Sunday, December 31, 2006

On Norma Chávez’ Hair

In a posting today, McBlogger asks this question of Texas State Representative Norma Chávez:
“What's he have to do to get you stop carrying water for him Norma? Set your hair on fire?”
The “he” that McBlogger refers to is Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick. Norma Chávez continues to support Craddick in his attempt to become a three term speaker. This despite the fact that she is a Democrat. McBlogger decries her loyalty to her constituency who he says, will benefit from a “less-partisan leadership”.

I have to ask: what does McBlogger know about the wants and needs of the people of HD 76? What does he know about what the people of El Paso, Texas want out of their state government?

Norma Chávez knows the answers to those questions because she makes it a study. She knows that being a committee chairman on the House Committee on Border and International Affairs is important to her border-hugging district. She knows that getting $43 M in state funding for the Texas Tech medical school is important to her district.

The Texas Tech School of Medicine was established through legislation passed during the 61st Legislature in 1969. It was specifically designed to train more physicians for West Texas, many counties at the time, had no practicing physicians. Original plans were to establish campuses in El Paso and Amarillo, with a headquarters in Lubbock.

And guess what, another campus was built in 1979 in Odessa. Wait, isn’t Odessa in Tom Craddick’s district? Why I believe it’s so.

A campus in El Paso, originally planned in 1961 has yet to be built, but this $43 M to finally build this campus is what Norma Chávez wants for her district.

Quoting Paul Moreno, whose district also includes part of El Paso McBlogger notes:
“He said that money for the medical school would come no matter who leads the House but that his constituents and poorer Texans would benefit from less-partisan leadership. ‘That medical school (funding) is just wiggling a carrot, that's all,’ he said.”
What I can’t understand is how Moreno knows the money will come? It hasn’t come in the 45 years since the legislation was passed. But it did come 18 years after it passed to a city that wasn’t originally included in the bill.

And Moreno, it should be pointed out, is not a committee chairman.

Norma Chávez should not be faulted for seeing to the interests of her constituents. If she has to sell her vote for Craddick to get things done for her district, big things in her case, then that is what she should do. I don’t like it either. That she will cast her vote for Craddick is anathema to me. But she is the one in the trenches, not McBlogger.

But more to the point, what I want to know is why no one has taken Craddick to task for his blatant violation of the law? Section 302.032 of the Government Code is very specific about this, it’s called “Legislative Bribery”
“A person commits an offense if, with the intent to influence a member of or candidate for the house of representatives in casting a vote for speaker of the house of representatives, the person (1)promises or agrees to cause: (C) preferential treatment on any legislation or appropriation”
Penalty? Try this one on for size:
“Sec.A302.034. PENALTY.AAAn offense under this subchapter is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than two years nor more than five years.”
Trouble is Greg Abbott is too busy writing Amicus briefs to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to enforce the laws of his state.

My point? Don’t eat your young. Don’t go attacking fellow Democrats who are doing, in their mind, what is best for the constituents of their district. You are not in their position and cannot even hope to second guess what goes on. If that means you have to blog about your cat from now on, then blog about your cat.

If you want an issue, how about attacking Craddick for his blatant and foul violation of the Government Code – A Felony!


Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong - but doesn't the deal also include a pharmacy school for El Paso?

Craddick has learned that laws might even include Tom DeLay but not him.

Hal said...

I didn't hear about a pharmacy school and didn't see one mentioned on the websites I visited when I was researching this posting. Makes sense though. Most medical campuses also have pharmacy schools.

And yes, unfortunately you're right. That Craddick can pull this stuff right out in the open and not be called to court about it says a lot about the state of justice here.