Hays/Burnet County PEC Member Weighs in on Oakley Matter

Publisher’s Note: The regularly scheduled PEC board meeting will be held on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 9am at PEC headquarters in Johnson City.

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“Time for a Tree and a Rope, ” says Judge James Oakley, PEC Board Member

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Hays/Burnet County PEC member Thomas Mitchell

Yes, we are all outraged at the recent police detective shooting in San Antonio, a horrendous crime. Yet, well before the alleged shooter had his day in court, Judge James Oakley, PEC Board member and the highest elected official in Burnet County, Texas, took it a step further. With no regard for the rule of law, due process, or “innocent until proven guilty”, Oakley proclaims on social media…”time for a tree and a rope”. Vigilante justice apparently is alive and well in Central Texas when a public servant, an elected official, calls for a lynching. “Time for a tree and a rope”???

This is not a political matter. It is not Republican vs. Democrat. Not right vs. left. Not liberal vs conservative. It’s a matter of civility, of human rights, of understanding…or rather lack of it in the case of James Oakley. This isn’t passed off as an innocent off the cuff comment as some attempted to explain at a recent PEC Board meeting. This isn’t excusable because Texas is in the wild, wild West where hanging horse thieves was once the norm as some people tried to reason at the meeting. Outrageous is what it is. Reprehensible! Coincidently, The NY Times published an article last week, The Horror of Public Lynchings, in which the author states the time when African Americans were publicly hanged is nearer in history than most people realize. Yes, I would say so and apparently that sentiment remains in Central Texas where an elected public servant proclaims “time for a tree and a rope”. What an embarrassment to those of us in the area and to PEC membership.

What it IS time for…it’s time for Judge Oakley to go. His immediate resignation from the PEC Board would allow for a time of healing, a chance to move beyond this. A chance to return to some sense of

normalcy. Short of resignation, the PEC Board must do its duty as a governing body to remove Oakley from the Board as provided in Section 5, Paragraph C of the Bylaws for “bringing disrepute or disparagement to the Cooperative by unacceptable personal conduct”.

Unless Oakley resigns, unless the PEC Board dismisses him, divisiveness and social schism prevails. Central Texas is better than that. PEC deserves more than that. The U S of A requires more. James Oakley must exit PEC Board and exit now. If not, the only assumption made is that his incendiary beliefs are common on the PEC Board…and that legacy will surely follow those Directors well into the future. Neither the members, the area populace, nor the nation will tolerate this. “Time for a tree and a rope”? No, it’s time for James Oakley to go.

Thomas H. Mitchell

PEC Member

Hays County/Burnet County

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