Plano Municipal Elections – May 2021

Friends and neighbors – hot off the presses, here are my unfiltered thoughts on Plano’s Municipal elections that nobody asked for.

On the positive side, they’re free.

To cut to the chase then, the tl:dr for all of the races is that although they are in theory non-partisan, they are all pretty straightforwardly partisan in a slightly different way. Basically, all of the races break down along pretty clear ideological lines where you have the Trump crowd on one side and the non-Trump crowd on the other. And, you might think this equates to Republicans versus Democrats, but what it actually means is Far-Right Republicans versus everyone else.

And that’s pretty much Plano politics in a nutshell….but read on to see what I mean.

All opinions are my own, and do not represent anyone else or any organization.

Mayor and City Council

As mentioned above, Plano politics breaks down pretty neatly as a divide between the Trump crowd and everyone else, and this is nowhere on clearer display than the Mayoral and City Council races. There’s a little bit of nuance, but more or less it’s just the Trump “Angry Crowd” versus everyone else, with a vanity candidate thrown in here and there for fun.

Mayor of Plano

This race is straight up Angry Crowd versus Non-Angry Crowd, with Lydia Ortega playing the honorary vanity candidate.

John Muns

John Muns is the obvious choice in this race. He has a long history of public service in Plano and has served on the school board as well as more recently on the planning and zoning commission. He has an intimate knowledge of the workings of the city and is a highly professional organizational manager. Personally, he actually identifies as a Republican, but in Plano politics he’s moderate enough to be reviled by the Angry Crowd true believers, and is embraced even by some progressives.

John Muns is the obvious choice in this race.

Lily Bao

Without exaggeration, Lily is like a comic-book villain, and it’s hard to imagine a more cretinous political actor who is actually taken seriously in their home community. Depending on the scripted context she presents herself in, she acts either like a gentle guardian of the community, or as a mean-spirited attack dog who can hate with the best of them. Whichever of these personas better represents her actual self is anyone’s guess, but when she does make herself available to the public unscripted, she is listless, uninformed, and unable to say much of anything besides repeating her well-worn talking points about “urban people” and single family housing.

There are also gaps in her story about herself, and unanswered questions about her real estate dealings (selling homes to overseas and absentee landlords), and part of her bio appears to be cribbed from that of her fellow Chinese-American Council member Maria Tu.

Go figure then that she’s closely allied with the likes of Trump, Abbott, and Paxton, and to the true believers in that cult it probably makes little difference that she’s remarkably incompetent as long as she promises to hate the same people they’ve been taught to hate.

Lydia Ortega

Lydia seems to mean well, and to her credit, she will interact cordially with people she disagrees with on social media, but I don’t think she has any qualifications to run an organization anywhere near as complex as an entire city, and even if she did, her commitment to Austrian Economics (think Hayek, Friedman, and Pinochet) should raise some serious questions about what she would do if she could. 

Her entire campaign seems to be a vanity project showing off her academic knowledge of Right-wing economic theory. She’s like brainy smurf, but with more guns and a penchant for fascism.

City Council

Place 2

Steve Lavine

Steve is the consummate gentleman professional and is the clear choice in this race. Having created and exited several successful businesses, he’s been able in recent years to be a dedicated man of the city and has involved himself deeply with Plano municipal affairs. He is smart, knowledgeable, and funny, and we would all be in much better hands with Steve on the City Council.

Anthony Ricciardelli

It is hard not to like Anthony on a personal level, but at the end of the day his politics are extremely Right-Wing, and he will side with his Angry Crowd brethren 10 times out of 10. He may wax poetic about how it hurts his heart to do so, but if the marching orders come from his crew, he will in the end vote to club baby seals and put orphans out in the street. Sorry, Anthony, it’s nothing personal, but your vote to de-fund the Plano Rape Crisis Center was particularly reprehensible, and your unwillingness to criticize the Capitol invaders was the icing on the cake.

Place 4

Nassat Parveen

In a perfect world, I’d be 100% team Nassat, but she’s a newcomer to the political scene in Plano, and probably doesn’t stand that much of a chance in a race that is mostly between the preferred candidates of the Angry Crowd and the Non-Angry Crowd. I’ll be excited to see what she does in the future, but I don’t think this is the race for her.

It deserves mention though that she has by far and away the best campaign slogan of any candidate in any race: Service before self.

Keep an eye on Nassat, she’s inspirational and has a bright future.

Kayci Prince

I’m torn here between Kayci Prince and Nassat Parveen. In a perfect world, I’d prefer the much more progressive and younger upstart, Nassat, but Kayci is probably the solid choice to keep more Right-Wing angry crowders from getting seats. Kayci is professional and thoughtful, and has a strong working knowledge of the city and would be a solid vote against the Angry Crowd and their Ayn Rand inspired crusade against democracy.

