Skip to main content

Experimental Politics

This is your last weekend to watch television without sorting through shouting, finger-pointing, and showboating from politicians.

This is your last weekend to watch television without sorting through shouting, finger-pointing, and showboating from politicians.

Some go early, some go late, but generally speaking, Labor Day weekend is the traditional start date for heavy wall-to-wall advertising by political campaigns. The election is a little more than ten weeks off. Measured in dollars instead of days, it's a minimum of about $12 million in statewide television advertising at a level that registers with voters. And while they're not showing their wares yet, three of the five gubernatorial candidates — Rick Perry and Carole Keeton Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman —are ready to leap onto the airwaves after the long weekend.

Perry and Strayhorn have the money to wage serious and long air wars. Bell and Friedman and, to an even lesser extent, Libertarian James Werner, will have to fight on ground and in the mail and in cheaper media and, if they can get it, free coverage from TV and newspaper outlets. The ground wars, though less visible, will also come up to speed in September.

This is the beginning of the most interesting part of a most interesting election cycle. The two major parties are here, with an incumbent governor and a former congressman carrying their flags. So are the Libertarians, whose small numbers have nevertheless influenced any number of election outcomes in Texas races. There are two well-known independents, one testing whether Texas voters will choose celebrity and freshness over political ability and experience, the other waiting to see whether those last two qualities can be substituted for party labels.

And virtually everyone in politics and around it thinks the next governor will get into office with the approval of less than half of the state's voters. It's a big political petri dish.

If you want to get technical about it, everybody's already been on TV. Democrat Chris Bell was the most recent, with Bunyonesque spots that had him sitting on the Capital, going eye to eye with Houston skyscrapers and walking through Palo Duro Canyon like it was a small irrigation ditch. Perry had a round of spots after the special session on school finance, telling voters he and the Legislature had ended the school finance crisis and promising an average property tax break of $2,000 later this year. And he had that run of "Proud of Texas" ads that ran at the first of the year, including during some bowl games. Kinky Friedman's spots aimed to sell talking action figures of the author and musician, the proceeds from which went to his campaign. And Strayhorn was on the air before the primaries, ginning up a little name ID with voters as she began collecting the signatures she needed to get on the ballot as an independent.

Bell won't go up now — to date, money has been limited in the Democrat's campaign — and his ops say they plan to be up in October and that there are lots of ways to talk to voters. "We know we have to get Democrats and we know who they are and we have their addresses," says Jason Stanford, the campaign manager. "Look for a very aggressive 'Meals on Wheels' campaign."

They're not giving up any details, but Bell and his gang have said all along that if they can hold Democratic voters together and get them to the polls, they have a reasonable chance of beating Perry, who's numbers haven't crossed the 50 percent line in months and months. By their lights, Friedman won't catch on and Strayhorn will be the first candidate cut to pieces by the Perry campaign.

If all you have to go on is the financial reports filed by the campaigns so far — and that's pretty much all you have to go on — Strayhorn is the only challenger with the resources to give Perry a run for his money in the ad wars on TV, radio, and elsewhere. They're going on the air next week and if they have enough money, they'll stay there until the election. Their view of how this will play out: Texans want an alternative to Perry; Bell doesn't have the money to compete; Friedman won't catch on; and Strayhorn will be the obvious choice for voters seeking change. Mark Sanders, speaking for Strayhorn, says nobody else has the money to stay in front of voters: "They're going to see we're the only alternative candidate because we're the only alternative candidate they're going to see."

Friedman's campaign is counting on what you might call the Middle Finger Vote — people who want a change and don't want to replace Perry with a politician. He didn't have a big bank account at mid-year — the last reporting deadline — and chances are his TV buy won't match that of Perry and Strayhorn. Novelty candidates like Friedman — or Victor Morales, or Jesse Ventura, or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Gene Kelly — have to clear two hurdles. They have to get on the ballot, convincing voters in a primary or in a race for signatures to give them a shot at a November election. Friedman made that turn. The second hurdle is higher, and it's where most non-politicians fail at politics: The candidate has to convince voters not just that it would be interesting to have them in the race, but that they ought to be elected to office. Ventura and Schwarzenegger made it. Morales and Kelly, both Texans, couldn't get voters to take that last step. Friedman has to make that sale between now and Election Day.

