Guest ed: Brinkley supports County Judge Mark Riley

by Joe Brinkley, Commissioner, Precinct 2

First appeared in Weatherford Telegram

Posted Monday, Feb. 22, 2010

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Occasionally in this life we meet someone who consistently believes their individual wisdom is greater than the wisdom of the whole.

Fortunately, this happens only occasionally. My fellow Commissioner John Roth of Precinct 3 used this space last week in an attempt to convince Parker County residents that he alone knows what is best for you, the taxpayer.

Considering this, I would like to summarize for you some, but not all, of the positive actions of Parker County Government under the leadership of County Judge Mark Riley.

First, in 2003, Commissioner’s Court voted unanimously to freeze property taxes on persons 65 years of age or older as authorized by the State Legislature with an effective date of 2004. This was prior to Commissioner Roth being on the Court. This has resulted in a savings to those taxpayers of about $2 million and the County has continued to have balanced budgets and a low tax rate.

Under Judge Riley’s leadership, your tax rate was lowered from what it was when he took office. Under Judge Riley’s management of the Parker County budget, our bond rating has improved to a AA-, which saved tax payers $600,000 in interest on the Parker County Transportation Bond that was approved overwhelmingly by you, the voters. You don’t get a AA- bond rating without having a well managed and conservative fiscal policy, which we have under Judge Riley.

As a new commissioner, Roth opposed proceeding with the construction of the Parker County Jail expansion at a time when you, the taxpayer, were paying for Parker County inmates to be housed in other county jails due to lack of jail space in our own jail.

The design was not Commissioner Roth’s, but it met architectural and engineering standards and those of the State Jail Commission, and was cost effective. Due to the design of the current jail facility and the contract with a private jail management company, Parker County has enjoyed a cost savings of more than $300,000. Now we not only have enough bed space to house all of our prisoners, but also we are now being paid to house federal prisoners, which is estimated to generate up to $250,000 in annual revenue.

Commissioner’s Court voted 4-1 to close the Parker County Health Clinic, which was somewhat of a trial facility and did not prove to be cost effective. The results in savings was something more than $200,000. Commissioner Roth voted against this.

The current Parker County budget is a balanced budget due in great part to Judge Riley reducing proposed expenditures of the various departments by some $800,000 in order to maintain a low tax rate and still provide the level of services required by taxpayers. Commissioner Roth opposed this budget.

Commissioner Roth also opposed increasing the employees share of their health insurance premiums, which would have left you, the taxpayer, to pick up this cost.

During budget hearings there was also discussion led by County Judge Mark Riley to eliminate cell phone allowances for elected officials. Commissioner Roth opposed this, saying the $25,000 in savings that would come from eliminating the cell phone allowances was not significant. While Judge Riley, Commissioner Jim Webster and I consider our salaries adequate and voluntarily gave up our cell phone allowances, Commissioner Roth continues to let you, the taxpayer, fund his cell phone.

Although the current County Budget cut spending and maintained a low tax rate, Commissioner Roth voted against the tax rate, apparently because he thought the County needed a higher tax rate and more money. This is conservative? I don’t think so.

In a Sept. 9 Weatherford Telegram article regarding setting the tax rate, Commissioner Roth was quoted as saying, “Say the economy got really bad, like it’s going now. Say people don’t pay their property taxes. Then we have a shortfall. Where do we make up the difference? From our savings account – previous tax dollars collected and not expended.”

As your Precinct 2 Commissioner, I personally have more faith in our taxpayers than that. Some elected officials seem to take comfort in having more of your money. I take comfort in you having more of your money.

Precinct 3 and Precinct 2 have the two largest annual budgets of the four Precincts based on road miles and tax base. However, Precinct 3 has something over 40 percent of financed debt of the four precincts combined. Once again, is this conservative management of your tax dollars?

Regarding the Senior Center, the Court moved on the transaction to facilitate the future services for seniors as well as space that will be needed by the County. The North Central Texas Council of Governments projects the population of Parker County will increase by 284 percent, to a population of 328,400, by the year 2030. Folks, that is long range planning, which is what governments should do.

I do agree with Commissioner Roth on one position. We do need a County Judge who is a leader, committed to fiscal responsibility and focused on the future of Parker County. We already have that in County Judge Mark Riley. He has done an excellent job as Judge. He has managed the county’s growth while lowering your taxes. Judge Riley is a smart fiscal conservative and an effective and qualified leader who is passionate about his job as County Judge.

My vote is to keep Mark Riley as Parker County Judge in the interest of the future of this County.

Click here to see a copy of Commissioner Roth’s guest editorial.

