Precinct 2 Priorities for Jack Morman
Jack Morman’s position: The restoration of a conservative majority on Commissioners Court is vitally important so law enforcement officers, families and crime victims can again have allies running county government that have their backs. Liberals on Commissioners Court have defunded police and let blood flow in the streets. It must stop.
This Commissioners Court, led by incumbent Democrat Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia and his liberal allies, have stood by as crime rates and the number of people murdered have skyrocketed in Harris County. Instead of supporting crime victims, they have stood with liberal judges who have turned the courthouse into a revolving door for accused criminals.
When crime victims and their advocates address Commissioners Court, the liberals accuse them of cherry-picking tragic cases to get publicity. It’s clear Garcia and his accomplices are more concerned with what happens to accused criminals than victims.
As has been pointed out by news outlets and conservative commentators, like Texas Conservative Review, violent crime in Houston began rising several years ago, but there was a significant spike in the past year – especially in the homicide rate.
Houston Police Department numbers show homicides have increased 42 percent from this time in 2020, and 91 percent since 2019.
An analysis by Andy Kahan, a well-known victims’ advocate, showed at one point there had been 127 people murdered by suspects free on multiple felony bonds. The number is still climbing. Kahan shared his analysis with Commissioners Court. The liberals shunned him.
This spike in murders tracks with the bond policies pushed by Garcia and other Democrats. These numbers also track with so-called reforms in the settlement of a federal lawsuit against misdemeanor judges by criminal-friendly activists led by Democrat Commissioner Rodney Ellis – a staunch Garcia ally.
The high crime rates and corresponding murder rates have done little to move Garcia, Ellis, and super liberal Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Garcia often touts his days in law enforcement but still supports the lenient measures pushed by his allies. He can’t have it both ways.
Garcia and liberal allies dismiss strengthening law enforcement and lash out at the notion of putting more officers on the street. They send such ideas off to be killed by the bureaucracy they created.
Garcia and his liberal allies would rather push an ineffective package of spending to relieve massive court backlogs while they cut off prosecutors and law enforcement at the knees. Garcia would rather scuttle legislation aimed at making risk to the public a priority when bonds are set. He would rather attack state leaders who are alarmed by our crime and murder rates.
And while crime goes up and more people become victims, Garcia and his allies have denied they are “defunding police.” But that’s what they have done. They ended the County’s successful budget rollover policy that allowed departments to keep unspent funds. The practice saved taxpayer money, helped cash reserves, kept property tax rates lower and defrayed rises in operational costs.
Garcia was part of the Democratic block that grabbed $130 million to $140 million of these rollover funds. That meant anywhere from $30 million to $50 million out the budgets of law enforcement or court-related departments was lost. They grabbed these funds while keeping their own rollover funds intact.
This money bought ammo, bulletproof vests and allowed law enforcement leaders, like our constables, to pay off fleets of patrol vehicles without busting budgets. Garcia and Hidalgo have falsely claimed these funds were unused. They forced law enforcement leaders to reapply for funds they saved taxpayers. Garcia and his cronies have also pushed an anti-constable agenda.
Garcia falsely says the raiding of the funds does not constitute defunding police, but they are taking away law enforcement resources. Ellis, Garcia, and Hidalgo say they have backed increases in law enforcement budgets. They neglect to say those increases were not related to operations but instead covered increases employee insurance costs.
Transportation Solutions that Make Sense
Jack Morman’s position: Negotiate in good faith with transportation partners at all levels of local, state, and federal governments who bring billions of dollars in funding to the table. Don’t litigate when it’s time to negotiate. Don’t turn down projects with value that can improve the quality of life for those you represent.
Garcia has been a leader on Commissioners Court when it comes to one thing – risking anywhere from $7 billion to $10 billion in investment the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) was prepared to make for the expansion of Interstate 45.
Garcia and his liberal gang have supported filing a lawsuit against the state to stop the expansion and Garcia wants to hold our mobility partners hostage to the whims of politically connected “progressive” transportation consultants who want to invest in buses and trains instead of fixing existing roads.
I-45 is not just a vital evacuation route to families fleeing hurricanes and disasters. It is also a vital roadway for those supporting their families. This is a vital project for the economic development of Precinct 2 and the entire county.
Garcia is gambling with a vital project and the livelihoods of families he represents and industries he is supposed to support. The project will reroute portions of I-45 and other highways, add bike and pedestrian lanes, sidewalks, sound barriers and pass through-lanes that are much needed.
Garcia would rather play games than step up, negotiate, and work with a vital transportation ally. That’s not leadership.
Financial Discipline and Trust Issues
Jack Morman’s position: Garcia and his liberal allies are playing dangerous games with County finances by raiding reserves, defunding police, spending recklessly, expanding the cost of running the County, endangering the County’s financial position with creditors, and playing political games with Harris County Toll Road revenues.
We’ve already outlined how by ending the rollover fund program, Garcia weakened the County’s financial position since those funds helped strengthen the County in the eyes of lenders who finance public projects.
Garcia and his allies have created new departments that were unneeded, added layers and layers to the County bureaucracy that will add millions and millions of dollars to the taxpayers’ tab, and he’s been the leading force in running off respected leaders who guided the County to a place of strength.
Garcia also played a key role in awarding an $11 million COVID-19 contract to a former campaign adviser who worked for him. His favors to friends must stop.
Jack Morman never voted for a property tax increase, and he will fight to bring fiscal sanity back to Commissioners Court.