by Gary Polland | Texas Conservative Review
Special Session Preview And Texas 2017 Property Tax Reforms,
Are We Better Off With It?
We are in our first special session of the Texas Legislature for 2017, dealing with the agenda as laid out by Governor Greg Abbott.
With GOP majorities in both Houses, conservatives are wondering whether the House will join with their Senate colleagues in passing important priorities such as:
- Property Tax Reform
- School Finance Reforms
- School choice for special needs students
- New laws protecting life
- Laws cracking down on mail ballot fraud
- The Privacy bill
- Various agencies sunset legislation
- No use of taxpayer dollars to collect union dues plus other matters
Let’s specifically address property tax reform, where the main bill was authored by State Senator Paul Bettencourt. This is an important topic as Texas has the 4th highest property taxes in the U.S.A.
The bill proposes a vote on a rollback of the proposed tax rate that would increase property taxes by 5% or more. The present law only allows voters to petition for a vote so there is a major pro-taxpayer change in a world of ever rising non-voted for property tax increases for homeowners.
It is not the be all to end all, but a step in the right direction. Ideally we abolish property taxes on homeowners and at least set values at purchase just like California did with Proposition 13.
People are Policy, Why The Failure To Replace Obama Political Appointments Cripples The Trump-GOP Policy Agenda
We are now almost eight months into the Trump administration. There are 564 key positions that are political appointees, of these, 370 have no nominees, 7 are awaiting nominations and 139 formally nominated but most not confirmed.
So, there are multiple problems here. First, the positions where no nominee has been picked are jobs being held by Obama holdovers. If they are not essential personnel, they should be immediately terminated.
As for the nominees pending, the Republicans in the Senate should start scheduling hearings with around the clock votes until the nominees all get a confirmation vote.
To be frank, if we do not get this right soon, the chances to fix the broken federal government will evaporate.
Revolving Door To Harris County Jail Has No Limit!
TCR Comment: This article, after edits, has been submitted by a courthouse insider concerned about overreaching in free bail releases. The article raises some disturbing questions. It appears “helping the poor” and public safety are not always compatible. It seems to TCR the plan as ordered has gone too far, too fast without adequate review of the implications and complications. Under the theory you need to walk before your run, a pilot program was the way to go. It is not too late to get this right. It begins below:
For over a year, the Republican Judges of the County Criminal Courts at Law have fought an adversary in our midst here in Harris County, Democrat Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis. Ellis has claimed credit repeatedly for the lawsuit that was filed against Harris County in federal court involving the liberal release of persons charged with Class A and B misdemeanors.
The Houston Chronicle worked alongside their ally Ellis to lead the citizens to falsely believe that the judges have been jailing people for traffic violations which would be Class C (fine only) misdemeanors. [See Harris County appeals bail case ruling to U.S. Supreme Court, Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2017]. This is not true, as evidenced by the FIRST DAY of releases triggered by the order of the Federal Judge: 28 assaults (including domestic violence), 5 others with making threats of violence, 5 weapon charges, 5 trespassing into someone’s home, 10 burglaries of a motor vehicle, 14 charged with Driving While Intoxicated; 5 of those with prior DWI convictions, and a very disturbing charge of Harboring a Runaway Child.
Is this what our citizens consider “low level” crimes? Certainly not! Is this truly what the Federal Judge, Sheriff Gonzalez and their supporters (Ellis and Company) intended to happen? If they intended this chaos, then why are the judges and the rest of the County Commissioners, along with Judge Emmett, being vilified for fighting this lawsuit? Why are they blamed for the expense of this lawsuit that was brought at the urging of Commissioner Ellis? Why aren’t the supporters on the hot seat? That is what happens when the only news outlets in town are controlled by leftists like the Editor-in-chief Jeff Cohen of the Chronicle, married to the attorney that filed an amicus brief on behalf of Ellis in federal court, opposing Harris County’s defense of the lawsuit. Another editor is married to Ellis’s public relations person.
What has happened since the implementation of the federal court order?
- Defendants being released before an opportunity to access bond conditions like mandatory ignition interlocks on second driving while intoxicated cases.
- Domestic violence cases being released prior to getting a protective order granted by the magistrate, leaving the victim with no protection.
- Theft sheriff bond then two days later another sheriff bond release, still a fugitive from justice.
