Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why Would The City Withhold a Police Report?: an incident involving Damon Bentley that occurred between January and May 2008 at Utopia Restaurant

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June 4, 2008

Mr. Joseph Harney

Assistant City Attorney

City of Corpus Christi

P. O. Box 9277

Corpus Christi, Texas 78469-9277


Re: Request for a report regarding an incident involving Damon Bentley that occurred between January and May 2008 at Utopia Restaurant, located at 5638 Saratoga

Dear Mr. Harney:

The Office of the Attorney General has received your request for a ruling and assigned your request ID# 317847.

After reviewing your arguments and the submitted information, we have determined that your request does not present a novel or complex issue. Thus, we are addressing your claims in a memorandum opinion. You claim that the submitted information may be withheld from the requestor pursuant to section 552.108(a)(2) of the Government Code. We have considered your arguments and the submitted information and have determined that in accordance with section 552.108(a)(2) you may withhold the submitted information. However, you must release the basic information pursuant to section 552.108(c) of the Government Code.

For more information on the cited exception, as well as information on the rights and obligations of governmental bodies and requestors, please refer to open government information contained on the Office of the Attorney General website at You may also contact our Open Government Hotline at 1-877-OPENTEX.

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cc: Mr. John Jackson

8100 SPID, #302

Corpus Christi, Texas 78412

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POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US
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Monday, May 05, 2008

The State responded that it had no such evidence in its custody or control. ....yeah right, I guess the tape evidence is contrary to Huberts malicious

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NUMBER 13-02-169-CR







On appeal from the 105th District Court

of Kleberg County, Texas.


Before Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Rodriguez and Castillo

Opinion by Justice Castillo

The State indicted William Ray Gearhart, appellant, as a repeat felony offender for assaulting a public servant. Footnote On March 5, 2002, a jury convicted Gearhart and sentenced him to ten years confinement in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. We conclude that Gearhart's appeal is frivolous and without merit. We affirm.


Gearhart filed a pro se notice of appeal on March 8, 2002. In the notice, Gearhart complained about his trial counsel's representation. He asked the trial court to appoint appellate counsel to represent him. The trial court appointed new counsel for him on appeal. Gearhart's appellate counsel filed a brief in which counsel concludes that the appeal is frivolous. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744-45 (1967).


The rules of appellate procedure governing how appeals proceed in criminal cases were amended effective January 1, 2003. Generally, rules altering procedure do not fall within the prohibition in the Texas Constitution against retroactive application of laws that disturb vested, substantive rights. See Tex. Const. art. I, § 16; see also Ibarra v. State, 11 S.W.3d 189, 192 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). Therefore, this Court applies the current rules of appellate procedure to this appeal. We may not affirm or reverse a judgment or dismiss an appeal for formal defects or irregularities in appellate procedure without allowing a reasonable time to correct or amend the defects or irregularities. Tex. R. App. P. 44.3. We also are prohibited from affirming or reversing a judgment or dismissing an appeal if the record prevents the proper presentation of an appeal and can be corrected by the trial court. Tex. R. App. P. 44.4(a). Accordingly, we abated the appeal on July 21, 2003 and ordered a supplemental record to include, in compliance with rule 25.2(a)(2), the trial court's certification of Gearhart's right of appeal. See Tex. R. App. P. 25.2(a)(2). We received a supplemental record on December 10, 2003 that includes the trial court's certification that Gearhart has the right of appeal. We now turn to the merits.


A. Anders Brief

Gearhart's original court-appointed appellate counsel filed a brief in which he concludes that this appeal is frivolous. See Anders, 386 U.S. at 744-45. Counsel certifies: (1) he diligently reviewed the record for reversible error; (2) he was unable to find any error that would arguably require reversal of the trial court's judgment; (3) in his opinion, the appeal is without merit; (4) he served a copy of the brief on Gearhart; and (5) he informed Gearhart of his right to review a complete copy of the appellate record and file a pro se brief on his own behalf. See Anders, 386 U.S. at 744-45; see also High v. State, 573 S.W.2d 807, 813 (Tex. Crim. App. [Panel Op.] 1978).

An Anders brief must provide references to both legal precedent and pages in the record to demonstrate why there are no arguable grounds to be advanced. High, 573 S.W.2d at 812. Counsel's brief does not advance any arguable grounds of error, but does contain a professional evaluation of the record demonstrating why there are no arguable grounds to be advanced. See Currie v. State, 516 S.W.2d 684, 684 (Tex. Crim. App. 1974). With relevant citation to legal precedent and the record, counsel professionally evaluates the indictment, pre-trial motions, voir dire, opening statements, sufficiency of the evidence, jury charge, closing argument, and punishment phase. Arguable grounds of error should be advanced by counsel as required by Anders, if there are any. See id. However, we do not interpret Anders as requiring appointed counsel to make arguments counsel would not consider worthy of inclusion in a brief for a paying client or to urge reversal if, in fact, counsel finds no arguable issue to appeal. See id. We hold that counsel's brief is not the “conclusory statement” decried by Anders. See id.

In response to counsel's brief, Gearhart filed a pro se brief. Gearhart's original appointed counsel withdrew while this appeal was pending. The trial court appointed substitute appellate counsel.

B. Pro Se Brief

Gearhart asserts he was falsely accused of assaulting a public servant, a police officer with the Kingsville Police Department. He maintains that after he filed an internal affairs complaint regarding the incident, he was retaliated against when the State arrested him again for filing a false report and charged him with aggravated perjury. Generally, Gearhart challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support his conviction. He claims he was attacked, without provocation, by two Kingsville police officers. He denies he attacked one of the officers first. He cites to purported inconsistencies in the testimony at trial in support of his position. Gearhart also claims that the State did not present evidence of his prior conviction for assault on a public servant to support his conviction and resulting enhanced punishment as a repeat felony offender.

Gearhart also complains his trial counsel was ineffective. He argues that his trial counsel did not subpoena the videotape from the arresting officer's squad car or the audiotapes of an emergency call made by a witness, a clerk at the convenience store where the altercation took place. The tapes, Gearhart asserts, would have substantiated his version of events. Gearhart also alleges his counsel was ineffective by not objecting to the jury. He claims that jurors who indicated in voir dire they knew the prosecutor or his family ended up on the jury and that his trial counsel permitted venire members to remain on the jury despite Gearhart's instructions to the contrary. Further, Gearhart alleges his trial counsel was ineffective by not delivering a closing argument that challenged the testimony of the officer about an injury that the officer had not included in his original report of the incident. Finally, Gearhart complains that his trial counsel made an inappropriate remark to the prosecutor, after the jury retired to deliberate, reflecting counsel's belief that the jury would find Gearhart guilty.

