July 30, 2005

Done With Dewhurst

I've had it with Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. I'm serious -- I'm washing my hands of the man. This Republican precinct chair will not be passing out any of his material, will notbe making phone calls, and certainly won't distrubute yard signs to the party faithful. And I know that a lot of other Republicans have lost their enthusiasm for him.

What is my beef? It isn't his failure to get appraisal caps on property taxes passed. It isn't the fact that he can't control the state Senate, despite holding the most powerful job in Texas government (the Governor is a distant third). No, it is his utterly inane comment about a proposal to strip all the controversial elements from the education bill being debated in the second special session of the year.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he was worried that there was support for what he called a "poison pill" amendment that would have removed nearly all of the reform measures in the bill, leaving only provisions for a teacher pay raise and textbook funding.

Yeah, you read that right. Paying for textbooks and raising teacher salaries (Texas teachers make about $6000 a year below the national average) constitutes a "poison pill". Good Lord -- they are the two things that most Texans agree on, according to polling data! If this man thinks that they are "poison", I'm willing to do all I can to make sure he is defeated, even if that means biting the bullet and voting for his eventual Democrat opponent. The stuff that would have been stripped from the bill were provisions raisng the age for teacher retirement while cutting the benefit level; and, if a school or district meets state standards to be classified as exemplary, gutting due process and workplace rights for teachers (guaranteeing that no school or district will ever meet those standards again).

No, Dewhurst has got to go -- and I put that above any party loyalty that I might feel. If he is going to label textbooks and teacher raises as "poison" after presiding over a vote to give legislators an $6500 annual increase in their pensions for their $7200-a-year part-time job, he clearly is the wrong man to hold this or any other public office.

Oh, and by the way, I find it interesting that the Houston Chronicle didn't find that "poison pill" quote to be sufficiently important to report on it. in its article on the new education bill -- nor did most of the rest of the news media in the state. I guess they don't consider textbooks and teachers to be important, either.

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