Image: When the citizens sleep, corruption finds its opportunity.
Conroe, July 29 – Montgomery County, Texas, one of the most Republican counties in the United States, is the most corrupt County in Texas. It shouldn’t be.
Just in the last week:
- The County Republican Chairman, Wally Wilkerson, has announced that the Texas Election Code, the Republican Party of Texas Rules, the old Bylaws of the Montgomery County Republican Party, the new Bylaws of the Montgomery County Republican Party, the overwhelming majority vote of the County GOP Executive Committee, and the voters’ choices to elect the Precinct Chairs who make up the County GOP Executive Committee do not apply to him in any way. As Charlie Parada, Wilkerson’s henchman, has announced, Wilkerson’s whim takes “precedence” over all of those rules of law. Wilkerson has made clear that the Montgomery County Republican Party organization over which he is the head is not part of the Republican Party of Texas, a clarification that makes many wonder just where that organization lies within the political spectrum.
- A five-member Republican County Commissioners Court passed a proposed budget of more than $344 million that will be the highest County government expenditures budget in the history of Montgomery County with spending growth of more than 450% since 2000. The spending growth rate in Montgomery County is faster than any other county’s in Texas and much faster than the spending growth rate of the federal government (under Obama and Presidents Trump and Bush). James Noack, a County Commissioner who has tried to portray himself as the most “conservative” member of the Commissioners Court, led the push to increase County government spending during the budget “workshop” which carefully excluded any citizen input.
- While the County Commissioners Court refused to provide a budget for the manpower requirements the law enforcement community presented to them, the members of the Commissioners Court and the County Judge voted unanimously to give themselves a 3% raise, even though their salaries are already approximately $50,000 per year too high, according to benchmarking methodology and according to a formal Salary Survey of the Citizens Budget Committee.
- Anyone who watched the Commissioners Court in action during the past week would observe that Noack led the way for the higher government spending and the total failure to reduce wasteful spending or give the property taxpayers any sort of break. Noack has resorted to secrecy as his primary tool for growing his power: (1) he hid the hiring of the Courier blog editor as a chief of staff from the remainder of the Commissioners Court who blindly voted to approve it, (2) he manipulated the interview process for a new Building Maintenance Department Director, Tim Stewart, who is married to any employee’s of Noack, and then placed the hiring of Stewart on a secretive portion of the Commissioners Court agenda that he didn’t make available to the public, (3) he hid the contract to hire a $48,000 per year taxpayer-funded lobbyist Rob Eissler from the public by failing to attach it to the Commissioners Court agenda and purposefully placed the agenda item on the secretive “consent agenda” so that it was less likely that the Commissioners Court would discuss it, (4) he failed to disclose Eissler’s considerable conflicts of interest in his work as a lobbyist, and (5) he failed to disclose Eissler’s efforts to put forward the Woodlands Parkway Extension.
- The light of day shined on Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley‘s complete lie to the citizens of Precinct 2 on May 16, 2018, when he assured them that he would not support the Woodlands Parkway Extension (WPX). Riley told that to the citizens when he was in a hotly-contested Republican Runoff Election against Gregory Parker who opposed WPX. Riley issued written political advertisements, a video, signs, and verbal statements on May 16 all of which were direct lies about Riley’s intentions to build WPX. In actuality, Riley is working with real estate developer Tim Weems, the Woodlands Land Development Company, Brown & Gay engineers, and the Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District to plow forward with WPX, even though voters rejected that proposal in a countywide referendum in May, 2015.
- James Metts, the controversial Republican Nominee for Precinct 4 County Commissioner, is presenting a Town Hall Meeting on August 2 for Jay Stittleburg, the liberal democrat who is running for Montgomery County Judge in the November General Election through a business that Metts and his direct-report County employee girlfriend own together as partners. Wilkerson has refused to take any action as County GOP Chairman to require Metts, as a Republican nominee, to back off from supporting a democrat openly.
How can all of these occurrences happen in Montgomery County with its conservative population and gigantic Optimal Republican Voting Strength?
