Collin County Politics: Make Some Noise

June 14, 2022

Picture: Collin County Democratic Party Precinct Chairs Subir Purkayasta and Rekha Shenoy participating in the March for Our Lives.

Covid Update: Collin County has 222,442 confirmed Covid cases. That’s 1,830 more cases than I reported last week and 1,510 of our Collin residents have died (an increase of 1 person). Although hospitalizations are rising and are at their highest peak since March, experts insist we’re still OK. Collin County has a relatively high rate of vaccinations and warmer weather may be helping keep cases low. Providers are reporting more non-Covid respiratory illnesses right now – stuff we usually get in the fall – which also could be preventing the spread of Covid. Whatever it is, we’ll take it!

Commissioner’s Court: All commissioners managed to be present for their 16-minute meeting last week. Most of the meeting consisted of public comments and Chris Hill letting us know Collin County now has an estimated population of 1.1 million. Wow! That’s information we couldn’t get anywhere else! What value he’s bringing for the high salary we pay him!

In the consent agenda (passed unanimously and without discussion per usual) was an item to pay $81,682.26 for WRAP restraints in the jail. These restraints have such safety features as a locking shoulder harness, a leg restraint, and an ankle strap and come with a handy tactical bag. The item also requested the Court grant an exemption from the competitive bid process for Safe Restraints Inc. since they’re the sole source provider for The WRAP Safety Restraint System. I don’t love this. Since these commissioners have never met a punitive measure they didn’t like, I’m not inclined to believe this is necessary based solely on their word or that of the Sheriff.

Over $80,000 seems like a lot of money to spend, especially on equipment that looks terrifying. Check out what they look like, then imagine yourself freaking out (for whatever reason) and having them used on you. Our jail is not for hardened criminals, so why are such restraints necessary? What other measures are taken to calm prisoners before using the WRAP system? Since the Court is allocating funds for mental health treatment through the expanded infirmary, will restraints even be necessary? I’d really like to hear a discussion on this but of course we’ll never get it, at least not from these commissioners. That’s why we desperately need Josh Murray and Jeff Williams!

Frisco City Council: The big news of the evening was Frisco’s first proclamation of Pride month for June 2022. Out of 13 public speakers, 10 focused on the topic of Pride month. Of those 10, eight came from a perspective of outrage, disgust, worry for children, and/or religious objection. There was a lot of insisting that “we love everyone” but also a lot of raised voices and angry desperation by people who seemed to think that Pride is about sexualizing children and that the city is collectively going to hell. Many of the right-wing extremists were from out of town. In contrast, HD66 candidate Jesse Ringness spoke about his Uncle Glen, a gay man who took his own life in 2000. He said Frisco is an inclusive community that’s welcoming to all and thanked the council for the Pride Proclamation.

McKinney City Council: The council members (minus Rainey Rogers whose been absent a lot lately) continue talking about affordable housing options. Janay Tieken, the Director of Housing and Community Development, brought forward Public Facilities Corporations (PFC) as another tool (besides tax credits to developers) for workforce and affordable housing. The discussion was frustrating as Mayor George Fuller (never, ever forget that he’s a developer himself) was not in favor of PFCs because the “premiere” developers don’t want it. Apparently, it sets up competition for the workforce housing these A-list developers do want to build. As far as I could tell, the reason these elite developers don’t want to build PFCs is because they’ll be required to provide 5% of their units at rents 30% below the Annual Median Income. In other words, it cuts into their profits.

While they’re totes in favor of workforce housing (because workers benefit the tax base), the overall council seems reluctant to focus on affordable housing. This is odd given they’re also against increasing homelessness. Where else do they think people are going to go? Eviction rates are through the roof but I’m sure elderly people and families managing members with disabilities have a ton of housing options. And those aren’t the only people struggling. While some young adults can continue to live with their parents (a fate I’m sure many anticipate with excitement), others are forced to search for affordable housing on limited incomes. I’m irritated with any kind of emphasis on why people need reduced rent. For whatever reason, they need it and if we don’t provide them a way for them to afford housing, we (and they) will be paying for it via homelessness. Is that truly what we want? Maybe they can set up a tent community around the new statue of Benji (yes, the dog from the 1974 and 2018 movies) we’re planning to erect.

On the plus side, Dr. Gere Feltus nominated Deidre Woodard to the Collin Central Appraisal District Board of Directors. As a woman of color (with a degree from Stanford no less!), she will provide some much-needed diversity and perspective to the rest of the white, male board. Ms. Woodard’s nomination passed unanimously. Let’s hope she agrees to serve.

The council also started tackling redistricting. The voting-age population in Districts 1 and 3 are underpopulated while those in Districts 2 and 4 are overpopulated, so they must redistribute. They’re considering several plans, including one proposed by former president of McKinney Democrats, Julie Luton – yet another example of the necessity of citizen participation! Rainey Rogers was quite concerned that the maps were created so incumbents weren’t drawn out of their districts. This is an odd worry for him since he can’t run in District 2 again due to term limits. But while we’re on the subject, why should incumbents be a factor in redistricting at all? Why oh why do we not have a process in which a computer program draws new maps based on population and demographic changes?