- Trespass defendant with 50 prior convictions sheriff release, two days later another trespass another sheriff bond, still a fugitive from justice.
- DWI probationer who fled the jurisdiction of the court and had multiple alcohol violations. Court issued motion to revoke probation with no bond set. Sheriff released, still a fugitive from justice.
- Another DWI probationer convicted with a high breath test, was arrested and charged with a family violence case where he allegedly injured a family member by using a taser against them. The Sheriff released him on a free bond on both cases. This was despite the fact the motion to revoke probation is not “a new criminal offense” as detailed on the lawsuit. Yea and guess what, he is a fugitive from justice.
- At least 5 defendants were released to ICE (Immigration) without having to stand trial for their crimes here. There may have been many others released who just had not yet been identified yet by ICE, since the Sheriff no longer has his deputies screening for ICE holds.
- It is also troubling that among the defendants released were a substantial number of homeless people who have significant mental illness and need help. No provisions appear to have been made for their care and treatment before the hasty releases. Although on rare occasions such people have become violent, it is more common that they become prey to violent offenders. How is this humane? How is this safe? It is not.
Commissioner Ellis has already stated on multiple occasions that the felony courts are his “next” target, so the stakes will go even higher! Cases such as rape, crimes against children, and robberies are involved. This is the new reality that the leftist George Soros‘ money has brought to our community. Soros won’t stop until Harris County is solid blue and awash with released dangerous criminals. The next round of this battle will not be covered fairly by the left wing news outlets here either, so it is our duty as citizens to spread the word to our grassroots: to make sure that our electorate is educated properly to the truth involved, rather than the “fake news” provided by the liberals.
The Chronicle was recently FORCED to print statements made in public at Commissioner’s Court meeting on June 12, 2017. (See County Leaders Question Impact of Judge’s Order in Bail Suit, Houston Chronicle, 6/13/17). Members of Commissioners Court said they worry the Federal order will mean more crimes being committed and more missed court appearances. They also said it would be easy for criminals to game the system by swearing they do not have enough money to pay for bail – even if they do – just to get out of jail for free.
“That’s my sort of common sense problem with this whole ruling,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said. “I’ve stated publicly that someone shouldn’t be in jail because they can’t afford bail… there’s got to be a risk assessment here. I don’t think anyone wants somebody to keep driving drunk time after time after time until they kill some family somewhere.”
“This is a slap at every single Harris County Criminal Court Judge,” Commissioner Radack said. “It’s a slap at their integrity, their intelligence, and it’s, basically, it really doesn’t matter how bad you are, as long as you’re charged with a misdemeanor. If you say you can’t afford bail, you’re getting out.”
The Chronicle article goes on to talk about a poor plaintiff, a single mother who with her prior criminal history had a $2500 bond. The Chronicle did not tell you that she was released on a commercial bond the very next morning, and that she was forfeited on that bond because she did not show up in court. In fact, she was a fugitive from justice for about a year and was recently rearrested driving around in the middle of the night, smoking marijuana, with Xanax in her possession. So much for “fair and balanced” coverage of the news!
The truth is available as to what happens when reckless decisions are shoved down Harris County’s throat. The only problem the law-abiding citizens of Harris County will suffer.
Congressman Ted Poe: Stop Funding Palestinian Terrorists
ICYMI: Congressman Ted Poe spoke on the House floor this week on the recent Halamish terrorist attack. Here’s a link to the video and the text of his remarks.
Mr. Speaker, last Friday night, an Israeli family sat down for Shabbat dinner to celebrate the birth of a new grandchild, but a 19- year-old Palestinian terrorist put an end to this joyous occasion.
The terrorist brutally attacked the Salomon family with a large knife. Pictures of the family’s home show a white floor stained red with the blood of the innocents.
A father and two of his children were murdered that night. Upon learning of the tragic event, Palestinians in Gaza took to the streets to sing, dance, and celebrate. No Palestinian leader has even condemned this grizzly attack.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, this is our U.S. tax dollars at work. The millions the United States sends to the Palestinians are funneled to terrorists and their families through the socalled martyrs fund. The leaders we prop up glorify terrorists and incite violence.
The American people refuse to continue this insanity. We refuse to continue enabling terror against the Israeli people.
And that is just the way it is.
