Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bureaucratic Waste in Texas Education --- Part 1 - “Little Perks”


Have you heard about TREE – Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education? If you haven’t, you need to head over to their website and catch up on their approach to solving the problem of school funding in Texas. Instead of another lawsuit that just forces Texans to keep raising taxes to put  more money into the school system, TREE says:
“TREE believes that a constitutionally efficient system must put student interest before the interests of adults and bureaucracies. Therefore, unlike prior litigation which was based on equity for school districts, in addition to looking at bureaucratic waste, this litigation will be about equity for students….”
So TREE says student interest  should come before the interest of adults and bureaucrats. They use the term: bureaucratic waste”.

What is that exactly? Just how do the adults and bureaucrats waste  education dollars on themselves?

  gourmet food
 Let’s look at examples
of one “ little perk”
some education bureaucrats
give themselves:
Extravagant Meetings


 #1. August 30, 2007

Even though they had recently opened a brand new administration building with every state of the art extra any bureaucrat could want, the Harris County School Trustees needed a  break from their regular once a month board meeting routine. So they held a “special session” board meeting off campus from 7:00 – 9:15pm.
Where did they go to get away?

TheDowntown-Center-Houston-TX-private-events-560x310_jpg_singleImage
They chose the Houston Center Club - an exclusive facility in Downtown Houston -
whose advertisement reads,
to impress your colleagues
and inspire your employees.”

Who were the colleagues and employees that needed to be “impressed and inspired”? 

 rm015
The meeting minutes
show a total of 9 people were present:
all 7 school board trustees as well as the superintendent and the Trustees’ full time “consultant”.







How much did the bureaucrats spend on themselves that night in order to be “impressed and inspired”?

For a two hour meeting of 7 Trustees and 2 administrators, the total was $1,012.87.

That averages to $144.70 per Trustee or $450 per hour.
What did students get for the $1,012.87  earmarked for education? Absolutely NOTHING.

What “little perks” did the bureaucrats get for the $1,012.87 in education dollars?


rm016

First, six of the school
Trustees received
mileage reimbursement.



rm018




Second, they all dined
on a $929.56
gourmet meal.



















#2. Oct. 30, 2008 

The next year on Oct. 21, 2008, the same Harris County School Trustees voted 6-1 to RAISE THE TAX RATE . The minutes show that Trustee Roy Morales even chastised  Trustee Michael Wolfe for voting AGAINST RAISING TAXES.

story024

Why did the School Trustees need more education tax dollars?
They needed another break from their normal board meeting routine. Just ten days after they voted to raise taxes, the Trustees held a “Board Retreat” at an exclusive downtown hotel ---
HOUCVHH_Hilton_Americas-Houston_accom_suites
 The Hilton Americas -Houston.
One online evaluation describes the hotel:

This is what a hotel should be.
Big, beautiful and expensive”
NOTE: The district was NOT able to supply any minutes from the meeting to show who was actually present. It was one of the 57 “lost, purged or not required to keep” records I was denied in my open records request dated 5/12/12.  Coincidentally, the district’s online check registry for November 2008, the month these bills would have been paid, is the only month month that is blank when you open the link online.

What did students get for the funds earmarked for education spent on this event? Absolutely NOTHING.

What “little perks” did the bureaucrats get with these education dollars?

story025
Two Trustees received
mileage reimbursement.



story026   



Receipts
show the Trustees
enjoyed “In-Room Dining”.
Continental Breakfast
for 8 totaled $229.85,
and lunch added
$447.50 to the bill.










The hotel room receipt conflicts with the district’s posted agenda. The agenda for the “Board Retreat” states the meeting was to start at 9:00am on 10/31/08, but the hotel receipt shows John Sawyer, the Superintendent, checked in at 9:43am the day before. The hotel receipt also shows 3 adults in the room with a nightly rate (with tax) of  $555.00.

story027

Viewing these receipts, it appears the Superintendent and two other adults  stayed overnight in a $500 room (more likely,a luxury suite.) The next day they ordered room service for both breakfast and lunch for the others who joined them in their room.

No matter what the actual scenario, the total cost of this Trustee “little perk” was $1281.31 from funds earmarked for education. That averages out to $183.04 per Trustee, $38.34 more per Trustee than their get-away the previous year. Could increases like this be why they felt the need to raise taxes?