The incumbent has the biggest war chest — it's not by chance that the two candidates with the most money are the sitting governor and the sitting comptroller — but his popularity and his re-elect numbers have been below 50 percent for some time. That's always dangerous, but Perry had the good luck to get four opponents. If you're under 50 with only one opponent, you have to go home. But with a bunch of people splitting those "aginner" votes, it's possible the next governor — Perry or someone else — will win with 35 percent to 40 percent of the vote. On the positive side, Perry will try to increase his support. On the negative, he'll be working to make sure none of the challengers breaks out of the pack to make this more of a head-to-head contest.

Ciroed Out

A week after filing to run for Congress in CD-23, Former U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez decided to drop his challenge to U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio. A day later, aides said he's still thinking about it. In the meantime, other Democrats in the race are snapping up his support, setting him back seriously if he decides to run after all. Rodriguez, a San Antonio Democrat, has only a moment to decide whether to pull his name off of the ballot. He told a labor gathering in San Antonio on Wednesday that he was out of it. On Thursday, aides were telling reporters that he was "talking to people" and that it was too early to count him out of the race.

Bonilla's not off the hook.

After the federal courts redrew his district a few weeks ago and declared a new election, Democrats immediately started kicking the tires. Several signed up for the race: August "Augie" Beltran, who lists his occupation as "community liaison"; Rick Bolaños of El Paso, a retiree and one of two candidates who's not from San Antonio; Adrian De Leon, a "Royal Mart owner" from Carrizo Springs; Lukin Gilliland, a businessman and regular Democratic donor; and Albert Uresti, a retired fire chief whose brother, Carlos Uresti, is in a relatively easy race for state Senate. Craig Stephens, a computer programmer from San Antonio, is running as an independent.

Both his opponents and his friends said on the first news that he had decided there wasn't enough money available to really give Bonilla a run. "Ciro is a good man trapped in bad timing," said Kelly Fero, a consultant to Gilliland.

Aides were keeping reporters away from the candidate — or maybe it was the other way around — the next day. But while Rodriguez dithered, others were on the move.

Just hours after Rodriguez told a labor meeting he was leaving the contest, the AFL-CIO endorsed Uresti, who had the advantage of being a card-carrying union firefighter. Three of the union's local labor councils — San Antonio, El Paso, and the Permian Basin — are in the district, and the endorsement from the Committee on Political Education, or COPE, carries all three locals.

The race is difficult to handicap with so many people in it. Gilliland, if he spends what his campaign says he can spend, will have the best financing of the challengers. But Uresti has the best-known name, because of his brother's recent battle for the Senate, and the congressional district overlaps some of the Senate district. A sign with Uresti on it would work for both candidates. Bonilla isn't dead meat by any measure, and with Rodriguez out, his chance at a win without a runoff looks a little brighter. That depends entirely on how much fight he gets from the rest of the pack. But Rodriguez was the challenger with something of a built-in base and did the best by far in polling done right after the courts redid the lines.

His chances — whatever they were — were better before he told the union crowd and other supporters that he wasn't running. It's like the last 48 hours before the prom — if you tell her (or him) you're not going, you can't act surprised when she (or he) quickly lands another date. Rodriguez, in the race, might not have received that union endorsement, for instance. But it takes a two-thirds vote to win that help, and he might have kept the prize from Uresti. If he was at the front of a tight pack three or four days ago, he's now in the number three spot at best.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Those five congressional races created by the federal courts will be noisy. None of the five incumbents will go unchallenged, and a total of 24 candidates will be on the ballots.

The districts were redrawn after the U.S. Supreme Court said the original lines were illegal. Special elections using new lines drawn by three federal judges will be held on the regular general election date. Unlike the general elections, however, these races could force runoffs in December if nobody gets more than half the vote. That's more likely when there the lists of candidates are long, and three of these ballots will have four or more candidates for Congress.

