Newly elected state Senator Brandon Creighton must fill Tommy Williams’ huge suit

Legislative Update Luncheon

Photo: Burnt Orange Report

Dismal. Once again. But what else did anyone expect?

In the election for District 4 state Senator, Jefferson County had a voter turnout of 3.03 percent. It amounted to 4381 votes cast. Most of which went to the winner Brandon Creighton. His opponent Steve Toth didn’t even get 30 percent of the vote. 28.97. He didn’t fare much better over in his home county of Montgomery either.

A total of 22,584 ballots were cast. Down from the May “special election” by 7664.

Once again Jefferson County voters yielded to Montgomery County and let them do the choosing. Essentially letting others think for us.

Or, in the case of our Congressman via Pearland Randy Weber, not.

Continue reading

In the race for Texas Senate District 4, your vote counts. Too bad there wasn’t much choice.

 

Today is the day.

After being state Senator-less since the retirement of Tommy Williams last November, Senate Distict 4 is finally going to choose a new one. And it only took nine months. About three of those after the field of four was whittled to two in last May’s “special election”.

Endorsements?  Sure.

The Beaumont Enterprise editorial board touts Brandon Creighton’s experience as a majority leader in the Texas House.

The Houston Chronicle endorsement notes the difference in the candidates political styles.

Continue reading

Where does the BISD truth lie? On the Beaumont Enterprise opinions column.

 

“The RIF [reduction in force] was as a result of the fact that the district is gonna be 25 million dollars in the hole next year.  Deficit spending.  It’s also as a result of the district had specific staffing guidelines that again, uh, I would have to say that the uh the [BISD] HR [Human Resources] department, it would appear that the HR department was not following those staffing guidelines. Therefore you have um…you have more teachers than you need.”

“You have more teachers than you need. The HR department did not do their job. They did not follow state staffing guidelines.”

That’s what BISD Conservator Fred Schafer said at the final meeting of the ousted Board of Trustees.

BISD has more teacher than it needs.

And he said some other things. Issued dire warnings after the board failed to pass the RIF.

Uh I think that I need to make something very clear in terms of the fact that you you did not pass the RIF.  You’re not gonna have enough money to pay the teachers.  I shared with you last week that your payroll for next year was in the neighborhood of 138 million dollars.

So what happened?

According to the Beaumont Enterprise editorial board , it was simply the installation of a board of managers.

Poof! All the problems went away.

Continue reading

Rick Perry, a DPS gunboat, and the first–maybe last–Vulture Politics poll

Governor Perry took a ride on the Rio Bravo del Norte.

That’s the Rio Grande for pretentious intellectual types that frequent Big Bend National Park and its park rangers.

You know. Foreigners. Anyone from the other side of the Texas border. Some still call them Yankees. Those from the southern side of its border are ‘illegal aliens’.

The Governor was on a Texas Department of Public Safety gunboat. With a helicopter escort. Presumably a DPS sniper.

He was making a political point.

President Obama was in Dallas to discuss what has become an immigration crisis. Thousands of Central American children crossing the border illegally. Sent by their families on an unsubstantiated rumor that they would be given asylum.

Perry asked the president to visit the border.

He refused.

Continue reading

TEA appointed conservator, Fred Schaffer, jumps into the BISD Heart of Darkness

It’s the very same thing that has this district where it is.

In the hole. Dead broke and divided.

Tit for tat. Retaliation.

The childishness of opposing adults who would take down an entire school district. Maybe even a city.

It’s the BISD heart of darkness.

And now even TEA appointed Conservator to BISD, Mr. Fred Schaffer, has jumped into the madness.

Before the scheduled vote on the agenda item that would cut teachers, staff and administration, Schaffer reminded the BISD Board of Trustees that deficit spending is what caused the estimated 25 million dollar shortfall in the 2013-14 budget.

Mr. Schaffer told the board that the human resources department at BISD failed to follow staffing guidelines. That BISD has too many teachers.

Mr. Schaffer told the board that the “lack of past and present leadership from the superintendent to the board of trustees” has bankrupted the BISD school district.

The district will only have a five million dollar budget to run its operating expenses at the beginning of the next school year. It needs 138 million to pay for its staff. It will have to reduce its payroll. That means teachers are going to lose their jobs. When asked, Mr. Schaffer affirmed it with a simple “yes”.

When the vote finally came, canceled from the following week, it failed.

Former BISD president Woodrow Reece cast the only affirmative vote. He voted his “conviction”.  And Woodrow Reece did the right thing.  Trustee Mike Neil voted against it. The other four abstained.

Two months of hard work down the drain. A process punctuated with missteps from the administration and board over. “We are doing nothing” is how Reece characterized it.