#3 Oct. 30, 2009

The next year on 9/21/09, these same Trustees voted to RAISE TAXES AGAIN. The minutes show that Trustee Michael Wolfe motioned to maintain the current tax rate instead of raising taxes. NO OTHER TRUSTEE WOULD EVEN SECOND THE MOTION, so education taxes were raised again by a vote of 4-1.

waste028 
 Why did the bureaucrats need more education money?

They could argue they needed it because of INFLATION. Food, beverage and hotel prices had risen in the previous year so their Trustee get-away was going to be even more expensive.
waste029
That year, the Trustees called their get-away a “continuing education training session”. The only problem is that not one receipt shows any funds spent on education or training. The expenses were only for food and travel.

icon2
 


This time the  location was the Hotel ICON described as a hotel that  “redefines the meaning of luxury.”





The grand total of this Trustee get-away was $1,536.38.

That averages out to be $219.48 per Trustee, $36.44 per Trustee higher than the previous year and $74.78 per Trustee higher than the year before that.

With this type of inflation , it is no wonder they had to raise taxes.
What “little perks” did the bureaucrats get from these education dollars?

waste030


 First, 5 Trustees received mileage reimbursement and Valet Parking














                                                                                   
waste031 













Second, the Trustees were treated to a day of gourmet in the “Boardroom” topped off with dinner at the exclusive“VOICE”restaurant.

waste032

What did students gain from the education dollars spent on Truffle Fries?

NOT A THING

What did the bureaucrats gain from the education dollars spent on Creme Brulee?

Most likely, a few extra pounds.






NOTE: The district claims the minutes to this meeting were either purged or not required to be kept be kept even though it was for Trustee “continuing education training”, so we do not know who the 8 persons were that actually ate the gourmet meals using education dollars.


#4  April 2+3, 2011

On 9/12/10 these same Trustees voted to RAISE TAXES AGAIN only this time using the stealth method known as “The Effective Tax Rate”. 
waste034
Basically, it goes something like this: When property values are going down because of a bad economy, and the Trustees don’t want to cut their spending, they can simply calculate the tax rate needed to guarantee the same amount of funds as they collected the previous year. Most taxpayers end up paying a higher tax rate but the Trustees can legally say they did not “raise the tax rate” because all they did was “approve the effective tax rate”. It is the scheme school districts use to raise taxes without the need for public hearings and our Texas Legislature has stamped it with their approval.

This time though, the Trustees did not head out to an upscale hotel for dinner. (They may have still been too tired from their  trip to Washington DC – but that is for another story.) They waited until later in the school year and held their “Board Retreat and Training Session” at their district administration building.

That would make most people think this event would be cheaper than the events of past years held off campus at exclusive hotels. WRONG.
                      hcde kay
This event ended up costing 62% more per Trustee than their get-away in 2007 –
a grand total of $1621.13.
So much for staying home to save money.    
And again, not one receipt showed any funds spent for training.


What did the students get from these education dollars ?

NOTHING.

What “little perks” did the bureaucrats get from these dollars earmarked for education?

waste035


First, all 7 Trustees were reimbursed for their mileage to drive to the
district’s administration building
both days –
totaling $290.08.



waste037




Second, two district employees
earned overtime pay
totaling $620.67.


rm021



 Third, Day #1
breakfast and lunch
on site delivery
totaling $213.92.







rm022









Fourth, Day #1 Gourmet Dinner
for 8 totaling $497.00.

NOTE: Even though all 7 Trustees were paid mileage for Day #2, no food or beverage receipts for Day #2 were included in the documents received from the open records request for all expenses from this Trustee event. Also, the district claims no minutes are available



Little-Room-1-




Why does the Texas Legislature, who is responsible for an “efficient system of public free education”, allow the bureaucrats to fund extravagant meetings for themselves BEFORE they fund the students?

Could it be because whenever the legislature looks at school funding, it is these same bureaucrats they call for advice?

Teachers are smart enough not to have students grade their own exams, so why aren’t our Legislators smart enough to know not to ask the education bureaucrats how much money they need?

