There are many people who will try and dispute this. But the facts are, and this is going bare bones minimums, Perry has 35% locked up, Bell has 25% locked up. That leaves 40% between the other three candidates and none of them will get anywhere near enough to beat Perry. Jason Stanford, over at ChrisBell.com, makes the case for why Chris Bell is the only one that can beat Gov. Perry in this blog post, Viability. While the media in Texas is trying to make this race all about money, there is a glaring difference in what they see and what the people are seeing.
As an example there is this article from Saturday’s SAEN, Texas Democrats come up short. It has to do with one topic and one topic only, MONEY. (Why he doesn’t mention Hank Gilbert, I don’t know. When the TTC meetings get to the SA area I’m sure Mr. Davidson will take notice of Hank Gilbert.) Mr. Davidson does a great job of showing how much money all the candidates have, or in the Democratic candidates case don’t have, at this point in the election cycle. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, but is it the only thing that matters in this election?
These Democratic candidates, Chris Bell and David Van Os for over and year, have been and are still going all over the state and to places – like the TTC hearings and rural Texas – that Republicans can’t and won’t show their faces. They are Personally communicating with the people of Texas. While this is going on the Republican candidates are showing up with the country club set and “big money” fundraisers so they can accumulate enough money to communicate to the masses – after the summer, with their slick, Rovian TV commercials – in an attempt to replace the personal contact that the Democratic candidates have fostered over the last year.
There is a perception in Texas, especially in the media, that this race is between Perry and ‘ol What’s Her Name. For one reason and one reason only, MONEY. I don’t buy it. What this shows is that in this election cycle there is an opportunity to have a campaign on this issues instead of the usual sound bite war. If the media would start writing about the issues and not the money race that would help tremendously. But is the media still capable of covering the issues in campaign.Â That would mean actually talking about who is the best candidate and not monetary electablility.Â They’ve been delinquent for so long now it may not be possible for them to do focus on the issues anymore.
With the TTC hearings now moving to South Texas maybe Mr. Davidson will attend a few – like tonight in Beeville or when they get closer to San Antonio later in the week – and get a taste of the anti-incumbency that these meetings are filled with. And make not mistake Gov. Perry and ‘ol What’s Her Name are both incumbents and responsible for our current situation. What this means is that if you want a candidate that is backed by the same money that sponsored the candidates already in office you have two to choose from, Gov. Perry and ‘ol What’s Her Name and only one of them can win and that’s Gov. Perry. (You can see Cintra-Zachry donations here.) If you want a governor that isn’t bought by special interests you have three to choose from and only one of them can win and that’s Chris Bell. Also if you are a “Anyone But Perry” voter the only option you have in Chris Bell.
This post will not change the media’s coverage of the statewide races and is not intended to, but does point out what currently runs our political process and show that there is an opportunity to change this come November.
This weekend Chris Bell, David Van Os, Hank Gilbert, Fred Head, Valinda Hathcox and several other candidates campaigned to save Texas state parks. BOR has this post, But the train don’t run by here no more. Somervell County Salon has the video, VIDEO of the Texas State Railroad Bell- Van Os- Gilbert- Head- Hathcox and others News Conference. Capitol Annex has this wrap up of the media this has created for these candidates across East Texas, Bell’s East Texas Tour Gets Good Press. Here’s an excerpt from the Tyler Morning Press, Bell Slams Governor’s Park Stance.
Bell said that the railroad is just one of the state parks suffering to the brink of closure. Texas ranks 49th in state park funding, and per capita, Texans spend $1.20 on state parks annually, compared to the national average of $7.50.
Money problems have been mounting at state parks for years, forcing Texas Parks and Wildlife to cut park hours and staff and limit maintenance.
Bell said that the Battleship Texas is held together with “tape and Silly Putty,” and that the elevator at the San Jacinto Monument no longer goes all the way to the top.
“Seriously, sometimes the punch line writes itself,” he said.
A panel created to study state park budget woes released a draft report earlier this month, showing that the system needs another $100 million a year just to keep up with current expenses.
Bell argued that Texas taxpayers are already paying for state parks through park improvement bonds, park fees and the sporting goods tax, which has been capped at $32 million by lawmakers. The rest of the revenue collected from the sporting goods tax pays for other state services.
“For every dollar that Texans pay toward the sporting goods tax, less than 20 cents wind up making it here to our state parks,” Bell said. “Now, after years of treating this parks money as nothing more than a slush fund to cover his own incompetence, (Perry) is calling for an additional 10 percent budget cut for state parks.”
He said he is disgusted that Perry and Strayhorn have talked about privatizing state parks.
Bell said raising entrance fees to pay for services that the sporting goods tax is supposed to cover is double tax fraud on the part of Perry and state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, an independent gubernatorial candidate.
“(It’s double tax fraud), whether it’s raising tuition at state colleges, raising the cost of medical care by kicking kids off the CHIP program, or slapping toll plazas on every highway they can find. They aren’t competent enough to balance the budget legitimately and they aren’t honest enough to admit to us when they pass these backdoor tax hikes,” Bell said.
Removing or raising the cap would give the parks money to survive, he said. Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, has worked for years to introduce legislation to lift the revenue cap.
“Perry loves to tell us how proud he is of Texas. I just wish that every once in a while, he’d act that way,” Bell said.
Other Democratic candidates for state offices showed their support for Bell on Saturday, blasting Perry and Sen. Todd Staples of Palestine for allowing the Texas State Railroad to lose funding.
“I’m sick of it,” said Fred Head, Democratic candidate for state comptroller. “I am sick of seeing you folks having to worry every six months on whether you’re going to have a park or not.”
Head urged voters to get rid of Perry and Staples and elect candidates who “remember that elected offices belong to the people.”
I transcribed this part from what Hank Gilbert said about Todd Staples in Palestine:
His Tenure as a representative of the people is over. It’s obvious that he needs to come back home to Palestine Texas, and let the good people of Anderson County reacquaint him with the values and what we’re supposed to stand for in East Texas.
I intend to rid this county and state government, and in particular agriculture, of yet another parasite and political prostitute and send him back to you.
The more I see, hear, and read about Hank Gilbert the more I like . Hank Gilbert just looks like an Agriculture Commissioner as opposed to Todd Staples. I know looks aren’t everything but all Todd Staples wants to do is use the this office as a springboard, Hank Gilbert will do what’s right for agriculture in Texas. That’s a big difference.
The Republicans in the US House are scared. Scared enough that they had to come up with a way to make it look like they were doing something for the people. Well even in that respect there had to be a give-away to the rich. What Am I talking about, well on Friday night, actually early Saturday morning, they attached a minimum wage increase to a bill that would permanently end the Estate Tax. This tax effects 0.3% of Americans and contrary to Republican talking points has never taken away a family farm:
Neil Harl, an Iowa State University economist whose tax advice has made him a household name among Midwest farmers, said he had searched far and wide but had never found a farm lost because of estate taxes. “It’s a myth,” he said.
Even one of the leading advocates for repeal of estate taxes, the American Farm Bureau Federation, said it could not cite a single example of a farm lost because of estate taxes.
Here’s a blurb on what took place late Friday form Results.org:
Early on Saturday, July 29, the House passed an estate tax repeal package by a vote of 230-180. After repeated attempts to pass stand-alone estate tax legislation, House leaders chose to couple this giveaway for the wealthy with an increase in the minimum wage, with hopes of forcing the Senate, which has rejected repeal of the estate tax, to approve the overall package. The Senate voted 57-41on June 8 not to end debate and vote on repeal of the estate tax. The House has now left on recess for the remainder of the summer but the Senate will continue to be in Washington the week of July 31 and could take up the approved House package as early as August 2.
The estate tax is one of the most progressive taxes in our tax code, and its repeal or irresponsible reform would mean $1 trillion in lost revenues over the next ten years. These revenues, when added to the current record budget deficit, could mean cuts to programs that benefit the most vulnerable of our population, such as Head Start, Medicaid, or the Food Stamp Program.
The Democrats did try to pass a bill that was a minimum wage increase and only a minimum wage increase. It was an attempt to get one of those infamous “up-or-down” votes that Republicans are always asking for. Well it failed with only 2 Republicans voting for it. Rep. John Carter voted the CYA party line. This is nothing more than a cynical ploy that House Republicans are hoping will give them cover on this issue for the November elections. They think their constituents are stupid enough to buy this as them supporting a minimum wage increase. Let’s show them how wrong they are.
[NOTE]: The Rusults.org link will help you craft a letter to the editor explaining to about this issue.
I know, like you needed another one.Â But just in case there’s someone out there who needs a reason.Â Kent Grusendorf is rumored to be the next head of the Texas Education Agency is Gov. Perry is reelected. BOR has the story, Grusendorf to head Texas Education Agency?
BOR also has the latest on the 65% “Ruse”.
With all the heat Rep. John Carter got for the comments he made about the Voting Rights Act he figured it was time to start falsely attacking his opponent. (You can see John Carter’s false accusations here and get the facts from Mary Beth Harrell’s here). Today I picked up the July 30, 2006 edition of the Williamson County Sun – yes It’s already on the newsstands – and lo-and-behold what did I see but a letter to the editor denouncing John Carter for his letter filled with false accusations.
