Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Real Jeff Perry, Mayor Pro Tem, Aubrey, TX

When I first met Jeff Perry, he initially seemed like someone who you could trust with your deepest secrets. He touts his faith and his military service, and seems sincere with everything he says and does. His public image is extremely high, and you'd have no reason to believe anything different than what you see on the surface. There are very few people that I have met that I trust initially, frankly I'm just not that trustworthy. However, with Jeff, I trusted him right away.

I endorsed Jeff a couple of years ago when he ran for reelection to Aubrey city council. He also endorsed me, when I decided to run for office again. I had him and his family to my home a couple of times, our children played well together. He seemed to have a respectable career working as a juvenile probation officer.  Jeff also appeared to be closely aligned politically with me also, and our values seem to be similar. However, things are not always as they appear.

I won the election and serving with Jeff was a joy for the first few months. However, I noticed that there was not much discussion on key issues and everyone seemed to have their minds made up when they showed up for the meetings. Jeff seemed to basically support whatever was submitted by staff and the administration. He did not vote “no” on anything for the first six months and only voted “no” on one occasion in the first year of my term. To say the least, his voting record during this timeframe was very disappointing. He voted completely opposite of what I had expected on several occasions.  It also appeared that he was not prepared on any of the subjects that we were discussed.

During this most recent election, there were several things that came to light about Jeff that were extremely disappointing. It was clear at this point that Jeff was not who his public image said he was. When some of these items came up, his response to them were even more disappointing. He made some horrible mistakes in his past, and he has never admitted to or owned his mistakes.

One of the things that came to light was a domestic violence conviction from almost 20 years ago. Jeff physically assaulted his now ex-wife; they were still married at the time of the assault. He felt like he addressed this in a letter to the editor of the local paper and local news blog. However he never fully accepted responsibility for his actions or owned this mistake. He first blamed his ex-wife for lying about the incident, and the blamed his lawyer for giving him bad advice to accept a plea bargain. This would be fine if it were true, however, it is not.  You don’t plea out if you’re not guilty. 

A copy of the actual police report tells a much different story than Jeff did. This story told a sociopath, who was one move away from a much more serious crime. The police report states that Jeff's ex-wife tried to remove herself from a very dangerous situation. However, Jeff would have none of that, so he let the air out of her car tires, so she could not get away.  After he blocked her attempted escape, she tried to leave on foot. However, Jeff would have none of that either. He tried to block her escape again, and when she tried to go around him, the 250 lb Marine picked her up and threw her to the ground. The reporting officer stated that there were visible bruises from this assault.
Unfortunately, the abuse didn't stop there. After tossing her to the ground like a rag doll, she managed to get up and again attempted to leave. However, again Jeff would have no part of that, so the 250 lb man punched her in the jaw. Again this left a visible bruise on her jaw according to the reporting officer. One item that was not brought up was what Jeff was guilty of by forcing his ex-wife to not leave, he committed false imprisonment, which most certainly would have been charged today.

You can see a copy of the police report here:

This is not the story of a woman, who was trying to frame her husband of abuse. If that were the case, she would have had to flatten her own car tires, inflict enough force to leave bruises on her back and legs, and then manage to punch herself in the jaw hard enough to leave bruises. The fact of the matter is that Jeff agreed to a plea bargain, because he knows he would have lost in court, and likely ended up doing time in Denton County Jail. He also no doubt knew that if he went to county for domestic violence, someone would have done to him what he did to his wife. In actuality he was probably kissing his lawyer for getting him a deal that did not involve jail time.

If there is any truth to the manner in which Jeff was confronted about this by someone coming to his home, I absolutely do not support this. If someone is brave enough to knock on my door to confront me about something, they likely won't appreciate my response, but that's just me. However, Jeff's response to this confrontation was to immediately become the “victim” in this matter. He whined and cried and made this desperate plea on social media and in the local paper, he never stood up and faced this like a man. Not once did he accept responsibility for his actions, not once did he admit that he did anything wrong.  This isn't the actions of a Marine or a man of integrity, but rather that of a coward. This is not the action of someone who's remorseful of his actions, he’s remorseful that the story is out, not for what he did. Some may argue that this happened 20 years ago and people can change. However, I recently heard how he has treated people when he thinks no one is looking. That tiger hasn't changed his stripes.  Don’t forget the real victim in this was not the 250 lbs Marine, but his ex-wife who Jeff violently assaulted.

I know you might be wondering how Jeff could hold a job as a juvenile probation officer with a record like this. I have the same question. How can someone like this be responsible to oversee children when he has a violent past? How does someone who can never legally own a firearm testify in court when the outcome of his testimony could affect a child's life forever? How can someone who has made a train-wreck of their life, give advice to others or have power over anyone? I guess he does have experience with probation since that was part of his plea bargain.

If the domestic violence was not enough to turn your stomach at the sight of Jeff. He also has a problem paying his bills. On several occasions bill collectors have had to chase him down. He also brought this up in his letter to the editor. However, much like the domestic violence, he downplayed the issue. The documents show that he failed to pay his bills on several occasions. This happened much more recently than the domestic violence.

