The Closing Argument in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election in Montgomery County: Commissioner Precincts 2 and 4

The Closing Argument in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election in Montgomery County: Commissioner Precincts 2 and 4

Image: One of the most famous events in American legal history occurred in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925, when renowned attorneys Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan faced each other in the trial of school teacher John T. Scopes. Part of the jury trial occurred outside of the courthouse, because it was too hot to continue the proceedings inside the courtroom with the giant audience packing all of the space. In this moment shown in the photograph, one of the lawyers Darrow cross-examined the opposing lawyer Bryan during the sixth day of the proceedings, an extremely unusual occurrence in any trial.

Conroe, Magnolia, and New Caney, May 13 – Early Voting begins tomorrow, May 14, 2018, at 7 a.m., in the Republican Runoff Election, Election Day for which is May 22, 2018. To be precise, Early Voting will be from Monday, May 14, to Friday, May 18, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., while the Election Day voting will occur on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Citizens may vote at any of the Early Voting locations in Montgomery County during that period but must vote at their own Voting Precinct on Election Day.

The 2018 Republican Runoff Election has historic ramifications for reform efforts with respect to the Montgomery County government.  There are four County Commissioners and one County Judge who vote on the Commissioners Court. Currently, the makeup of the Commissioners Court is the following:

County Judge Craig Doyal  ESTABLISHMENT, PRO-SPENDING, PRO-TAXATION

Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador ESTABLISHMENT, PRO-SPENDING, PRO-TAXATION

Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley ESTABLISHMENT, PRO-SPENDING, PRO-TAXATION

Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack mostly a REFORMER

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark has best PRO-REFORM voting record on the Commissioners Court.

Total makeup of Commissioners Court: 3 ESTABLISHMENT, 2 REFORMERs.

After the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, the three individuals who will likely be on the Commissioners Court will constitute the following post-March 6 Primary Election makeup of the Commissioners Court:

County Judge Mark Keough strong REFORMER

Meador ESTABLISHMENT, PRO-SPENDING, PRO-TAXATION

Noack REFORMER

Total makeup of Commissioners Court beginning January 1, 2019, so far: 2 REFORMERS, 1 ESTABLISHMENT.

The May 22 Republican Runoff Election involves two strong REFORMERS (Parker, Clark) running against ardent ESTABLISHMENT (Riley, Metts) members. If REFORMERS win one of the two seats, they’ll have a majority on the Commissioners Court. If REFORMERS win both seats, they’ll have a strong majority and will have the opportunity to isolate Meador as the one remaining pro-spending, pro-taxation liberal on the Commissioners Court. But if both Riley and Metts win, then the REFORMERS (Keough, Noack) would remain in the minority on the Commissioners Court.

In other words, if Montgomery County citizens hope to see reduced property taxes and reduced government spending from the presently out-of-control Montgomery County government, they need to turn out to vote for Gregory Parker for Precinct 2 County Commissioner and for Jim Clark for Precinct 4 County Commissioner.

Now, there are many other reasons why citizens should turn out to vote in this vital election for the future of Precincts 2 and 4 and the rest of Montgomery County as well.

Precinct 2: Incumbent Charlie Riley versus Reformer Gregory Parker

The incumbent, Charlie Riley is a mess. He’s under criminal indictment for official misconduct in the form of alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Riley, an advocate for secrecy and backroom dealing, is seeking to convince the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to find the Texas Open Meetings Act unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the situation is a lot worse with Riley.

Riley is the primary advocate for the unpopular TX 249 Tollway, which will cost $107 million for a 3 mile road, one of the most expensive road projects on a per mile basis in American history. Riley’s poor management and oversight of that project reflects the terrible job he’s done with other mobility projects in Commissioners Precinct 2.

Riley promised he’d finish the widening of FM 2978 by the end of his first term. He still hasn’t gotten TxDOT to start that important project in Montgomery County. Riley has failed to start approximately 2/3 of the road bond projects voters approved in a November, 2015, referendum. Only when the community approached election time in mid-2017 did Riley finally start to work on any of those projects other than the controversial Keenan Cutoff.

Riley continues to support construction of the Woodlands Parkway Extension and the Branch Crossing Extension (through the middle of Alden Bridge), even though voter opposition to those road projects in both Precincts 2 and 3 has been massive (and resulted in the failure of the May, 2015, road bond referendum because the Woodlands Parkway Extension was included in that vote.)

As District Attorney Brett Ligon has noted, Riley has suffered from some severe ethical challenges. Riley just barely avoid criminal prosecution over several serious issues involving Riley’s use of government property for personal and political purposes because the statute of limitations had expired on the prosecution.

