Oh I tried---I was going to stop saying "clownishioners" and using terms like "idiots." But today members of the Smith County Commissioners Court ignored our indignation and decided to continue discussing a proposal that, if passed, would pave the way for reimbursing Commissioners Nix, Warr, and Hampton for personal legal expenses they incurred defending themselves in a criminal investigation. That investigation and subsequent prosecution led to former Smith County Judge Joel Baker's conviction for violating the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Oh, the commissioners are arguing that since they were never charged with a crime, they are entitled to compensation for legal expenses they incurred, when the county already spent $46,000 defending them in the case. They are also comparing this case to a previous civil suit (Ken W. Good vs. Joel Baker et al.) related to alleged TOMA violations in which County Judge Joel Baker and Commissioner JoAnn Fleming prevailed. That's an "apples to oranges" comparison, friends. The previous case was a civil case, while this one was a criminal case from the get-go: When the Attorney General's office started investigating the case, it never indicated an intention to sue Joel Baker or any of the commissioners. The AG's case was a criminal prosecution! Of course these individuals are "innocent until proven guilty" (HA!) in the eyes of the law. But the fact that Commissioners Nix, Warr, and Hampton were all present at all three of the meetings that allegedly violated TOMA...and that Joel Baker was prosecuted and convicted for one count of violating TOMA...is prima facie evidence that they were complicit in a crime. And it has to be pointed out that even participating in a meeting that is in violation is in and of itself a crime!
Furthermore, Commissioners Nix, Warr, and Hampton didn't oppose the failed plan to put speeding cameras in school zones that led to this mess in the first place. (They only started complaining about it after it became a public scandal!) So really, if you think about it, these commissioners and Joel Baker should be reimbursing the county for the $46,000 that was already spent. In short, we don't owe Commissioners Nix, Warr, and Hampton one. red. cent.
I'm short on time, so I wont go on and on. An editorial in the Telegraph pretty much says what I would say. Please take time to read it because it spells out why this measure should not be allowed.
So, here's what I've done, clownishioners Nix, Warr, and Hampton: I've set up separate blogs with your names in the URL's and in the titles to make them easy to find on search engines. Visitors to those blogs will be redirected to articles that I publish about you on this blog. Potential voters should find the information interesting when it comes time for re-election.
You still have time to remedy this situation, members of the commissioners court. As I understand it, each commissioner's reimbursement has to be voted on individually. You can still vote "no."
It's your call. We're watching.