August 22, 2019
Your Weekly News from the CCDP and Political Clubs
When You Can’t Win, Cheat!
Justice delayed is justice denied. ” ~ William E. Gladstone

by Mike Rawlins, CCDP Chair
Most of you are familiar with our Collin County Commissioner’s Court unique twist on this with the long-delayed prosecution of Attorney General Ken Paxton on charges of securities fraud. But there is another recent and much less well known case where it seems our Commissioner’s Court may be playing politics with justice.

With very little advanced notice at their meeting on July 8 th the Commissioner’s Court, which is the body responsible for overall governance of the county, voted to eliminate one of the two Justice of the Peace Courts in Precinct 3 effective January 1, 2021. While state law gives the Commissioner’s Court discretion to create and eliminate JP Courts within certain restrictions, the circumstances around this action give rise to some vexing questions and uncomfortable suspicions.

For background, the Justice of the Peace year end report presented to the Commissioner’s Court on January 28, 2019 had no mention or recommendation regarding the elimination of any JP courts. It’s very unclear how the motivation and discussion of the elimination was initiated. We are only left with the Commissioner’s Court session where it was done.

To really understand what happened at this session, I suggest readers view the video of the proceedings at this link, starting at the end of the session around the one hour and fifty minute mark. There are several points worth noting.

While the Court Order cites as justification “economy and efficiency and for the convenience of the people,” no evidence was presented to support this assertion. We would expect to see some charts and graphs, and perhaps some high level figures related to cost savings, but nothing along those lines was presented.

Both Judge Chuck Ruckel serving in Precinct 3, Place 2, retiring at the end of his term in December 2020, and Judge Mike Missildline serving in Precinct 3, Place 1, testified before the Commissioner’s Court. Both expressed concerns about the elimination of the Place 2 court. Missildine expressed concern about a single court taking over the entire case load of both places. In particular, there was concern about the case load being even greater due to the State Legislature in its most recent session raising the limit of small claims that JP Courts can handle from $10,000 to $20,000.

While Chris Hill, the County Judge, made reasonable suggestions concerning reducing the case load, it was startling that these suggestions appear not to have been discussed with Missildine before this court session. It was also noted that Collin County JP courts already do more cases with less staff than other JP courts in Texas counties, and eliminating the Place 2 JP Court would put even more work onto staff. The entire proceeding had the flavor of a pro forma validation of something that the commissioners decided to do without discussing it with the two serving JPs, and they were just expected to go along with it.

Further, Ruckel was asked if he might be willing to come out of retirement to serve as a visiting judge as needed if the case load justified it. One wonders why a court is going to be eliminated if a need for visiting judges seems clear already.

Finally, the timing of the termination coincides with the announced retirement of Judge Chuck Ruckel in Precinct 3, Place 2.

This doesn’t add up on the face of it. With Judge Ruckel planning to retire at the end of 2020, without this action there would be an open seat on the ballot in November 2020.

We wonder if this graph has to do more with the explanation.
In fact, the rumors around the Courthouse in McKinney are that this JP Court was eliminated precisely because they didn’t want a Democrat to win it. We’re not finished with this. In a future piece we’ll look at the projected impact on the case load of the remaining JP courts resulting from this action.

If you would like to comment on this editorial, please click here.
November 2019 - Texas Constitutional Amendments
In our continuing series, we highlight the third of ten amendments that Texas voters will see on the November 5, 2019 statewide ballot.  

Proposition 3 (HJR 34)  
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”
Proposition 3 would authorize the Texas Legislature to give a temporary property tax exemption in governor-declared disaster areas. The exemption would be 15%, 30%, 60%, or 100%, depending on the amount of property damage. The local government would choose whether or not to adopt the temporary exemption and would determine how long the exemption would last. Those properties that would be eligible for the property tax exemption include houses used as dwellings, improvements to real property, and tangible personal property used to produce income.

How our Democratic Legislators voted
Of the Democratic legislators voting on this amendment in the 86 th Legislative Session,
  • 99% of the Texas House Democrats voted “yes/for”
  • 100% of the Texas Senate Democrats voted “yes/for.”  

To read about Amendment 1, click here.
To read about Amendment 2, click here
US Senate Democratic Candidate Forum presented by Frisco Democratic Club
Please mark your calendar and share this everywhere...

If we can win the U.S. Senate seat that's up in Texas in 2020, we can likely also win several US Congress seats, win the State House majority and turn Texas blue overall in the POTUS election.

