Archive for January 12th, 2012

Commentary watched City Council on the tube yesterday and it got a bit interesting.  Chris Moran captured most of it in the Chron today but I’ll add my take after you read his:

It was about a bike path. But it was about so much more.

Councilwoman Helena Brown and Councilman James Rodriguez squared off publicly Wednesday in the kind of bare-knuckled politics usually deployed in a back room.

The outer layer of the onion had them disagreeing on whether the city should spend $2.3 million on a bike path along Sims Bayou in Rodriguez’s District I. Brown called it a "luxury" the city cannot afford in tough economic times.

Underneath that layer, though, Brown had violated an unspoken commandment of the council horseshoe: Thou shalt not question a project in another council member’s district.

Rodriguez told Brown in no uncertain terms that his constituents support it. And, in so many words, to mind her own business.

"I think you’re going to find out real quick there’s a 16-1 answer to your question," Rodriguez said. He was prophetic. Brown was the lone vote against the project.

Peeling further, Rodriguez may have a personal motive. After Rodriguez championed historic designation status for Glenbrook Valley, a neighborhood in his southeast Houston district, Leticia Ablaza, a resident of that district, ran against him in November. Rodriguez won handily. Brown, who represents northwest Houston’s District A, hired Ablaza as her chief of staff.

Different sides

There’s an obvious ideological divide between the two, as well. Rodriguez leans toward Democratic mentors such as State Rep. Carol Alvarado, for whom he worked and who preceded him in his seat. He has championed Latino voting rights through both negotiations and litigation. Brown knocked off an incumbent last month with the support of anti-tax activists who helped her campaign on fiscal conservatism and reining in the fee hikes of the past two years.

Finally, there’s old versus new. Rodriguez is about as veteran as a council member can get in the era of term limits. He just started his third and final two-year term on council. Brown was attending just her second meeting, as were six other newly elected members.

She got moral support in her spat – but not a supporting vote – from fellow newbie Councilman Andrew Burks.

"We’re called the Magnificent Seven. You mess with one, you mess with all," Burks told Rodriguez. "She’s not to be lectured."

‘Racking up bills’

While the seven do not appear to be ideologically aligned, as newcomers they all are, to some extent, wild cards, and Mayor Annise Parker may find herself again, as she did with Burks, explaining rules of decorum and corralling an expanded 17-member council.

Brown did not back down. When she got another turn to speak, she again criticized the project as a luxury item, reading from a statement on her phone.

"We’re going to be making Houston start looking like an aging Hollywood actress," Brown said. "She’s racking up bills on expensive bills and cosmetic surgery while the infrastructure falls apart and other bills go unpaid."

The very next item was for a bike path in Brown’s district. Harris County sought to build a bike path through city land. County money, not city money, Brown said.

It passed 17-0.

This was obviously a strategic move on the part of CM Brown and her advisors.   It looks like they want to spend the next two years or so going after City Hall spending.  Of course, I don’t necessarily think yesterday’s move was a good strategy.  If they thought that CM Rodriguez wouldn’t be forceful in defending his projects, they were dead wrong.  He not only defended, he gave her a stern lecture.   A number of other council members weighed in and supported the project.  To the TV viewer it was pretty obvious that CM Brown was getting her talking points sent to her during the debate via iphone, blackberry, or text gizmos from someone not in the Council Chamber.  She was reading from them when it was her turn to speak.  Maybe she will tell us who was coaching her, err telling her what to say or maybe we will just have to wonder but I think we know pretty much what is going on.  It looks like CM Brown will be the vehicle critics of City Hall are going to ride to go after spending projects.  What else did you expect from CM Brown?

Al Pedrique, was the interim skipper for the D-Backs for 83 games in 2004.  In a three game series with the Giants that September, Pedrique created a bit of a controversy.  Do you recall the controversy?

Burkablog has an interesting take that has me wondering if he thinks The President is going to beat Mitt Romney this November.  Here are bits:

Huntsman — This race was a dress rehearsal for 2016, when he’ll be a real force. He’s extremely intelligent and has considerable personal wealth. He’ll be back.


Perry — All of the damage suffered by Perry was self-inflicted. He ruined his own brand. He could make a comeback in 2016, but he is going to have to develop gravitas. One of the problems with the Perry campaign is that he ran for president as if he were running for governor of Texas. He needs to spend a lot of time traveling around the country — not with that ridiculous security detail, and not to Republican fundraisers, but with one or two travel aides. He needs to learn that the rest of the country isn’t like Texas, it’s not a bunch of evangelicals, and, as a matter of fact, most Americans don’t care for swaggering Texans with big egos. If he is going to have a future, he is going to have to learn how to come across as presidential, something he never did. He could practice debating every now and then, too.

Commentary doesn’t think Guv Dude will ever recover.  It is not in his DNA.
Here is all of Burkablog.

Commentary has grown to like “Whitney.”  Last night’s episode was as hilarious as they get. 

Al Pedrique as skipper of the D-Backs ordered his pitching staff to walk Barry Bonds every time he batted during the three game series so he wouldn’t get career dinger numero 700 at Bank One Park of course.    Pedrique was heavily criticized back then for those moves of course now nobody cares if you know what I mean.

Up until yesterday, Pedrique was the bench coach for the ‘Stros.  He was reassigned to the bullpen and he refused.   Check out the story here.



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