Beyond City Limits
The latest election polls show Democratic challenger Tony Sanchez still trailing Gov. Rick Perry by 9% and closing, while the races for U.S. Senator, lieutenant governor, and attorney general remain tighter, although favoring the GOP.
We're not sure if this qualifies as news, but a new study reveals that the majority of campaign contributions in Texas comes from a handful of predominantly Anglo zip codes. Frankly, it's no surprise to us that the Man and his dollars are influencing elections, but now the NAACP, the Center for Voting and Democracy, the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, and Campaigns for People have put hard numbers on it. According to "The Color of Money: Race, Class, and Campaign Contributions in Texas," just 16 of Texas' 1,864 zip codes accounted for over half of all contributions in the 1998 and 2000 elections. These zip codes include downtown Austin, with its numerous lobby and business interests, as well as the affluent neighborhoods of River Oaks, Tanglewood, and Memorial in Houston; Highland Park, Park Cities, and Turtle Creek in Dallas; and West Lake Hills and Tarrytown in Austin. -- L.N.
As goes Austin, so goes San Antonio: "A city controlled by negative attitudes is a dead city," declaims KSAT-TV in throwing its editorial heft behind the new-and-improved PGA Village. (And we thought a city that poisoned its only wells so that rich out-of-towners could play golf was a dead city.) "Plagued with a $42 million budget shortfall [is that all?], the city can't afford to turn its back on this opportunity and send the wrong message to future world-class projects," the TV station told listeners. Perhaps they'd be interested in an Intel design campus. -- M.C.M.
The director of the state office that provides legal counsel to Texas prison inmates was fired last week, ostensibly for lying on a job application submitted 10 years ago. John Fant's own attorney says the move is part of an effort by the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice to dismantle the State Counsel for Offenders office. While Fant's law license had been suspended in 1987 for failure to pay bar dues, he had indicated on his 1992 job application that he was a licensed attorney. The State Bar reports that Fant is currently eligible to practice law in Texas. -- M.C.M.
Even in disgrace, Enron is busy building new online markets -- for its own stuff. The once important company was set at press time to raise some cash by auctioning off equipment -- including plasma-screen TVs, pricey Herman Miller chairs, and even one of its crooked-E signs -- on DoveBid.com, one of the largest B2B industrial-auction sites. The auction was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday (today), so you might still have time to bid. Current Enron muckety-mucks are not eligible. -- M.C.M.
As a hurricane heads for the Gulf Coast, we know you're wondering: "Isidore" is a boy's name, shared by at least five Catholic saints -- most famous among them Isidore of Seville, the bishop who converted the Visigoths to orthodoxy and dispelled their Arian heresy. Another St. Isidore, also Spanish (in his native tongue, San Ysidro), is a patron saint of Madrid, farmers, laborers, and rural communities -- surely a comfort to some in Mexico, and perhaps some here in Texas, as they get whipped by the storm. A gentleman in Massachusetts runs a Web site, heavy with info on ancient cultures and their modes of divination, at www.isidore-of-seville.com, which might help you predict your chances of getting wet. -- M.C.M.