Kelli Cook, Publisher, The Golden Hammer
Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, it’s time for you to do your job with respect to the Conroe Independent School District (CISD)! If you can’t do your job, then perhaps you should go to work in a floral shop as an inventory clerk.
Montgomery County already has the reputation as the “most corrupt county in Texas” and that’s all happening right under your nose. Now, it’s even worse. Now, CISD and its Superintendent Curtis Null are turning our public school campuses into modern versions of the Cicero Town Council election of 1924.
Brett, I’ll tell you more about Cicero in a moment. But the point is that Null and CISD are making you look like a fool. The worst part of it is that you actually have a whole division inside of your office called the “Public Integrity Unit.”
Here’s what’s going on.
Null and CISD
Null and CISD are breaking election law after election law. They’ve turned our tax dollars into a funnel to provide political support directly for passage of the controversial $677 million bond package they’re tossing at the voters on the November 5 electoral ballot.
They’ve turned every single CISD public school campus into a political campaign advertisement to advocate for passage of the bond. None of the political signs have the required disclaimers. None of the political signs have the state-mandated “right of way” notices. The political signs all sit on school property! School administrators have placed the signs near school entrances, along carpool drop off areas, and within the rights-of-way at the end of the schools. They’re everywhere.
It gets worse, Brett.
Null and CISD have told teachers in no uncertain terms that the teachers will not receive $1,000 of the $5,000 per teacher raise to which they ‘re entitled under House Bill 3, the school finance reform measure which the 86th Texas Legislature just passed, unless and until they get the $677 million bond passed. School administrators are telling teachers they’ll be laid off, if the bond doesn’t pass.
The political signs all say “get the facts” and direct people to CISD’s official website where they absolutely 1000% lie to voters that this bond involves “NO TAX RATE INCREASE.”
Brett, you’re not stupid. When you add $677 million of debt onto a school district which already has over $1.2 billion of debt, it’s like increasing the mortgage on your house. Your debt payments go up. The money to pay the principal and interest on $677 million of debt doesn’t get delivered to CISD by stork.
You also need to know that CISD already increased the tax rate for debt service by 4 cents per $100 valuation as part of their budget. They didn’t need a debt service tax rate increase without this bond that the voters haven’t yet passed!
In other words, Brett, CISD is lying to voters. They’re advocating for passage of the bond. They’re using public funds, which come from our tax dollars, to advocate. They’re using school campuses for political advertising. They’re violating all sorts of election laws.
To help you out with your legal research, I invite you to go on Westlaw and look at all of the sections of Chapter 255 of the Texas Election Code. There are a lot of case annotations which will help you in your research. If you need additional assistance, we have one lowly staff member who has some familiarity with Westlaw and Shepherdizing cases for your legal research. We’ll loan him to you for free.
Oh, you also may want to glance at Section 36.03 of the Texas Penal Code as well. The Texas Legislature doesn’t look too kindly at threatening people, such as the teachers, to vote a certain way in an election or else face loss of jobs or money. The Texas Legislature doesn’t like the idea of dangling money in someone’s face to get them to vote a certain way either.
Cicero, Illinois, is a suburb of Chicago. It was the base of the Chicago Outfit, Alphonse “Scarface Al” Capone’s crime syndicate, which operated in Cicero, Chicago, and surrounding areas.
Capone didn’t want “trouble” (remember the song, “You’ve got TROUBLE, with a capital T, it rhymes with P, and stands for p-o-o-l.”).
So Scarface Al and his “helpers” utilized Null’s methodology. They intimidated voters to vote certain ways. They threatened voters not to vote other ways. They violated election laws left and right. Their town prosecutor worked with the Chicago Outfit and looked like a fool.
The Chicago Outfit pistol-whipped a gentleman in his front yard who dared run for City Clerk against the Outfit’s candidate. How is threatening teachers with their compensation or with their jobs not the same as pistol-whipping a man in his yard?
CISD has gone so far overboard that it’s time for you to step in, Brett.
Do your job!