Last month, two Republicans on the Lubbock County Commissioners Court skipped a meeting where they were to vote on adopting the county’s upcoming tax rate. Since state law dictates that four members of a five-member court must be present to levy a county tax rate, the vote had to be delayed. Unhappy about their move, County Judge Curtis Parrish — a Republican — called his colleagues’ move an “unnecessary political stunt.”
Judge Parrish’s dismissal of the no-show Commissioners was perfectly appropriate. A month earlier, the court had already unanimously approved keeping the county’s current rate the same. On the day of the previously mentioned “stunt”, the two Commissioners announced on social media their absence was only to keep the Lubbock County court from being able to reach a quorum — meaning no tax rate could be decided.
From the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal:
“This is mind-boggling,” Parrish said. “We were going to adopt a rate that they wanted, and yet in protest they decided not to show up. They decided not to represent their people. In a democratic process, sometimes you’re on the winning side and sometimes you’re not, but that’s not the point. The point is that you show up and you represent. Their job was to represent their precinct and represent Lubbock County, and today they failed.
“They’re holding the tax rate hostage, and it’s the tax rate they want,” Parrish continued. “You explain that to me.”
Parrish called it an “unnecessary political stunt.”
What does West Texas have to do with Harris County?
Here in Harris County, Republican Commissioners Steve Radack (Precinct 3) and Jack Cagle (Precinct 4) may pull the same kind of stunt. According to news reports, the two are considering to skip the next Commissioners Court meeting to prevent a quorum, denying the court’s ability to settle on a tax rate for next year. The move would block Harris County from being able to do what most other large-population Texas counties have done — address long-term neglect by previous Republican leaders and cover unfunded mandates created by the state.
More Obstruction by the Do-Nothing Duo
Recent events remind us now is not the time to avoid dealing with critical concerns, such as flood mitigation. Just weeks ago, Harris County residents again faced serious flooding when Tropical Storm Imelda dropped near-Harvey levels of rainfall with little warning. Homes located in areas like Kingwood suffered major damage — in some cases before repairs from the previous flood had been completed.
If Harris County is going to continue being an attractive place to live and work, flooding risks must be addressed, as evidenced by what a witness told the court last week:
From Community Impact:
Katy Prairie Conversancy President Mary Ann Piacentini was among the speakers to draw a connection between the tax rate increase and the county’s ability to fund vital flood mitigation projects.
“The $2.5 billion bond you made is great, but it’s—in some cases—too little, too late,” she said. “We have to change. We have to make the city greener, we have to make it more permeable, more absorbent. But that takes money, and that takes effort, and if we don’t have the money, we can’t do it.”
If Radack and Cagle stage a no-show, it will be another example of blocking progress and public service for county taxpayers. From Harvey recovery, to bail and justice reform, to denouncing hate crimes, the duo have caused problems rather than solved them. Refusing to show up for work is not a clever publicity stunt. It is an insult to their constituents and every Harris County taxpayer.
Radack and Cagle: Show up. It's your job.
The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board has weighed in on Radack and Cagle’s potential no-show stunt. Its comments add to the growing opposition to the obstruction tactics being employed by the Republican members of the Harris County Commissioners Court:
All this has left the commissioners deeply divided. We’re not surprised. It’s a tough call. But we strongly urge the commissioners to show up on Tuesday to cast their vote. That’s their job.
The Chronicle later concludes the piece reiterating that Radack and Cagle “should participate in the meeting.”
This temper tantrum is nothing new for Radack (Precinct 3) and Cagle (Precinct 4). They both have simply embraced disruption instead of working to solve problems and provide responsible representation to their constituents.
Radack and Cagle somehow think they will get political credit for quitting on their constituents. However, the residents of Precincts 3 and 4 get nothing out of no-show commissioners who stay away from tough votes and leave their constituents without a voice.