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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Elections and Fairness

Elections and Fairness

I just found out that my name has been dropped from the list of potential candidates to replace Tom DeLay on the GOP ballot. They are sending out 18,000 “ballots” to vote on a replacement and my name will not appear.

Not that I thought I had a snowflake’s chance of getting picked, but it is the principle of the thing that bothers me. Apparently some blogger wrote that I was no longer interested and apparently the County Chair (Thode) dropped me based on that – it was certainly not based on any email or letter or phone call to him from me.

This happened once before when I ran in 2002 – my name was dropped from the primary ballot when I challenged Mr. DeLay. I had to sue to get back on. I won, but by that time the election was upon us. I got 20% with no campaigning, no ads or TV. Mr. Campbell had to spend six figures this time to beat that percentage, but not by much.

The only thing I’ve said since DeLay announced his resignation was that if there was a Special Election then they could count me out. I wanted no part of a dozen candidates running in a Special Election. But the Governor has declared that there isn’t going to be a Special Election, despite the fact that the U.S. Constitution calls for it. Apparently it is to be followed only when it guarantees the result you want, and not otherwise.

So, we set yet another great example for the people of Iraq how (not) to run a democracy.

Perhaps I should just find a job with a corporation – even the lowest corporate ethics would be a major step up from what I’ve found in politics so far.

Friday, April 28, 2006

White House Gets Interested in Better Gas Mileage

I feel vindicated. Finally, the White House is suddenly interested in conservation and higher gas mileage standards. It took $3/gallon gas to wake them up. Better late than never...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Gas "Boycott" Won't Work - Try something that will

People are sending around an email encouraging motorists to boycott buying gas for a day as a “protest.”

Get real folks – like it is really going to make a difference if you don’t fill up your SUV for a day!

If you really are concerned about gas prices then do the following:
Buy a hybrid vehicle (or a car that gets better mileage than your current one)
Ride a bus/vanpool to work
Write Congress to boost fuel mileage standards for autos by 50%

We Americans waste so much energy, yet we put little effort into conservation. We need to wake up because oil is a finite resource. The sooner we develop alternative fuels and find clever ways to use less of it, the better. We don't need a phony war on gas or an ineffective boycott.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Technology on the Run - Just Say No to "Surfing While Driving"

Technology is amazing.

I recently bought a Treo 700 – basically a pocket PC and phone combination, and I love it. Instead of dragging a laptop around and finding a place with a “hotspot” now I can pull this device out of my pocket at a cafĂ© –check my calendar, check email or go online to see what is happening in the world. It works anywhere, anytime. I also switched to Verizon after too many dropped calls on my other service, which shall remain nameless.

I wish I had this device sooner. I missed some appointments before, including an important campaign radio interview because I was on the run and forgot to write down an Outlook calendar event to the book I keep in my car.

Now I just plug in the phone and it syncs automatically with Outlook so I am updated. And it works both ways. If I add an event on the phone calendar, it updates the desktop calendar when I plug it in--automatically.

Technology is our future. Now, if it would only help me locate gasoline that costs about $2 a gallon! For that, we need some technology to double our cars’ gas mileage! That may take awhile, but I believe technology can make it happen.

What we have sure beats the technology we had 20 years ago…I just have to remember not to “surf while driving”….!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Girls Deserve Better Than This

I was just reading that in India about 10 million girl fetuses were aborted in the past two decades. Sonograms are used to determine the sex of a child – if it is a girl it is often aborted. The government has tried to stop it but it is an old habit

China, with its “one child” policy has the same problem – and a girl shortage as a result.

This is a disturbing situation. These two countries constitute nearly 40% of the world’s total population and will play major roles in our lifetimes. I have been to China and India, many times. They both have changed dramatically in the past 20 years, but this is something that has NOT changed for the better.

It is time to stop killing babies that someone thinks is the “wrong” sex. The practice is as wrong as the wife burnings in India. I’d like to see our policymakers make this one of the issues in our future relations with these important countries…

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Emergency Planning - Pick One, NOT a Committee

I have to agree with Gov. Perry, who said that our area needs to pick ONE person to be in charge to manage future catastrophes that may strike the region, such as another hurricane.

I can’t imagine having another Hurricane Katrina or Rita coming our way and having to get a 15-person committee to make a decision! Have you ever seen a committee of 15 decide ANYTHING in a TIMELY manner? The storm would be here and gone before that happened.

We need to pick 1 person to be in charge to manage any future disasters – anyone, that is, other than Michael Brown (former FEMA director). We don’t need someone worrying about how his shirt looks on TV when a CAT 4 hurricane is blowing through…

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Texas Blackouts - Record heat means trouble

Record heat yesterday – and it is only mid-April! Over 100 degrees in parts of the State – and rolling blackouts in Texas! How strange is that? Gas prices are surging.