These problems fall squarely on the shoulders of Wilkerson, the County Republican Chairman, who has refused to allow the Republican Party to stand for anything. He’s enjoyed the work of real estate developers who have brought thousands of families of suburban Republican-leaning voters into Montgomery County, but Wilkerson has done almost nothing to strengthen the Republican Party on his own. He’s enjoyed the power and taken the credit over his 54 years as County Chairman, but Wilkerson has violated three cardinal rules of political parties: (1) he’s taken sides during contested primary elections, such as his shocking efforts to funnel money to a moderate candidate running against conservative Steve Toth for the Texas House of Representatives in 2018, (2) he’s completely failed to organize and run general election campaigns over the years, resulting in losses such as the defeat of incumbent Republican State Senator Mike Galloway to a liberal democrat in 1998, and (3) he’s opposed the Republican Party Platform and refused to abide by the Republican Party Rules which require that Republican candidates and officeholders follow the Platform.
During a candidate forum in January, 2018, Wilkerson flatly refused to follow the Republican Party Platform and declared he would not require candidates or officeholders to do so either. As a result, when General Election voters vote for Republican candidates on the ballot, they don’t really know what they’re getting as far as the candidates’ beliefs or promises.
When candidates such as Noack, Riley, or Metts run as “Republicans,” it’s meaningless. They’ve made no commitment to the Republican Party Platform or even to any conservative principles. Metts ran on no issues at all. Riley assured voters he’d oppose WPX but, behind-the-scenes, broke that promise while he was making it.
Noack wants to run for Kevin Brady’s seat in Congress. Noack seems to believe that conservatives and Republicans across the Eighth Congressional District expect him to vote for government spending. His obsession with his salary suggests that he must live paycheck-to-paycheck on his Commissioner’s salary of $168,808 per year. Therefore, Noack has had every incentive during the past year to work with the pro-spending political establishment on the Commissioners Court, and other than his opposition to the TX 249 Tollway, he’s done exactly that. While he’s been a responsive road-and-bridge commissioner, his voting record on the Court is nothing short of liberal, pro-taxation, and pro-Big-Government.
In a county with a robust well-run Republican Party, these problems should not occur. The Party leadership should work with candidates and elected servants to ensure that they tow the line of Republican beliefs in the Republican Party Platform. When they step out of line, it’s the responsibility of the Party leadership to bring them back into the fold.
That’s where the true hope for the future actually arises. Two days this year – Primary Election Day on March 6 and the organizational GOP meeting date on June 26 – revealed that “Reform” conservatives have finally begun to take the leadership of the Republican Party in Montgomery County after a two-decade struggle. The “Reformers” swept into office particularly under the leadership of State Representative Mark Keough, who is the Republican Nominee for Montgomery County Judge. Outstanding Reform conservative candidates such as 284th District Court judicial candidate Kristin Bays, County Treasurer candidate Melanie Pryor Bush, District Clerk candidate Melisa Miller, County Clerk Mark Turnbull, and Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace candidate Matthew Beasley won their respective electoral contests by large margins in the March 6 Republican Primary Election.
On June 26, years of hard work to recruit and elect outstanding, genuinely conservative Precinct Chairs paid off when the grassroots conservative Reformers had a clear majority of the County GOP Executive Committee during its statutory organizational meeting under the Texas Election Code and the Republican Party of Texas Rules. While Wilkerson didn’t like the result of the meeting when the conservatives passed new Bylaws to decentralize authority in the Republican Party, he presided over the meeting and appeared to abide by the decision for a couple of days thereafter. Sadly, at the end of June, Wilkerson decided he would no longer abide by his own rulings during the meeting, the Party Rules, the Party Bylaws, or the Texas Election Code.
Despite Wilkerson’s childish behavior in changing the locks on the doors of the Republican Party Headquarters, shutting down the Headquarters, refusing to meet with or communicate with the duly-elected Party officers, and an attack video he developed with a family of democrats who just got out of federal prison for defrauding Hurricane Katrina victims, the duly-elected officers and Steering Committee of the Republican Party are pressing forward with a strong Victory 2018 General Election Campaign for the Republican Party.
For the first time in decades, the Montgomery County Republican Party intends to use block-walking, phone-banking, and modern technological methods to campaign rather than relying on the campaigns and financial resources of the individual candidates running as Republicans for office.
The citizens of Montgomery County can no longer sleep. They must continue to elect conservative Republican Precinct Chairs and conservative Republican Reformers running for public office. They must send a stern message to candidates such as Noack: “either vote the right way or face losing your job.” The Republican Party in one of the most Republican counties in the United States should act like…the Republican Party.
Montgomery County citizens must bring the end to the corruption which is the Montgomery County government and its body politic. The Golden Hammer will continue to help to provide information. Nevertheless, it’s the citizens who must act with the immediate task at hand to defeat the democrats resoundingly in November.