C. Independent Review of the Record

Since this is an Anders case, we independently review the record for error. See Penson v. Ohio, 488 U.S. 75, 80 (1988); see also Ybarra v. State, 93 S.W.3d 922, 926 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christ 2002, no pet.).

1. The Indictment

The indictment properly alleges the offense of assault of a public servant. See Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 22.01(a)(1), (b), (d) (Vernon 2003). It also properly alleges three prior offenses as repeat felony offender enhancement. See Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 12.42(a)(3) (Vernon 2003). Even if errors did exist in the indictment, the error could not be raised on appeal because Gearhart did not file a pre-trial motion alleging any error in the indictment. See Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 1.14(b) (Vernon 1977); Studer v. State, 799 S.W.2d 263, 268 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990). We find no arguable error in the indictment.

2. Pre-Trial Motions

The record reflects that the trial court heard Gearhart's discovery motion regarding production of the videotape from the arresting officer's squad car and any audiotape of the emergency call made by the convenience store clerk. The State responded that it had no such evidence in its custody or control. The trial court ruled it would permit Gearhart to subpoena any relevant videotapes or audiotapes for trial. Thus, the record reflects that the trial court did not make any ruling adverse to Gearhart. See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1. We find no arguable error in the trial court's pre-trial rulings.

3. Voir Dire

A review of the voir dire examination shows that sixteen venire members knew the prosecutor, a long-time resident of Kingsville, or his family. They all indicated they would consider the facts of the case and not base their decision on their knowledge of the prosecutor or his family. Neither the State nor Gearhart raised any challenge for cause. Thus, the trial court could not have erroneously ruled. See Johnson v. State, 43 S.W.3d 1, 5 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001); see also Allen v. State, 54 S.W.3d 427, 428 (Tex. App.–Waco 2001, pet. ref'd). Further, the trial court did not limit Gearhart's questioning of the jury. See Nunfio v. State, 808 S.W.2d 482, 485 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). We find no arguable error in voir dire.

4. Opening Statements

As a general rule, to preserve error for appellate review, Gearhart must have made a timely, specific objection, at the earliest opportunity, and obtained an adverse ruling. Tex. R. App. P. 33.1; Turner v. State, 805 S.W.2d 423, 431 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). Each side presented opening statements. Neither side objected to the other's. Gearhart thus waived any error in the prosecution's opening statement. See Limas v. State, 941 S.W.2d 198, 203 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1996, pet. ref'd) (finding waiver for failure to object to prosecutor's closing argument). We find no arguable error in the prosecution's opening statement.

5. Sufficiency of the Evidence

a. Standards of Review

(1) Legal Sufficiency

A legal-sufficiency challenge calls for appellate review of the relevant evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution. Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 319 (1979); Swearingen v. State, 101 S.W.3d 89, 95 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003); Johnson v. State, 23 S.W.3d 1, 7 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000). We consider all the evidence that sustains the conviction, whether properly or improperly admitted or whether introduced by the prosecution or the defense, in determining the legal sufficiency of the evidence. Conner v. State, 67 S.W.3d 192, 197 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001). Similarly, in reviewing the legal sufficiency of the evidence, we look to all of the evidence introduced during either stage of the trial. De Garmo v. State, 691 S.W.2d 657, 661 (Tex. Crim. App. 1985).

In a jury trial, legal sufficiency is measured against the elements of the offense as defined by a hypothetically correct jury charge for the case. Malik v. State, 953 S.W.2d 234, 240 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). A hypothetically correct jury charge is one that "accurately sets out the law, is authorized by the indictment, does not unnecessarily increase the State's burden of proof or unnecessarily restrict the State's theories of liability, and adequately describes the particular offense for which the defendant was tried." Id. A hypothetically correct jury charge would not simply quote from the controlling statute. Gollihar v. State, 46 S.W.3d 243, 254 (Tex. Crim. App. 2001). Its scope is limited by "the statutory elements of the offense . . . as modified by the charging instrument." Fuller v. State, 73 S.W.3d 250, 254 (Tex. Crim. App. 2002) (Keller, J., concurring); Curry v. State, 30 S.W.3d 394, 404 (Tex. Crim. App. 2000). When a statute lists more than one method of committing an offense, and the indictment alleges some, but not all, of the statutorily listed methods, the State is limited to the methods alleged. Fuller, 73 S.W.3d at 255; Curry, 30 S.W.3d at 404. This standard of legal sufficiency ensures that a judgment of acquittal is reserved for those situations in which there is an actual failure in the State's proof of the crime. Malik, 953 S.W.2d at 240. We then determine if any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319; Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 7.

If we reverse a criminal case for legal insufficiency following a jury trial, we reform the judgment to reflect conviction for a lesser offense only if: (1) we find that the evidence is sufficient to support conviction of the lesser offense; and (2) a jury charge on the lesser offense was either submitted or requested but denied. Collier v. State, 999 S.W.2d 779, 782 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999) (plurality op.) (discussing circumstances under which court of appeals may reform judgment following jury trial to reflect conviction for lesser offense); Bigley v. State, 865 S.W.2d 26, 27-28 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993) (clarifying same). Otherwise, we vacate the judgment of conviction for legal insufficiency and order a judgment of acquittal. Swearingen, 101 S.W.3d at 95.

(2) Factual Sufficiency

We also measure the factual sufficiency of the evidence against a hypothetically correct jury charge. Adi v. State, 94 S.W.3d 124, 131 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2002, pet. ref'd). We are constitutionally empowered to review the judgment of the trial court to determine the factual sufficiency of the evidence used to establish the elements of the charged offense. Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 6. In determining the factual sufficiency of the elements of the offense, we view all the evidence neutrally, not through the prism of "the light most favorable to the prosecution." Id. at 6-7 (citing Clewis v. State, 922 S.W.2d 126, 129 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996)). We set aside a finding of guilt only if it is so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and unjust. Id. at 7. A clearly wrong and unjust finding of guilt is "manifestly unjust," "shocks the conscience," or "clearly demonstrates bias." Rojas v. State, 986 S.W.2d 241, 247 (Tex. Crim. App. 1998).

In conducting a factual-sufficiency review, we review the fact finder's weighing of the evidence. Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 7 (citing Clewis, 922 S.W.2d at 133). We review the evidence that tends to prove a material disputed fact and compare it with evidence that tends to disprove it. Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 7. We are authorized to disagree with the fact finder's determination. Id. However, we approach a factual-sufficiency review with appropriate deference to avoid substituting our judgment for that of the fact finder. Id. Our evaluation should not intrude substantially on the fact finder's role as the sole judge of the weight and credibility given to witness testimony. Id.

