Archive for May, 2010

Charter Review

I want to make sure my readers know about a Lubbock Charter Review Committee meeting this week. It’s the third and possibly final such meeting concerning the possible revision of the City of Lubbock charter, which could include revisions to how Lubbock Power and Light is structured. I believe there’s a real danger of the LP&L Board becoming like it’s own banana republic: a lifetime appointed board who can name their own successors and operate with little or no Council oversight. It’s worth attending this meeting to make sure that nothing like that is in the works.

The Charter Review Committee meeting is Wednesday, May 19th at 5:30pm in committee room 103 at Lubbock City Hall.

Two other things I want to bring up, but don’t deserve a whole post to themselves:

* Xcel Energy has started the process of raising its rates 7% statewide. Where does Lubbock Power and Light purchase 100% of its power?

* The special election likely to be called after Carl Isett resigns may take place on the November election date. That possibility is good because it would save taxpayer money, but bad because voters will have the confusing situation of voting two ballots with (probably) the same candidates on each. The special election ballot would most likely appear after the entirety of the regular ballot. Voters would actually have to vote twice for their candidate of choice in HD84.

Carl Isett Delivers Parting Shot

Today State Rep. Carl Isett announced that he will step down half a year early, retiring on May 31st. (Here’s a FOX Lubbock article about it as well, and Robert Pratt’s inverview with Isett this afternoon.)

To borrow an acronym from Joe Biden, this early retirement is a BFD. To coin a new acronym, I think it’s a DFT. (The “T” stands for “trick,” by the way.)

What are the consequences of Isett’s action? Governor Perry will probably call a special election to fill the vacancy, probably sometime this summer. This will waste resources all around on what will surely be a lower-turnout election (as special elections tend to be). It will waste taxpayer money, since (1) Isett could have finished 6 more months of his term no problem, and (2) Frullo and Morgan are already campaigning for the November election. It will heighten the effect of the money advantage enjoyed by John Frullo (thanks mostly to a $20,000 out-of-district donation from “Bob the Builder” Perry, plus whatever Frullo got from his new Austin lobbyist friends).

Which reminds me: to those of you who pooh-poohed my post about the Charles Perry / John Frullo lobbyist love-in at the Austin Club, I think that meeting likely played a significant role in this process. I think it’s likely that Isett and Gov. Perry are working in concert to create a tactical advantage for “Pratt’s Puppet” Frullo in this competitive HD84 race, waste of public money be damned.

Lastly, I want to mention that HD84 Democratic Party Candidate Carol Morgan will have a press conference tomorrow, Saturday 5/15/2010 at 2pm at LCDP HQ. Here is her message to supporters on facebook:

I will be addressing the media at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Democratic Party Headquarters at 2809 74th (right behind the Science Spectrum) I want so much for you and your friends and family to be there WITH ME–it would mean so much. I will be addressing Mr. Isett’s resignation and the possible special election that will be held to finish the last six months of his term. Please come out!

Check out Carol’s press conference if you have the time. Whether it’s now or in November (probably both), she will take these “dirty tricks” Republicans to school.

Justice Kagan?

I have to admit, I’m not excited about President Obama’s nomination for Supreme Court justice.

My biggest concern is that Kagan, as solicitor general, has been rubber-stamping the same Bush policies of Executive Branch overreach for the Obama Administration.

Plus, there’s the problem of Kagan as a “blank slate.” Glenn Greenwald nails it:

The Right appoints people like John Roberts and Sam Alito, with long and clear records of what they believe because they’re eager to publicly defend their judicial philosophy and have the Court reflect their values. Beltway Democrats do the opposite: the last thing they want is to defend what progressives have always claimed is their worldview, either because they fear the debate or because they don’t really believe those things, so the path that enables them to avoid confrontation of ideas is always the most attractive, even if it risks moving the Court to the Right.

(See also Greenwald’s post from Saturday about problems with Kagan.)

This is like the nomination of Harriet Miers under Bush, with the key difference that the Senate is likely to play along. I agree with Greenwald that Obama is wasting his Senate majority on a “middle of the road” pick — although, when it comes to the law, there is no “middle of the road.”

What are your thoughts about the Kagan nomination?

The Suburban Manifesto

I just finished up a book that I heard about via KFYO’s Chad Hasty: The Suburban Manifesto: How to Make City Hall Do Exactly What You Want by Joe B. Vaughan Jr. ($7 Kindle edition here). It’s quite good.

City politics often transcend the usual left/right divides (what’s the “conservative” or “liberal” stance on zoning, for example), and local politics have probably the largest effect on our immediate circumstances. It’s important for as many citizens as possible to know how to approach City Hall and get involved in the process. This book gives straightforward tips on how to do exactly that, along with the engaging backstory of how citizens of Irving, TX put a stop to runaway overdevelopment. (In general, developers are the most likely group to abuse City-level government… sound familiar, Lubbock?)

While I’m talking city politics, I want to give a shout-out to Lubbock’s District 3 Councilman Todd Klein for remaining responsive to his constituents and for not being in anyone’s pocket. Those are without a doubt the two most important qualities for a City Council member to have. He and I don’t agree on every point, but his presence on the council continues to be a breath of fresh air in Lubbock politics.

The Suburban Manifesto: read it and get organized.

Perry and Frullo to Party with Lobbyists?

This one kinda slipped under the radar, so I want to shed a little light on it.

According to Harvey Kronberg’s Quorum Report, next Monday (May 10) Charles “I don’t take money from lobbyists” Perry will have a fundraiser in Austin at the Austin Club. I’m sure that it will not be attended by any lobbyists at all. Also, Perry will bring John Frullo along with him to get an early start with kissing the asses of their wealthy benefactors.

Anyone care to bet which special interest group will funnel the most money their way? Developers? Bankers? Big oil?

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