Burka Blog

Perry’s Pals, Cont’d. Again

Jul 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

This is the third of four lists of big-bucks and otherwise interesting contributors to the Rick Perry campaign. Donors appear in alphabetical order in the campaign’s filing with the Texas Ethics Commission. This posting encompasses pages 1,001 through 1,500 of a 2,280-page filing. *Anne Marion, art patron…

Chris’s Chums

Jul 20, 2006 By Paul Burka

Chris Bell had 665 campaign contributors. I have not been listing “in kind” contributions for other candidates–donations of airplanes and automobiles, funds expended to host an event, and the like–but because Bell’s largest contribution falls in that category, I will include in-kind contributions for donors who gave at least $5,000.

Perry’s Pals, Cont’d.

Jul 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

Here are more major or otherwise noteworthy contributors to Rick Perry’s reelection campaign, from pages 501-1,000 (of 2,280) from the report filed on July 17 with the Ethics Commission. *Hugh Fitzsimmons, investments, Houston, $10,000. (Former chairman of the Texas Racing Commission.)*Morris Ester, president of Exxon-Mobil Production Co., Houston,…

Time to Unspike?

Jul 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

A few days back, I posted a comment spiking the rumor that Republican nominee Ben Bentzin would abandon his race against Democrat Donna Howard for state representative in Austin’s District 48. Howard won a special election runoff in the spring. Ever since the posting, based on a conversation with…

Perry’s Pals

Jul 18, 2006 By Paul Burka

I’ve been through the first 500 names (of 2,280) on Rick Perry’s campaign finance filing. The list was filed in alphabetical order. Perry had many more small donors than Carole Strayhorn did, and, so far, no contributions that were even in the neighborhood of the $250,000 Strayhorn received from trial…

The Givers

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Before I list the donors who gave at least $25,000 to the Carole Keeton Strayhorn campaign, permit me to tell you a story. Before the 1998 governor’s race, I wrote about the contributors to George W. Bush’s and Garry Mauro’s campaigns. One of Mauro’s contributors was Larry Gatlin of Abilene.

The State of the Race

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

The campaign fundraising deadline is a good occasion to look at the state of the governor’s race. Rick Perry remains the favorite, but a good argument can be made that any of the other three major candidates — Chris Bell, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and Kinky Friedman — could finish second.

Cashing In: The Complaint

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Strayhorn campaign confirms: $3.1 million raised since January 1, $8 million cash on hand. But don’t look for it on the Ethics Commission Web site today. A phone call to the commission elicited the information that “it takes a long time to pull [the electronic filings] over.” If I…

Cashing In: The Sequel

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Quorum Report says that Perry raised $4.7 million and has $10 million in cash on hand. Strayhorn’s report this afternoon will likely show more than $3 million raised and around $8 million in cash.

Cashing In: The Correction

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Thanks to the Bell campaign for explaining that I misunderstood what they told me. Here are the revised figures.Amount raised since the beginning of the year: $1,633,000Amount raised since February 26: $1,313,000Cash on hand: $655,000…

Cashing In: The Update

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

While I wait for the Perry and Strayhorn folks to call, I might as well give you the street talk. Strayhorn will show that she raised somewhere between $2 million and $3 million — a good showing — with support from big-time trial lawyers. Perry will show around $3 million…

Cashing In

Jul 17, 2006 By Paul Burka

Today is an important milestone in the campaign season — the deadline for candidates to file fundraising reports for the period ending June 30. Keep in mind that Perry and Bell, who ran in primaries, had to file reports in late February, so their totals were achieved during a shorter…

Really Uncoordinated

Jul 16, 2006 By Paul Burka

On the posting about Prairie View, readers should know that Prairie View A&M president George Wright is a friend of mine, and his wife, Valerie, is a colleague at TEXAS MONTHLY. They did not approach me about this item. I did discuss it with Valerie , and…

Uncoordinated

Jul 16, 2006 By Paul Burka

Here’s more on the battle between Prairie View A&M and the University of Houston over UH’s attempt to get Co-ordinating Board approval for a branch campus in Northwest Houston at the former Compaq Computer headquarters. The issue is on the Co-ordinating Board’s agenda for July 20. Prairie View…

One Tough Grammar

Jul 16, 2006 By Paul Burka

Should the Texas Federation of Teachers, which has endorsed Carole Keeton Strayhorn for governor, reconsider its choice? The Houston Chronicle quotes Strayhorn as saying, “The Texas Federation of Teachers know I will make sure that the days of underpaying and underappreciating teachers in Texas are coming to…

Untangled Webb

Jul 14, 2006 By Paul Burka

Just talked to Bonilla’s office about the changes to his district in the congressional bipartisan compromise map. To satisfy the Supreme Court’s ruling that the split of Webb County in the Legislature’s 2003 redistricting plan, removing some 100,000 Latinos from his district, violated the Voting Rights Act, Bonilla agreed to…

