Pollsters deserve a break

Political polling organizations have been taking their lumps over the past several years from those who mistakenly — I believe — contend they are wrong far more than they are right.

Pollsters need some respect and I am about to give them some.

The major incident polling critics cite is the result of the 2016 presidential election. I truly beg to differ.

Let’s remember that polling outfits tracked the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton hourly right to the end. Most of them placed Hillary Clinton marginally ahead of Trump in the final results released just before Election Day.

Clinton won the popular vote in 2016. Her margin of “victory”? 2.09% That matches just about what all the pollsters said would occur. They were right!

Except that the popular vote doesn’t elect presidents. That is done through the Electoral College and Trump managed to peel off at least three states that everyone thought would fall into Clinton’s vote ledger: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Did those states’ results negate what the national polling said would occur? No. It meant only that Clinton’s team misjudged the level of support she and Trump had; they overplayed their own hand and low-balled Trump’s support.

The 2020 election also produced a result that pollsters said would occur. Joe Biden carried the day with a 4.46% popular vote margin over Trump. He also took back the three states I mentioned earlier to seal the victory.

Polling at times can be an inexact exercise. Respondents have been known to tell pollsters untruths when they are asked, “For whom will you vote for president?”

However, in the past two presidential election cycles, pollsters have gotten a bum rap. I want to stand with them.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Just quit, Rep. Santos!

What you see with this brief blog post is an example of just why a disgraced Republican member of Congress should no longer serve in the People’s House of Representatives.

George Santos lied his way to election from a New York congressional district. Now we hear he might be guilty of campaign fraud and assorted other crimes.

It is no “crime” to lie to your constituents. Still, that this nut case — who lied about every aspect of his personal, professional and educational life on his way to winning a 2022 congressional election — would continue to serve as a member of Congress is offensive on its face.

Furthermore, he cannot be taken seriously, as this meme suggests. It is just one of countless such pictures depicting this fraudulent member of Congress being someone he clearly is not.

Resign from Congress, George Santos … and go far, far away.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Bond issue to prompt big debate

Princeton school district officials want their constituents — such as my wife and me — to spend a lot of money to build schools and perhaps add some more venues that officials deem are necessary to serve a growing district.

The price tag is $797 million, which is the biggest bond issue I’ve ever been asked to approve. For the record, I am going to vote “yes” on May 6 when the issue comes up for a decision.

What fascinates me about this, though, is a reality I didn’t think was possible. The bond issue will not affect the school district tax rate. It will remain the same, even if voters approve the amount of spending that is headed for the ballot.

That doesn’t mean, however, that voters’ tax bills won’t increase. Why? Because the Collin County Appraisal District is going to assess increases in property valuation in the years ahead. It’s a normal occurrence, given the growth that is occurring in this North Texas county … and is damn sure occurring in Princeton.

The tax rate is likely, as I see it, to spur considerable debate among residents. That’s a good thing, to be sure.

As for the total tax bill that Princeton ISD residents could face, that issue is beyond the scope of the school district. PISD officials will need to make it clear that it controls only the rate that residents are charged, but that the total bill remains the purview of the other independent entities.

I was privileged to watch this bond issue take shape from the beginning almost to its conclusion. The PISD long-range planning committee did its job in good faith and given the district’s explosive growth, presented a reasonable proposal to cope with it.

The tax rate will not be an issue going forward.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Taking a gamble with building names?

Princeton’s public school system is in the midst of presenting a bond issue to voters in this North Texas community that they hope will result in the addition of several new campuses to the burgeoning school district.

What’s more, a citizens committee charged with working out the details of the $797 million bond package has come up with names for all the campuses under consideration.

That leads me to this point: The Princeton school district is going to name the buildings after living, breathing individuals. Why is that kinda strange? Because I believe it’s a bit of a risk any governing entity takes when they name permanent structures after fallible, living human beings.

You see, the district is going to hope that individuals being honored in this manner do not mess up and make the district regret inscribing the individuals’ names on the walls of these structures.

For many years I have taken a dim view of this practice. I’ve actually seen it backfire. For example, the Beaumont Independent School District put the name of a former superintendent on a football stadium, only to take it down after it was revealed that the superintendent had run the school system into financial ruin.

I know of some school systems that name buildings after long-deceased historic figures, or even after physical characteristics within the community, you know, names like Mesquite, or Evergreen, or Canyons … get it?

I am not predicting anything of the sort that occurred in Beaumont will occur in Princeton ISD. The names being proposed belong to stellar individuals who have contributed much to the life of the community.

I am just saying, though, that no one is perfect … you know?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Princeton is growing up

I want to share a bit of intel on the city my wife and I now call home: Princeton, Texas, is beginning to show some signs of municipal maturity.

It is growing up before our eyes.

How do I know that? I am seeing “Open” signs on windows of newly built businesses along U.S. Highway 380. A donut shop chain store is opening. So is a pizza joint a bit west on the highway. The city recently welcomed a new coffee shop. A major chain motor fuel station/store is under construction at the U.S. 380-Monte Carlo Boulevard intersection. Strip malls are being completed.

Roadwork is proceeding along several thoroughfares, with more work planned along U.S. 380.

Is this the beginning of the final phase of Princeton’s upbringing? Hardly. I hear talk of a new major grocery store on the way. We still need a movie theater and more eateries, allowing us to stay closer to home.

The maturation will take time. I can wait.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We’re waiting on AG … patiently

A nation’s patience appears to be running a bit thin as it awaits some key decisions by its chief law enforcement officer … the attorney general of the United States.

