Funny thing, county judges. Bert Cobb, the county judge in Hays County wears a full, William Renquist Supreme Court Justice-styled robe, even though Cobb has no law degree. Jim Powers still refers to himself as “Judge Powers” 10 years after his defeat. And James Oakley can’t decide whether he prefers President or Judge when he hears his name but, rest assured, he’ll gleefully answer to either. Perhaps these men need these titles to compensate for other shortcomings.
Former Hays County Judge Jim Powers is running unopposed in District 4. He will soon sit on the PEC board. It is unfortunate that the citizens in District 4 so take PEC for granted that they failed to field a viable candidate to oppose Mr. Powers. As a consequence PEC gets a political hack, a gold plated wheeler-dealer and undistinguished public servant better known for serving himself than the citizens of Hays County. A sitting county judge, Powers was dumped by Hays County voters (for good reason) in favor of Liz Sumpter in 2006. To get an idea why, here’s a little stroll down memory lane.
Powers, unfortunately, is as good as elected. Bad enough that a character like Powers will soon sit on the PEC board. He may soon join the tyrannical James Oakley, the current PEC Board president and absolute monarch of Burnet County. That is, of course, unless the members wise up and send Oakley packing. What is at stake? If Oakley is not defeated, the opportunity to completely reverse the hard-earned reforms that were implemented since the fall of Bennie Fuelberg will come to pass. The wheeler-dealers care not a wit about the members or the cooperative model or anyone other than themselves. No wonder Americans in both political parties are in revolt with business as usual.
Only James Oakley looks into a mirror and sees no conflict of interest in his serving as the county judge of Burnet County and Board President of PEC. He sees nothing wrong with having a ringside seat into real estate and other business dealings that involve both county and cooperative interests (which are often at odds). He sees no irony in the fact that the groundbreaking of a Taj Majal of PEC district offices was recently dedicated in Burnet County to great fanfare and with full credit given to him while other districts (such as the one in Cedar Park which remains woefully in need) await with a tin cup in hand for their facelifts. Nope. For Oakley, governing is all about what is good for James Oakley, morning noon and night.