UT (nervously) awaits next batch of Perry regents

From a statement by the Texas Exes, the university's alumni association:

The terms of three distinguished members of The University of Texas System Board of Regents expired this past Friday. These appointments will be made by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

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If the new regents are anything like the last group, the appointments could set off another firestorm of criticism of Perry's governance of the university. Perry's most recent appointees opposed many of the goals of the university, including its commitment to research. The university has been in turmoil ever since Perry named Gene Powell as regents' chair, and Powell promptly made statements to the effect that UT doesn't need to produce a "Cadillac education," an old-fashioned Chevy Bel Air would be just fine.

Perry and Abbott: deal or no deal?

If so, what is it?

Brad Watson of WFAA-TV in Dallas made big news with his report of a potential deal between Perry and Abbott. From the station's website:

In an exclusive WFAA interview Wednesday, [Jan. 31] Gov. Rick Perry said Attorney General Greg Abbott has told him he won't run against him in next year's GOP primary should the incumbent seek reelection.

 Of course, just a few hours later, the story was updated to include a statement from Abbott’s spokesman, Eric Bearse:

A spokesman for Abbott's campaign issued a statement saying he wasn't familiar with any such deal, and called any speculation about the attorney general's political future "unproductive." 

"Gov. Perry and Gen. Abbott are close friends, and talk frequently," wrote Abbott's spokesman Eric Bearse in the statement. "I am not going to comment on private conversations I am not privy to. General Abbott is focused on taking care of the business of Texas, and political speculation right now is unproductive. The time for politics is after the legislative session.

There is only one scenario that makes sense. Perry has told Abbott that he is not running for a fourth term. There is no deal. Abbott would not defer to Perry when the AG has enough money to win a primary in his campaign account, while Perry's fundraising has been anemic by comparison. The rest is theater: Perry can save face by saying Abbott promised not to run against him, and Perry can still pretend that he can win another term (which he can't).

The Trouble With the Enterprise Fund

Governor Perry's decision to fund the opening of a new Charles Schwab office in El Paso (and another in Austin) is a classic example of what is wrong with the governor's economic development funds. Charles Schwab is a national firm that needs no subsidy from the state to succeed. The issue with these grants ought to be whether the firm getting state funds needs the money to be successful. In the case of Schwab, the answer is clearly no.

The Perry Legacy: Richard Hyde Responds

In the July issue of the magazine, several writers—myself included—assessed the legacy of Governor Perry. One of the stories reviewed eight critical areas Texas Monthly believes the governor is responsible for, and we gave him a letter grade for each. Some readers thought we were too harsh, and some thought we were too kind. We have also heard from many prominent and respected members of state agencies, including Richard Hyde, the executive director of TCEQ. Our writers gave the governor a D+ for the environment, which Hyde strongly disagrees with. We appreciate his response, and I have posted it in full below:

Dear Texas Monthly,

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) takes issue with a number of inaccuracies in a story entitled, “The Perry Report Card,” in the July Texas Monthly issue, specifically those in “The Environment” segment.

To support the conclusions made in your assessment of Texas’ environmental record under the tenure of Governor Perry, Texas Monthly relied more on conjecture than statistical analysis, which proves Texas has made important and significant progress protecting air and water quality.  To provide appropriate context for your readers, who after reading your report card may be under the false impression that Texas is somehow substandard and that the reduction of TCEQ’s budget resulted in a reduction of environmental protection, I offer the following examples of our progress:

Bill Powers's Exit

UT president Bill Powers has been under pressure from UT regents for months, if not years, but the outcome of the debate over his future is now clear. Powers was the winner, and Rick Perry was the loser.

Powers got everything he wanted:

Your Friends and Contributors

The list of recipients of Emerging Technology Fund grants in particular is replete with Perry's longtime friends and campaign contributors. The Dallas Morning News has reported on who received some of these grants, and have contributed large sums to his campaigns. The list includes:

•$2.75 million to Terrabon Inc., a Houston company. Its backers have included Phil Adams, a college friend of Perry's who has given his campaign at least $314,000.

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