It sure looks like TREE has the right idea. Instead of just giving these same bureaucrats more money to spend, the Texas Legislature should step up and revamp the system - force the districts to spend their education dollars on the students. It is so simple, why has the Legislature not thought of it themselves?

And how can anyone argue that more money is the answer to funding Texas schools?  Raising taxes certainly won’t solve anything. It just seems to increase the amount the bureaucrats waste.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

HCDE Trustee Roy Morales: Mis-statements or bad memory????

It would be so much easier if politicians would just tell the whole truth – all the time. Don’t they know that in the information age, someone will dig up the truth sooner or later?

Roy Morales is a current Harris County School Trustee, and a former Republican candidate for Houston Mayor, City Council, US Congress, etc , etc, etc…

A few weeks ago I published a story about the Harris County School Trustees’ plan to hold a retreat dinner at Brennan’s - a famous 4 star restaurant in Houston, well known for its outstanding cuisine and service. It is also pricey $$$ ($30-60/person on average) plus valet parking.

Many  taxpayers got very upset when they found out that their education tax dollars were being spent by their elected officials, not on students, but on the Trustees dining out at a restaurant that most taxpayers couldn’t afford.  So taxpayers complained – and the retreat and dinner were canceled. (Perhaps to save face, the Trustees said it was canceled because the Board President was ill.)

After the complaints started coming in, Trustee Roy Morales, who claims to be a fiscal conservative Tea Party supporter, tried to make himself out to be the people’s hero. He posted two comments to the story.

His first comment came the day after the story was posted:

“Just for the record, in five years as a Trustee, the taxpayers have never paid for my dinner. I agree with you that the taxpayers should not pay for this dinner.”

          Roy Morales       April 26, 2012 5:51 PM

Then, less than an hour later, Roy Morales posted another comment:
Just called the Board President. The dinner is canceled.”

           Roy Morales       April 26, 2012 6:31 PM

At first it appears that Roy Morales is such a good guy. He doesn’t waste the people’s money. After all, he said that not only have the taxpayers NEVER PAID FOR HIS DINNER, he agreed that taxpayers should not be paying for this type of meal. He also implied that he is so powerful, that a single call from him and poof – the whole mess goes away.

But that is not what I had been told by very reliable sources.

To get the facts, I filed an Open Records Request for the minutes of all HCDE meetings: board, committee, training and retreat meetings from 2007 to 2012. That would make it very easy to see exactly which board members were present at each meeting where dinner was included.

I know, all that should be online already – like every legitimate government institution. But that is not how it works at HCDE.  They claim to be transparent – they get awards for transparency – but in my personal experience, opaque would be a better description. Anyone who wants any real information has to pry it out of them.

So, as usual with HCDE, getting something as simple as meeting minutes wasn’t easy. My first receipt of minutes from my Open Records Request had 57 missing meeting minutes. And it just so happened, the missing minutes included Board Training Sessions and Retreats  that had been held off campus at high priced establishments. WHAT A COINCIDENCE !!!  Some of those missing were just the ones I was looking for.

So, I filed a second Open Records Request for the 57 missing meeting minutes. Below is the reply I received from HCDE:

hcdeopenrecords2

So I filed a new Open Records Request. This time for:
“…copies of all receipts and invoices received, and all checks and credit card payments made for any and all expenditures/reimbursements incurred or generated by HCDE itself, HCDE board members, guests, consultants and/or employees - including but not limited to: Facilities, Decorations, Food/Beverages, Travel, Parking, Presenters/Presentations, Recreational and/or Leisure Activities, Materials/Supplies, Gifts & Amenities, Overtime/Stipend, Per diem - Associated with the following HCDE Board functions:
1. 04/02/11 + 04/03/11 Board Retreat and Training Session
2. 09/28/10 Board Operating Procedures Meeting
3. 10/30/09 Board Retreat
4. 10/31/08 Board Retreat
5. 08/30/07 Board Training

And the receipts show that 

Roy Morales was apparently

 NOT TELLING THE TRUTH,

or not remembering correctly,

when he said the taxpayers

have never paid for his dinner.



#1 August 30, 2007
Board meeting minutes show Roy Morales was present from 7:01pm – 9:13pm at a special session board meeting at the Houston Center Club, 1100 Caroline Street.


rm015

And for extra confirmation he was there,
Roy Morales even filed for mileage that night.

rm016

And just how much did
taxpayers pay for
7 School Trustees,
1 administrator, and
1 consultant 
to eat dinner
on August 30, 2007?