Like John Muns, Kayci is actually a Republican herself, but has too much good sense and compassion to be allowed at the Angry Crowd table.

Justin Adcock

Don’t know a lot about him but he seems to be the preferred candidate of the Angry Crowd, and hits on all their fear-mongering talking points about crime and density and all the other dog-whistling talking points that his crowd are always on about.

Maybe he’s a nice guy, and maybe he’s an effective businessperson like he says, but definitely doesn’t have the heart for public service and at any rate we need another AC shill on the council like we need another Wal-Mart parking lot.

Vidal Quintanilla

As near as I can tell, Vidal Quintanilla is a B-team Angry Crowd lackey who didn’t get the memo letting him know his team was passing the ball to Justin Adcock. Might make for some awkward moments in their meetings but hard to know what goes on behind closed doors in those circles.

At any rate, he has nothing novel or interesting to add, and just repeats all the usual fear-mongering talking points about the dreaded ‘apartment dwellers’ who are conspiring to ruin our lives but his style is less polished than Justin’s. Maybe that’s why they passed the ball to him instead of Vidal.

Place 7

This is the seat being vacated by Lily Bao, who is giving the seat up to run for Mayor. There are five contenders, but only 2.5 serious ones. This race is kind of a shitshow honestly, but one candidate stands out to be as the best and there is one other that would be my clear second choice.

Julie Holmer

Julie is my choice here. She’s a thoughtful and kind longtime Plano resident who entered the race because she felt passionately about Plano politics and when doing her due diligence looking into the candidates already in this race found she couldn’t support any of them.

That was before David Smith entered the race though, and that’s part of what makes this race a shitshow. There are different versions of the story, but by most accounts David had promised not to run if another non-Angry Crowder was in the race, but then changed his mind after Julie had made a large personal and financial commitment to the race.

David Smith

It’s unfortunate there is a controversy between David Smith and Julie Holmer, because the infighting notwithstanding, he would be a great candidate.

He has been on the Plano City Council before, and is a no-nonsense hard worker who knows that getting things done is about the actual hard work of rolling up your sleeves and getting into the details of how the sausage is made.

Bill Lisle III

Bill is the guy with the bigfoot signs and who sent everyone a coaster as a form of campaign schwag. Gotta hand it to the guy for style, and for putting himself out there, but just being eccentric isn’t reason or qualification to serve on the City Council.

Thanks for the coaster though, and for keeping things interesting in Plano.

Chris Robertson

He was in the army apparently and now wants to be on the city council. Like every other middle aged white guy he wants lower taxes but can’t be bothered with the details of what that means in practice.

Maybe take up fishing or something if you need a hobby, Chris. There’s more to managing a municipal government than just repeating ad nauseum that you were in the military.

Sandeep Srivastava

Sandeep is the Angry Crowd horse in this race and has a picture on his FB page of himself standing next to Charlie Kirk.

We’ve seen this story before, Sandeep, and it’s not a good one. Non-white guy joins with the good old boys to show that he can hate on blacks and poor people just as much as them so please let me in your club.

Would be nice to have someone from India on the City Council, but this racist windbag isn’t it.

Place 8

Elisa Klein

Elisa is the clear choice here. A thoughtful and highly educated business professional with the intelligence and the energy to do the honest and detailed work of managing a city government. Like Julie Holmer, she didn’t intend to run, but after learning that no one else was going to challenge Rick Smith, felt it was her duty to step up and serve.

Rick Smith

Rick Smith is arguably the nicest and most benign of the Angry Crowd, but like Anthony Ricciardelli, he will vote with them 10 times out of 10. He’s a dinosaur and a coward and he’s got to go.

School Board

Place 1

Lauren Tyra

Dr. Tyra is the clear choice here. She’s like the person in high school or college who somehow always gets the highest score on every exam but never seems to break a sweat and you don’t know how they do it.

If you asked her her secret though, I bet she would tell you it’s just good old fashioned hard work.

Go figure then that she’s literally got a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, and now works in venture capital. Combine all that technical, academic, and financial expertise with a kind heart and desire to serve rooted in compassion, and she is a tremendous gift to our community waiting to happen.

She is the kind of person we want as a longtime public servant with her hand on the wheel of decisions that matter.

Shafik Ben Guesmia

Seems like a well-meaning policy wonk (I mean that as a compliment) with a head for numbers, and who is motivated by frustration with the state’s byzantine education funding system. That’s all laudable, but I don’t see that he has much investment in education generally, and if he has a history of involvement I couldn’t find anything about it.