Since the election ended, my legal practice has really taken off. Houston is part of a boom in real estate. Our area is expected to double in size the next 20 years, so opportunity is knocking (no pun intended) all over the place. One man bought a house in the Woodlands for $200,000 and excitedly told his friends that back in Connecticut the same house would be $1 million! Yep, more Yankees will be moving south!

I say bring them on. Except now the “Yankees” are from all over the world. Most Houston real estate is being financed from foreign sources – without it the boom would be a bust. This record heat spells trouble - we could have another mean hurricane season. We lost a month or more of business last year with the Katrina/Rita scenario. It was 100 years ago today that an earthquake struck San Francisco. At least you can see a hurricane coming and get the heck out of the way (as long as 2 million people don't try it at the same time).

OK, a word about politics. I got an email a couple days ago from a Ft. Bend precinct chair regarding the replacement of Rep. DeLay when he resigns (in June?). Apparently they are getting hit from a lot of wannabe Congressmen/women who want to jump to the front of the line to be “the chosen one.” It should be an interesting fight. Too bad the people don't get to make the pick as envisioned by our founding fathers...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

International Justice - Building Democracy a Nail at a Time

Some of the commentators seem to think I should "move on."

They clearly don’t know my real objective is more than about one guy (i.e., DeLay. It is all about International Justice. Don't forget I have been an international negotiator worldwide. I've seen a lot of injustice globally, not just in District 22.

Mr. DeLay just happened to be my local corrupt official that needed to be challenged long before now. He is but one part of our government system that needs replacement and improvement. The improvements need to be more than domestic. They need to be global.

For example, little (i.e., nothing) has been done about the international criminal rings that promise poor, attractive women fake jobs in Europe or the U.S. that force them to become prostitutes in foreign lands. The U.S. is part of that system. Human trafficking is a major part of illegal immigration.

It’s not about me moving on; it’s about some folks out there catching up. I didn’t see anyone else challenging DeLay at his peak, only when he was weak.

DeLay is history but the world remains a mess. Complain at me if you will but we do need a new rep who knows it instead of another clueless Congressman whose knowledge of the world comes from travel brochures. There is much yet to do to make it a better place, domestically and internationally…. The question now is replacing DeLay with a candidate with the skills needed in a world of terrorism and global economics.

I’ve been involved in these issues for decades. That is why I will continue “moving on” and raising these issues, whether I am a candidate or not. I am glad to have the Johnny-come-lately’s showing up, all anxiously wanting to be the new Congress shows that the fear of DeLay is gone.

P.S. For the commentators who didn’t appreciate the symbolism in my recent fence story, I say simply this: we need more fence building, not bridge burning in our government. I found that each nail I drove into each plank made the fence stronger. The difference one nail at a time can make in mending a fence is amazing. I am just one of those nails fighting to strengthen our democratic fences, locally and globally.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Repairing fences -- and democracy

I spent the weekend replacing boards in the backyard fence, preparing for the hurricane season. Without more nails, and a few replacement boards, it was in serious danger of falling down. It took a lot of pounding, and my hands turned black, but now it is a solid fence again.

As I hammered, it occurred to me that under DeLay democracy has become as rickety as my backyard fence before the repair.

I thought about how Mr. DeLay stated in TIME and a Washington Post article that he deliberately set it up to keep any one of us who challenged him off the list of replacement names as the GOP candidate on the ballot. In other words, any of us who played by rules and ran against him is on the “blacklist.”

Is this “democracy”?

When an incumbent can punish those who played by the rules—and pick his replacement-- how is that a good example of democracy to show the Iraqis?

This is not about me – it is about the American democratic process. There are two other candidates who are also on that same blacklist. Is this fair?

Is democracy’s fence falling down? It is strong when incumbents can manipulate the process ? I guess the Iraqis only need look at District 22 to decide how to play the game? Let's hope not.

Think about it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Legacy - Fear of DeLay is now GONE -

My legacy is that of being the first one who broke the fear of not running against DeLay in the GOP primary, when I first ran in 2000.

In that time I have seen 3 Democrat candidates come and go -- in 2000, 2002, 2004 -- I was there each time. Mr. Lampson is the 4th Democrat that I've seen in the same political year. He is also the last Democrat to oppose DeLay, who is now gone and won't be on the ballot in November.

Running against DeLay at his peak did keep a lot of business from coming my way because people feared DeLay, who made vindictiveness a high art form.

Those who opposed him were punished – he had one lady fired from several jobs. Fear of him kept me from getting jobs that paid six figures a year, including at least one legal job. The law partner wanted to run for judge but he feared DeLay would put a candidate up against him if they hired me. He said he really wanted to hire me but he could risk hurting his law partner. I told him, "I understand."

They fear him no more.