 (Are you sitting down?)

rm017

9 dinners totaled $929.55


That means taxpayers apparently paid

 $103.28  for Roy Morales

to eat dinner on 8/30/2007.



Taxpayers can see exactly what they paid for below:


rm018


Maybe Roy Morales is like Bill Clinton. He needs us to “define dinner”. Maybe he calls his evening meal “supper”, and therefore  he can say that the taxpayers have never paid for his “dinner.”   Or maybe he’ll argue that taxpayers didn’t pay for his meal because, like other politicians who didn’t “inhale”, Roy Morales didn’t “swallow”.


#2  - April 2, 2011

Will he use those same excuses for the HCDE
 Board Retreat held April 2-3, 2011?

Travel records show that Roy Morales
 claimed mileage both days.



rm019
rm020


The name “Roy Morales” is even hand written on the
Jason’s Deli receipt as being part of the order.


rm021 

Records show two receipts that day. One from Jason’s Deli and the other from Brennan’s. In this case, Roy Morales may argue that Richard Griffin, an HCDE   “consultant” picked up the tab at dinner, so Roy Morales didn’t know that Mr. Griffin would simply file for reimbursement from the taxpayers. But as the board member who chairs the budget committee that would be a pretty lame excuse.

rm023
rm022

For 7 Trustees to meet on Day #1 of this event,
how much did taxpayers spend just on meals?

 $213.92 + $497.00 = $710.92     

     $101.56  per Trustee ! 


(HCDE has conveniently  “misplaced” or “purged” the minutes of the meetings in question from 2008-2011. It will take time to go through the Texas Attorney General’s Office to acquire those records. So I can’t yet show exactly which Trustees were eating expensive meals at the taxpayer’s expense those other years.)



I don’t really care what new explanations Roy Morales might give for these documented dinners/supper/snacks at taxpayer expense. I am sick and tired of politicians who twist the truth in order to mislead taxpayers. If he won’t talk openly and honestly about something as simple as dinner, where else does he “spin” reality? Where else might he “spin” the truth to mislead  voters?

And what about his April 26, 2012 statement, “I agree with you that the taxpayers should not pay for this dinner”? If he really believes this, why has he been present at events where he feels taxpayer money should not have been used? Why is  there no record of him questioning these expenses at board meetings? And as Chairman of the HCDE Budget Committee, why is there no record of him trying to remove this type of expense from the budget? None of this adds up – at all.

All I know for sure is that the lesson I learned from our current President applies here. Don’t ever take any politician’s word as the whole truth until you have checked out his past – checked out his record. Because it is not what a politician says that matters, it is what he has actually done (not just what he remembers doing) that counts.

Friday, May 4, 2012

How Many Democrats Have Bought Their Way Into Leadership of the Harris County GOP?


 

I used to be so naive. I figured, if someone was running for political office, they must be a member of the party they represent. So, if I vote straight party, I am actually voting for people who think like me. Right? After all, why would anybody lie about that? Isn’t that something the parties check out?  And, why would anyone even try to infiltrate the opposing party? Won’t they get caught sooner or later?

Well, not in the Harris County Republican Party. Here, a 5-D (strong Democrat) voter can apparently buy or talk his way onto the Republican Primary ballot and, for an extra $1,000, can buy a seat at the Republican Leadership Council.  With apparently no one checking his background, he simply smooth talks his way through the primary using all the right conservative lingo - “God”, “Military Service”, “Family”, “Duty”, “Honor”, “Courage”, “Christian”, “Ministry”…  The voters assume the well educated, well  spoken candidate has been checked out by their party and take him at his word.

But what would the party have found if they had bothered to check? What should the party have questioned before placing a beautiful “Republican Leadership Council” logo next to the name of a candidate on the Harris County GOP website?

Let’s start with something simple like – where does he live?

According to his own campaign website, “Republican” candidate, Richard Andrew Johnson III was born 2/3/1961 in Houston and is “ happily married to attorney Dante’ N. Johnson, and has four wonderful children”. His campaign financial reports list his wife as his campaign treasurer. It all sounds great. But, a little checking of public records raises some confusing discrepancies.



