Archive for February 25th, 2015

The Trib scooped the fact that lobbyist Robert Miller is earning his money and doing his job.

I like and respect Robert. It looks like he was doing what he is supposed to be doing and that is representing his client. Check out these tweets from yesterday and then a part of Jay Root’s Trib piece:

Texas Tribune @TexasTribune • 4h 4 hours ago
.@byjayroot scoop: Lobby firm helped draft GOP caucus letter on racetrack gambling http://trib.it/1AHKsmp #txlege

Mike Snyder @chronsnyder • 3h 3 hours ago
Same lobbyist reps UH, whose board Fertitta chairs MT @TexasTribune: Lobby firm helped draft GOP letter on gambling http://trib.it/1AHKsmp

From the Trib and Jay Root:

When the Senate Republican Caucus fired off a letter to the Texas Racing Commission last summer blasting a proposal to allow a new form of electronic gambling, it was interpreted as standard conservative opposition to expanded gaming in Texas.

But a proponent of the horse racing industry suspects something else was at play: opposition from out-of-state casino interests that didn’t want the homegrown competition.

The reason?

Locke Lord, a law firm that lobbies the Legislature on behalf of Landry’s Inc. — owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain — helped draft some of the wording in the letter sent out by the caucus. The owner and CEO of Landry’s is mega political contributor Tilman Fertitta, who recently celebrated the opening of a new Golden Nugget in Louisiana, a state that depends heavily on Texas gamblers.

State Sen. Joan Huffman, then the chairwoman of the caucus, told The Texas Tribune this week that she asked Locke Lord to help with “legal questions” and “historical information” in the letter. The caucus expressed its opposition to the state racing commission’s proposal — later adopted — to allow “historical racing” devices, which some opponents compare to slot machines.

“They had some input, but they were not involved with the policymaking,” Huffman said. “There was some basic information provided, and I took it from there.”

Asked specifically if the firm helped with the wording of the letter, the senator said, “Yeah, somewhat. I think that’s fair to say.”

Chief Locke Lord lobbyist Robert Miller would not say whether he was involved in helping to draft the letter.

“I’ll just defer to Sen. Huffman on that,” Miller said.

Here is the entire Trib scoop: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/24/lobby-firm-assisted-drafting-gop-caucus-letter/.

It looks like just another day at the office for Robert and his crew. That’s why I think he is one of the best in the business.

What would rather have him doing? Springing for a bottle of Opus One and a nice dinner for a legislator or two?

Robert is good but I am not ready to give him a superhero lobbyist designation, unless of course he is able to get UH into the Big 12.

FYI: I can’t remember the last time I was at a Landry’s property – maybe La Griglia for The Roundtable last October or so. Also, don’t get too worked up over this scoop. After all, it is a fight between two gambling interests.

Everyone knows that Nolan Ryan leads the ‘Stros with striking out 1,866 batters. Who is second on the list of ‘Stros pitchers in striking out batters?

Of course you never want to launch your bid for H-Town Mayor with an elected official banging on you. That’s not the way to get into the race.

Check out these Teddy Schleifer tweets:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 40m40 minutes ago
Just got off phone w/Steve Radack, who has harsh words for @SheriffGarcia’s flirtation w/mayoral bid — “slap in the face” to employees.

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 39m39 minutes ago
More Radack: “It’s ridiculous that a person who is sheriff of the 3rd largest county in the U.S. will encourage this type of conversation.”

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 37m37 minutes ago
Radack on @SheriffGarcia: “He better stand up and say ‘I’m leaving’ or stand up & say ‘I’m staying.’ I think this has gone on long enough.”

I am thinking that a lot of folks over there at the Sheriff’s Office are just going about their professional business and are not worried too much. Maybe the command staff is wondering about their future. Still, you never want to get banged around as you get ready to run for Mayor. I am also thinking that Commissioner Radack has a replacement ready to go.

I am thinking we are going to find out how much the University of Houston is going to pay their commencement speaker. Heck, it would not surprise me if some media folks put in more requests to find out how much other state colleges and universities are paying their speakers. Why not? Check this from the Chron:

It is not all right, all right, all right for the University of Houston to tell the public how much it plans to pay Matthew McConaughey for his speaking gig later this year, according to the celebrity booking agency representing the actor.

UH has booked McConaughey to speak at commencement in May, but the school won’t disclose how much it intends to pay the actor because its contract with Celebrity Talent International includes a rare confidentiality clause. Under the clause, UH must provide notice to the company that the information has been requested and give the the agency an opportunity to object to the release of their information with the state attorney general’s office.

UH said Tuesday that Celebrity Talent International has indicated that it plans to file a brief requesting the information be withheld.

“It should be noted that the University does not believe the information is confidential, but must allow the third party the chance to make their argument against disclosure,” the school said in a statement.

Such a confidentiality agreement in a contract like this is unusual, said Thomas Gregor, a Houston attorney who serves on the board of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

“It’s not unheard of, but it’s certainly rare,” Gregor said. “Most public institutions understand they cannot contract around the Public Information Act by virtue of a confidentiality agreement with a private party.”

The only real exception, Gregor said, is if the contract includes information qualified as a trade secret, such as the formula to Coca-Cola, “or would otherwise cause the person substantial competitive harm if publicly disclosed.”

“I can think of no circumstance under which a commencement fee paid by a public university could be properly withheld,” Gregor said.

McConaughey reportedly gets $150,000 minimum per speech or $50,000 for each alright.

My numero 3 movie of all time is showing at the River Oaks Theatre this weekend. I have seen it on the big screen a couple of times and once on 3D IMAX. Check it out and maybe take the youngsters. If you enjoy “The Wizard of Oz” and have never seen it on the big screen, then you have to watch it. I guarantee you will see some stuff you don’t catch on the flat screen. Here is from the Chron:

When the River Oaks Theatre opened Nov. 28, 1939, it did not show “The Wizard of Oz.”

But the beloved musical fantasy, which opened Aug. 25, 1939, seems a perfect fit for a 75th anniversary celebration for both the movie and the movie house, said David Kimball, Denver-based regional publicist for Landmark Theatres.

“The Wizard of Oz” in its original version is showing at midnight Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Landmark’s River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray, in the main auditorium.

“It’s pretty rare to see it on the big screen with beautiful digital presentation and sound,” Kimball said. “A lot of folks have only seen it on their TV.”

Roy O. of course struck out 1,593 batters as a ‘Stro to follow Nolan Ryan.

The ‘Stros have their first full-squad workout today.

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