in Houston, Texas
Texas windstorm agency withholds records that would shed light on consultant costs
Wednesday, Dec 05, 2012, 01:19PM CST
By Lee Ann O'Neal
Hurricane Ike

A state agency so troubled that regulators took it over is complaining the costs of that oversight have become burdensome.

The $6.4 million a year, in part for outside consultants charged with helping turn around the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, is a “sore subject” for board members of the agency and state lawmakers, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports. The agency’s general manager, John Polak, points out that TWIA has no control over the hiring of those consultants and so cannot be held responsible for those costs.

Board members must have forgotten the fears of insolvency and allegations of mismanagement that led to oversight in the first place. All this outside meddling was brought about by the agency’s own bungling of claims following Hurricane Ike, which brought charges of fraud and a torrent of lawsuits.

Ongoing litigation costs stemming from Ike are expected to reach $2.5 billion, the paper reports -- or nearly 400 times the annual cost of the management consultants, who have recommended a restructuring of TWIA, reviewed legal bills and given legal advice to the board.

While board members are miffed about the mounting consultants’ costs, their agency could help shed some light on them by releasing invoices sought by the paper for Alvarez & Marsal, the costliest consultant of them all. TWIA joins the North Texas Tollway Authority, Lehman Brothers and the Central Bank of Cyprus on the firm’s client list.

But as one board member put it: “I still wonder what we are getting for the money.”

TWIA has appealed the newspaper’s request to the attorney general, saying the information may be proprietary -- a common but flawed argument when private companies do the public’s business.

Records released so far list six-figure costs for vague reasons like “special projects” and “additional services.”

By releasing the records swiftly and in full, TWIA would take a step toward rebuilding the public trust and maybe, just maybe, eventually being allowed to operate on its own.

***
Contact Lee Ann O’Neal at 713-980-9777 or leeann@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of Hurricane Ike by flickr user NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, used via a Creative Commons license.

Government contractors resist Texas public records law with lawsuits
Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012, 12:04PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
dome

People who work for your government and deal with your government would rather you didn’t know so much about your government. And they would like the law to reflect that view.

Don’t take our word for it. As many as half of the lawsuits filed with the Attorney General’s office come from government contractors who want to skirt the Texas Public Information Act, Amanda Crawford, the assistant attorney general for open records, told a Senate Committee on Open Government hearing Monday, Associated Press reports.

As we have been reporting for more than a year, the Austin American-Statesman has been fighting in court to determine exactly the taxpayers’ involvement in a recently staged Formula 1 race outside of Austin.

Circuit of the Americas, the company that made agreements with the state, Travis County and Austin to build its grand prix race track, has argued disclosing details of those agreements would compromise it in the marketplace.

Crawford told two-fifths of the committee (Chairman Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, and vice-chairman Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, were there. Kevin Eltife, R-Tyler and outgoing Sens. Florence Shapiro and Jeff Wentworth were not.) what she regularly sees are contracts drawn with government bodies who are allowed very little access to the contractual fine points.

If your elected officials don’t know what is going on, what are the odds that you will?

The committee leaders also heard from the staff members from cities pestered by what they refer to as frivolous open records requests. Camila Kunau, an assistant city attorney for San Antonio, asked that state law be changed to allow the city to charge more for those kinds of requests.

Kunau did not offer at the hearing to help lawmakers define what, exactly, would be a frivolous open records request, although we are relatively sure she would be glad to.

And, speaking of frivolous, there is the reflexive response of some local officials to being asked to abide by the Public Information Act and its companion, the Texas Open Meetings Act: going to court on the taxpayer’s cuff.

Crawford told the committee the city of Lubbock and a commissioner in Bexar County are currently fighting to keep e-mails about public business private because they were sent on a private account.

City officials we have come to call Furtive Fifteen have taken their challenge to the Open Meetings Act to the Supreme Court, after having lost in every Texas court that would have them.

And taxpayers in Austin are still watching the legal meter run after Travis County attorneys ran up a legal bill of nearly $350,000 trying to determine whether Austin city officials violated the Open Meetings Act nearly two years ago.

Terri Burke and Russell Coleman, speaking on behalf of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, reminded the committee the reason the public information laws in Texas exist is not to make life less burdensome for elected officials but to give the public information.

