This is a weekly feature produced by my friend Ginger. Let us know what you think.
This week in Dallas-area news, two big stories: the Tarrant County election chief has resigned, and more on the Harlan Crow angle of the Supreme Court scandal as the man himself speaks. Plus a Texit-related lawsuit, the 50 fastest speeding tickets issued in Texas last year, and more.
Heider Garcia, the Tarrant County elections administrator, was hired out of California in 2018 and resigned this week, effective in June so he can finish out the May election cycle. Read the resignation letter. Like many election administrators in Texas and across the country, Garcia has been under attack since the 2020 election by proponents of the Big Lie that TFG won the 2020 election. Here’s a timeline of his work for the county administering elections (Archive link.) As mentioned in this Star-Telegram article (Archive link), Tarrant County judge Tim O’Hare was about to go after Garcia by calling both a public meeting and a “closed door executive session discussion” after the May 6 election. (Context: he mentioned it a a True Texas Project meeting on April 10; for those who aren’t clicking through, the headline is “Tarrant County judge says low voter turnout will help conservatives in municipal elections” aka saying the quiet part out loud.)
DMN coverage (Archive link) of this story points out that O’Hare’s goal in running for County Judge was to keep Tarrant County red. As I mentioned back in February, O’Hare was part of the group founding an “election integrity task force” in Tarrant County. Keeping Tarrant County red apparently means running a nationally-admired elections administrator out and installing a Republican-approved replacement, which in my experience means somebody who thinks “voter fraud” is too many Black and brown people voting. The Star-Telegram’s editiorial board (Archive link), which looks at this situation with a little more nominal belief in Tim O’Hare’s claims than I do, is alarmed. You should be too.
Last but not least, and not at all related to O’Hare hounding Garcia out of office: 5 years after voter fraud conviction, Crystal Mason pleads her case in return to Tarrant County court.
In Harlan Crow news, the man himself spoke to the Dallas Morning News in two articles earlier this week and I’m going to follow our host’s tradition and just quote extensively from them because sometimes you can’t say it better about a man than he says it about himself.
On the media.
I think that the media, and this ProPublica group in particular, funded by leftists, has an agenda to destabilize the [Supreme] Court. What they’ve done is not truthful. It lacks integrity.
On his friendship with Thomas.
A lot of people that have opinions about this seem to think that there’s something wrong with this friendship. You know, it’s possible that people are just really friends. It blows my mind that people assume that because Clarence Thomas has friends, that those friends have an angle.
Every single relationship — a baby’s relationship to his mom — has some kind of reciprocity
[In response to the question whether Crow would be friends with Thomas if he weren’t a Supreme Court Justice] It’s an interesting, good question. I don’t know how to answer that. Maybe not. Maybe yes. I don’t know.
On Thomas’ morals.
Justice Thomas is a man of integrity and the idea that he would do anything that’s not exactly correct is just not true.
On whether he inherited his money from his father.
Our company was also in distress … Our economic value had deteriorated. It’s hard to know if it was zero, but it was low. I spent about five years doing workouts. We negotiated with a large number of financial institutions over a long period of time doing all this and we tried to do it as honorably as we could.
On being a “Republican megadonor” (really pitched toward the DMN audience).
I have been a donor to moderate Republican individuals running for office, as well as groups that are involved in that kind of world to support more moderate Republican stuff.
On his collection of Nazi memorabilia, which he says is part of a larger collection of American history documents, including the “bad guys”.
So yeah, World War II was a fairly big event in American history. We have a bunch of stuff about World War II, including some of our enemies… For somebody to say that I like those guys would be a weird conclusion, but that’s been in the press recently … That’s exactly the opposite of what the truth is.
The DMN also fact-checked (Archive link) their interview, which may interest you. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has uncovered more information about Thomas’ undisclosed income (this one got my attention because of the name). And my favorite “yellow journalism” take on Crow’s Nazi memorabilia comes from Lyz Lenz’s newsletter last week: Dingus of the Week: People Who Think Owning Nazi Memorabilia is Defensible Actually.
Personally I don’t care to defend Crow’s memorabilia choices, but I certainly think he believes he’s just gathering a collection to do with American history and it has nothing to do with his own beliefs. His indignation that anyone could judge him for being an oligarch who supports authoritarians like Thomas and make a connection between his politics and his memorabilia is genuine. Privilege and wealth are often that kind of convinced of their own righteousness.
After all that, a few small notes on local and statewide news:
- 10 Years Later: City of West Honors 15 Killed in Fertilizer Plant Blast, Reflects on Rebuilding. A sad anniversary and I wish we’d done more to prevent future tragedies by making sure folks around environmentally dangerous facilities could find out whether those facilities were safe.
- State Rep. Jeff Leach Sued for Defamation for Calling Texas Secessionists ‘Treasonous’. This is Twitter drama that’s interrupting the people’s business and going to court; the plaintiff is a real character; and the Texit bill that started it all is the work of Bryan Slaton, the (allegedly) underage-intern-chasing House member from Royse City. It’s a proper old school Lege scandal in the making.
- Jonathan Mitchell is too busy for court deadlines, but still has time to file new lawsuits. From the new-to-me Law Dork newsletter, here’s a look into the busy schedule Jonathan Mitchell, the author of SB 8 (the abortion bounty law), our former Solicitor General. Apparently deadlines are optional for some people.
- 201 in a 75: Here Are the 50 Fastest Speeding Tickets in Texas in 2022. This is funny to read, especially the excuses, but as the authors note, Texas led the nation in crash fatalities in the first nine months of last year. We have a lot of roads and a lot of people drive very quickly on them. I’ve driven and ridden shotgun on a bunch of these roads and people shouldn’t be driving at the speeds described (130+ mph) in traffic on freeways/highways or ever on rural roads that aren’t maintained for vehicles moving that fast. Stay safe out there, friends!