CD-15: U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-McAllen, will face two Republicans who filed by getting at least 500 signatures from registered voters: Former state Rep. Paul Haring of Goliad, and Eddie Zamora of Ed Couch, who filled in his occupation blank with "sales, ordained minister." It took an extra day of checking, but the SOS staff says both men had the required number of valid signatures. Haring and Zamora ran against each other in the GOP primary for the seat before the lines were redrawn and the contest started over. Haring won that round.

CD-21: U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, has six opponents, including a Libertarian, two Democrats, and three independents. Tommy Calvert, a San Antonio consultant, James Lyle Peterson, a computer programmer from Austin, and Mark Rossano of Austin, who's in "automotive management," are the independents. John Courage of San Antonio and Gene Kelly of Universal City are the Democrats, and the Libertarian in the race is James Strohm, a technical writer from Austin. Courage filed by petition, and the signatures have been verified, according to a spokesman for SOS Roger Williams. Kelly's already been on the ballot once this year; he lost the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to Barbara Ann Radnofsky. Since the congressional seat is a special election matter, he's eligible to run again in the same year.

CD-23: All we'll add to the preceding story is that Bonilla got the roughest ride in the newly redrawn map, and drew the most opponents, a field that includes six (or five, depending on Rodriguez) Democrats and an independent.

CD-25: U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, has four opponents: Barbara Cunningham, a petroleum landman from Caldwell who's running as a Libertarian; Brian Parrett, an Austin systems analyst running as an independent; and Grant Rostig, a computer programmer from Dale who gave up the Libertarian nomination for the seat and is running as a Republican.

CD-28: U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, will face Ron Avery, a Seguin architect running as a Constitution Party candidate; and Frank Enriquez, a McAllen attorney running as a Democrat. Rodriguez lost to Cuellar in the Democratic primaries earlier this year. That was a rematch; Cuellar unseated Rodriguez in a squeaker two years ago.

Now Try Explaining Democracy to the Rest of the Class

The election to fill the rest of Tom DeLay's term in Congress will be on November 7th, the same day voters are picking someone to fill that seat during the two years that begin in January. There's no guarantee the elections will have the same result. Gov. Rick Perry also set special statehouse elections on that date for Frank Madla's Senate seat and Vilma Luna's House seat. It's the same deal, with someone serving what's left of their terms and someone — maybe the same someone and maybe not — serving for the next two years.

The legislative election will serve as little more than a footnote, since state lawmakers aren't expected to meet for the rest of this year. One exception: It could give the winner a two-month edge in seniority over other tenderfoot lawmakers elected this year, and that'll get them one parking space closer to the elevator in the garage.

Madla lost to Rep. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, in March in SD-19, and resigned a couple of months later. The candidates for a full term in his seat were set in the primaries. Luna quit this summer to join an Austin lobby firm. The candidates for the next two years in her spot in HD-33 were selected by party honchos a couple of weeks ago.

Congress is likely to meet before the end of the year, possibly to change federal immigration laws, and a stub term in DeLay's seat could actually mean something to voters. Candidates have until Friday to sign up for the special elections, and the gates are open to candidates from either party (or no party at all). In CD-22, Republican Shelley Sekula-Gibbs — a write-in on the general election — could sign up as a candidate with her name on the ballot. In one election, her supporters would simply check the box next to her name on the electronic voting machine; in the other, they'll have to spell it out as a write-in.

Two federal elections for different terms to the same office on the same day could be a financial boon to the candidates. People are allowed to give $2,100 to federal candidates for a given election ($4,200 for couples). With two elections, they'll be able to do that twice, giving the max for the special election and the max, again, for the general election. Lampson can tap people who are already tapped out, if they're willing. And Sekula-Gibbs, who's starting way behind in the financial contest, can hit potential donors for twice what they'd be able to give otherwise.

For the Status Quo, Mostly

The Texas Association of Business's political affiliate is sticking with Republicans in statewide races (they haven't endorsed any judges) and with incumbents in congressional races (when they endorsed at all). Elsewhere, their endorsement list is peppered with Democrats, though most of the contests in which the group offered no preference are held by Democratic incumbents.

The Business and Commerce Political Action Committee, or BACPAC, supports Republican write-in candidate Shelley Sekula-Gibbs over former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson in the race for Tom DeLay's spot in CD-22.

