When at a meeting in Cleveland, Melvin Hunt referred to three commissioners, Fitzgerald, Lee Groce and Todd Fontenot, as “members of the evil empire” and two members, which included himself and Norman Brown, as “two of the good guys,” everyone in the room should have pulled their breeches up knowing he was filling the room up with verbal manure.
Commissioner Hunt has long been the voting partner of former Commissioner Lee Groce. That is a fact and not debatable among those whom have attended court the last two decades. But Hunt faces re-election, while Groce faces a possible prison sentence. Even though Groce is reported to have cut a deal with the feds, Hunt still feels a need to try and cut a deal with voters. His deal evidently is that in the post Groce and Fitzgerald era, he will distance himself by re-writing history and therefore save the Cleveland area some of the embarrassment they may feel by having a commissioner who has slipped by five Grand Juries by the hair on his chinny chin chin.
But Hunt goes much further than asking his community to ignore the fact that he and Groce scratched each other’s back and cut deals to get what they wanted. He hopes to use his speaking opportunity in Cleveland to launch a new image. He spun himself last week as someone who hoped that the cuts in county spending would have be more than the recent budget. He ties himself to the one proven conservative on the court, County Judge Craig McNair. But Hunt has been one of the biggest proponents of spending money we don’t have for many many years. He has used the commissioner’s ability to create bonded indebtedness time and time again through the years.
Commissioner Hunt has been in a unique position in the last ten years to have stopped the runaway spending, but he has done just the opposite. He has declared in public for years that the roads in his precinct are the best in the county, but instead of using his strong position to stand against unnecessary spending, Hunt has used bartered to allow others money for their roads if his budget was increased also.
Hunt has been the epitome of a tax and spend Democat, but he obviously has noticed taxpayers are voting his kind out of office. So he is re-casting himself as something other than what he has been. He has even twice set a date to switch political parties and act like he is a Republican. The same party he has spent a lifetime denigrating. He is even trying to tie himself to Commissioner Norman Brown even though Brown’s conversion to the Republican party has not been accepted by many Republican activists because of similar patterns of wheeling and dealing and ignoring the best interest of taxpayers.
Commissioner Hunt is desperate to find votes in a community that has rejected his old worn out type of politician. Hunt could have been more careful with taxpayer dollars over the years and he wasn’t. Hunt could have joined the Republican party when he saw which direction Barack Obama was taking this country. But Hunt continues to resist any change in actions and continues to hope political deception will keep him in office. He can call his old buddies part of an “evil empire” but anyone that keeps up with commissioners’ court knows his name is called when they are calling roll in that empire.