The DWI Bride and Houston's Love for Rush

Highlights from the Blog at HOUSTONPRESS.COM

Spaced City

The Bride Cried
More complaints from the DWI bride

by CATHY MATUSOW

So it's your wedding night. Your new hubby is driving you from the reception to your hotel. You get stopped. He gets charged with DWI, and you get charged with public intoxication. You're wearing your wedding dress in a courtroom and a photog snaps your picture. Suddenly you're the face of the "March Madness" campaign against drunk drivers by Harris County deputies. How do you get your name out of the media?

If you're Jade McClane, you file a complaint with the Harris County Precinct 8 Constable's office saying you feel exploited by police for allowing your photo to be taken. Then, just as people are forgetting about you, you file another complaint with the Harris County Sheriff's Department alleging poor jail conditions and treatment, which is what she did two weeks ago. It almost makes you think she and her new husband, Billy Puckett, are courting the publicity.

Not so, says her lawyer, Joseph Gutheinz. In fact, he tells Hair Balls, recently his office was receiving calls from Dr. Phil and Inside Edition, but McClane turned down interviews about the incident. "She didn't go on national TV," says Gutheinz. "She was offered money to go on Inside Edition, and she turned it down...This is a private woman."

Gutheinz says he filed the complaint because McClane's rights were violated. "At Gitmo, at least they have some rights," he says. "In the Harris County Jail, they don't."

The complaint about conditions has drawn derision online, with lots of comments such as, "Hello, it's not a 5 star hotel, princess." But actually the complaint is pretty gross. One part reads: "The floor was filthy with used tampons scattered around the floor, and the toilet facilities were so disgusting that a woman actually defecated in the trash. Neither was cleaned up while my client was there."

Over the phone, Gutheinz said, "Any male guard could have opened the door and seen her doing it. This is third-world bad."

The complaint also states that McClane was not offered a change of clothes and got black and blue marks from her tight wedding dress; that male guards were looking into the cell to see McClane in her dress; and that the cell was overcrowded.

They filed the complaint, Gutheinz says, to tell the Sheriff's Department that this is unacceptable. "It takes a lady in a wedding dress to expose how bad that jail is...This is just evidence of how bad it is."

He says an apology would help the couple move on. "It would be awfully nice. I don't really see it, but it would be awfully nice."

Political Animals

Love That Rush
Houston's ratings for Limbaugh soar once again

by RICHARD CONNELLY

Houston has always been a big Rush Limbaugh town — it was one of the first to sign on to his show, when a small Tomball station run by Dan Patrick picked it up. (Patrick rode that rocket to KPRC and eventually a state-senator gig, much to the chagrin of people who don't think women seeking abortions should be forced to see sonograms.)

The Bush years were relatively tough for Rush, but now that Obama's in the White House he's reveling in rocketing ratings. Especially here in Houston.

"[Our] ratings are the best since PPM started in spring '07," Michael Berry, chief of AM operations for Clear Channel, tells Hair Balls. (PPM is Arbitron's new, improved method of counting listeners.) "It's unbelievable how strong our ratings are."

Conservative shows love nonconservative presidents, right?

"Rush, and talk generally, shot up this month," Berry says. "No doubt, Obama's lurch to the left helps conservative talk radio, because people want a place to talk about it."

One talk-radio industry Web site says the increase in Houston's Rush ratings is "truly blockbuster."

"Houston's results were truly blockbuster: 6.0 to 9.8 overall, ranking number one with a bullet and audience of 382,300," reports The Radio Equalizer, in what it terms a Web exclusive. "Men 35-64: number one again, from 8.6 to 12.2 over three months. Adults 25-54: first place, 4.6 to 8.7. Women 25-54: 3.7 to 8.3 again good for a top ranking."

Radio ratings are still more art than science, so any estimates of how many people listen to Limbaugh on a given day are suspect. (And that goes for whether it's conservatives trying to overestimate his audience or liberals trying to minimize it.)

Of course, Limbaugh has had the greatest ad campaign going, courtesy of leading Democrats trying to paint him as the face of the GOP. The ever-­entertaining, if not always truthful, Limbaugh is running with that for all it's worth.

Whether that's a good thing for the Republican Party remains to be seen. It's definitely a good thing for Rush Limbaugh, and for KTRH here in Houston.

Tales From Transit

Too Good For MacGregor Park
Location horrified one potential Metro contractor

by PAUL KNIGHT

When Metro was trying to finalize its huge deal with Parsons Transportation Group, we asked to see all the letters and e-mails between Metro and the Washington Group — negotiations there had fallen apart in early 2008 — to possibly shed some light on the hold-up.

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