Recently Jeff has apparently followed the lead of another member of Aubrey City Council by referring to the Aubrey citizens that live in apartments as “shit people”.  Yes, you read that right, a sitting Aubrey City Councilman refers to the same Aubrey citizens he’s supposed to represent as “shit people”.  Yes, you read that right, someone with a domestic violence conviction, who has problems paying their bills is referring to others as “shit people”.  Yes, a man who hit a woman, is referring to others as “shit people”.  Yes, someone who cannot legally purchase a firearm, is calling others “shit people”.  Frankly, with Jeff’s violent past and credit history, he probably couldn’t pass the background and credit check to live in some of the apartments here in Aubrey, and yet he refers to “them” as “shit people”.  Perhaps Jeff should look in the mirror. 

Unfortunately, even with the above stated information, Jeff may have still won reelection. Our society loves to give second chances to those who don't deserve it. However, when selecting someone who will be creating laws that you have to live by, shouldn't we expect more than this? What do we expect when we knowingly vote for people like Jeff?  He is over 50 years old, and we somehow think he's going to wake up one morning and be able to make sound judgment decisions? How many times must we debunk this theory before we wake up?

He's a crook, but he's our crook. This seems to be how we look at our elected officials. We hate the system as a whole, but seem to defend “our” elected officials. If we started listening to the warning signs, and took action, we might be better off. If someone seems unfit to run their own lives, maybe we shouldn't let them run or influence ours.

Perhaps another perspective will help emphasize the problem. Would you want your daughter to date Jeff? If your daughter brought a man home that had inflicted this horrific abuse as outlined in Jeff's police report, would you feel comfortable leaving him alone with your daughter? Is this the man that you'd want your daughter to marry? If you would have concerns about your daughter dating somebody with a domestic violence conviction, why would you consider letting him represent you or influence your life? If the man doesn't have the integrity to admit his mistakes and come clean, why would you think he has enough integrity to hold an elected office?

After knowing that Jeff willingly doesn't pay his bills, would you let him be your financial adviser? Bill collectors have had to chase him down on numerous occasions, so this is not an oversight. Jeff knowingly and willfully made a decision to not pay his bills. With this knowledge would you trust him to make decisions with your tax dollars? If you're not sure you'd trust him with your finances, why would you trust him with the city's?

It is human to make errors, and I have made plenty of them myself.  However, when you make mistakes, you should accept responsibility for them and learn from them.  However, it is apparent that Jeff is never going to accept responsibility for his actions.  So what does all of this mean? Does this somehow exclude him from serving in public office? Unfortunately, it doesn't. However, all of these things do clearly indicate that Jeff has a history of making poor decisions. This reads more like the story of an 18 year old punk not a 50+ year old man. So the poor decision making is not going to change. Again, that tiger isn't going to change his stripes. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Our Aubrey, One Aubrey

When leaving DISH, we put significant amount of research into which area we moved to.  First and foremost, we wanted to get off of the Barnett Shale, which we did.  However, there were several other factors that played into this decision.  Our children had played sports many times in the small town of Aubrey, TX, which is referred to as “Horse Country”, due to several large horse ranches in the area.  It’s also a very interesting community, due to the world horse market, you may bump into someone from Australia or Brazil at the local cafĂ©.  Therefore, this is where we chose to move when leaving DISH.

Our home unexpectedly sold in DISH after being on the market for several months, so we had to find a home quickly.  We found the perfect home, but unfortunately it was in foreclosure and could not close quickly.  Therefore, we were living in a hotel for a while.  When we did finally move in, I stopped by city hall to get water, trash, etc. turned on, and was extremely impressed with how I was treated by the Aubrey City Staff.  They were kind, caring, considerate and very sympathetic of our situation.  The public works department went to my new home immediately to turn the water on.  That was service with a smile.  Shortly after moving in, I required a medical procedure and it required me to be in Fort Worth extremely early in the morning.  My wife contacted the school and one of my son’s teachers volunteered to come in early and watch both of our sons.  We did not know this teacher, I had never met her, and my wife had only spoken with her a couple of times.  She refused to take any compensation for helping us.  This community has been extremely accepting of my family; we made the right choice in moving here.

Since moving here, we have met many wonderful people and overall the people of Aubrey have been very friendly.  After spending five years here, this area is clearly where we would like to raise our children.  The love for this community is what led me to want to serve the people of Aubrey, which is why I chose to run for Aubrey City Council.  However, there are some here in Aubrey who refer to the “newer” people in the community as “outsiders”.  However, there seems to be a moving bar as to what designates someone as an “outsider”.  If you don’t have your own opinion, or ideas on how to improve the community, you probably won’t ever be referred to as an outsider.  However, any suggestions to improve the community and it doesn’t really matter your tenure, you’re an “outsider”.

This came to a head at a recent city council meeting, where there were several insults being thrown around at the “outsiders” over some misinformation.  It disappointed me how even the community leaders were supportive of this abusive activity.  I hope that we do not forget that this is not “My Aubrey”, and this is not “Your Aubrey”, this is “Our Aubrey”, and it’s time we start acting like it.  There is no such thing as an “outsider”, we all pay taxes, we’re all neighbors, and we’re all in this together.  This community is growing at a rapid pace, and if we look at every new citizen as an “outsider”, we’ll always be a fractured community, and pretty soon the “outsiders” will be the majority. 

This scenario, plays out in many areas of this nation, and I hope that people never feel like they should apologize for wanting to improve their community.  I hope that people will continue to get involved, and not be afraid to challenge the status quo, even if that means being an “outsider”.  Nothing great ever happens with going along to get along.  Nothing great ever happens without the courage to take a stand.