Tyler Smith County Jail Bond | Official Arrogance 2008


Tyler Smith County Jail Bond | Official Arrogance 2008

After the last November election in Smith county, we saw this article: “Smith Voters Send Clear Messages On Jail Proposal” is what the editorial in the Tyler Morning Telegraph said, but the 70 to 30 percent message was apparently not clear enough for the officials who now have a new “jailhouse lite” proposal on the ballot for the next election! The editorial listed three causes for the failure of the last jail bond:

  • Price
  • Location
  • Pay raises

It also touched on what I think is a more probable cause:
“We also believe that voters resented the choice made by Smith County commissioners to limit public dialog.

The message voters received from commissioners, in the format of the town meetings, was “We don’t trust you.” The court’s reasoning behind the format – that naysayers would take up too much time – was flimsy and unconvincing.”

Flimsy and unconvincing? No, just downright arrogant!

In the last November election the naysayers had their say at the voting booth. It was a big horse laugh, and a slap in the face of official arrogance! The message sent back to the commissioners from the naysayers was: “We don’t trust you, either, and we are willing to go to the polling places to prove it!” The naysayers had the final say!

If anything has changed since last Novembers jail bond train wreck, it has been for the worse. Rather than becoming more open and forthright, more deceit, clandestine secrecy, and trickery have been employed!

Well folks, it is time to start looking at what the naysayers say! It is about time for some rethinking. What commissioners should have been looking at is alternatives to a new jail! Not seeing what they could salvage from previous attempts. They should have been asking the questions: “Are the voters right? Do we really need a new jail, or should we look at slowing down the rate of incarceration before we propose to tax the people to penury?”

Some advice to commissioners for the post November sob party:

Stop assuming that we even need a new jail. Start thinking outside the cell. The automatic assumption that because we have a problem with overcrowding, we need to build a new inmate warehouse, is a logical fallacy. If you owned a warehouse, and couldn’t process the goods fast enough, you would probably look at speeding up the process before you started thinking of building a new warehouse. Let’s do the same here.

Ask for public input. The sort of vague, quasi sincere requests for input in the past will not get any real information from the public. It would also be good to allow an anonymous forum for those who might otherwise be too timid to submit suggestions. There is a lot of distrust which apparently has gone unrecognized by county officials.

The last proposal had almost no public input. The proposal for November 2008 had even less! This is seen as arrogance by most people, and people despise arrogance in public officials.


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