I was deprived of a lot of income when people feared the DeLay hammer. So, I figured that if I couldn’t work at least I could continue campaigning against our own ruthless representative, who changed the boundaries twice in the process. I kept talking about issues DeLay never did – building commuter rail and international issues like terrorism and global trafficking of women as prostitutes, etc. I don’t expect whoever picks DeLay’s replacement as a candidate will pick the guy who fought against DeLay’s corrupt politics for year and predicted 9 11. I don’t expect them to reward someone who kept democratic choice alive in the GOP by running against DeLay at his peak of power instead of jumping on he was weak or fading from the scene. Naw. My prediction is that they will go with the best politician, not the person with the best qualifications such as Homeland Security expertise—despite the fact that Houston is a prime target for both man-made and natural disasters and we must compete in a global economy. Does Congress really need another representative who is great at killing cockroaches or slapping backsides, but is clueless on global threats?

Do we need another politician? I would prefer a leader and a visionary that thinks of the public well being instead of their pocketbook and photo op scrapbook. I have helped get rid of a tyrant and a bully. My focus can now move to community service and negotiating business deals, locally and globally.

I have a lot of catching up to do…the campaigns left a hole in my bank account, but the experience was enriching and rewarding. And DeLay? He'll be pulling in a $67,000/year pension.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

For those of you who are paying attention, read this article in today's Washington Post, and note the vindictiveness in this line:

“Rep. Tom DeLay had considered resigning on several occasions over the past four months. But he waited until after he had vanquished his challengers in the Republican primary to deny them the chance to become his successor, associates said.”

In doing so, DeLay deliberately deprived the VOTERS, the people of District 22, from making the call on who should replace him when he knew he was leaving. How democratic of him.

By doing what he did the way he did it, DeLay has set up political chaos – already the list of candidates for a Special Election is double that of the primary, and growing.

None of the "new" candidates had the guts to challenge Mr. DeLay and his lack of ethics directly (except for possibly Mr. Stockman’s independent challenge but I didn’t hear Stockman complaining about DeLay’s ethics –he just wanted the job). So why are they necessarily examples of people with strong leadership skills that will fight corruption? If they didn’t challenge DeLay’s ethical excesses before now, what lousy ethics would they challenge in the future?

If DeLay had left it up to the people, we would be in the closing days of a run off between Mr. Campbell and myself – with a lame duck embattled Congressman on the sidelines. It probably would have gone to Mr. Campbell who had more money, but at least the people would have had a choice – and again in November when the winner faced Mr. Lampson.

DeLay has ironically sown the seeds for the fall of the GOP in District 22, and perhaps nationally. Now watch the hand of Mr. DeLay set up yet another scene of chaos that generates bad will -- as the candidates vying for his job commence cutting each other into small pieces in the next few months.

I won’t be one of those candidates. My mission ended with DeLay’s leaving office. Yes, he denied Mr. Campbell (or me) the seat. Vindictiveness has seen to that. But it comes at a high price for the voters and Republicans.

Just watch in the coming days. His actions will end up doing far more damage than good to the GOP, etc.

I cannot honestly support any candidate or party (Republican or Democrat) that fails to confront or deal with the corruption and lack of ethics and commitment to true democracy that has been exhibited by any of our elected officials, including Mr. DeLay.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Where From Here?

Thanks to "WhipDeLay" etc for your comments. Where from Here?

Good question. It appears a Special Election is coming up and I see a million candidates will be running for District 22 now that DeLay is riding off into the sunset a step ahead of the posse (OK I’m exaggerating slightly on the numbers) .

As DeLay dodges the Fed posse, another posse of candidates will be vying to replace him, each with contacts in only one portion of the district or another – or none. This district covers parts of FOUR counties. Sugar Land is about 11% and folks in Pearland and Clear Lake and Rosenberg view the world differently – and don’t necessarily like Sugar Land hogging the limelight.

So it could be a free for all. Ironically, the only people with exposure in all of the 4-county district are the three of us who just finished the primary.

However, as news of people jumping in have spread, I see this could shape up as a ZOO with a "cast of thousands" running on the GOP side -- splitting the vote -- leaving the Democrat with a plurality. I see no use putting myself through that, fans notwithstanding...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mission Accomplished - DeLay withdraws as candidate

After months of pleading that he is innocent, Mr. DeLay announced tonight that he is NOT going to seek re-election after 22 years in office. My mission has been accomplished.

I was stunned. Why now?

Since his ex-aide, Tony Rudy, pled guilty to conspiracy on Friday, it must be related to that. Apparently, Mr. DeLay is not as innocent as claimed. Why else step down now?

Unfortunately, this move deprives the voters of District 22 of picking his replacement, unless a Special Election is called. Without a Special Election, the party picks a replacement, not the people. Standby for developments on this.