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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