I am not sure how this happened, but Smith county Commissioners still don’t seem to understand the fact that voters do not want a new jail until incarceration rates are lowered to something below the level of an East block or Nazi regime. It is possible that voters could see the new jailhouse super lite on the November ballot, or, maybe not!
There is talk that this may skip the ballot box altogether and go straight to a certificate of obligation, the ultimate expression of the arrogance of power and authority, and a demonstration of the complete disdain for the will of those who will be forced to pay for it!
It may be half the cost of the last bond, which was half the cost of the one before, but that is not the whole issue. As we have stated before, it is not the cost that is the issue, well at least not all of it. The problem is that the system is slow, archaic, medieval, Jurassic, and antediluvian. It is so slow, that it travels back in time. There are not sufficient courts to process the inmates in the current jail, much less a new, larger addition which will be filled the day it opens. We should deal with the core problems before adding more cells. Stop arresting sidewalk spitters and other petty offenses, and give them a ticket instead, have them appear before a judge, and if they don’t, arrest them then. Even our legislators in Austin understand this, why cant Smith county?
So, we may be up for another jail election, or maybe not.
I have one suggestion to Smith county voters if the commissioners decide to go with the certificate of obligation: Clean house! Do not re-elect a single one of them when his or her term is up. Maybe then, they would get the message!