Naked City

Off the Desk

We're pulling for you, Buster. As we go to press, Attorney General John Cornyn is in court defending the Texas Senate's secret vote to name a replacement for Rick Perry. It's an odd twist. Cornyn claims to be an enthusiastic supporter of open government, and sometimes actually rises to the occasion and defends the state's open meetings and open records acts. But in fact a secret vote would work to the advantage of the Democratic Party, which would be well-served by electing Lake Jackson Republican Buster Brown "president of the Senate." There will be no "lieutenant governor" now that Perry is governor, and the Democrats -- a one-vote minority in the Senate -- are not creative or united enough to elect one of their own Senate president, although Republican votes are split among three Republican candidates. Waco Republican David Sibley is Perry's choice and Brown's strongest opponent. Sibley is smart, politic, and has a political future. Brown is not the brightest bulb in the Senate, and one term as the body's presiding officer would be the high-water mark in his career, which began to ebb when he groped his unwilling office aide during a "golf lesson" two years ago. (Brown made a public apology to the young woman, but it is unlikely that he is going anywhere beyond the Senate.) While Democrats might not vote for Brown in a public vote, they might if no one were looking. Several publications have filed suit, attempting to force the senators to vote in public when they convene this week to elect a president...

You read it here first. In early October, Chronicle reporter Mike Clark-Madison predicted the creation of a new city planning department to be headed by Alice Glasco. Clark-Madison quoted Council Member Jackie Goodman, saying two assistant city managers were working on a remake of the planning bureaucracy. "They were trying to match staffers with their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, and put them where they would be most productive," Goodman said in Clark-Madison's Oct. 6 article. He continued: "Glasco is well-liked by her staff and by the City Council, who deal with her mostly on zoning cases, an area where all agree she is well-suited ... [City Managers] Futrell and Conner seem determined to find a better place for Glasco -- probably as head of a new department that oversees zoning, neighborhood planning, and neighborhood services." Last week, Jo Clifton's newsletter In Fact reported that City Manager Jesus Garza's long-awaited remake of the Development Review and Inspection Department is about to happen. Under Garza's plan, a new department called the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Department will be headed by Glasco. Mike Heitz, who directed the Watershed Protection Department for the past five years, will direct a new Development Services and Watershed Protection Department. The changes are subject to approval by City Council. More to come in "Naked City," concerning whether the remake complies with Goodman's described matching of staffers with their strengths and weaknesses...

They read it here first. On Dec. 22, Chronicle reporter Robert Bryce reported that Bush media consultant Mark McKinnon informed Esquire it could not publish his commissioned insider story on the Bush campaign. After McKinnon was a recipient of one of the magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards, the Democrat-turned-Republican decided to kill his own Esquire piece. By Dec. 27, Bryce's story had made it to The New York Post, via Jim Romenesko's "MediaNews" column. The Post cites Bryce's Chronicle story, noting that McKinnon appreciates parody but found this one (which described him as probably good for a blow job) too mean-spirited.

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    Naked City

    David Waters prepares for trial in federal court on charges that he helped conspire to kidnap and murder atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair and her family.

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