Much has been made in Richardson's City Council election about the presence of party politics in a supposedly non-partisan election. The subject took up way too much space in my own latest blog article. So why am I devoting an entire blog article to it? Because I think what's happening in Plano puts the issue to bed in Richardson once and for all. Like it or not, once the governor of Texas jumps into the fray, the field is open for all.
According to an article in The Dallas Morning News by Gromer Jeffers Jr., "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed two candidates in Plano council contests — an extraordinary move that injects a partisan voice in the city’s growing debate over development and taxes." More, "State Rep. Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, ... said he welcomed Abbott’s foray into local politics. Shaheen, a former Collin County Commissioner, said he likes 'the idea of the Republican Party getting involved in non-partisan, local races. ... Republicans should endorse local candidates that share their values,' Shaheen said."
Despite what many think, a nonpartisan election legally just means the ballot won't have an "R" or a "D" after the candidate's name. So we're not talking about anything illegal in any of this, only what used to be viewed by some as unseemly. Like it or not, accepted notions of propriety are changing.
I have always wanted state and national political parties to stay out of local elections. Potholes won't get fixed faster, garbage won't get collected faster, if people take sides based on what they think of Donald Trump. I've always preferred when local elections are run on, let's say, a "Don't ask, don't tell" basis. Party affiliation simply shouldn't be an issue.
That notion is looking quaint. Gov. Abbott's foray into Plano's city council election might be unfortunate, but it isn't illegal. And it gives the Republican governor's personal imprimatur for Democrats to be involved in Richardson's election. We can regret how divisive party politics might damage cooperative local government, but that's how Gov. Abbott wants the game to be played. It would be hypocritical to complain when others play the game, too.