Citizen Adresses WCCC on T. Don Hutto

Posted in Commentary, Commissioners Court, T. Don Hutto, Uncategorized, Williamson County at 9:53 am by wcnews

(These comments are from MaryEllen Kersch and were addressed to the Williamson County Commissioners Court on 10/7/2008).

On September 24th, a grassroots group called Immigration Reform Effort sponsored the first, ever, public forum on the T Don Hutto prison in Taylor which has had widespread— and well-deserved- criticism. Since this body is the contractual administrator for operation of T Don Hutto, it was extremely appropriate for someone from WCCC to participate in that forum. Yet, that did not happen, despite our offer to make any changes to assure you fair treatment.

Four experts who have raised issues about the facility showed up; the four invitees who have consistently- and without apology- supported the current operation of T Don Hutto chose not to participate. This did nothing to inspire trust from the public which is desirous of, and entitled to, hearing from our elected officials who owe us some answers.

I’ve forwarded just a few of the questions submitted to the forum panelists and I look forward to your public response to them.

Some years ago, when I was teaching government, I would admonish my students to assume the responsibility of citizenship and engage in the political process; a representative democracy cannot function without an open exchange between elected officials and the public on issues of importance.

Representative democracy is not working in Williamson County; T Don Hutto is symptomatic of the refusal of our elected officials to behave as our representatives. Rather, they appear as tools of the political machine to which they give their allegiance.

This “top-down” style of government is not democratic,- and it is a proven and miserable failure. And it is not the failure of the citizens of our County, but of our officials who presume power over us, rather than from us.

I wonder if a majority of this body actually supports our relationship with T Don Hutto; I suspect that may be why no one sitting on the dais was willing to participate in the forum.

I urge WCCC to publicly vote on a consideration to end the contract with ICE—and to represent the public’s interest, and perhaps your own conscience—rather than your Party’s line.

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