Collin County Politics: The Battle for Democracy Starts at Home

June 8, 2021

Commissioner’s Court: Although there wasn’t a meeting last week, Chris Hill (or rather, his staff) has been hard at work drafting a Court Order for establishing Rules and Decorum of the Commissioners Court meetings to be voted on during the June 7th meeting. The Court Order allows them to vote on shortening people’s speaking time, hold people in contempt of court for “disruptions,” and create a dress code that refuses to allow hats. One wonders what they’ll do about religious-based head coverings. It shouldn’t escape our attention that this has only been put together AFTER the public started showing up and making them uncomfortable due to justified criticism. The commissioners are wading into the dangerous waters of authoritarianism.

Collin College Board of Trustees: Andy Hardin is the new board chair. The reinstatement of the professors released from their contracts was asked to be placed on the agenda. Instead of doing so (which they should have to do when requested by two Board members), they read a statement about how it is against various board policies and Robert’s Rules of Order to place the reinstatement on the agenda. In other words, they’re doubling down on violating the rights of the professors. This probably will have a chilling effect on faculty morale and recruitment. It also raises the question of what happens when the people in charge don’t follow the rules.

Allen and Frisco City Councils: A Tale of Two Run-offs: Both Allen and Frisco had excellent and qualified women fighting for council seats against unqualified, hateful, Trumpian opponents. In Allen, incumbent Lauren Doherty had good ideas and presented constituents with a thoughtful voice for greater representation. In Frisco, Angelia Pelham provided a solid track record of competency and service.

Neither of their opponents ran on ideas or policies but instead offered dangerous ideology, fear-mongering, and, in the case of Ms. Doherty’s opponent, a criminal record and unrepentant Islamophobia. Ms. Pelham’s opponent was so bad that even conservative Frisco Mayor Jeff Cheney recognized the danger and endorsed Ms. Pelham. She won with 59% of the vote.

Unfortunately, the same wasn’t true in Allen. The rumor is that the conservatives threw all their weight behind the Allen races and that seems to be the case. Collin County Commissioners Chris Hill and Darrell Hale publicly announced their opposition to Ms. Doherty’s campaign. Dark money (via the We the People PAC) was leveled against Ms. Doherty and Phillip Brewer, who was also running in Allen against a hateful, dangerously unqualified Republican. Sadly, the two excellent candidates lost. It’s scary to see non-partisan races become excessively partisan and bought by those outside the area.

In both Allen and Frisco, city council seats are voted upon by the whole city. This is a terrible idea for many reasons, primarily that certain areas of the cities have their own challenges and, with citywide voting, these often go unaddressed. This translates to majority rule without minority representation and it must change.

Also of note in both cities was the incredibly low turn-outs. Frisco got only 6,934 citizens out to vote. Allen fared a little better with 8,815 people (only 8% of registered voters) going to the polls. For Democrats, this was an opportunity we absolutely blew. If only more of us had spent the 5 minutes it takes to vote (seriously, it’s that quick and easy), we could’ve had a win in Allen and not be facing a terrifying right-wing city council. What’s it going to take, people? We can no longer sit on the sidelines.

Little Elm City Council: After earning 54% of the vote, Curtis Cornelious will be the next mayor of Little Elm. He’s a familiar face having served 2 terms on the city council and as a director on the Economic Development Corporation Board. Although this is a non-partisan race, it’s exciting that Mr. Cornelious is a Democrat.

Plano City Council: The wins of both Julie Holmer and Kayci Prince in their run-offs means the council will not continue its dangerous rightward tilt.

Richardson City Council: Arefin Shamsul won a seat on the city council with 53% of the vote. His addition to the council means that we have a majority Democrat council in Richardson for the first time in decades!

Comments 1

  1. I’m so incredibly sad about Lauren. What a loss for North Texas!

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