Magnolia, January 22, 2017 – There’s an interesting contrast between the pro-reform citizens in Montgomery County, which group includes Commissioner James Noack, former State Representative Steve Toth, and Texas Patriots Tea Party PAC Treasurer Bill O’ Sullivan, among thousands of others, and the “establishment,” anti-reform supporters of County Judge Craig Doyal. The former pro-reform group talks about substantive issues, while the latter group engages in “smack.”
Let’s step back and move to a scenario on the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, for a moment. Arroz and Fredrick are 6 year old boys and best friends. They’re playing with Fredrick’s rubber ball when Arroz, mistakenly, pops his friend’s ball on a sharp rock. Fredrick in a rage screams at his friend, “I ‘gwine kill you!” Arroz runs away. That’s what some refer to as “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng,” the name of a Reggae song Winston Foster turned into a hit in 1982. Basically, it describes a fit of smack that’s more of an emotional outburst than any actual action or conduct.
Sadly, we’re seeing a lot of that from the “establishment” camp of Doyal. We’ve spent a year-and-a-half seeing a lot of it from the political forces opposing the election of President Donald Trump. It has no place in our community, Montgomery County.
O’Sullivan and others have urged the County government to reduce spending and consequently property taxes. Noack and Toth have drawn a line in the sand against nepotism and conflicts of interest. Noack committed the unpardonable sin, in Doyal’s eyes, when, in December, 2016, Commissioner Noack voted against further funding for the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” project through which Doyal and his allies are feeding the hungry financial appetites of Doyal’s business partner Bobby Adams, Adams’ engineering firm Halff Associates, and other engineers and contractors who have contributed mightily to Doyal’s and the “establishment”’s political campaigns. That’s when the recent spate of “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” broke out. Noack, Toth, O’Sullivan, and others apparently became a real threat to the wellbeing of the “establishment.”
We found out that Doyal and his campaign team established a “hit list” of political enemies after Doyal won the 2014 Republican Primary Runoff Election over former County employee Mark Bosma. The Golden Hammer’s current edition contains an article “Noack Accuses Cagle, Doyal of Threatening Engineers” concerning Precinct 4 Harris County Commissioner Jack Cagle threatening engineers and engineering firms who politically have supported Noack.
The Courier blog reported last year in an October 8, 2016, post, an email of Austin political consultant Pete Peterson: “I just talked with Judge Doyal. … He has hired Randy [sic] Hardin (thanks to Mr Weaver & Mr Sheldon) … Noted attorney Hardin has a hearing set for Tuesday in front of the Judicial Review Panel (they are the ones that suspended him … Mr Hardin say they do not have the power over an administrative county Judge … Craig is in great spirits … Looking for ‘blood in the streets’ and a fat civil judgement [sic] when all is said and done …” The proper term to describe that sentiment is “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng.”
Just yesterday, January 21, Doyal wrote an editorial responding to Noack’s and District Attorney Brett Ligon’s calls for County ethics reform, to Noack’s criticism of the Mansion Way road project, and to Noack’s opposition to the Decimation of Hope Highway, by stating “Noack’s false attacks, mistruths must stop” with the implied threat left unstated. Doyal’s Commissioners Court mentor, Mike Meador, already voted against a law enforcement proposal in Noack’s Precinct 3 during the December 13, 2016, Commissioners Court meeting, as retribution for Noack’s intransigence.
Apparently, enamored with Doyal’s dedication and sincerity to the “establishment,” the Courier blog now practices some “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” of its own against citizens who dare to speak out. A couple of weeks ago, Doyal’s allied blog wrote a front-page headline mounting a fictional attack against a private citizen who has dared to criticize Doyal’s and the County’s spending and ethics. (That wasn’t the first time the Courier had written a wholly fictional article about the same private citizen.)
In the coming months, we’ll see Doyal conflate the criminal charges against him for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act with his desire to build more roads and pump more County dollars into the hands of his political cronies. Where the Courier blog lost its way – and The Golden Hammer suspects that this fact may be news to its editor Andy DuBois – is in one Courier blog reporter’s acceptance of Doyal’s sincerity in his alleged belief that the road projects are more important than the Open Meetings Act and its bothersome requirements of open deliberation.
Such a defense by Doyal of the Texas Open Meetings Act violations is far more disturbing than the charges themselves. The Golden Hammer parts with many of the pro-reform advocates, because the publisher of this newspaper does not believe that Doyal, Charlie Riley, or Marc Davenport set out to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act or its requirement that Commissioners Court deliberations must occur in open meetings. Either way, however, Doyal’s conflation of alleged violations with the importance of passing the November 2015 road bond – and the Courier blog reporter’s acceptance of that argument – is inexcusable. The end does not justify the means.
On the other side of the ledger, the pro-reform advocates have done just that: advocated for reform, albeit forcefully at times. They have not threatened. They have not talked smack. They have not encouraged The Golden Hammer newspaper or some of our community’s blogs to attack private citizen advocates of “the establishment.” They have argued for reform.
Concerned about massive County government spending and seeking a substantive discussion with County leaders? The response from County leaders is silence.
Concerned about the lack of a County ethics policy? The response is silence.
Concerned that the County intends to build a $100 million 3.6 mile road in the far southwest without any citizen input or a bond referendum? The response is silence.
Concerned that the County suffers from rampant nepotism? More silence.
Concerned about Goetzgate? Silence.
Concerned about asbestos in a heavily-utilized County building? Silence.
Concerned about Doyal’s and Riley’s conflicts of interest in numerous votes they’ve taken in the Commissioners Court meetings? Silence.
The “establishment’s” saddening response is “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng.”