Everyone really should listen to Julie’s comments (at 41:57) during the public hearing as they were a masterful demonstration of diplomacy mixed with good policy. This is the person we could’ve had representing HD70 back in 2018 when she ran for office but no. Instead, we got Scott Sanford, Christian Dominionist, who never did anything for anyone besides his donors. Thanks, Republicans. You never fail to disappoint.

McKinney School Board: The special meeting to determine what to do about Trustee Chad Green (The Big Hathole) was deeply disturbing with a side of crazy. Board President Amy Dankel kicked it off by offering a Christian prayer, asking God for his hand be upon the deliberation before them. Religious demonstrations have no place in government meetings, like school boards, city councils, and commissioner courts yet I’ve witnessed them in all 3 entities. That’s not only off-putting but illegal. They need to stop, especially since Republican prayers tend to be more performative than substantive.

Of the roughly 120 people who attended the special meeting, about 60% were Greenie Meanies (GMs) while 40% attempted to hold him accountable for his actions. Many of the GMs were from other parts of the DFW area and the state. They performed their usual song and dance about how Hathole is the only true conservative on the board trying to represent what they want. Several recited scripture and spoke about God, so much so that it felt like being in a Christian Nationalist revival. This is probably not an accident since they may be following the Christian Dominionist playbook.

It was odd their “hero” apparently doesn’t understand religious rules as he kept on his hat during the prayer but took it off for the pledge. But perhaps these people can overlook it since they don’t understand much about the tenets of the religion in which they profess to believe. Can you tell how over faux Christians I am? They make the rest of us look bad.

During the executive session recess, the GMs held a prayer circle. It started off OK as someone reminded them to act with love instead of anger. She was probably trying to get them to stop shouting profanities and threatening physical harm at those against Hathole. If so, it didn’t work. The prayer devolved into a denunciation of LGBTQIA people and they quickly started making made plans to protest Pride events (see Frisco CC above). The woman filming the prayer circle made sure the camera caught her wiping away tears because the prayer so moved her, then immediately went around the room repeatedly calling the Sane Squad and the Board disgusting and demonic. One guy went directly from the circle to screaming at Josh Murray. I found the prayer circle more terrifying than anything else that happened.

After the executive session (in which GMs weirdly complained the board just left Hathole out there on his own – the horror!), the board opened the floor to public comments. While I dislike giving their nonsense publicity, I can’t resist relating the comedy gold in Chief Troublemaker Rachel Elliott comparing herself to the Uvalde mother who ran into the school to save her children, though Elliot is saving children from books. Yep, that’s exactly the same thing. She also claimed Superintendent McDaniel admitted to abusing 60 children last month when he reported 60 children had accessed these “pornographic” books in the library. Is it me or are they getting more extreme?

One of the Sane Squad pointed out that Hathole was just being political since there are at least 32 of the “pornographic” books in Imagine Academy’s library where his wife teaches and his children attend. For some reason, he isn’t trying to remove the books over there. Watching Big Hathole squirm in anger over that was pretty fun.

The board then presented a proclamation of censure. The document listed each of the oaths/ethics Chad Green broke, how he had broken them, and the conditions of the censure. Basically, he has to complete all his Board training within 30 days and won’t be allowed on any school campus for 1 year without prior approval and supervision. The censure motion passed 7 (including Dr. McDaniel) to 1 (Hathole). Instead of being apologetic or conciliatory, Hathole kept trying to talk about banning books, continuously interrupted other trustees, had his cellphone near him after they all agreed they wouldn’t, and refused to admit he had done anything wrong. I suspect his belligerent attitude was because Dankel didn’t remove disruptive people as she has before, so the GMs whooped and clapped whenever Green spouted off his nonsense. Just like a bully, he clearly was empowered by the sheep’s baaing.

How the board moves forward should be interesting. I don’t see any of his fellow trustees liking or trusting Hathole at all after this. Sadly, other than censure, they have no other recourse. They can’t remove an elected representative. If we wanted to try to remove him ourselves, our petition would have to go through the DA’s office and you can imagine how that would go. So, we’re stuck with him unless he resigns or gets voted out. I hope everyone appalled by this situation talks to the “reasonable” Republican and “independent” people in their lives. We’re doing all we can to make our community better. Why aren’t they?

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Local Politics: I’d like to remind everyone that in societies moving toward fascism, they come for women and other marginalized communities first. We’re already seeing this with attacks on reproductive freedom and laws outlawing services for the LGBTQIA community. I’d say this is how it starts but we’re already on the road to authoritarianism. If you don’t want to see things get worse, then step the hell up!

The other side is organized and isn’t going away. We need to be equally as engaged. One way you can do that is to 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. “Step the hell up.” Yes. Do people think you’re writing this for your own entertainment???? No, you’re writing this because you’re sounding the alarm. It’s getting really close to being too late.

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