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Archive for August 17th, 2012

First of all let me say that Commentary is generally opposed to putting limits on campaign contributions.  We have them for Prez and Congress.  We don’t for Super PACs.  We have them for H-Town Mayor and City Council.  We don’t for Harris County Judge and County Commissioners.  We don’t for state offices or the state legislature.  We have blackout periods for the City and State.  We don’t for the Congress and County.  We have vendor-contract-agenda blackout periods at the City.

I have always thought if an elected official was corruptible, he/she would be corrupt for a dime, a trip, a ticket, a dinner, or a few Gs.  There are a whole lot of elected officials that will take thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and still vote against a campaign donor’s issue.  That being said, it looks like HISD Trustees are on their way to adopting a campaign contribution policy of sorts that basically says that if you want to do business with HISD, you better not give more than $500 to a Trustee in a calendar year. 

With all the bad press that certain HISD Trustees have received in the past year and a half on campaign contributions and vendor relationships, the proposed policy is a positive step.

Check out Ericka Mellon’s story here on the proposed policy.

Here is from the Chron today:

Trustees would have to abstain from voting on deals involving vendors who had contributed more than $500 to their campaigns the prior year. They also would have to disclose and abstain if they have a close relationship with a vendor.

And:

Houston political consultant Marc Campos said he expects vendors will donate less money to HISD candidates.

"I think it’s a positive step unless somebody can figure out how to game the system," he said.

Campos suggested that the donation rule also apply to political action committees that include vendors, and he questioned whether it would cover unions. The draft policy did not specifically mention unions.

For instance, if a vendor contributes thousands to a PAC, then the PAC turns around and contributes a few thousand to a Trustee, is the proposed policy being violated?  Same thing for a downtown law firm doing bond business with HISD that may give a few thousand to the HBEC PAC, that then turns around and hands out a campaign check to a Trustee.  Let me say that I’m certainly not picking on labor unions but they could also be doing business with HISD.  Same thing goes for a non-profit doing business with HISD.

This is certainly a work in progress and the kinks are going to have to be worked out.  Vendors, donors, consultants, Trustees, candidates, and the media are going to have to figure it out and not be afraid to ask questions and share info.  One thing is for sure, it looks like there will be less money to conduct campaigns unless of course you self-fund.

Today’s Chron Sports section front page is about the lousiest teams in MLB history including the last place 1962 Mets that went 40-120.  How many games did they finish out of first that year?

The Rockets want to buy the Dynamo.

Check it out here.

The ‘Stros owner had some things to say to Chron.com yesterday:

“We want the fans to stick with us. We’ll do a lot of events for the fans the rest of the year and do a lot of events starting next year to keep that nucleus of 10,000 season tickets.”

(Jim) Crane said he believes “sophisticated baseball fans” are in tune with the team’s plan to rebuild through the farm system and “work some free agents in there” as the minor league talent progresses to the point that the big league team can contend.

“If you look at the facts, the farm system has one of the best records now,” he said. “We’ve made a nice turn there. We want to bring up a few guys up (in September) and see if they can play, and we’ll get focused on next year pretty quick. We’re hustling. We want to win some more ballgames and get some more (fans) out.”

Crane also said the Astros have submitted their redesigned uniforms to MLB for approval. He said the design includes “traditional” elements from past Astros uniforms and “incorporates them in a very modest way. They’re very classy.”

He also said the Astros are soliciting fans’ opinions on the future of Tal’s Hill in center field and that fans have said “they don’t see a lot of sense in having that 436(-foot fence) in center. We’re looking at a design that would incorporate some other things out there. We could use that space for a lot of different things.”

According to this “sophisticated fan,” it looks like Tal’s Hill will be bulldozed and they’ll stick some high priced Outfield Diamond Level seats out there – just wait!

The last place 1962 Mets finished 60 ½ games behind the Giants of course.

The D-Backs are in town this weekend with Blue and Gold Star Lids being handed out tonight and Bagwell Bobbleheads tomorrow.

 

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