Votes 'n' Bail

Given the rash of Houston political types getting popped for driving while intoxicated over the past year, GOP political consultant Allen Blakemore's latest career move makes perfect sense:

He's applying for a bail bonding license!

Blakemore represents Dr. Steven Hotze, arrested by Houston police last October in Memorial Park and accused of DWI, a charge later dismissed. He's also the lead consultant for Councilman Bert Keller, who is still nurturing a political hangover after ramming his vehicle into a parked truck last year and pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated.

The night of Hotze's arrest, the conservative doctor kept waking up lawyer Rusty Hardin with cell-phone calls pleading to get him bailed out of jail. If Blakemore's application is approved, he'll be able to spring candidates from the hoosegow himself.

Blakemore shouldn't have many problems getting approved by the county bail bond board. Two of the consultant's clients, County Judge Robert Eckels and District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal, are statutory members. According to a county source, Eckels wrote a recommendation for Blakemore attesting to his good character and fiscal responsibility. Rosenthal planned to write a similar letter but reconsidered.

"The letter was basically to talk about his character in handling money, and he's certainly done a good job for me," says the D.A. "I turned all my money over to him, and they handled it very well."

Still, the district attorney represents the bonding board if it takes action against bondsmen who fail to pay the insurance companies who underwrite bonds. Rosenthal eventually decided it would be a conflict of interest for him to issue a recommendation for Blakemore.

The consultant was out of town and unavailable for comment. The bonding board meets June 13 to issue new licenses. After that, all you wild-and-crazy candidates who drink and drive know where you can get one-stop shopping -- for political advice and a future get-out-of-jail card.


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