New York, New YorkIn a fund-raising letter, John Carter, our incumbent Congressman, calls Mary Beth Harrell, his Democratic opponent in the 31st Congressional District, “a New York lawyer now living in Killeen.” Mary Beth Harrell’s law practice has always been located in Texas. She has lived in Texas since 1987 and received her law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. She is married to a retired military man and has two sons in the Army, one in Iraq.
John Carter is out of touch, poor fellow, and needs to be brought up to date. In case you haven’t heard, John, the Civil War is over. Get with it! While we like to poke fun at New Yorkers, and they at us, New York is no longer the enemy!
When a supposed safe incumbent has to stoop to this kind of tactic, it means that he must think not think he’s very safe anymore. Some of the other comments in his letter in which he made a sad attempt at attacking Mary Beth Harrell’s for her support of military families and her support of the troops in Iraq is shameful. With Mr. Carter saying these kinds of things about his opponent the least he could do is have the decency to debate them with Mary Beth Harrell.
Mary Beth Harrell’s rebuttal letter and this letter to the editor help point out how low John Carter will stoop in this race. They are also examples of what he can expect when does. His false attacks will be met with the facts from Mary Beth Harrell every. The people are tired of Rovian talking points, and are ready for real representation. These tactics have also infuriated veterans, and let’s just say the will be coming to the aid of one of their own, a soldiers wife and mother, in the very near future.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that “Exxon Mobil Corp. reported its second-highest quarterly profit ever, a result likely to intensify political anger at the oil industry at a time when many U.S. consumers are paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline.”
As EOW has previously reported, based on required House personal financial disclosure statements, John Carter owns between 28,621 and 43,604 shares of XOM. The news of Exxon’s staggering profits sent shares of the Irving, Texas, corporation $0.53 higher. That results in a one-day increase in value of between $15,169 and $23,110.
During the 12 months ending June 30, Exxon has earned a net of $39.4 billion. The company is keeping most of that, $36.7 biilion, in the bank as cash on hand. While it is admirable for a corporation to efficiently serve its market, compete fairly and innovate in order to turn a profit, Exxon enjoys tax breaks, freedom from regulatory burden and most likely engages in anti-competitive behavior. The WSJ, true to form, blames critics who only want to punish Exxon for its success:
Exxon stands as the tallest lightning rod for critics who say the oil industry is profiting at consumers’ expense, and parting payments to its former chairman and chief executive, Lee Raymond, have provoked criticism. Exxon officials said they don’t expect the political anger toward the industry to let up soon. Citing coming midterm congressional elections, Kenneth Cohen, Exxon’s vice president for public affairs, said: “It seems as if in some of the tight races some of the candidates are trying to run against us instead of their opponent.”
To protect its tax loopholes, avoid anti-trust and environmental regulators in the years ahead, Exxon needs to spread some of that cash to the campaign funds of its political allies in Washington. Take John Carter, for example. He has already received $1,000 from Exxon’s corporate PAC this campaign cycle, and more is expected in the coming months, as he faces a brisk challenge from Democrat Mary Beth Harrell. According to MoveOn.org:
Since 1990, Big Oil has given more than $190 million to members of Congress and 75% ($142,635,314!) of those donations have gone to Republicans. Those donations guarantee an energy policy that serves the oil industry’s interests over the public interest.
Our dependence on oil and the corporations that bring it to us is why the United States fights in the Middle East. It is why global climate change threatens our very way of life. And it threatens to make those who don’t own Exxon stock into peasants, beholden to the oil lords who hold title to our property and dreams.
Yes, this is a post about how rotten it is that John Carter votes for his own financial interest ahead of the interests of his constituents. To break free of this servitude, however, we must do more than eject all the oily sycophants in Congress. We must face up to our addiction to oil and take immediate, drastic steps to reduce our consumption. How many miles do you drive each month? How fuel efficient are the vehicles you drive? What steps do you take to conserve?
Visuals always help:
AN ESPECIALLY BIG CON: The TTC/Trans-Texas Corridor
(ironically, a “corrida” is a bull fight or bull runâ€”and “bull” is the word!)
In addition to the other tollroad legislation, our current representative, Mike Krusee, orchestrated another huge tollroad schemeâ€”The Trans-Texas Corridorâ€”and the residents of Williamson County are the ones who will be gored!
1. It won’t solve the congestion problem.
The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) is a quarter-mile wide super toll road/railroad swath that is proposed to cross eastern Williamson County. Its location, far east of the major urban areas, will not provide adequate relief for the congestion in the urban areas.