Tangled Webb

Jul 14, 2006 By Paul Burka

Late news from the redistricting front: The Texas congressional delegation has weighed in with its “bipartisan compromise” plan. This has been in the works for several weeks. I first heard about it a week ago today, when I went to Laredo for a congressional hearing on immigration that was attended…

Lloyd, Have Mercy

Jul 14, 2006 By Paul Burka

I feel as if I’ve officially been initiated into the world of blogging. This morning I rushed to post an item about redistricting plans–my source was good, you’ve gotta believe me. Just wrong. So, here’s the REAL redistricting scoop. Today was the deadline for interested parties to file maps…

Redrawing Henry, Cont’d.

Jul 14, 2006 By Paul Burka

Today is a big day in the redistricting case that centers on Henry Bonilla‘s 23rd congressional district: It’s the deadline for turning in proposed maps to the three-judge federal panel that will draw the ultimate map. The two most important submissions are the leadership map (Perry-Craddick-Dewhurst), which will be…

DeLay (Not Necessarily) DeNied

Jul 13, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Fifth Circuit has granted the Republican Party’s motion to expedite the case involving Tom DeLay’s ballot status in Congressional District 22. The expedited schedule is necessary because the determination of the GOP nominee must be made by late August. The RPT’s brief is due on July 14, the Democrats’…

This Kent Be True!

Jul 13, 2006 By Paul Burka

My perfectly normal day has just been ruined. Bill McKenzie of the Dallas Morning News and I were doing a radio interview about the governor’s race on KERA in Dallas when a caller said she had heard that Rick Perry was going to name Kent Grusendorf, the…

H-Bomb

Jul 13, 2006 By Paul Burka

It’s just an itty-bitty item, number VI.D on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board‘s July 20 agenda, but it’s going to cause a big ol’ fight. The University of Houston wants the Coordinating Board’s approval to purchase the former Compaq headquarters, now owned by Hewlett-Packard, to establish a…

The Not-So-Great Outdoors, Cont’d.

Jul 12, 2006 By Paul Burka

Oh, my goodness: It seems that somebody is actually reading this stuff. See the comment by Art Chapman of the Star-Telegram, who has done great work on the state of the state parks, taking me to task for letting the Legislature off the hook and blaming governor Rick…

DeLay DeNied: Another Update

Jul 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

The Republican Party of Texas has asked the Fifth Circuit to expedite its appeal of Judge Sparks’ ruling enjoining the removal of Tom DeLay’s name on the ballot. Time is of the essence because of deadlines for printing ballots and sending out overseas ballots. August 25 is the deadline for…

Where is the Love?

Jul 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

A late-afternoon letter and accompanying memo from Kay Bailey Hutchison holds out little hope for Jet Blue and Northwest Airlines, both of which have protested the deal to phase out the Wright Amendment that has been agreed upon by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth and American and…

The Joke’s On…

Jul 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

Sometimes it’s better not to open one’s e-mail. Here is what a prominent lobbyist is sending to the Capitol crowd today: “The latest Kinky Friedman telephone poll results on whether or not people in Texas think illegal immigration is a serious problem: “41%: Yes, it is a serious problem.

DeLay DeNied: The Appeal

Jul 11, 2006 By Paul Burka

James Bopp, Jr., attorney for the Republican Party of Texas, explained to me moments ago the RPT’s two grounds for appealing the decision of Federal District Judge Sam Sparks that Tom DeLay’s name must remain on the ballot as the Republican nominee in Congressional District 22. The first is that…

Spiked Rumor No. 2: Shapleigh Ever After

Jul 10, 2006 By Paul Burka

State senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso is NOT in imminent danger of defeat by Republican Dee Margo, a GOP legislator from out that way tells me. Yes, Margo will be well funded, and, yes, he will have the services of the consulting firm formerly headed by Karl Rove,…

Spiked Rumor No. 1: In Like Bentzin

Jul 10, 2006 By Paul Burka

A Republican officeholder who worked hard to elect Ben Bentzin to fill Todd Baxter’s unexpired term in a West Austin legislative district tells me that despite speculation on the Internet and in real time, the former Dell executive will NOT be withdrawing from this fall’s general election race against…

The Not-So-Great Outdoors

Jul 10, 2006 By Paul Burka

Several papers weighed in last week on the sorry state of the state parks system. Here’s what Art Chapman of the Star-Telegram had to say: “Texans are repulsed by the decline in our state parks system and enraged by a Legislature that has turned a blind eye to…

Not Miller Time

Jul 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

No sooner had Laura Miller pulled off her greatest coup as mayor of Dallas — brokering, with her Fort Worth counterpart Mike Moncrief, a deal to end the long impasse over the Wright Amendment — than she announced that she would not run for reelection next year. Normally…

Hearing Loss

Jul 7, 2006 By Paul Burka

If you really want to know how dysfunctional Congress is, I recommend attending a field hearing, in which lawmakers venture out of the safety of the Beltway and into the political wilds of America. I’m in Laredo today for a meeting of the House International Relations Committee’s subcommittee on…

Twenty-Two Skidoo

Jul 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

A friend just called with an intriguing question: What happens if, when the parties to the redistricting suit submit their maps to the three-judge panel next Friday, Attorney General Greg Abbott changes the boundaries of Tom DeLay’s district? Would that force the panel to order new elections in the Twenty-Second,…

DeLay DeNied, Con’t.

Jul 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

Federal District Judge Sam Sparks has permanently enjoined the Republican Party of Texas from replacing Tom DeLay’s name on the ballot as the party’s nominee for election in Congressional District 22. The basis of his ruling is Article 2, Section 2.2 of the U.S. Constitution: “No person shall be…

DeLay DeNied

Jul 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

So the Hammer has to remain on the ballot after all — or at least that’s what U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks says. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, but Democrats should keep the cork in the champagne. The very Republican Fifth Circuit Court well may take the opposite…

Adios, Grandmo

Jul 6, 2006 By Paul Burka

Some days there’s not much to write about except the silly stuff, and there’s nothing sillier than the flap over how the names of the independent candidates for governor should appear on the ballot this November. Carole Keeton Strayhorn’s nickname is NOT “Grandma,” and Secretary of State Roger…

Even Later Word Out of Corpus…

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

A local politician describes the battle between Ortiz Jr. and Noyola as a fight between two Democratic factions: one from Robstown, a political hotbed that is the base of the Ortiz clan, and the other from Corpus’s West Side, a longtime Latino stronghold. Can it really be that the Republicans,…

Late Word Out of Corpus…

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

Both Ortiz and Noyola have announced. Ortiz is claiming the support of 14 precinct chairs. Noyola is said to have between 10 and 15. There are 44 precincts in the district; 23 votes are needed to win. Although Luna had no general election opponent, it now appears that the Republicans…

A Convenient Truth

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

Recommended reading: Robert J. Samuelson’s column in today’s Washington Post. Global warming is one of those issues I know I ought to worry about but don’t for fear I might be tempted to get rid of my Suburban. (Also, I prefer to worry about truly important things, such…

Vilma to Lobby?

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

A conversation with soon-to-be former Representative Vilma Luna did not provide much insight into her retirement; other than the usual comments about wanting to spend more time with her family, the operative expression was, “I’m exploring options in the private sector.” Does that include lobbying? There’s a hot rumor…

He’s Baaaaack

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

Guess who’s behind the president’s seemingly sudden shift on immigration policy? A GOP congressman tells me it’s our old friend Karl Rove, who has been spending much of his time on Capitol Hill lately, trying to sell the president’s guest worker policy. No sale: The response from Republicans, particularly…

Luna Eclipse

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

State Representative Vilma Luna, a Corpus Christi Democrat often at odds with members of her party, has announced she will resign her seat on July 31.Bad news for Tom Craddick?Details to come……

Law and Border

Jul 5, 2006 By Paul Burka

Aren’t members of Congress supposed to bring home the bacon instead of taking it away? Tell that to Houston Republican John Culberson. He successfully amended an appropriations bill to cut off federal crimefighting funds to cities — Houston included — whose local authorities don’t aggressively seek out illegal…

Unmansionable

Jul 4, 2006 By Paul Burka

This morning I came across an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a budget impasse in New Jersey. After shutting down state services, Governor Jon Corzine had called legislators to a summit at “Drumthwacket,” which is the name of the state’s governor’s mansion. Could this be…

Redrawing Henry

Jul 3, 2006 By Paul Burka

So Tom DeLay overreached in congressional redistricting: What a surprise. Give the rascal credit, though. Thirty-one of Texas’ thirty-two districts withstood the scrutiny of the Supreme Court, as did the GOP’s brazen mid-census maneuver. But questions abound about the fate of District 23, whose boundaries will be drawn…

Great White Hope

Jul 3, 2006 By Paul Burka

Everyone, including me, thinks that Houston mayor Bill White will be the Democratic nominee for Texas governor in 2010 — except, perhaps, Bill White. The latest talk around Houston is that White is thinking about taking on U.S. Senator John Cornyn in 2008 instead. It makes sense. The…

That Blog Will Hunt

Jul 3, 2006 By Paul Burka

Welcome to my blog: Those are four words I never expected to write. I enjoy reading blogs as much as the next guy, but I always have the feeling that I am venturing into the wrong side of the journalism tracks — the right side being the MSM. Now I…