Tag Archives: Collin County

Blowing smoke, or is Beto the real deal?

Mick Mulvaney, budget director for the Donald Trump administration, has sounded a serious alarm bell.

He has told Republican faithful that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas could lose his attempt at being re-elected. He said Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke poses a serious threat to the Cruz Missile (my description, not his … obviously).

How does one take this? Is it an attempt to gin up support among Republicans who until now had been sitting on their hands? Or is it a legitimate concern from a key Trump aide who think one of the GOP’s once-safest seats might be in serious jeopardy?

I cannot assess the motive behind Mulvaney’s assessment.

Mulvaney sounds the alarm

I’m not close to any political movements these days. I rely on what I see and hear in the media, or what I see on the street as I make my way through life.

I keep hearing about O’Rourke’s astonishing welcome in the Texas Panhandle, where I used to live. I hear about all the O’Rourke lawn signs showing up in tony old-money neighborhoods — such the Wolflin neighborhood in Amarillo — where residents have traditionally voted Republican.

Here, in Collin County, I’m not yet seeing evidence of this O’Rourke phenomenon. I drive through neighborhoods and I see a smattering of O’Rourke lawn signs, but nothing like the volume I hear about cropping up in Amarillo. I will add, though, that Cruz signs are quite rare, so perhaps there’s some anecdotal evidence of an O’Rourke “surge” in the final two months of the Senate campaign.

Yes, I have seen the polls. The race appears to be a dead heat. There remain, though, a large body of undecided voters, or at least those voters who aren’t yet ready to tell pollsters how they intend to vote. They remain the big prize awaiting to be lured either by Cruz or O’Rourke political machines.

Back in Washington, the budget director says Cruz could lose this contest.

I hope he’s right.

If POTUS campaigns for Cruz, here’s a thought

The more I think about it the less likely it appears that Donald John Trump will accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s invitation to campaign for Cruz’s re-election bid.

I have this feeling in my gut that the men detest each other.

Trump called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” during the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. Cruz called Trump an “amoral narcissist” and a “pathological liar.” Trump linked Cruz’s father with the JFK murder in Dallas in 1963. Cruz called Trump out for denigrating his family, including his wife, Heidi.

How can they share a stage together? My view? They can’t.

But if Trump proves me wrong — and that’s always entirely possible, if not likely — he ought to come to Collin County. This is strong Republican county just north of Dallas County. It’s tailor-made for someone of the Cruz Missile’s ilk. I haven’t lived here long enough to get a full reading of the lay of the land, but my hunch is that Trump has a reservoir of popularity here.

What’s more, we have a nice venue just around the corner from where my wife and I live. It’s the Allen Event Center. It seats a lot of folks. It’s a modern facility. It’s within walking distance of our residence.

I so want to attend a Trump political rally. You know, of course, it’s not because I want to cheer his every idiotic utterance. It’s not because I want Ted Cruz to win re-election. No, I plan to support Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

My intent is to attend this rally with notebook and pen in hand. I crave additional grist for High Plains Blogger.

Sadly, I fear that it won’t happen.

Maybe I can persuade the president to come this way.

Political learning curve about to commence

I met a most interesting gentleman this morning, someone who almost immediately after extending his hand to greet my wife and me invited me to come to Fairview’s town hall to familiarize myself with the community’s political climate.

This fellow is a member of the Fairview Town Council. I am reluctant to give you his name, as he doesn’t know I’m writing about him. Maybe I’ll divulge it later.

Our relocation has been pretty smooth and seamless as we have settled in this community tucked between Allen and McKinney in Collin County. My wife and I are registered to vote now in our new community of residence, which removes any chance for us to vote in Randall County, where we lived for 23-plus years.

I wanted to vote in the race for 13th Congressional District. That won’t happen now. We’ll get to vote for a new representative in the 3rd Congressional District, which has been represented since 1991 by U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson (pictured), a former Vietnam prisoner of war. Johnson is retiring at the end of the year.

I’ll need to study up on the individuals seeking to succeed Rep. Johnson.

My new friend from Fairview implied that next year’s municipal election will be a contentious affair. He didn’t go into detail; the setting of our meeting this morning made it difficult for him to spend too much time explaining what he implied.

My career took me to Amarillo in January 1995. My job as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News required me to get acquainted in a hurry with the political lay of the land, just as it had required the same of me in Beaumont, when we moved to the Gulf Coast in the spring of 1984.

I have no job requirements these days. However, my instinctive nosiness — which was bred and nurtured by nearly four decades in print journalism — compels me to sniff around at Fairview’s Town Hall.

So, I believe I will seek to satisfy my nosy nature by continuing this relationship with my new acquaintance.