Semida Voicu

Angry crowd shill who would form a block with sitting Angry Crowd members Heather Wang and Cody Powell in their crusade to divert public money for education into the hands of charter school operators and other grifters.

Also, “small business operator” in her case means Real Estate agent. Nothing against the profession generally, but as with Lily Bao it should raise questions about her motivations.

Place 2

Dayna Oscherwitz

I’ve been reading a lot of interaction on Dayna’s campaign FB page recently, and frankly, Dayna deserves a medal for the way that she artfully interacts with people who come at her with hostility and every manner of idiocy.

This is the kind of person we want to be “in charge” in any situation; benevolent and intelligent in every way.

Also, she is aligned with Jeri Chambers, so again, see comment on Place 6.

Ajikwaga Felli

Seems nice and like he genuinely wants to give back to the community. 

I’m sure he will and already does in many ways, but I don’t think he has the qualifications to be on the School Board at this time.

Angela Powell

Angela is like that friend you have from high school who would do anything for anyone, but who perhaps because of their big heart and passion is susceptible to all kinds of conspiracy theories and has become kind of a train wreck.

She’s definitely the Angry Crowd choice here, but more of a loose cannon than the party-line ideologues she currently aligns with. She’s in it for the right reasons (bless her heart!), but she has no business being on a school board.

Place 3

Nancy C. Humphrey

Nancy is one of the deans of the current board and one of the unsung heroes of our excellent schools. She is the kind of intelligent and wise person that lets you rest assured that things are going to be okay. She has done an excellent job in her tenure thus far on the school board and should stay on it.

Lynn Walling

I love to see a young person stepping up and trying to get involved, and it’s kind of endearing how Lynn has put herself out there in this race, but it’s kind of like a gutsy sixth grader going up against LeBron James. She’s out of her league, and not by a little, but a lot.

Place 6

Jeri Chambers

Jeri is amazing, and if I said how I really felt about her you might wonder if I had a crush on her. She’s smart, funny, elegant, and above all has the heart of a servant who brings all her skills to the table in making our community better for all. In her tenure on the School Board she’s been an ally of sitting member and former board Vice President Stolle (also a mensch), as well as the aforementioned Nancy Humphrey and our excellent superintendent Sara Bonser.

Jeri is a great gift to our schools and our whole community and we would do well to keep her on the school board as long as she is willing to grace us with her presence.

Marilyn Loughray

Marilyn Loughray is certifiably nutty. Like, Jenna Ryan nutty, or Marjorie Green-Taylor nutty. All she has to offer is playing up fears based on Fox News talking points. She is anti-intellectual and in every way the opposite of a person who should be on a school board.

Collin College Board of Trustees

The Collin College Board of Trustees race traditionally has very low turnout, and most people don’t pay it much attention. This time around though, it’s a pretty important race, and given how few people vote in it, one where your vote could make a significant difference.

The basic issue at stake here is the culture war going on between the old guard of good old boys who have been running the place for years, and the collision course they are on with reality. In particular, the college President, Dr. Neil Matkin is a dyed in the wool Right Winger who has increasingly abused his position to push his political ideas, including conspiracy theories about Covid-19, and his love for Trump and that whole scene. Specifically, three professors have been fired in the last year at his and his henchmen’s behest for speaking out against the College’s lackluster response to Covid-19, and in one case, for a personal Tweet mocking Mike Pence.

So, in this race, the clear choice for each position is for the challenger running to unseat the Right-Wing Matkin lackey.

Place 7

Helen Chang

Exactly the kind of educated and passionate professional that should be at the helm of a diverse and dynamic institution like Collin College.

Jim Orr

Don’t know much about him except that he’s a Matkin lackey and team good old boy. Buh-bye!

Place 8

Misty Irby

Misty is team Irby-Jacoby-Chang and she has my vote. She will side with faculty and students  against Matkin, and will be a much needed breath of fresh air on the Board of Trustees.

Bob Collins

Hey Bob, the 1950s called and they wanted their homophobia, sexism, and racism back. So, bye!

And no, we will not remember you fondly. We will remember you as a Matkin lackey without the courage or integrity to stand up against a bully.

Place 9

Jacoby Stewart

Like Misty Irby and Helen Chang, Stewart is exactly the kind of thoughtful, kind, and capable leader you want at the helm of any organization where the well-being of others is at stake. He would be a great replacement for the Right Wing incumbent.

Andy Hardin

Andy seems nice, and maybe cut from a slightly different cloth as dinosaurs Collins and Orr, but like them he lacked the courage or integrity to stand up against a bully when he had the chance. Better luck next time finding your spine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: