in Houston, Texas
City officials in Texas take open meetings challenge to Supreme Court
Tuesday, Nov 06, 2012, 10:20AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
Jimmy Stewart

You knew they would. We said they would. The Texas city officials who continue to insist the Texas Open Meetings Act is unconstitutional are going to the Supreme Court.

William McKamie, one of the attorneys representing the group we fondly refer to as the Furtive Fifteen, told the Amarillo Globe-News the case belonged in the hands of the “guardians of the First Amendment.”

There is no guarantee the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case, and from the rulings in every lower court, as faithfully reported for more than a year-and-a-half  by your Texas Watchdog, the case more appropriately belongs in Sunday night’s recycling.

The courts have consistently upheld a 37-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Junell.

To recap once again, knowing full well there are 15 people in Texas who never tire of the story, city officials from across the state filed suit in 2009 contending the Texas Open Meetings Act restricted what they could say in public, violating their First Amendment rights.

In late September the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion that the Open Meetings Act is written to insure the public’s business will be done in public. Not exactly what the Furtives had in mind.

Former Texas Solicitor General James Ho, who represented the state when the suit was originally filed, told the Globe-News what mostly everyone but the Furtives and their lawyers are well aware of.

“Every court in the country to have ever faced a First Amendment challenge to an Open Meetings Act law has rejected the challenge and upheld the law,” Ho said.

Should it happen again, expect the Furtives to huddle up with their attorney, take in another viewing of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and then file a request to start all over again in District Court.

As Jefferson Smith said, just before passing out on a bed of telegraph wires, “Somebody’ll listen to me, sss...”

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," the 1939 classic directed by Frank Capra.

Austin officials escape charges in open meetings case, pledge to follow law in agreement with Travis County DA
Thursday, Oct 18, 2012, 12:42PM CST
By Curt Olson
Austin City Hall

Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Austin City Council members will avoid being charged with criminal violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act by agreeing to conditions of future behavior.

The move by some city leaders to sign a “compliance agreement” seeks to end the long investigation into accusations city officials violated the open meetings law. Leffingwell and Councilman Mike Martinez signed the agreement this week, and former Councilwoman Randi Shade signed it during the summer, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

Under the agreement, city leaders admit no wrongdoing. They will take open meetings classes and have pledged to follow open meetings laws.

“We said from the beginning that (council members) did not do anything sinister or improper. They are hardworking and have made every effort to be transparent, to go beyond what they think is required in the Open Meetings Act, because they all agree open government is a good thing,” Martinez’s attorney, Joe Turner, told the Statesman.

Austin resident Brian Rodgers filed a complaint with Travis County District Attorney David Escamilla in January 2011, contending council members routinely gathered in small groups to discuss city business prior to council meetings, the newspaper reported. A “walking quorum” is a violation of the state open meetings law.

As part of his investigation, Escamilla asked the officials to turn over notes and e-mail records. Media outlets including the Austin Bulldog, an investigative news website, did as well.

The Bulldog sued the city and council in March 2011, arguing officials failed to disclose all emails and other messages regarding city business sent on private accounts and mobile devices. That lawsuit is pending.

By June, the investigation had cost Austin taxpayers $344,000 to hire three separate Austin law firms to advise city officials on the investigation and open meetings issues, according to the newspaper.

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of Austin City Hall by flickr user Michael Connell, used via a Creative Commons license.

A victory for transparency in Texas: Federal appeals court rules against city officials who claimed Texas Open Meetings Act impedes free speech
Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012, 03:25PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
gavel

We here at Texas Watchdog are getting just a little bit wistful realizing there is only one court in the land left to smack around our very own Furtive Fifteen.

Those are the 15 city officials from across the Lone Star State who banded together to employ lots of lawyers with your tax dollars, occupy the precious time of judges and get the Texas Open Meetings Act tossed because it intrudes on their peculiar notions of secrecy in government.

Thankfully, the 15 have a perfect score: The Fabulous Furtives today extended their record when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found baseless their contention that the law requiring they keep public business public curtailed their freedom of speech and was, therefore, unconstitutional, the Austin American-Statesman is reporting.

The appeals court heard the snivell...their arguments in April, a little more than a year after U.S. District Judge Robert Junell luxuriated in a 37-page lambasting of their logic.

Echoing Junell, the appeals court ruled the Texas Open Meetings Act does pretty much the opposite of what the frank Furtives contend, broadening discussion of public business, increasing transparency and promoting trust in government.

As it has in every court so far, this repudiation will be taken by their counsel as a signal to push on to the last available venue, the Supreme Court.

There is no guarantee the High Court will decide to hear the case, but for our collective enjoyment may we remind the justices there is no mercy rule in our judicial system.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitterand Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of 'judge hand with gavel' by flickr user s_falkow, used via a Creative Commons license.

Galveston City councilwoman calls foul over closed meeting
Friday, Jul 13, 2012, 04:39PM CST
By Curt Olson
gavel

Galveston City Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton walked into a meeting Thursday evening filled with open meeting concerns.

The primary one affected her appointment to the city Planning Commission, the Galveston Daily News reports. The council moved to go into closed session for the discussion, Beeton objected, but too late, according to City Attorney Dorothy Palumbo.

Beeton confirmed to Texas Watchdog Friday she made her formal request for a public discussion of her appointment when she was briefly in the closed session.

After a few minutes she left that room and verbalized her request for a public discussion again, but council members were now behind closed doors, and they could not hear her.

“I don’t think this is a legal meeting, and I’m not going to participate in it,” Beeton said, according to the story.

The Texas Open Meetings Act allows city councils and other governmental bodies to discuss board appointments in closed session, though they must come back into open session to take the vote. The law allows for a closed, or executive, session “to deliberate the appointment, employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline, or dismissal of a public officer or employee.” But the provision “does not apply if the officer or employee who is the subject of the deliberation or hearing requests a public hearing.”

The legal cases on this section of the Open Meetings Act require someone objecting to a closed meeting to do so before that closed meeting begins.

After the closed session, City Council appointed a freshman council member to the Planning Commission.

Beeton said she believes decisions about the board appointments had been made prior to the meeting, though she admitted she had no proof.

“It seems to me what happened is that four members got together and decided how to divvy up the wharves board, the park board and the planning commission,” the Daily News reported her saying. Mayor Lewis Rosen said no such meeting had occurred.

Another concern is a reference by the city attorney to a “catchall” exemption for going into closed session. The newspaper reported:

“She (Palumbo) said the council could put a motion to retire into executive session to a vote but could also simply retire if there were ‘consensus’ among the members to do so. She didn’t say what constituted a consensus or how it should be measured.”

Texas Watchdog put in a call to Palumbo Friday afternoon to seek elaboration on the “catchall” exemption. She was not immediately available, but we’ll update the blog if we hear back from her.

State open meetings law proscribes these notice requirements for closed session:

“A governmental body must give the public advance notice of the subjects it will consider in an open meeting or a closed executive session.”

***
Contact Curt Olson at curt@texaswatchdog.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of 'judge hand with gavel' by flickr user s_falkow, used via a Creative Commons license.

Austin taxpayers footing six-figure bill to investigate possible open meetings violations, little to show for legal work so far
Monday, Jun 18, 2012, 12:01PM CST
By Mark Lisheron
money

After $344,000 in legal fees and the work of eight assistant county attorneys taxpayers are no closer to knowing whether Austin’s elected officials violated the Texas Open Meetings Act than they were when allegations were made 16 months ago.

Not to worry, Travis County Attorney David Escamilla told the Austin American-Statesman. While he wouldn’t say what has been done so far, why it has taken so long and what might yet be needed if a case is to be made, Escamilla says he is sure the citizens paying all the bills will be happy with the results.

While firmly not confirming it, Escamilla and his assistants have been mulling over a complaint made in February of 2011 by a city activist charging that private meetings of individual City Council members and Mayor Lee Leffingwell and individual e-mail exchanges violated the Open Meetings Act.

Local media followed with formal requests to see the e-mails exchanged among officials. To the shock and delight of the community, the e-mails revealed some of the same sort of backbiting and sneering you can hear on a middle school playground every day.

Elected officials then did what any good American would do under the circumstances: get good and lawyered up at taxpayer expense. The individuals named in the complaint got their own lawyers, just for good measure.

What followed was a case with a gestation period almost as long as the challenge to ObamaCare. The Supreme Court will almost certainly make its decision before Escamilla.

