Tag Archives: Tarrant County

Democrats’ hopes dashed

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Democrats have seen their hopes dashed once again as they seek a significant political victory.

A runoff for the Sixth Congressional District in the Fort Worth area will be decided between two Republicans: Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey.

Why the Democratic disappointment? They had hoped to breach the runoff barrier by getting one of their candidates from a crowded field to replace the late Rep. Ron Wright, a Republican who died of COVID complications after winning re-election in 2020.

One of the runoff participants is Wright’s widow, the aforementioned Susan Wright.

The district is supposed to be trending more Democratic, given the changing voter face throughout Tarrant County, which voted narrowly for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race and for Beto O’Rourke in the Senate contest in 2018.

Two Republicans, one backed by Trump, head to runoff in Texas special congressional election (yahoo.com)

Democrats had high hopes for the Sixth District race. They fell just a bit short. Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez, who was in third place with 13.4 percent of the vote, was her party’s leading candidate in the field.

I am thinking that more opportunities are going to present themselves going forward. The state’s political composition is changing by the year. It’s good to remember that Donald Trump carried the state in 2020 by fewer than 5 percentage points over Joe Biden, which makes the state a “battleground” going forward as the fight for the presidency ramps up.

Wait’ll next time, Democrats.

Beto scores endorsement from ‘conservative’ media outlet

The Texas Tribune reported recently how Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz are fighting for victory in what it called the nation’s “largest conservative county.”

Tarrant County fits the bill as a conservative bastion, according to the Tribune.

Thus, the county’s newspaper of record — the Fort Worth Star-Telegram — usually backs conservative candidates for public office. Not this year in the race for the U.S. Senate seat that the Republican Cruz now occupies.

Here’s a snippet of what the Star-Telegram wrote in endorsing O’Rourke, the Democratic challenger.

“Only O’Rourke seems interested in making deals or finding middle ground. That is why the El Paso Democrat would make the best senator for Tarrant County’s future, and the future of Texas. This Editorial Board has recommended conservative Republicans such as George W. Bush and Mitt Romney for president, along with U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison. But Cruz does not measure up. This office needs a reset. The Star-Telegram Editorial Board endorses Beto O’Rourke.”

O’Rourke also has earned the editorial board endorsements from the San Antonio Express-News, the Dallas Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and (not surprising in the least) the hometown El Paso Times.

It’s certainly fair to ask: Will these endorsements matter? I am not sure that endorsements from newspapers prove decisive. Texans are like most newspaper readers. They make up their minds on a whole host of factors: personal bias, philosophy, traditional family political history.

Still, I believe it’s instructive that the Star-Telegram, which purports to speak for the “largest conservative county” in America has decided that a self-described TEA Party conservative, Cruz, no longer earns its blessing.

‘Affluenza teen’ gets jail time … finally!


Ethan Couch is headed to jail.

He should have been there all along. He got a light sentence: probation. For what? Oh, for killing four people in a motor vehicle accident in Fort Worth while driving a pickup truck. He was roaring drunk, at least three times over the minimum legal limit.

But then came the astonishing defense that the judge apparently swallowed. Couch’s lawyer said the young man suffered from “affluenza,” having been raised in a wealthy family, by parents who failed to teach him right from wrong.

Then the kid went on probation, only to violate the terms of his sentence. He was caught drinking. He fled the country, ending up in Mexico — with the assistance of his mother.

It’s good that he was caught. Couch, who was 16 at the time of his crime, has just turned 19. Texas law doesn’t allow much of a jail sentence because the young man was a juvenile when he committed the original crime.

But at least he’s going to serve nearly two years in the slammer.

I’m glad to see that the young man will get what was due at the beginning.

Now, how about throwing the book at his mother — Tonya Couch — for aiding and abetting his escape from justice?

Oh, the irony of the ‘Affluenza Teen’ story


The hunt for the missing kid known as the “Affluenza Teen” contains a huge twist of irony.

Ethan Couch was 16 years of age when he plowed into a parked car near his Fort Worth hometown, killing four people and injuring others, some of them critically. He was roaring drunk, plastered to the gills, 10 sheets to the wind … all of it. Couch’s blood-alcohol level registered three times greater than the legal definition of drunk while driving.

He could have faced prison time. He got 10 years probation instead, largely on the testimony of a shrink who said he was a “victim” of wealthy parents who raised him without teaching him right from wrong. He was ordered to go into rehab, which didn’t seem to do him much good.

So, what did the kid do? He took part in a drinking game, violating the terms of his probation. He then took off, failing to report to his probation officer.

The ironic part? He apparently went on the lam with his mother. Couch and his mom might have left the state, if not the country.

Doesn’t that simply drive home the idiocy of the sentence that was handed down in the first place?

Couch is facing some prison time when the authorities catch up with him. The U.S. Marshals Office is involved, as are Tarrant County officials. Couch is on the county’s most wanted list.

Once they find him, let’s hope they charge Mommy Couch with aiding and abetting, convict her and toss her into the slammer too.


Rich kid on the run … who knew?


How could the authorities have not seen this coming?

Ethan Couch, a son of a wealthy couple in Fort Worth, avoided prison time after killing four people in a horrific drunk-driving-induced motor vehicle wreck, is now on the run after allegedly violating terms of his parole.

Tarrant County officials have launched a manhunt to find Couch, who’s now 18, after he failed to report to his probation officer as required under the terms of his all-too-light “sentence.”

Couch’s defense hinged on testimony from a psychologist who said the youngster’s wealthy parents enabled his hideous behavior, coining the term “affluenza.”