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Commissioner Brinkley’s comments are credible in our view for two reasons:

1.  He speaks from years of first hand experience from working side by side with Judge Riley on Commissioners Court.

2.  He cannot benefit by supporting Judge Riley because Brinkley is not running for re-election.

27 responses

  1. In all fairness, you should publish all comments on your blog. Conservatives believe in facts and like to stay focused on the issues. Because you did not publish my guest editorial that that Commissioner Brinkley is responding to, your readers are only hearing one side of the story.

    I still like Mr. Brinkley (even after his unfounded comments about me), but I respectfully disagree with some of what had to say.

    In regard to your comment about Joe having years of experience working side by side with Mark…Joe’s been there 7 years and I have been there 5. As far as Joe not having anything to gain…I could have played it politically safe and not rocked the boat…Is that what our representatives in Austin and Washington DC should do as well?

    I am speaking up for the people and the future of our county. Most of the decisions our court makes are good, but there are some that I cannot sit quiet on. In my blog, I tell the citizens why I think some of our decisions are bad and why I voted against them. I wish the other court members would open their doors and explain why they thought those same decisions were good decisions and why they voted for them. That would allow for YOU to decide.

    It is up to you and the folks of our county to digest all the information and then formulate an opinion. I don’t think you want me thinking for you…you probably just want me to give you the honest facts so that you can do the thinking. Open debate leads to good decisions, but one-sided debate is not debate at all.

    I have dissected Commissioner Brinkley’s editorial on my blog and have injected facts that will help clarify the issues. I encourage you and your readers to check out my comments at http://commish3.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/guest-ed-brinkley-supports-county-judge-mark-riley/

    Sincerely,
    John Roth
    Commissioner Precinct 3

  2. William Covington

    I find it interesting that commissioner Roth is bothered by the fact that his editorial wasn’t published on your site. He doesn’t do much to dispute the facts Commissioner Brinkley listed. I find it interesting that he is bothered by some of these comments when all he has done to anyone that will listen is put down Mark Riley; begging people to run against him and calling him names. How in the world does that help the people of Parker County? How about being a grown up and trying to settle things amicably? Your behavior has been nothing short of an immature man unhappy because he isn’t getting his way and you seem to have forgotten that you yourself are an elected official. Your desperate attempts to get Mark Riley out of office will come back and haunt you when your term is up again. You finally found someone with a big enough ego to run against him but that guy is no more qualified for that position than you are. I found it beyond amusing that the only Pro Cary McKay letter in the paper yesterday was from his own campaign treasurer. Pretty pathetic, just like you. Now go be a grown up and stop using the county’s time and money to bash someone you don’t like.

    1. Mr. Covington, your statements echo my opinion precisely!!!

      I cannot imagine anyone who calls himself a conservative Republican openly campaigning against someone with whom he serves on the court – disgusting behavior at best.

      It has become painfully obvious why he can’t get along with ANYONE on Commssioners Court. I think your use of the word “pathetic” is quite appropriate!

      One thing is for certain – he cannot dispute VERIFIABLE FACTS.

    2. Who really knows anything about this McKay that John Roth is campaigning for – except that he is friends with Huckabee, a career politician who never saw a tax he didn’t like? We deserve better than the two whiners. They need to grow up!

  3. Roth reminds me of a soldier I once knew who complained that everyone was out of step but him…

  4. William Covington

    I went back and read the comment from Roth to the statements Commissioner Brinkley made. When Brinkley states that he, Judge Riley and Commissioner Webster all gave up their tax dollar funded cellphones and Roth didn’t; Roth states simply “this is political grandstanding at its best” No, Commissioner Roth, you are taking taxpayer’s money. You make over $80,000 a year and can well afford to pay your own cell phone bill. You have turned this whole election cycle into “get Mark Riley” and lost the confidence of many of your constituents. Please do the right thing and admit that you are only out to get Mark Riley; not help the citizens of Parker County like you continue to state. If not; you will end up being a golf course attendant again.

  5. I’ve got to weigh in here and remind everyone that Roth isn’t the only one who is responsible for bringing us Cary McKay. He’s just the only one naive enough to make his thoughts known publicly.

    It’s important to know that old status quo folks like Dave Deison, Rusty Crownover and their ilk are also involved in this effort to bring down Riley. For his part, Riley has done a great job working with these folks without ever buying into their beliefs.

    That’s one more reason to keep Riley. He’s been able to work with those who hold the tired old ideas that worked way back while keeping his feet planted solidly in the present.

    Not sure when Roth decided to make/take things so personal. He’d do better just representing the people who voted for him last time (but may have second thoughts about that next time around).

  6. Now so many things are making sense. McKay showed up from nowhere and uses the Roth intell for sabotaging Riley.

    I’ve found nothing in McKay to change my vote for Riley.