If the laws need to be changed, Burke told the committee, they need to be made clearer to those officials who are currently unsure. More information is always better than less.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

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Photo of Texas state Capitol dome by flickr user coffee is for closers, used via a Creative Commons license.

Dallas Police and Fire Pension System sues AG over records of real estate investment
Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012, 09:27AM CST
By Steve Miller
dallas fire truck

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System lost the public records battle, and now it’s starting a war. After the state Attorney General’s office ruled against it earlier this month, finding that it must hand over to a requestor numerous records regarding a luxury real estate investment, the system filed suit against the AG in Travis County.

The investment in question is with Knudson Development in Hawaii and two companies owned by the system, GP Western Housing and KLH IV.

The request asked for names of people who had rented at one of the developments financed by the pension system, according to the lawsuit.

An asset distribution statement as of Jan. 31 this year shows a relatively minimal investment in Knudson - $590 million, or .1 percent of its real estate allocation.

It’s not the only flap the pension group is embroiled in; the Dallas Observer in July chronicled a deal with a local developer on a $200 million condo tower that has gone south, endangering members’ pensions.

It’s a dicey game the pension board is playing; real estate ventures are becoming more common for pension systems that are clamoring for projected returns of 8 percent that just aren’t happening.

In the case of the public records, though, these very public entities should be aware that their ventures are subject to public scrutiny.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Recall petition in Sinton, Texas, must be released, AG rules
Thursday, Sep 13, 2012, 02:00PM CST
By Mike Cronin
AG

The city of Sinton must release a recall petition, the attorney general has ruled. The city failed to show that the information could cause harm to a city employee or that its release would violate a law shielding the personal information of police officers.

Supporters of the petition want to recall three Sinton City Council members who “fired City Manager Jackie Knox without explanation Tuesday,” the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports. That was after an unsuccessful move to fire Sinton City Secretary Betty Wood.

Knox accused the city council members -- Mayor Eloy Lopez, Linda Guzman-Alaniz and Michelle Soliz -- of meeting in secret to arrive at their decision to fire him. Lopez denied any closed-door meetings.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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State Bar of Texas sues Attorney General Greg Abbott over records in investigation into misused funds
Monday, Jul 16, 2012, 09:53AM CST
By Steve Miller
Lady Justice

The State Bar of Texas is suing the office of Attorney General Greg Abbott over an open records decision earlier this month that gives a legal trade magazine access to records detailing an internal investigation by the state bar.

A reporter from Texas Lawyer magazine in April requested the records from the state bar, which is an administrative arm of the state’s judicial department, with regard to fiscal misappropriation of funds by a bar employee who is also a deputy clerk for the Texas Supreme Court.

The bar appealed the request, and the AG’s office ruled in favor of the reporter, telling the state bar to hand over most of what was requested with the exception of some information that was asked to be withheld by the Austin Police Department as it is part of an ongoing investigation.

In its suit against the AG’s office, the bar argues that while one provision of the state’s open records law permits the withholding of a completed audit or investigation of misappropriated funds under section 552.108 by a law enforcement agency, “it makes no sense” to permit the release of information just because it is related to the expenditure of public or other funds by a government body, “particularly when the investigation is not yet complete.”

It also argues that the AG’s ruling claimed that to be withheld, information must fall under the dictates of a mandatory exception to the open records law rather than discretionary. “There are, however, no distinctions drawn with respect to [open records law] exceptions,” the bar’s petition states.

It is rare for the AG’s office to permit the release of information relating to an open investigation. But the AG’s letter ruling is based heavily on legitimate public interest.

The state bar last year sued Abbott over a different ruling that granted access to records to a lawyer accountability group.

In that case, the ruling granted access to a number of records dealing with lawyer sanctions. The bar, in its legal action, claimed the AG’s office also made public “sensitive State Bar personnel memorandums.”

The state bar and Abbott also tangled in a 2007 case before the state Supreme Court that centered on the public nature of the home address and phone number and date of birth of members of the state bar. Abbott ruled that they were subject to disclosure. An appellate court ruled the information is not subject to open records requests.

The Austin attorney Jennifer Riggs of Riggs, Aleshire & Ray, represents the state bar in all three cases.