Hey, my retirement doesn’t render me disinterested … you know?

Getting to know the political lay of the land

A move to another region of Texas gives bloggers such as yours truly a chance to get acquainted with the political movers and shakers of the community.

I’ve been sniffing around the Collin County legislative lineup and have discovered that the 2019 Legislature will be received two rookies from this suburban county.

Texas House District 89 will be represented either by Democrat Ray Ash or Republican Candy Noble. We all know this about Texas politics, which is that it’s highly likely the Republican will win the House race to seat the new state representative.

How do I know that? I don’t know it, although it’s important to note that Collin County voters gave Donald J. Trump 55 percent of their ballots cast in 2016.

The race for the Texas Senate had piqued my interest a bit more. Angela Paxton is the GOP nominee; she’ll face off against Democrat Mark Phariss this fall. Paxton is an interesting candidate, in that she is married to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is going to stand trial later this year on charges of securities fraud.

But here’s the question that needs to be dealt with head on: Will a Sen. Angela Paxton be able to vote on budget matters that involve salary matters relating to her husband’s income? That seems to smack of conflict of interest. I believe Paxton would need to tread carefully on that matter if she gets elected, presuming of course that her husband gets acquitted of the felony charges that have been leveled against him.

With all this chatter about Texas “turning blue” in this election cycle, I am not yet holding my breath. We have moved from the deeply red, fiery conservative Texas Panhandle to the doorstep of a county — Dallas County — that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Given my own political bias, I feel a bit more at home politically in this region of Texas.

The learning curve about the politics of these new surroundings remains fairly steep. I’ll need to catch my breath and keep climbing.

Why not run the rail line a little farther north?

If I were more of a political activist, I might be inclined to raise a little ruckus in my new community of residence.

Fairview, Texas, is a nice town in Collin County, just north of Dallas County, which is where Big D is located.

The issue at hand? Why not run the light rail service that shoots north from Dallas to Fairview?

Dallas Area Rapid Transit is a successful mass transit system that serves the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. We’ve ridden DART from Plano south to the Dallas County Fairgrounds. It’s a nice ride, believe me.

I now live just a few blocks east of where the rail line ought to run, along U.S. Highway 75. Except that it doesn’t come this far north.

Were they to run the line just a little farther north from Plano, past Allen, through Fairview and into McKinney, I would use the train. I would be its most vocal champion. I would take up the cudgel for mass transit rail ridership.

My hometown of Portland, Ore., is arguably the unofficial “mass transit capital of the United States.” Its bus system is second to none; it runs a light-rail system that carries passengers into the city from miles beyond the city limits.

I don’t yet know whether they plan to extend DART service eventually farther into Collin County. I’ll have to study up on it, sniff around, ask some questions.

Fairview Town Hall is just around the corner from where we live these days.

What the heck … I believe I am going to stick my head in the door and ask to speak to the city manager/administrator.

Hey, why not try to rustle up some interest in a proven method of moving people from place to place?

Wish me luck.

Happy Trails, Part 66

COLLIN COUNTY, Texas — It appears that my wife and I have quite possibly narrowed our field of choices where we intend to relocate … after we sell our house in Amarillo.

We did something this morning that proved to be quite fruitful.

We awoke today, ate a light breakfast and then headed south from the RV park where we’ve hauled our fifth wheel RV. We left the RV behind and took off on a tour of small towns between Sherman and Allen in North Texas.

We wound our way through Howe, Anna, Melissa, Princeton, Lowry’s Crossing, scouting out neighborhoods and looking for the type of house we might consider purchasing were it to become available while we are available to buy it.

Then we ended up in Wylie, Murphy and Parker.

You know what happened then? We ended up thinking that the Wylie-Murphy corridor is most suitable for us. It’s a fascinating thought, when I think about it.

We went to Wylie some time back, actually before we even thought too much about retirement. We liked what we saw then. We liked it again today. Perhaps even more than we did the first time we laid eyes on the city of 41,500 residents.

(My wife, incidentally, believes the next census in 2020 is going to record a substantial population growth for Wylie since the most recent census in 2010. I think she’s on to something.)

Now I say all this understanding that nothing is cast is stone. It all could change if we find a specific piece of property that bowls us over in an entirely different community.

Wylie and Murphy, taken together, represent a modern, well-manicured greater community where we could get quite comfortable in reasonably short order.

This retirement journey, of course, has some more distance to travel. We’ll make the most of it, but our destination appears to be taking shape. I am not yet comfortable declaring we’ve found it just yet. We have just moved a little closer to that declaration.

Texas AG handed surprising setback

Ken Paxton wanted to be tried by a jury of his peers in his home county in Texas.

