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DEWHURST: SPECIAL SESSION TO BE APRIL 17th
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 02:24 PM

txdome.jpgIt appears mid-april will be a busy time.  According to a member in attendance, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told the Houston Kiwanis Club today that he expects Gov. Perry to call a special legislative session to address education finance on April 17th.  Of course, Gov. Perry may get peeved that Dewhurst broke the news first and move it.

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LAWN SCALPING TIME AND THE CITY IS READY
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 01:49 PM

Dallas residents can dispose of bagged grass clippings March 15 through April 15 by marking bags with special use tags. The program is designed to aid Dallas residents who scalp their lawns each spring in the disposal of grass clippings. Scalping is a landscaping practice that involves cutting grass very close to the ground.

The tagged collection service was authorized in response to citizen requests for a spring “scalping” collection period. Tags cost $1.50 each and can be purchased through April 3, 2006, by calling the City’s non-emergency number, 3-1-1, or logging onto the City’s Web site, www.dallascityhall.com. Charges will appear on water bill statements. Cash purchases can be made at the Sanitation Services Department, 3112 Canton Street, 2nd floor, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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SHARP SEES NO SALES TAX, RELEASE OF 1 BILLION FROM SURPLUS
by Brian Bodine    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 12:37 PM

John Sharp's Tax Commission has reached a preliminary consensus on what recommendations to make to the Legislature later this month. According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, they include lowering the current tax rate of $1.50 per $100 by 50 cents, using gross receipts for businesses affected by the franchise tax, an increase in the state cigarette tax, and -most importantly-  using 1 billion of the state surplus to buy down property taxes.

Sharp believes that adopting the Commission's anticipated recommendations would preclude the need to raise the state sales tax, which is already 6.25 percent - one of the highest in the nation.   

 Click here to read DMN story

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ONE DOWN, NINE TO GO
by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 11:44 AM

The Boys in Blue from the southwest division captured overnight one of the Dallas Police Department's 10 most wanted.

Props.

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ONE LITTLE ADD ON
by Trey Garrison    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 11:23 AM

The daily has an admittedly interesting feature today (registration required) on longtime Dallas politico and current planning commission head Betty Culbreath.

Despite much detail, it doesn't mention her most current lawsuit. Back in May 2005, cops tracked a bad guy down to a Wal-Mart in Cedar Hill. The bad guy pulled a gun and police shot him. Ms. Culbreath ducked for cover and injured her knees. So naturally, she's suing ...Wal-Mart.

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PANHANDLE WILDFIRES BLAZE HIGHER
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 01:57 AM

wildfire.jpg

Panhandle wildfires that have consumed nearly 1 million acres of land and taken 11 lives raged on today.  Full reports are available without registration at KFDA Ch 10KVII Ch 7,  and KAMR Ch 4.  The Amarillo Globe News requires registration.

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REPORT: SPEAKER CRADDICK'S ALLIES SUFFER STINGING DEFEATS
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 01:25 AM

Glenn Smith is a former political operative, author and liberal activist who heads an organization called the Texas Progress Council.  He also has a Web site and Blog called DriveDemocracy.org that seeks to be to Texas what moveon.org has been to national liberal efforts.  Today his Texas Progress Council released a report detailing the fate of Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick's closest supporters.  Whatever Smith's politics the facts of his report cannot be disputed.

The Report notes that in 2004 four Democratic committee chairs who supported the Speaker were defeated in primary elections; 2 Republican chairs were defeated for re-election in the 2004 general election while one more was beaten for higher office; in 2006 two Craddick allies and Republican committee chairs, including Education Committee chairman Kent Grusendorf were beaten in GOP primaries; in 2006 two more Republicans were defeated for higher office after serving as Craddick appointed committee chairs; in 2006 two GOP committee chairs barely made the GOP runoff and may yet be defeated; in 2006 three Craddick committee chairs retired; and finally three more Republican committee chairs barely won reelection.

Committee chairmen are appointed by the Speaker and are expected to give full loyalty to the Speaker.  Usually, serving as a committee chairman is a good credential for seeking re-election.  While Smith offered no comparison with past Democratic Speakers the report does make a point that loyalty to Speaker Craddick seems to carry a high price.

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WILLIE SAYS GETS KINKY
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 01:13 AM
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Willie Nelson
Would-be independent candidate for Texas governor Kinky Friedman announced today that Willie Nelson would cut a radio ad urging Texans to sign the songster's petitions to get on the Texas ballot this fall.  Nelson will reportedly also plug biofuels.
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SANCHEZ SIGNS UP FOR STRAYHORN
by Scott Bennett    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 01:06 AM
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Tony Sanchez
Carol Strayhorn's campaign announced today that the 2004 Democratic nominee for governor, Tony Sanchez, had signed her petition to get on the Texas ballot as an independent along with former Speaker of the House Rayford Price.  The Strayhorn claims it is off to a roaring start in collecting signatures for ballot access.  The signatures say much about why Strayhorn decided to run as a "Republican/Independent."  Democrats like Sanchez and Price have influence with a general election audience, but would have a negative impact in a GOP Primary.
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BARDOT SEEKS TO SAVE CONVICTED TEXAS KILLER
by Special to DallasBlog.com    Thu, Mar 16, 2006, 12:58 AM
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Bridget Bardot circa 1958
KWTX Channel 10 in Waco is reporting that none other than one-time French film star Bridgette Bardot has sent a letter to President Bush asking that he intervene to save convicted killer Farley Matchett from executioner.  She has asked Bush to use his influence to get Matchett a new trial.  Matchett was convicted of a Houston robber murder in 1991 and is awaiting a date for execution. 
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