All the teenager did was get plastered, climb behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and then plow into another vehicle that was disabled on the side of the roadway. Several individuals were injured along with the four who died; two of them were hurt critically and one reportedly remains paralyzed as a result of the injury sustained in the wreck.

Couch’s blood-alcohol content registered three times greater than the legal limit to determine drunken-driving.

Now we hear that Couch might have fled the country … with his mother, no less.

Someone is going to be in deep trouble. If all this is true, I see some serious prison time for both mother and son.


Davis's political future is clouded … at best

This is tough for a Texas liberal such as yours truly to acknowledge, but a well-known political observer is likely correct about Wendy Davis’s future in state politics.

She doesn’t appear to have one.


Texas Monthly blogger Paul Burka notes in a brief post that Davis, a Democrat, managed to parlay a thought-to-be-competitive governor’s race in 2014 into a rout — for the Republican, Gov.-elect Greg Abbott.

Her loss in the governor’s race was worse than the percentage Tony Sanchez rang up against Rick Perry in 2002. Hey, whatever happened to Sanchez?

Burka said Davis is making some noise about seeking another public office. Where? Doing what?

I’m not prone to piling on here, but Davis ought to take a bit of a break from seeking to serve in some public capacity. She is a lawyer, after all, and she can kick-start a private practice in Tarrant County.

I was one of those Texans who had hope that Davis at least could make a race of the contest for governor. She entered the campaign with the wind at her back. She then managed to do a 180 and turned a tailwind into a headwind. Her campaign never got traction.

She lost the contest by 20-some percentage points.

Should she run again? No, Wendy. No!

At least not for a while.



Rain isn't heading off water-use restriction

They’re talking openly now in Tarrant County about imposing mandatory water-use restrictions.

And this is in light of recent rainfall that has damped the ground and lifted spirits in the Metroplex.

Meanwhile, way up yonder — here in the Texas Panhandle — we’re still bone dry and there’s no serious talk about mandatory restrictions.


Are we in that good of shape regarding our water resources?

Amarillo city officials keep talking about us having 200 to 300 years of water available. They have some voluntary plans in place. Gosh, I don’t mean to be a spoil-sport, but these voluntary measures aren’t getting the job done.

City water use is still exceeding the goals set by the Utilities Department. That means Amarillo residents aren’t taking the hint: Don’t use so much water, because we’re draining our aquifer much more quickly than it can recharge.

I am willing to adhere to mandatory restrictions. My yard already is looking pretty dismal compared to most of our neighbors, given that I don’t own an automatic irrigation system. Frankly, I’m not that competitive about appearances.

So, bring on the mandate, City Hall.

By the way, I’m still praying for rain.

Boy’s probation still hard to swallow

Ethan Couch’s probationary sentence has been lined out.

It still stinks.

Couch is the 16-year-old Tarrant County boy whose drunken recklessness killed four people in June 2013. He lost control of his big Ford pickup while driving at three times the legal limit for blood-alcohol content. Several of the victims who were injured may never recover fully from their wounds. One of them suffered brain damage. Couch had been drinking at his parents’ house and stole some beer from a retailer.

Four people are dead because this youngster was too drunk to drive. A Tarrant County trial judge, Jean Boyd, decided Couch didn’t need to serve any time behind bars. She sentenced him to 10 years probation. How did the boy manage to skate past any jail or prison time? His parents were able to hire top-notch lawyers to defend him.

The case has coined a new term: the “Affluenza” defense.


On Wednesday, Boyd formalized the terms of Couch’s probation. He’ll have to serve some time in a rehab center. It’s supposed to be a highly regulated environment. Couch will complete his rehab, will finish his probation and will be able to go about his life.

Many of his victims won’t be so fortunate.

Even from my vantage point a good distance from where this tragedy occurred, it’s apparent that justice wasn’t done.

Prosecutors sought a 20-year prison sentence to teach this youngster a lesson for the carnage he created and the misery he brought to victims and their families. Dallas Morning News blogger Mike Hashimoto said the sentence sought “didn’t seem unreasonable as accountability for the trail of death and destruction Couch left behind.”

Eric Couch needed to be taught a tough lesson.

‘Affluenza’ defense pays off for drunken teen

Ten years probation.

That’s what a Tarrant County teenager got for killing four people while driving drunk. In fact, Ethan Couch’s blood-alcohol level was three times the minimum legal definition of drunken driving.

Four lives are snuffed out and for this the kid gets probation? That’s it?



The judge who handed down this virtual non-punishment is Jean Boyd, who presides over a juvenile court in Fort Worth. As the Dallas Morning News editorial attached here, the judge apparently bought a line of defense that strains credulity to the extreme. The Morning News opined: “Boyd apparently swallowed whole the defense argument that Couch was just a poor, little rich boy effectively abused by parents who set no boundaries and gave him everything except actual parenting. ‘Affluenza,’ as a defense psychologist called it, or wealth assuming privilege.”

Prosecutors sought a 20-year sentence for the kid, who’s now 16. On June 15, his recklessness killed those four people and wounded gravely two others who likely may never recover fully from their injuries. That is a path of death and destruction that cried out for some punishment other than just a probated sentence. As the Morning News noted in its editorial, Couch might have been paroled by his 19th birthday under Texas law had the prosecutors gotten their wish.

Police on the scene called the accident the worst they had seen. Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said he will have trouble explaining probation to his children and grandchildren, given what he witnessed from this crime.

Justice wasn’t done with this decision. Shame on the judge.