The University of Houston's Center for Public Policy provides internships for students every year, giving them some great experience in the offices of local, state and federal politicians.
Some of the experiences, though, aren't so great.
A group of the bright-eyed, innocent interns went to City Hall recently to meet with staffers and elected officials, a low-key introduction and exploration of how government works.
It was low-key, that is, until one speaker told them they "suck."
Giovanni Garibay, chief of staff for councilman Adrian Garcia, apparently wasn't too taken with the interns' attention spans.
According to one attendee, Garibay talked twice as long as any other speaker. When they asked questions, the intern says, he'd "pass the buck" instead of providing answers.
Which pretty much dried up any questions. "No one has any questions in here?" Garibay told the group. "Well, you guys really suck."
The feeling was mutual. "He wasn't even like a politician, because a politician has two or three things that they can expound on forever to get you punch-drunk until you're finally saying, 'Okay, this guy knows something,'" an attendee said. "This dude knew nothing of nothing."
When councilman Jarvis Johnson followed Garibay on stage, he facetiously praised the staffer for his skill in ducking questions, triggering laughs and applause.
"It was good to see somebody call him out," the intern said.
Garibay -- who somehow is convinced an intern from the Mayor's office is the one slagging him -- says the kids were, in essence, kinda lame.
"It's not an appropriate comment to tell anyone they suck, but I'm sure I said that phrase in some context," he says. "But not in the context of people not doing a good job, but maybe in the context of 'Come on guys, wake up. You're all looking like you're asleep. Let's be engaged.' I don't really remember saying it either way, but if I would've said it, that would've been the context maybe."
Hmmm. I don't remember saying it, but if I did, this is why. Spoken like a true politician.
Dome Sweet Dome
Bad news if you were planning to book your wedding in the fantabulous space-themed hotel/amusement park/nightclub complex that was supposed to be opening soon in the abandoned Astrodome: The project has hit some snags.
As reported in the Houston Business Journal, the developers of the project -- developers who've never really developed anything like this anywhere else -- have missed some deadlines for lining up the financial backing they need.
And we thought banks would be clamoring for the chance to invest in a half-billion-dollar plan to create what would oh-too-soon be an abandoned failure of a facility. One that's being built only because the county doesn't have the balls to demolish the useless but allegedly lovable Dome.
New county judge Ed Emmett says "tearing it down is not an option" at this point, but what to do with the facility "is a vexing question."
He seems a little skeptical about the current proposal, but since there's no Option B he says, "My inclination is to give them a fairly long length of rope and let it play out and see what they can develop with it."
And, Emmett says, maybe Option B will suddenly appear.
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"I keep hoping something magical will come up that will provide an answer," he says. "Some new sport will arrive that that stadium fits perfectly."
Maybe white-elephant races?
Gospel according to St. Tom
Tom DeLay has a new book out, a slim volume mostly dedicated to the greatness of himself and the abhorrent, fetid swill that is anyone who disagrees with him. Any book featuring a foreword by Rush Limbaugh and a preface by Sean Hannity isnt likely to be too subtle, and DeLay gleefully rips into Bill Clinton and other evildoers. But sometimes it takes an interpreter to know what hes really saying. Click here to find out.