The Dean’s Cash
Let the games begin. We all know the City of H-Town has a strong mayor type of government. One of the strongest in the country, if not the strongest. To get elected mayor, you are going to have to raise and spend a lot of dough.
For over a year now, folks have known that State Sen. John Whitmire, The Dean, would be making the race. We all know he had a lot of campaign funds. It is on file at the Texas Ethics Commission.
The Dean filed his campaign report with the City Secretary yesterday and got a front-page story in the Chron today and here is how it starts:
State Sen. John Whitmire is kicking off his mayoral campaign with a $10 million war chest, most of it drawn from the money he has amassed over decades in the Legislature.
The resulting campaign balance dwarfs the resources of his opponents, but it could renew debate about how much of that money the city’s campaign finance laws allow him to use.
Whitmire’s first mayoral campaign finance report, filed Tuesday, shows $1.1 million in new donations in the nearly two months between his formal campaign launch in November and the end of the year. The report’s staggering number, though, is the amount of cash he reports having on hand: about $10.1 million.
The sum makes him the overwhelming financial heavyweight in the race — the three other major candidates in the race each have about $1 million in the bank. Former county clerk Chris Hollins has raised $1.7 million since last February and has $1.1 million on hand; former city councilmember Amanda Edwards has raised $1.4 million since last March and has $1 million available; and attorney Lee Kaplan raised $1.3 million last year and has $1.2 million in his account.
It is not yet clear how much of that money Whitmire will seek to spend. Sue Davis, a consultant for Whitmire, said the report shows the full balance of his campaign account, filed with both the state and the city. The campaign started earmarking money raised for the mayor’s race at the end of last year — the $1.1 million — which “has more than enough to start this year,” Davis said.
The stockpile, though, may test the enforcement of an ordinance that was intended to limit how much money raised for non-city accounts can be used for city campaigns. The council members who introduced and passed the 2005 law said it was meant to cap that amount at $10,000. It was intended to treat non-city accounts like any other political entity that seeks to support a city campaign: subject to a $10,000 cap on donations.
Former councilmember Gordon Quan, who spearheaded the ordinance, confirmed the intent behind the law in an email to the Chronicle last week. The law says candidates can use money raised for a non-city public office “in an amount not to exceed the maximum contribution that the candidate may accept from a single donor,” which is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for political groups.
In practice, though, the city has not enforced the ordinance that stringently. A decade later, in 2015, then-City Attorney Dave Feldman told candidates they could use the amount of money under the cap from each individual donor, rather than from the account as a whole.
That allowed then-State Rep. Sylvester Turner to use $900,000 from his legislative account to start his mayoral bid, which ultimately proved successful.
Here is the entire read: Whitmire starts Houston mayoral bid with $10M war chest. Can he use it? (houstonchronicle.com).
To be up front again, Commentary is helping The Dean in his campaign for mayor.
Anyone can carry a gun in Texas these days. If you are going to pull out a gun, even a fake one, and threaten folks, some folks you threaten may be packing. Here is this from the Chron:
Houston community activists are calling for a criminal indictment of the man who fatally shot a robbery suspect at a Southwest Houston taqueria more than a week ago after the Harris County District Attorney’s Office determined the shooting would be referred to a grand jury.
Among the activists were members of the New Black Panther Nation and family members of the deceased suspect. The group said they are not condoning the actions of Eric Eugene Washington before he was killed, but said the customer went “too far” in shooting the suspect multiple times. Authorities have not named the customer.
“(Washington) was absolutely wrong for what he was doing and he deserved to go to prison for the robbery he was committing,” activist Quanell X said. “The ‘good Samaritan’ was within the law when he fired the first initial shots, but we believe he went from being a law-abiding citizen to a lawbreaker.”
Police say Washington, 30, walked into the taqueria at 6873 South Gessner Road just before 11:30 p.m. on Jan 5, wearing a mask and gloves. Witnesses told police that Washington pointed what investigators later determined was a plastic gun at patrons and demanded their money.
When Washington turned to walk toward the front door, a customer pulled out a gun and shot him multiple times. A video of the shooting appeared to show the man shooting Washington, who then collapsed on the ground. Then, the customer moved toward Washington and shot him several more times while he was lying face down on the ground.
Here is all the story: Quanell X, Houston activists call taqueria robbery shooting ‘overkill’ (houstonchronicle.com).
The only comment I have is we have way too many guns out there.
The World Series Champion Astros will be honored today by both the Texas State Senate and State House. Owner Jim Crane, players Ryan Pressly and Jason Castro, and front office bigwigs Giles Kibbe and Anita Sehgal will be on hand for the ceremony. They are also taking the World Series trophy to the capitol. Very cool.