They'll support Republican Dee Margo, who's challenging Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, in SD-29. In open Senate seats, they'll be with Republicans with the exception of SD-14, where there isn't a Republican running against Democrat Kirk Watson of Austin.

In the House, they managed to avoid endorsing any member of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus who stood with TAB President Bill Hammond last week at a press conference where the two groups endorsed a three-pronged immigration program. They're going against incumbents in a few House races: For Jody Anderson over Jim McReynolds in HD-12 in East Texas; Nelson Balido over Joaquin Castro in San Antonio's HD-125; and for Talmadge Heflin over Hubert Vo in a rematch in Houston's HD-149.

Not for the Status Quo

The Texas Parent PAC — that's the group formed as a foil to the state's voucher promoters — endorsed Houston Democrat Ellen Cohen, who's challenging state Rep. Martha Wong, R-Houston. That's the group's first general election endorsement; if they follow the pattern set in the primaries, they'll trickle these out over the next few weeks. The PAC itself hasn't announced it, but Democrat Juan Garcia, who's running against state Rep. Gene Seaman, R-Corpus Christi, said in newsletter to supporters that he's got the group's backing.

Green Acres

Texas ranks fourth among the states as a source of money for federal candidates and political action committees so far in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

That group's accounting — taken from finance reports filed by the candidates — says Texans have given $60 million to federal campaigns this cycle. Most — 71.6 percent — went to Republicans, while 28 percent went to Democrats. If you crack open the itemized contributions by party, Texas is the 9th best state for Democrats dragging the sack and the third-best state for Republicans on the fundraising beat.

Dallas donors gave the most in the state, at $17.7 million. Houston was next, at $14.9 million. Austin-San Marcos ($4.5 million), San Antonio ($4.48 million), and Fort Worth-Arlington ($4.1 million) were next in line.

They have another weird stat: Texas candidates pulled $17.3 million out of the state so far in this cycle, which is far less than Texans spent on candidates from other places. And if you rank the other states where Texas candidates go for dough, you get this order: Virginia, California, District of Columbia, New York, and Maryland. Three of those, you should note, are in the land of Political Action Committees. There's more in there, and info on individual candidates and campaigns, too.

No Whizzing in the Labor Pool

A group of Texas companies and trade groups is weighing in on the national immigration fight, saying no change in federal policy will work if it doesn't let in enough workers to satisfy the demands of U.S. companies.

The new storefront is "Texas Employers for Immigration Reform." It's a production of the Texas Association of Business, which last week joined with the statehouse's Mexican American Legislative Caucus on the same subject. And there's a list of supporters on their website, which includes the International Bank of Commerce, Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas, the Texas Farm Bureau, Pilgrim's Pride, and the Texas Retailers Association.

They say they support changes to immigration policy, if those changes allow in enough workers to meet demand, give employers a reliable and easy way to tell a legal worker from an illegal one, give the workers a way to earn citizenship, protect U.S. workers from being displaced by immigrants, and secure U.S. borders.

A lot of the work behind their position was done by Tamar Jacoby at the Manhattan Institute, who's been advising TAB. That think tank also did some polling on immigration. That poll is available online. One interesting bit from that: Amnesty's a dirty word in this debate, but 55 percent of the "likely voters" polled by the Tarrance Group said they'd rather see immigration reform with amnesty than no change at all. Among Republicans, that was 59 percent.

Short Bits

The latest Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll has Carole Keeton Strayhorn running fourth in a four-way poll on the Texas governor's race, with only 9.6 percent of the vote. Gov. Rick Perry's still in the lead in that survey, but he's dropped to 34.8 percent; if the contest actually ran this way, Texas would get a governor with the support of just more than one-third of the voters. Democrat Chris Bell is in second, at 23.1 percent, followed by independent Kinky Friedman at 22.7 percent. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points. Their write-up of the race says "Perry faces stiff competition for reelection," and makes his narrowing lead the headline.