State lawyers who are prosecuting him on charges of securities fraud said the Texas attorney general’s legal team had poisoned the jury pool and asked the judge for a change of venue.

Today, the judge agreed and moved the case out of Collin County; he also ordered a delay in the trial, I presume to give the principals a chance to find a suitable venue to try the attorney general.

This is a bit of a surprise to me.

It’s because a Collin County grand jury indicted Paxton on securities charges stemming from an allegation that he misled investors involved in a company with which Paxton was involved before he was elected attorney general in 2014.

The way I figured at the time, if a grand jury comprising peers of the attorney general would indict him, then surely a trial judge could find a suitable pool of trial jurors to hear the case and then decide on his guilt or innocence.

Paxton, you see, represented Collin County in the Texas Legislature before running for AG three years ago.

Paxton has suffered a stinging defeat to be sure. He now is going to stand before jurors who are ostensibly neutral in this case, who don’t know the AG personally or who’ve never had the chance to vote for him while he served in the Legislature.

Then again, he is a statewide elected official. Which makes me wonder: Where can one find a jury pool that is totally neutral?

Paxton gets no ‘love’ from hometown court


If the embattled Texas attorney general was expecting to get some favorite-son treatment in his home county …

He’s mistaken.

Ken Paxton faces a possible trial on charges that he solicited investment business without notifying the proper state authorities that he was being compensated. A Collin County grand jury indicted him on the felony charges, to which the McKinney Republican has pleaded not guilty.

Paxton represented the suburban community north of Dallas in the Texas Legislature before being elected in 2014 as the state’s top lawyer.

Now a judge — also in Collin County — has tossed aside a motion to cap the money being to the special prosecution team that’s been appointed to represent the state.

Paxton’s lawyer lacked jurisdiction to file the motion, according to Judge Mark Greenberg.

I’m not going to pre-judge this case. The proceedings to date, though, seem to suggest that AG Paxton might be in for rough ride if this case goes to trial in Collin County.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this case so far has been that Paxton has been indicted by a hometown grand jury and has been delivered setbacks by a court in his hometown as well.

Remember when former Republican Gov. Rick Perry blamed the grand jury in Democrat-friendly Travis County of playing politics when it indicted him for abuse of power?

Paxton can’t make the same argument.

This case could get interesting.



Can politics drive a no-bill?

Let’s play out a possible drama that’s developing down yonder in Collin County.

The state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, is being investigated for securities fraud. He admitted to doing something illegal while he was running for AG. He got elected anyway. Paxton has acknowledged that he steered investment clients to a friend without reporting it to the state. There could be a felony indictment in Paxton’s future … or perhaps not.

A special prosecutor has been named and he is likely going to seek an indictment from a grand jury in Collin County, which Paxton represented in the Texas House of Representatives before being elected to the statewide office. Paxton says, not surprisingly, that “politics” is driving this investigation.

So, would “politics” result in the grand jury deciding against an indictment of the Republican AG, given that Collin County also is a heavily GOP county?

I ask only because of the furor that erupted when a Travis County grand jury indicted then-Gov. Rick Perry last year on abuse of power and coercion charges. Travis County is a reliably Democratic part of the state; Perry, of course, is a Republican. The governor accused the grand jury — and the special prosecutor, who also is a Republican, by the way — of political motivation.

Does this politicization allegation work in reverse?

I’m just askin’.

AG Paxton faces possible felony indictment

Do you ever wonder why people vote for political candidates who actually admit to doing something that could get them into serious legal trouble?

How did Texans, therefore, manage to elect a state attorney general — Ken Paxton of McKinney — who had acknowledged he solicited investment clients for a friend without giving the state proper notification?

It’s called “securities fraud.” It’s a serious deal. A Collin County grand jury is going to decide — maybe soon — whether to indict the state’s top lawyer on charges that he committed a felony.


Now, before you get your underwear all knotted up, let’s understand a couple of things.

Paxton is a Republican. Collin County is a heavily Republican county north of Dallas. A special prosecutor — ostensibly an independent-thinking individual — has been brought in to present the case against Paxton, a former state representative from McKinney.

This really and truly isn’t the partisan witch hunt that’s been alleged in Travis County, where another grand jury indicted then-Gov. Rick Perry of abuse of power and coercion of a public official.

No. This case ought to smell differently to those critics.

The most damaging element of this probe would seem to be Paxton’s own acknowledgment that he did something wrong.

And on top of all of that, he’s hired a high-powered former federal judge, Joe Kendall of Dallas, to represent him.

I don’t know what that tells you, but it tells me that Paxton thinks there might be something upon which the grand jury would indict him. He’s going to need the best legal help he can get.

Getting back to my initial question, given that all this was known prior to the election this past November: How in the world did Texans elect this guy?