to explain that the commissioners cannot respond to comments. Perhaps he was trying to repair some of the damage Crybaby wrought. Judy Dishong’s 3 minutes were really fun. She began by saying she hopes we can see a different direction from the court with more focus on the business of the county, more engagement with the community, and more access to what’s happening. She rightfully pointed out that, once they’re elected, officials are supposed to work for ALL residents, not just their base. Sing it, sister! She moved on to lack of communication, pointing out that there seems to be a purposeful lack of engagement with anyone other than their supporters. Judy ended with her disappointment that Collin County has made the news so often in the last few weeks.

With the election over, Judy’s comments are exactly what we need to see more of if we’re going to hold our elected officials accountable. Case in point: throughout most of the meeting and most definitely during the public comments, Cheryl Williams’ attention was focused on her computer screen. It sure would be nice if someone who’s paid a large amount of OUR money would attend to her obligations instead of acting like she’d rather be anywhere other than the meeting. Do better!

Local Politics: The fight for democracy continues. Not getting the results we wanted makes our work at the local level even more important. We must hold our elected officials accountable and let them know that we’re not going away. The fight for school boards is going to be brutal, which means we must show up, watch them like hawks, and make them pay attention. We need teams monitoring all our local government outlets and we need task forces tackling the overarching issues, like homelessness and mental healthcare. Teams and task forces are how we meet our like-minded neighbors, prepare for the next election, and make a difference. Please sign up to join the team covering your city council or school board. Everyone is welcome. Contact me at and let me know you’re interested.

Comments 1

  1. Jon Bon Jovi … a hero for the ages. And he’s not wrong. We have to keep fighting. We Texans are used to that.

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