Civility, Compassion and Respect Are On Life Support
By Brian Ettinger, Contributing Editor
In the next edition of Webster’s Dictionary they will delete the words: Civility, Compassion, and Respect, based on the current political and individual actions of the citizens of the USA as a society. The politicians in Washington, DC from the President, Congress (House and Senate) members have displayed an image for the country that is shameful. Both parties are at fault as they cannot or choose not to work together on issues that need to be addressed and the American public expected them to as they were elected to represent the People. Instead we get name calling, and disgusting behavior towards each other.
- There is no civility to work for the good of the country, no compromising on issues to get something done. All we hear from our elected officials is what they are against but not what they are for and how to work with each other to accomplish what they have been elected to do.
- Compassion for your fellow men and women is a nice phrase but the actions of our leaders which is to inspire the country has lost sight of this word. Insults have replaced this word.
- Respect, a term each one of the elected officials are to show to the governmental body they are elected to, and the Office of the President which has been on a decline for the past twenty years shows no moral compass to lead and show the country.
The politicians have done their part in getting rid of these words.
Now, turn to the media, the profession that is to be society’s moral guidance. They are political hacks displaying one point of view and if you disagree with them they shoot you down or try to destroy you and the office you hold. People come and go in Office but the Office position always remains so each holder and media need to understand that their actions affect the future holder and our government office holders. Real journalist has been replaced by who can get the story out first whether right or wrong, The media is so tainted either right or left that the FCC needs to put out a DISCLAIMER WARNING that the public is not getting the news but news slanted right or left leaning viewpoints. This DISCLAIMER should be posted on each news show for the public to see as they do cigarette warnings! The media, the defender of the first amendment, what a joke as free speech means if your viewpoint is different than theirs you are wrong and they are right. So they shoot the other side down. Block free speech at the college and public forums, burn vehicles, destroy property, and injure individuals as it is alright and acceptable behavior. Call law enforcement officials to be killed as my rights matter more than yours. What happened to civility, compassion and respect? It is gone, does not matter, as free speech is okay as long as you agree with my point of view. The country has been going down this path for the last 50 years and started with the Vietnam War demonstrations and anti-government violent protest. These individuals presented a correction course for the country that lead to an east and west coast elitist way of thinking. They presented a left wing agenda and point of view at most of the colleges and universities, free speech became a term, a way of thinking and acting a certain way and you will get the good jobs. No real thinking outside the box or individual expression. It took 50 years to see speakers invited to speak and denied to speak because it is the same elitist thugs that developed from this generation affecting the minds and morals of our younger generation.
The education system needs to be revised and go back to real learning with teachers actually teaching and not being glorified baby sitters as the parents do not take responsibility for their children. I recommend the following:
- Uniforms or some type of school dress code.
- No cell phones in the classroom during school hours as it is a distraction.
- Public education does not mean free education as taxpayers pay for it. So if student does not follow school rules or if student needs to repeat a subject because he/she flunks their courses then the student/parents would need to pay for the course to take it a second time. This could be a minimal fee but something that would cause their parent to be involved with the student learning the subject. Remember, the saying from Hillary Clinton…. it takes a village to raise a child. It takes more than a village and starts with the parents. They need to show their children to be civil, compassionate and respectful individuals. Teachers want to teach but with what they have to deal with and the lack of respect for authority it is a very difficult task. Teaching is an honorable profession and they are not paid what they are worth. This shows their dedication to others.
- We need a curriculum geared for students to reach their full potential and realize that not every student should go to college. English needs to be taught as a primary language and the students can speak their own native language outside the classroom. Need technical and trade programs and special needs programs designed to support and provide a learning path for them to succeed not only in the work place but as members of society. This should be the real goal of public education. The inclusion method does not work So take this to heart if continue down the course we are heading with lack of civility, compassion and respect the country will go the way of other great countries and be doomed. I recently read more about the teaching of Saul Alanski, the great community organizer who inspired a college antiwar generation in organizing and protesting at any means including violence. His followers included two Presidents, many other elected officials, and public figures. To resist and organize sounds familiar… that is what the Democratic Party is doing today. That is what is hindering free speech on our college campuses. It is based on opposition to rule of order. Use any means including violence and knowledge. Their left wing thought is just as bad as right wing thought. The way to succeed is to govern from the center and compromise; if not will not accomplish anything. All this is doing is showing what you are against and not what you stand for.
As long as we have no civility, compassion or respect for each other and don’t seek common ground to compromise, we are doomed.
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