We always remain aware of the fact finder's role and unique position, a position we are unable to occupy. Id. at 9. Exercise of our authority to disagree with the fact finder's determination is appropriate only when the record clearly indicates our intervention is necessary to stop manifest injustice. Id. Otherwise, we accord due deference to the fact finder's determinations, particularly those concerning the weight and credibility of the evidence. Id.

Every fact need not point directly and independently to the accused's guilt. Vanderbilt v. State, 629 S.W.2d 709, 716 (Tex. Crim. App. 1981). A finding of guilt can rest on the combined and cumulative force of all the incriminating circumstances. Id. We reverse a judgment of conviction only if proof of guilt is so obviously weak as to undermine confidence in the fact finder's determination, or proof of guilt, although adequate if taken alone, is greatly outweighed by contrary proof. Swearingen, 101 S.W.3d at 97. Which standard applies generally depends on whether the complaining party had the burden of proof at trial. Zuliani v. State, 97 S.W.3d 589, 593 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003). If the accused did not have the burden of proof at trial, then the first or "manifestly unjust" standard applies. Id. If the accused had the burden of proof at trial, then the second or "against the great weight and preponderance" standard applies. Id.

In conducting a factual-sufficiency review in an opinion, we "show our work" when we consider and address the appellant's main argument for urging insufficiency of the evidence. Sims v. State, 99 S.W.3d 600, 603 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003); Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 9; Manning v. State, 112 S.W.3d 740, 747 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, no pet. h.); see Tex. R. App. P. 47.1. This practice benefits the parties, maintains the integrity of the justice system, and improves appellate practice. Sims, 99 S.W.3d at 603; Manning, 112 S.W.3d at 747. If we reverse a criminal case for factual insufficiency, we vacate the judgment of conviction. Clewis, 922 S.W.2d at 133-34. We remand for a new trial a criminal case reversed for factual insufficiency, so a second fact finder has the chance to evaluate the evidence. Swearingen, 101 S.W.3d at 97.

b. Sufficiency Analysis

(1) Legal Sufficiency

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution and measuring it against a hypothetically correct jury charge, we find that the arresting officer testified to each of the elements of the offense of assault of a public servant. Gearhart struck the uniformed officer while the officer was in the process of detaining him in response to a public-disturbance complaint. Gearhart's assault bruised the officer and chipped his tooth. The convenience store clerk corroborated the officer's testimony. Gearhart stipulated in open court, in the presence of counsel, to the prior felony conviction, also for assault on a public servant. Viewing the relevant evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, we conclude that any rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt the essential elements of the crime, including the repeat felony offender allegation. See Jackson, 443 U.S. at 319; see also Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 7.

(2) Factual Sufficiency

We view all the evidence neutrally, favoring neither the State nor Gearhart, and measure it against a hypothetically correct jury charge. Johnson, 23 S.W.3d at 6-7; Adi, 94 S.W.3d at 131. In addition to the arresting officer and convenience store clerk's testimony, Gearhart testified in his own defense. He admitted he had been drinking and had gotten into a disagreement with the clerk about getting free matches from the store. He admitted he had marijuana in his pocket. He denied assaulting the officer, however. Rather, he said the officer who testified and a second officer assaulted him without provocation. Finally, Gearhart admitted he had been convicted before for assaulting a public servant, although he stressed that the public servant he assaulted that time was a corrections officer, not a police officer. Viewing the relevant evidence in a neutral light, favoring neither the prosecution nor Gearhart, and with appropriate deference to the jury's credibility determinations, we conclude that the jury's verdict is not so contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and unjust. Id. at 6-7.

Accordingly, we find no arguable legal or factual insufficiency of the evidence. 6. The Charge

Gearhart did not object to the charge. Thus, to be reversible, any error would have to constitute egregious harm. Almanza v. State, 686 S.W.2d 157,171 (Tex. Crim. App. 1985) (op. on reh'g). We find no arguable egregious error in the charge. 7. Closing Argument

Neither party objected to the other's closing argument. Thus, Gearhart waived any error. See Cockrell v. State, 933 S.W.2d 73, 89 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996); see also Limas, 941 S.W.2d at 203. We find no arguable error in the prosecutor's jury argument.

8. Punishment Phase

The record shows that Gearhart stipulated to the prior felony assault of a public servant in the culpability phase of the trial, which evidence supported his enhanced punishment as a repeat felony offender. To preserve any error in the punishment phase, Gearhart must have made a timely, specific objection, at the earliest opportunity, and obtained an adverse ruling. Tex. R. App. P. 33.1; Turner v. State, 805 S.W.2d 423, 431 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). Gearhart did not object at sentencing on any basis. We find that he waived any challenge to the sentence imposed by the jury. See Rhoades v. State, 934 S.W.2d 113, 120 (Tex. Crim. App. 1996). Moreover, the sentence assessed was within the statutorily permissible range and was based on admissible evidence introduced during the trial. See Jordan v. State, 495 S.W.2d 949, 952 (Tex. Crim. App. 1973). We find no arguable error in the sentencing proceedings.

9. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

The record contains no evidentiary support for Gearhart's claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. When the alleged ineffectiveness asserted by a defendant occurs outside of the record, the proper vehicle for a complaint is a collateral attack that permits the development of facts concerning the alleged errors of counsel. Jackson v. State, 877 S.W.2d 768, 773 (Tex. Crim. App. 1994).

Accordingly, our independent review of the record finds that Gearhart's appeal is frivolous. We conclude that this appeal is without merit. See Penson, 488 U.S. at 80; see also Martin v. State, No. 13-02-118-CR, 2003 Tex. App. LEXIS 10181, at *3 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi Dec. 4, 2003, no pet. h.). We affirm the judgment and sentence of the trial court.

D. Motion to Withdraw

An appellate court may grant counsel's motion to withdraw filed in connection with an Anders brief. Moore v. State, 466 S.W.2d 289, 291 n.1 (Tex. Crim. App. 1971); see Stafford v. State, 813 S.W.2d 503, 511 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991) (noting that Anders brief should be filed with request for withdrawal from case). Substitute appellate counsel in this case has not requested to withdraw from further representation of Gearhart on appeal. We hereby order counsel to advise Gearhart promptly of the disposition of this case and the availability of discretionary review. See Ex parte Wilson, 956 S.W.2d 25, 27 (Tex. Crim. App. 1997). We further order counsel to file any motion to withdraw as court-appointed counsel with this Court within ten days of the date of this opinion. See Martin, 2003 Tex. App. LEXIS 10181, at *4.




