We recently submitted a few open record requests to our local government in Hood County, Texas. Interestingly enough, even though the default position of the government should be to freely furnish information that is requested by citizens, the default position with the Hood County government is to send all requests to the county attorney first. What does that mean? One might be left with the impression, What in the world are they trying to hide?
To be fair, open, and transparent, below a few of the requests we submitted so you can see for yourself:
- Each and every email sent by Kathy Davis (a/k/a Kathy Davis-Deaver) to James Deaver from January 1, 2015 to the present.
- Each and every email received by Kathy Davis (a/k/a Kathy Davis-Deaver) from James Deaver from January 1, 2015 to the present.
- Hood County Employee Manual provisions regarding employee usage of the email system on Hood County owned computers.
- All non-privileged emails between Lori Kaspar and Kathy Davis-Deaver from January 1, 2015 to the present..
- All non-privileged emails between Lori Kaspar and James Deaver from January 1, 2015 to the present.
To refresh your memory, Kathy Davis-Deaver is our County Treasurer (the one who keeps our money), James Deaver is a County Commissioner (one who spends our money) and Lori Kaspar is our County Attorney (the one who is running interference for the former two officials).
For the record, the following Texas Government Code section spells out the policy with which the government is supposed to comply regarding requests for information:
Sec. 552.001. POLICY; CONSTRUCTION. (a) Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy. (Emphasis added).
(b) This chapter shall be liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.
“Liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information . . . “ What does ‘liberally construed” mean? It means, if in doubt, the government is supposed to give it up.
The five (5) requests, above, simply ask for email communications between folks who are using government owned computers and government communication systems during the time they are on the job. The computers, the communication systems and the employees themselves are paid for by your tax dollars. These employees have no “expectation of privacy” any time they use the government system to email back and forth to each other.
Before we go any further, let us explore the “no expectation of privacy” concept. If you take a look at the Hood County Employee Manual, a manual that is quite lengthy, you will find that all employees are actually informed in writing they have no expectation of privacy when communicating with each other while they are on the job. In addition, the employees are required to sign a statement acknowledging they understand they have “no expectation of privacy” when using the government email system. (See “Hood County Responsible Use Technology Agreement for Employees.” Under the heading “PRIVACY,” it states – “No one can claim a right to privacy and to unrestricted speech in the use of the county’s systems.”). What that means is that when they are at work, on the clock, and doing the work they are hired to do, whatever email communications going back and forth between employees should be limited to work-related communications and should be open and available to the public at all times. Since all their communications are supposed to be work-related, all, not some, but all of that information should be freely discoverable by the public on request. It is too bad for them if someone decides to go rogue on her emails and starts asserting things she doesn’t really want the open public to see.
For your reading pleasure, I reprint in part an email I received from the Hood County Attorney, Lori Kaspar, expressing the county’s stance regarding some of our requests for records. Included is her excuse as to why the county is refusing to produce said records:
Dave – I got the CD with the emails you requested on it from our IT Department today. I’ve been reviewing it for the past several hours because there are close to 1000 emails to review.
There are several emails that I believe contain information confidential by law including employee health information protected by HIPAA. I am also waiting on an answer from our Personnel office regarding whether one employee has requested confidentiality of her personal information or not. I should have a reply by tomorrow.
I’m redacting the protected info and will have a redacted disk ready either tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday. I’m sending copies of both the complete and the redacted files to Attorney General Paxton for his review.
Just so you know, the County Attorney “redacted” nearly half of the 1,000 documents that were responsive to our request. Half of them. That’s 50 percent of them. In a society that expects its government to be an “Open Government” and transparent government, we should receive 99 percent of the information and documents we request, not 50 percent. I put this out there because you, the public, need to know that some folks in our government apparently do not want us to see what they are doing. You are free to draw your own conclusions as to the implications this presents.
Of course, Hillary Clinton decided that some 55,000 of her emails were “confidential” as well and did not want to give them up even though they were emails directly related to her position and her job. Why did Hillary Clinton not want to give up the 55,000 emails at issue? Because there may be information on those emails that could very well get her indicted for criminal activity, criminal activity that she may have been involved in while she was allegedly in the course and scope of her job as the Secretary of State. If she were to be indicted for some sort of criminal acts, it could lead to her eventual conviction for the same acts. “Indictments” and “convictions” are concepts I know our county attorney is quite familiar with.
