After being in office many years, some elected officials forget who they are working for. This is called the incumbency syndrome, where politicians identify more with lobbyist than voters and forget that government exists to serve the people — not vice versa.
The following are some examples of how you can tell when an elected official (such as Galveston County Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken Clark) has been in office too long.
On April 11, 2017, at a meeting of Galveston County Commissioners Court, Ken Clark and Mark Henry sided with the lone Democrat seated on the court to defeat a resolution calling for property tax reform (proposed by the Republican leadership in Austin). The battle lines over property tax reform were intensely partisan with Democrats joining big government lobbyist against the Republican proposals.
During the last legislative session, fiscal conservatives called for support from local leaders to help Gov. Greg Abbott and Republicans push these reforms through the House and Senate in Austin. Locally, commissioners Giusti and Apffel answered the call and placed a resolution on the agenda supporting tax reform. When the time came to vote, Ken Clark turned his back on the Republican Party and taxpayers when he voted “NO” — siding with Democrats and big government lobbyists.
In an insult to taxpayers, Clark brought this resolution back to commissioners court on the last day of the special legislative session (when it was obviously too late for anyone at the Capitol to even receive it before lawmakers went home). Was this just Clark’s strange sense of humor or was it a clumsy effort to deceive voters and give a tricky politician an opportunity (if needed) to say he voted against the resolution before he voted for it — like John Kerry did in a famous debate many years ago. (Of course John Kerry lost that election.)
On another occasion, Oct. 23, 2017, in a commissioners court hearing, Clark voted to reject disaster reappraisal for property owners flooded by the torrent of rain from Hurricane Harvey. This vote came after the county auditor testified the rainy day (reserve) fund had plenty of money to cover all costs for the disaster reappraisal including the anticipated drop in revenue.
Also, the tax assessor testified that approving disaster reappraisal in commissioners court would not impact any of the school districts, cities or other governmental entities. For another taxing entity to be included in disaster reappraisal it would be necessary for that governing body to request the chief appraiser include that taxing unit in the CAD’s reappraisal of properties.
Residents of League City, Friendswood and Dickinson can be assured that my position on these issues is exactly opposite of Ken Clark’s. I would vote for property tax reform and stand with fiscally conservative Republicans in Austin and I would vote for disaster reappraisal to provide a fair reduction of 2017 appraised values for flood damaged homes and businesses. And if elected, I will never forget who I’m working for.