Tex. R. App. P. 47.2(b).

Opinion delivered and filed

this 11th day of December 2003.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Kenedeno's Texas Monthly: Karl Rove, Never Dreams of Being The President; Working "Under The Radar" Is Much More Satisfying.

Kenedeno's Texas Monthly: Karl Rove, Never Dreams of Being The President; Working "Under The Radar" Is Much More Satisfying.

Karl Rove Likes What He Sees


Karl Rove Likes What He Sees

With his new gig at Fox and a seven-figure political memoir in the works, Karl Rove has officially crossed over from shadowy 'Wizard of Oz' territory to somewhat approachable public personality. But as Lisa DePaulo finds out, that doesn't mean he's any less…pointed with his opinions


Photograph by Gillian Laub

i can see karl rove standing outside the restaurant, on the phone, yakking, pacing, occasionally peering at me through the etched-glass window and sticking a stubby finger in the air to indicate that he'll just be just one more minute. Eighteen minutes pass. He enters brusquely, with apologies and a crack about my "bright red purse" but also with the clear message that he is in control. Uncomfortable in this position, somewhat wary, constantly checking his watch ("Gotta go soon… Gotta go… Couple more minutes…"), not diggin' it, but always in control. Karl Rove is not a guy who kicks back with a drink—even coffee's a stretch ("I'm a decaf guy," he says)—and shoots the shit for a few hours. This isn't about a charm offensive—he gives the impression that he's not even sure why he's doing this. But: To be with Rove is to listen to a man who is utterly articulate and insightful and at the same time utterly…what's the word? Plain? Normal? Caucasian? If you didn't know he used to be Bush's Brain, if you didn't know he is widely credited/blamed with leading the Republican Party to an era of total world domination, if you didn't recognize him (as numerous gawkers inside the Muse hotel restaurant do) as the man W. famously dubbed "Turd Blossom," you'd think he was a middle-management sales lackey in town to sell Ginsu knives or something. The nondescript gray suit and overcoat, the geeky glasses and bald-on-the-top-with-peach-fuzz do, the briefcase (in middle school, he was the only kid with a briefcase, which pretty much sums it up). In what ways is he cool? We can't help but ask. "None," he says. "I am the antithesis of cool." We should also point out that Rove is exceedingly polite and well-mannered and, at moments, as prickly as the little cactuses on his tie. He has the demeanor of a man who had more power than he'll ever admit but is never really far from the 9-year-old who once got into a schoolyard fight over Richard Nixon, and lost. To a girl.

karl rove: Sorry to be late. I have a lunch with the Big Boss shortly.

gq: The Big Boss?
Mr. Murdoch.

Ah, that big boss. Does that mean you'll be getting more money out of Fox?
No, it doesn't.

Do you like being a TV analyst?
Uh, it's odd. You know, it's weird for me. But it's interesting.

Do you think Fox News is fair and balanced?
I do. I think they go out of their way to be fair and tough in questioning. I'm really impressed with the people I've gotten to know. Brit Hume is a very bright person; Chris Wallace has got a lot of integrity.

You also sold a book recently.
I did.

What'd ya get?
A lot.

And you're doing speeches, too, right? I read that you just gave one at Penn—
I like speaking to the college campuses.

And the first question, someone called you a cancer.
Right. Oh, sure.

You must get that all the time.
Uh, I get it some. When I go to campuses. But did you hear what I did? I just let him rant. And when he was finished, he had no question, he just wanted to accuse me of undermining the Constitution and blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. And I said, "Thanks for your thoughtful rant." And he sat down. And I said, "Now do you feel better about yourself?" And he said, "Yeah." And I said, "Well, I want you to feel better about yourself." And everybody laughed, and we went on.

But is it hard when people—
No. No. Look, everywhere I go, people say nice things to me. I don't live for that. I appreciate it, and I'm grateful for their kind words, but I don't live for it. And similarly, when people say ugly things? It doesn't affect me. They want their words to affect me. And as a result, I'm not gonna let 'em.

But when people say, "You've created this climate of fear—"
I laugh.

You laugh?
Yeah. I laugh. Sure. How? What, exactly? I'm not apologetic about what this administration has done. It's protecting America. It has won important battles in a war that we as a nation better win or we will leave the future to our kids, a much darker and dangerous future.

What's the biggest misconception about your role in the Bush White House?
That it was all about politics.

If that's the misconception, what's the overlooked truth?
Look, I'm a policy geek. What I've most enjoyed about my job was the substantive policy discussions. Being able to dig in deeply and, you know, learn about something, ask questions, listen to smart people, and form a judgment about something that was from a policy perspective.

When you look back at your career, especially in the Bush administration, what's the worst thing you did?
I'm not gonna be good at answering that.

But is there anything you feel guilty about? Or wish you did differently?
[exasperated laugh] Off the record?

No! Don't go off the record.
Off the record.

Okay, let's look back, to the very beginning of the Karl Rove story, when you got handed the keys [from Bush the father, to deliver to Bush the son] until now. And you look at where the president's approval ratings are today—

What did you do wrong?
Oh, look, I did a lot of things wrong. But the main thing is, we're fighting an important but unpopular war.

You still think it was the right thing to do?
Absolutely. Absolutely. And you know, one of our biggest mistakes was, the first time Harry Reid got up and said, "You lied and you deliberately misled the country," we should have gone back immediately and hit back hard, and we didn't. We let that story line develop. In reality, you go back and look at what Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Al Gore—I'd be happy to supply you the quotes—what they said about Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction.

What are you most proud of?
Being part of a group of people I have a great deal of respect and admiration for in service of the country.

If you had to make a bet, can Hillary pull it off?
The odds are long, but improbable things have happened almost every month in this race. She wasn't supposed to win New Hampshire, and she did. So we'll see. You know, she's got a lot of strengths, and he does, too. We got two wellmatched opponents going at each other hammer and tongs. It's fun to watch.

If it's mathematically impossible for either of them to get enough delegates, how will this get resolved?
Somebody can get to a majority, but they're gonna have to get to a majority with superdelegates. Neither of them can win enough delegates to win it on just simply the elected delegates.

