Transparency

Does JPS Have a Plug-Pulling Problem?

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A medical director at Tarrant County’s John Peter Smith Hospital has allegedly been pulling the plug on patients she deems worthy of death, without family consent or an ethics panel decision, in violation of state law. Sources tell Direct Action Texas there are numerous patients who have fallen victim to this doctor’s plug-pulling habit in the past year.

State statute outlines a clear process for hospitals to follow for end of life decisions. There are three ways to legally terminate care.

  • Have the family (guardian) grant consent. This is the most difficult decision a family member can face.
  • In the absence of family consent, an ethics panel of medical professionals must make the decision. This is a 12-day process. The family must first be notified 48 hours prior to the panel convening. Then, if the panel decides to terminate care, the family must be given a 10-day notice before the decision is carried out.
  • A doctor can terminate care if they determine the patient to be medically “brain dead.” This is a slippery slope as the medical community does not have a clear consensus on the definition of brain dead. There are, however, several tests that can be used to make this diagnosis.

Sources have told Direct Action Texas that patient’s lives have been ended without family consent, a decision of the ethics panel, or any testing to determine the patient was brain dead or any indication of that assertion. This doctor is allegedly skipping all three steps and taking it upon herself to make the final decision to pull the plug. Read More

TEC Rules In Favor of DAT’s Complaint Against Catherine Goodman

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The Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) has affirmed Direct Action Texas’ complaint against Catherine Goodman, former candidate for Tarrant County Probate Court 1.  DAT filed the complaint when we noticed that Goodman had accepted $5,000 over the limit set by the Judicial Fairness Act from a married couple. (For the original article on the complaint click HERE.)

The married couple in question are Dyann and Jere McCully. Dyann McCully is an attorney and a partner at the Blum Firm.  According to their website, they are “the largest estate planning firm in Texas and the largest boutique firm in the United States solely dedicated to estate planning.” McCully and her firm would certainly benefit from a friendly Probate Court Judge.

In her Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, Goodman admits to accepting the contributions, but “swore that she did not accept the contributions knowing they were in excess of the limits.” Goodman also claims that her first knowledge of the violation was DAT’s article. This may be true, but ignorance of the law is not a good habit for a lawyer, and especially not someone seeking to become a judge.

Goodman has allegedly returned the $5,000 contribution and the TEC will not assess a civil penalty. Goodman’s former opponents could still pursue civil damages, however.

Once again DAT has illustrated the importance of constant vigilance. The limitations of the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act are well known but the TEC will not act unless someone files a complaint. Candidates as well as elected officials must be held accountable.

Keller ISD – Swap and Drop or Bait and Switch?

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Keller ISD again is coming to voters asking to increase the tax rate above the max allowed. Apparently, the massive bond money, revenue increases from unprecedented home valuation increases, and long term budget deficits are not enough to cover an apparent inability to spend within their means. They are now planning a tax rate increase so large that it requires taxpayers to vote themselves a larger property tax bill than what we should have to pay. Remember when they did this a few years ago? Voters overwhelmingly said no and then the district punished the voters by limiting bus services.

Over the last several years, the taxpayers in Keller ISD have continued to realize ever increasing and over burdensome property tax increases due to a number of factors.

1. Bonds burdening the district with over $1 billion of debt
2. Long term budget deficits
3. Significant home valuation increases and,
4. Most significant, a school board unwilling to decrease the I&S tax rate so that taxpayers would see little to no increases in their tax bill.

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State Law: Separation of Campaign and State

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According to Facebook photos, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks’ campaign appears to be using county vehicles for campaign purposes.

The photos show Brooks’ Executive Assistant, Leon Polk, driving and posing with a county vehicle with campaign signs attached. We know that one was used in the 2018 MLK Day Parade in Downtown Fort Worth. The other, based on the date and location of the photo, was presumably used in the 2016 Juneteenth celebration. All elected officials should know that anything publicly funded cannot be used for campaigning. Elected officials must separate campaign and state–public resources cannot be used for campaign purposes.

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