Riggs worked in the AG’s office from 1984 to 1992, and served for two years as chief of the office’s Open Government Section.

One of her law partners is Bill Aleshire, an oft-cited advocate of transparency and a hotline volunteer for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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A&M can withhold consultant’s report under competitive bidding exception, AG rules
Monday, Jun 18, 2012, 04:26PM CST
By Mike Cronin
Texas A&M logo

Texas A&M University officials may withhold a consultant’s report on its food services operations, the state Attorney General’s office has ruled.

The ruling is the latest development in the tug of war between Texas A&M officials and The (Bryan-College Station) Eagle over the release of documents that would shed light on the school’s push to privatize dining services.

The report does not have to be released until after a contract is finalized, the AG’s office wrote in the open records letter ruling. The AG agreed with Texas A&M officials that providing the report would put the university at a disadvantage in negotiating the particulars of the deal.

The school has consistently rebuffed the Eagle’s efforts to provide a glimpse of the privatization efforts:

Administrators are requesting an attorney general’s ruling on virtually all public records requests filed for information regarding the much-criticized privatization effort, arguing that release of the information would constitute a competitive disadvantage.

The Eagle has filed several records requests, including for the bids from the companies and emails from key players such as A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, the chief proponent of the plan.

University officials declined to even release a list of the names of the people on the committees that are evaluating the proposals.

University administrators are considering privatizing four service areas: dining, landscaping, custodial services and building maintenance.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Texas city officials say ‘serial requestors’ must be deterred, activists worry about government transparency
Monday, Jun 18, 2012, 09:40AM CST
By Mike Cronin
keepout

Two more local governments in Texas have passed laws designed to deter "serial requestors" of public records.

Corsicana and Kemah city councils earlier this month each passed ordinances that allow public officials to bill citizens for staff time that meets or exceeds 36 hours responding to public information requests during a 12-month period.

Those decisions revive a debate about the 2007 state law that enabled local government agencies to pass on such costs: Is the effect one of government efficiency or reduced government transparency?

Corsicana and Kemah city officials contend the new policies are necessary to prevent government employees from wasting valuable time rummaging for files when they should be attending to city business. But open government advocates argue that providing citizens with public information is central to a government agency’s business.

Kemah City Attorney Dick Gregg Jr. said the law passed on June 7 by the city council will thwart the two or three “serial requestors” of open records from requesting “giant volumes of things that ties up city hall in a small city.”

Those people’s actions are “costing us dough,” Gregg said. “It’s a tremendous burden. A large portion of the staff becomes responsible for finding documents instead of taking care of running the city. So taxpayers end up paying for that work rather than the cost of city governance.”

That’s a misguided concept of democracy, said Paul Watler, a partner at the Dallas law firm Jackson Walker.

“Keeping the public informed about the business of government isn’t just ancillary to public agencies,” said Watler, past president and current member of the board at the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

“Open record requests shouldn’t be looked at as something that distracts from the real work of government employees,” Watler said. “Transparency is the essence of public institutions in a democracy.”

Chuck McClanahanChuck McClanahan

That may be so, but the fact of the matter is that many broad requests do take a lot of time during the workday of Corsicana city employees, said Mayor Chuck McClanahan. Corsicana city council members passed its ordinance on June 5.

“Some of the information requests were really starting to slow down the process here,” said McClanahan, who said he believes in transparency and pointed to awards the city has won for financial transparency from the state Comptroller. “We want to be more efficient. We’re trying to be responsible with taxpayers’ money.”

Connie Standridge, the Corsicana city manager, said six people across three departments -- finance, engineering and parks -- typically handle public records requests. The city has 279 full-time employees, according to its website.

Corsicana employees spent an estimated 113 hours handling requests last year, the first year the city tracked that statistic, Standridge said. Staff has spent an estimate of 60 hours for the year to date, she said.

Local government agencies would be less burdened by requests if they would adopt technology such as document management and retrieval software, Watler said.

The new laws worry some residents, who fear they’ll be targeted as the so-called “serial requestors.”

“Now, as soon as we file requests, they’re just going to use multiple employees to use up as much time as they can” to reach the 36-hour threshold, said Blu Shields, 59, a commercial and residential builder from Texas City who does a lot work in Kemah. “Now, they can pick and choose who they charge and who they don’t.”

