Despite assurances from panicking politicos like County Commissioner Adrian Garcia and County Judge Lina Hidalgo, reports from the non-partisan Crime Stoppers and the FBI confirm what we all know - crime is still a big problem in Harris County.
In the latest available statistics mid-year from Crime Stoppers, lowlights include: gun related offenses up 36% since 2020, homicides up 24% since 2020, aggravated assaults are up 11% since 2020.
The FBI reports as of April 7, 2022, total crimes of 127,517 which is 131.68% above the national average. If we focus on violent crimes, we are 223.95% above the national average, property crimes only 113.4% above the national average.
Applying the data, Harris County has two of the top ten most dangerous cities in Texas - #2 Humble and #4 Houston. The closest major city to Houston in the top ten is Dallas at 10!
So with all the criticism of the pro-crime enabler politicians up for election in November, they have reacted. With an election year conversion by Garcia and Hidalgo, we are seeing them employ the old trick of sleight of hand. Like the misnamed Inflation Reduction Act (which actually has nothing to do with inflation), they have created the Safe Harris initiative and created a website www.safeharris.com.
You need to watch her implosion and wild eyed attack on anyone not buying her BS on the crime issue: www.fox26houston.com/news/houston-harris-county-leaders-dispute-claim-of-adequately-funds-for-law-enforcement
Alexandra Mealer's calm and mature discussion while Lina is losing it is a stunning contrast.
Also take a look at what Lina and Adrian claim is spending for police at their website. A few highlights of spending in their claim are:
- $8.6 million to move jury trials
- $27.1 million for community-based deterrence, mental health, and public health initiatives
- $11 million for community-based violence deterrence programs
- $5 million for Holistic Assistance Response Teams (HART)
- $3 million for nuisance abatement program to clear 1,100+ properties
- $8 million for Early Childhood Impact fund
- $4 million At-Risk Youth Reinvestment Fund for crime prevention
- $1.25 million for after school and summer programming for youth
If we are counting in total - about half of the funds are for social programs or neighborhood infrastructure. All those categories are a mixture of the typical leftist's answer to crime while continuing the overall neglect of our crime fighter team.
Add to the facts is the records of the crime enablers - Hidalgo, Garcia and Rodney Ellis. They originated and created the revolving door bail bond program. They pressured the felony court judges to go along or be removed in primaries. They have squeezed the District Attorney's office resulting in some of the highest caseloads of a major county DA's office. They attempted to cut patrol funds for Constables, now the subject of a complaint about defunding the police with the State of Texas. They attempted the largest jailbreak in U.S. history, seeking to empty the County Jail due to Covid. They failed to plan for additional jail space, fulfilling Hidalgo's pledge back in 2017-18, that there would be no new jail cells on her watch. As a result, the taxpayers are spending $26 million to outsource prisoners to West Texas and Louisiana, with all the complications that creates.
As you our dear reader can see, the crime problem we face starts at the top. The leftist experiment ushered in by Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis has been a failure and we all are paying the price.
To save Harris County, we must replace Hidalgo with the well-qualified Alexandra del Moral Mealer, and Garcia with the reliable and experienced Jack Morman.
Another Week And More Evidence Of Hidalgo And Company Defunding Law Enforcement
Thou protest too much-Lina Hidalgo (the accidental County Judge of Harris County) continues to prove to anti-crime voters that she is not to be trusted.
The most recent embarrassment is the finding by Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar that Hidalgo, Garcia and Ellis voted to defund the Constables by more than $4 million running afoul of Texas law prohibiting such acts.
Republican candidate for Harris County Judge Alexandra Mealer recently commented:
"The Texas Comptroller's recent findings confirm two facts (1) the current (Democratic) Commissioner's Court is not transparent about how taxpayer money is being spent and (2) we have not adequately funded our law enforcement. Whether we want to continue to play semantics about whether...Lina Hidalgo has defunded the police, it is clear her administration had led an effort to constrain law enforcement during an unprecedented crime wave. As County Judge, my top priority will be to adequately fund law enforcement and our entire criminal justice system so that every neighborhood in Harris County can be safe."