    Maybe Roth wants to be County Judge, but he’s Too insecure to try.

  7. I have read through all of these posts and I am resigned to the fact that the majority of the posts on here are people calling themselves Republicans, but in all reality, are either not sure what that means or are full blown liberals. Gentlemen, whether or not you like John Roth or Cary McKay should not be where you focus most of your attention.This is not a personality or beauty contest, this is about the future of our county and being mindful of what the tax payers want. Use some intelligence, look at the issues and make some true hard comparisons between the candidates. Mr. McKay is a successful businessman, and is running for this position to take a true conservative approach to Parker County. Thats what we as taxpayers need. Judge Riley’s budget since 2006 has increased 64% and the county budget has grown from approximately 33 million to 36 million. Thats not fiscal responsibilty. Do not let the conformist and good old boy mentality take over your judgement on very serious issues. Mark Riley has had his chance to make some hard decisions over gun laws, water and the county budget. He has not stepped up to the plate. I want a candidate at the Local level, the State level and the Federal level to fight for my interests. That means taking a swing at the pitch, not sitting back and watching the game. Someone willing to put forth the extra effort. So please stop all the grade school comments and stick to the facts. If after you look at the facts you still stand beside Judge Riley, then you can sleep well knowing you made an informative decision. Calling Mr. Roth a golf course attendent is pure classless and does not have any value, or as you have said, lead to an amicable relationship. I want a person who is passionate and cares about this county. Thats what we need here and in Washington. You see what happens when you quit expecting perfection, you get an Obama.

    1. Roth, stop your whining and grow up!

  8. 4conservative, HELLO??? Did you notice the growth in the county population and the jail population and the road milage growth? Hello? Our county budget is really very tight. The budget process is very transparent and I’m confident Judge Riley is absolutely the most conservative judge we’ve ever had.

  9. I hear fear in the comments against Commissioner Roth. Fear that Judge Riley is a lame duck. I attend many commissioner court meetings and find a lot to disagree with Judge Riley on. He runs the court as if he was king. He has been there too long and lost perspective. I do not know Mr. McKay, but like his outspoken comments on changes that need to be made. I find that Commissioner Roth has the courage of his convictions and wish my precinct had such a stand up commissioner. It is not easy to go against the establishment which is what Judge Riley has become. I and the rest of my family have cast our ballots for Mr. McKay and hope that he prevails in this election. We have too many RINOs on the court that ignore the needs of the voters. With 2 new commissioners coming on board, a clean sweep will sweep the cobwebs from the court and give our county a fresh start.

  10. I think I’m done. When the only things Republicans can do is call each other names, the Democrats win. This whole attempt to brand one person as more or less conservative than another can only make the Democrats happy.

    Here’s what I know: go online and try to find any mention of Cary McKay that doesn’t also mention Mike Huckabee. Just try. If McKay is so successful, wouldn’t you think there’d be some mention of him on the internet somewhere?

  11. If you want to measure soemones success by only seeing what is on the internet then we really have problems. Go to the community and ask. Go to Northside Baptist and ask about how he has been a Sunday School teacher for many years. Go to Peaster ISD and ask about how he has been a baseball, basketball and football coach and the impact he has made on many childrens lives. Go to the Commissioners court and see him stand up against what he feels is wrong with our County Government.
    As for John Roth…. Thank God we have someone that will stand up and speak about what he feels is wrong in our county Government. I have never heard him say a negative word about a person, but I have heard him say that some of the voting of the court is unacceptable to him and the people who elected him. So keep talking John and let the people of Parker County know whats going inside the commissioner court backrooms. Thats true transperancy isn’t it?

    1. Talking to yourself again John Roth? Is that true transparency?

      You are about as inconspicuous as Mount Rushmore…

      Stop your whining!

      1. Mark and 4 Conservative-

        I’m the only one of the three of us who is fully transparent. Y’all hide your true identity behind a made up screen name…I don’t.

        Let’s get together for breakfast, coffee or lunch to get to know each other face to face…my treat.

        How can you resist an invitation from an immature, unhappy, desperate, disgusting, pathetic, out of step, insecure (according to the bloggers on this site) County Commissioner who is willing to pick up the tab?

        You can reach me on the commish hotline at 817-996-2663.

        Sincerely,
        John Roth

      2. Mark,
        I don’t know what your problem is when we have a commissioner in John Roth who will actually look at facts and does research on issues.

        You tell John Roth to grow up but it is your posts that sound like a little school child who is mad because someone didn’t agree with him.

