Democrat Dallas County Commissioner Court Judge Clay Jenkins has stepped in it multiple times during this pandemic lockdown. Not only has he taken the opportunity to exert his will over the people to the point where the rest of the court voted to strip him of his unilateral power during this crisis, he also used it as an opportunity to bash people and businesses he just doesn’t like.
One of those businesses is the craft store Hobby Lobby.
Hobby Lobby stayed open after the lockdown of “nonessential” businesses began, making the case that the store sold all the necessary items allowing you to make masks for yourself and others. Jenkins sent law enforcement to shut down Hobby Lobby locations, and forced patrons out of the store without allowing them to finish shopping.
As Jenkins is wont to do, he made a show of being a tough guy on Twitter and encouraging Dallas County residents to snitch on any business like Hobby Lobby trying to stay open at this time.
Do you know of any smoke shop,craft store or other non essential business (not covered by @CISAgov ) ignoring my #SaferAtHome order and putting profits over public health in your area? Report on https://t.co/uERysAqFAr so we can shut them down ASAP. #FlattenTheCurve
— Clay Jenkins (@JudgeClayJ) April 2, 2020
Fast forward to last week and it would appear that Jenkins didn’t learn his lesson about abusing power, and what’s more, Hobby Lobby is well within “I told ya so” territory.
Last Thursday, Jenkins issued an order that if people are going to be out and about, they have to wear masks or else they would run afoul of the law and may be forced to pay up to $1,000 in fines.
It’s a silly law to pass considering that finding masks aren’t exactly easy at this time, and would only become more difficult due to the fact that Dallas county residents would be rushing out to buy them just so they could do something as crucial as run to the store for groceries. Why this wasn’t thought of by Jenkins hasn’t been made clear.
What’s more, apparently the fact that Jenkins had his unilateral powers stripped from him by unanimous vote didn’t get through to him. His order about masks was sudden and the council had to call an emergency session in order to deal with it. Oddly enough, it came not too long after Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced his place to get Texans back to work as soon as possible. As Jenkins seems to have it out for Abbott…
…it seems like this mask move was politically motivated with the intent to make it seem like Jenkins was trying to preemptively put out a fire Abbott was supposedly starting.
Regardless, the rest of the Dallas County Commission wasn’t pleased about Jenkins sudden move and voted 3-2 to not only kill many of the punishments for not wearing a mask, they also voted to reopen Hobby Lobby so that residents could get the materials to craft their own as Hobby Lobby had intended from the beginning.
According to KRLD, normally county commission votes go down party lines, but Jenkins managed to anger even the Democrats on the council. Democrat John Wiley Price united with Republican J.J. Koch on Jenkins’ failure to give ample time to talk the rule over.
According to Dallas News, Price criticized the mask order as nonsensical:
During Friday’s fiery meeting, commissioners again cited concerns that Jenkins was not communicating with them. Jenkins did notify commissioners of the mask order the day before, though some commissioners felt they should have had more input.
Price, who had criticized the mask order Thursday night, said implementing it made no sense unless it was part of a larger plan to get the county back to normal. He added that the order as written sent mixed messages to the public.
“All of a sudden we come up with a knee-jerk reaction because everyone else is doing it,” Price said.
The end result is that Hobby Lobby was right to stay open in the first place and Jenkins was out of line. He put his politics over the people which appears to be a bad habit of his. It’s bad enough that his fellow commissioners are continuously having to rein him in.