King Of The County

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The Harris County Elections Administrator Clifford Tatum may be out of a job, but the District Attorney is still investigating the November election. They’re examining testimony in the recent election challenge lawsuit by judicial candidate Erin Lunceford, but there’s another election connection that deserves greater scrutiny – the Harris County politician that seems to be at the center of it all.

Our depressed county judge, Lina Hidalgo, is off getting mental help.

And now this guy is in charge. Precinct 1 commissioner Rodney Ellis.

Actually, you’ll find a lot of folk who suspect he’s in charge anyway.

“Why does he have such an outsized role,” asked Wayne Dolcefino.

“Oh, because he’s Rodney Ellis, he has his hands in a lot of different things there are a lot of different people who owe him financially,” replied Mark Jones.

If you think bail reform is getting people killed, then you can blame Rodney Ellis.

“He sees people getting killed and it doesn’t matter,” said Maria Jackson.

When former judge Maria Jackson ran against Ellis three years ago, she accused him of threatening to politically punish judges who won’t play along with what we call soft on crime justice.

“You’ve heard Rodney Ellis threaten judges to go along or I’ll get you out of office,” asked Dolcefino.

Jackson responded, “yes.”

Ellis was shoulder to shoulder with Hidalgo this year when they announced they were giving away 20 million dollars of your tax money to poor folk, just because they are poor.

“Decades of neglect inequality and discrimination have financially destabilized generations of Harris County families,” stated Ellis.

Ellis pushed approval of spending 200 million dollars in American Rescue Plan money for affordable housing.

It’s hard to ignore that his wife has made a lot of money from affordable housing deals with the Houston Housing Authority. Until lawmakers ended the tax giveaway. Rodney also gave us something else.

“I’m going to recommend, I’m make a motion at the appropriate time to create an elections administrator,”

This horrible experiment with creating an election administrator, who was no longer directly accountable to the public.

Listen to the sales pitch Ellis gave three years ago.

“A neutral nonpartisan administrator will increase election integrity increase voters trust in the process,” said Rodeny Ellis.

“There are a lot of counties they been able to have appointed election administrators and it worked perfectly,” stated Mark Jones.

Except here, both the appointed administrators screwed up election day voting. Clifford Tatum had a history of botching elections.

That Ellis promise was B.S.

“It was done in a hyperpartian fashion,” stated Jones.

Nearly fifteen percent of polls didn’t open on time on election day.

That alone was unacceptable.

Voting machines weren’t checked before the election to see if they were working.

And those shortages of ballot paper at polls, it’s why Mattress Mack and I have sued Harris County. To simply get to the bottom of what happened on election day, and Lina and the crew have been fighting us ever since.

“I think it’s a joke and they are making the citizens of Harris County pay for their ineptitude,” said Mattress Mack.

And our investigation has uncovered legitimate questions about what happened at one particular poll on election day.

Baker Ripley on Navigation. Voting machines weren’t even set up and when they were there was no key. No poll opened later.

“It seems pre orchestrated in the fact that it just happened at a relatively large location that also is completely tied into money that comes from Linda Hidalgo and other liberal activists,” stated Jones.

Few organizations have benefited more from the hidalgo administration than Baker Ripley, more than 160 million dollars.

Fueling large increases in salaries for top charity officials.

“So, it looks suspicious,” asked Dolcefino.

“It looks suspicious,” clarified Jones.

Especially because monitors from the Texas Organizing Project, they were armed with forms to protest the poll delays.

Used hours later to convince a judge to extend voting an extra hour.  The notice to stay open went out fifteen minutes before the poll closed.

“So, this was going to be their ace in the hole. The fact that it was Baker Ripley that T.O.P. was there and that they were ready to get that out suggests to me that Rodney Ellis arranged that or someone else,” expressed Jones.

Ellis has a close financial relationship with that progressive Texas Organizing Project. In January of 2020 Ellis donated $150,000 and the very next month top contributed 120,000 back to Ellis.

T.O.P.  is deeply financially tied to the democrats running Harris County.

The group donated 58,000 to Leslie Briones after she won her race.

That’s the same amount of cash they gave Adrian Garcia.

And Lina Hidalgo, she has gotten $237,000 from T.O.P. since January 1, 2020. All of it before the contested November election.

We’ve long argued that the campaign contributions from lawyers to judges, while the judge is hearing a case involving them should be prohibited. It raises all types of questions of bias and fairness.

As of June 30th, of this year Ellis has a staggering five million dollars in his campaign war chest.

Let’s compare it to the other democrats in charge.

Leslie Briones has 1.1 million.

Adrian Garcia $783, 975.

Judge Hidalgo, just eight months after reelection just $79,000.

We probably shouldn’t be surprised that county vendors are the biggest donors. Maybe they just like good government, but I’ll side with the chronicle this time. And call it what it is. It’s pay to play.

Ellis got a big boost in his campaign account this Spring 426,850 dollars from you. Whether you like the guy or not.

“The buck stops with you sir, what do you have to say to taxpayers about this,” asked Mario Diaz in an interview with Rodney Ellis.

There was $158,000 for the commissioner’s criminal defense in that self-inflicted African art scandal. Where we spent money to store 1,000 pieces of some guy’s art for free.

But there was a much bigger reimbursement for the Feldman Law Firm.

276,000 dollars out the door.

When Ellis escaped criminal prosecution the D.A. Kim Ogg sent the case to county attorney Christian Menefee. His job was to see if we could get back some of the $300,000, we spent fixing up the building where the art was stored.

We’ve heard nothing. At last check Ellis did spend 20,000 of his campaign money to move the art somewhere else. That’s nice of him.

And Christian Menefee is busy running around sadly calling people like me racists who simply want our elections to be run by competent elected public officials. For equipment to be checked before election day, for there to be enough ballot paper so people aren’t turned away.

Theres no excuse for what happened in November whether it changed results or not.

And Rodney Ellis, despite the mess he created with his African art stash, he’s still focused on art…putting up murals on some of our downtown buildings.

Hope you like them because you spent $337,000 on them so far.

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