Collin County Politics: In Search of a More Perfect Union

April 27, 2021

Allen City Council: Racism was the name of the game at the most recent meeting. It started with a delightful man spending his 3 minutes of public speaking time using racist dog whistles to complain about the protest in Allen against the murder of Marvin Scott III. He trotted out oldies but goodies, like protesters being a “public nuisance” comprised of “outside agitators” and that “we” pay for these streets. Just who is this “we” he’s talking about? My business is in Allen, so I pay taxes there but he’s certainly not speaking for me! This upstanding citizen even suggested a “citizens’ task force” with 500 people on call to help with crowd control. That has extremely ominous overtones.

The racism continued with the presentation about the Priya Senior Independent Living. It’s specifically designed for the aging Indian/Southeast Asian population which comprises 25% of the population in Allen. It was described as a Diversity, Equality, & Inclusion initiative. The developer asked to include gates as the older Asian population feels unsafe. Imagine that. Council member Kurt Kizer was deeply concerned that such a project would exclude non-Asians. How odd that I have yet to hear him express concern that mostly white communities might exclude non-white people. Mayor Fulk gave his usual song and dance about multi-family housing. Several public speakers echoed Kizer’s “fear” about discrimination.

Most of the public speakers were in favor of the project. Sadly, some felt the need to address the racist accusations used against them. One man mentioned that the Southeast Asian community does its best to learn American culture (addressing concerns about assimilation) while others pointed out examples of inclusivity. A tragic comment about why such a living situation is needed came from Shreya Bot, President of Radha Krishna Temple: “So many people are aging that don’t speak [English] and are dying in a place where they don’t feel comfortable.” Thankfully, most of the council members agreed this project should move ahead and approved it in a 4-2 vote.

The other big item on the agenda was term limits. Allen voters approved term limits just 2 years ago but now the powers-that-be want to increase the quantity of terms. Currently, there is a 12 years maximum limit on city council seats but they want to increase this to 18 years. They want to put two propositions about term limits on the ballot for a special election on November 2nd. This was approved 5-1, with Lauren Doherty casting the only dissenting vote. Essentially, most of the Allen City Council wants to waste money on a special election so they can stay in power longer. Dandy.

Collin College: The Collin College professors gained some allies in their heroic struggle to regain the positions they illegally lost. It’s against the law to fire someone for union organizing but that’s just what Collin College has done to several female professors. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Mike Siegel, leader of Register2Vote, Brian Golden, president of the Tarrant County Central Labor Council, and John Palmer, international vice president of the Teamsters all showed up on Saturday to headline a rally in support of the ousted professors. All are rock stars in the labor movement but Sara Nelson in particular is powerful and inspiring. She began her speech by saying, “We the people … in order to form … a more perfect UNION!” before pointing out that unions are democracy, unions are American, and “An injury to one is an injury to all.” We need more people like her in politics!

Commissioners Court: The Court received a clean audit. However, the auditor emphasized that the General Fund unassigned fund balance is “extremely healthy” and has been for well over half a year. Numbers aren’t really my thing but it sure appears as though they’re not paying as much for county salaries and benefits as they should be since they have so many excess funds. A while back, Hill got snippy with Judge Roach (who’s in charge of Veterans Court) because Roach wanted to pay his employees more than what county employees earn. Hill and Roach then had a tense exchange. The money for Veterans Court comes from a grant but Hill didn’t want to hurt the feelings of county employees and his tantrum almost interfered with the program’s approval. Based on the audit, it sure seems like there’s a positive and easy fix to this problem: pay county employees more. This group won’t though. This is just one more example of how they don’t understand that government exists to provide people with services.

Regarding the vaccination effort, the good news is that at least 49% of Collin County residents 16 and older have had at least 1 shot. The bad news is that it appears we’ve reached “a cliff” of people wanting to get vaccinated. Many shot appointments are going unfilled. Darrell Hale blathered on about 15% of Collin County residents who have had Covid which, according to him, means that they’ve “self-immunized” (have antibodies from a Covid infection). If we add those people to those who have been vaccinated, this should help us reach the 70% of residents needed for herd immunity. Ummm… Darrell? First of all, no one is “self-immunized.” That’s not a thing. Second, Covid antibodies last only a short time. So we’re still falling far short of the numbers we need for herd immunity. I wonder how much responsibility Hill and Hale have for downplaying Covid and not promoting the vaccine program as much as they should have. Answer: a lot.

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