Collin County Politics: Fulfill Your Obligation and VOTE!

November 1, 2022

Picture: MADC president and all around badass Elizabeth Michel poll greets at the Gay Library in McKinney

Covid Update: Collin County has 260,071 confirmed Covid cases. That’s 528 more cases than I reported last week and 1,565 of our Collin residents have died (0 additional deaths). Our transmission remains Low.

ICYMI: I seriously hope all the women who care about being in control of their own bodies and the men who love women are voting a straight Democrat ballot. If we don’t oust at least some of the Republicans, things will get even worse than they already are. And things are bad now. As US Representative Colin Allred pointed out, “While in other nations maternal mortality rates are coming down, ours are actually going up, and particularly for Black women.” And he knows that even without the state’s maternal mortality data that, oddly enough, won’t be ready until 2023. I wonder what the delay is about. I’m sure it has nothing to do with politics or how bad the situation has become since the bounty law was passed.

While not enough is being done at the federal level (because women’s lives aren’t valued), Texas is even worse, especially for black and brown women. We have the highest uninsured rate in the country and have refused to expand Medicaid. Allred is pushing for not only the expansion but also the extension of postpartum care under Medicaid to a full year. Our state legislatures don’t seem bothered. They also don’t seem to feel any urgency about doing something about our lack of rural hospitals, helping our overwhelmed service providers, dealing with the impact of insurance coverage disparities, or addressing medical racism. They just don’t care.

What they do seem to care about is looking like they’re doing something about border security (good luck with that) and school security. Abbott and his corrupt cronies recently shifted nearly $775 million of primarily federal funds into border security and school safety, plus $100 million to cover bills from the state’s response to the pandemic. While Abbott thinks his “Operation Lone Star” makes him look good, it’s not doing much more than creating misery for the people trying to find a better life and the National Guard being used as a political pawn.

The money for Uvalde and “school hardening” is equally as stupid. Abbott may have sent $15 million to build a new elementary school (along with HEB’s $10 million donation) but it’s not helping those who need it most. Many of the children who survived the shooting don’t have access to quality mental health treatment, especially since there’s a division in the town over whether only families with dead children should get the money. And don’t think for a second this money for school security means state leaders care about public schools. The state’s obligation to fund schools through the main aid program, the Foundation School Program, is plunging by billions which means the cost of education will be paid by – you guessed it – us through property taxes. Don’t ever forget that Republicans do not care about public education. They want us ignorant and gullible.

Voting Stories: As I hope everyone knows, early voting is in full swing. This should be a period of hope and excitement, a time in which we celebrate our democracy and vote for the future we want to see. I’ve been hearing heart-warming tales of poll workers applauding brand new voters, families voting together, and dedicated poll workers who spend hours each day ensuring the election goes smoothly. HD66 candidate Jesse Ringness took time away from poll greeting to spend time with Charles Chatman who works with Miles of Freedom, an organization helping those previously incarcerated adapt to everyday life. Mr. Chatman spent 27 years locked behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. When he was released on January 3, 2008, he became the 15th inmate from Dallas County since 2001 to be exonerated by DNA testing. Clearly, we have a lot of work to do on prison and justice reform.

However, there’s also the dark side to elections, particularly this one where tempers are running high. Several of our most dedicated poll greeters have been having a hard time of it. Liz Michel has endured the vitriol of the Felony Frazier supporters. When she arrived at the Gay Library with her sign detailing Frazier’s legal troubles, she was immediately accosted in short order by one of Frazier’s friends, Frazier’s wife, a call from McKinney Mayor George Fuller, and (count them!) 3 Code Enforcement trucks. Liz knew the code enforcement rules so well that, not only did her sign get to remain but she made Frazier’s team remove the stupid firefighter signs for Frazier because they weren’t in compliance. Hahahahahahahaha!!!!! Come for the show, stay for the comeuppance. We don’t get enough of that, so revenge is sweet!

Her encounters with idiots didn’t end there. On another day, she endured two Frazier supporters who got close, yelling and cussing at her loudly in front of her two young daughters. Remember, this is the party of family values! The two men became so aggressive that Julie Luton, MADC’s Membership Chair, went to stand in between Liz and the Awful Idiots. None of the other Republicans present, including current County Commissioner and former West Pointer Darrell Hale, were decent enough to stand against harassment by their party members. Profiles in courage they aren’t. Liz and Julie eventually started filming the Awful Idiots who, quite miraculously, quickly settled down and moved away although one did a terrible little dance, saying he hopes he’ll be Tik Tok famous. Not with that lack of grace, fella. When the Awful Idiots were googled, it was discovered (I’m shocked I say, shocked!) they both have had domestic violence charges leveled against them. I’m not kidding when I say they’re stormtroopers in training.

Voting is our weapon against the darkness.

Commissioner’s Court: Not much happened during their 17-minute meeting last week. But there was a small tussle during the Consent Agenda portion. You almost never see the commissioners discussing things or even disagreeing, so any deviation from their sheep-like adherence is notable. Susan Fletcher pulled the approval of $500 for the purchase of an iPhone 14 Pro for Judge Raleeh, the Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1. Raleeh has been mentioned several times in court, so he seems to be a favorite. Fletcher even went out of her way to say how much she respects him. She wanted them to follow policy and have everyone use county standard equipment or every elected official will want the county to pay for the “latest and greatest” technology. She said she isn’t sure what an iPhone 14 Pro can do to help Raleeh do his job that an iPhone 13 (what he’d get from the county) cannot. Only Duncan Webb took her objection seriously. The other 3 couldn’t vote to approve fast enough. That makes sense. They’re so corrupt that they have no problem sharing the spoils with their cronies.

The only other thing of note was one of the election conspiracy theorists (but he’s not, he swears!) showed up to poorly read his script. It was hilarious to hear him say in a monotone that he questions whether the commissioners are criminals posing as public servants. Dude, when you say something fun like that, you need to say it with feeling!

It’s funny he should mention potential legal issues surrounding the commissioners on the very day a federal lawsuit was filed against all 5 commissioners, Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, and his first assistant Bill Wirskye. Six people who currently work or have worked in the Collin County District Attorney’s office – the DA’s chief investigator Kim Pickrell; deputy chief investigator Keith Henslee, former misdemeanor prosecutor Fallon LaFleur, prosecutor VyKim Le, and two other anonymous plaintiffs – filed a federal civil suit alleging they were sexually harassed, discriminated against because of their gender, and faced retaliation after reporting the allegations about their boss and his top lieutenant.

They claim Willis repeatedly made sexual comments, inappropriately touched them, and propositioned the women for sex during work trips and closed-door meetings. It also claims that Wirskye routinely hazed female employees, referring to groups of prosecutors profanely, and called female prosecutors “bitches, whores, and sluts.” The county commissioners were included because they “have known of this misconduct for years but have continued to enable it by refusing to take remedial action or even conduct a reasonable investigation.” Yep. That sounds about right. I look forward to hearing the blistering disdain from Josh Murray on this issue.

Do you ever wonder why SO MANY REPUBLICANS running for or holding office have been indicted or sued? It’s almost like they’re the party of corruption and mistreatment.

Allen: Earlier in the month, the TRIAD Meeting was held. This is an annual joint workshop held between the Allen City Council, AISD Board of Trustees, and the Allen Fairview Chamber of Commerce Executive Board. During this meeting, they outlined several different developments along 121. Allen Gateway at 121 & Exchange is one of these projects. It will house Cope Tower, the first AAA high-rise (12 stories of offices and condos), the 12-story Plush Suites Hotel, and the new Katy Trail Ice House Ranch. Another project is The Farm which will encompass 135 acres, a 4-acre family-friendly park, The Hub (featuring 12 restaurants), and the High-5, an entertainment facility for bowling, laser tag, and upstairs adults-only entertainment hot spot. I have no idea what that means but it sounds interesting. Sloan Corners will house a 32-acre park within its 480-acre space. These all sound exciting but it sure sounds like 121 will become even busier.

The AISD boundary adjustment was also discussed. Although Allen is no longer a fast-growing district, the west side has been expanding while the east side has been shrinking. There are barely any open seats in the west side schools which is of great concern since there are currently 14,000 multi-family units being built in Allen, all on the west side. Oops. Sounds like someone didn’t do their homework! The state mandate for full-day pre-kindergarten for qualifying students (those who are emergent bilingual, in foster care, income eligible, homeless, children of Star of Texas Award Recipients, and children of those in active military duty) is another reason for the boundary adjustment. Could it be that the state legislators actually did something good? No, that can’t be right. Can it?

McKinney City Council: The council once again grappled with redistricting and, once again, didn’t decide anything. As usual, the meeting itself was infuriating as the good ole boy network showed itself to be alive and well. Mayor George Fuller began by telling everyone there was a lot of misinformation out there. He always says that whenever people disagree with him. Perhaps to counteract this, Justin Beller gave a long master class on the history of redistricting, what they’re currently doing, the consequences of what they’re doing, and the choices they have. Simply put, the decimation of voting rights by the Supreme Court means there are no adults (ok, fine, federal oversight) ensuring McKinney doesn’t diminish or erode the minority voting power. He pointed out that Map A – the map the Feckless Four want to pass – will transfer population from District 2 to District 3 and then move a different population from District 3 to District 1. It’s a large impact to District 3 (35% of the district would change) and it would dilute the minority. When put in direct terms, Map A sounds ridiculous and unworkable.

Fuller takes offense to Beller’s characterization that they’re wanting to make a choice to reduce the minority population (boo hoo; the truth hurts) and says it’s all about drawing an intuitive map. Uh-huh. By this time, Dr. Gere Feltus (who represents District 3) had enough. She dismantled their argument about the change being “only a few percentage points” by accurately stating races are won or lost by those few points. She mentioned that the council is already gentrifying District 1 – via the municipal complex, TUPPs new restaurant, etc. – and people feel like they’re losing their homes. Now we’re also going to dilute their voting power? Feltus awesomely says that, whether it’s intentional or not, the legacy the council is leaving behind for District 1 is that they don’t care about their voice or their power in McKinney. That the overall council doesn’t care about anyone other than rich white people has been clear for a while.

Patrick Cloutier gets to the nitty gritty by asking what map Fuller is advocating for. Fuller answers Map A Revised because – wait for it – the future residence of councilmember Rick Franklin causes the map to need to change slightly to accommodate his move. Yep. You read that correctly. The Feckless Four will change a map because Greedy Clueless Sheep is building a new house but they won’t change it to ensure that the minority population isn’t diminished more than necessary and Dr. Feltus won’t (very probably) lose her seat in an election. This is the good ole network in action. Franklin is a terrible council member. He isn’t responsive to constituents (I practically had to hire a private detective and stalk him to get him to talk with me), rarely speaks in council, and votes exactly how Fuller wants him to. I don’t call him Clueless Sheep for nothing! But sure, we must change the map because of him.

Fuller minimizes the minority voting issue and natters on about how it’s a debate between symmetry and honoring a legacy. Beller counters by reminding everyone that when they drew maps the last time (in 2010), they had the choice to draw the district with less percentage of minority voting power but they chose to maximize minority voting power. If we choose a map that reduces more than what is needed, we’ll just keep diluting as our city grows. And then the Battle Royale began. Rainey Rogers moved to approve Map A Revised. He, Franklin, and Charlie Philips voted yes. Surprisingly, Fuller voted no after saying he was “very very conflicted and he heard some comments that had him rethinking” specifically on the lack of growth ability for District 3 in Map A. Patrick Cloutier moved to approve Map D. Cloutier, Feltus, and Beller voted yes. Fuller asked for yet another work session. At this rate, it’s never going to get done. This whole thing is just so gross.

My own philosophy is that you don’t really belong to yourself. You have an obligation to the society which protected you when you were brought into the world, which taught you, which supported you and nurtured you. You have an obligation to repay it.

Jacob K. Javits

Local Politics: We’re already hearing multiple reports of votes changed from Democrats to Republicans, especially from Beto to Abbott. They’re blaming this problem on voters not using Qtips because of the lack of precision with fingers. Uh-huh. I don’t buy it. Do I think they’re possibly cheating? Hell yeah, I do! We’re dealing with a party that delights in voter suppression and gerrymandering but they’ll draw the line at cheating? No. And this has worked for them before. In 2018, voters across the state mentioned that when they voted a straight party ticket for Democrats, their vote for Beto for Senate somehow was changed to Ted Cruz. Given that the margin of “victory” was 200,000 in a state where no one likes Cruz, this seems suspicious. The Secretary of State was made aware of this problem but, being Republican, decided it was fine.

What can we do? We can vote in numbers too big to allow for cheating. Tell all of your like-minded friends and family to vote early. Don’t worry about bothering them because our democracy is literally at stake. This is the time to be annoyingly persistent. Stand in line if you have to. When you vote, check your ballot twice: once on the machine and once on the printed ballot. If you have problems, report them to an election clerk and to the Texas Secretary of State. Get it on record.

It’s not enough to vote though. Most of the decisions that affect you personally are made at the city and county levels. They are where you can have the most impact. If you want to positively influence democracy long-term, 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 3

  1. Watched McKinney city council on TV tonight. The raging crowd that had been called to flood the meeting apparently didn’t show up. It was a total bust for the right wingers. About a half a dozen (?) people spoke for public education – one being Julie Luton (thank you, Julie). It was all about Mayor Fuller having spoken against the crazies at the school board. So one cheer for the mayor on this account.

    After all these many months and much acrimony, council had come up with a compromise redistricting map that got approved (unanimously I think) at this meeting. Dr Feltus said no one was going to be totally happy with it. Her approval seemed lukewarm.

    I don’t know if Rick Franklin got his carve out, but that would be ridiculous. As far as I can tell, he is the absolute most do nothing and useless city council member. I also had an experience with him where actually he responded to me right away– but then he didn’t do squat about the simple problem I called with.

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      I haven’t seen it yet but I’m sure the compromise map is still ridiculous, done solely so the Feckless Four can do whatever they set out to do with redistricting. I have no idea what that is but, when in doubt, always follow the money.

      Rainey Rogers gives Franklin a run for his money on the most useless designation. Thank goodness he’s termed out in May.

  2. Awesome reporting as usual. Less awesome: the extremism and corruption that is decimating our county. It’s horrifying.

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