Jason Whitely, host of WFAA's "Inside Texas Politics," will moderate the panel discussion. Please note: from the group of known candidates, some have scheduling conflicts or may still be working on their schedule. We have posted the confirmed participants at this time. This list is subject to change.

The Candidate Forum takes place at Collin College at Preston Ridge, 700 Wade Blvd, Frisco [ map ]
 The event is FREE, but pre-registration is required. RSVP here .
The facility is inclusive and accessible.
Doors open at 11:45 a.m. and the Forum begins at noon.

Brought to you by Frisco Democratic Club, Plano Area Democrats and Women Organizing Women Dems.
Socialize to Organize Plano
Collin County came very close to electing Democrats to the Texas House in 2018. In 2020, we aim to change the balance of power. With your help, we can make this happen!

Come gather with Democratic neighbors on Sunday, September 22 at 4:30 p.m. to get acquainted and learn how you can help turn Collin County blue! Appetizers and drinks will be provided. Since this event’s location is a private residence, please email for more details.
Senator John Cornyn Holds a Fake Town Hall
Several Democrats received a text message from John Cornyn's office saying that there was going to be a telephone Town Hall and they would call at 7:00 pm, August 1, 2019. We eagerly awaited the call.

However, the “Town Hall” turned out to be prerecorded questions. Though prompted that we were in the queue, we never got to ask a question. After the entire call, it became obvious that the "callers" were prescreened and prerecorded, and Cornyn's responses may also have been prerecorded.

Here at CCDP we thought that our petition, along with the efforts from other groups to put pressure on Cornyn, had compelled him to hold this Town Hall. But no, it seems it was just Cornyn hiding behind a phone.

So we are going to continue with our petition to demand that Cornyn COME HOME to Texas during the August break and hold a REAL LIVE Town Hall in front of his constituents.

Is he too chicken to do that? We shall see.

Please sign the petition here: txdp.cc/cornyntownhall
Citizen Journalist (Volunteer)
If you have a special interest in the workings of your city council, school board or the Commissioner Court, you could be the right person to report on meeting, agendas and activities.

Keeping Democrats in Collin County is our goal and you could be a part of that team. Much of that starts at the local level. Help us continue chipping away at the stranglehold Republicans have held in Collin County.

As a Citizen Journalist, you would report on meetings you attend, agendas or even minutes meetings. Help keep Collin County Democrats informed and active.
For more information, contact the Communications Director.
You Can Make the Difference. Become a Sustaining Donor
Your Collin County Democratic Party office provides a wide range of resources throughout the year to our candidates and communities. Your contributions allow us to have a central location for candidates and voters during elections. Strengthen the Democratic Party in your city by becoming a sustaining donor to the Collin County Democratic Party. Donate with FastAction or with automatic payments from your bank to the Collin County Democratic Party 1915 Central Expy #150, Plano, TX 75075.
A New Way to Vote
Collin County voters will be using a new voting system beginning with the November, 2019 election. This new system features touch-screen technology and produces a marked paper ballot for voter review and tabulation.

The new voting machine made its debut at BITHOC where many of the attendees where able to “test vote” the system. If you didn’t get to try the voting machines at BITHOC, you still have an opportunity to do so at the Collin County Democratic Party office (1915 N. Central Expy, Ste 150, Plano) during regular office hours.

Our summer office hours are:
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday and Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

After Labor Day, the office will have occasional evening and weekend hours to try out the new voting machine.

The new voting machine will be in the CCDP office through the November 2020 election.
Yes, We Can Talk Politics
Drinking Liberally and Living Liberally are informal, inclusive progressive social groups. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics.

Allen - Cafe Del Rio
When: Friday, September 6, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: 401 Central Expy S, Allen [ map]

Frisco/Little Elm - The British Lion Pub
When: Friday, September 6, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Where: 5454 Main St #123, Frisco [ map]

Plano - Rugby House Pub
When: Friday, September 13, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: 8604 Preston Rd #100, Plano [ map]

When: Friday, September 13, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: 2600 W, FM 544, Wylie [ map]

MADC joins Living Liberally in August.
When: Friday, August 16, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: 301 E. Virginia, Suite 103, McKinney [ map]

While drinking liberally, always remember to drink responsibly, and make liberal use of designated drivers. Drinking and driving is reckless and irresponsible, like a neocon war or corporatist tax cut. Liberals, don't do it!