Greg Parker, of Conroe, who is a former two-term Comal County Commissioner, announced his bid for Montgomery County’s Precinct 2 County Commissioner this morning.

Gregory Parker, a former two-term Comal County Commissioner, two-time conservative author, and information technology consultant, is challenging Riley. Parker is a U.S. Army veteran and enjoys strong relationships with grassroots conservatives in this community and around Texas. Parker opposes tollroad, supports reductions in government spending and property taxes, and has made clear that he believes Commissioners Court salaries are way too high.

Having served as a County Commissioner in Comal County for eight years before he decided not to run for re-election, Parker actually has more road and bridge project management experience than does Riley.

The critical distinction between Parker and Riley, however, is that Parker has made clear that he’ll work with Montgomery County citizens to clean up the mess which is the Montgomery County government. Parker is clearly the REFORMER while Riley is the ESTABLISHMENT candidate.

Precinct 4: Reformer-Incumbent Jim Clark versus James Metts

The citizens of East Montgomery County have waited for a strong County Commissioner for more than a quarter of a century. Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark came into office on January 1, 2015. After a year or so on the job, Clark started to show marked improvements in his performance. Clark now runs one of the strongest road-and-bridge operations in southeast Texas and has paved the way for East Montgomery County to be one of the fastest growing areas in all of Texas.

Clark has a sincerity and honesty that citizens rarely see in their elected officials. He’s very approachable but he also won’t back down to some of the corrupt forces that constantly seek to push their money in their direction. Clark refused to join up with the Davenport Ring of corrupt politicians who take their direction from disgraced political consultant Marc Davenport.

As a result of Clark’s confrontation with the forces of corruption, Clark’s opponent is James Metts, the JP with a terrible record in office, who is also one of the closest friends of Davenport. Davenport ran Metts’ campaign until a few weeks before the March 6 Republican Primary Election. When Metts began his campaign in December at a small event in Splendora, Davenport was front-and-center organizing and running the function.

Metts truly has a terrible record as a public servant:

  • Montgomery County taxpayers paid $45,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against the County government after Metts demanded sex from a County employee in his court, then threatened her with physical violence when she refused, and finally terminated her for saying “no.” The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made formal written findings against Metts over the years-long sexual harassment.
  • Metts is one of the worst public servants when it comes to nepotism. Metts has on his JP court payroll his cousin, his girlfriend (who is a direct report to Metts), and the mother of Metts’ closest political ally.
  • Metts is a terrible work record. He rarely shows up for work and usually only works about 6 hours per month.
  • Metts has severe conflicts of interest. It’s hard to imagine how he could do a fair job as a County Commissioner. Metts is a government contractor on the TX 249 Tollway project. A major County vendor, Mustang Equipment, holds a sizable monetary judgment against Metts. Metts has developed substantial relationships with NetData and Phonoscope, two controversial County government vendors who are involved in scandals where Metts is at the epicenter.
  • Metts is for higher elected official salaries.
  • Metts has refused to attend any candidate forums where he would have to answer questions about issues from the citizens.
  • As a result of the NetData situation, the County government is losing approximately $880,000 per year in uncollected fees and fines mostly because of Metts.

None of that even deals with the terrible demeanor Metts has shown towards individuals who would dare question some of his decisions.

Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark.

Clark has made some very wise decisions with respect to mobility projects. He’s leveraged the tens of millions of dollars Precinct 4 received as part of the November, 2015, road bond referendum into hundreds of millions of dollars of TxDOT projects he’s bringing into the Precinct. Clark has developed a strong working relationship with Adam Galland, the Area Engineer for TxDOT.

Clark opposes tollroads. He’s been the leader of the effort to remove the SH 242 flyover tolls. He’s consistently voted against the TX 249 Tollway.

Clark was one of the primary authors of the 20% homestead exemption, which the Commissioners Court finally adopted on March 14, 2017.

Clark showed great courage and leadership when he was the lone “no” vote against the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, because the remainder of the Commissioners Court refused to permit citizen participation in the process.

Clark works with grassroots conservatives as a REFORMER, while Metts is a close ally of lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal and the corrupt Davenport Ring.

Conclusion

If citizens wish to see reform in the Montgomery County government, and they live in Commissioners Precincts 2 or 4, it is absolutely critical that they vote in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election (or Early Voting from May 14 to 18) for the REFORMERs, Clark and Parker.

If Clark and Parker both win, the Commissioners Court would look like the following:

County Judge Mark Keough  REFORMER

Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador ESTABLISHMENT, PRO-SPENDING, PRO-TAXATION

Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Parker REFORMER

Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack mostly a REFORMER

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark REFORMER.

That would be a Commissioners Court that would likely reducing spending and property taxes.

 

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