  • His Campaign Financial Report filed with Harris County on 4/30/2012  lists his mailing address as the house where his wife is registered to vote, 8030 Hertfordshire Cir. in  Spring .

At first I thought there was a simple explanation – the couple was separated – something that happens to lots of people. But, when I emailed Mr. Johnson directly for him to explain, all he would give me was confirmation of  his voter registration address and say that he and his wife are NOT separated. When I asked him to explain why a happily married couple lives – or is registered to vote -  in separate houses, he would not reply.

Then, I did a simple check of his voting record. This “Republican” candidate has NEVER voted in a Republican Primary!!! Well, that might be easy to explain. He could be like me. Someone who has always been independent but now understands if you don’t vote in the primaries, you have no say in the selection of candidates for the general elections. But, Mr. Johnson has been voting in the Democratic Primaries for years.

Richard Andrew Johnson III’s voting record:
  
But, that is just the tip of the iceberg. He is apparently so well established in the Democratic Party, a simple internet search leads to a blog post from  Aug. 16, 2005  revealing that Richard Andrew Johnson III’s political affiliation has been so strongly Democrat,  he was considering running for the CHAIRMANSHIP of the HARRIS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY in 2006!!!! 

His less-than-conservative political affiliations go way back, and include some well known Houston liberals like Ron Wilson and Quanelle X.  A Google search leads to a number of issues in his past that call into question the “lifelong conservative Christian values” that he claims in his ads as well as concerns about some of his background. When asked directly about his affiliation with Quanelle X, Mr. Johnson had a very believable reply. Mr. Johnson had simply hired Quanelle X as an employee before Quanelle Ralph Evans changed his name to Quanelle X and became involved with the Nation of Islam . But, the archives of the Houston press tell a different story. 

As you read through the  articles below about  Richard Andrew Johnson III  - a candidate who is currently running in the Republican Primary for Harris County School Trustee -  just think –

when you donate to the Harris County
GOP – this is who you are supporting!!!!

