"I can't breathe!"
It was with genuine horror that we, the property owners of Cherokee County, watched that video of George Floyd lying on the pavement, arms tied behind his back and the knee of the police officer choking him to death for over nine minutes without help or relief from other officers.
I can understand the need for protests (nonviolent without looting and violence against the police) to bring this issue before the people.
"I can't breathe!"
The words of us, the property owners of Cherokee County (I have been told that only about 25 percent of the individuals who live in the county are property owners) as we lay on the payment, with our arms tied behind our backs, while the knee of the County Appraisal District on our necks chokes us until we lose our property to taxes.
We are becoming an extinct species in this county.
Who will protest for us? Who will stand up and demand a change in the (prejudice) against those of us who have worked our whole lives to obtain our homes and property? Who will feed the people of Cherokee County when all the small farms and ranches are gone? Will only the elite rich own property? Will we revert to being tenants on our own property? Will we be unable to pass down our homes and farms and ranches to our children because they will be unable to afford taxes to maintain ownership? When does it stop?
How do we protest? How do we stop it? Who is in control? The appraisal board tells us they don't set the tax rates.
The County Commissioners and school board tell us they don't set property values. Convenient – no one is responsible for the rape of property owners in this country.
I don't know the answers to these questions. I do know that the protests we are seeing on television are effective due to the thousands of individuals involved in the process.
It will require all of us together to put an end to this madness.
Let me make the following suggestions:
1. Protest your appraisal values to the County Appraisal Board – not the workers at the appraisal office. Fill out your protest form and request a hearing time. Request that the hearing evidence package and land sales data be sent to you by First Class mail two weeks before the hearing. It is your right. Study the information and do some homework on appraisal values around you.
2. Contact elected officials and hear it from their own lips that there is nothing that can be done to correct the situation, and remember those words in upcoming elections.
3. Contact the governor and your state representative and senators and demand legislation to change the process. Don't accept just lip service, but hold them accountable to genuine, positive changes in how our appraisals and taxes are calculated in Texas. VOTE!
4. Google articles on how to protest your appraisal values – lots of good information on the internet.
Finally, this will require time and energy on our part as property owners, and most likely we will face disappointment and failure against a governmental bureaucracy that has grown into an out-of-control monster.
Got to start somewhere!
Jack David Capps,
Editor’s note: Property owners have until June 29 to protest valuations before the local Appraisal Review Board.