The same poll has U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison leading Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky by 17 points. The Republican has 54.6 percent of those surveyed on her side; the challenger has 37.3 percent. That's three points wider than a month ago; the pollsters have labeled the race a "safe bet" for Hutchison. Among Republican incumbents across the country, Zogby says she's the only one leading her opponent by more than the polls' margins of error.

The polling in both contests was done August 15-21 by Zogby Interactive.

• Using campaign funds to pay rent to his wife for houses in Austin and Cedar Park got Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, popped in the press, first by WFAA-TV in Dallas and then by newspapers around the state. He told the TV station that it was legal and that several of his fellow lawmakers do the same thing (that wasn't a popular statement in Austin), and said it's legal because his name isn't on the property and he doesn't own it. By way of explanation, a political advisor to Goodman says he has a "partition agreement" that states the property isn't community property. Thus, he's not benefiting from the rent money. A foggier question is over whether he's on the hook for the mortgage, which the rent money presumably helps pay. That, according to the group that did the research on this, would mean he's getting a personal benefit from campaign funds. Goodman's folks say he cleared it with the ethics commission, but don't have that on paper. In any case, the political damage is done: Paula Hightower Pierson, his Democratic opponent, can point to the stories that ran and to the ethics complaint filed by the Texas Values in Action Coalition, and let him try to explain.

• Democrat Harriet Miller and her consultants came to Austin presenting the rationale for her campaign in HD-102. They expect a drop in straight-ticket Republican voting in Rep. Tony Goolsby's Dallas district and say that sort of voting is all that saved him from Miller two years ago. They say female voters — even Republicans — will be drawn to their candidate. She'll have at least four times the money she had two years ago. Goolsby won't have George W. Bush on the ballot to pull Republicans to the polls (Bush got 56.2 percent in 2004; Goolsby ran three percentage points behind him). And there are some local races that could help drive Democratic turnout in a county that's trending from red to blue (though district voters favored the Republican in a local sheriff's race won two years ago by a Democrat). Goolsby doesn't buy it. He says Miller's a "formidable" candidate, but says he's "running scared" and working hard. "I haven't been an earth-shattering member — but I've been a good one, and I'm going to run on that record."

• Aides to Jim Landtroop, the Republican in the HD-85 race to succeed former House Speaker Pete Laney, are touting a poll that has their guy at 52 percent to Democrat Joe Heflin's 29 percent among registered voters. They say more voters know his name and say he's leading among Republicans and independents. As a sidebar, they mention U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is leading Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky in the district by 69 percent to 23 percent. Laney, a Democrat, got 58.8 percent two years ago while George W. Bush was getting 76.3 percent and other statewide Republicans were getting 59.8 percent to 68.9 percent against Democrats. Republicans expect the House seat to flip now that Laney's off the ballot; Democrats say that's not a certainty.

• Gubernatorial candidate Chris Bell picked up an endorsement from the Texas League of Conservation Voters (a group with the slogan "Hunt, Fish, Vote"), who said the Democrat was the best of the bunch on clean air, clean water, and access to public lands.

Linda McNally of Harlingen will be on the ballot in HD-38 as a Libertarian. There's no Republican in the race, and Democrat Eddie Lucio III was left as the only contestant when Libertarian Jim Fuller died, apparently of heart failure. But McNally's been put on the ballot in his place (that's allowed, when the candidate dies). The new candidate is the wife of the local Libertarian Party chairman, Jim McNally Jr.

• Watch in the next few of days for the release of "The Architect," a second book on George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove by Texas reporters Jim Moore and Wayne Slater. The two earlier wrote "Bush's Brain" about Rove's role in Texas campaigns leading up to Bush's successful run for president in 2000. This one takes its title from Bush's own description of his political guru after the 2004 contest, and the focus is on Rove's work since Bush became president.

• Harris County's GOP is on the bandwagon: They've got a blog, and it's open to commentary from folks who register on the site. Anybody can read them, registered or not.

• U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, will spend the evening of 9/11 holding a barbecue fundraiser at the Humble Civic Center.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn, traveling the state to tout her education platform, stopped in Harlingen for an event that also featured state Sen. Eddie Lucio III and a group of teachers who stood behind the politicos for the benefit of the cameras. Unfortunately for Strayhorn, the cameras got it all: The Valley Morning Star's photo showed her and Lucio at a podium talking in front of four signs, held by teachers, that each touted "Stayhorn."