  •   The Houston Press reported on 12/4/1997:
    …“In late 1993, shortly after he was elected to City Council, Yarbrough and his chief of staff Johnson joined the Institute Of Healthy Families and Community  board of directors (the successor to Golden Eagle).  Johnson eventually became board president, and in late 1994  he hired Quanell X to implement a military-style treatment program…”
    A licensed chemical-dependency counselor, Johnson (became) founder and president of the Golden Eagle Leadership Academy, a strictly regimented program for teenage substance abusers that emphasizes military-style discipline and individual responsibility… the Golden Eagle is funded by the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, or TCADA, to run a 30-bed in-patient program for boys ages 13 through 17.
    But according to current and former staff members and residents and parents of residents, the taxpayer-funded academy has another purpose --to recruit African-American youths into the MFOI, an organization formed by Quanell X, the Golden Eagle's program director and a former youth minister with the local Nation of Islam mosque.
    Moreover, at least one teenage resident of the Golden Eagle and two parents of former residents have written letters of complaint to TCADA, alleging that white and Hispanic youngsters in the program have been physically abused by MFOI members. While none of the half-dozen or so residents interviewed by the Press for this story said they've been subjected to an assault at the Golden Eagle, they all professed to be familiar with what's known inside the facility as a "blanket party."
    "Usually, it happens after somebody messes up," says one boy who is still a resident of the academy. "Sometimes they lock us down, put us in our rooms and then do it, or they wait until most of the other kids are off the unit."
    Allegations of abuse and intimidation at the Golden Eagle have also reached the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, which refers adolescent probationers with drug and alcohol problems to local treatment programs. More than a year ago, the department stopped sending its probationers to the Golden Eagle after complaints about the facility, and Quanell X in particular, began to mount.
    "All of our kids have identified [Quanell] as being the instigator of racially based retaliations," says executive director Elmer Bailey. "And we established quite a while back that there were very well-founded complaints against specific staff members. It's a community-based agency, so we tell families about the facility. But we do not place the children in our custody there any longer."
    As described by Quanell X, the MFOI --which stands for Mental Freedom Obtains Independence --is a "paramilitary" organization for young African-American males formed to combat police brutality and other manifestations of white oppression. As on-site director of the Golden Eagle Leadership Academy, Quanell is in daily contact with any number of black kids who, in the tradition of Malcolm X, could decide to quit drugs and alcohol, accept the teachings of Allah and dedicate their lives to saving the black man.
    But parents of Anglo and Hispanic residents say the Golden Eagle offers little for their sons other than an opportunity to "dry out." The quality of treatment is poor, they say, and the all-black staff indifferent. Meanwhile, all the residents, who attend an HISD alternative school on-site, are enveloped in an Afrocentric environment saturated with the culture of the Nation of Islam, whose leaders, from Malcolm X to Louis Farrakhan, have denounced white people as devils.
    "On the anniversary of the Million Man March," recalls one recently discharged resident, a 16-year-old Anglo boy, "the black kids were allowed to skip school. Mr. X told us we had to go to school because of what our ancestors did."
    Richard Johnson initially agreed to be interviewed for this story ... But he failed to show for the appointment, and he did not respond to subsequent repeated calls to his pager number and to his campaign headquarters. Likewise, the Press was unsuccessful in trying to reach Quanell X at the Barbara Jordan Recovery Center and through the Golden Eagle Leadership Academy's corporate offices…
    … the state has proven itself generous with Johnson's program… the Golden Eagle Leadership Academy -- after changing its name from the Institute of Healthy Families & Community -- received $565,752 in state funds through UT for fiscal year 1997-98.
    Golden Eagle was not required by the state to submit a budget detailing how the money would be spent. Instead, it was given an extension of the Institute of Healthy Families & Community's 1996-97 contract --even though, according to TCADA, the Institute has been ruled ineligible to receive state money until it produces an audit of its 1995-96 operations
    The Institute received roughly $460,000 that year. According to a one-page "budget worksheet" provided to the Press by UT, more than 80 percent of that funding -- almost $380,000 --was set aside for employee salaries and benefits. Just $9,133 was earmarked for direct costs of residents, including a mere $1,333 for food. By way of comparison, a total of $9,173 was budgeted for office supplies, meals and entertainment and travel expenses.
    It should be noted that Richard Johnson was the treasurer of at least one of Michael Yarbrough's election campaigns. The councilman has made a habit of failing to file timely campaign-finance reports, as required by state law. Among the reports that Yarbrough has yet to submit is the one that was due in January 1996…
    At the time, undercover FBI agents posing as investors were dangling bribes before council members who were preparing to award a $155-million contract to build a convention center hotel. Johnson, who has not been implicated, was the only Council aide called to testify before a federal grand jury investigating the bribery allegations. Earlier this year, Yarbrough was one of six people indicted on bribery and conspiracy charges resulting from the FBI sting. This week, both Yarbrough and Johnson were charged with misdemeanor campaign reporting violations.

  • The Houston Chronicle reported  on 4/18/98:
             Richard Johnson and Quanelle X joined forces to protest at TSU.

            “…About 30 students packed the room. Among others, Ennett was flanked by former Nation of Islam youth minister Quanell X and Richard Johnson of 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston. …”

  • Harris County Clerks Office filings for Assumed Names show  File# 961713 entered on 12/6/1999 to be owned by Richard Andrew Johnson on 8738 Fannette (the same address as his current voter registration).  What did he claim ownership of?
             ORGANIZATION FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN UNITY AND                    
            6101 Hircsh
            Houston TX 77026

    Wikipedia describes OAAU as:

    The Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) was a Pan-Africanist organization founded by Malcolm X in 1964…The OAAU pushed for black control of every aspect of the black community. At the founding rally, Malcolm X stated that the organization's principal concern was the human rights of blacks, but that it would also focus on voter registration, school boycotts, rent strikes, housing rehabilitation, and social programs for addicts, unwed mothers, and troubled children. Malcolm X saw the OAAU as a way of "un-brainwashing" black people, ridding them of the lies they had been told about themselves and their culture."
              
    The portrait painted in these articles
    seems inconsistent with the
“lifelong Christian Conservative”
Mr. Johnson  claims to be in


A search of the  Harris County Clerk’s Office Assumed Name filings shows Richard Johnson has filed as the owner of at least 13 Assumed Names from 1992 through 2012 at the same address as his voter registration as well as two more at the address where his wife is registered to vote.