Maybe it’s just because Escamilla and his staff haven’t had the practice. A case against members of the State Board of Education, the only Open Meetings Act case that resulted in a prosecution in 10 years, took two years to investigate, the American-Statesman says.

And then there is the possible impact of an interminable case now in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals brought by 15 elected municipal officials contending the Texas Open Meetings Act violates their freedom of speech.

Cost and time have not suppressed the public’s interest in knowing what its government is doing. Requests of Austin’s Public Information Office for public records jumped by 32.4 percent, to 11,621 requests filed in 2011 from 8,779 in 2010, the newspaper says.

Taxpayers can expect to pay that bill, too.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of money by flickr user thekmancom, used via a Creative Commons license.

Levelland board blocks reporter from discussion, says meeting not required to be open
Thursday, Jun 07, 2012, 10:19AM CST
By Steve Miller
No Entry

“This was some matters that we just wanted to be able to discuss informally," the city attorney said to the reporter as he denied him access to an impromptu meeting.

We’ve heard of some excuses for closing a gathering of a city board to the public – none of them valid – but that of Richard Husen, city attorney in Levelland, is at least honest and may well fall within the law.

As the ABC affiliate in Lubbock reports, the Levelland Construction Advisory Board huddled behind closed doors to discuss an incident in which the mayor allegedly assaulted the town’s building inspector. The matter is for the police to sort out.

On the other hand, the closed door meeting is one for the local district attorney’s office to check into.

The board gathered without notice as the TV crew attempted to attend the meeting. After being turned back by City Manager Rick Osburn, the crew stood outside the door of the meeting and attempted to listen.

Osburn came out of the room and asked them to leave, according to the account from the crew. They refused, and he went back into the closed door meeting.

Husen told the reporters that the meeting was that of an advisory board – a body that is fairly well defined by the Texas Government Code as not subject to the open meetings law. An exception: If the board sets policy and its decisions are routinely rubber-stamped by another board like a City Council, it may fall under open meetings requirements.

The city of Levelland has a good appearance of transparency, which is something we look at when there are allegations of impropriety.  Among its postings of public meetings, the Construction Advisory Board is not included, as it is purely an advisory body.

Still, the assault accusation, the strident response of the city attorney and the city manager to the media’s attempt to access the meeting and the appearance of an open meetings violation created an unnecessary stir.

Good work by the persistent television crew. But it looks like the city may have the law on its side.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of sign by flickr user spin spin, used via a Creative Commons license.

Code name for Schlitterbahn tax break in meeting notice violated state law, transparency lawyer says
Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 02:09PM CST
By Steve Miller
water park

A Corpus Christi economic development board used a code name for a massive project in a public meeting notice last week, a practice that one transparency hawk describes as a violation of state law but the board attorney claims is in keeping with the rules.

The Corpus Christi Business and Job Development Corp. met Friday to discuss a tax break for a new water park, Schlitterbahn. But the meeting agenda referred to an executive session discussion of “Project Chika,” a name unknown to the public but instead a code name for the water park project.

"It's deliberately meant to throw people off the tracks," transparency lawyer Joe Larsen told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "It's something the public has a high interest in so it should have a specific agenda item."

Assistant City Attorney Charlotte Yochem told the newspaper, "It's a protection of confidential information with businesses who are looking to locate in our area and are interested in incentives.”

Either way, the public was not aware of the agenda item much like the public was misled two years ago by the University of Houston as it hid its negotiations to purchase and shutter the Rice University student-run radio station, KTRU. The call letters of the popular free-form station were never mentioned in public meeting postings for the UH Board of Regents.

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association obscured the identity of the sole finalist for general manager last year by referring to him in an open meeting as "candidate number four."

The president and CEO of Schlitterbahn, Gary L. Henry, is a prolific businessman based in New Braunfels. Among his other enterprises is an operation that makes waterpark rides and a series of real estate, resort and constructions firms.

The company has been rapidly expanding, helped by $5 million in tax breaks agreed to by the Corpus board.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo 'uphill slide' by flickr user sandwichgirl, used via a Creative Commons license.

Texas open meetings law a tool of censorship or safeguard against deals in smoke-filled rooms? Appeals court considers lawsuit brought by city officials
Friday, Apr 06, 2012, 11:47AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
pipe

The Case of the Petrified Politicians, as we like to call it here at Texas Watchdog, got underway Thursday in Houston with their lawyer arguing the Texas Open Meetings Act is in conflict with government’s goal of robust conversation on political issues.

Oh, so that’s the goal of government. We thought it was to consolidate power and authority while squandering the hard-earned money of taxpayers. Robustly.

But we digress. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in a lawsuit signed onto by 15 city officials from across Texas contending the Open Meetings Act is unconstitutional because it stifles the free speech of elected officials, Courthouse News Service is reporting.

Please note we got through the entire previous paragraph without a single contemptuous guffaw.

The plaintiffs, who have in the course of this never-ending case described themselves as frightened of saying certain things in public, are gravely harmed because the Open Meetings Act forces them to censor themselves, their attorney, Craig Enoch, a former Texas Supreme Court judge, told the appeals court panel.

Reading the minds of all who value open government, the state’s attorney, James Ho, former state Texas Solicitor, called the lawsuit "a perverse way to interpret First Amendment rights."

Without criminal penalties, the act would have no gravity, he said.

"The Open Meetings Act benefits public officials as well as the people they represent," Ho said.
    
Without the Open Meetings Act elected officials would be free to "gather in a smoke-filled room," discuss whatever they wanted and make decisions without the public knowing what was being done, Judge Jerry Smith, one of the Appeals panelists, said.

The panel is hearing the appeal of a lengthy and detailed ruling in March of 2011 by Judge Robert Junell dismissing the lawsuit. Junell made essentially the same ruling in a lawsuit brought in 2006 by different city officials.

The 5th Circuit Court overturned Junell’s ruling in 2009, but the case was dismissed because the original plaintiffs were, by then, no longer in office.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of pipe by flickr user - luz -, used via a Creative Commons license.

Open meetings lawsuit to be heard by appeals court today; district court found the act did not suppress free speech as Texas local officials contended
Thursday, Apr 05, 2012, 09:07AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
gavel

Signaling their intention to go to court forever to withhold information from the public, lawyers for 15 city officials begin today trying to convince the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the Texas Open Meetings Act violates their freedom of speech.

The officials from Alpine, Wichita Falls, Pflugerville, Sugar Land, Arlington, Heath, Rockport, Leon Valley, Whitesboro, Hurst and Bellmead filed suit in 2009 contending they conduct public business in terror of violating the law.

In March of 2011, U.S. District Judge Robert Junell took 37 pages to call their contention nonsense. Junell said the Open Meetings Act was not vague, or too broad, or suppressive of free speech.

Oh, and not in violation of the free speech guarantees in the First Amendment.

Which seemed to be an invitation to appeal today before a panel of three judges in Houston, according to an Associated Press story. Adverse judgements encourage these taxpayer-sponsored public servants.

A similar group of city officials first brought suit in 2006 ,and Junell delivered a similar ruling. The 5th Circuit panel in 2009, however, reversed Junell’s decision, but the case was dismissed because by that time most of the original plaintiffs were out of office.

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

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of gavel by flickr user Joe Gratz, used via a Creative Commons license.

Fort Worth ISD trustee seeks closed meeting, says public forum to interview board applicants would 'jam up' process
Friday, Feb 03, 2012, 02:56PM CST
By Steve Miller
crayons

In Fort Worth, the school district has decided that rather than let voters decide who will fill a vacant trustee seat, the sitting board is better qualified.

The board claimed an election would be expensive, therefore it would do the selecting for the people. It will meet Feb. 21 to discuss who will join its ranks.

At least one board member, though, believes that the process should be closed to the public.

Fort Worth ISD Trustee Ann Sutherland feels that holding a public forum with the applicants would create a scenario where some could "jam up" the process.

"It's going to be huge and ugly if we do," Sutherland said, according to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sutherland also wanted to keep the names of the applicants private, but the district’s counsel advised that would be illegal.

But the school district attorney, Bertha Whatley, believes the board can interview applicants and discuss its choice behind closed doors. Whatley said the Texas Open Meetings Act allows such, citing Texas Government Code Section 551.074.
Ann SutherlandAnn Sutherland

Today, the Star-Telegram weighs in with an op-ed on the situation, predictably – and reliably – coming down on the side of transparency.

Sutherland has been at times a foe of transparency. She was loud in her protest last fall of the public availability of e-mails sent by elected officials and public employees.

And an account last summer, also in the Star-Telegram, noted that Sutherland was texting with the representative of a potential vendor during a meeting on whether to hire the vendor to handle the district's collections from delinquent taxpayers. The representative's firm won the contract.

Of course Sutherland may have texted him in he past; he and his firm, Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, had helped her campaign in the past.

And she’s not afraid to defend her stance.
 
***
Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of crayons by flickr user KTVee, used via a Creative Commons license.
Video
KTRK: On Big Screens for Billionaires, Comptroller Susan Combs Silent
Related Blogs and Media
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: The Watering Hole 1114 B Potomac Dr. [HAR] … Read...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
Comment of the Day: Still Missing the Good Ol’ Days “I was born in ’91, so I never got to experience the little mom and pop stores (hardware store or otherwise). I wish I could have...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
Nothing Really Happens with This Bed Bug Shutdown Notice and Implosion Threat Posted to a Westheimer Strip Center Mattress Store “The movie finally makes a reasonable amount of sense now” after 4 years of work on it, writes producer Joseph Graham on the...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
Swamplot Sponsor: Central Bank Swamplot’s sponsor today is Houston’s own Central Bank. Thanks for the continuing support! Central Bank has 4 (central) Houston...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
The Next Food Hall Coming to Downtown Houston Will Be a Storeful of Open Kitchens If you’re just coming up to speed on the whole food hall thing, remember this: It’s not a food court, it’s a food hall....
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
Amazon Will Swallow Whole Foods Whole For those who expected Whole Foods Market to shop itself to a fellow grocery store chain and not a powerful company experimenting with...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
This Century’s Rise in Home Prices; Rare Local Air Monitoring Equipment Exhibited at Museum Houston-Area Home Prices Have Increased Nearly 30% Since 2000, Finds Harvard Study [Houston Chronicle] Stream, AMD To Develop 5-Story...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
Daily Demolition Report: Feagan, and Again, and Again Swamplot’s Daily Demolition Report lists buildings that received City of Houston demolition permits the previous weekday. Demolition is...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
Blessed are the Poor: Examining opposition to debtors-prison legislation Texas State Sen. Paul Bettencourt was quoted by the Associated Press (June 11) criticizing debtors-prison legislation (SB 1913) which...
Update:2 years 9 months
Grits for Breakfast
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: The Vault 14759 Oak Bend Dr. [HAR] … Read...
Update:2 years 9 months
Swamplot
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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 9 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 10 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 10 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 10 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 10 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 10 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 11 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:3 years 1 week
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:3 years 1 week
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:3 years 2 weeks
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:3 years 1 month
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:3 years 1 month
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 month
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 month
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 month
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 2 months
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 2 months
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 2 months
Mike McGuff
VIDEO: KPRC 2 10pm newscast (1-24-99) ...
Update:3 years 2 months
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 2 months
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 2 months
Mike McGuff
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 7 years 10 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 7 years 10 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 7 years 10 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 7 years 10 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 10 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 10 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 7 years 10 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 7 years 10 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 10 months
Go ahead, chalk it up http://t.co/YMWpC5wM #satx #chalkitup
Caller.com | 7 years 10 months
Scanner: Bathroom on fire in 600 block of Virginia, CC fire dept. on the way
Ballotpedia | 7 years 10 months
Does your state offer early voting? Do you qualify? Find out! #election2012 http://t.co/eodxBYVD
Dallas Morning News | 7 years 10 months
Why a Dallas-area cycling coach believed Lance Armstrong was drug-free (video) http://t.co/gURdYkj1
Caller.com | 7 years 10 months
Dozens of illegal waste dumpers sentenced in Jim Wells Co.; others on the run: http://t.co/NgerCdsQ
Karen Townsend | 7 years 10 months
Consistently impressed w/raullabrador when I listen to him in Congressional hearings. #Libya
Cory Crow | 7 years 10 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 10 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 10 months
Mining Houston Garbage for Recycling and Compost Gold http://t.co/HMMBArMX
swamplot | 7 years 10 months
Daily Demolition Report: Tulane Highway http://t.co/JXmkSx11
KFDA NewsChannel10 | 7 years 10 months
Obama and Romney: Where they stand on the issues http://t.co/y3VrPfkM
Williamson County | 7 years 10 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
© 2020 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement