Collin County Politics: Democracy in Peril

March 1, 2022

Covid Update: Collin County has 203,198 confirmed Covid cases. That’s 1,061 more cases than I reported last week and 1,436 of our Collin residents have died (an increase of 25 people). The overall trend is down and that’s wonderful. But people are still dying, decimating families.

According to the COVID-19 bereavement multiplier, every Covid death means 9 surviving Americans have lost a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, or child. By that estimate, there are almost 13,000 people in Collin County who’ve lost a close relative to Covid. While FEMA provides funding to families who experienced a death from Covid after January 20, 2020, that’s only a drop in the bucket, especially for families who’ve lost one or more breadwinners.

And let’s not forget the healthcare workers who’re still working, thus intensifying their PTSD. We’re going to need to do something for them too.

Commissioner’s Court: Cheryl Williams finally managed to show up. Lifepath Systems was presented with a $1.5 million check from the Attorney General’s office to help offset the opioid epidemic. There was still no mention of the inmate found dead in the jail. I find the lack of further details about the situation troubling. If this was a one-off, that might be OK but having deaths in the jail is now a pattern and needs to be addressed.

Josh Murray (who’s running for County Judge) once again showed how much he’s getting under Chris Hill’s skin. It’s really fun to watch! Josh requested that the turnover rate and projected lack of personnel be added to the agenda so it can be addressed publicly. He pointed out that we don’t have a cleaning staff, so they’re pulling on Public Works employees to help out which means they’re not doing their other duties, like fixing roads. He mentioned the county is projected to have fewer employees in the next year than it did in 2018 even though we’re experiencing exponential growth, thus further straining the (minimal) services they provide. He also spoke about how we have contract bids going out to companies who never read them or respond and asked why is nothing done to remove contractors who are inactive.

Even though they’re not supposed to respond to public comments about items not on the agenda, Hill waded in with both feet. He enforces this rule when they don’t want to respond but ignores it when they do. Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican. Instead of addressing the actual issue (a high turnover rate and lack of personnel), Hill zeroed in on Josh’s comment about the lack of cleaning staff. He tried to imply that the janitorial department situation is fine even though it isn’t. Hill was trying to finesse it because it looks bad. Don’t be fooled; it is bad.

Hill then addressed Josh’s remarks about contractors. Basically, contractors sign up through an external website to receive bids. They can choose to receive all bids which results in many bids not being reviewed. The problem isn’t that Josh didn’t know how this system works; it’s with the court. First, there’s minimal transparency with this court, which means few people know why they do things and how it functions. That’s a knock against the commissioners’ lack of appropriate communication. Second, Josh is a constituent of Collin County trying to engage his local government as every good citizen should. Hill is a representative and is beholden to us. As such, he should treat every single one of us as an honored guest in the court and not behave like a 2-year-old throwing a tantrum. It’s pathetic and embarrassing. The other commissioners let him do it because they’re cowards.

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

Benjamin Franklin

Collin College Board of Trustees: The trustees endured close to 40 minutes of blistering public comments from angry former students and community members demanding that Dr. Michael Phillips be rehired. In a nod to the toxic working environment the administration has created, three speakers read statements from faculty members too scared to speak themselves. One of these faculty speeches specifically called out corrupt Bob Collins, complicit Jim Orr, and the rest of the men on the Board for being terrible. S/he certainly hit the nail on the head with that one! The two women – Dr. Stacey Donald and Stacy Arias – are the only trustees who deserve to keep their seats. The rest need to go.

Like every other Republican, these men have no problem with hypocrisy. It’s no accident they have a close relationship with Chris Hill. They’ve fired several faculty members for putting their Collin College affiliation on public issues the administration doesn’t agree with but the trustees can put their college affiliation on political endorsements and that’s just fine. I’m sick and tired of Republicans refusing to follow the rules. I keep waiting for them to receive consequences for their awful behavior but that will only happen if we ALL vote in every election. WE are the consequences. And, make no mistake, the nation is watching Collin County to see what we do next.

McKinney School Board: Their meeting last week should’ve been labeled The Fight Against Fascism at the School Board or, more succinctly, The Battle for our Soul. Fed up with the Dark Side not being challenged, members of the Liberal Women of Collin County showed up to embrace public education and show support for teachers, librarians, and authors. Between 100 to 150 people crowded the room equally divided between the two groups. On the Dark Side were the “McKinney First PAC” (why do these nutjobs always have PACs?) book banners wearing green in a nod toward All Hat and No Cattle board member Chad Green. Seriously, have you seen his hat? It almost needs its own chair. The pro-public education side wore gold/yellow.

Of the 27 speakers, 15 opposed book banning, and 12 supported fascist behavior. The wannabe fascists were all somewhat predictable. They spoke about porn, filth, and sin. Get some new words, why don’t you? Notable among these were Republican candidate for HD61, Jim Herblin. This guy continues to look as creepy as all get out and his crazy was on full display. His speech was actually vaguely threatening towards the board members if they wanted to “stand with the LGBTQ stuff.” Rachel Elliot, one of the people challenging 282 books, was miffed that people keep comparing her to Nazis. Gee, I wonder why. She insisted she couldn’t be one because she’s visited concentration camps and “smelled death.” People, I cannot make this stuff up! She also dragged her elementary-age daughter to the mic to read prepared remarks written by an adult which she does every meeting. It’s incredibly awkward and sad. Does anyone want to hazard a guess as to whether she’s planning on running for school board?