It is quite interesting that just 16 weeks ago, on 1/6/2012,  he filed as the  owner of The Harris County Republican Minority Leadership Council! (file # 1104435)


There are  more published stories. You can read about about  Mr. Johnson using Golden Eagle boys and resources to benefit his own political campaigns  or Mr. Johnson getting an inspector fired  for doing his job at the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse when the inspector gave a negative licensing evaluation to Mr. Johnson’s Golden Eagle Training Academy.


But, people can change. Maybe all this was in his past and NOW he is truly an honest, Christian CONSERVATIVE.


Except, there are two current items to take into account:
  1. Just last year, Richard Johnson spoke at a Houston City Council meeting. The minutes of the meeting show that when he signed up to speak, he listed his home address as the house on Fannette  where he is registered to vote, but the phone number he gave, 713-320-3785, was the same number given that day for the Greater Houston Coalition of Justice speaker, Randall Kallinen. When Mr. Kallinen spoke, he described GHCJ as ” an umbrella group for 16 civil rights organizations”.
                An internet search shows Randall  was involved in organizing a
 Green Party protest.The protest announcement read:
“... Let us raise our voices together to demand an end to the deaths of our  brothers and sisters in the community—and some real accountability by law enforcement personnel. This event is sponsored by Civilians Down, ACLU—Houston, and the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee. For more information, please contact Randall at (713) 320-3785 …   In Solidarity,”
Yes, this could be classified as guilt by association, or should I say “liberal by association” – either way, it doesn’t change the minutes of the meeting showing  Mr. Johnson’s own speech to  Houston City Council :
Mr. Johnson read the 13th Amendment and stated that amendment was the one that was supposed to have freed slaves, but in 1979 the State of Texas had 17 state prisons and by 2000 they had 137 … That the educational system was under attack with the state threatening to cut funding…they should read the Texas Appleseed report, the from schools to prison pipeline, as it was a very telling and thorough study.”

Who is Texas Appleseed and what do they do?
Their website says they “Promote Social and Economic Justice…” An article in the Dallas Observer on March 30, 2011 entitled, “Kicking the Class C Ticket Out of Classrooms,” describes the team effort between Texas Appleseed and the ACLU of Texas to place more restricts on the types of disciple techniques that school districts in Texas can use on unruly students.

2. Mr. Johnson’s Campaign Finance Reports also show some concerns.
  • On 12/7/11 his filer fee of $750.00 was listed as paid from personal funds by Richard Johnson - whose address is 8030 Hertfordshire in Spring  - but that is NOT the address where he is registered to vote- it is the address where he is listed as the owner of the house and where his wife is registered to vote.

  • Both of his Campaign Finance reports filed with the Harris County Clerk on 1/17/12 and  4/30/12 state that his campaign has had  $0.00 campaign expenses. That is right – ZERO.

But, his own very professional campaign website, http://www.richardjohnsonforhcde.com/,  reads:

Pol. Ad Paid for by the Richard Johnson Campaign,
Dante' Johnson, Treasurer. |
Website by HouMedia.com
And his campaign card also reads:

“Pol. Ad Pd. for by the Richard Johnson Campaign,
     Atty. Dante’ Johnson, Treasurer.”

While I can’t determine the exact cost of his website designed by HouMedia.com or the coated, four-color campaign cards, I’m reasonably sure the costs weren’t ZERO.

SO, AFTER FINDING ALL THIS ABOUT JUST ONE CANDIATE ON THE HARRIS COUNTY REPUBLICAN PRIMARY BALLOT,  I CAN’T HELP BUT ASK -

JUST HOW DYSFUNCTIONAL IS THE HARRIS COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY?

HOW MANY MORE DEMOCRATS HAVE PAID THEIR WAY INTO THE  REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP COUNCIL?

I don’t have the answers -  but I do know one thing for sure – No true conservative or Tea Partier should give one penny to the Republican Party – especially to the Republican Party of Harris County. Only give your hard earned dollars directly to candidates that you have personally vetted – because you cannot trust the Republican Party to have done any background work.

And never – never ever – believe that “leadership” in the Harris County GOP means anything more than the person with the deepest pockets.