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The Lead Nov. 22, 2022: Kerr County Commissioners say there was no rebuke in bond defeat

With some creative analysis, the Kerr County Commissioners' Court deflects blame.

Good morning, Kerr County!

Our cold stretch continues today, with a slight chance of rain. Highs today will be in the mid-50s, and that chance of rain continues through Thanksgiving morning. It's looking like Thanksgiving will have partly sunny skies and highs in the upper 60s. The weekend follows that trend.

On today's The Lead Live!

This could be a jam-packed show. We expect Crystal Smith to storm onto the show to share her efforts to help Grace Academy with a fundraiser. Russell Molina, an organizer behind the Texas Rangers' bicentennial, will video chat into the show. We expect Ken Stoepel Ford General Manager Terry Massey to stop by to share what's happening at the dealership. Finally, Lulu Stebbins will be on the show to tell us about her efforts to provide feminine hygiene products to girls at Tivy High School. The show starts at 9 a.m. Pint and Plow is closed today, Wednesday and Thanksgiving and will re-open on Friday. We will still be there for Tuesday and Wednesday shows before taking our Thanksgiving show over to the Kroc.

Today's events

Markets and sales

  • Art Mart — Hill Country Arts Foundation, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Dec. 17. Information: The details: The annual Hill Country Arts Foundation showcase of hand-made arts and crafts by area artists. Gift ideas that are perfect for holiday giving.

Women's college basketball

Schreiner University sophomore Elisa Peralta is on a torrid scoring streak, earning Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Week.

  • LeTourneau at Schreiner, 6 p.m. at Schreiner University Event Center.

The arts

  • Texas Furniture Makers Show — Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Information: The details: Texas Furniture Makers' Show® is an annual statewide Competition of the Finest Custom Furniture Makers in Texas. The show is held at the beautiful Kerr Arts & Cultural Center.
  • Works We Love Show — Museum of Western Art, 10 a.m. Information: The details: "Works We Love," featuring Fred Harman, creator of "Red Ryder and Little Beaver." Also on display are works from our permanent collection.

Live music

  • Vinyl Night — Inn of the Hills, 7 p.m. Information: 830-895-5000 The details: Vinyl night is a night of listening to music our favorite way and playing records!

Help wanted

The team at Zion Lutheran Church is looking for someone with multimedia knowledge to help with their live Sunday video productions. They are looking for someone who has experience with Blackmagic ATEM and Tricaster video switchers, sound boards and other video experience. Give them a call at (830) 257-8411.

Judge Kelly says the court earned a rebuke from voters

Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly called the Nov. 8 failures of two general obligation bonds a "stinging rebuke" of the commissioners' court, but three of his colleagues had others to blame.

Kelly reiterated previous comments that he believed the defeat of Prop. A and B — two of three bonds valued at $27 million to overhaul county facilities — were voters' referendum on the court. Kelly made his remarks Monday morning as the court certified the Nov. 8 election results.

"I don't see it that way," said Jonathan Letz, the Precinct 3 Commissioner.

Letz instead placed the blame on voters who didn't understand Prop. A and B. Instead, the headline-grabbing issue of Kerr County Animal Services resonated with voters.

Letz's colleagues — Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley Belew and Precinct 4 Commissioner Don Harris — had their theories. Belew cast the blame on the five-member Capital Improvement Plan committee for asking for too much. Belew had other points of blame, leading Harris to blame the defeat on the recession and President Joe Biden.

"It's this Administration," Harris said.

Belew argued that the animal shelter's win proved it was a single issue for many voters because it got the most votes of the three bonds.

"We had a lot of single-issue voters that came out for the animal control," Belew said. "If you look at the numbers that's pretty obvious."

That analogy doesn't hold statistical weight because of the difference in votes cast between Prop. A and Prop. C was just 265 people — a 1.1% difference. In short, that had no bearing on the election outcome.

"A lot of people came out for (the animal shelter) but probably didn't even vote for the other two," Belew pontificated. "So, I don't know if that's an issue of someone being angry with the court."

Once again, the stats don't bear that analysis. Conversely, 22,580 voters turned out for the Nov. 8 election. Of those voters:

  • 96.6% voted in the Prop. A election.
  • 97.3% voted in the Prop. B election.
  • 97.8% voted in the Prop. C election.

"People who talked to me with were angry, I got a lot of irate calls," Kelly said of his assertion that the Prop. A and B's defeat connects to the disapproval of the court's job performance.

"People are not happy with this court," Kelly said.

The defeat of Prop. A is problematic for the court because it called for significant renovations of the courthouse, construction of a West Kerr Annex and the addition of needed storage. The county faces unfunded mandates from the state to expand its juries from six to 12 members, which means increasing the jury room.

"This is a stinging rebuke," Kelly said.

"I wouldn't buy into that," Belew said.

The Capital Improvement Plan Committee pushes back

Pete Calderon and Brenda Hughes were two of the committee's five members charged with assessing county needs for the next 30-40 years — expected to be covered in Props. A, B and C. They reject Precinct 1 Commissioner Harley Belew's notion that the committee asked for too much.

The committee spent nearly three years looking at the dilapidated facilities. None of the committee members are tax-and-spend liberals, but Calderon placed the blame back on Belew.

"A lot of people I heard from were upset with him over the library," Calderon said of Belew's threats to the Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library staff over a banned book week display.

Calderon said the committee regularly updated the commissioners, met with the media (including every member of the committee appearing at least once on The Lead Live), and that the plan was conservative. Belew was absent the day commissioners voted 4-0 to place the bonds on the November ballot.

Parade winners announced

The annual Kerrville Lighted Christmas Parade announced its winners on Monday, and we're OK with the decisions here:

The Nonprofit Group winner was Kerrville Christian Homeschoolers.

The Commercial Group winner was KPUB (Kerrville Public Utility Board).

The Walking Group winner was Texas Two Ton Horse Club.

The Youth Group category first prize was awarded to the Tivy Cheerleaders.

Holiday treats contest still accepting entries

We've discovered we've got some great home bakers here in Kerr County, and nothing says Christmas like cookies, candy and other treats. So, we're challenging our home bakers and candy makers to enter our first-ever contest. There will be a $25 entry fee, but all that we ask is that you RSVP first. This event will be streamed live on Dec. 15 at Pint and Plow. We've got some simple categories

  • Cookies
  • Pies and Cakes
  • Candy
  • Gluten-Free

Register here:

Pay your entry here:


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