The ordinance enables city officials to “impede us even before we ask for records,” said Donna Holcomb, 47, a stay-at-home mom of Bacliff who used to live in Kemah. Holcomb recently asked for eight years’ worth of email records for 16 city officials and was told she could have them, but it would cost $412,000.

She said the new law gives even more power to officials such as Gregg to “give us a ludicrous estimate for the amount of time and money our record requests will cost.”

“This law is going to close up government for the people of Kemah,” she said.

Paul WatlerPaul Watler

That chilling effect is an unintended consequence of the 2007 law, said Watler, the Dallas lawyer and FOI Foundation board member who specializes in First Amendment and media law.

“It deters legitimate requestors from seeking public records,” Watler said.

The 2007 law was authored by Texas state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, who put forward the proposal after parents flooded the Austin-based Lake Travis Independent School District  and the Eanes Independent School District with thousands of open records requests, according to stories in the Austin American-Statesman and the Houston Chronicle.

Neither Wentworth nor officials with the two districts responded to multiple requests for comment.

Several local governments since have enacted policies based on the law, including Comal County in 2008 and Fort Bend County in 2010.

Comal County Judge Sherman Krause said he hasn’t heard anyone talk about the county’s toughened policy, “so I’m not sure how we would quantify” whether the law has made county governance more efficient.

But in Fort Bend County, the 36-hour-limit has not been triggered since the law was passed two years ago, Michelle Rangel, an assistant county attorney, said.

The Texas Legislature in passing the law exempted public officials and journalists, as well as tax-exempt legal services organizations. The exemption does not cover activists like Tom "Smitty" Smith, state director of Public Citizen, the national consumer advocacy organization founded by activist Ralph Nader.

Smith said the 2007 law “hinders people from finding out what’s really going in government,” because unraveling scandals often takes many public records requests over a long period of time.

“On a number of occasions we, or our allies, have been told that data we are seeking would be prohibitively expensive,” Smith said. “And we would have to trim back our data request or abandon it because we couldn’t afford to go forward.”

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Tarleton State fine over underreported campus crime a lesson in power of public information
Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012, 10:18AM CST
By Mike Cronin
Tarleton logo

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s decision earlier this month to fine Tarleton State University $110,000 for failing to report many crimes, including sexual assault, proves the power of public access to government information.

Due to a former Tarleton State student’s open records request six years ago, the Texas A&M University System’s Stephenville school is more transparent, according to a story by the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va.

Then a senior, Erin Cooper-Baize filed a public-records request asking for police reports. When she and other student journalists compared them with the official data put out by the university, they found that the school had failed to report more than 70 crimes such as forcible sex offenses, assaults, drug violations and burglaries from 2003 to 2005.

Those omissions were in violation of the Clery Act, which requires schools receiving federal aid to disclose certain crime statistics and take other steps aimed at keeping students safe.

Cooper-Baize experienced what many journalists do who attempt to obtain legally defined public information from government entities: Stonewalling.

“We actually had to fight with them to even get the request done,” she told the Student Press Law Center. “They said they didn’t have to give us certain items, and we had to keep going back.”

University officials appealed the $137,500 fine levied in 2009 by the Department of Ed and got the penalty reduced to $27,500.

But Duncan was having none of it. In his ruling overturning the decision by a Department of Ed administrative-law judge, Duncan wrote:

“A single fine for issuing a crime report missing multiple crimes is tantamount to sending the message to postsecondary institutions throughout the nation that regardless of whether your crime report omits one crime or 101 crimes, the maximum fine is the same.”

The ultimate size of the fine could rise because Duncan asked the Office of Federal Student Aid to decide the punishment for Tarleton’s other unreported crimes.

Today, Tarleton is a more transparent place, with a new police chief and a Clery oversight committee, said Cooper-Baize’s instructor, Pulitzer Prize winner Dan Malone.

***
Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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You have a right to public records; fight back against poorly trained bureaucrats
Thursday, May 17, 2012, 02:35PM CST
By Steve Miller
officespace

Campaign finance reports can be a treasure of information about a candidate at any level of office. Almost across the board, if you run for an elected office, you have to file the form, which details your donors and your expenditures.