3. It robs farmland.
The land they propose to take for this project is some of the most productive farmland in the world. To construct this toll corridor, under the guise of eminent domain, a massive land grab is proposed which will take large tracts of this fertile farm land from small Texas farmers and give it to private, foreign interests instead (i.e. Cintra). They plan not only to take land for the corridor itself but also adjoining land!
4. It robs jobs.
Taking land for the TTC takes away the means of local Texan livelihood and then blocks the local population out of any benefits. This proposal by TTC supporters, including our current representative, is truly unconscionable. In its reality, the TTC will just be a superconduit to outsource jobs to Mexico…jobs we need HERE and cannot afford to outsource simply to fatten foreign tollroad corporations.
WHAT WILL WORK
We ALL benefit from the goods and services that move through our state, and we ALL are currently paying for our traffic problems with lost productivity (not to mention fatalities, accidents, and stress). Arterial systems in the local urban areas will better address local urban congestion. The traditional way of paying for our roads works. Gas taxes benefit education and do not require more expensive toll roads and the expensive bureacracy to go with them. We must invest directly in our roads and stop the useless waylaying of those funds. The gas tax, which spreads the burden fairly, has not been increased in many years.
We must invest in our roads and our quality of life, not in foreign private firms.
It is time for a change
Elect a representative who will represent Williamson County residents .
VOTE FREEEWAYS – VOTE KAREN
Somervell County Salon (Thatnks to Brains And Eggs for the link) has some great video from Wednesday’s TTC hearing in Temple. The video confirms the update to the yesterday’s post that Mayor Jones was booed. Well, I’m not sure if that’s technically correct, I’d say he was heckled, his speech was interrupted, and the crowd had to be quieted so he could continue. The TDT Reported this about Bell County Judge Jon Burrows, “Several in the audience booed when his name was announced”. While true, his comments were received much better than those of Mayor Jones, and Mr. Burrows received applause when he finished. If you don’t believe me watch the video. I think this is something the citizens of Temple would like to know about. A true account of what happened at the TTC hearing, and their mayor getting feedback from the citizenry. If it wasn’t for this video and the LTE from yesterday who would have ever known, other than the people who were in attendance, that this happened?
There is also video of Mary Beth Harrell‘s rousing testimony at the hearing. She was very well received as opposed to the mayor. When you watch Mary Beth Harrell speak you’ll understand why John Carter’s handlers will not let him on stage with her for a debate.
The Monthly Williamson County Democratic Party Executive Committee Meeting. ALL Democrats are welcome. The meeting is open to the public.
The meeting will be held at 7:00 pm in the McConico Building at 103 Bagdad Ave, Round Rock Texas. The meeting will be held on the first floor, in the Community Room.
103 W. Bagdad Ave.
Round Rock, Texas 78664
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Here’s the article, She’s Her Own Grandma. It’s a great overall history of her life and political career.Â I recommend reading it. While reading this article, until about three-quarters of the way in, it looked like a fluff piece and it was the AusChron priming the pump for a future endorsement of ‘ol What’s Her Name. They may still endorse her but the fluff ended.Â The part where they spoke of her time as Mayor of Austin and then her first party switch, that’s what describes the politician that’s running today. Right or wrong doesn’t necessarily matter so much, just what will get her elected to the next, higher office.Â From supporting an anti-war activist to taking money from James Leininger.Â But that’s pretty much the story of the baby boom generation:
Strayhorn began her political metamorphosis during her tenure as Mayor McClellan, a title she held from 1977 to 1983. Before taking office, she had campaigned for Jeff Friedman, an early voting-rights advocate and anti-Vietnam War activist who was a City Council member before advancing to mayor in 1975. Friedman served one term in the mayor’s seat and then campaigned for Strayhorn, in those times the liberal challenger to conservative candidate Jack McCreary. “My introduction to her was, in part, through her dad,” said Friedman, who recalled meeting her shortly after he graduated from law school, where he had become a huge admirer of Dean Keeton.
Asked whether Strayhorn shared many of her father’s traits, Friedman paused for a moment. “Her bona fides were there, so she may well be similar to him in a lot of different ways,” he said. But there was one noticeable difference between father and daughter, as Friedman considers it now. “His compromises were based on the concept of doing the right thing, as opposed to, how [the compromises] would help him get ahead.” On social issues, at least in the early part of her administration, she remained true to her values. “She never gave us any problem when I was trying to get Brackenridge Hospital to perform abortions,” Friedman said. “And she was very actively oriented toward public input and citizen involvement, which is not too different than how she is now.”