So, I will close as I opened, What in the world are they trying to hide?
Would you like to know what they are trying to hide? I would. Stay tuned. We are going to give it a go to find out exactly what they are hiding.
Dave Eagle, February 1, 2016
Vice President Hood County TEA Party
“Setting the Record Straight – Homosexual Agenda Children’s Picture Book Issue – Hood County Public Library”
Exodus 18:21“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.
Preface: Since our County Attorney has opted to go toe to toe with me on the issue of Government Sponsored Social Engineering as related to two children’s picture books that advocate the homosexual lifestyle to three-four year old children, below is my response to her Blog Post dated January 16, 2016 entitled “There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch – Setting the Record Straight on the Library Issue.” I think a better tag for her piece would be “—Setting the Record Gay on the Library Issue,” but that’s just me.
Parenthetically, I find her “free lunch” comment to be quite an insult coming from a person who receives her paycheck from tax payers’ hard earned money, but I’ll shut up about that and move on to the issue at hand . . .
First of all, please allow me to “set the record straight” on the underlying facts.
Number One: Contrary to the Orwellian spin constantly advanced by the Hood County News, the ultimate issue was not about censorship or banning books, it was about the placement of the books in the library as applied to age appropriate material. Ironically, at the end of all the hoopla, the then county librarian, Courtney Kincaid, decided to move one of the books, This Day in June, to the adult section of the Hood County Library and leave one of the books, My Princess Boy, in the children’s picture book section of the Hood County Library. As far as I know, at least as of the date of this writing, this is still the situation at the library with regard to these two books. Can anyone here spell, I-N-C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-T?
Number Two: By the way of background material, I will note here that prior to July 2015, the county commissioners had granted this librarian absolute authority to bring in whatever books she wanted, whenever she wanted, put them wherever she wanted, and then ridicule and call out taxpaying users of the library if they disagreed with her.
In her January 16, 2015 blog post, the County Attorney takes the position that the law is “well-settled” in support of her position that the county would have violated federal law had the librarian moved two children’s picture books that advocate the homosexual lifestyle to very young children from point “A” to point “B” in the Hood County Library. I guess this begs the first question to ask your County Attorney. If the law is as “well settled” as she claims it to be, what was their legal basis to move one book and not move the other book? As has been noted by others, this is kind of the “elephant in the room” that no one seems to see from their side of the bleachers. The second question to ask is, Why did the County Attorney rely on federal case law to control over a local Texas public library that is paid for by local Texas citizens with local Texas money?
Article 1 of the Texas Constitution spells out Texas’s “Bill of Rights.” Article 1 is made up of some 34 sections. These 34 sections outline the basic rights that Texans have demanded throughout the decades. Article 1, Section 32, represents what the super majority of Texans believe is the legal definition of “marriage” in Texas. To present this to voters, a joint resolution from the Texas Senate and the Texas House had to be passed by at least a 66 percent margin. Once the joint resolution was passed by both houses, it had to be placed on the ballot to be voted on by Texas voters. 75 percent of Texas voters, an overwhelming majority by any measure, ratified this “sanctity of marriage” amendment in 2005.
Article 1, Section 32. MARRIAGE. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage. (Added Nov. 8, 2005).
On June 26, 2015, a band of lawless, political activists in the US Supreme Court issued their unconstitutional “opinion” if the Obergefell case (see Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 S.Ct. 2584 (2015). This case is one of the most illegally decided, unfounded in the Rule of Law, baseless, shameless, constitutionally incorrect abominations to have ever come from the totally-disconnected-from-reality Supreme Court justices who reside in their ivory tower located in Fantasy Land. Four of the nine justices dissented, so, it boiled down to one activist judge – one man – Justice Anthony Kennedy, with the hubris to purportedly dictate how he thinks marriage is to be defined by each and every state in the United States to apply to each and every citizen of the United States. He alone has found in the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment what its authors and everyone since did not: homosexual “marriage” is a constitutional right.