AG Merrick Garland is a meticulous man and I am glad to have someone as thoughtful and as deliberate as Garland on the job at the Justice Department.

Am I among those who want Garland to act sooner rather than later? Not really. In truth, my mind and my interests are drawn to more personal matters these days, as my wife struggles with a serious medical condition.

However, were I free to think more frequently about Garland’s probe into the activities of Donald J. Trump my belief would be to let the man proceed at his own pace and at his discretion.

He already has appointed two special counsels to probe Trump’s pilfering of classified documents to his glitzy joint in Florida as well as the classified documents found in President Biden’s home in Delaware. I’ve declared already that I do not consider the incidents to be equal; the Trump matter is much more egregious than what I believe the president allowed to occur.

Garland, though, came to the DOJ after serving for many years on the federal bench. President Obama wanted Garland to take a seat on the Supreme Court, but Senate Republicans made sure that wouldn’t happen. His reputation as a jurist was that he was fair, dispassionate and — well — judicious.

He brings those traits to the Justice Department.

Garland also has declared that “no one is above the law” and has affirmed that statement merely by repeating what he has declared that “no one” can escape justice. By “no one,” I am going to presume he means that even former POTUSes are in the crosshairs.

Let us remember, too, that Garland has received a referral from the House 1/6 committee to pursue criminal indictments relating to the insurrection. He’s working on that matter, also with all deliberate speed. And … we have the Fulton County, Ga., district attorney, Fani Willis, who is examining whether to indict Trump on election tampering in the 2020 presidential election.

All of this requires patience, folks. I happen to possess plenty of it. How about you?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP changes formula for fitness

What am I missing as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy doles out committee assignments for the 118th Congress?

Republican House members lost committee seats in the previous Congress for a number of legitimate reasons. Marjorie Taylor Greene likened COVID-19 mask mandates to the Holocaust; Paul Gosar thought it was funny to depict the murder of a Democratic colleague. Now the new speaker has decided to return them to key committee assignments. Oh, and then he seats a pathological liar, George Santos, on two key committees while he is under investigation by the House ethics panel for possible violations of House rules.

Then the speaker boots Democrats Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell off the House Intelligence Committee for — get this! — impeaching Donald J. Trump.

How can one set of hideous transgressions be reversed while dropping the hammer on Democrats simply for doing their constitutional duty?

I don’t get it.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Partisanship rules in Texas Senate

My old buddy Kel Seliger’s departure from the Texas Senate is now becoming even more clear than it was when he announced his intention to forgo another term in the legislative body.

Seliger, an Amarillo Republican, had crossed swords with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick many times since 2015 when Patrick took over as the Senate’s presiding officer.

Now we see that Patrick has tossed aside a longstanding Texas Senate tradition by appointing just one Democrat to a committee chairmanship. That would be John Whitmire, a moderate from Houston who now serves as the Senate’s most senior member; Whitmire will chair the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.

Seliger has returned to private life in the Texas Panhandle, no longer having to tolerate Patrick’s petulance and his hyper-partisan approach to governance, neither of which is Seliger’s style.

Compare the Patrick method to that being practiced down hall the Texas Capitol hall in the House, where Speaker Dade Phelan — yes, another Republican — has resisted far-right-wing pressure to appoint only GOP House members to committee chairs. One of those right-wingers, state Rep. Bryan Slaton of Royse City, told me that Phelan is rewarding House Democrats unjustly because they do not hold a majority in the Texas House.

Phelan’s response. That’s just too damn bad … just live with it.

Patrick has tossed aside bipartisanship in running the Senate. As the Dallas Morning News stated in an editorial: Texas has serious business to get done to keep us moving forward as a state. Chances are the Senate will be hog-tied with business it shouldn’t be worrying about. That’s bad for Texans.

So it goes in the Texas Senate, which will be run by a lieutenant governor more interested in sticking it to Democrats than in welcoming them to cooperate in legislating matters that will benefit the whole state.

What a shame.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Get lost, Kari Lake!

When in the name of sore-loserhood is Kari Lake going to disappear from the public stage, never to be seen or heard from again?

The election-denying Republican candidate for Arizona governor hasn’t conceded that she lost to Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and now wants the Republican National Committee to pay for part of the legal fees she is accruing by fighting the results of the 2022 election.

Memo to Kari Lake: You lost the election! There was no widespread corruption. No widespread fraud. They counted the ballots and you got fewer votes than your Democratic opponent.

Go home, Ms. Lake. Take a breather. Decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. Just stay the hell out of my sight!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Love is overpowering

I feel a compelling need at this moment to extend a heartfelt thank you to those who have reached out to my bride and me in this most challenging time in our life.

My goodness, the outreach has come from many quarters, some of them I didn’t expect. Just today, a neighbor approached my son and me as we were walking toward our home in Princeton. She asked, “Where is your wife? I have missed seeing her.” I told her what you already know, that she is in the hospital recovering from a setback she suffered the other morning when she was stricken by a seizure.

My neighbor started crying while offering her prayers.

We continue to look forward to her beginning her treatment for cancer, which will come when the top-notch medical staff at Medical City/McKinney gets her seizures “under control.”

The love my family and I are feeling has been overpowering and, of course, so very welcome. It is coming from former colleagues of mine and of my wife, people I know only through some vague social media connection, from actual friends of both my bride and me and from total strangers.

This outreach helps buttress my belief in the general goodness of humanity.

As for those who have reached out and who have extended their hope for a positive outcome — which my family and I embrace — I hope they see this brief blog post and know my thanks to them comes from my overflowing heart.

My gratitude extends far beyond any measure.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

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