But more than any other decision she made in all her years as mayor, Strayhorn is most remembered as the person who â€“ as former Austin Chronicle writer Robert Bryce phrased it â€“ “nailed us to the Nuke.” As Bryce recounted in a 1998 piece, city voters in 1979, just a few days after the nuke meltdown at Three Mile Island, faced a mayoral race as well as two opposing propositions on the ballot. One proposed that the city should sell its interest in the South Texas Nuclear Project; the other called for keeping the marriage intact by issuing $215.8 million in new debt to continue participating in the Nuke. Strayhorn served as the pro-Nuke cheerleader, taking out an ad in the Austin American-Statesman, one day before the election, that said, “The only way â€“ the only way â€“ to insure that your utility bills will be as low as possible is to vote to stay in the South Texas Nuclear Project.” Voters on both sides turned out in droves, and the majority gave Strayhorn everything she wanted â€“ re-election to another term and a pro-Nuke victory on the propositions. “That has more or less plagued her in the progressive community,” Friedman says. “She was an absolute fan [of the Nuke], and when we had a chance to vote against it, she came out, just after Three Mile Island, with total support, and I think that was poisonous. That pretty much set her off in many people’s minds that she wasn’t a true-blue progressive.”
Her support for the Nuke was a slap, but her switch to the Republican Party, followed by her dramatic shift to the right, confirmed her rift with progressives. “I was just dumbfounded,” Friedman recalls of her transformation. “She never expressed, let alone lived â€“ at least what the public saw â€“ a Republican approach. But I think if you were going to take on a congressman as deeply seated as Jake, she had to do something different.” Still, he says, “I don’t think her dad would have made those choices. He just said what was right. And there are times when she exhibits the same type of greatness.”
With the exception of the Nuke issue, Austin environmental matriarch Mary Arnold largely gives Strayhorn good marks as mayor. “I guess one of my biggest disappointments was when she switched to the Republican Party,” she said. “By then she wasn’t involved in city issues as much, but I’d run into her every once in a while, and we’d have a nice little visit. But am I supporting her? Noooo. I’m sticking with the Democratic Party.”
And then what we’ve seen from her as Comptroller.
It was classic “fiscal conservative” rhetoric, but it also fit a pattern that became characteristic for Strayhorn’s political behavior, the often double-edged swords of her permanent campaign. She would blast the Legislature and the governor for spending too much money â€“ always a dubious charge in a state distinguished by one of the stingiest per capita budgets in the country â€“ and would sternly advocate program “reforms” (for example, to children’s Medicaid) designed to slash rising costs. Then, when those draconian reforms and others like them were duly instituted by the Republican-dominated Legislature and endorsed by Gov. Perry â€“ Strayhorn would blast the Lege and the governor for balancing the budget by cutting children’s health care, or teachers’ pensions, or some other broadly popular program. On one high-profile issue after another â€“ Medicaid, foster care, school vouchers, toll roads â€“ Strayhorn’s critics point to a history of the candidate coming down hard on one side at first, and then later, with a shift in state political winds or her own ambitions, chiming in just as hard from the other. There are plenty of Texas Republicans, Rick Perry among them, who were once stoutly proud Democrats, but Strayhorn â€“ in this current political year a newly metamorphosed Republican “independent” â€“ seems to have raised the state’s turncoat tradition to a new level of expediency.And finally this.
The problem for Texas voters, come November, is that “Grandma” Strayhorn sticks to her rhetorical guns as stubbornly as she sticks to her well-worn script. One on one, she comes across as incredibly friendly, funny, and animated, in a just-us-girls yakkin’ kind of way. But when she leans in and stares intently into your eyes as though she’s going to wander off that script and actually say something, anything, that she hasn’t already said literally thousands of times before … she’ll grab a sound bite out of her mental database and declare â€“ “I run with the people!” or “This governor has [fill-in-the-blank outrage]” â€“ or toss out a quote from Sam Houston before the battle of San Jacinto: “We are nerved for the contest and must conquer or perish.” She inevitably follows that solemnly with “I, too, am nerved for the contest.” Carole Keeton Strayhorn, Grandma for Governor, has certainly been at the state political game quite long enough to persuade Texans that she is more than sufficiently “nerved for the contest.” What they still may not be clear on is precisely what sort of governor they’ll get, should she win.
So anyone thinking of voting for her has to ask themselves, can someone who always chooses what’s best for her politically over what’s right be trusted as the governor to do what’s right and not what is best for her politically? No biggie, It’s only your family farm, foster care, public schools, and health care just to name a few issues that depend on it.
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