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                                                         CITY STATE
                                              ¬¬¬
                               FRIDAY                                                                                                                                    INSIDE
                       OCTOBER 29, 2010                                                                                                                                    A Montgomery County jury
                                                                                                                                                                         sentences a habitual drunken
                                                                                                                                                                         driver to life in prison.
                                                                                                                                                                         PAGE B2
                                          /metro


                                                             OBITUARIES            |   EDITORIALS            |   OUTLOOK             |   WEATHER




 Might Sylvia Garcia be in trouble?
                                                                                                                                                 CAMPAIGN 2010



                                                                                                                                                 Voters: Slash
 T
        UESDAY evening, at a small gathering                                                               public works departments,
        to celebrate the life of a friend who                                                              they are able to raise



                                                                                                                                                 college funds,
                                                                                                           mountains of campaign
        had just died, a former Democratic                                                                 cash from county vendors,
 officeholder quietly said something that                                                                  engineers and others. (Garcia
                                                                                                           started the year with $1.7
 shocked me.                                                                                               million and raised $577,000



                                                                                                                                                 up alcohol tax
     “Sylvia Garcia is in             Morman is so little                                                  more in 2010. Her opponent
 trouble,” she said, referring     known that Googling him                                                 has raised about $41,000.)
 to the two-term Harris            as a Commissioners Court                    Rick Casey                      By long-standing tradition,
 County commissioner.              candidate or as a Houston                                               Harris County commissioners
     Times are so tough for        lawyer turns up no hits.                                                have only four reasons
 Democrats, she indicated,            Garcia’s alleged                 powerful positions in Texas         to leave office: They die,
 that Garcia could lose to
 Jack Morman, an attorney in
                                   vulnerability stunned me
                                   because Harris County
                                                                       but also one of the most
                                                                       stable.
                                                                                                           they resign to pursue other
                                                                                                           activities, they resign because
                                                                                                                                                    Survey shows                                 In the face of a budget
                                                                                                                                                                                              shortfall that some project
 the office of former County       commissioner is not only                Because commissioners           they are indicted or they             new gambling is                              will top $20 billion through
 Attorney Michael Fleming.         considered one of the most          all have their own parks and               Please see CASEY, Page B5
                                                                                                                                                 also backed in                               the next two years, voters
                                                                                                                                                                                              surveyed would rather slash
                                                                                                                                                 budget crunch                                higher education funding
                                                                                                                                                                                              than that of public schools,
                         T H E A N T H O N Y G R AV E S C A S E                                                                                  By PEGGY FIKAC
                                                                                                                                                                                              health care for the poor or
                                                                                                                                                                                              public safety.
                                                                                                                                                 AU S T I N B U R E AU
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Asked where they would
                                                                                                                                                     A U S T I N — Texas voters               cut the most among the four
                                                                                                                                                 prefer spending cuts over new                areas, 28 percent of likely vot-
                                                                                                                                                 revenues to balance the bud-                 ers targeted higher education.
                                                                                                                                                 get, but if money must be                    About the same percentage
                                                                                                                                                 raised, they would like to see               said they would not want to
                                                                                                                                                 it come from higher taxes on                 cut from those areas at all.
                                                                                                                                                 alcohol and expanded gam-                       The telephone poll was
                                                                                                                                                 bling, according to a poll con-              conducted Oct. 22-27 for the
                                                                                                                                                 ducted for the state’s largest               Houston Chronicle, San An-
                                                                                                                                                 newspapers.                                  tonio Express-News, Dallas
                                                                                                                                                     “They don’t want to see                  Morning News, Fort Worth
                                                                                                                                                 government grow,” said poll-                 Star-Telegram and Austin
                                                                                                                                                 ster Micheline Blum, of Blum                 American-Statesman. It in-
                                                                                                                                                 & Weprin Associates Inc., of                 cluded 1,073 registered vot-
                                                                                                                                                 New York. “When they do                      ers, 673 of whom were classi-
                                                                                                                                                 think about increasing rev-                  fied as likely voters. The mar-
                                                                                                                                                 enue at all, they go for the                 gin of error for likely voters is
                                                                                                                                                 vices.”                                            Please see BUDGET, Page B5

                                                                                                                                                 BALANCING THE BUDGET
                                                                                                                                                 Poll of likely Texas voters conducted Oct. 22-27:
                                                                                                                                                 As you may know, Texas faces at least an $18 billion state
                                                                                                                                                 budget deficit in the next two-year budget period. To close
                                                                                                                                                 the deficit, state lawmakers have two basic options:
                                                                                                                                                 cutting spending and increasing revenue. While both may
                                                                                                                                                 be necessary, would you prefer that Texas do …
                                                                                                                                                 More to cut spending                      50%
                                                                                                                                                 More to increase revenue                  19%
                                                                                                                                                 Both equally*                             20%
                                                                                                                                                 Not sure/refused                          11%
                                                                                                           MICHAEL PAULSEN : C H R O N I C L E   In which of the following areas would you cut the most?
  A HAPPY DAY: Anthony Graves is greeted Thursday by defense lawyer Katherine Scardino, center, and University of St. Thomas
                                                                                                                                                 Public schools for grades K-12             4%
  professor Nicole Casarez, who led a team that ultimately won Graves’ release after he served 18 years for a crime he didn’t commit.
                                                                                                                                                 Universities and junior colleges          28%
                                                                                                                                                 Health services for the poor               7%



  AN ARMY OF BELIEVERS
                                                                                                                                                 Public Safety                             12%
                                                                                                                                                 All*                                       6%
                                                                                                                                                 None*                                     28%
                                                                                                                                                 Not sure/refused                          15%


  8-year battle to free an innocent man                                                         HOW THE CASE EVOLVED
                                                                                                A timeline breaks down the key dates in the
                                                                                                                                                 Which of the following ways to increase
                                                                                                                                                 state revenue would you most favor?

  won by a band of lawyers and students                                                         Anthony Graves case. PAGE B4                     New forms of gambling
                                                                                                                                                 Broaden the sales tax
                                                                                                                                                                                           22%
                                                                                                                                                                                           11%
                                                                                                                                                 Increase taxes on alcohol                 42%
                                                who first heard of Graves in 2002,               In that sense, Graves was lucky.
  By JEANNIE KEVER                              when she was a journalism student                “Anthony Graves is fortunate he had             Statewide property tax                     3%
  HOUSTON CHRONICLE                                                                                                                              All*                                       2%
                                                at the University of St. Thomas. “We          lawyers who, not at the very beginning
     One by one, Anthony Graves                 knew there was actually a chance he           maybe, but who eventually came to                  None*                                      9%
  built an army of believers, a group of        was innocent.”                                the conclusion that he was an innocent             Not sure/refused                          10%
  lawyers and students who fought to                As the students continued to              person,” said lawyer Katherine                     * Response volunteered by respondents
  prove his innocence.                          investigate, their certainty grew.            Scardino. “Each and every person who               Note: Because of rounding, totals may not equal 100 percent

     “I think, even from the first time we          The work lasted for eight years and       had something to do with this case told            Source: Telephone poll of a random sample of 1,073 registered voters, of whom 673 were
                                                                                                                                                 classified as “likely voters,” conducted for a consortium of Texas newspapers by Blum &
  read through it, we felt like this case       involved several dozen students and           me, ‘This is an innocent person.’ ”                Weprin Associates, Inc. Margin of error is +/- 3.8%
  was different,” said Meghan Bingham,          almost as many lawyers.                                          Please see TEAM, Page B4                                                                                  CHRONICLE




                                                                                                                        INSIDE

 What agency inspects trams? None                                                                          A&M scare                             Katy school bond drive
    No government safety rules are set                                 from the Federal Aviation
                                                                       Administration, the Federal
                                                                                                           a false alarm                         dialing wrong number
 for vehicle that killed worker at IAH                                 Transit Administration, the             Students and          Parents irate                                            Nov. 2 school construction
                                                                       Federal Railroad Administra-                                                                                           referendum.
                                   escalators and moving side-         tion, the Occupational Safe-        faculty were on      over robocalls to                                                 Team Katy, a political ac-
 By ZAIN SHAUK
 HOUSTON CHRONICLE
                                   walks are inspected and cited       ty and Health Administra-           lockdown after       cells and offices                                             tion committee endorsing the
                                   for violations according to         tion, the Texas Department                                                                                             $459.8 million bond package,
    The automated tram that        various public codes, there         of Transportation, the Texas        reports of a                                                                       took responsibility for the
 struck and killed a contractor    are no enforceable standards        Department of Licensing and         gunman on campus H O U S T O N C H R O N I C L E
                                                                                                                                By ERICKA MELLON                                              calls, which went to thou-
 Tuesday at Bush Interconti-       for the unmanned trams that         Regulation and the city of                                                                                             sands of parents’ home, cel-
 nental Airport did not meet       shuttle about 5,000 travelers       Houston all said the same           surfaced. Officials     Parents in the Katy school                                 lular and office phones on
 government safety regula-         between the airport’s termi-        thing: Not us.                      later said the cause district are expressing outrage                               Wednesday evening.
 tions for operation because       nals every hour at speeds as           Bush Intercontinental Air-                            over a stream of automated                                        The Katy Independent
 none exist for the vehicle,       high as 33 mph.                     port leaves safety clearance        of the scare was a   phones calls they received                                    School District released a
 according to city, state and         Asked who sets safety reg-       for the tram system up to the       replica AK-47.       this week — on numbers they                                   statement Thursday saying
 federal officials.                ulations for the system and         companies who built and run                                               thought were private — ask-                  it did not coordinate the calls
    While trains, elevators,       others like it, representatives            Please see TRAM, Page B5                   STORY ON PAGE B3        ing for their support of the                          Please see BOND, Page B5




                                                                                               LrFF oFNr%rEoND

Created on Adobe Document Server 2.0
B2   HOUSTON CHRONICLE                ¬¬¬
                                                                                      THE CITY & STATE                                                                                     Friday, October 29, 2010




       AROUND
      THE AREA

Driver dies after
car hit by gunfire
   A driver was shot and
killed when someone opened
fire on his car Thursday
morning in southeast
Houston.
   The shooting occurred in
the 5600 block of Ridgeway
near Sharondale about 1
a.m., police said. The man
was driving alone when his
car was hit at least once by
gunfire. He continued to
drive but lost control of the
car, which crashed into a
fence nearby.

