In the last couple of months, I was interested to know about a subdivision going in off 144 near the Bosque County line. I called to speak to Tammy, who is not my commissioner, but, frankly, I had no desire to speak to Dwayne Johnson, who is. When I called, the admin for the commissioners told me Tammy was not in. After I hung up, after not asking to speak to Johnson, I was surprised to see him calling me within a few minutes of my call. (I have heard that Johnson's wife works as admin for the commissioners, so if that was true she must have told him right away even though my call was not for him. And, I do not know this but does Johnson's wife also work for the elections department? If so, then certainly she should recuse herself from any election that involves her husband, particularly if she assists in counting votes). I answered the phone, again was surprised to see it was Johnson since I had not called him, and one of the first things out of his mouth after noting that I had called in was to tell me he hoped he could count on my vote. I told him that I have never voted for a Republican, and that even if somehow I was going to, I wouldn't vote for him due to his negligence regarding the runaway, irresponsible lawsuit that Darrell Best and Andy Lucas lodged against my husband some 6 years ago, which said hub won, and then had to fight to get Somervell County, who was responsible for the judgement, to pay it. (You can read about that here if you like) I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy, but what aggravated me about his apologia is that he said, basically, that he wasn't in office when that whole thing started, as if he had no responsibility for it. I said in response that he had been personally asked, and been given, documentation for this whole thing, and he chose to ignore it AND was in office at that point. We continued the conversation about the subdivision and I was still disturbed after I got off the phone with how little due diligence Johnson did about the plans. For example, he had told me that there was only one way in and out of the subdivision, onto CR 2008, which, if every one of those lots is sold and there are a lot of people living there, will certainly backup the road, including onto 144, or to get out there will be a line of people passing Fossil Rim and backing up traffic there. He said, oh, that won't happen for a long time. Right, that's sure a good excuse not to make sure about the structure of the roads in the first place. He also said that the water district cannot put in pipes there due to the topography and all the water would be from drilling wells, without the assurance on paper that they would be drilling at the lower Trinity river level. Just seemed careless.
I had forgotten that I wrote about Johnson about 9 months ago, during the time that Danny Chambers and the commissioners voted to approve a budget without taking due diligence to make sure they were, first following the law and rules for how to publicize and run hearings, and second, without identifying an over one million dollar slush fund. Someone told me at the time that the restaurant at the golf club had been done without open meetings and proper bidding, and that this money, unaccountable for, might have been part of what was used, without public scrutiny, for the construction and/or remodeling. At the time, I thought about looking into it, as any citizen can do, but the fact that less than half of the citizens in Somervell County were vaccinated for covid stopped me from wanting to go into the courthouse, as an enclosed space, to research. Sometime around there, before this, I saw that Brian Watts was no longer the county auditor and wondered what happened. When this illegal budget was passed, Brian Watts, no longer the county auditor, wrote a letter to Danny Chambers in which he made the following main points.
- That the budget was illegal because the county failed to follow the law regarding posting of hearings and also identifying all monies in the budget. Especially egregious when the county was asking for a large tax increase without apparent justification.
- That whole section of the budget, with additional tax revenues, were over a million dollars, at least $1,345.768, and unidentified, thus amounting to a slush fund. Also at the time, the county was sitting on 17,334,508.52 plus $886,579.71 of unreserved cash (that second number was for covid) According to Watts, that would have been "over 17 months of expense coverage without the county receiving a single penny of tax or fee revenue" Even worse, a required form for the taxpayers and required by the Texas Comptrollers office that would explain the tax increase was not even posted on the Somervell County website.
- As a side note, Watts made reference to Danny Chambers and Dwayne Johnson sitting together and ridiculing citizens who complained or challenged them about an issue. That really makes you feel good about Danny and Dwayne, eh? The respect (NOT) they have for taxpayers who want to express themselves AS IS THEIR RIGHT.
There are a couple of other items that I think Dwayne Johnson has handled inappropriately but I'll leave those to another message. Those will include the lack of transparency regarding the building of the restaurant at Squaw Valley Golf Course, the sneaky,creation of an *Assistance District*, and the shenanigans around Mary Simpson who had the concession contract at the Expo Center, including an illegal liquor license.