Culture clash fallout in all-or-nothing election

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George Potter backed the wrong slate, spent six days in jail, and opted for the immediate sale of his house in town after the ordeal

Valley Mills, TX – When they came to arrest George Potter, they caught him at the filling station, the place where a lot of men go to kaffe klatsch and do business.

The officers carried five identical arrest warrants issued by the municipal court, each dated August 9 and specifying a vague charge dealing with “safety of buildings.”

After a six-day stay in the Bosque County Jail at Meridian, Potter was required to return to the county seat at Meridian to get copies of the vague legal instruments used to incarcerate him over a piece of inherited property, a house in town in need of repair.

It’s that way in this culturally divided town on the McLennan County line, a garden spot on the river at the tail end of a beautiful valley, the kind with low-ranging rocky mounts on either side and a railroad running through it, stands of oaks and pecans and sycamores.

For Potter, the hammer came down more than a year after the election that returned the town’s power structure to its position of command and control after an openly gay reform mayor presided  for a term over a divided council amid forensic audits that showed the public had been bilked in the big time with shady accounting of where the money came from, why, but not much detail on where it went.

“I stood up for Jerry and backed him regardless of his sexual orientation. Guess that was unforgivable or maybe I ‘betrayed’ my own kind as a straight white male. F___ if I know at this point…I knew the retaliation was coming the second I heard that Jerry lost. It was only a matter of time,” said Potter.

As it turned out, the leader of the opposition, a Baptist preacher, said Potter, was at the bottom of the plot to make him sell his house.

“Church next door has wanted the lot for years for a parking area. The preacher of that church was in that Children of God cult years ago and led the attack against Jerry Pierce when he ran for re-election as mayor.”

A few days in the jail, which the state commission on jail standards has long ago declared substandard and condemned, made Potter change his mind, or at least become less adamant about the issue.

“We worked the deal out during visitation hours at the jail. I signed the contract in my cell. And I got back what I paid, which was $8,000. Then had to pay a $3,000 judgement to the neighbor who sued me after he went in and pushed a bunch of trash and junk over from his side to my side. He is a former Waco K9 cop who had to quit because he got too fat. Property was worth double that if not more as it sat.”

Potter says the new owner is trained in structural engineering. Far from wishing to tear the house down to make way for a parking lot, “New owners have started working already. Plans are to apply for a historical marker.”

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One of the five identical, non-specific warrants served ex-post-facto

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