Man dies from
gunshot wounds
   Homicide detectives
are investigating the fatal
shooting of a man early
Thursday near Interstate 45
in north Harris County after
he called 911 and asked for
help.
   The man was found
inside a car in the 14200
block of North Freeway near
Remington Valley about 2
a.m., according to the Harris
County Sheriff’s Office.                                                                                                                                                           MAYRA BELTRÁN : C H R O N I C L E

   Deputies said the man was
driving a blue Buick when he


                                  Perfect flying conditions
called 911 and told the call



                                                                                                                                                                  Campaign
taker he had been shot and
where he had stopped.

Funds approved

                                  I                                                                                                                                  watch
                                     T finally started to feel like fall around Houston Thursday after a fast-
for freeway work                     moving cold front blew through, bringing seasonal temperatures and




                                                                                                                                                                                          ’10
    Commuters in northwest
Harris County could see              windy conditions. Jerome Vielman and Jennifer Yi headed out to the
some traffic relief after         Japanese Gardens to fly a kite, where he also proposed to Yi. She said yes.
the Texas Transportation
Commission approved $140                                            ONLINE:
million on Thursday for the                                                                        chron.com/weather
completion of one of the
state’s busiest interchanges.                                                                                                                          blogs.chron.com/
    The funding will allow                                                                                                                   houstonpolitics/
state transportation officials                                                                                                               blogs.chron.com/texaspolitics/


                                  Habitual drunken driver
to finish the interchange
at the 610 Loop and U.S.
290. The work includes an                                                                                                                                    CALLS FOR MONITORING
elevated express lane from


                                  is sentenced to life term
Interstate 10 to 290, allowing                                                                                                                                   Sheila
commuters to avoid 610.                                                                                                                      Jackson Lee
    Construction likely will
begin in fall 2012, officials
said.                                Prior felonies                     “The two happened to find
                                                                    each other and cause an ac-
                                                                                                           for three days and had drunk
                                                                                                           “everything you can imagine”
Officials on hunt                 and past drug                     cident,” said Montgomery               including “whiskey, wine,                                            Vince Ryan
for ‘rude robber’                 possession were                   County prosecutor Adrienne
                                                                    Frazior. “This is an example
                                                                                                           and women.”
                                                                                                              Harvey’s criminal record                                                                Terry
    A robber cut in front         factors in case                   of the problem we have in              stretches back to 1976, with                                         O’Rourke
of several customers at a                                           Montgomery County.”                    more than eight DWI convic-
northeast Houston bank                                                  The average number of              tions, but Frazior said she
before he threatened a teller     By RENÉE C. LEE                   people driving while intoxi-           could only use eight convic-
                                  HOUSTON CHRONICLE
and then left with money,                                                           cated in Mont-         tions as evidence during the
authorities said Thursday.           George Larry Harvey, a                         gomery County          trial.
    No injuries were reported     drinker since he was a teen-                      is significantly          Besides DWI convictions,
                 in the robbery   ager, has been convicted of                       higher     than        Harvey also has been found
                 Wednesday        drunken driving eight times                       the state aver-        guilty of driving with a sus-
                 at a Chase       and has even served two pris-                     age, said As-          pended driver’s license at
                 bank branch      on sentences for DWI. But it                      sistant District       least four times and convict-
                 inside a the     took another drunken driver                       Attorney War-          ed of marijuana possession,
                 Fiesta grocery   to get him off the road per-      HARVEY          ren Diepraam,          Frazior said.
                 at 9419 Mesa     manently.                                         who heads the
                 Drive.              On April 3, 2009, some-        vehicular crimes unit.                 Sister hits sentence
SUSPECT              The FBI      time around midnight, Har-            Harvey received the tough-             Harvey’s older sister, Nan-
                 is calling the   vey got behind the wheel          est punishment under the law           cy Rector, said her brother
man the “rude robber.”            of his pickup after spending      because he is a habitual of-           was diagnosed with a mental
    He walked into the bank       the day drinking at a friend’s    fender. With two prior felony          illness when he was young,
at about 10:15 a.m., cut in       house on FM 1485, near Kings      DWI convictions in 1996 and            and he started drinking as a                       Jonathan
front of customers to get         Road in New Caney. As he          2005, his third conviction             teenager. He also began us-       Saenz
to the teller, officials said.    pulled out of the driveway        made him eligible for an en-           ing drugs, mostly marijuana,
He handed the teller a note       with his headlights off, Wan-     hanced sentence of 25 years            she said.
demanding money and               da Medford, who also had          to life, Frazior said.                     The twice-divorced father
reached for his waist, as if      been drinking, plowed into            He showed no reaction or           of two never sought treat-
he had a weapon, officials        his pickup, according to po-      remorse for his actions during         ment for his addictions, and
said. The teller did not see a    lice.                             the reading of the verdict and         family members never tried
weapon but gave him cash.            Both were arrested and         sentence, she said.                    to get him help, she said.
    Anyone with information       later charged with DWI.               The video of Harvey’s ar-              Harvey, who worked odd
about the case should contact        Medford, 41, pleaded           rests clearly showed a man             jobs painting and remodel-          Francine Feisel
Crime Stoppers of Houston         guilty to her first DWI offense   with a serious drinking prob-          ing homes, had his highs
at 713-222-TIPS (8477).           last August and was ordered       lem, she said. The state troop-        and lows, which included an
                                  to pay an $800 fine and serve     er and Montgomery County               attempted suicide in 1995.                                Tom
Dry conditions                    three days in jail.               sheriff’s deputies on the scene        He cut his throat over a rela-
                                                                    said his speech was slurred            tionship that went sour, said
lead to grass fire                No reaction, no remorse           and he couldn’t walk straight.         Rector, who testified for the
    A fast-moving grass              Harvey, 59, went to trial,         Harvey refused a blood             defense.                                                                                   — JOE HOLLEY
fire consumed more than           was found guilty by a Mont-       draw and breath test and told              She said she believes her
100 acres Thursday before         gomery County jury and sen-       police to take him to jail. He         brother’s life sentence was
firefighters from several         tenced to life in prison on       also told the arresting officer        unjust. He’s an addict who                            EARLY VOTING A HIT
agencies brought it under         Wednesday.                        that he had been drinking              has never hurt anybody but
control.                                                                                                   himself, she said.
   There were no reported                                                                                      “All these years of putting
injuries from the blaze that                                                                               addicts in prison, has it made
erupted about 10:40 a.m.                                                                                   things better in our lives?”
near Texas 99 in northeast                                                                                 she said. “It hasn’t.”
Fort Bend County, officials                                                                                    Rector, who lives near
said.                                                                                                      Harvey in New Caney, said
   The fire was under control                                                                              she’s knows her brother did
by about 3 p.m., although fire                                                                             wrong by driving drunk, but
crews remained on the scene                                                                                “he shouldn’t be in a criminal
to prevent any flare-ups,                                                                                  situation.”
officials said. The National
Weather Service issued a                                                                                   renee.lee@chron.com                                                                  — MATT SCHWARTZ
Red Flag Warning for much
of southeast Texas because
of dry conditions and winds
with gusts up to 30 mph.

Galveston gets                                                                                             Deputy in bribery case steps down
new fire chief                                                                                                                               any longer have to focus on        dictment, Ellington accessed
   Galveston City Council                                                                                  By CINDY GEORGE                   any future administrative is-      information from confiden-
                                                                                                           HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Thursday night confirmed                                               MAYRA BELTRÁN : C H R O N I C L E                                     sues or hearings.”                 tial law enforcement data-
Jeff Smith as fire chief, city                                                                                A Harris County Sheriff’s         Ellington submitted his         bases and provided security
officials reported.
   Smith has been serving         Take another look                                                        deputy charged with accept-
                                                                                                           ing bribes has resigned, his
                                                                                                                                             letter of resignation to the of-
                                                                                                                                             fice Thursday afternoon, ac-
                                                                                                                                                                                to a person he believed to be
                                                                                                                                                                                an Ecstasy dealer. The indict-




                                  L
as interim chief for the last                                                                              attorney said Thursday.           cording to Overstreet.             ment accuses him of twice ac-
several months, officials said.         UIS Mares places caution signs on the                                 George Wesley Ellington           Alan Bernstein, a spokes-       cepting $500 bribes — once in
He has been with the city for                                                                              decided to leave his job to       man for the Sheriff’s Office,      February and again in April.
the last 27 years.                      medians in the intersection of Buffalo                             focus on the federal charges      could not confirm a resigna-           He was arrested Tuesday
   “I’m excited to lead the             Speedway and Bissonnet on Thursday as                              against him, said his attorney,   tion. “Until we hear other-        and has pleaded not guilty.
fine men and woman who            part of insurance provider Allstate’s campaign to                        Todd Overstreet.                  wise he remains suspended          Reporter Zain Shauk contributed to
serve this community,”                                                                                        “We just want to focus on      indefinitely without pay,”         this report.

Smith said in a news release.
                                  encourage motorists to look twice before moving                          the government’s allegation,”     Bernstein said.
          — FROM STAFF REPORTS    through an intersection.                                                 Overstreet said. “We don’t           According to a federal in-      cindy.george@chron.com
Friday, October 29, 2010
                                                                                                   THE STATE                                                                             ¬¬¬            HOUSTON CHRONICLE                      B3