As noted by some of the dissenters in this case, this case may serve as the final blow against States Rights in this country. This, in spite of the fact that the federal government in theory is supposed to be “bound by the chains” of the US Constitution with all powers not expressly delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, reserved to the States respectively, or to the People. (See Amendments IX and X, US Constitution).
Jim Logan – President Hood County TEA Party
January 4, 2016
December 22nd, 2015 should be an important day for all Hood County Residents. It is the day that marked the citizen’s loss of the right to petition your local government for redress of grievances. As one citizen present stated ‘it was an incredible display of ignorance.’ I would take it a step farther. It was an ‘incredible display of ignorance and tyranny!’
The Hood County TEA Party has been investigating the numerous failures in how the Hood County Library is mismanaged. One of our members, Dave Eagle, noted that the method of appointment of Library Advisory Board members was flawed, lacked transparency, and may in fact violate state code.
Dave and I, as is our Right ingrained in the Texas State Constitution Article 1 Section 27, petitioned our respective County Commissioners, Steve Berry and Jeff Tout for a court hearing to address these issues. We were led to believe that on December 22nd we could speak to address those concerns. When the agenda was announced not only did they ignore our request they were moving forward to appoint a replacement candidate to the Library Advisory Board under the same flawed system of appointment that was used previously. The incestuous Library Advisory Board picks their desired candidate and the Commissioners Court rubber stamped it.
As was our right to Free Speech, Dave and I protested the appointment in open court. The result of this was even more disturbing than the refusal to address our initial concerns. In a display of arrogance that would have made the Soviet Union’s Stalin proud, Commissioner Berry challenged me in open court that I was not serious about participation in the Library because I did not fill out the Library Advisory Board application and he mocked my concerns over the providing personal data to a clearly out of control Library Director. ( Remember when local resident, Melanie Graft, questioned the Library Director she was attacked personally in the local media by the Library Director and her minions) While I suspect not truly schooled in Saul Alinsky tactics to the level of Barack Obama I think the progressive left would’ve been proud of Mr. Berry’s attack on the messenger instead of addressing the issues. But alas it did not stop there with our County Elected officials. Our County Treasurer took to Facebook to question our Right of Free speech by again not addressing the issues but attacking us as evil, unprofessional, and lacking proper respect for the ‘Overlords of the County’ our County Commissioners and I assume by extension her. She hypocritically asked her minions to pray for Dave and myself. I would challenge that publicly with this:
- Is she praying for the children that go into the library and are exposed to the blatant mainstreaming of the Homosexual Agenda without their parents consent?
- Is she praying for the taxpayers that are forced to support the mainstreaming of the Homosexual Agenda against their will?
- Is she praying for the Commissioners who in open court professed ignorance and indifference as to which state codes govern the Library but proceed undaunted with it’s poor oversight?
- Is she praying for her husband for not recusing himself when voting for tax increases and then a raise for himself AND his wife? (A true ethics violation that would not be permitted in the private sector but is seemingly ‘legitimate’ to our Commissioners Court and the County Treasurer!)
- Is she praying for her husband, who has misled the public on a YMCA project that is already paying out funds that were not planned for to the tune of approximately $600,000 or more?
I will close with this. The Library issue was a string that most taxpayers would not have thought to pull on because it seemed to minor. Well once we pulled on this string it has led down a rabbit hole that has exposed on a small scale how poorly our county is run and the level of arrogance of elected ‘public servants’ that is truly appalling. If you look at this small issue and then apply it across the board to all the other areas they are involved in you can imagine to what extent it is being mismanaged. And I would pose these quotes to the hypocrite elected officials who try and hide behind a false support of Christian values:
Hood County TEA Party Volunteers Needed
January 4, 2016
Is your New Year’s Resolution to get involved? Here’s how:
There are many opportunities to volunteer at Hood County Tea Party, and many needs to fulfill. The first ones we would like to fill is:
We are interested in Kicking off a Communications / Social Media Team
Newsletter Coordinator: Do you enjoy writing and journalism? We need your talent. It has become apparent that the Hood County News is not a reliable source of ‘true news and facts’ about issues affecting our county so rather than set around and complain about it we would like to do something about it. We need someone to lead our efforts to publish at least a monthly newsletter.