The conservator was incensed. He steps up to the podium.

Continue reading

Change is here. On the first anniversary of the Wendy Davis filibuster.

ap449714672600-d4567101a2d5fdbdd20fa0a98c2a7c97c1221711-s6-c30

Photo: Eric Gay, AP

 

It began as the singular voice of Senator Wendy Davis.

A duet with Senator Leticia Van De Putte.

“At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”

In the end it was the collective voices of the women that filled the pink granite state capital in Austin.

“Let her speak. Let her speak. Let her speak.”

“Shame. Shame. Shame.”

Republicans milled about the Senate floor in confusion.

They lied.

They didn’t understand how this happened.

They didn’t understand the anger and frustration of those fed up with being used as a pawn for the personal ambitions of Rick Perry. That serious issues of women’s health and well-being had become fodder for the Republican Party of Texas–my party– to use to motivate an extremist base. To maintain a choke hold on our state government. To pass more legislation detrimental to the women of our state.

It is not just about abortion. It is about control. We got it back.

Women in the state of Texas regained their dignity last June 25th. They stood up and fought back and won against the Texas Republican machine.

Let her speak. Let her speak.

Let them speak.

Change is not coming to Texas.

It is here.

Let us not forget that on this anniversary of Wendy Davis’ filibuster. It was for all Texas women.

IMG_3011_jpg_312x1000_q100

Photo: Todd Wiseman

Toss a coin in the Senate District 4 “special election” run-off. It really doesn’t matter.

Texas_Senate_4In May 10th “special election” for Texas Senate District 4, the voters pared the candidates down from 4 to 2. All 30,248 of them. Out of about 500,000 registered voters. Pitiful to say the least.

And what a choice! Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum. That’s Brandon Creighton and Steve Toth, both of whom gave up seats in the Texas House of Representatives to replace the now long gone Tommy Williams. But there really is no damn difference between them. Seriously.

Look at their voting records. One almost a mirror image of the other.

Continue reading

City Councilman Getz gets his comeuppance from his fellow council members

WP_20130618_017hcSometimes it happens in life.  Someone that so richly deserves it, gets what he deserves.

At the end of the weekly city council meeting during his allotted time for comments, Councilman Mike Getz talked about how the divided community came together earlier that week.

Before the proceedings to elect a new Mayor Pro Tempore even began, the ever gracious Gertrude Get-Wright expressed her feelings. Which she does quite often. And always with humor. And thanked Mayor Becky Ames for the opportunity to serve.

A humble, grand lady.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to-to-to be a part of and witness something that I found..incredible. And that was the uh school board meeting held by the Beaumont Independent School District.

The verbally bumbling and fumbling Councilman Wilber Pate takes to the floor and begins to ramble, words lost and jokes failing. Seemingly aimless at first he finally begins to frame his point. Cuts to the chase.

“And if we’re taking nominations uh, at this point in time, I’d like to nominate the only person on council that hasn’t had the opportunity to do that and that would be Councilmember Getz.”

“Council is there any other discussion or is there a second?”

Getz bobs his head like a pigeon.

Continue reading

Governor Perry’s comments on homosexuality not another “Opps!” moment

He made the comments in San Francisco.  Of all places!

But the comments were made after a question asked of the Texas governor while speaking before the Commonwealth Club of California this week.

Of course, it was more than likely prompted by the adoption of a plank by the Texas GOP at their convention last week in Fort Worth that endorses “gay therapy’.

“We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”

Some are trying to claim it is another “Oops!” moment for Rick Perry.

It was much more intriguing than a stupid mistake.

When asked if he believed that homosexuality was a disorder, Perry had this response.

“Whether or not you feel compelled to follow a particular lifestyle or not, you have the ability to decide not to do that. I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

It was honest. Not unlike his wife Anita’s comments to the Texas Tribune last year about her personal beliefs on abortion. [1.]

Continue reading

Congressman Randy Weber on medical marijuana. Ideologically inconsistent or hypocritical?

RandyWeberLSThe history of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Medical Marijuana amendment in the U.S. House of Representatives goes back eleven years to 2003. It received an overwhelming number of “nays”, 152-273, back at that time.

And that never really changed in the five times the amendment was later introduced.

Until this year. It finally passed. 219-189. On May 30th, it was adopted as an amendment to HR 4660, a Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015. The amendment prohibits the federal government from interfering with states in which voters have approved medical marijuana laws.

SEC. 558. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from California who is co-sponsor of the bill, called it a states rights issue and that it was “immoral” for the federal government to intervene. It was an argument apparently lost on our own congressman Randy Weber. Continue reading