Why Did It Fail? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/7/2007-Smith Co.

Why Did It Fail?

The decision twenty percent of Smith County residents made last night will affect East Texans for years to come. 20,500 people voted on the jail bond. A resounding 69% of those said no to this proposed bond package and that it wasn't what they wanted.

So Tuesday night, we asked Judge Baker why he believes voters didn't support this plan.

"I can't answer that question. I know that this is the best plan. We have worked very diligently with the task force of citizens who have volunteered their time, with the best experts in across the nation," said Smith County Judge Joel Baker.

In light of the that response we wanted to take that question you: Why do you think the proposed jail bond did not pass?

 "I wish I could live in a 125 million dollar place with a a thousand beds," said Gary Gilmore, who voted against it. "I just think it is too much money for what we are building."

"I don't think the high rise concept works because twenty years from now we may be in the same situation we are now," said Todd Hyde, who also voted against the bond package. "I think it was a blank check at this point."

"Those pay raises. It was certainly not a good time to hear about those. I think it was irresponsible of them," said Pam Franzen, who actually voted for the proposal because she felt the longer we wait the more expensive it would get.

"I wouldn't spend a bunch of money for a nice jail like that," said Smith County Resident Will Doran.

 "I just couldn't see spending that money on a jail and convicts when my child goes to high school here and the high school needs so many updates. They need a new high school,  it looks terrible," said Melanie Vance, who voted against the proposal.

Finally we wanted to hear from the man who perhaps will be most affected by this failed proposal: longtime Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith. We asked him the same question: why did this fail and who do you hold responsible?

"I don't think there was any one reason. I think there were a lot of reasons. The public was uncomfortable with the plan," said Sheriff Smith. "I don't know if you can hold anyone in particular responsible. Ultimately it is the commissioners courts full responsibility for the building location of the facility itself and the public wasn't comfortable with that. What the court has to do is regroup and try again."

Now it's your turn. Let us know why you think the jail bond didn't pass. The question is on the homepage of kltv.com right now.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

 

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