Social Media Assistance: We are looking for individuals that would like to develop our message on various new media platforms. Help take our articles / educational material / commentary and transform it into the new media of Facebook / Youtube / Twitter / Instagram etc….
Researchers: Do you like to research topics in your free time? We need people to help with drafting summary papers on specific issues from time to time to help educate our membership as well as local politicians.
Reward associate with efforts: The satisfaction of knowing that you did everything in your power to hand off Freedom to the next generation!
Please contact Jim Logan at:
Hood County TEA Party
Vote of No Confidence – Mike Conaway (R-Tx) US House District 11
At no time in our history has Liberty in this country been under greater assault by our own Federal Government than at the present day. Our country is headed for $20 Trillion in national debt. We have record numbers of unemployed which include millions not even counted in the workforce anymore. The Federal Regulatory Agencies routinely trespass on our God Given Rights. As seen by the recent IRS abuses, EPA over reach, DHS violations through the TSA, and too many others to name. Along with that our National Security is now the joke of the world. Children freely cross our border without concern of arrest and deportation not to mention terrorists from Radical Islamic areas of the world.
With all that going on our Congressional Representative, Mike Conaway, has aligned himself with the Progressive Leadership of the Republican Party which has refused to utilize the power we granted them through the Constitution to put a stop to this insanity. They continue to Fund an out of control Federal Leviathan. They also refuse to Impeach corrupt officials that violate our Rights. He recently voted in favor of a 2 year budget deal that takes away any hope of the people of District 11 exerting any control over this National Train Wreck. We are now effectively a District without Representation in the Federal Government. This is the most insidious form of Tyranny.
Based on these unacceptable circumstances we, The Hood County TEA Party, are calling on all voters of US House Congressional District 11 to sign on to our petition of ‘No Confidence’ in Mike Conaway. Along with that we hope that you would refuse to donate to his re-election efforts as well as scrutinize those who do fund his re-election campaign and let them know that your displeasure with his record.
Our District is overwhelmingly one of the MOST Conservative in the nation but Mike Conaway REFUSES to represent our voice. While this is a non-binding petition it can send a CLEAR message that this district has had enough and will no longer tolerate lack of Representation and our Rights being trampled on.
Yours in Liberty,
President – Hood County TEA Party
Please join our attempt to get Representation back into US Congressional House District 11 by signing our petition:
Open Editorial to the Hood County News – 10/23/2015
While unfortunate that I was unable to attend the Commissioners Court meeting discussing the Library Policy changes I have caught up on what transpired then and what has been written again by this Newspaper. Since you have seen fit to call out myself and my organization I feel compelled to respond to your dire warnings to the public about our intent going forward in Hood County Politics. I’ll address several issues as briefly as possible.
First and foremost, the issue with the Library is most certainly not settled. That may be much to the dismay of our Hood County PUBLIC SERVANTS but if they don’t like that then they are free to leave public service. The issue with the Library has not been about Banning Books but who controls the Library. Do the Hood County Taxpayers control the entity they fund with their hard earned tax dollars or is it controlled by a group of UNELECTED BUREAUCRATS. While I personally am not convinced that this issue is settled, your paper fails to note that many of the changes that were made to the Policy Manual were driven by our organization. The most notable of which was that this Library had been allowed to practice Religious Discrimination for YEARS and neither your poor excuse for investigative news nor our Poorly Educated Public Servants had even paid attention to it.
While your organization continues to portray this about freedom of speech NO ONE said you can’t write certain books, NO ONE said you can’t publish certain books, and NO ONE said you can’t sell certain books. The issue is when a government entity TAKES hard earned tax dollars and refuses to allow citizen input into how that money is spent then there is a clear violation of RIGHTS. The Library Director has aligned herself with the American Library Association and their recommended tactics to smear and belittle anyone who disagrees with her opinion of what material should be in the Library and where it should be placed. And now we have on RECORD a vote where our PUBLIC SERVANT COMMISSIONERS and others are aligned with the ALA as well. Most notably are Commissioner Berry, Commissioner Deaver, and School Board Member Mickey Shearon. All have further political ambitions in this county and the voters should understand clearly where these gentlemen see their obligations (clearly not with defending your God Given Rights).
This leads me into addressing your warning to Hood County Voters to pay attention to our motives in upcoming elections. As you correctly note there are a number of elected positions on the ballot this cycle. Local elected offices have been usually ignored, much to the detriment of the local communities. Look no further than Detroit, Michigan as an example. In the 1950’s it was one of the wealthiest cities in the WORLD. Just a few short decades later it is bankrupt. Why? The people stopped participating and the corruption and incompetence set in with the local officials. I hope never to see that happen here but look no further than the incompetence that is taking place just at the County Level. In an economy where 94 million people are unemployed, the local, state, and Federal debt loads are at RECORD levels, the oil prices that drive the Texas economy are collapsing what has happened? Our illustrious County Commissioners and County Judge have mismanaged a boondoggle YMCA project to the tune of ~$700k. They have increased taxes on already stretched thin taxpayers by 7%. They voted themselves raises when most families are underwater due to inflation and other economic factors. So pardon me if I don’t sympathize with your misleading characterization that when I want them to stand on principles and fight for our Rights when necessary it will wind up costing the taxpayer BIG money. (To which your representation on the amount paid out over Katie Lang is also Inaccurate but when it’s the HCN real facts are unimportant I guess) The fact that no one has been watching the store so far has already cost the Taxpayer MILLIONS unnecessarily. The sole reason for the lawsuit payout that you cite was once again the voter was duped into voting for a Democrat running as a Republican who neither understands our Rights, the law, or Negotiation. The County Attorney, by her own admission, contacted the plaintiff and begged mercy then recommended surrender to a weak commissioner’s court before the fight began.
So let’s get to the point. The intent of the TEA Party is to find Competent Principled Leaders to run for office and hold true to their commitments of smaller government that wastes less of our money and protects our Rights.
Yours in Liberty,
Hood County TEA Party President
September 23, 2015
Many would probably wonder ‘What is the UNA-USA?’ Well last night it made its first attempt to come to Granbury. They not only came to Granbury but the Hood County Library was the site of their attempt to gain enough support to start a local chapter in Granbury. So here is a little run down of what is important to know about the UNA-USA:
- They were founded in the 1940’s to provide education, policy and advocacy programs to the American Public for the United Nations.
- They have 120 Chapters across the United States
- Fortunately at this time they only have 3 Chapters in Texas
- According to the presentation they hope to attract children from Junior High up to College to volunteer and participate in UN Activities
- For a membership fee you can have special access to numerous United Nations related activities
So at the end of the presentation you might ask what is wrong with this organization. Well I took a little deeper dive and here is what I found. Here is a summary of their Advocacy Goals for 2015:
Christian Values Summit Organizer – Jerry Maston
Notes Compliments of Jan Vernon – Hood County Tea Party Member
Christian Values Summit July 16-17, 2015
These are from imperfect notes that were taken during the conference. Thank you for your interest and I hope they are faithful to the speakers. The only additions to their words were to put in Bible verses referenced for clarification or to find quotes/ information that were on the slides. If words were added it was to make more coherent short references that had been jotted down.
It is my belief, after listening to all the excellent speakers, that the purpose of the conference was to awaken Christians, especially pastors and political leaders, and to have them realize that for the Christian community the focus has shifted in this country. We are now on defense and losing ground unless we all:
1) show up (to support Christians who are fighting for our values and at local political entities to let them know Christians are awake and going to hold them accountable. Show up to vote and get other Christians to do so- see Laurence White speech)
2) Stand Up (the very first freedom listed in Constitution is religion- freedom of religion not freedom from religion in government. One of many perversions of our Founders’ actual intent and Constitution’s content. Find Godly people to run for office and support them with your time and effort)
3) Speak up (in a way that shows you know what you were guaranteed in the Constitution and that you value it and will fight to preserve it. Be able to give an answer why you believe in Christian principles needing to be protected in the government or they will soon be gone. Ex: the right to petition the government is Biblical.
This is a huge problem, but you eat an elephant one bite at a time so help Americans to get to it) It is not hopeless. 81% of Americans believe in right of conscience. Let’s harness that support. God says my people perish for lack of knowledge. We have been on autopilot too long and we need to learn again how to fly the plane.
Thank you again for your attention