      AROUND
     THE STATE

Boy questioned
                                  Replica gun causes scare at A&M
in friend’s death                    Lockdown canceled after reports                                               Texas on Sept. 28.                      Baron said. “He matches the                      man violated any university
   FREER    — Police in Freer                                                                                         Sgt. Allan Baron of the              initial description that we re-                  regulations.
interviewed one boy after his     of gunman turn into a false alarm                                                A&M police department con-              ceived.”                                             “I haven’t received any re-
14-year-old friend was fatally                                                                                     firmed a young man was tak-                                                              ports that he pointed at any-
shot while the two were in                                           later when the gun turned out                 en into custody for question-           ‘Not a violation’                                one or any statements were
the woods.                        By JAMES PINKERTON                 to be a plastic replica.                      ing about the incident, adding             Campus officials reported                     made. We had no reports
                                  HOUSTON CHRONICLE
   Police Chief Roy Salazar                                             The shooting scare was the                 the college-age man is not              that an armed man was re-                        of shots being fired, or any
says the investigation                Texas A&M University was       third in a month at prominent                 accused of breaking any law.            portedly seen at 4 p.m. near                     injuries, or anything of that
continues into Wednesday          on lockdown Thursday as of-        Texas universities, following                    “We do have an individual            the Rudder Tower.                                nature,” Baron said.
afternoon’s death of Eden         ficials tracked down a man         an incident at Sam Houston                    of interest that we are ques-              “It’s not a violation of                          Thursday night, students
Gonzalez. Police say              carrying what was reported         State University on Oct. 22                   tioning. We have determined             law,” to carry a replica weap-                   at the College Station campus
Gonzalez suffered one shot to     as an assault weapon, but it       and the suicide of an armed                   that he was in possession of            on on campus, Baron said,                        were relieved when univer-
his upper left torso.             canceled the alert two hours       student at the University of                  a replica-style AK-47 rifle,’’          adding he didn’t believe the                     sity officials said the situation
   Gonzalez, who attended                                                                                                                                                                                   was over.
Freer Junior High School,                                                                                                                                                                                       Taylor Germain, a fresh-
was transported to Christus                                                                                                                                                                                 man from Houston studying
Spohn Hospital Alice, where                                                                                                                                                                                 civil engineering, was in his
he was pronounced dead.                                                                                                                                                                                     dorm room when officials
   Salazar says police are                                                                                                                                                                                  first alerted the campus of
trying to determine who                                                                                                                                                                                     a possible gunman. The of-
owns the .222 caliber weapon                                                                                                                                                                                ficials quickly told the 200 or
and other circumstances of                                                                                                                                                                                  so residents to gather in the
the shooting.                                                                                                                                                                                               lobby.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                “It’s pretty secure, but I
Endangered rhino                                                                                                                                                                                            felt safer in my room,” the
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Strake Jesuit graduate said af-
dies suddenly                                                                                                                                                                                               ter the all clear was sounded.
    S A N A N T O N I O — An
endangered black rhinoceros                                                                                                                                                                                 Recent cases
named “Herbie” has died at                                                                                                                                                                                     Jenny Harrington, a soph-
the San Antonio Zoo.                                                                                                                                                                                        omore nutrition major from
    Zoo officials say the cause                                                                                                                                                                             Rockport, said she feared the
of Wednesday’s sudden death                                                                                                                                                                                 reports of a gunman on cam-
is sought. A necropsy did not                                                                                                                                                                               pus might be A&M’s version
offer an immediate reason for                                                                                                                                                                               of a UT shooter situation.
the death of the 18-year-old                                                                                                                                                                                   “I really thought about (the
male rhino.                                                                                                                                                                                                 University of) Texas and what
    Herbie had been at the                                                                                                                                                                                  happened there,” she said.
San Antonio Zoo since 1999                                                                                                                                                                                     On Oct. 22, police at Sam
and sired two calves, in 2001                                                                                                                                                                               Houston State University in
and 2004.                                                                                                                                                                                                   Huntsville locked town the
    He was born at the San                                                                                                                                                                                  campus while they investigat-
Diego Zoo.                                                                                                                                                                                                  ed reports of gunmen on the
                                                                                                                                                                                                            campus. Police found several
Judge orders guru                                                                                                                                                                                           gamers who were using plas-
                                                                                                                                                                                                            tic “air compression toys’’
to remain in U.S.                                                                                                                                                                                           that resembled guns.
    A U S T I N — An elderly                                                                                                                                                                                   Late last month, UT stu-
Hindu guru facing 20 counts                                                                                                                                                                                 dent Colton Tooley, 19, fired
of indecency with a child by                                                                                                            P A U L M O S E L E Y : F O R T W O R T H S TA R -T E L E G R A M   several shots from an AK-47
sexual contact must remain                                                                                                                                                                                  assault rifle on a campus

                                  Celebrating a milestone
in the United States until                                                                                                                                                                                  street. The student, who was
his January trial, a judge has                                                                                                                                                                              dressed in black and wore a
ruled.                                                                                                                                                                                                      ski mask, ran to a campus li-



                                  F
    State District Judge                                                                                                                                                                                    brary and killed himself.
Charles Ramsay revoked                        ORMER nurse Sally Hurt gets a hug from geriatric care manager Melinda Chance at Hurt’s
the passport of 82-year-old                   109th birthday party Wednesday at the James L. West Alzheimer Center in Fort Worth. Hurt’s                                                                    Mike Glenn contributed to this report.
Prakashanand Saraswati on
Wednesday.                                    family and friends also were there for the celebration.                                                                                                       james.pinkerton@chron.com
    Attorneys for Saraswati,
known as Shree Swamiji,
had claimed he was too frail
for trial and that he has
continuing back problems.
    Prosecutors say the guru
has maintained an active
                                  River runs through it: Public debates state land deal
overseas travel schedule this
year, the Austin American-
                                    Critics raise                                                                  more for less; and they are
                                                                                                                   angered the department is
                                                                                                                                                           parks department is trying to
                                                                                                                                                           carry out fly-by-night land
                                                                                                                                                                                                            to enjoy,” Boruff said, ex-
                                                                                                                                                                                                            plaining that Sanders’ Devils
Statesman reported.               environmental,                                                                   rushing to approve the deal             acquisitions.    Environmen-                     River Ranch was appraised
    The charges against
Saraswati accuse him of           procedural issues                                                                on Nov. 4, accusing it of dodg-
                                                                                                                   ing its own policy for buying
                                                                                                                                                           talists accuse the agency of
                                                                                                                                                           violating its 30-day public
                                                                                                                                                                                                            for more money because it
                                                                                                                                                                                                            has eight more miles of riv-
indecency in relation to his                                                                                       and selling land.                       comment period, pegging the                      erfront and has been well
contact with two children         By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI                                                             “This reeks of being a              start on Oct. 12 when news                       maintained.
                                  A S S O C I AT E D P R E S S
between 1993 and 1996 at                                                                                           very bad deal,” Tom Goynes,             releases on the proposal went                        Sanders, the owner of the
Barsana Dham, an ashram              H O U S T O N — The Texas                                                     president of the Texas Rivers           out. The parks department                        ranch, put his property on the
south of Austin.                  Parks and Wildlife Depart-                                                       Protection Association, said.           insists the comment period                       market two years ago because
                                  ment wants to give a Dal-                                                        “We would at least like to see          began at an Oct. 4 luncheon                      “we have, really, too many
Road altercation                  las businessman a remote,                                                        the process slowed down.”               with environmentalists and                       ranches now.” Initially, he
                                  20,000-acre parcel of land                                                           The park service, how-              notes the deal has generated                     said, he opposed a deal with
leads to inquiry                  plus $8 million in exchange                                                      ever, argues the natural area           more discussion than nearly                      the park service but is now
   An internal affairs            for his 17,000-acre ranch, a                                                     is largely inaccessible. Roads          any other.                                       convinced it would benefit
investigation has been            proposal that has pit local                                                      are poor, it is nearly two                                                               the river and the public.
opened into a Collin              landowners against one an-                                                       hours away from Del Rio, the            ‘Too many ranches’                                   And although he doesn’t
County road rage incident         other and that is opposed by                                                     closest town, and the upper                So much, in fact, that a                      know whether he will hold on
involving a Dallas police         environmental groups.                     T E X A S PA R K S & W I L D L I F E   part of the river, where it sits,       public meeting held earlier                      to the natural area after ac-
public information officer,          The West Texas properties       CONTROVERSY: The Devils                       is braved by only the most ex-          this month in Del Rio at-                        quiring it, he vows to improve
authorities said.                 are along the Devils River, a      River runs along the two                      perienced kayakers, who have            tracted dozens of landowners                     the property.
   Sgt. Jon Felty, an Allen       pristine waterway considered       disputed tracts of land.                      to paddle furiously for 12              for and against the deal, Scott                      The agency already has
police spokesman, told the        the state’s last “wild” river                                                    hours to get to the only public         Boruff, deputy executive di-                     $6 million for the swap — $4
Dallas Morning News the           and used as a benchmark for        in unique crevices, canyons                   campsite in the area.                   rector of the parks depart-                      million in state and federal
incident began Friday during      clean water standards. The         and mesas dotted with prehis-                     The park service says               ment, said.                                      grants and $2 million from
rush hour on U.S. Highway         land, on the Texas-Mexico          toric rock art.                               swapping this rough terrain                “Our goal is not to ac-                       an anonymous donor. Now, it
75 as Dallas Senior Cpl.          border near Del Rio, is the                                                      for Rod Sander’s downstream             quire more acres, but ensure                     is trying to collect $2 million
Janice Crowther and Jeffrey       state’s second largest “natural    Process decried                               ranch would allow the depart-           that the ones we have are                        in donations to complete the
Simmons of Frisco headed          area” — an official designa-          Critics fear the transac-                  ment to control the fragile             well-protected and available                     transaction, Boruff said.
north in their vehicles.          tion that affords seven Texas      tion would pollute the river                  waterway and set up a fam-
   Crowther, who was              properties the highest level       when more people visit it;                    ily friendly state park in the
off duty at the time, had         of environmental protection.       they wonder why the cash-                     lower, more mellow stretch
slammed on her brakes to          Endangered species, includ-        strapped agency is spending                   of river.
avoid hitting Simmons, who        ing the tiny black-capped vir-     nearly all its land acquisition                   The debate has spurred
had abruptly slowed in front      eo bird — live and nest there.     funds when further budget                     conspiracy theories and
of her, Felty said. Crowther      Rare plants and desert fauna       cuts are likely; they argue the               raised long-buried anxieties
honked and flashed her lights     thrive in the vast area, nestled   park service is handing over                  by environmentalists that the
at Simmons, Felty said.
   Both exited and pulled
alongside each other in the
roadway. Simmons told
police in a 911 call that
Crowther pointed a gun at
him. Simmons later told
officers that he did not
believe Crowther had pointed
a gun at him. Crowther
denied having displayed her
weapon.

Firefighter fired
over nude photos
   A U S T I N — An Austin
firefighter who allegedly
posted nude photos of
himself online has been fired
for conduct unbecoming a
member of the department.
   Fire Chief Mae Kerr on
Wednesday put Alejandro
Garza on indefinite
suspension without pay.
A disciplinary memo from
Kerr says Garza included
information online that
identified him as an Austin
firefighter.
   A citizen’s complaint in
July led to the investigation.
Garza told authorities he
last posted photos in 2006
and had taken them off the
Internet.
           — FROM WIRE REPORTS
B4    HOUSTON CHRONICLE                        ¬¬¬*
                                                                                     THE ANTHONY GRAVES CASE                                                                                        Friday, October 29, 2010




                                                                                      “It’s hard to turn your back when there’s been an injustice done.”
     THE HISTORY                                                                                        NICOLE CASAREZ, St. Thomas volunteer and a member of Graves’ 2006 defense team



     OF THE CASE
     Key dates leading up to Anthony Graves’
     conviction and subsequent release from
           Texas’ death row this week:
     AUGUST 1992: Lisa Davis files a paternity
     suit in Somerville to gain child support
     from Robert Carter, a corrections officer
     in Navasota, for their 4-year-old son,
     Jason.