Lina's excuse, "it's a bald-face lie," attacked Senator John Whitmire (D-Harris County) and says she will fight the issue in court. Her claims of an increase for police doesn't stand up to scrutiny unless you consider infrastructure, social programs and bureaucracy law enforcement.
Michael Ramirez' Cartoon Of The Fortnight
China Ate Our Lunch And Now Dinner Too
By Brian Ettinger, Contributing Editor
The current administration is the latest of weak governments that has led to China overtaking the U.S. as the superpower of the world. Over the last ten Presidents since President Nixon visited China, we have allowed China influence to grow at our expense. The only advantage left is the use of the dollar as the international currency, but this may change in the future. President Trump was the only one to put tariffs on China, but this only stalled them from succeeding on their goals. China steals our intellectual property, buys up our farmland, minerals, land near our military bases to spy on them, buys into strategic business industries, influences our colleges and universities with their left-wing ideology, uses our liberal professors and buys off our government officials. They even used their consulate in Houston to spy on our energy industry and NASA.
We allow their students to come here to study, learn and spy on us and take our technologies on behalf of their communist government. They are dedicated to their communist system of life. We allow this to happen willingly. So now their leaders lecture and threaten our government leaders. To tell the U.S. President if the Speaker of the House goes to Taiwan they will shoot at her plane or shoot down our fighter jets leading the Speaker's plane to land in Taiwan or do military exercises circling the island and shooting missiles over Taiwan. This should be the final straw.
So, this is how real leadership reacts. 1) Hold China accountable for causing the Covid 19 worldwide pandemic by confiscating their assets owned in our country, selling them off and issuing payment to the families who lost loved ones to Covid. Also pay back the U.S. Government for all the healthcare costs incurred to treat Covid. 2) Any U.S. Companies doing business in China by manufacturing or distributing products will pay a 50% tax scaled up unless they cease doing this business over the next 5 years. No exceptions for Apple or Nike. They can look at other Asian countries or come back to the U.S. 3) All Chinese companies that are listed on our stock exchanges need to abide by U.S. GAAP accounting standards or all will be delisted from these exchanges. 4) If China does not stop its aggressive action to Taiwan and other Asian countries by flyovers or building military platforms in the China Sea then we put nuclear weapons at our military bases in Korea and Japan. 5) Stop China from its belt and road programs that bankrupt developing countries by taking over their ports, transportation industries, and minerals when they default on these payments. Put restrictions on China to use the swift banking system and force their currency exchange rates to go up. Restrict China's ability to ship these goods worldwide as we can control the international shipping lines just like they can do in the South China Sea. Lastly, limit the number of China visas to come to the U.S. and if we catch them spying on us through social media, TikTok, and other media companies and colleges/universities and do not immediately stop the flow of fentanyl drugs into our country we consider this an act of war and take aggressive action against them including military and cyber actions.
Never fund any U.S. Government research programs in China. If these steps are not implemented in some form now, then we will all be under China's laws and rules. I like the Chinese people as they are highly educated and very respectful people, but it is their leaders and the harm they do to free speech, expression, innovation, and human rights that is destructive to our political system. I enjoy Chinese food but not every meal.
Brian Ettinger is a practicing attorney and contributing editor to TCR. He is a strong conservative who is concerned about America's future.
California Once More Giving
Business Owners The Shaft
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
While our gallivanting Governor Gavin has been vacationing in forbidden states and running ads in Texas and Florida touting the excellence of California, he and his party once again have given the short straw to our state's employers. They completely ignore the mass migration of businesses to other states thinking no matter what they do businesses will just take what is handed to them.
