Nature's Call

The proponents -- the initiative is the brainchild of Harris County Treasurer Don Sumner and Taxpayers for Accountability, with underwriting from one of Steven Hotze's brothers -- seem to be at a loss for a sound explanation as to why the change is necessary. They say that the game is fixed and representative government in Houston isn't working, which means that it's not working the particular way they want it to work. But if they truly believe that, they could better expend their energy petitioning for stricter campaign finance and ethics rules, including a badly needed registration and disclosure requirement for City Hall lobbyists.

Placement of the "tax vote" on the ballot, possibly along with some Lanier-sanctioned alternative, will set up an interesting dynamic for Lanier's business allies in the special election: Voters who would be more inclined to favor the minimum-wage initiative will be more likely to oppose the charter amendment. Expect Lanier to be trotted out on the airwaves to beat on the "tax vote" with an ugly stick. Somehow, I don't think Ray Driscoll's threat not to seek re-election if the amendment is approved will be enough to do it in.

Turning to the obituaries, I know I wasn't the only person bereaved to learn that we won't have Steve Stockman to kick around anymore, at least until he launches his comeback bid next week. Without Stockman and Bob Dornan, the 105th Congress promises to be a much less entertaining body than its predecessor.

My favorite recent bout of Stockmania came when he criticized Democrat Nick Lampson for having ex-Eagle Don Henley down for a fundraiser. Having previously owned up to a youthful past of dope and rock and roll, Stockman blithely accused Henley of "glorifying drug abuse" in some of his songs (it would have been another thing entirely if he had just attacked Henley for being a simp).

So leave it to Stockman, on the night of his defeat by Lampson a few weeks later, to sum up his short stint of regular employment by quoting a lyric from the rock and roll band that holds the Guinness Book record for the number of members who've died from drug and alcohol abuse:

"It's been," declared Stockman, "a long, strange trip."
Recognizing a fellow former Deadhead from the band's halcyon American Beauty period, I placed several calls to Stockman to see if he would be interested in some type of employment at the Press, possibly as our distributor in Kingwood.

He still hasn't responded, but I'm hopeful. In the meantime, if you have a job for Steve or know where he can find one (preferably something not too mentally demanding or physically taxing), call 409-838-0061.

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