So if it comes down to superdelegates, doesn't that become a question of who can be more ruthless?
Well, you know, people will have to decide whether they're going to act as reflectors of the popular vote in their districts or states, or whether they're going to exercise independent judgment. I think this is the big dilemma the Democrats face: Are they going to choose a nominee who essentially is chosen, validated, by a minor aristocracy, by essentially an undemocratic group? Because, look. Does anybody think that Patrick Deval [sic], governor of Massachusetts, and Senator Ted Kennedy are gonna respect the wishes of their home-state crowd and go for Hillary Clinton, who won their state? No.

So how ugly is it gonna get?
Well, I—we don't know. We have geological ages that are gonna pass. It's not that ugly today. The wounds are fresh, but there's plenty of time for them to heal. The question is, will the wounds get deeper and more difficult to heal? We don't know. My gut tells me it happens, but I don't know.

If you could run one of their campaigns, which one would be the dream campaign to run?
Neither one.

Because I don't believe in what they say.

But just as a strategist, just to get in there and—
Yeah, well, see, for me it's not divorced from who they are and what they're all about and what they would do.

What did you think of the red-phone 3 a.m. ad?
It was a gutsy, dangerous move. She figured out that she had to do something to raise the issue of: Is he fit to be president? And this was a way to do it. I happened to be in Texas a week before the ad popped, and all of her surrogates were hitting him pretty hard on the thinness of his experience. They were pretty brutal. And this ad sort of fed into that.

Isn't that the kind of ad you would have done?
Uh, look, that's the problem. She can't run an ad—you know, the more powerful ads she can't run against him, because she's afraid of looking too moderate. He's got essentially… His argument is twofold. "Vote for me because I'll bring Republicans and Democrats together; we're not red states, blue states, we're the United States." And second of all—and he said this most passionately in the Wisconsin victory speech: "There are big issues facing the country, and it requires leadership and energy to solve them." Well, the two best counters to those are Hillary saying, "I've actually worked with Republicans and Democrats to get things done." Or McCain saying, even more pointedly, "On all the big issues where Republicans and Democrats have come together, I've been in the middle of bringing them together, and you've been way out there on the fringe. When we pulled together the Gang of Fourteen, you were out on the fringe. When we pulled together a bipartisan answer on the terrorist-surveillance program, you were way out there on the fringe. When Democrats and Republicans, regardless of where they were on the war, came together to give our troops everything they needed while they were in combat, you were way out there on the fringe." Now, she can do some of that, because she's actually tried to work with Republicans over the years. He has not since he got there. He's been coolly detached and sitting on the side. His fingerprints are on, at most, a couple of small items. And then, on the leadership issue, she can say, "Look, I've been in the middle of these big battles. I've been providing the leadership. Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. But at least I've been involved." And McCain will be able to sharpen that even more.

It seems like you're talking about authenticity here. Are you saying Obama is inauthentic?
I'm saying that he has adopted two themes for his campaign that are not supported by his actions.

Do you think Obama would be easier to beat?
I try not to think about those things. Because that inevitably leads you to believe, I would like to have A or I would like to have B. You need to keep your mind open about both of them.

You've said—what was the phrase you used about Hillary? "Fatally flawed"?
Fatally flawed. I just thought her flaws would show up in the general election. I didn't know they'd show up as early and as strong as they have.

Which flaws?
Uh, calculating. You know, she went through the period where she had the calculated laugh, she went through the period where she had the calculated accents, and you build that on top of a person who already has the reputation that anything she says is calculating, you know…

Is calculating a terrible thing?
It is if people think it's phony. And that's what her problem is. That and the sense of entitlement. You know, the sense of "This is mine, I deserve it; we're the Clintons, this is ours." And I think that really caused a lot of people to say, "You know what? It's not yours." And do we really want to go back? The '90s were nice in a lot of respects, but do we really want to go back to all that drama?

There is something ironic about Karl Rove criticizing someone for being calculating.
Right. Look, it's one thing to calculate and say, "What's the best way for me to do this?" It's another thing to say, "What's the best way to do this, even if it means the sacrifice of my fundamental principles?" When she stood up there and said, "I'm in front of an African-American group in Alabama, so let me adopt a phony southern accent!" And when she sat there and said, "You know what? I need to warm myself up, so for the next weeklong period I'm gonna sit there and laugh and cackle at anything that is even remotely funny." You know, when both she and he, who are free traders by instinct, went to Ohio and said, "We're gonna renegotiate NAFTA," when they know that (a) there's no provision to renegotiate NAFTA, and (b) the Canadians and the Mexicans are not gonna want to renegotiate NAFTA, and (c) when both of them understand that trade liberalization, particularly with our neighbors, has been to our economic advantage, who are they kidding?

But when people call you calculating, do you take that as a compliment?
Look, what I'm charged with is, in politics, taking the material that I have to work with—which are the views and values, convictions and principles, of my candidate or client—and charting the best path to victory. That's different than saying, "How am I gonna take a fundamental belief or a reality of me as an individual and discard it?"

So there's good calculating and bad calculating?

If Hillary pulls it out, will Mark Penn [her chief strategist] be considered a genius?
Mark Penn is a very smart guy regardless of whether or not she pulls it out. He's a very smart guy.

But don't you think there've been a lot of mistakes?
Sure. But if you have to lay them at the feet of one person, you lay them at the feet of the candidate. The candidate sets the tone.

Are you surprised at how Obama exploded?
You know, I want to be careful—I think we need to be careful about not getting carried away with a narrative that doesn't truly exist. Like the story this morning in The New York Times about "the Obamacans"—the Republicans who support Obama.

You don't buy that?
No. Do I buy that there are Republicans who support Obama? Sure, I do. But take a look at the last four polls on which there are cross tabs available. There are twice as many Democrats defecting to McCain as there are Republicans defecting to Obama. In the Fox poll, Obama takes 74 percent of Democrats and loses 18 to McCain. And McCain keeps 80 percent of Republicans and loses 10 to Obama. And in every one of the polls, it's nearly twice as many Democrats defect to McCain as Republicans defect to Obama. And against Clinton, it's three times as many. Know why? Well, there are a lot of different reasons why. There are Democrats, particularly blue-collar Democrats, who defect to McCain because they see McCain as a patriotic figure and they see Obama as an elitist who's looking down his nose at 'em. Which he is. That comment where he said, you know, "After 9/11, I didn't wear a flag lapel pin because true patriotism consists of speaking out on the issues, not wearing a flag lapel pin"? Well, to a lot of ordinary people, putting that flag lapel pin on is true patriotism. It's a statement of their patriotic love of the country. And for him to sit there and dismiss it as he did—

You're not wearing a flag pin, Karl.
Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. But I respect those who consciously get up in the morning and put a flag lapel pin on.