     AUG. 18, 1992: Somerville authorities
     discover the bodies of Lisa Davis’ mother,
     Bobbie Davis, her 16-year-old daughter,
     Nicole Davis; and four grandchildren:
     Denitra, 9, Brittany, 6, Lea’ Erin, 5, and
     Jason, 4, inside a burning home. The
     victims were stabbed a total of 66 times.
     Nicole was shot. Bobbie was bludgeoned.
     The weapons involved: a knife, a hammer
     and a .22-caliber pistol.

     AUG. 22, 1992: Carter, Jason Davis’ father,
     appears at the funerals with burns and
     injuries to his left hand and face. Carter
     tells Texas Rangers that he hurt himself
     burning weeds in the yard and denies any
     involvement in the killings. But Carter
     volunteers to take, and promptly fails, a
     polygraph exam. Finally, he admits he was
     in the home but says another man, his
     wife’s first cousin, Anthony Graves, whom                                                                                                                                    MICHAEL PAULSEN PHOTOS : C H R O N I C L E
     he first refers to first as “Kenneth,” was                    A NEW BEGINNING: Anthony Graves puts on a clean shirt in the men’s restroom after getting barbecue sauce on his other shirt at a celebration
     the killer.                                                   lunch at Katherine Scardino’s law office. After lunch, he held a news conference to discuss his release from prison.

     AUG. 26, 1992: Carter’s testimony changes



                                                                      Innocence Network
     for the first time. He tells grand jurors
     that neither he nor Graves was involved in
     the murders but does acknowledge what
     he told the Rangers. Later, Carter testifies
                                                                   TEAM:

                                                                   got involved back in 2002
     at his own trial that Graves wielded the
     knife. Carter also tells grand jurors how he
     was concerned about how Davis’ paternity
     suit and resulting child support payments
     would wreck his credit rating.

     FEB. 8, 1994: Robert Carter is found guilty                   CONTINUED FROM PAGE B1                David Mullen and Jeff
     of capital murder, and three days later he’s                      Scardino and Jimmy Phillips       Blackburn, founder of the
     sentenced to death.                                           of Angleton were appointed to         Innocence Project of Texas, had
                                                                   represent Graves in 2008, two         volunteered to work for Graves
                                                                   years after his conviction had        as well, steering the case
     OCT. 21, 1994: On the eve of Graves’ capital                  been overturned in the 1992           through a series of hearings as
     murder trial, Carter tells prosecutor                         Somerville murder of a woman,         Graves remained in jail while
     Charles Sebesta that he alone committed                       her teenage daughter and her          prosecutors decided whether to
     the murders. Sebesta counters that he                         four grandchildren and a new          mount another trial.
     knows that is not true because of the                         trial was ordered.                       Casarez and Phillips
     number of weapons used. Carter changes                            But Wednesday’s decision          broke the news to Graves late
     his story again, claiming he committed                        by a Central Texas prosecutor         Wednesday afternoon.
     the murders with Graves and a third                           to free Graves dates back at             “Nicole said, ‘God is good,’ ”
     man called “Red.” He would later tell                         least to 2002, when a letter          Phillips said. “He couldn’t
                                                                   the inmate had written was            believe it, but he didn’t cry
     authorities that his wife goes by the
                                                                   reviewed by lawyers at the            until I left the room.”
     nickname “Red.” In exchange for no                            Texas Innocence Network,                 Many of the students had
     questions about his wife, Carter agrees                       founded by University of              visited Graves while he was
     to testify against Graves. Also, Graves’                      Houston law professor David           on death row, separated by a
     sister, brother and girlfriend, Yolanda                       Dow.                                  plexiglass shield.
     Mathis, tell grand jurors that Graves was                         Dow asked for volunteers             “It was my first experience
     with them at the time of the murders. But                     among his law students and            ever being inside a jail, much         SARTORIAL: Graves recalled that Scardino made him change into
     just as Mathis is to testify at Graves’ trial,                the St. Thomas journalism             less a maximum security                nice clothes whenever he was in court. She said she bought this suit a
     Sebesta makes a request that Mathis be                        students, warning them that           prison,” said Gia Gustilo,             year ago and was happy he could finally wear it.
     notified she could be charged as a suspect.                   the work would last far beyond        33, who works for a medical
                                                                   their time in class.                  journal. “I didn’t know what to
     She then declines to testify and is never
                                                                       “My students and I looked         expect. There was this guy who         she had been with Graves that            26, who graduated in 2006 and
     charged.                                                      at each other, and our hands          just seemed like a regular guy.”       night, along with people who             now works for the Innocence
                                                                   shot up in the air,” said                Still, she sensed he had met        disputed testimony that Graves           Project in New York. “I looked
     NOV. 1, 1994: Graves is convicted and                         Nicole Casarez, who teaches           plenty of people who promised          and Carter had been heard                on Facebook, and then I found
     sentenced to death.                                           journalism at the private             to help but ultimately gave up.        talking about the case while in          my phone. We were all just so
                                                                   Catholic school in Montrose.             “As much as I think he              jail awaiting trial.                     happy.”
     1997: The Texas Court of Criminal                                                                   appreciated us looking into                                                        Bingham, Gustilo and
     Appeals upholds Graves’ conviction.                           Years of hard work                    the case, I think he also didn’t       Lots of heavy lifting                    several other students gathered
                                                                      The students are grown             know whether to be hopeful or              They pored through                   in Scardino’s office Thursday
     1998: Carter writes letters from prison                       now — Bingham, 31, graduated          not,” she said.                        transcripts and stalked                  for their first glimpse of Graves
                                                                   in 2003 and is office manager            Graves had always                   countless people who refused             as a free man.
     to friends, Davis family members and
                                                                   for a veterinarian — but they         maintained his innocence,              to talk.                                    “Hey,” he said, reaching
     Graves’ appellate attorney stating that                       continued to work on Graves’          claiming he was home in                    “It was critical,” Dow said          out to hug each of them as
     Graves did not participate in the crimes.                     case.                                 Brenham with his brother               of the students’ help. “Nicole           everybody blinked back tears.
                                                                       “It’s hard to turn your back      when the murders happened              is the experienced investigator,            “We’re all in a state of
                                                                   when there’s been an injustice        in Somerville. A co-defendant,         but she had many students                shock,” Casarez said. “Nobody’s
                                                                   done,” said Casarez, who is           Robert Carter, had initially           who were helping her with all            gotten any sleep. It’s been very
                                                                   also a lawyer and who joined          claimed Graves was there but           kinds of critical tasks, finding         exciting and wonderful. It just
                                                                   Graves’ defense team in 2006.         later recanted. Carter was             addresses, tracking people.”             shows you that amazing things
                                                                   “It’s pretty clear this guy didn’t    executed in 2000.                          The payoff came Wednesday,           can happen. Justice finally has
                                                                   have anything to do with it. It’s        The students tracked                as the news trickled out.                been done.”
                                                                   hard to turn away from that.”         down Graves’ girlfriend, who               “Gia posted something on
                                                                      By then, Amarillo lawyers          provided an affidavit claiming         Twitter,” said Chester Suria,            jeannie.kever@chron.com




     ON DEATH ROW: Anthony Graves during a
     2001 interview at the Terrel Unit in Livingston.
                     MELISSA PHILLIP : C H R O N I C L E F I L E


      MAY 2000: Less than two weeks before his
     execution, Graves’ attorneys grill Carter,
     who detailed how he acted alone in the
     murders, killing the children as they slept.

     MAY 31, 2000: Carter tells witnesses to his
     execution, “It was me and me alone.”

     2006: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of
     Appeals overturns Graves’ conviction,
     ruling that he deserved a new trial
     because prosecutors elicited false
     statements from two witnesses and
     withheld two statements that could have
     changed the minds of jurors.

     OCT. 27, 2010: Burleson County District
     Attorney Bill Parham files a motion to
     dismiss all charges against Graves, and he
     is released.

      Source: Houston Chronicle research and other news
     sources                                                       REUNION: Anthony Graves gives a hug to former University of St. Thomas students Meghan Bingham, left, Michael Bingham and Gia Gustilo, who
                                                                   helped do research in an investigative journalism class that eventually led to his release from prison.
Friday, October 29, 2010
                                                                                         THE JUMP PAGE                                                            ¬¬¬       HOUSTON CHRONICLE                 B5




     50% want
BUDGET:

to cut spending
CONTINUED FROM PAGE B1             education, then you should
plus or minus 3.8 percentage       make that commitment on
points.                            your own,” said Baggs, who
    Asked whether they would       works for a liquor distribu-
like to see lawmakers do more      tion company. “I figured out a
to cut spending or boost rev-      way to pay for my college. We
enue to balance the budget,        don’t have to pay for every-
50 percent of likely voters        body else’s college as well.”
said cut spending; 19 percent         Jeanne Pressler, 61, a se-
said increase revenue. Twenty      nior trainer with the Houston
percent said they would like       Police Department, said she
to see both done equally.          favors cuts in public educa-
    Poll respondent Rafael So-     tion over raising taxes or fees
to, 66, of San Antonio, chose      to balance the state budget.
spending cuts as the way to           “I don’t have any children,
go.                                so it doesn’t make a lot of dif-
    “The problem with that is      ference to me,” Pressler said.
nobody wants to give up any-       “We’re paying lots and lots of
thing that we have,” he said.      our tax money on schools, and
“Everybody says we need to         I don’t think we’re getting our
cut, but nobody wants to           money’s worth, from what I
say how, why or do anything        read in the newspapers.”
about it.”
    After higher education, 12     Parents should pay
percent of respondents said           Retiree Shirley McKee, 75,
they would like to see spend-      of Houston, said to balance
ing cuts in public safety, and 7   the state budget, higher edu-
percent chose health services      cation should be cut. She said                                                                                                          BRETT COOMER PHOTOS : C H R O N I C L E
for the poor. The least ap-        the parents of those seeking        COSTUMED FUN: Margot Rozowski, 2, dressed as an angel, plays Thursday at the Children’s Museum of Houston.
pealing option appeared to be      college educations should pay
reduced spending on public         the tab, or students should