        I have attended commissioner court meetings. I found Mr. Roth very attentive and very well read on the issues before him. Unlike one commissioner who said he was ruling on fear not facts.

        Judge Riley claims that he has all the experience. What his experience has turned into is a good ole boy network where cronies are more important than the good of the whole county.

        You talk about him being conservative. When Brinkley came into office, Riley made a special position for the commissioner leaving office. That was a salary and office set up so this guy would have a job. It was a job that others were doing and didn’t need any help with. But, for a crony of Riley’s it was made.

        You guys are on here putting down McKay and saying you don’t know anything about him. Have you been to anything where he has spoken. Instead of complaining that he is connected to Huckabee, why don’t you do a little research and find out where he stands on the issues.

        It is time for Riley to be gone and a person with fresh new ideas for the county to be elected. Sometimes when a politician stays in an office too long and claims experience, we get the same thing and no improvements can be made.

        I am proud to have John Roth as a commissioner and I will be proud to have Cary McKay as a judge.

      3. Terry, if your criticism of me is intended to actually be constructive, I accept it. Not because I totally agree, but because self examination is always a worth while exercise.

        All I ask in return is that you try to see both points of view. If the voters get it wrong, we all suffer. History is a great lie detector.

  12. Roth, did it ever occur to you that people may feel the necessity to use aliases because they believe that if they openly disagree with you, that you would try to destroy them the way you set out to destroy the decent honorable Judge Riley who has done so much good for this County?

    You were much less of a threat to Parker County when you were a golf course caretaker. Oh- for the good ole days.

  13. John Roth considered a “WHINER”? I LAUGHED UNTIL MY SIDES HURT AT THAT ONE! He isn’t whining, he’s telling you the awful truth and you can’t stand it can you? I hope my good friend John Roth will invite me to the coffee with you cry babies so I can help pick up the tab. It won’t be much because most of you will order pablum instead of a real drink like coffee. Anonimity is another word for coward in my book, and I put my name proudly on everything I say, do, or write. The old saying”a new broom sweeps clean”, will be proven on March 2nd. Wait and see.

  14. Quality of Life

    Mr. Cavenah, with all due respect you are wrong. You do not put your name on everything you say, do or write. Many of us in this county know this. Did you just call yourself a coward?

    I support Mark Riley for what he has done.

  15. Mark,

    I have researched both candidates because I see a good voter as an informed voter.

    My problem with the trend on this thread is that someone who supports the opposing candidate that you support is attacked. I have seen many liberals do this on other sites and it shows a reaction based on emotion instead of facts.

    Maybe I’m too logical in my approach, but I get tired of the backbiting and the good ole boy system I see in Parker County.

    I put my real name on these posts because even though I have received some flack for my positions when I have posted things, I stand by my ideas and back them up. I’m not afraid to put my name on things because the truth can’t hurt you and claims that John Roth would try and take you down are overblown.

  16. Quality of Life?, please be so kind as to show me or tell me of a place where I have not used my name on something I have done or written. I am not aware of not using my name. And, whose quality of life are we discussing?

  17. Hey losers… Where’s your boy McKay now? Guess Roth’s out at breakfast with him somewhere crying in their coffee together.

  18. Wow, what a completely unconstructive, inane and childish comment. That adds absolutely no value to the discussion at hand and is more like something one would find on the Huffington post.

    With people in the Republican party like this, that will resort to taking shots at a worthy candidate who ran a good campagin but was defeated in a narrow margin by a favored incumbent, is it any wonder the Democrats were able to take Congress and the Presidency right out from under our noses?

    Do you know what a margin of 200 out of 14,000 voters says? It says that half of this county thought that one man was the right choice and half this county thought that the other was (well a tad more than half for one obviously). I would rather have candidates that draw out the voters into a dead heat and have to choose between two good candidates, than to have to pick the lesser of two evils with bad candidates or ones that do not excite voters enough to get them to the polls.

  19. I, like concerned citizen, hate to see the kind of thing John French posted. For a newcomer to being a candidate, I think Mr. McKay did exceedingly well and almost pulled it off. Were I an incumbent, it would give me pause and make me think “maybe there is some discontent out there in regard to my performance.” However, there is next time and nothing stays the same. It is hoped everyone will stay involved and not just be apathetic about local politics.

  20. John,
    While you celebrate the victory of your candidate, it is sad that you use such a childish schoolyard retort.

    Parker County by a very slim majority has chosen to stay with the good ole boy system. We will live with that choice for another few years. However, as we live with that choice, we need to look at the last few years under this system. Has the traffic improved? Have our roads improved? Have our taxes gone down?

    When you keep voting the same guy in, you keep getting the same thing. It may be comfortable, but it doesn’t mean it’s best for the county.

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