Do you see the elitist thing in other ways?
Obama is coolly detached and very arrogant. I think he's very smart and knows he's smart, but as a result doesn't do his homework.

So the Dems have two rattled candidates?
Right. Now, you got one candidate who's got an appeal to the blue-collar Democrats: Clinton. I call them the beer drinkers. And then you got the white-wine crowd, which Obama appeals to. There's a brilliant article by Ron Brownstein in the latest issue of National Journal in which he charts the change in the nature of the Democrat-primary vote, and it's becoming younger, more affluent, and more liberal. And that means that blue-collar Democrats, whatever's left of them, are on their way out of the Democratic Party.

What do you make of this whole thing where Hillary was talking him up as a vice president and he came back saying, "Wait a minute, I'm winning—why are you asking me to be your number two?"
Very calculating on the part of the Clintons, and a mistake for him on his part.

Because they wanted him to get down to their level. They want him to look like, you know, not the golden inspiring figure but instead, you know, like an average ordinary pol who's got three years in the United States Senate. So they lay it out there. And rather than having it be dismissed by a surrogate, instead he goes out there! And rather than having an inspiring, forward-looking message, instead he's out there as an ordinary pol saying, "Hey, I'm number one, I'm in first place! I won more states than she did. I won more delegates than she did. What the hell's she doing offering it to me? That's insulting." And he did it in an arrogant way that I don't think made him look that good.

So you don't think his response played well?
No. Take a look at the footage. Turn the sound off and look at it. You can tell that he is arrogant, and you can tell that he's a little bit angry, and you can tell he's very dismissive. He takes his hands and he sort of, you know, waves his hand like, "I'm dismissing something." That was the moment to say, you know, "Look, I know what my opponents are saying, but you know what? I'm focused on one thing and one thing only, which is to help bring Republicans and Democrats and independents together to move America forward." Instead of "Hey, lemme just remind you, I'm winning! I'm beatin' her!"

So he took the bait?
He took the bait.

Have you gotten to know Hillary or Barack to any degree?
Yes, I have.

What have been your dealings with them?
Well, you know, I used to have her office at the White House. And I got to know [Obama] because we have a mutual friend, Ken Mehlman, who was his law-school classmate at Harvard. And so as a result, whenever in the last three years he's been around at the White House, I've gotten to see him, and we sort of would hang around and chitchat about things. I'm actually in his book. He wrote that "people like Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Ralph Reed, and Karl Rove say we are a Christian nation." And I did not say that. I confronted him about it. At the White House.

And what did he say?
Well, first he denied that I was in the book! And then he denied that it said that I said that it was a Christian nation. And then when I pulled out the thing [he had a copy of the offensive page with him] and showed it to him, he sort of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah- blah-blah. And I thought, That's who he is. I mean, look, he may claim that he's for a different kind of politics, but that was a cheap shot. And I'm not certain if any of the four said it either. But it was like, you know, Let's just strap it in there and see if it goes someplace. Another example: Him saying, "We honor John McCain for his fifty years of service" was a cheap shot. He was going out of his way to say John McCain's old.

Is John McCain too old?

Do you think Obama's gotten a free ride from the press?

How so?
I don't think they hold him to the same standards. You know, look, his Web site is full of all kinds of proposals written by academics galore. But he's not required to defend them. He's not required to explain what it is he wants to do. Now I think that's changing. I think, when you have an editorial in USA Today that says, in essence, Where's the beef, what's the substance? When reporters start asking him tough questions about his relationship with Tony Rezko—you know, what was the value of the lot? What was the price that you paid? How many fund-raisers did he do for you? How much money did he raise at those fund-raisers? When they start asking him those questions, then it starts to change. I mean, the kind of questions that have been routinely asked of other candidates—about their background and associations and involvements—have only recently begun to be asked of him.

I get the sense you respect Hillary more than you respect Obama.
Off the record?

Please don't go off the record.
Off the record… [Yeah, it's good. Sorry.]

Damn! Now say that on the record.
No. Nope. Nope. Nope.

Let's try again, then: on the record. I get the sense you respect her more than him.
Uh, I know her better than I know him. And I just, uh—she has been around public life a lot longer and has demonstrated, you know, more involvement than he has.

Let's talk about Bill. You've gotten to know him better, right?

What do you think of him now?
He's a very entertaining rogue. He's a larger-than-life character. You can't help but sort of like him. But boy, he has made some missteps in this campaign.

Yeah, what's up with that? He's supposed to be this political genius. What's going on?
He's all wrapped up in it. He's lost his detachment. Sometimes you can be more detached about yourself than you can be about members of your family. He's all revved up about her and making mistakes.

Do you buy any of the pop psychology that there's a part of him that's sabotaging her?
I—I—that is way beyond. I have never… I don't have a couch that anybody could sit down on, and… I don't know, I don't know.

But you were surprised to see how he handled the South Carolina thing?
Well, it may have been calculated, I don't know. Maybe they made a calculated decision that, Hey, we need to send a message that all he can do is win states with African-American voters. But I don't think it played—even among Democrats.

Recently, in a meeting with some people from the Republican National Committee, you said, "Do not use 'Barack Hussein Obama.' "
Right, right. Um, in politics—

Is that because it's not right?
It's wrong. But not only that, it's counterproductive. In politics, there are arguments that are seen as not factual and not fair, or trivial, and they blow up in your face. And this is one that people look at and say, "You're trying to imply something about him that's not true. I think you're going a bridge too far, and I'm reacting negatively." I mean, he didn't pick his middle name, somebody else did. And he doesn't go out of his way, like Hillary Rodham Clinton to, you know, emphasize it.

You probably never thought, eight years ago, that John McCain would be the nominee.
You know what? In politics, second acts are either really bad or really good. And so the question was gonna be, Who might want to succeed Bush? McCain was always a possibility. He's always harbored a desire.

What do you think of him now?
I like him. We bonded in the '04 campaign.

Do you have to hold your nose to vote for him?
No, no, not at all. I enthusiastically voted for him. I just sent in my absentee ballot [in Texas], and I gave him $2,300.

So what's your life like now, Karl? Are you based in Washington still?
We're splitting our time between Washington and a place we have in the panhandle in Florida. And a little place in Texas. We're looking to be in Texas more permanently starting this fall. We've enjoyed Washington, but look, I don't wanna be like… I got a guy, lives around the corner from us in Washington, who had a prominent role for six months in the Reagan administration, and he's still living off of it twenty-some-odd years later. I don't intend to do that.

What do you intend to do?
I'm trying to figure that out. I've got a couple years between the book and the speeches and Fox and my Newsweek column and my writing for the Wall Street Journal and some things I'm doing in politics under the radar.

What do you do for kicks?
I read and go hunting. And travel with my wife.

Tell us about your wife.
She's a terrific, courageous person.

Is it hard being married to you?
Uh, I don't think it's hard being married to me. I think it's hard being married in public with me.

Let's talk about the last couple of scandals you've been involved in. Don Siegelman in Alabama [the Democratic governor whom Rove was recently accused of trying to sabotage by forcing U.S. attorneys to bring corruption charges against him prior to an election]. What happened?
[rolls his eyes] Will you do me a favor and go on Power Line and Google "Dana Jill Simpson" [the Republican lawyer who told 60 Minutes that Rove asked her to take a picture of Governor Siegelman cheating on his wife]? She's a complete lunatic. I've never met this woman. This woman was not involved in any campaign in which I was involved. I have yet to find anybody who knows her. And what the media has done on this… No one has read the 143-page deposition that she gave congressional investigators—143 pages. When she shows up to give her explanation of all this, do you know how many times my name appears? Zero times. Nobody checked!

Then how did this happen?
Because CBS is a shoddy operation. They said, "Hey, if we can say 'Karl Rove,' 'Siegelman,' that'll be good for ratings. Let's hype it. We'll put out a news release on Thursday and then promo the hell out of it on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday." And Scott Pelley—the question is, Did [60 Minutes correspondent] Scott Pelley say to this woman, "You say you met with him. Where? And you say that he gave you other assignments earlier. When did he begin giving you assignments, and what campaigns did you work with him in? What evidence? I mean, this woman, she said she met with him: Okay, you met with him—where? Did you fly to Washington?" Now she says that she talked to me on the phone and she's got phone records. Of calls to Washington and Virginia. But what's Virginia? I don't live in Virginia. And it's 2001. What is in Virginia? It's not the Bush headquarters; that was in Austin, Texas. What is in Virginia? So—but look, she's a loon.

What about the U.S. attorneys? Should you have had a role in hiring and firing?
[a little peeved now] What was my role in firing those U.S. attorneys?

Your position has been—and tell me if I have this wrong—that you basically relayed complaints?
To the counsel's office. Correct.

And that was an appropriate thing to do?
Oh sure. Sure it is. Sure it is.

What's your relationship with the president now?
Good. Really good.

Do you talk a lot?

Did you know that Laura called you Pigpen?
Yeah. [laughs] Laura Bush intimidates me. All the Bushes—well, most of the Bush men marry incredibly strong women, and they all intimidate me. Barbara Bush I've lived in fear of for thirty-seven years.

What's your goal with this book? You intend to set the record straight, as you see it?
Absolutely, absolutely. Sure. You bet. I intend to set the record straight.

I imagine you're going to have a lot to say.
Yeah, exactly. Available soon for $29.95…. I gotta go! I gotta go!

Wait, quickly: Do you believe Roger Clemens?
Um, yes, I do.

If he gets nailed on perjury charges, is that the kind of guy Bush might pardon?
I'm sorry?

Do you think if he got nailed, that would be the type of person Bush would pardon?
I'm not gonna answer that. I mean, he's done nothing wrong.

Should Scooter Libby be pardoned?
I'm not gonna answer that. Just not. Just not. But thanks for asking.

lisa depaulo is a GQ correspondent.

April 02, 2008

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

HEB is part of out community. We Know, We're from Here

"Good evening Mr. and Mrs. North and South America and all the ships at sea. Let's go to press."

Sources close to the recent property acquisition (by HEB) at the corner of Timbergate and South Staples where Wal-Mart had planned to build a Supercenter have revealed their plan . After, assessing the situation and careful consideration of the Community's concerns and input HEB has opted to turn the land into a park. It was indeed the original intentions (of HEB) to negate the Corporate Bully Attitude of WAL MART as a Southside competitor; however, HEB is performing an intangible unendeavored by WAL MART (here in South Texas). Although the move is out of expediency it is fair to classify the building of a Public Park as Community Goodwill and is in example an act of good faith of giving back into our community. It still goes to question exactly what the community reaction will entail. It will be interesting to watch the process and the community engagement in the upcoming rounds. HEB is part of out community,

Monday, March 03, 2008

Los Mamons Terry Shamsie, Joseph Ramirez, Mike Rendon and Bra Lencho Rendon


IN an unprecedented scramble for cover, Peggy Banales camp including Terry Shamsie, Joseph Ramirez, Mike Rendon and Lencho Rendon's own polls indicate Joe Benavides is in the lead. Insiders in their camp reveal they are running for cover and El Defenzor Live has just revealed some very very bad associations between Rendons and Peggy Banales where she breached her duty to her own constituents by diverted funds and votes to Robstown. Calallen voters are outraged!! Curtains for Paycheck Peggy!!! Go Joe Go!!!


Insiders inside the Peggy Banales camp indicate that they are howling with rage at the freedome of speech exerted by El Defenzor Live. Can't take the heat Peggy and company???

Great Work Homero

No Cajones KTMV? or Sell Outs?

Dont worry these crooks wont be around till election time again.

But we will be here to remind KTMV of their invertebrate existence.

Los Kenedenos & El Defenzor will keep pounding & discovering.

All threats are taken seriously and are reported to law enforcement immediately; all phone conversations are recorded.

Nueces Democrats: Hegemony: Power, Culture & Ideology: Lencho Rendon: The Pimping Out Of The President & Hillary

"Now back to the “Shamsie Cronies” it is rumored and warnings have been issued! The media is being “Strong Armed” financially! Elite and Power Brokers (Powercrats) within the Democratic Party are frowning on the media who promote any other option for the Democratic primary and certainly to support an independent will bring the wrath of both Parties! They are in essence saying, “we are going to use our Incumbent resources to discourage (SQUEEZE) clients from working with your business’ if you (the Media) speak negatively of Shamsie! Even if it is true."

Nueces Democrats: Hegemony: Power, Culture & Ideology: Lencho Rendon: The Pimping Out Of The President & Hillary

Nueces Democrats: Hegemony: Power, Culture & Ideology: Lencho Rendon: The Pimping Out Of The President & Hillary:

"It is a simple choice, vote for Joe or vote for the Solomonista."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hegemony: Power, Culture & Ideology: Danny Guerra is Congressman Solomon Ortiz's Second Staff Resignation in Two Months. Why Did Danny Resign?.

Hegemony: Power, Culture & Ideology: Danny Guerra is Congressman Solomon Ortiz's Second Staff Resignation in Two Months. Why Did Danny Resign?.

