Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Two more AWFUL votes from Gerald Daugherty

"Therefore by their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:20

We just discussed the merits (or lack thereof) of the proposed Travis County windmill farm, but another detail in that article is worth noting:
The commissioners voted 3-0 to bring on Michael Osborne, who retired last year as a top official at Austin Energy and chairs the city’s Electric Utility Commission. (Commissioner Brigid Shea was absent because she is at the climate change talks in Paris, and Commissioner Margaret G√≥mez was briefly off the dais.)
That means Gerald Daugherty voted for it.

Later in the same meeting, the Commissioners took another vote:
Also Tuesday, the commissioners voted to lower the cost of pay phone services for inmates in Travis County jails and eliminate an $840,000 source of revenue for the county. The Federal Communications Commission is in the process of issuing rules that will likely require local jurisdictions to ensure the services are affordable, and Tuesday’s vote puts Travis County in line with a potential ruling.

The measure amended the county’s contract with Securus Technologies, which manages the phone system, to reduce the cost of a 20-minute phone call from $4.65 to $1.65 and eliminate a separate percentage-based commission that went to county coffers.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty was the lone dissenter in the 3-1 vote.

“I’m not trying to be punitive to the inmates, but I do want to be careful about just assuming that this money is not something that our sheriff’s office needs,” Daugherty said. “If you don’t have some kind of revenue, then it just is all on the taxpayer, and I don’t think that that’s completely fair.”

Eckhardt, however, said she didn’t think the county should be profiting off the prison population.

“This is a fair taxation question for me,” she said. “We have instituted a de facto tax on people who are predominantly poor by generating such significant revenue off of that contract.”

It was the second measure that the commissioners have adopted this year that makes it easier for inmates to communicate with their loved ones. In September, they set aside money in the budget to bring back in-person visitation, which had been replaced by a Skype-like video-based system.

[Author's Note: Emphasis added.]
Bottom Line: It seems a tad hypocritical to vote in favor of boondoggles for courthouses and windmills, then turn into Mr. "Rah-Rah Taxpayer" when the subject changes to people getting nickeled and dimed by the criminal justice system.

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