Duplicity In Dallas County
At the June 7th, 2011 meeting of the Democrat-controlled Dallas County Commissioners’ Court (DCCC), the majority pulled a last-minute switch of redistricting maps—introducing and passing at the same meeting a new map that no one in the public (or even Commissioner Dickey) had seen before that day.
The immediate consequences of the new map are that it:
- Deprives Dallas County voters in the only clearly Republican majority district (old District 1/new District 2) of their opportunity to choose their County Commissioner on the regular four-year cycle,
- Irrefutably benefits Mike Cantrell, the District 2 Commissioner who has historically run as a Republican by giving him a very safe district, and
- Appears designed to assure that Democrats will control the DCCC by at least a 4-1 margin after the 2012 elections.
Another consequence is that the DCCC will lack a serious watchdog conservative presence on the Court, given Cantrell’s ever-growing support for the Democrats’ agenda and conduct.
In May and June, the DCCC heard testimony from the public on the census-driven re-drawing of lines for the four Commissioner Districts in Dallas County, in preparation for the 2012 elections.
Appearing to be interested in public input and then introducing and passing on the same day a map that no one in the public had seen, is reminiscent of the tactics used in the Democrat-orchestrated passage of the Obamacare legislation last year. Obvious back room deals, closed-door sessions, and disdain for the right of the public to give meaningful input, infuriate voters and are too common in today’s Democrat Party. While the Democrats on the DCCC have the majority and apparently therefore the right to engage in such tactics, their conduct does not go unnoticed.
The most noteworthy feature of the new map—and clearly the Democrats’ main point in drawing it ---is the renumbering of the Districts. What was District 1, the sole clearly Republican majority district represented by Commissioner Maurine Dickey, was renumbered as District 2, and thereby handed to Mike Cantrell, the District 2 Commissioner whose current district is being reconfigured into a possible Democrat majority district. Dickey’s term is up in 2012, and Cantrell’s in 2014.
By simply flipping the numbers of the districts, the Democrats inserted the Republican whose term is over soonest, into the newly Democrat majority district—to give themselves another Democrat seat on the Court sooner. The new map also gives Cantrell a very safe Republican district through 2014.
But the most important consequence of this change is that if this map stands (it still must be reviewed by the Department of Justice, and may be the subject of litigation), there is serious concern that the DCCC will lack any meaningful Republican representation after the elections of 2012. Court observers know--- Mike Cantrell, despite having run as a Republican, has repeatedly and increasingly allied himself with the Democrat majority, in votes and in attitude. Although he said on Tuesday that he didn’t know about the surprise map, and voted against it, he made no effort over the past two months to have his residence drawn into his district after the map showed it to be in Commissioner Dickey’s district.
Last year Mike Cantrell bragged openly that he was working with Price to carve his own safe Republican district. The Dallas County GOP knew of it, but beyond a complaining phone call to Cantrell, could not find means to pressure him into standing with the Republican Party’s interests over his own.
Political balance on the DCCC is vital, and with a possible four person Democrat majority after the 2012 elections, that Republican presence is needed to serve as a watchdog--to observe and report. The DCCC is responsible for millions of dollars of contracts annually, the new Parkland Hospital, public works and transportation projects, voting resources, the jail, and a myriad of other duties that all carry the potential for abuse and corruption. The Republican presence needs to be strong and unwavering. Many will be watching Cantrell’s performance over the next two years.