                                                                                                                                            Spooky times
education, with only 4 per-        take out loans, as her eldest
cent choosing that.                son did.
    If revenue is to be raised,       “I can’t support the rest of


                                                                                                                                            at kids’ museum
42 percent favor increasing        Texas for higher degrees,” she
taxes on alcoholic beverages,      said. If more money is need-
while 22 percent want to           ed, she said she would vote
authorize new forms of gam-        for casino-style gambling.
bling. Eleven percent picked          Joyce Horton, 61, a re-



                                                                                                                                            E
broadening the sales tax to        tired high school math teach-
include items not currently        er from Kingwood, said the                                                                                      XHIBITS at the Children’s Museum of
taxed, and 3 percent chose the     state should handle its budget                                                                                  Houston have been converted into their
idea of a statewide property       problems through a combi-                                                                                       own Halloween themes for the Happy
tax. Nine percent said they        nation of cuts and increased
would not raise revenue by         revenues.
                                                                                                                                            Halloween Mansion event, with trick-or-
any of those methods.                 “I don’t mind paying taxes                                                                            treating throughout the museum and activities
                                   if it goes to a good wor-                                                                                set through Sunday. The museum will have
Add those slot machines            thy cause,” Horton said, but                                                                             extended hours through the weekend, remaining
    The most popular choices       added she could see expand-         FOLLOW THE LEADER: Retavious Mathis high-fives a patron as
listed in the poll, however,       ed casino-style gambling at         he leads a group around the Happy Halloween Mansion.                 open until 8 p.m.
would not have a big immedi-       horse tracks. “We have a lot of
ate effect. The mixed bever-       revenue in the Houston area
age tax, set at 14 percent in      going over to Louisiana. So


                                                                                       Engineering standards used
1990, brought in nearly $619       long as it’s not corrupt, I don’t
million in the 2010 fiscal         see a problem with keeping it
year. Even doubling it would
leave a huge revenue gap.
                                   in Texas.”
                                      Texas Commissioner of
                                                                       TRAM:
    Putting slot machines at       Higher Education Raymund
race tracks and Native Ameri-      Paredes was concerned over          CONTINUED FROM PAGE B1            Bombardier.                        with the ASCE standards, ac-        overseeing personnel, caus-
can lands would yield $500         the poll results regarding          it, said Marlene McClinton, a         But those standards are        cording to the airport.             ing injury, Herring said. A
million to $1 billion in the       higher education funding.           spokeswoman for the Hous-         not binding or enforceable,           Clark County, Nev., is one       passerby helped to open the
budget period, and nearly $1          “People tend to think that       ton Airport System.               functioning more like guide-       area that has adopted the           doors and free the employee,
billion a year after that, say     public higher education is              There are no government       lines than regulations, said       ASCE standards into an or-          he said.
those backing the idea.            better off than it is,” he said.    regulations requiring, for ex-    Joan Buhrman, a spokeswom-         dinance in order to be able            The workers hit by the
    Eric Baggs, 37, of San         People “know that universi-         ample, that cameras be in-        an for the society.                to regulate automated people        tram at Bush were on its
Antonio, said the shortfall        ties can raise money through        stalled to monitor operations         “They’re not law, they’re      movers at Las Vegas’ McCa-          elevated track, and their pres-
should be addressed by both        tuition and fees, so they as-       of the computer-controlled        voluntary           standards,”    rran Airport and hotels on the      ence in the area was not unex-
cuts and increased revenue.        sume that people can bear the       trams, or that observers regu-    Buhrman said. “So it’s sort of     city’s popular strip, said Dave     pected, McClinton said.
He picked universities as a        cost. They don’t know there         larly view such video, or that    the practice of the profession.    Durkee, principal engineer             OSHA is investigating the
place to cut.                      are a lot of very needy kids        other warning systems are         It’s not as though we’re a legal   for the county.                     cause of the incident.
    “If you’re going to go to      that cannot afford higher edu-      implemented to halt trams if      body that sets the laws on            “If you didn’t have any             Turner was “performing
college, there’s a lot of ways     cation without support.”            someone is on the track.          what you must do.”                 of these laws and your air-         routine construction inspec-
to go to college. If you want                                              Travis Turner, an employee        Johnson Controls, which        port wasn’t following any of        tion services” on the day of
to make that commitment to         pfikac@express-news.net             for contractor PBSJ Corpora-      operates the automated sys-        these standards, as a regula-       the crash, PBSJ Corporation
                                                                       tion, was one of two workers      tem, handles its inspections       tory agency you would have          spokeswoman Kathe Jackson
                                                                       who were on the track Tues-       according to its own safety        no real authority to go out         said in an e-mail.
                                                                       day conducting their “normal      protocols, McClinton said.         there and tell them to fix it, or      The injured worker is an

BOND:District thought it                                               duties” when they were hit
                                                                       by a tram on a stretch of track
                                                                       between the Marriott Hotel
                                                                                                             Although the city hires in-
                                                                                                         spectors to approve elevators,
                                                                                                         escalators and moving walk-
                                                                                                                                            how to fix it, or why,” Durkee
                                                                                                                                            said.
                                                                                                                                                                                employee for Weber LLC.,
                                                                                                                                                                                a construction company spe-
                                                                                                                                                                                cializing in highways, bridges
was complying with law                                                 and Terminal B, according to
                                                                       the airport.
                                                                                                         ways for operation, a similar
                                                                                                         system is not in place for
                                                                                                                                            Miami accident
                                                                                                                                               Johnson Controls, which
                                                                                                                                                                                and airports, said company
                                                                                                                                                                                administrator Jim Hall.
                                                                           Turner died at the scene,     automated trams, said Mike         operates similar people-mov-           The men “were tasked
CONTINUED FROM PAGE B1             the school district this year,      and the other worker, who         Dorosk, Houston’s senior el-       er systems around the coun-         with repairing a handrail
but did provide the phone          said she provided her family’s      was not identified, was in-       evator inspector who for 13        try, also ran an automated          in a location more than 150
numbers in response to a re-       cell and work phone numbers         jured and airlifted to Memo-      years coordinated regulation       tram service at Miami In-           feet from where the accident
quest made under the state’s       only as emergency contact           rial Hermann Hospital.            of conveyance devices at the       ternational Airport in 2008,        occurred,” according to a
public-information law.            information.                                                          airport.                           when a tram overran a stop          statement from Johnson Con-
    “It’s an invasion of our          “We guard those numbers          Standards not binding                 Airports nationwide oper-      and crashed into a wall, injur-     trols.
privacy,” said Karen Jaggers,      carefully,” she said.                  The automated tram is op-      ate their automated trams          ing five people.                       Johnson Controls has safe-
who received three calls on           Jaggers added that she is so     erated by Johnson Controls        in accordance with ASCE               Miami International Air-         ty protocols for its operations
her cell phone and at least one    upset over the calls that she       Inc. of Wisconsin and was         standards, but it was unclear      port has since terminated its       but said: “It is not clear, how-
on her land line. Her husband      now is leaning toward oppos-        built by Bombardier Trans-        whether they are regulated by      contract with Johnson Con-          ever, whether the parties in-
also got three calls on his cell   ing the bond referendum.            portation of Montreal.            local authorities, since federal   trols and is suing the com-         volved in the accident were in
and two on his office phone.          “I have a really bad taste          Bombardier builds and          agencies have not established      pany.                               compliance with these safety
    Katy ISD officials said they   in my mouth for the way this        inspects its automated tram       rules for the systems as they         A Continental Airlines           protocols.”
interpreted the public-records     campaign’s been run,” she           systems, which it has con-        have done for trains.              employee also is suing John-           Representatives for PBSJ
law as requiring the release of    said.                               structed at airports nation-          Automated trams at Chi-        son Controls for an incident        Corp. and Weber LLC would
all phone numbers. They now                                            wide, in accordance with          cago O’Hare International          involving a tram at Bush In-        not comment on the workers’
plan to explore the option of      System glitch blamed                standards developed by the        Airport, for example, are not      tercontinental Airport, said        actions and the specifics sur-
letting parents keep “second-         Robert Carpenter, the vice       American Society of Civil         regulated, although they are       Marty Herring, her attorney.        rounding the incident.
ary” numbers, such as cell         chairman of the Team Katy           Engineers, said Maryanne          inspected by the operating         The tram doors closed on
and office lines, private.         PAC, said the committee did         Roberts, a spokeswoman for        company, OEM, in accordance        her and were not opened by          zain.shauk@chron.com
    Other local districts, in-     not intend to call voters’ cell
cluding Houston ISD and            and work numbers, and es-
Alief, said they release only      pecially not multiple times.
home numbers, or the prima-
ry contact that parents pro-
vide for school directories.
    Alief spokeswoman Susan
                                   He blamed a glitch in the
                                   automated system for repeat-
                                   ing the calls until the message
                                   urging support for the bond
                                                                       CASEY:          E-mail seeks Latino support
Castro said cell numbers are       was played in full.                 CONTINUED FROM PAGE B1            them to win.”                      predicting Rick Perry will          Hispanics and blacks, who
given out only if parents listed      “We thought this would be        resign because they are about        She went on to say, “In         win, but 20 points if you pick      vote heavily Democratic.
it as their primary number.        a positive way to try to get out    to be indicted.                   today’s political climate, we      Bill White and he wins.                 Campaign consultant
    Numbers are often re-          the vote,” he said. “We had            According to the               cannot count on winning               Murray’s sheet awards 20         Kyle Johnston, who nightly
quested by vendors — such as       a good idea that didn’t work        University of Houston’s           without our Latino vote.           points for picking Garcia and       crunches numbers showing
for class rings or yearbooks —     out.”                               Dick Murray, the unofficial       We need you to block walk          only 5 points for picking her       the primary voting history
and by military recruiters.           George Huntoon, a volun-         dean of area political            and phone bank every day           Republican opponent.                of early voters, said
    The federal law that gov-      teer who coordinated the au-        scientists, the last incumbent    until Election Day. We are in         Does Murray really think         Republicans had a clear lead
erns student records says that     tomated calls, said he ordered      commissioner to lose was          desperate need of bilingual        Morman is a 4-1 favorite?           in the first week, possibly
schools must give parents the      them stopped after learning         Jamie Bray in 1974.               volunteers, especially for our        “That was a typo,” he            raising the alarm for Garcia.
option to keep directory in-       about the repeats.                     “He was a one-termer,”         phone bank.”                       says, chuckling. “That’s what           But, he said, with early
formation, such as addresses          Katy’s bond referendum           Murray said. “He hadn’t been                                         you get with a 70-year-old          voting sites staying open
and phone numbers, private.        also has generated an opposi-       very responsive to people.”       It’s a pol pool                    proofing his own work.”             later this week than they did
The act does not mention spe-      tion committee, called Save            But Wednesday, the day            Then came one more                                                  the first week, more working
cific types of phone numbers,      Our Teachers PAC.                   after I heard that Garcia         piece of evidence. Each            Running ... scared                  people have voted and the
and neither does the Texas            The bond includes funding        might be in trouble, she          election, Professor Murray            Murray notes that                Democrats have pulled even.
open-records law.                  for the construction of three       herself sent out an e-mail to     prepares an election pool          when she won the seat                   Johnston declined to give
                                   elementary schools, one ju-         supporters with the subject       for a bipartisan group of          in 2002 with 52 percent,            exact numbers but reportedly
Numbers, but no names              nior high and a high school. It     line: “URGENT Message             political junkies that meets       she was helped by the fact          slightly more than 20 percent
   Katy said in its statement      also would cover major reno-        from Commissioner Sylvia          weekly over drinks as “The         that Laredo banker Tony             of the early voters have no
that it released numbers sort-     vations at five older campuses      Garcia — I need your help.”       Roundtable.”                       Sanchez spent a reported $76        primary history, and with
ed by ZIP code — as requested      — Katy, Taylor and Mayde               “This past weekend, I             Participants pay $5 to          million as the Democratic           all the tea party fervor,
— but did not share parent or      Creek high schools, and West        met with our consultants to       predict various races, with        gubernatorial candidate and         Democrats are nervous.
student names. State law does      Memorial and Mayde Creek            review Early Vote returns and     the winner getting all the         increased Hispanic turnout              Bottom line: Garcia is
not let districts ask those who    junior high schools — and           our numbers are not where         dough. Murray assigns points       by about 50 percent.                likely to win, but as Murray
request the phone numbers          pay for technology upgrades         they should be,” she began.       for each race, giving more            But, said Murray, Garcia’s       said, “She’s right to run
about their plans for them.        as well as other projects.             “Right now, our Latino         credit for correctly picking       district has lost Anglo             scared.”
   Jaggers, who lives in Katy                                          numbers are down from my          underdogs. For example, you        population since 2002 and
but removed her son from           ericka.mellon@chron.com             previous cycles and I need        get two points for correctly       gained a large number of            rick.casey@chron.com
B 6 HOUSTON CHRONICLE                 ¬¬¬
                                            OBITUARIES   Friday, October 29, 2010