The forms are generally kept by the governmental body that holds the election. Most school districts keep their board member filings. The county elections office will have many of the county offices, from commissioner and justices of the peace to the county clerk. In some cases, the clerk may keep the records. State candidates file theirs with the Texas Ethics Commission.

Ask around before you go to make sure. Start at the county elections office.

There can be problems, though, in gaining access to these forms.

We recently went to the offices of the Tarrant Regional Water District and asked to inspect the campaign finance forms for board candidates. The receptionist told us, yes, they had the reports. But the person who was in charge of such things, someone named Rachel, was out of the office. I advised that I did need access to these in accordance with the law.

The burden is on that body to make arrangements to make these available to the public. Rachel was reached on her cell phone and told me I would have to file an open records request. That was incorrect; no open records request is needed.  We told her we were only in town for the week and wanted to see the records now. A request would wind through legal and would give the district an opportunity to stall, perhaps by asking questions for “clarity.” It’s a common practice often designed to force the public to give up.

Rachel said she would mail the records to us, confirming that strategy.

We contacted the district’s custodian of records and its legal counsel to advise of Rachel’s mistake and attempt to thwart the public’s inspection of these records. In the letter, we cited two pieces of law, both from the Texas Election Code.

The first was 1.012:

PUBLIC INSPECTION OF ELECTION RECORDS.  (a) Subject to Subsection (b), an election record that is public information shall be made available to the public during the regular business hours of the record's custodian.

(b)  For the purpose of safeguarding the election records or economizing the custodian's time, the custodian may adopt reasonable rules limiting public access.

 

We also cited 254.0402, which actually makes it clear that an open records request is not needed to examine the finance reports.

PUBLIC INSPECTION OF REPORTS. (a) Notwithstanding Section 552.222(a), Government Code, the authority with whom a report is filed under this chapter may not require a person examining the report to provide any information or identification.

The office was kindly accommodating after our note, and we got our documents.

That said, no apology was given for the attempt to turn back the public. Ignorance, we’ve heard, is no excuse.

One more thing; Had we actually accommodated Rachel and filed an open records request, access to those forms would have had to be given “promptly,” seeing that the receptionist already confirmed that the records were on premises.

The state Attorney general’s Web site states, “the governmental body must "promptly" produce public information in response to your request. "Promptly" means that a governmental body may take a reasonable amount of time to produce the information, which varies depending on the facts in each case. The amount of information you have requested is highly relevant to what makes for a reasonable response time.”

The district would have drawn a complaint for withholding the records.

These public records and campaign finance reports enable an informed electorate. Don’t let poorly trained bureaucrats deter you from getting the information you need.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Houston Airport System official who blocked records request, lied to investigators, got bonuses and pay raises
Thursday, May 03, 2012, 12:19PM CST
By Steve Miller
planes

The human resources chief at the Houston Airport System received a $250 bonus the year she was found guilty of deceiving an investigator for the city of Houston during an inquiry into her withholding public records.

Records show that Maria Fink received the $250 payout in 2009 and 2010. An investigation concluded in June 2010 by the city’s Office of Inspector General cited Fink for failing to comply with the state’s open records laws in response to a records request filed by Texas Watchdog in October 2009.

The investigation found that Fink claimed she had received advice from the city attorney’s office that allowed her to withhold over 60 pages of a personnel file that was requested, but the specific attorney she claimed gave her that advice said she had never contacted him.

Instead, the city attorney’s office had directed her to release the information, which she initially failed to do.

Fink’s salary has increased 7.4 percent since her hire in 2009, despite the OIG finding, from $103,600 to $111,283.

Ian Wadsworth, who was found in the same investigation to have lied to city inspectors, also received bonuses of $250 in 2009 and 2010. His pay since the infraction has increased 11.4 percent from $155,000 to $172,776. Wadsworth is chief commercial officer at HAS.

Neither Fink nor Wadsworth was disciplined for their deception, which included violations of mayoral dictates, according to public records. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who took office in January 2010, has declined to comment on the investigation.

In December 2010, Parker removed the authority of the inspector general from the police department and placed it under the auspices of the city attorney’s office. Robert Doguim, a former FBI agent who was hired in December 2010 to head the OIG, resigned in February, citing a lack of authority bestowed by the city to his office.

***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Bones Found in Holdout Heights House Attic Tell No Tales Fox26 has now updated its story from March on the mysterious circumstances surrounding the fate of Mary Cerruti, the former owner of the...
Update:2 years 8 months
Swamplot
Fast Indian Comes to the Strip Center End of 19th St. Just opened this week in Re:Vive Development’s new add-on strip center at 721 W. 19th St., just west of Shepherd Dr.: the first...
Update:2 years 8 months
Swamplot
A Personal Big Day at L'Auberge in Lake Charles In previous posts, including in my Lifetime of Running Cold history of my personal gambling, Iit's been mentioned that I've been...
Update:2 years 8 months
Cory Crow
Debtors-prison policies decried, DPS cuts license center hours, and other stories Here are a few odds and ends that merit Grits readers' attention while mine is focused on preparing for a much-need break next week.SCOTUS...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Junk-science based false convictions in Houston lampooned by comedian Someone has finally grokked and managed to convey in an accessible, understandable way the unmitigated travesty of justice surrounding drug...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Just Liberty post-session roundup podcast Here's the latest Just Liberty podcast - this time reviewing criminal-justice reform legislation from the 85th Texas Legislature -...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Governor signs omnibus innocence bill to track informants, record interrogations Governor Greg Abbott today signed HB 34, Texas' latest omnibus innocence legislation. Grits explained in this post why the eyewitness ID...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Houston meeting of Texas Latino GOP PAC tomorrow evening From the InBox: The Texas Latino GOP PAC are the gatekeepers to the conservative Latino Community, for far too long GOP outreach to Latino...
Update:2 years 8 months
Big Jolly Politics
Sen. Joan Huffman to recap the 85th From the InBox: Join us THIS WEDNESDAY, June 14 (Flag Day!), for our meeting with State Sen. Joan Huffman, SD 17, who will be discussing...
Update:2 years 8 months
Big Jolly Politics
Gov. Abbott mistakes incarceration smell for "freedom" Governor Greg Abbott made a speech in Bell County recently declaring that, as one drove north out of Austin, one could notice a different...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Unanswered questions about law-of-parties beyond death penalty In our podcast the other day, Texas Defender Service Executive Director Amanda Marzullo estimated that 10 percent of death-row defendants...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Priorities The headline from the Victoria Advocate declaring that the Texas Legislature prioritized mental health treatment over incarceration is...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
Legislative Session The 85th Legislative Session was different in many ways. Two things changed the narrative this session. First, Empower Texans successfully...
Update:2 years 8 months
Big Jolly Politics
Court trends advise tempered enthusiasm for HB 34 eyewitness ID reforms Does this sound like a suggestive photo array to put before a witness?A witness described being robbed at gunpoint by a “[b]lack male,...
Update:2 years 8 months
Grits for Breakfast
MAY 22, 2917 / Theodore Dalrymple on secularization and transcendence THE SECULARIZATION of Europe is hardly any secret. Religion's long, melancholy, withdrawing roar, as Matthew Arnold put it, is a roar no...
Update:2 years 9 months
Unca Darrell
MAY 10 / James B. Comey . . . . . . needed firing. Everything he did during the 2016 election was wrong. He was wrong . . . . . . back in July to release information...
Update:2 years 9 months
Unca Darrell
Droppin' F bombs, Beto O'Rourke style It's not often that a politician decides to start cursing repeatedly during speeches and interviews. But that hasn't stopped...
Update:2 years 11 months
Rick Perry vs The World
APRIL 5, 2017 / Weeding out the audience at the Alley is . . . . . . a feature, not a bug. Houston's Alley Theatre is running "An Act of God," a loosely dramatized collection of irreverent one-liners...
Update:2 years 11 months
Unca Darrell
Statewide primary rumors It's that stage of the election cycle where politicians are trying to figure out if they should run for something else or stay put. ...
Update:2 years 11 months
Rick Perry vs The World
Is Ted Cruz vulnerable? Is Ted Cruz vulnerable? Not really. Sure, he's not liked, Texans think Ted puts Ted first, his approval rating is upside down, etc...
Update:2 years 11 months
Rick Perry vs The World
MARCH 16, 2017 / Jim Webb on what it means to be a redneck, and . . . . . . why redneck culture matters. In 2004 Jim Webb wrote Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America. Though the 2016 presidential...
Update:2 years 11 months
Unca Darrell
MARCH 3, 2017 -- Goodbye, and thanks, to Thomas Sowell THOMAS SOWELL, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and one of America's most important public intellectuals, retired from...
Update:3 years 1 week
Unca Darrell
March 2, 2017 / The poem our teachers got wrong TWO ROADS diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Generations of commencement...
Update:3 years 1 week
Unca Darrell
FEBRUARY 27 / Eric Hoffer on . . . . . . baby boomers and alienated intellectuals. "SCRATCH AN INTELLECTUAL, and you find a would-be aristocrat who loathes the sight, the...
Update:3 years 1 week
Unca Darrell
2017 Project: January “Progress” There are two different ways to interpret my 2017 project: that it's a way more complicated New Years Resolution, or that it is essentially...
Update:3 years 1 month
Greg's Opinion
Ted Cruz's first senate term in a nutshell The National Review's Tim Alberta switched to Politico, and one of his opening pieces put Ted Cruz's first term in a nutshell It...
Update:3 years 1 month
Rick Perry vs The World
Andrea Parquet-Taylor named KTVT CBS 11 news director Former KHOU 11 assistant news director Andrea Parquet-Taylor named Vice President, News Director for KTVT CBS 11 Andrea...
Update:3 years 1 month
Mike McGuff
VIDEO: KPRC 2 10pm newscast (1-24-99) ...
Update:3 years 1 month
Mike McGuff
Democrats actually thought Wendy Davis was a serious candidate? Hat tip to Willisms: VIDEO- Wendy Davis being Wendy Davis: https://t.co/SHq3ACGVDJ #txlege— Will Franklin (@WILLisms) January 24,...
Update:3 years 1 month
Rick Perry vs The World
Luke Bryan to sing National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI on FOX ​ Country music superstar LUKE BRYAN will sing the National Anthem as part of Super Bowl LI pregame festivities at NRG Stadium in Houston...
Update:3 years 1 month
Mike McGuff
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 9 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 7 years 9 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 9 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble http://t.co/4OfeBlrG (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 7 years 9 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services" http://t.co/TOLgRVak
TxDOT | 7 years 9 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 7 years 9 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 months
Aren't State Dept career people suppose to be non-partisan? Not the political appointees, the career people. #Libya
San Antonio Current | 7 years 9 months
Go ahead, chalk it up http://t.co/YMWpC5wM #satx #chalkitup
Caller.com | 7 years 9 months
Scanner: Bathroom on fire in 600 block of Virginia, CC fire dept. on the way
Ballotpedia | 7 years 9 months
Does your state offer early voting? Do you qualify? Find out! #election2012 http://t.co/eodxBYVD
Dallas Morning News | 7 years 9 months
Why a Dallas-area cycling coach believed Lance Armstrong was drug-free (video) http://t.co/gURdYkj1
Caller.com | 7 years 9 months
Dozens of illegal waste dumpers sentenced in Jim Wells Co.; others on the run: http://t.co/NgerCdsQ
Karen Townsend | 7 years 9 months
Consistently impressed w/raullabrador when I listen to him in Congressional hearings. #Libya
Cory Crow | 7 years 9 months
Diigo: United raises fares by up to $10 per round trip - Business - http://t.co/kWY8gwPV http://t.co/bw25JP5R
News 4 WOAI | 7 years 9 months
If you see news in or around San Antonio 'SEND IT' to @NEWS4WOAI here: http://t.co/uMqbMXQv OR email us at: NEWSDESK@WOAITV.COM
swamplot | 7 years 9 months
Mining Houston Garbage for Recycling and Compost Gold http://t.co/HMMBArMX
swamplot | 7 years 9 months
Daily Demolition Report: Tulane Highway http://t.co/JXmkSx11
KFDA NewsChannel10 | 7 years 9 months
Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues http://t.co/y3VrPfkM
Williamson County | 7 years 9 months
Mental Health Awareness Week FREE Webinar:"Understanding Depression-How to Help You or a Loved One" Thurs,Oct 11@1pm-https://t.co/YUWi19WY
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