Wednesday, October 7, 2020

McKinney's Special Election--Recall and Parkland Sale

There are two McKinney-specific propositions on the ballot this November. Here are my suggestions.

Proposition A – FOR

Proposition B – AGAINST

I’ll start with Proposition B. It asks if citizens want to allow the city to sell a specific parcel of parkland. I am against Prop B. The land in question is in back of the Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary

    Wilson Creek runs right between the Heard and the parkland in question. If the parkland is sold for an industrial purpose (and it most likely will be), the new industrial business may interfere with the wetlands area.

    Old landfills are made into parks throughout the country. Please see examples here and here.  

    The Heard should be a positive, protected amenity of McKinney.

Proposition A asks if citizens should remove the District 1 representative by recall. I am for Prop A.

I will just hit on the highlights of why Mr. Shemwell should be recalled. Even though Mr. Shemwell was elected to represent District 1, he has spent the majority of his time in office representing and promoting himself at the expense of his district and the entire city.

I’ll focus on 2018 because it was a pivotal year for Mr. Shemwell and for his relationship with the city. In 2018, Mr. Shemwell was arrested twice. In 2018, citizens began to seriously consider using the recall process. In 2018, citizens realized the recall provision in the city’s charter made it nearly impossible to recall anyone. 

It all began on May 9, 2018, less than a year after he was elected. Mr. Shemwell was arrested for refusing to sign a traffic ticket. He wasted no time in calling a press conference in the City Hall chambers to claim he was racially profiled. He demanded the officer be suspended. Read what he said happened here

A week later, the bodycam footage was released, and Mr. Shemwell talked back some of his claims. On the body camera footage, Mr. Shemwell was also seen clearly directing the police officer to call the chief of police more than once. It is against the city charter for councilmembers to direct city employees to do anything. He took some responsibility for his argumentativeness with the officer. You can read about it here and here.

He voted to censure himself trying to direct the policeman during the stop, a violation of the city charter.  Before that, there was about an hour of public comments devoted to the situation he created. Read about it here

Throughout this time and into July, the city was dealing with an ongoing environmental problem with concrete batch plants located in District 1—Mr. Shemwell's district. The residents of the trailer park and the housing development nearby were forced to seek help from other city council members due to Mr. Shemwell’s inaction when it was repeatedly brought to his attention by several of his constituents. Read about it here.

Another issue playing out at that time was the forced annexation of the ETJ area in the northwest side of the city— Mr. Shemwell’s district was very close to it. In fact, some parts of the ETJ could have been incorporated into his district depending on whether the ETJ area was forcibly annexed or not.

By October, Mr. Shemwell had enough of the constant public comments at meetings regarding the forced annexation plans for the ETJ. He said he was tired of meetings being ‘hijacked’ by people at meetings. He also proposed moving public comments to the end of meetings. He suggested if people were forced to sit through meetings, it would help them get educated on how government works. He also brought up limiting handouts and presentations during comment periods. Unfortunately, other council members agreed. Read about it here.

December 6, 2018 – Mr. Shemwell was arrested on continuous violence against family charges, a 3rd degree felony. Here are the details of the charges from the article:

"LaShadion got on top of (victim) as she laid on her back, and straddled her torso area and struck her in the mouth one time and continued to put his hands over her mouth so she couldn't scream," one document reads.
Another incident also details a fight that happened after a birthday party. The woman claims she and Shemwell had physically assaulted each other beginning in the car and later in the home. A member with the housing authority came to the residence because of a complaint of a disturbance.

The alleged assault resulted in injuries to both people.

And in a recent November incident, documents reveal the couple got into a physical altercation in which Shemwell wrestled away car keys from the woman. During that altercation, the woman broke three fingernails and injured her middle finger on her right hand.”

This arrest and details of the charges mirrored some of Mr. Shemwell’s past criminal legal problems related to his treatment of women. It was also his second arrest in one year.

Here is Mr. Shemwell's statement to WFAA from the above article:

Shemwell released a statement on Friday to NBC 5 saying "This is yet another example of why I wholeheartedly advocate for criminal justice reform and bail reform. In a country where one should have the presumption of innocence UNLESS proven guilty, it’s clear that this is merely theoretical and not practical, especially for people of color and impoverished communities alike; dealing with a money hungry and racially biased criminal justice system. As far as people being concerned about my smiling in the mugshot picture, would you rather I cower like a hurt dog? Knowing that these are premeditated unmerited attacks from my adversaries, I prefer to hold my head high through all trials and tribulations. I refuse to be yet another broken body, created in a broken criminal justice system. For no weapon formed against me shall prosper. With every arrow shot in my direction I will smile and smile much bigger. In the words of 45, “This is fake news.” Prayers for my children who are old enough to hear and read the rumors and whispers about their father."

It was after this arrest (and Mr. Shemwell's response to the arrest) that people in the city began to seriously consider their options for his removal from office. Many investigated the prospect of a recall.  All found that requirements for signatures to get a recall on the ballot were so high as to prevent the recall of any city council member under nearly any circumstance, now and in the future.

December 18, 2018 – Changing the recall provisions in the city charter were discussed at a city council meeting due to community outrage over his arrest. Read about it here

Here’s the video of the exchange during the discussions at that meeting. Starting at minute 39 to 48:49. These kind of exchanges became more common and more destructive to city council meetings as time went on. 

The revised recall requirements were placed on the ballot in May of 2019. They all passed.

A month later, the charges against Mr. Shemwell were dropped, possibly because the woman did not want to testify against him in a trial. Read about it here and here.

October 15, 2019 – Mr. Shemwell came out with his emergency declaration. Here are the objectionable statements from it:

"WHEREAS, the State of Texas and its local governments have declared war on black and brown citizens by conspiring to kill, injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate, and to willfully deprive citizens of their constitutional rights while acting under the color of law;

WHEREAS, the State of Texas and its local governments harass and prosecute its minority citizens both in daily interactions and as punishment for speaking out against said institutions;"

That city council meeting degenerated into yelling, interrupting, and name calling. A citizen filed an ethics complaint against Mr. Shemwell due to his behavior at the meeting that came to nothing. The mayor was forced to call a recess. Mr. Shemwell continued yelling during the recess. 

November 16, 2019 – The recall petition was submitted to the city secretary. A total of 3083 valid signatures were turned in. District 1 turned in 598 signatures, District 2 turned in 669 signatures, District 3 turned in 909, and District 4 turned in 907 signatures.

COVID postponed the May recall to this election cycle. He has continued to disrupt meetings since then. 


  1. I voted no to sale , believe there is someting they are not telling us . about the sale. They say they have no intended buyer , but really strange it was proposed for sale out of the blue/

    The heard is in danger the BOA just granted Cowtown 7 additional years of operation .

    1. I haven't heard that about Cowtown yet. Do you have a link?

  2. These do not appear on the sample ballot for my district (yet I'm just a couple of minutes from the proposal site). Maybe it just doesn't appear on the sample?
    RE: Shemwell. If anyone heard his speech during this week's Council meeting, he lectured the citizens about being hypocrits and cowards (actually saying that 12 times). He called them hypocrits for not obeying the law and respecting law enforcement. Did he forget his own history? He's a total narcissist and is only there for his own self-aggrandizement. He goes Live on his Facebook page each time he speaks during a city council meeting. It's all a big show for him. That's all it is.