Burka Blog

Politics & Policy |
July 20, 2006

Perry’s Pals, Cont’d. Again

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

Politics & Policy |
July 20, 2006

Chris’s Chums

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.

Politics & Policy |
July 18, 2006

Perry’s Pals, Cont’d.

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, $3,500

Politics & Policy |
July 18, 2006

Time to Unspike?

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

Politics & Policy |
July 18, 2006

Perry’s Pals

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

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

The Givers

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.

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

The State of the Race

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.

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

Cashing In: The Complaint

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

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

Cashing In: The Sequel

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.

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

Cashing In: The Correction

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

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

Cashing In: The Update

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

Politics & Policy |
July 17, 2006

Cashing In

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

Politics & Policy |
July 16, 2006

Really Uncoordinated

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

Politics & Policy |
July 16, 2006

Uncoordinated

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

Politics & Policy |
July 16, 2006

One Tough Grammar

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

Politics & Policy |
July 14, 2006

Untangled Webb

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

Politics & Policy |
July 14, 2006

Tangled Webb

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

Politics & Policy |
July 14, 2006

Lloyd, Have Mercy

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

Politics & Policy |
July 14, 2006

Redrawing Henry, Cont’d.

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

Politics & Policy |
July 13, 2006

DeLay (Not Necessarily) DeNied

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’

Politics & Policy |
July 13, 2006

This Kent Be True!

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

Politics & Policy |
July 13, 2006

H-Bomb

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

Politics & Policy |
July 12, 2006

The Not-So-Great Outdoors, Cont’d.

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

Politics & Policy |
July 11, 2006

DeLay DeNied: Another Update

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

Politics & Policy |
July 11, 2006

Where is the Love?

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

Politics & Policy |
July 11, 2006

The Joke’s On…

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.

Politics & Policy |
July 11, 2006

DeLay DeNied: The Appeal

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

Politics & Policy |
July 10, 2006

Spiked Rumor No. 2: Shapleigh Ever After

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,

Politics & Policy |
July 10, 2006

Spiked Rumor No. 1: In Like Bentzin

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

Politics & Policy |
July 10, 2006

The Not-So-Great Outdoors

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

Politics & Policy |
July 7, 2006

Not Miller Time

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

Politics & Policy |
July 7, 2006

Hearing Loss

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

Politics & Policy |
July 6, 2006

Twenty-Two Skidoo

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,

Politics & Policy |
July 6, 2006

DeLay DeNied, Con’t.

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

Politics & Policy |
July 6, 2006

DeLay DeNied

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

Politics & Policy |
July 6, 2006

Adios, Grandmo

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

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

Even Later Word Out of Corpus…

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,

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

Late Word Out of Corpus…

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

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

A Convenient Truth

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

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

Vilma to Lobby?

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

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

He’s Baaaaack

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

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

Luna Eclipse

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…

Politics & Policy |
July 5, 2006

Law and Border

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

Politics & Policy |
July 4, 2006

Unmansionable

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

Politics & Policy |
July 3, 2006

Redrawing Henry

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

Politics & Policy |
July 3, 2006

Great White Hope

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

Politics & Policy |
July 3, 2006

That Blog Will Hunt

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