Collin County Politics: Inching Towards Fascism

October 26, 2021

Covid Update: Collin County has 128,614 confirmed Covid cases. That’s 1,045 more cases than I reported last week and 1,115 of our Collin residents have died (an increase of 34 people who died since last week).

The reason I start every column with Covid numbers is that too many of our county leaders are pretending Covid is over. It isn’t and I want people to be aware of the toll it’s taking. Very few of our businesses and schools require masks. How many lives would have been saved if we’d taken the virus more seriously? For 34 members of our community, it was one too many.

Texas: Although I generally stick with reporting what’s going on locally, there’s some statewide news we can’t ignore. The most important and scariest news is that Governor Greg Abbott just picked Republican John Scott, a Fort Worth Attorney, to be the new secretary of state (SoS). Scott represented the Trump campaign last November in its challenge to election results in Pennsylvania. He also worked closely with Abbott when he was Attorney General and was given a cushy job once Abbott became governor. How cozy.

The SoS position has been open for months after the state senate refused to confirm Ruth Ruggero Hughs, probably because she allowed Texans to early vote in heavily Democratic areas without trying to stop them. Abbott’s previous candidate for SoS, David Whitley, was denied confirmation after he tried to purge voter rolls that wrongly flagged thousands of Texans as potential noncitizens. Although Abbott could’ve submitted Scott’s nomination to the Texas Legislature during any one of our endless additional sessions, he failed to do so. This means that the Legislature cannot vote on Scott until 2023. He will functionally be our SoS when his good buddy Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and all state legislators are on the ballot. What could go wrong?

This latest evidence of corruption should terrify all of us. Given the awful new voter suppression law, the SoS can fine counties up to $1,000 a day for not properly maintaining their voter lists and can audit potentially years’ worth of the counties’ elections. Does anyone doubt that Harris, Dallas, and Travis counties will now have trouble? The SoS office also will have a broader ability to pass on alleged voter fraud or missteps by election officials to the attorney general, who has made prosecuting election violations a top priority. Republicans can’t win without cheating and they know it. That’s why they’ve ramped up their voter suppression tactics.

Speaking of election chicanery, Dan Patrick just got poorer. After Trump’s loss, he foolishly offered to pay a $25,000 bounty for evidence of voter fraud. Unfortunately, he forgot to specify that he wanted proof of voter fraud by Democrats, so he just had to pay Eric Frank – a poll worker and son of Democratic operatives – for his tip leading to a conviction of illegal voting by a registered Republican in Pennsylvania. Even more delicious, this may be just the beginning since there are more cases of alleged GOP voting fraud still pending in Pennsylvania courts. I can’t wait.

I also look forward to seeing Attorney General (and regular criminal) Ken Paxton have at least one of his days in court. Last week, an appeals court ruled that a whistleblower lawsuit against his office can move forward. In the lawsuit, four former employees claim they faced retaliation after accusing Paxton of abusing his office to help real estate developer and campaign donor Nate Paul. Of course, Paxton is no stranger to white-collar crime (he’s been indicted for securities fraud for years now) but his office tried to sidestep this lawsuit by arguing that Paxton is an elected official, not a public employee, so the state’s whistleblower act doesn’t apply.

The appeals court wasn’t buying such a ridiculous argument. They correctly pointed out that such a legal precedent would mean that employees wouldn’t be protected from retaliation for reporting bribery, sexual harassment or other misconduct by any elected official in Texas, from judges to city councilors. And, as we all know, way too many politicians are as corrupt as the day is long. Paxton is a prime example. He needs to go, ideally straight to prison.

Propositions: The last day for early voting for the 8 proposed changes to the Texas Constitution is Friday, October 29th with the election on November 2nd. Constitutional amendment votes are notoriously low turnout which means we have an opportunity to have an impact. If you truly want to send a message, vote No on all of them (I only voted Yes on 2, 7, and 8). But do go vote. It only takes a few minutes.

Frisco School Board: Rezoning is a hot button issue and it’s somewhat of a frequent one in Frisco as they try to keep their high schools to about 2,100 students. A lot of people like the small school population but it also means rezoning every few years. Many people aren’t happy about their latest plan. Hundreds of parents attended a special FISD Board Meeting to protest the rezoning of some high school freshmen and sophomores. At least 200 people protested in the streets as well.

At the Inside Scoop meeting, it was mentioned that 400 Reedy & Lone Star students need to be moved. Wakeland numbers are stable or trending down although it will still be affected because they most likely will be receiving students from other high schools. That should be fun. Frisco High School is stable and they’re not moving incoming Juniors or Seniors. If you’re in the Purefoy, Griffin Wakey feeder, nothing is changing.

Richardson School Board: RISD joined the growing number of school districts affected by parents trying to censor books they don’t like. One mom, upset with a list of book club options available to her daughter’s 8th-grade class, complained during a school board meeting. She was particularly concerned about strong language, race, sexual content (including descriptions of sexual assault), suicide, and “left-wing ideology” like depictions of LGBTQI people. This stellar individual believes gender identity is “scary for our girls.” I guess boys are fine with it?

I’d love to tell you the school board members rolled their eyes and ignored her, knowing (as they surely do) she just wants to ban any books with themes she dislikes. But no. The day after she complained, RISD temporarily suspended book clubs across the district. A district group will create a rubric for such choices and hopes to have criteria outlined by the spring. Only then can the book clubs continue. School leaders insist they’re committed to providing a breadth of books for students, ones that allow them to see themselves and their experiences in the stories they read. However, according to deputy superintendent Tabitha Branum, they want to “…balance that with what is developmentally appropriate and where that student is in terms of maturation.” Uh-huh.

Everyone knows students are encountering all of these issues long before 8th grade. What’s next? Are they going to prohibit students from using the internet, watching TV, being on social media, and going to the public library? Do conservatives truly believe their precious darlings aren’t encountering people of differing races and those in the LGBTQI community? Are they so naïve that they actually think kids aren’t discussing sexual violence, suicide, sexual activity, or (I’ll throw this one in for free) drugs and alcohol? I doubt it. No, banning books is just one step closer to totalitarianism.

Fellow Democrats, we need to start showing district leaders that we will not stand for censorship, that the path they’re trying to make us walk is one we will not take. Start speaking at school board meetings and communicating with your district leaders. Start making some noise so we can drown these fascist wannabes out!!!!!!!!

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 (most meetings are online) and it’s interesting work. Please let me know if you’re interested.

Comments 2

  1. PLEASE join LWAN to help us. We need all our voices making “good trouble” … and if you don’t want to make that “good trouble”, please help those who do by watching meetings and reporting so we know where to go!

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