You might have heard that supposedly the state has a massive surplus of roughly $90-100 billion. This is caused by high-earners and their stock gains. It happens regularly during good times. The receipts in 2023 from tax returns for 2022 will most likely plummet due to the stock market downturn.
While Gov. Gavin was out crowing about the surplus, my first thought was somewhat of a novel thought - use that money to pay down debt. That amount currently stands at about $144 billion when it should be near zero.
Instead of doing any of that they will reserve about $37 billion for a "rainy day fund" and spend the rest mainly on every Leftist's primary idea of budgeting - $54 billon for climate change.
Here is where the employers of the state get taken. California handed out unemployment benefits like candy during the Pandemic. They provided unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals who did not pay into the federal unemployment system (FUTA). When everything was totaled, the state of California owed the FUTA system (the Feds) $19 billion.
We have seen this situation play out before. California created another large debt for unemployment payments of $9.7 billion in the 2008 downturn. Employers had to pay that back over many years. They only knew how much they owed each year when the unemployment tax return was filed in January after the completion of the year. At that time, the employer would be informed how much they owed. They are required to write a check due by January 31st. The repayment amount grew every year. Employers never knew when the amount would be paid off until finally informed that the debt was repaid. This went on for about eight years.
What makes this situation different? First, the amount owed is significantly larger at $19 billion. Second, why would employers be liable for paying out benefits for self-employed individuals who did not pay into the system and have no responsibility to pay back the debt? One could argue that the state paid the debt down by $1 billion so that covers the self-employed costs. We have no clue how much the debt was related to that because it is a secret. The bigger issue is the FRAUD that happened with the payouts.
You may remember that the head of the EDD initially announced that there was an estimated $10 billion in fraud. Did she get fired for this gross incompetence? No. She got a major promotion in the Labor Dept. of the Biden Administration. Then the figure was revised up to an estimated $20 billion in fraud.
$18 billion owed to the fund and $20 billion of fraud. Fairly similar amounts one might say. The debt is obviously caused by the malfeasance of Gavin and his administration. Given a surplus of $90+ billion, why would the state not pay off that debt and call it a day? Instead, they decided to spend it on their favored policy initiatives and stick the $18 billion of debt on the backs of innocent employers.
One might argue that in 2023 the tab for an employer is only projected to be $21 per employee. If you have ten employees that is only $210. But it is still not related to what you are responsible for regarding your employees. In 2030, the payment per employee is estimated to be $189. If you run a restaurant and have fifty employees making the $7,000 (FUTA wage limit) for the year, you must write an additional check for $9,450. That is a chunk of change. Of course, you could argue that with Joe Biden as President you could pay that off in 2030 with one of the new $10,000 Biden bills printed to deal with the inflation.
If you must pay out for the next eight years and have fifty employees at an average annual rate of $95 per year, that is $38,000 that an employer is going to be stuck with because Gavin and his crew did not clean up their own mess when given the opportunity. If you have 5,000 employees, this provides another excuse to escape California and pick out your new favorite Texas BBQ restaurant.
The amazing thing is Gavin and his crew think we are all stupid and would not figure this out. If you are an employer, you should be on the phone to either your Assembly member or State Senator and remedy this injustice.
Or you could call a couple of people named Abbott or DeSantis.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can follow Bruce on Twitter @brucebialosky.
Tune In To What's Your Point?
On Fox 26 Sunday, August 28th at 7:00 AM
TCR Editor Gary Polland returns to Fox 26 Houston this Sunday, August 28th, on What's Your Point? hosted by Greg Groogan. The show will be a wide ranging discussion of current political issues. As always, Gary will bring a reasoned conservative viewpoint to the show. Just tune in at 7:00 am live, YouTube it, set your DVR or go to:
TCR on the Air
Gary Polland is now a regular on "What's Your Point?" hosted by Greg Groogan on Fox 26 Houston, appearing every other week. Tune in or set your recorder for 7:00 am Sundays.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twenty-sixth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twenty-one years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 18 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary also for 20 years cohosted Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.