The pro-education speakers didn’t come to play and they clearly made the Dark Side quite uncomfortable. One speaker made comparisons to Nazi Germany, another pointed out that the King James Bible has more sex and adult topics than any of the challenged books, and three high school students spoke in opposition to book banning. High drama ensued when one of the brave young women was yelled at by a creepy Green Shirt who was subsequently escorted out of the room by police. I hope the Dark Side is proud of him for harassing a minor. Our own Lisa West cleverly mentioned a MISD online book catalog program called Destiny that allows parents to create lists of books their child(ren) can or cannot read. In other words, she called the book banners’ bluff.

Although I’m not sure the Dark Side realizes it, they’re being used. Never forget that all this is happening because well-funded right-wing groups like the Heritage Foundation want to privatize public education. If they can decimate public education so privately owned schools are the only option, they can dictate what students learn and make a buck along the way. These right-wingers care nothing about morals or the welfare of students; all they want to do is sow confusion and chaos while exhausting us. That’s why the Dark Side’s target of outrage keeps changing. One week, they’re against masks. The next it’s CRT, then SEL followed by offensive library books that have been on the shelves for years. By shifting the narrative away from funding public education, they’re putting us on the defensive. That must stop.

One ray of hope though: the ACLU is wading into the fight. On Monday, the ACLU of Texas and other civil rights organizations sent a letter to Granbury ISD leaders letting them know they’re violating the First Amendment by removing books from their libraries. Although the letter didn’t threaten legal action, everyone should be aware the ACLU has had success in returning controversial books back to library shelves and forcing offending districts to pay their attorney fees. So, watch out Collin County ISDs.

A final word about all these self-righteous parents demanding to be in charge of what all children are being taught in schools. Public education isn’t for parents; it’s for the community. There are way too many parents around here who shouldn’t be dictating diddly-squat. They fear adequately educating their children because, if the kids learn facts, they might not believe what their parents do. This terrifies them. That’s why I put my faith in teachers and librarians – the true subject matter experts – who’re just trying to do their jobs.

Local Politics: Per usual, voter turnout for the primary has been low. Statewide, the percentage of people voting is 10% while Collin County’s rate is even lower with 5%. Republicans are outvoting Democrats by about 39% but that number is misleading. Since Democrats are casting more ballots by mail than Republicans (who’ve gotten the message those votes will be suspect), we’re the ones suffering the most from SB1. That number also doesn’t take into account Democrats who’re voting in the Republican primary. As I pointed out several weeks ago, Democrats playing on the other team’s court is messing up our numbers. DON’T DO IT!!!!

Thanks to SB1 (our not-so-friendly voter suppression bill), thousands of mail-in ballots have been denied across Texas and we aren’t immune. Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet said 17% of mail-in ballots have been rejected, the vast majority for failure to meet the complicated, unnecessary, and utterly ridiculous new voter ID requirements. Prior to this, our mail-in ballot failure rate was in the single digits. If you know someone who had a rejected ballot, please let them know they have until March 7th to correct it. Corrections can be made in-person at county offices or online at Anyone who has a mail-in ballot they haven’t mailed yet can take a filled ballot to their county’s central election office by 7 p.m. Tuesday or surrender the ballot at their polling location and vote in person.

The furor over the rejection of mail-in ballots doesn’t even take into account how difficult it is to request an absentee ballot. You can’t request one electronically but must complete an application by hand and mail it in. There have been reports of people requesting absentee, having their request granted, and then never receiving it. They’re going to pull out all the stops, folks. Even if you missed voting in the primary this time, make your voting plan now to vote in the run-offs (coming in May) and for the general election in November. We MUST turn out in force or risk Texas becoming even worse than it already is.

If you have any problems with an absentee ballot or with voting in person, please call 844-TX-VOTES.

As always, please start participating in our local governance. This is more important than ever as the Dark Side have proven themselves to be well-funded and organized. Let’s keep our democracy by participating instead of waiting until we have to fight for it. Please sign up to join the team covering your city council or school board. Everyone is welcome. All you need to do is contact me at and let me know you’re interested. Let’s do this!

Comments 4

  1. Thank you Misty for collecting all this information and presenting it in a very organized manner.

  2. Thank you for the detail of ALLLL the crazy. Everyone, please please please VOTE!

  3. First time I’ve read your article. I’ve been in McKinney for two years and have to to realize just how right wing this area is and how disappointing it is that people are fighting to take away our freedoms all while they believe they’re protecting them. It’s really a sad situation.

    Thanks for all you do. My husband and I recently voted and will continue to vote in every election.

  4. I appreciate all the hard work in writing these, and I look forward to reading them. Thank you!

Share Your Thoughts