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B8    HOUSTON CHRONICLE                          ¬¬¬
                                                                                                           EDITORIAL                                                                                    Friday, October 29, 2010




                                            Jack Sweeney, Publisher and President

Matt Oliver, Executive VP & General Manager                     Jeff Cohen, Executive VP & Editor
Stephen Weis, Executive VP Sales & Digital Services             John Wilburn, Opinion Director

Sam Brown, VP/Display Advertising                               Senior Editors:
Wes Freas, VP/Automotive Advertising                            Scott Clark, Dan Cunningham, George Haj,
Chris Frey, VP/National Advertising                             Kyrie O’Connor
Gene Haddock, VP/Circulation
Roberta Kowalishin, VP & Chief Information Officer
Todd Neal, VP/Real Estate Advertising
Mary Ann Wendt, VP/Human Resources




Board games
Showering supporters with state largesse
has become a Rick Perry trademark.


O
             NE of the drawbacks of “TRS’ investment staff never had con-
             keeping a Texas governor tact with [Jackson] and was unable to
             in office for more than identify any services performed by him
             two terms is that through in conjunction with the investment.”                                     LETTERS
             the power of appointment, Jackson confirmed his contributions

                                                                                                                Blame for teen misplaced?
his or her supporters can come to to- to the governor, but denied the accusa-
tally dominate state boards and com- tions in the memo.
missions. Republican Rick Perry, the         Although the TRS staff rejected in-
longest serving Lone Star governor in vestments with Houston-based Encap
history, has used his tenure in office Energy Partners, the TRS’ chief invest-                                  Scapegoats                        they left their officers on
                                                                                                                                                  their own in this situation?
                                                                                                                                                                                           with his family. This must
                                                                                                                                                                                           have been a frightening expe-
to construct a political rewards system ment officer, Britt Harris, reversed the                                                                  I think this shows that their            rience for all of them. It does
that benefits the appointor and the decision. Encap principal Gary Peters-
appointee at the expense of the public en has donated in excess of $300,000 to                                  R    EGARDING “2 consta-
                                                                                                                     bles punished in case of
                                                                                                                missing teen” (Page B1, Sat-
                                                                                                                                                  departmental guidelines
                                                                                                                                                  were not effective and
                                                                                                                                                  put the deputy constables
                                                                                                                                                                                           appear as if the system failed
                                                                                                                                                                                           this boy.
                                                                                                                                                                                               How could this incident
interest.                                 Perry’s campaign. In the memo, Green                                  urday), I was disappointed        in a bad spot. This is an                have been prevented?
   Under Perry, such manipulation has stated the change of recommendation                                       to read that the two deputy       organizational failure.                      I was puzzled why part
become a political art form that fills on Encap “was a direct result of threats,                                constables received disciplin-        It was a bad decision                of the story seems to be
the governor’s campaign coffers while harassment, and intimidation by Mr.                                       ary action for their conduct      to put Kenneth out on the                missing. When Kenneth gets
making favors, funds and investment Harris after his conversations with                                         in the case of Kenneth Miller.    sidewalk. But how did he get             off the school bus, who is
opportunities available to contributors. certain members of the Board of Trust-                                 The incident was regret-          to the point that that was the           responsible for his welfare?
                                                                                                                table, and it’s terrible what     only decision he felt he could           I find it hard to imagine that
   Some of the beneficiaries of the Texas ees.” In fact, Green said in the memo                                 happened to Kenneth. But          make? To focus only on that              a special-needs child can
Emerging Technology Fund controlled his boss had a mantra he repeated on                                        I think these men are being       final decision is to discount            be dropped off by a school
by Perry are also major contributors to numerous occasions: “I manage a fund                                    made into scapegoats.             the many ways this outcome               bus several blocks from his
his campaign.                             with billions of dollars in assets, [and]                                 I find it hard to believe     could have been avoided                  home.
   On the other hand, appointees who upsetting a board member or friend                                         that either of these deputy       earlier in the process.                      Does someone meet
                                                                                                                constables would be involved                      — DAVID LEHMANN,         Kenneth when he gets off
get out of line can                                            of the fund over                                 in unsuccessful efforts                                       Houston      the bus? It is unclear if the
feel the sting of the                                          the investment of                                to find a place to accept                                                  boy became disoriented on
governor’s     disap- Republican Rick Perry, the               a few hundred mil-
proval. When the                                               lion dollars doesn’t
                                                                                                                Miller for hours without
                                                                                                                the knowledge of their            System failed?                           his way home or if he made
                                                                                                                                                                                           it home before disappearing.
governor was chal- longest serving Lone Star                   make sense.”                                     supervisors. Constable Victor                                              Either way, where were
lenged by Sen. Kay governor in history, has used
Bailey     Hutchison his tenure in office to construct
                                                                  The        Travis
                                                               County district at-
                                                                                                                Trevino said that both men
                                                                                                                failed to follow departmental
                                                                                                                guidelines. Where was their
                                                                                                                                                  I read both of the stories on
                                                                                                                                                    the disappearance of Ken-
                                                                                                                                                  neth Miller (“A son’s odyssey
                                                                                                                                                                                           the responsible adults in
                                                                                                                                                                                           this scenario? If this child
                                                                                                                                                                                           doesn’t know who he is, why
in the GOP prima- a political rewards system that              torney reviewed                                  command structure in all          and a mother’s outrage,”                 is he walking the streets
ry, state university benefits the appointor and the            Green’s allegations                              of this? Why aren’t their         Page A1, Friday). I’m happy              unattended?
regents who sup- appointee at the expense of the               and found no evi-                                supervisors explaining how        that he was safely reunited                                         — JO SAURER,

ported her suddenly                                            dence of criminal
found themselves public interest.                              actions. TRS hired
replaced.                                                      an outside inves-
   Ditto for members of the Texas Fo- tigator, Roel Campos, who did find
rensic Science Commission when its evidence that some board members                                             Air-quality improvements                             people among the attendees who help serve
                                                                                                                                                                     and clean up during and afterward.
investigation of a man’s execution on referred investment opportunities to                                                                                              Why can’t the people receiving the
questionable arson charges threatened TRS staff. Still, he concluded there
to embarrass Perry, who had refused a was no proof they pressured staff to                                      R    EGARDING “Breathe deep, and hold it”
                                                                                                                     (Page B1, Oct. 10), the real story is that
                                                                                                                the improvements in our air are real, they’re
                                                                                                                                                                     benefits of the generous donations by
                                                                                                                                                                     Houstonians to the City Wide Club take some
                                                                                                                                                                     time to volunteer before or after they’ve
last-minute stay for the inmate.          make the investments. Nonetheless, a
   The latest example of Perry’s pay- careful reading of the memo indicates                                     measurable and they’re sustainable. Houston          enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal they have
                                                                                                                is meeting the federal limits for ozone for the      received?
to-play system involves allegations that they didn’t have to, because Harris per-                               second year in a row. This is in part because                                                    — KEITH ROBERTS,
Perry-appointed trustees of the $102.4 formed that function.                                                    industry has reduced its emissions of nitro-                                                                 Houston
billion Texas Teacher Retirement Sys-        This behavior may not be illegal. But                              gen oxide, a main component of smog, by 80
tem exerted pressure on staff to as- being technically legal doesn’t make it
sign investments to companies whose right or ethical or beneficial to the citi-
                                                                                                                percent.
                                                                                                                   The EPA is proposing new air-quality              Just wait
                                                                                                                standards, but the agency set the current
executives contributed heavily to the zens of Texas.
governor but had been rejected as un-
satisfactory by TRS analysts.
                                             Democratic gubernatorial candidate
                                          Bill White has promised that if elected,
                                                                                                                standards for a reason: They protect our
                                                                                                                health. So why the change? Good question.
                                                                                                                In fact, scientists do not necessarily agree
                                                                                                                                                                     R   EGARDING “Breast-feeding moms won’t
                                                                                                                                                                         get a break” (Page A1, Wednesday), I
                                                                                                                                                                     know this is about money, but why should
   A whistle-blower memo written last he will institute policies that would                                     that new standards are needed. Clearly,              the Internal Revenue Service have the power
year by Michael Green, then director limit contributions to the governor                                        more study is needed. If the EPA lowers the          to deny a tax deduction on such a personal
                                                                                                                standards to the low end of the proposed             matter? That decision should be the respon-
of the TRS investment division private from appointees.                                                         range, even Big Bend National Park would be          sibility of a patient and her physician. When
markets program, questioned the hir-         State business shouldn’t be turned                                 out of attainment.                                   the FairTax becomes law there will be no IRS,
ing of Houston investment agent Al- into a political board game, and we                                            Also, contrary to the claim made in               and people can spend their own money with-
fred Jackson, who donated more than hope voters keep that in mind as they                                       the article, the Texas Commission on                 out bureaucratic dictates.
$90,000 to Perry. According to Green, choose our next governor.                                                 Environmental Quality has demonstrated                                                       — WILLIAM K. BRUCE,
                                                                                                                that the downturn in the economy was not a                                                                   Houston
                                                                                                                significant influence in our cleaner air. Our
                                                                                                                air has been improving for 25 years. Through
                                                                                                                                                                     Not-so-helpful lesson
Arthur Gochman
                                                                                                                hard work, the industry in the Houston
                                                                                                                area has achieved a balance of clean air and
                                                                                                                good jobs while making products that are
                                                                                                                indispensable to modern life. It may surprise
                                                                                                                some to know that the biggest contributor
                                                                                                                                                                     R   EGARDING “Loss ‘totally unacceptable’”
                                                                                                                                                                         (Page C14, Sunday), University of Texas
                                                                                                                                                                     Coach Mack Brown’s comment about his col-

Businessman/lawyer/activist made a lasting                                                                      to nitrogen oxide emissions in the area is
                                                                                                                not industry, it’s mobile sources — including
                                                                                                                                                                     lege student athletes is exactly what ails col-
                                                                                                                                                                     lege sports. I thought college students were
                                                                                                                cars, trucks, lawn mowers, construction              enrolled in institutions of higher education
difference in Texas public education.


A
                                                                                                                equipment and trains. As residents of                and learning to do just that — get an educa-
                                                                                                                Houston we can all take a role in improving          tion and learn.
              RTHUR Gochman was that                            among Texas schools. The battle for             air quality every day.                                  Students who are athletically gifted
              rare individual with a head                       equal funding continues to this day.                                                — JIM GRIFFIN,   can augment their academic endeavors by
                                                                                                                                      chairman, East Harris County   representing their school in sports. If a
              for business and a heart for                         Gochman, born in New York City,                                       Manufacturers Association   student does poorly on a chemistry exam,
              public service of the most                        was the son of Jewish immigrants and                                                                 I hope the instructor does more to help the
              meaningful variety. Goch-                         spent much of his life in San Antonio,
man, who died Tuesday at age 79, was                            where his father had a tire shop.               Positive side to blackout                            student than attack his earnestness toward
                                                                                                                                                                     learning and education. If the students on the
best known as the man behind Academy                               In the 1970s, he began transform-                                                                 University of Texas football team were acting
Sports + Outdoors. But many Texans
will recall that this ultrasuccessful busi-
                                                                ing his family’s military surplus stores
                                                                into a Houston-based sporting goods
                                                                                                                R    EGARDING “Suspected hacker puts
                                                                                                                     HISD offline” (Page A1, Wednesday), it
                                                                                                                sounded like the world was coming to an end.
                                                                                                                                                                     “arrogant” and “entitled,” they probably
                                                                                                                                                                     learned that from Professor Brown.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  — RUSSEL SMITH,
nessman had a full and notable career                           and outdoors business that enjoyed              How could children and teachers survive                                                                    Pasadena
as an attorney working in the public                            unprecedented growth. He moved his              without a computer and e-mail? Well, the sun
interest long before he ever entered the                        family here in the late 1970s to manage         still came up. Maybe some of the kids actu-
                                                                                                                ally learned something from a real discussion
world of big-time retail.                                       what had become Academy Sports +                and interaction with a human in class instead
                                                                                                                                                                              LETTERS POLICY
   The direction of Texas public edu-                           Outdoors.                                       of being mesmerized with a 15-inch screen all
cation was forever changed by Arthur                               Today, Academy has 125 stores in             day. There might be a lesson here.                   VIEWPOINTS
Gochman’s involvement in a 1968 case                            11 states and sales of $2.4 billion. The                                      — RANDY NEUMEYER,      C/O Houston Chronicle
that challenged the way Texas schools                           privately held company is a mirror of                                                     Tomball    P.O. Box 4260, Houston, Texas 77210
                                                                                                                                                                     viewpoints@chron.com
were funded.                                                    Arthur Gochman: focused, organized
   The San Antonio case sought to close                         and above all, faultlessly attuned to           They can help out, too                               Fax: 713-362-3575
                                                                                                                                                                     We welcome and encourage letters and e-mails from readers.
the financial gulf between the heav-                            the needs and desires of its clients —                                                               Letters must include name, address and telephone numbers for
ily Hispanic Edgewood school district,                          Academy’s tens of thousands of loyal
                                                                                                                R   EGARDING “Big Feast volunteers needed            verification purposes only. All letters are subject to editing.

where taxable property value per pupil                          customers.                                          for turkey day” (Page B4, Wednesday),
                                                                                                                which said that City Wide Club was about
stood at $6,000, and affluent districts                            Arthur Gochman’s legacy is as near           4,000 volunteers short of the 5,000 needed
such as Alamo Heights, with almost                              as the nearest Academy store, and as                                                                                BIBLE VERSE
                                                                                                                to serve Thanksgiving dinner, hand out food
$50,000 taxable value per student.                              dear to the hearts of Texans as the             baskets, sort clothes and pass out household
   Although Gochman lost his case                               schools attended by their children —            items: It seems there should be plenty of               All scripture is given by inspiration
at the U.S. Supreme Court, it set the                           schools made better for one and all by          volunteers among the 20,000 to 25,000 indi-          of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for
                                                                                                                viduals who will be served that day.                 reproof, for correction, for instruction in
stage for “Robin Hood,” the 1993 state                          Gochman’s dedicated efforts in the legal           At family reunions, parties and other             righteousness:
legislation aimed at equalizing funding                         arena.                                          get-togethers I’ve been to, there are always                                                     — 2 TIMOTHY 3:16
Friday, October 29, 2010
                                                                                           OUTLOOK                                                        ¬¬¬      HOUSTON CHRONICLE              B9




Lapse in judgment behind
latest flap over Thomas
                 KATHLEEN PARKER says the Supreme
                 Court justice’s wife may have been trying
                 to promote her new nonprofit group
                 when she made the call to Anita Hill.


I
      N 1991, the world divided itself in two     Times about Ginni Thomas’ new nonprofit
      camps: those who believed Anita Hill        group, Liberty Central, which aims to orga-
      and those who didn’t. I fell somewhere      nize the tea party movement. She was trying
      in the middle: She may have told the        to monetize the moment.
      truth, but so what?                            Let’s put a pause on nonsense and concede
    On bended knee, give thanks if you are too    that the Thomas affair remains a painful
young to remember. A brief summary: Hill          memory and maybe, just maybe, the justice’s
testified against then-Supreme Court nomi-        wife needs resolution.
nee Clarence Thomas that he had sexually ha-         Meanwhile, a new player has emerged in
rassed her by verbally sharing his enjoyment      the drama: Lillian McEwen, a former Thomas
of porn films and his sexual proficiency.         girlfriend from way back, has decided that
    Yes, yawn if you must. This was scandal-      now is the time to set the record straight. Co-
ous, of course, because ... well, I’m still not   incidentally, McEwen is shopping her mem-
certain. You see, in order to be scandalized,     oir.
one must be deeply sensitive to the mention          Monday night, McEwen sat down with
of anything sexual. Indeed, in this case, one     Larry King on CNN (where I work) to share
needed to be scandalized for an indefinite        her own sexual past with Thomas and her
period of time.                                   belief that Hill told the truth. She told The
    Hill’s testimony came several years after
the alleged harassment while she worked for
Thomas at the U.S. Equal Employment Op-
                                                  Washington Post (where I am a columnist)
                                                  that Thomas was “obsessed with porn.”
                                                     McEwen said she didn’t mind the porn, she       GOP should avoid a fight
                                                                                                     over defunding of NPR
portunity Commission. In other words, she         was just bored by it. She also told King that
didn’t protest at the time of these conversa-     Thomas, who quit drinking while they were
tions, which were boorish, assuming they          together, became ambitious and obsessed
happened as she described. Or were they           with physical fitness.
merely lame attempts at humor?                       Thomas’ history of drinking is no secret to
    The context has never been clear. In any      anyone who bothered to read his memoir, My
case, other options available to Hill included
telling Thomas to get over himself. Or, at the
                                                  Grandfather’s Son. He is brutally honest about
                                                  his transformation from an angry boy aban-
                                                                                                                    JONAH GOLDBERG says starting a
very least, assuming deep offense, complain-
ing to a higher authority. She did neither,
                                                  doned by his alcoholic father, his upbringing
                                                  by his grandfather and the nuns at his little
                                                                                                                    culture war over Big Bird would deflect
apparently.
    In fact, nothing was mentioned until
                                                  Catholic school, and his battle with his own
                                                  demons and lonely rages to become a thought-
                                                                                                                    attention from more pressing issues,
Thomas was nominated to the highest court.
Would an African-American nominee of the
                                                  ful man deeply respected by fellow members
                                                  of the court.
                                                                                                                    such as the repeal of health care reform.


                                                                                                     F
liberal persuasion have been subjected to the        As Supreme Court analyst Jan Greenburg
same kind of interrogation? Only as precedent     wrote in Supreme Conflict, Thomas is the                      IRST, a confession: I listen to NPR. complaints of groups such as the Council on
to riot.                                          quiet force on the bench that brings others to                Sometimes, when I have to explain American-Islamic Relations and the left-wing
    Clarence Thomas’ “offense” had nothing to     change their minds.                                           this fact to my right-wing brethren, gadflies at Media Matters for America. If you
do with whether he did or did not say some-          Only the heartless would not be moved by                   I’ll forgo trying to make the case dance when outfits like these whistle their
thing off-color to a subordinate. Rather, his     Thomas’ description of lying at home in a fetal               that much of what NPR does is usual tunes, odds are you tilt to the left.
offense was being a conservative black man        curl, suffering the public humiliation of his      simply great radio and instead I’ll note that       NPR should be defunded, but not because
who had the audacity, among other things,         hearing, and recognizing that the only route       it’s more useful to listen to enemy broadcasts it’s liberal. If NPR were right-wing (stop
to suggest that affirmative action ultimately     to survival was humility.                          than more friendly fare.                         laughing!) it would still be wrong for the fed-
might do harm to those it was intended to            “It had long since become clear to me               This is a serious point. Like never before, eral government to be in the news business or
help.                                             that this battle was at bottom spiritual, not      it’s now possible to get all of your news from to subsidize one set of views over another. The
    Fast forward: Now we are revisiting the       political,” he wrote, “and so my attention         avowedly nonliberal or explicitly right-wing same goes for PBS. I have no huge problem
Thomas hearings, sadly owing to the poor          shifted from politics to the inward reality of     media outlets. (It’s been possible to dine ex- with funding documentaries about bears and
judgment of his own wife, Ginni. As all surely    my spiritual life.”                                clusively on liberal fare since World War II, at mummies, but state-run television news is
know, she recently called Anita Hill and left        The proud Thomas said during those hear-        least.) Growing media diversity is great, but an embarrassment in the age of C-SPAN and
a voice mail suggesting that Hill apologize       ings that he was the victim of a high-tech         with it comes the danger of ghettoization. If YouTube.
for what she did. This jaw-droppingly odd         lynching. Let’s hope he has enough spiritual       we all retreat to our respective clubhouses and     Heck, it already dropped the word “public”
lapse has prompted an unwelcome and sordid        reserve to survive this second lynching — and      simply consume the news and views that are from its name — it’s now just NPR. If it can
review of the past and a deluge of theories to    a big enough heart to forgive poor Ginni.          most conducive to our                                                    stop being public in
explain Ginni Thomas’ action.                                                                        worldviews, the odds                                                     name, it can stop be-
    For one, the same day of the phone call, a    Parker’s e-mail address is kathleenparker@         for political progress Take it from a former public                      ing public in deed.
story ran on the front page of The New York       washpost.com.                                      diminish.                                                                   Still,      Republi-
                                                                                                         This is neither a television producer: PBS and                       cans would be crazy
                                                                                                     strictly conservative NPR have spent decades target- to make this a prior-
                                                                                                     point nor some gauzy hardening their budgetary                           ity after the midterm
                                                                                                     celebration of modera-                                                   elections.     Andrew
                                                                                                     tion and compromise. bunkers.                                            McCarthy, my friend
                                                                                                     Politics is ultimately                                                   and National Review
                                                                                                     about persuasion, and                                                    colleague, insists that
                                                                                                     if you can’t understand where your opponents defunding NPR should be a test case about
                                                                                                     are coming from, you’ll never be able to con- the fiscal seriousness of the coming GOP
                                                                                                     vince them they’re wrong or convince the ma- House majority. He compares NPR funding
                                                                                                     jority of Americans your arguments are right. to a person wildly in debt charging a fancy
                                                                                                     In fact, you may not even have the better argu- chandelier to his credit card while defaulting
                                                                                                     ments if you’ve never tested them on people on his mortgage and his kids’ tuition. If we
                                                                                                     who don’t naturally agree with you.              can’t defund NPR, he asks, how are we going
                                                                                                         The near suicidal idiocy of NPR’s deci- to repeal ObamaCare?
                                                                                                     sion to fire Juan Williams, allegedly for his       I take his point, but the analogy is flawed.
                                                                                                     comments on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor Take it from a former public television pro-
                                                                                                     about Muslims, will only worsen this trend. ducer: PBS and NPR have spent decades tar-
                                                                                                     For good reason, millions of conservatives get-hardening their budgetary bunkers. Bust-
                                                                                                     don’t trust NPR — and the rest of mainstream ing them quickly would take an enormous
                                                                                                     media. And because Williams’ comments amount of time and effort, with minuscule
                                                                                                     were entirely defensible, even laudable (he reward. Indeed, Democrats would love it if
                                                                                                     honestly admitted a reflexive prejudice and Republicans allowed themselves to be baited
                                                                                                     then condemned the idea that policies should into what would essentially be a culture-war
                                                                                                     be guided by such prejudices), NPR’s stated fight over public radio (the last “war on Big
                                                                                                     reason makes no sense.                           Bird” was a disaster for the GOP).
                                                                                                         NPR claims it fired Williams because its        Meanwhile, ObamaCare’s roots are weak,
                                                                                                     journalists can’t offer “opinions.” This is a it’s exposed and unpopular — and it repre-
                                                                                                     pathetic joke. By that standard, NPR’s Nina sents a far greater threat to fiscal health. For-
                                                                                                     Totenberg — and many of her similarly opin- get chandeliers; going after NPR now would
                                                                                                     ionated colleagues — should have been fired be like fixing a leaky faucet while your house
                                                                                                     years ago. It’s obvious that NPR simply didn’t is on fire. You can get around to that after
                                                                                                     like the fact that Williams was sharing his tal- you’ve dealt with the crisis at hand.
                                                                                                     ents with Fox News, even as a liberal. Less ob-
                                                                                                     vious, but perhaps just as telling, NPR seems Goldberg’s e-mail address is JonahsColumn@
                                                                                                     to be lending way too much weight to the aol.com.




Claims of liberal bias in Texas curriculum ridiculous
  State education board                           consistent opponent to the ultraconservative
                                                  bloc that made a national laughingstock of our
                                                                                                     and honest, it was a process riddled with pres- existing TEKS is patently ridiculous.
                                                                                                     sure for us to conform to SBOE’s conservative      Despite the many credible voices of stu-
manipulated the standards                         state’s process for establishing curriculum        version of history.                             dents, teachers, scholars and advocates, the
                                                  standards.                                            The ultraconservatives especially chal- SBOE took its final vote and imposed its
                                                      It was in late May that SBOE took its final    lenged the inclusion of more Latino names, distorted version of history on future genera-




G
By JULIO NOBOA                                    vote on the TEKS, which will affect what           claiming that there were more names of His- tions. Many prominent individuals, includ-
            IVEN their power to establish the     millions of students in Texas and dozens of        panics now than ever                                                   ing Rod Paige, former
            Texas Essential Knowledge and         other states will learn about history and social   before. On that claim,                                                 secretary of educa-
            Skills curriculum standards for all   studies for the next 10 years. That’s because      they are factually cor- I experienced this entire process tion under President
            subject areas and to influence the    the TEKS standards serve as a foundation for       rect, but only because                                                 George W. Bush, and
            selection of textbooks, it would      textbooks, teaching and federally mandated         it is easy to demon- from the inside by serving on the professional organi-
behoove Texans to pay close attention to the      high-stakes testing.                               strate an increase controversial writing committee zations, notably the
candidates running for the Texas State Board          Nine of the 15 voted as a bloc to impose a     when you’re beginning for U.S. history, and from the eye American Historical
of Education (SBOE) this November. School         decidedly ultraconservative bias on the TEKS       from zero.                                                             Association, insist that
board elections often get lost in the maze of     standards for the history of Texas, of our            During my previous of the storm, I could see the inner the implementation of
political races. However, whether at the state    nation and the world. Throughout this long         investigation into the workings of a corrupted system. the board’s decision be
or local level, it is school boards that make     process, the local and national media focused      contents of the cur-                                                   delayed, and I agree.
vital decisions regarding whom to hire, what      well-deserved attention on their pronounce-        rent TEKS standards                                                       Throughout       this
curriculum and textbooks to use and how to        ments and the names the SBOE sought to             for U.S. history that have been in place for convoluted process I have made several sig-
assess students, teachers and schools.            include and exclude, drawing from these an         more than 10 years, I had discovered that not nificant discoveries. Foremost among them is
   Last year, SBOE members were authorized        abundance of media reports, interviews and         one Latino name was mentioned at all for two that those who want to whitewash America’s
to select citizens from their areas to serve      comedy.                                            years of study. To add insult to injury, not history to fit their notions of patriotism are
on the TEKS writing committees for social             Yet unlike all of these media reporters, I     once does the term Latino, Hispanic, Mexi- no more patriotic than those of us who see
studies. While some members failed to ap-         experienced this entire process from the in-       can American, let alone Chicano ever appear America as it really is, and love it still.
point even one, René Nuñez, who represents        side by serving on the controversial writing       in these history TEKS standards. Thus, the
El Paso and District 1, was quite diligent in     committee for U.S. history, and from the eye       claim made by the ultraconservative SBOE Noboa is an assistant professor of social studies
securing a significant group of educators for     of the storm, I could see the inner workings of    bloc that their manipulations of history are in the College of Education at the University of
various writing committees. Nuñez was also a      a corrupted system. Although ostensibly open       intended to correct some liberal bias in the Texas at El Paso.
B10     HOUSTON CHRONICLE                      ¬¬¬
                                                            THE WEATHER PAGE   Friday, October 29, 2010




Wonderful
day, with
little wind
Metro-area outlook:
 Sunny and beautiful today.
High 75, with northeast winds
between 5 and 10 mph. Clear
skies tonight. Low 43.


Gene Norman on the
weather: Grab a jacket heading
out the door — you’ll need it.
Our crisp morning becomes a
pleasant fall afternoon with
plenty of sunshine and a lot less
wind than yesterday. The
extremely dry air keeps
    fire
the fire danger
high as well.



Today’s
Norman
Number
            10
Weather rated
on a scale of
1 to 10




The SciGuy report, with Eric Berger
  Space shuttle Discovery’s crew arrived in Florida
Thursday for the vehicle’s planned launch — its last — on
Monday. The primary goal of the flight to the
International Space Station is to deliver a 21-foot-long
cargo storage module, the last pressurized compartment
NASA intends to launch to the station. Weather, for now,
looks OK for launch. blogs.chron.com/sciguy

								
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