Danny Guerra is Congressman Solomon Ortiz's Second Staff Resignation in Two Months. Why Did Danny Resign?.

Congressman Solomon Ortiz has selected Denise Blanchard as his chief of staff.

Blanchard was formerly deputy chief of staff and district director. She was promoted to replace Fernando Gomez who resigned.

Blanchard, a Brownsville native and Ortiz' long-time Director of District Operations, has worked for Ortiz for more than 16 years. Her experience includes constituent services, district office operations, and a political understanding of South Texas. She began service with Ortiz in 1991, becoming District Director in 1995. Previously, she worked with the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, the Brownsville Economic Development Council and the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport.

This is Ortiz's second staff resignation in two months.

Ortiz’s long-time communications director, Cathy Travis, resigned Dec. 31 to continue her writing career. Ortiz hired Dallas-native Danny Guerra, 25, to replace Travis. Guerra wrote previously for political news magazine Congressional Quarterly. According to The Brownsville Herald, he also worked previously with several Texas legislators.

And Let us Not Forget

Representative Ortiz to replace his long-time chief of staff, 'Lencho' Rendon with 'Nando' Gomez.
Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, also announced the promotion of Denise Blanchard, director of district operations to deputy chief of staff, the post Gomez held.

Ortiz said that Gomez, “is very level-headed. He is not the type that gets angry. He always looks at the issue before he makes a decision and he always counsels with the staff.”

Ortiz said Gomez of Gregory worked in Washington, D.C., for eight years as legislative director for former U.S. Rep. Martin Frost, as Ortiz’s legislative director in 2005, followed by promotion to deputy chief of staff. Ortiz said Gomez handles military matters. Gomez also worked in Austin for the state Legislature.
and more
"These guys will be the bridge between legislation on Capitol Hill and my constituents in South Texas," Ortiz said. "They work well together and are universally respected on Capitol Hill and in South Texas. Both deeply understand and are committed to the needs of people in my congressional district."Did somebody say bridge?

Ortiz said both Gomez and Blanchard are also likely to follow in Rendon's footsteps, playing an active role in local politics.

Monday, January 14, 2008

South Texas Chisme: Nueces County Sheriff proves he is a Republican

South Texas Chisme: Nueces County Sheriff proves he is a Republican

"People have a perception of who you are based on how you look," Kaelin said. "It is time to let the public know that there has been a change."

We at Los Kenedenos have received information (unconfirmed) that one of the new patrol vehicles has been totaled.

Why didnt anyone let the public know that one of these brand new cruisers has already been totaled.

If this is true (and it is believed to be true), why has the Good Sheriff not let us know of the bad news.

We need to hear the bad news immediately.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Watts said, Noriega should debate McMurrey. McMurrey has challenged Noriega to debates, but Noriega's camp has declined so far

Jan. 9, 2008, 6:37AM
Win by Clinton could affect Senate race here
Ex-candidate Watts says Dems may be less likely to spend in Texas


AUSTIN — The ability of the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee to raise national party money for the general election campaign in Texas may be hindered if Hillary Rodham Clinton is the party's presidential nominee, one-time senatorial candidate Mikal Watts said Tuesday.

"If Hillary is the nominee, that will have an effect on whether the national Democrats will play in Texas," Watts said.

"The prevailing thought is the Republicans don't have anybody who will motivate their base to get out. There are some who think Hillary will do that," he said.

Watts said he has seen Texas polling that shows "right-wing Republicans" react more negatively to Clinton than they do to Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama or John Edwards.

"I think whoever is the Democratic nominee will be the president, but it's a different story cobbling together 270 electoral votes and doing well in Texas," Watts said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

Watts, a millionaire trial lawyer, dropped out of the race in October, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family than he could if he continued to run statewide. He left state Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston as the presumptive Democratic nominee to take on Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. John Cornyn.

But since that time, Noriega has picked up three opponents: Corpus Christi school teacher Ray McMurrey and perennial candidates Gene Kelly of Universal City and Rhett Smith of San Antonio. Because voters apparently confused him with the late actor, Kelly won the Democratic Senate nomination in 2000.

"I don't see either McMurrey or Gene Kelly getting any traction," Watts said of the current primary. "It's pretty clear he (Noriega) will be the nominee, and he's the person best equipped to take on John Cornyn."

Watts said he does not think it will hurt Noriega in the eyes of national donors and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee if Noriega has to win the nomination in a runoff.

"It slows him down for a month. Obviously, he'd rather be the nominee earlier rather than later. But my advice to him would be to save his resources for Cornyn," Watts said.

Watts said he donated $100,000 to the DSCC in late December. He said the committee chairman, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, will decide on whether to help fund Noriega's campaign based on polling done in the summer.

"They are fiduciaries of money and they're trying to pick up Senate seats. So they'll spend the money where it will be most effective," Watts said. "Rick will be in a good position to make his case for that money, but there are a lot of pick-up opportunities across the country."

At present, Noriega has raised about $1 million. Cornyn in October had $6.6 million in the bank.

As preparation for the general election, Watts said, Noriega should debate McMurrey. McMurrey has challenged Noriega to debates, but Noriega's camp has declined so far.

"I don't think debating hurts anybody. Rick and I were prepared to have a series of debates," Watts said. "You're going to want to have debates with Cornyn, and you're going to want to be able to say you took on all comers in the primary and Cornyn ought to in the general."

Noriega campaign manager Sue Schechter said the debate argument with McMurrey is a matter of "semantics." She said Noriega and McMurrey have had repeated joint appearances at local Democratic forums, but that McMurrey has not shown up for all of them.

"Our challenge would be for him to start showing up at these events where we are both invited," Schechter said.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Nueces Democrats: Robert Zamora:A Man of Strength & Stability ; Winning Back The Nueces County Democratic Party For All South Texas Democrats

Nueces Democrats: Robert Zamora:A Man of Strength & Stability ; Winning Back The Nueces County Democratic Party For All South Texas Democrats

Zamora Announces for Party Chair

Updated: Jan 1, 2008 12:31 AM

A local attorney has announced he is running for chairman of the Nueces County Democratic Party.

There has been talk that several people might run. On Monday, attorney Robert Zamora officially announced that he has filed for the position, which is now held by Alex Garcia Jr.

"I have not only experience as a lawyer operating my own business for close to 30 years," Zamora said. "What I would like to do is lend the energy and the experience that I have to the operation of the Democratic Party here in Nueces County.

The race will be decided in the state presidential primary in March.