Political People and Their Moves

Robert McTeer, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, will retire by the end of the year. The former head of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, McTeer took the A&M job almost two years ago. The board of regents will meet in a few weeks to talk about what's next.

Patricia Hayes is moving from the Texas Education Agency to the Texas State University System, where she'll be vice chancellor for governmental relations and educational policy. At TEA, she was running the P-16 program that coordinates public schools with higher education, running kids smoothly from preschool — the P — through the fourth year of college — the 16th year of a standard education.

Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin picked Jennifer Ahrens as that agency's "health care provider ombudsman." She's currently an associate commissioner at TDI. She'll replace Audrey Selden, senior associate commissioner of the consumer protection division there.

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, signed on with the Austin law firm of Azarmehr & Associates, which does immigration law. They've also got offices in New York City and Monterrey.

Rene Lara is leaving the Texas Federation of Teachers for colder climes: He's on his way to a similar job with Education Minnesota, an outfit formed when two large teacher groups in that state merged, including the one affiliated with the AFL-CIO. TFT hasn't hired a replacement yet.

Dan Finch, who has been the public affairs director at the Harris County Medical Society, joins the government affairs shop at the Texas Medical Association. He's the replacement for Yvonne Barton, who's now at Abbott Laboratories.

Press Corps Moves: The forthcoming shrinkage of The Dallas Morning News will take out a veteran state reporter. Austin Bureau reporter Pete Slover says he's taking the paper's buyout and is looking at options. He's still got an active State Bar card, and might do some lawyering after 20 years of newspapering. The News has said it wants 85 of about 500 news positions emptied by the buyout by September 15. It doesn't appear that other reporters in the paper's Austin bureau will be affected.

Kristi Willis, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, plead guilty to stealing $168,000 from his campaign and was ordered to pay him back and spend 30 days in jail. She's already paid back money taken from former Texas House candidate Andy Brown and the Capitol Area Democratic Woman, as well as some of what she took from Doggett. If she does that, some community service, and four years of probation, the court agreed to remove the conviction from her record.

Deaths: Former state Rep. Jack Vowell, R-El Paso, after a long illness. Vowell was for a long time the Legislature's leading voice on health and human service issues. He attained a rare level of trust with his colleagues: He could (and regularly did) carry the vote on health and human service legislation just by telling his fellow House members that he'd looked it over and all was well. Vowell, who left office in 1994, was 79.

Quotes of the Week

Ed Hughes, a supporter of Virginia Sen. George Allen, quoted in the Washington Post on how Allen's "macaca" quote has overwhelmed media coverage of the candidate: "You'd have to be a 6-year-old virgin to ever pass the test."

U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Florida, quoted by the Florida Baptist Witness: "If you're not electing Christians, then in essence you are going to legislate sin."

Eva deLuna Castro, a policy analyst with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, quoted in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Census Bureau numbers showing Texas ranks fifth in the number of poor people: "We ended welfare as we know it. We just didn't do anything about poverty."

Eric Bearse, a spokesman for Gov. Rick Perry, quoted in an Austin American-Statesman story on state health programs: "We do not think that we can justify to taxpayers providing a subsidized health insurance benefit for families that may be driving expensive cars like Lexuses and Escalades."

Calendars Committee Chairwoman Beverly Woolley, R-Houston, asked by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram how she passed a conflicts disclosure bill with unanimous votes from both the House and Senate: "It may have something to do with the position in the House that I hold."

Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, of Pilgrim's Pride, telling The Dallas Morning News that immigration laws need to allow enough workers into the U.S. to fill jobs Americans don't want, in plants like his: "How many people can you get to squat down and catch chickens?"

Texas Weekly: Volume 23, Issue 11, 4 September 2006. Ross Ramsey, Editor. Copyright 2006 by Printing Production Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. One-year online subscription: $250. For information about your subscription, call (512) 302-5703 or email For news, email, or call (512) 288-6598.

Texans need truth. Help us report it.

Support independent Texas news

Become a member. Join today.

Donate now

Explore related story topics