The General Investigating and Ethics and Criminal Jurisprudence Committees of the Texas House have just issued their reports on the City of Dallas’s public nuisance ordinance. It is scathing. In the report, the Committee clerks are directed to refer employees of the Dallas City Attorney’s office to the State Bar of Texas for disciplinary action. The charge is that the City Attorney’s office initiated an internal affairs investigation against a police officer who wrote a letter in favor of a business accused of being a public nuisance.
The charges made against the City in this report are serious and should give every resident of Dallas pause. It’s disturbing reading.
Rep. Charlie GerenRepublican State Representatives Bill Keffer, Jodie Laubenberg, Bill Zedler, Mary Denny, and Linda Harper-Brown endorsed West Point graduate and retired Lt. Col. Christ Hatley in his campaign to oust incumbent Representative Charlie Geren from office in a heated Republican primary in Tarrant County.
The area legislators are key members of the conservative coalition in the Texas House of Representatives. Their endorsement of Hatley, Geren’s conservative challenger, comes only days after the Speaker of the House Tom Craddick endorsed the re-election bid of Representative Geren. Geren is viewed by conservative legislators – and conservative activists in his district as more of a "Republican of convenience" – who (they maintain) switched parties in order to get elected.
While Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Speaker Craddick have endorsed Geren’s candidacy, the decision by conservative legislators to break ranks with Craddick and endorse Geren’s opponent suggests that Craddick may be losing some of his influence over the rank and file members of the Republican majority in the House.
Tarrant County is the scene of two of the most significant Republican primary races in the state this year. Conservative incumbent and Chairman of the House Education Committee, Kent Grusendorf, is trying to withstand a major challenge from Diane Patrick. Patrick has the strong backing of the education lobby.
Meanwhile, conservative challenger Chris Hatley (who has received major financial backing from conservative businessman James Leninger) is hoping to unseat Charles Geren. The incumbent is backed by the education lobby, and many of the Austin business lobbyists also are helping Geren’s re-election bid.
We will know the outcome of both these races next Tuesday evening.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has gotten North Texas lawmakers to stand down and see if Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief can work out a solution to the Wright Amendment.
In a written statement to DallasBlog, Mayor Miller said:
"The Dallas City Council will vote on our resolution, which asks Congress to take no action on the Wright Amendment between now and Oct 1 while the two cities negotiate, next Wednesday, March 8. The City of Dallas is eager to work with Fort Worth to find a solution to this problem, and because the working relationship between the two cities is a good one, chances are high that this will be a successful endeavor."
"Mayor Moncrief and I will continue meeting and talking on a regular basis, which we have been doing for weeks, and the substance of our talks will be reflective of what our two City Councils believe should happen with our respective aviation assets."
A new Rasmussen poll finds that 23% of all Americans believe you would have to spend at least $50,000 to influence a member of Congress. That nothing, 9% think it will take $100,000 and 18% think it will take more than that. Still, Rasmussen found that 56% oppose public funding for campaign.
A Republican primary candidate is denying allegations by his opponent’s campaign that he broke federal election law by having bottles of barbeque sauce mailed to potential voters.
Amir Omar sat down with the DallasBlog to discuss allegations made by the Wilson Aurbach for Congress campaign. Omar and Aurbach are running in the congressional District 30 Republican primary, along with Fred Wood. The winner will face longtime Democratic incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson.
According to a press release from the Aurbach campaign, Amir Omar has violated parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, including Titles 42 and 18. The Aurbach campaign is alleging that Omar engaged in a large scale “gift-for-votes scheme” involving the distribution of Eddie Deen Barbeque Sauce bottles and an endorsement letter from Eddie Deen to potential voters. The Eddie Dean Company is well known for its signature barbeque sauce and catering service.
“A number of things that they are throwing out there are patently false,” said Omar. According to Omar and his campaign manager, the letters and Eddie Deen’s "Western White House Bar-B-Que Sauce" were sent to potential voters in District 30 the weekend before early voting began.
Title 42 Section 1973i(c) of the Federal Election Code states that it is illegal for someone to pay, offer to pay, or accept payment either for registration to vote or for voting.
Omar has said that there was no wrongdoing in sending out the letters and bottles because the purpose of the bottle was not to "coerce people" into voting for him. According to Eddie Deen’s letter, the reason Deen sent the bottle of barbeque sauce was to “capture (the) attention” of the recipient. The letter then references the fact that President Bush has repeatedly requested having Eddie Deen’s barbeque served to visitors at the White House and at his Crawford ranch. The letter states, “My name is Eddie Deen, and I am writing to you to tell you about a man who would like the opportunity to run against Eddie Bernice Johnson and take back Southern Dallas County.”
The letter goes on to state, “I am calling on you to leave your mark on Southern Dallas County. You can make a difference today by voting for Amir Omar.” The letter also had many positive references to Omar, describing him as a “unique and engaging” person with conservative principles.
“Ultimately, we do not think that there was anything here coercive,” said Omar. Omar also said that it was Deen’s idea to mail bottles of barbeque sauce to potential voters and that Eddie thought it was a good idea to get Omar’s name out. Omar said that Deen was concerned that people would judge Omar based on his name instead of on the content of his character.
According to the Aurbach campaign’s press release, the distribution of barbeque sauce bottles is particularly egregious because it has the “real potential to influence the outcome of an election in which traditionally only about 7,000 Republican households vote.” The press release also compared Omar to apparent violators of the Federal Election Code, citing the distribution of cigarettes to homeless people by Gore campaign volunteers in 2000.
Omar disagrees. “Everyday, candidates give their constituents things that have whatever value you might want to place on them,” said Omar. Omar compared the barbeque sauce bottles to the hair combs that the Susan Combs campaign has passed out in recent election years. “The fact is, some people are going to get this bottle and not think that there is any value to it,” added Omar.
Omar further defended the tactic, saying that he received positive feedback about it from others. “I’ve talked to a number of people from the federal election commission to party leaders, and time after time they have said that this is a unique way of getting the word out about (me),” said Omar.
Texas has won the “Governors Cup” for the second year in a row from Site Selection magazine for job creation. It had been 25 years since Texas had won back to back stand alone selections. The state had won several past awards in the 1980s and had won a co-award with North Carolina in 1992.
The Governor’s Cup rankings are determined by tracking the number of business expansion projects in a state that involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create 50 jobs or more or involve 20,000 square feet of new floor space. Texas secured 842 such projects in 2005 – a 26 percent increase from the previous year. Ohio, which placed second in the rankings, had 598 projects. Last year, Texas won the award with 668 job expansion projects.
The magazine also identified the Dallas-Fort Worth as being second in job growth and the Houston area as third.