SocraticGadfly: I'll be undervoting the Cooke County Judge's race

August 23, 2022

I'll be undervoting the Cooke County Judge's race

First, the backstory to this.

In the one candidate forum held before the March primary, after the Winter Storm Uri wannabe of this year led Cooke County Republican Women to cancel their event, folks in Callisburg invited everybody, including the one Democrat on the local ballot.

Denny Hook is running for county judge in a not-just-red, but red-meat Trumpist red county that has broken 80 percent or a touch more GOP in previous statewide and national races.

He first mentioned why he was running. He said something about his daughter running for some county or Texas Lege office in Collin County a few years ago and being kept off the ballot or something. Well, Collin ain't THAT Rethuglican, besides, this sounds like an issue for or by Collin County Democrats, not the county clerk or other election officials, if I understood him correctly.

Anyway, he mentioned his background as a United Methodist Church pastor, then a regional congregational supervisor. OK. 

He then mentioned the word "environmentalism." OK, you're not going to hear that word at all from a local Rethug. I bookmark that in my mind.

Fast forward to last week.

I get home from work one day and see a flier inserted in my door jamb. Open it, and it's from his campaign, with three bullet points.

One OK but not fantastic, re the statement above by Hook.

One meh at best.

One no bueno at all and also indicating his lack of political knowledge.

The first bullet point was about preserving our water supply or words to that effect. Catchy while we're in a drought, but our local supply, unless population growth from the Metromess mushrooms much faster than I expect, has no real worries at the immediate time.

Second was about making sure we've got a strong foundation for mental health services. Not sure what DSHS has here in the way of official state mental health services, beyond the state school/juvie prison on the east side of Gainesville. On the private but community side, for real problem issues, we have a county CASA, are in the services of a regional Child Advocacy Center, and have a place named Abigail's Arms that has a women's shelter as well as services for abused children. Beyond that, strong mental health services starts with the availability of private counselors, then goes to their affordability along with insurance coverage or lack thereof.

Third? He thinks the property taxes are too damned high. Wrong.

First of all within that, my op-ed column in my two newspapers for the previous week said commissioners court, by cutting the ad valorem to the "no new revenue" rate while thus producing a budget with a $6 million deficit (might not be much in Dallas, Tarrant, Harris or even Denton, but it's 20 percent here, and that's a 33 percent hit on the reserve fund balance) was (politely phrased) irresponsible.

Secondly is the political ignorance side. County property taxes are always, unless there's a weird city, going to be No. 3 at "worst" on tax rates in Texas. Your school district is first and your city is second. Depending on your exact needs, it's possible a hospital district comes ahead of county levels. And, per the flier and the ballot, Denny Hook is running for county judge, not city council or school board. There's the political ignorance. (About 50 percent of the county is in unincorporated area, but still, 90 cents or a bit more from a school board versus 36 cents and change from the county is no comparison, even without a small town at 50 or 60 cents.)

Third, per the first of all, it comes off as pandering to wingnuts, the type who in these parts call Shrub Bush a RINO, but yet, don't bat an eyelash over their commissioners court being RINO-like (as was Trump, of course) on deficit spending themselves.

Fourth and related, it's typical capitalist boo-hooing when capitalism gores your ox on property values.

So, too bad, Denny Hook, you just lost my vote.

Update: If, to address Texas' income inequality made worse by taxation inequality, Hook said he'd fight for a state income tax, he'd have my vote in an Austin minute, but I ain't expecting that. Per information at this site linked by the Chronic, Tex-ass has the second-most regressive state income tax policy in the country. 

And per a Chronic quote, not only Denny Hook but no statewide Dem will pick up this issues because an income tax is supposedly the state-level equivalent of Social Security nationally as a "third rail" not to be touched.

Strange on that. Neoliberal Dems as well as Rethugs, since the time of Slick Willie, have had no problem in talking about partial privatization of Social Security. They just haven't acted.

All I have to do now is decide whether to undervote or go Beto-Bob for gov, remember to vote Green, via Molinson for land commish, and decide whether to undervote or not on a couple of other statewide races.

No comments: