Posts Tagged ‘SEIU’

Texas SEIU Declares Bankruptcy To Avoid Judgment

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Remember when a Houston jury smacked Texas SEIU with a $5.3 million judgment for filing false claims in their unionization campaign against Professional Janitorial Service?

Well this weekend Texas SEIU declared bankruptcy:

The Service Employees International Union in Texas filed for bankruptcy protection over the weekend, three months after a jury in Harris County hit it with a $5.3 million judgment.

Jurors in the 9-year-old case determined the union’s aggressive organizing campaign maligned Professional Janitorial Service, a commercial cleaning company.

The Texas branch of the nation’s second-largest labor union filed the bankruptcy petition Saturday in federal court in Corpus Christi. The union also filed notice with the Harris County court hearing the case that the bankruptcy petition will prevent the janitorial company from taking possession of property belonging to the union.

Since the jury’s decision in September, damages in the case have grown to $7.8 million when $2.5 million of interest was added.

The state-wide union, which has headquarters in Houston, warned that the judgment would put the group into a dire financial situation.

The head of Professional Janitorial Service says the SEIU’s plan to avoid judgment won’t work:

Brent Southwell, the CEO of the janitorial company, said it plans to continue seeking information from the union to ensure that it is not hiding money to dodge the jury award. He said the company could pursue action against the union’s national office, which has more than 1.5 million members, if the Texas branch is not able to pay the judgment.

“The SEIU won’t escape its fate after attacking my company,” Southwell said in a press release. “We will keep this process going for as long as the SEIU wants, first by making them reveal their secrets and then by making the union’s Washington, D.C., office pay for its sins.”

The union’s national office did not return a request for comment about the lawsuit or the resulting bankruptcy.

SEIU Texas was formed by workers from the Chicago-based SEIU Local 1, which sent organizers to the state to rally employees in the janitorial and service sectors to join the union. Those organizers waged a three-year organizing campaign to pressure PJS into accepting card check unionization rather than a secret ballot election organized by the National Labor Relations Board, the top federal labor arbiter. The union filed 19 unfair labor practice complaints to the NLRB over the course of its campaign, a popular delaying and pressure tactic utilized by union organizers. All of those complaints were dismissed or withdrawn.

Remember: Unions couldn’t even ram card check down America’s throat when they held the House, Senate and White House. With Republicans now firmly in charge, it’s deader than Jimmy Hoffa…

(Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

Houston Jury Smacks SEIU With $5.3 Million Award

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

Here’s a rare thing: A union actually being held accountable for breaking the law:

A Harris County jury on Tuesday awarded a Houston commercial cleaning firm $5.3 million in damages, finding that a labor union’s aggressive organizing campaign went too far when it maligned the reputation of the company. It opens the door for more employers to sue unions over hardball tactics often used in membership drives and contract disputes.

The jury, by a 10-2 vote, found for Professional Janitorial Service in a suit the company brought nine years ago against the Service Employees International Union, which targeted the company as part of its “Justice for Janitors” organizing campaign and wrongly claimed Professional Janitorial Service had violated wage, overtime and other labor laws.

The case was the first time that a jury has found against a union in a business defamation or disparagement case, according to a search of legal records by the company’s law firm, AZA of Houston.

“The jury found what PJS and its employees have known for more than a decade,” Brent Southwell, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “The SEIU is a corrupt organization that is rotten to its core.”


The trial, which lasted four weeks, represented the first time the SEIU, which has nearly 2 million members nationwide, has had to defend its tactics in front to a jury. Other cases, including a federal racketeering lawsuit filed by the international food, maintenance and cleaning company Sodexo in 2011, were settled before they ever got before a jury.

Empower Texans has more background on SEIU tactics:

One of the tactics many unions use to access potential members is “salting,” and the SEIU is no exception. Salting is the tactic of sending a union-affiliate to a targeted employer to apply for, and then accept a position working for the company. Since unions are often prohibited from contacting employees at work, salts do it for them.

Two of the salts used against PJS were Adriana Menchu and Eleanor Parada; both have been reoccurring figures during the SEIU trial.

The union used Menchu’s name in various campaigns, lawsuits, and fliers. In one flier she was quoted saying, “They don’t give us gloves or masks to clean. I know a woman who brings her own cleaning supplies from home just so she can protect her health.” Which PJS refuted with their longstanding policy prohibiting the use of any outside cleaning agents unless supplied by the company.

SEIU fliers claimed that PJS failed to pay Menchu for hours worked, but internal union emails contradicted that statement saying that PJS was trying to “buy” Menchu off by giving her a raise. More evidence that they knew the information they were releasing was false.

One press release read, “Mostly immigrant janitors were instructed to work ‘off-the-clock’ and had pay withheld by the city’s largest locally-based cleaning company, Professional Janitorial Service (PJS), according to a new lawsuit filed today.”

Never revealing that SEIU was the party behind the lawsuit, or that the union planted the “janitors” they were referring to.

Parada was another salt frequently used in lawsuits, and was quoted in an SEIU press release about the unfair labor practice suit they filed saying, “We work hard, but PJS thinks they can treat us however they want…That’s why PJS janitors are taking a stand today – so we can have some basic protections.”

It’s worth noting that until the SEIU came to Houston to unionize janitors PJS had never faced labor violation allegations, had not been investigated by the Department of Labor or National Labor Relations Board, and had not had unfair labor practice lawsuits filed against them. Also, out of the 20 ULPs the union filed against PJS, 19 were dismissed with the last being rectified by simply having the employer post safety signs in the workplace.

Texas vs. California Update for April 18, 2016

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Time for another Texas vs. California roundup, with the top news being California’s hastening their economic demise with a suicidal minimum wage hike:

  • Jerry Brown admits the minimum wage hike doesn’t make economic sense, then signs it anyway. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Who is really behind the minimum wage hike? The SEIU:

    California’s drive to hike the minimum wage has little to do with average workers and everything to do with the Golden State’s all-powerful government employee unions.

    Nationally, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is known for representing lower skilled workers. But, of the SEIU’s 2.1 million dues-paying members, half work for the government. In California, that translates to clout with much of the $50 million SEIU spent in the U.S. on political activities and lobbying spent in California. In fact, out of the 12 “yes” votes for the minimum wage bill in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on March 30, the SEIU had contributed almost $100,000 out of the three-quarters of a million contributed by public employee unions—yielding a far higher return on investment than anything Wall Street could produce.

    Unions represent about 59 percent of all government workers in California. Many union contracts are tied to the minimum wage — boost the minimum wage and government union workers reap a huge windfall, courtesy of the overworked California taxpayer.

  • “The impacts of the increase in minimum wage on workers at the very bottom of the pay scales might be just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the ramifications of the minimum wage increase.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Indeed, that hike will push government employee wages up all up the ladder.
  • “California minimum wage hike hits L.A. apparel industry: ‘The exodus has begun.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Texas’ job creation has helped keep the unemployment rate low at 4.3 percent, which has now been at or below the U.S. average rate for a remarkable 111 straight months.”
  • “Number of Californians Moving to Texas Hits Highest Level in Nearly a Decade”:

    “California’s taxes and regulations are crushing businesses, and there are more opportunities in Texas for people to start new companies, get good jobs, and create better lives for their families,” said Nathan Nascimento, the director of state initiatives at Freedom Partners. “When tax and regulatory climates are bad, people will move to better economic environments—this phenomenon isn’t a mystery, it’s how marketplaces work. Not only should other state governments take note of this, but so should the federal government.”

    According to Tom Gray of the Manhattan Institute, people may be leaving California for the employment opportunities, tax breaks, or less crowded living arrangements that other states offer.

    “States with low unemployment rates, such as Texas, are drawing people from California, whose rate is above the national average,” Gray wrote. “Taxation also appears to be a factor, especially as it contributes to the business climate and, in turn, jobs.”

    “Most of the destination states favored by Californians have lower taxes,” Gray wrote. “States that have gained the most at California’s expense are rated as having better business climates. The data suggest that may cost drivers—taxes, regulations, the high price of housing and commercial real estate, costly electricity, union power, and high labor costs—are prompting businesses to locate outside California, thus helping to drive the exodus.”

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • More on the same theme. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • It’s not just pensions: “The state paid $458 million in 2001 (0.6 percent of the general fund) for state worker retiree health care and is expected to pay $2 billion (1.7 percent of the general fund) next fiscal year — up 80 percent in just the last decade.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas border control succeeds where the Obama Administration fails. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • California and New York still lead Texas in billionaires. But for how long?
  • “The housing bubble may have collapsed, but the public-employee pension fund managers are still with us. If anything they’re bigger than ever, still insatiably seeking high returns just over the horizon line of another economic bubble.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • How to fix San Francisco’s dysfunctional housing market. “Failed public policy and political leadership has resulted in a massive imbalance between how much the city’s population has grown this century versus how much housing has been built. The last thirteen years worth of new housing units built is approximately equal to the population growth of the last two years.” Also: “The city is forcing people out. Only the rich can live here because of the policies created by so-called progressives and so-called housing advocates.” (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • UC Berkley to cut 500 jobs over two years.
  • What does BART do faced with a $400 million projected deficit over the next decade? Dig deeper. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Stanton, California, is the latest California municipality facing bankruptcy. “One of the main reasons the city can’t pay its bills without the sales tax is that it gives outlandish salaries and benefits to its government workers.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Yesterday was Tax Freedom Day in Texas.
  • Politically correct investing has already cost CalPERS $3 billion. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “A federal jury on Wednesday convicted former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka of deliberately impeding an FBI investigation, capping a jail abuse and obstruction scandal that reached to the top echelons of the Sheriff’s Department.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Top California Democratic assemblyman Roger Hernandez accused of domestic violence.
  • Calls for UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to resign, she of the supergenius “pay $175,000 to scrub the Internet of negative postings about the pepper-spraying of students in 2011” plan.
  • California beachwear retailer Pacific Sunwear files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
  • California retailer Sport Chalet is also shutting down.
  • 75% of current Toyota employees are willing to move to Texas to work at Toyota’s new U.S. headquarters.
  • California isn’t the only place delusional politicians are pushing a “railroad to nowhere.” The Lone Star Rail District wants to keep getting and spending money despite the fact that Union Pacific said they couldn’t use their freight lines for a commuter train between Austin and San Antonio. The tiny little problem being that the Union Pacific line was the only one under consideration…
  • Texas vs. California Update for February 26, 2015

    Thursday, February 26th, 2015

    Time for another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • CalPERS believes that it has police powers to seize property to sell to support public employee pensions. “It is hard to imagine a bigger or more blatant example of collusion between business interests and government employees at the expense of ordinary private citizens.” Plus the impossibility of maintaining the 7.5% returns necessary for the pension fund to remain solvent. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • CalPERS and CalSTARS want direct proxy access for candidates for corporate boards.
  • Speaking of CalSTARS, the cost of funding it going forward looms large on California’s horizon.
  • Stockton exits bankruptcy.
  • Daughters of Charity Health Systems sues the SEIU over interference in a merger deal.
  • Part of the demands from California’s liberal Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris to approve the merger include forcing currently Catholic hospitals to perform abortions.
  • It’s all but impossible for the Middle Class to live in Silicon Valley.
  • West coast port strike ends. Yet another reason to ship through Houston instead…
  • Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick files a bill for $4.6 billion in tax relief.
  • Texas Right to Work laws help keep the state prosperous, but more can be done.
  • Texas vs. California Update for July 3, 2014

    Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

    Enjoy Independence Day tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby wasn’t the only important Supreme Court case last year. The Harris vs. Quinn decision, invalidating mandatory union fees for home health care workers, could have a huge impact on SEIU in California. “where 400,000 state-paid in-home care workers are represented by the SEIU.”
  • Former CalPERS CEO to plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges.
  • At least 1,500 Bay Area employees have racked up $50,000 in yearly overtime. “A Monterey County jail guard who worked enough overtime to nearly triple his annual base pay to $264,000 last year.”
  • Wonder why San Bernardino is bankrupt?

    “San Bernardino, California, said that to exit bankruptcy it must terminate a union contract that pays an average annual salary of $190,000 to each of its top 40 firefighters,” according to an article in Bloomberg. That’s just salary. Firefighters receive the generous “3 percent at 50″ retirement package that allows them to retire with 90 percent of their final years’ pay at age 50. And there are lots of pension-spiking gimmicks and other benefits on top of that.

    “These cities are run for the benefit of those who work there. Public services are a side matter at best.”

  • Murrieta, California Protesters greet Obama Administration shipment of illegal aliens with protests, blocking them from being dumped in their community.
  • Judge strikes down Pacific Grove pension initiative.
  • Some bay-area California cities want to hike they local minimum wage. Hey, that won’t hurt businesses here in Texas, so knock yourselves out…
  • More on Toyota’s relocation to Texas, along with some tidbits on the Texas economy:

    Toyota’s move to Texas is a high-profile relocation, but Texas has been used to adding — and filling — new jobs at a superlative pace. The state added more than 1.9 million new jobs over the period from December 1999 to April 2014, more than 35 percent of the entire nation’s total for that 15-year period, noted Michael Cox, an economics professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And Texas had an unemployment rate of just 5.1 percent in May, 16th-lowest in the United States.

    Meanwhile, Cox noted, Texas’s median wages are 28th-highest in the nation; and they rank 8th-highest after adjusting for taxes and prices. Texas schools rank 3rd, he said, after adjusting for variations in student demographics, a raw statistic which places Texas 28th in the nation.

    “We’re able to accomplish all this and more because the business environment in our state is largely competitive, and free markets solve problems,” Cox told me. “Texas is a meritocracy, where incentives still work to produce good results.”

  • “Six current and former members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were found guilty Tuesday of obstruction of justice.
  • Grand Jury:”Hey, you might want to consider a pension reform task force.” City of Napa: “Get stuffed.”
  • Santa Ana-based Corithhian Colleges could be headed for bankruptcy.
  • Texas is now home to more Fortune 1000 Companies than any other state.
  • Liberals are still upset that Texas’ red state model is kicking the ass of California’s blue state model. Enter the Texas Tribune, which admits that:

    Drive almost anywhere in the vast Lone Star State and you will see evidence of the “Texas miracle” economy that policymakers like Gov. Rick Perry can’t quit talking about….

    This hot economy, politicians say, is the direct result of their zealous opposition to over-regulation, greedy trial lawyers and profligate government spending. Perry now regularly recruits companies from other states, telling them the grass is greener here. And his likely successor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made keeping it that way his campaign mantra.

    It’s hard to argue with the job creation numbers they tout. Since 2003, a third of the net new jobs created in the United States were in Texas. And there are real people in those jobs, people with families to feed.

    But the piece also notes that Texas has led the nation in worker fatalities for seven of the last ten years. I’m not going to get into the details of worker compensation that make up the bulk of the piece, and it is quite possible there is some room for improvement in worker safety. But I do want to note that, as the second largest state in the union, and the one with the biggest oil and gas industry, it’s not terribly surprising that Texas would have the largest number of fatalities, since oil and gas has a fairly high fatality rate (though not injury rate) compared to other industries (see page 14 here).

  • Texas vs. California Update for June 20, 2014

    Friday, June 20th, 2014

    Believe it or not, there seem to be a few actual glimmers of sanity in California in the latest roundup:

  • Texas: Not just leading the nation in jobs, but doing it more equitably as well.
  • “The income gap between rich and poor tends to be wider in blue states than in red states.” More: “Texas has a lower Gini coefficient (.477) and a lower poverty rate (20.5%) than California (Gini coefficient .482, poverty rate 25.8%).” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Perhaps the biggest crack in the “Blue State” model this month was a state superior court judge ruling that California’s teacher protection laws were illegal, because they violated the equal protection clause for students. How the Vergara vs. California decision plays out on appeal is anyone’s guess, but just recognizing that union contracts that keep crummy teachers employed harms students is a huge step forward.
  • New California payroll and pensions numbers are now available. “The data shows that public compensation in California is growing more out of control, threatening the solvency of the state and local governments.” Let’s take a look at a few locales, shall we?
  • Will wonders never cease: CalWatchdog calls the just-passed California budget “fairly prudent.”
  • The legislature also passed a law almost doubling the amount of money school districts pay into CalSTARS.
  • But don’t let that fool you: California’s legislature is still crazy.
  • Especially since California Democrats just elected a new Senate leader guaranteed to pull them to the left.
  • But Republicans are poised to torpedo California Democrat’s Senate supermajority.
  • Desert Hot Springs is contemplating dissolving it’s police force to avoid bankruptcy. (By my count, 21 Desert Hot Springs police officers make more than $100,000 a year in total compensation. Including five officers who make more than the Police Chief…)
  • San Bernardino has evidently reached agreement with CalPERS in it’s ongoing bankruptcy case, but no details have been reported.
  • They also closed a gap in a yearly budget thanks to some union concessions. But one union is balking, and its members are threatening to join the SEIU instead.
  • The California town of Guadalupe considers bankruptcy. One problem is that the town has been illegally transfering money from dedicated funds (like water bills) to general funds. “If voters do not pass three new taxes in November, Guadalupe is expected to disband its police and fire departments, enter bankruptcy or disincorporate, meaning it would cease to exist as a city.”
  • Ventura County residents collection enough signatures to force a ballot measure on pension reform. Response? A lawsuit to keep it off the ballot.
  • Los Angeles 2020 Commission goes over what changes the city needs to avoid a future where “40% of the population lives in ‘what only can be called misery,’ ‘strangled by traffic’ and hamstrung by a ‘failing’ school system.” Response? “Meh.”
  • Sickout among San Francisco municipal bus drivers. Good thing poor people don’t depend on buses for transportation…
  • Huge growth in Texas apartment complexes.
  • California’s prison system illegally sterilizes female inmates against their will.
  • The Obama Administration Department of Education is driving the California-based Corinthian for-profit college chain out of business.
  • A Californian discusses why relocation to Texas might be attractive, and hears the pitch for Frisco, Texas.
  • “‘Building a business is tough. But I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,’ Perry says.”
  • California regulators can’t be arsed to come out and check flaming tap water.
  • California bill to add warning labels to soft drinks fails.
  • California-based nutritional supplement maker Natrol files for bankruptcy, mainly due to class action suits. I note this because I’ve found their 3mg Melatonin to be really effective as a sleep aid.
  • LinkSwarm for 12/14/12

    Friday, December 14th, 2012

    A quick LinkSwarm for a Friday night:

  • Ever notice how after every killing spree, liberals are quick to proclaim that no one needs an “assault rifle” for self defense? Well, this guy did, facing three armed assailants breaking in, and is still alive because of it.
  • There are a number of spree killers who have racked up high death tolls without using a gun. Or using a gun obtained illegally in a country where they’re banned.
  • Dear Senior Citizens: union jobs are more sacred than your very lives. Signed, a Democratic Judge.
  • I’m shocked, shocked to find out that the SEIU committed vote fraud during the Wisconsin recall election.
  • In Montreal, it’s not enough for you to be bilingual. Your dog has to be as well.
  • BattleSwarm Blog Endorses Ted Cruz for United States Senator

    Monday, April 30th, 2012

    Lawrence Person’s BattleSwarm Blog endorses Ted Cruz for United States Senator. I believe that Cruz is the best candidate, that he has the longest, strongest, and deepest commitment to conservative principles among all the candidates running, and that he will make the best United States Senator for Texas.

    Because I strive to be both fair and clear, I want to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of all the other Republican candidates in the race, and why I believe Ted Cruz is the superior choice for Senator.

    Let’s dispense with the candidates that didn’t run serious campaigns: Dr. Joe Agris never bothered to even put up a website and never campaigned beyond an event appearance or two; I can only assume his run is a way to advertise his medical practice. Ben Gambini did little better, only managing a Facebook page and a few events. Curt Cleaver at least made some effort, but not enough to make an impression,

    Lela Pittenger ran a semi-serious campaign, raising some money and appearing at numerous events, but I always got the impression that she was running more for ego than to take principled positions at odds with the more prominent candidates. Plus I never got the impression she put in the sustained effort into the nitty gritty, unglamorous work that a real longshot candidate has to in order to have any chance of succeeding.

    With all but one of the longshots dispensed with (we’ll get to him further down), let’s turn to the major candidates.

    Given how heavily favored he was coming into this race, it’s shocking how poor a job Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has done campaigning.

    To be sure, Dewhurst has many strengths, but two of his strongest (name recognition and personal wealth) play no role in my deciding who to endorse. And while I’m impressed with his U.S. Air Force service and his business acumen in amassing a $200+ million fortune, both of those attributes must take a very distant backseat to his decade-long record as Lt. Governor.

    Some of Dewhurst’s record is worthy of praise. While other state governments have spent money like drunken sailors in a Thai whorehouse using George Soros’ stolen credit card, Texas, under Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst, has generally controlled spending, has balanced the budget without raising taxes (though some of that has been accomplished through gimmicks), and actually reduced the state budget for the 2012-2013 biennium compared to the 2010-2011 budget. What share of credit does Lt. Governor Dewhurst take for this achievement? A fair amount. While constrained both by the overall direction of the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning, and Policy, and by the Comptroller’s revenue estimates, the Lt. Governor has considerable control over the process by virtue not only of his oversight of the day-to-day affairs of the state senate, but also his ability to essentially pick half the seats on the Legislative Budget Board, which has a large hand in establishing and managing budget priorities.

    This, and his efforts at shepherding through the (constitutionally required) 2003 redistricting are among the primary reasons Dewhurst has been considered a conservative. And I have defended Dewhurst from charges he was a RINO in the past. Dewhurst occupies that vast gray area between real RINOs such as Arlen Specter and Charlies Crist and true movement conservatives; call him a “big business Republican,” the sort of guy who will defend the free market 90% of the time, but won’t let anything like principles stand in the way of doing favors for well connected friends. (That would also explain why, though he has mostly contributed to Republican candidates, he did make two donations to Democratic Senator Lloyd Bentsen.) I fear that Dewhurst is probably the most amenable of all the candidates of signing on with the sort of “grand compromise” that gets praised by the press for selling out conservatives rather than fighting to shrink the size and scope of the federal government.

    There’s been real dissatisfaction with Dewhurst among movement conservatives for years. Despite having controlling majorities in both House and Senate, conservative Republicans found their agenda being thwarted in many ways great and small by Dewhurst in the Senate and Speaker Joe Straus in the House:

  • Dewhurst, much more than Perry, has been willing to compromise on higher spending levels.
  • Dewhurst floated the idea of a “Payroll Tax” that Cruz has characterized (I think correctly) as a stealth income tax.
  • Last year Dewhurst floated the idea of raiding the Rainy Day Fund until Perry put his foot down and ruled it out.
  • Dewhurst has frequently chosen Democrats and moderate Republicans as committee chairmen.
  • Dewhurst has frequently compromised on conservative legislative priorities even when he didn’t have to. To be sure, part of his job description is hammering out compromises, but he has frequently seemed to seek out such compromises as a first resort, rather than the last.
  • Numerous insider accounts attest that Dewhurst personally killed Dan Patrick’s anti-TSA groping bill, choosing to knuckle under to the Obama Administration’s empty threats of stopping all air traffic to Texas rather than making liberals defend idiotic practices that are deeply unpopular with the public at large.
  • All this was bad enough, but his lackluster campaign and poor public speaking skills have given even more reasons for voters to look elsewhere. The Cruz campaign was right to ding Dewhurst for his repeated failures to show up at numerous candidate debates and forums across the country, but the Belo debate went a long way toward showing why exactly why Dewhurst has been avoiding such events: He’s not a good debater, he doesn’t seem to think quickly on his feet, and he seemed to grow worse and more confused as the night went on. Frankly, he didn’t seem up to the job.

    Then there’s the issue of his indifference or even hostility to both new media and grassroots conservative activism. The fact that Dewhurst was the only major Republican senate candidate not only unable to find time to sit down for an interview for this blog, but whose campaign even failed to even respond to repeated requests, is only a minor concern (after all, people are busy). But it’s emblematic of the larger issue of Dewhurst’s indifference to new media, the Tea Party, and voters. You can bash Obama failures all day, but that won’t make you stand out from any other Republican candidate in the entire country. Dewhurst is an insider, establishment Republican who seems to have made zero effort to reach out to Tea Party voters.

    This quote from Tea Party 911 blogger Barry Schlech neatly encapsulates what many Texas conservatives think about Dewhurst:

    There is not a lot of tea party support for Mr. Dewhurst because of his more liberal Republican views. He has probably sensed this animosity since he has been unavailable for or a “no-show” at many of the tea party events to which he was invited. He is seen, by many, to represent the “good ol’ boy moderate to liberal Republican establishment that is well entrenched in Austin. He is seen as a close ally to House Speaker Joe Straus whom the tea party does not respect. Many tea partiers are not happy with this liberal Republican clique in Austin and want to change to a more representative and more conservative legislature.

    All that said, David Dewhurst has some real strengths. He’s good at making and cultivating business and cultural connections, good at managing the intricacies of the legislative agenda, good at finding compromises and building consensus, and good at the backslapping minutia of legislative interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, those are precisely the qualities I’m not looking for in my Senator. I don’t want a negotiator, I want a conservative fighter. I want someone to fight for shrinking the size and scope of the federal government and reign in insanely bloated federal spending, not manage it better. There are quite enough get-along-to-go-along compromisers in the senate already; we don’t need another one.

    There are no areas in which I think David Dewhurst would do a better job than Ted Cruz in the Senate, but many in which I think he would perform markedly worse.

    Speaking of people who I just don’t think are up to job, let’s talk about Craig James. James has a lot of strengths: he’s handsome, charismatic, personable, and has done very well for himself in his post-NFL business career. Politically James’ heart seems to be in the right place, he seems considerably more authentic and less calculated than Dewhurst, and his decision to release several years of his own tax returns was a savvy move for increased transparency the other candidates were forced to emulate. James seems to have awakened politically to the numerous problems facing the nation and how far we’ve drifted from a constitutional republic of enumerated powers. That’s a great first step on your political journey.

    Unfortunately, the next step in that journey is not “Run for the United States Senate.” The second step is to read widely, broadly and deeply of both classic and modern political thought. The Constitution and The Bible are great first steps, but you should also read The Federalist Papers and Democracy in America and The Wealth of Nations and The Road to Serfdom and Economics in One Lesson and The Gulag Archipelago and The Black Book of Communism and Darkness at Noon and Up From Liberalism and Conscience of a Conservative and Losing Ground and Liberal Fascism and, yes, Atlas Shrugged, even if you object to Ayn Rand’s anti-religious bias. Start there, keep reading, and soon you’ll have the intellectual underpinnings to deepen and articulate your views. (It would also help you get beyond the irritatingly vague and platitudinous nature of your answers on any issues that go beyond your standard talking points.)

    James doesn’t have that intellectual depth yet, and the fact that he hadn’t even heard of the Posse Comitatus Act is emblematic of his inexperience. His problems are compounded by his late start and his background. If you start out as a professional football player and then move into sports broadcasting, you’re going to have to work twice as hard to convince people that you have the intellectual acumen to run for public office. (Jack Kemp worked very hard at establishing his policy credentials.) James’ problem is compounded by his unwise decision to declare he was living on “Real Street” as his campaign’s central rhetorical motif. Craig, you were a professional football player and broadcaster. It doesn’t matter how many mayonnaise sandwiches you ate in your hardscrabble youth, the voting public at large is never going to believe an ex-NFL player/broadcaster is living on “real street,” no matter how hard you try or how many jobs you create as a businessman. Give it up.

    Craig James isn’t ready to be Senator. Could he “skill up” to be electable a few years down the road, once the Texas Tech controversy has faded? Very possibly, though more likely at the congressional than senatorial level. (Let’s face it, when the bar starts at Sheila Jackson Lee, there are few non-incarcerated Republicans that aren’t up to the task.)

    I’ll give this to Tom Leppert: When this campaign started, I really didn’t see myself ranking him higher than just about any of the declared candidates (which at the time included Roger Williams, Michael Williams, and Elizabeth Ames Jones) or Dewhurst. Leppert is intelligent, he’s dogged, he’s a very good one-on-one retail politician, he doesn’t make many mistakes, he’s assembled a campaign team second only to Cruz’s in their competence and grasp of new media, and he has much better stage presence than Dewhurst.

    So given all that, and Leppert’s solid conservative policy positions on a wide range of issues, why doesn’t he rank higher? Mainly because until October 13, 2010, when Leppert endorsed Rick Perry in the gubernatorial race, Leppert gave absolutely no public sign that he was even a Republican, much less a conservative Republican. Before he started running for mayor, Leppert was just another rich guy whose campaign contributions went to people on both sides of the aisle, including contributions to Democrats like Texas Senate candidate Ron Kirk in 2002, Hawaii’s incumbent Senator Daniel K. Inouye in 1992 and again in 1998, and congressional contender (and later Honolulu mayor and member of Bloomberg’s gun-grabbing Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition) Muliufi Francis Hannemannin in 1990.

    While running for mayor of Dallas in 2007, Leppert:

  • Sought the endorsement of the left-wing SEIU public employees union:

    When he first ran for Mayor, as a moderate and a supporter of working men and women, he was pro-SEIU, pro-public employees organizing, pro-collective bargaining.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he vigorously pursued SEIU’s endorsement.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he came to our union organizing launch in the Water Department — encouraging folks to join SEIU.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, he frequently threw on an SEIU T-shirt and came to our union hall.

    So committed to these ideals was Tom, that he wrote a letter of support to Senator West and testified in favor of SEIU members getting a form of collective bargaining.

    Tom even signed an SEIU membership card!

    Now, that Tom wants to compete in a Republican primary, he has renounced his support of unions and even has the gall to declare he “has expanded the Right to Work.”

  • Sought the endorsement of far left pressure group ACORN, who have been quite busy committing voter fraud in Texas and elsewhere.
  • Did the same thing with the Dallas gay community, marching in their parades while running for mayor of Dallas, only to reverse course when he decided to run for the senate. “After being in office and reaching out to the gay community, he then basically turned his back and slapped us in the face because it was politically expedient to do so.”
  • And that’s just while running for mayor. His record as Mayor of Dallas has just as many question marks on both conservative and good governance grounds:

  • Why did he push so hard for the Trinity Toll Road to be situated inside a flood plain rather than outside it, against the wishes of the Army Corps of Engineers, driving up costs in the process? (The initial cost was estimated at $400 million; it’s now projected at $2 billion, and the construction still hasn’t started.)
  • Why did he push so hard for the city to spend $550 million for a city-owned hotel?
  • What role did the now-dead Lynn Flint Shaw (Leppert’s treasurer during his mayoral campaign) and Willis Johnson play in steering minority contracts under the Leppert Administration?
  • And there are at least two or three other big question marks about Leppert’s term as mayor. Indeed, one sign of how controversial that term was is how rarely he talks about it on the campaign trail, where he puts his business background first and foremost, as though his four years as mayor of Texas’ third largest city never happened.

    The least charitable explanation for Tom Leppert’s behavior is that he’s a pure political animal with no core ideological beliefs other than being elected. The most charitable explanation is that he’s been a “secret conservative” all along, and was just waiting for the opportunity to proclaim to the world what he actually believes. My own suspicion is that he, like Dewhurst, fits neatly into the “get along to go along” establishment Republican mold. Like Dewhurst, I doubt Leppert would be notably more conservative as a senator than the departing Kay Baily Hutchison. That’s not good enough.

    But even if he were a “secret conservative” all these years, why would I prefer him to someone like Ted Cruz who’s never been afraid to proclaim and defend conservative principles throughout the entirety of his career?

    So that takes care of all the major candidates besides Cruz. But there’s still one candidate we haven’t covered. If I weren’t voting for Cruz, I would probably cast my vote for Glenn Addison.

    Though a relative unknown, Addison has probably worked harder than any other candidate on the campaign trail, he’s well-spoken with a certain folksy charm, and he’s run a serious campaign in every aspect except funding. With his energy and effort, he could easily be a successful candidate in a down-ballot race.

    Addison has staked out strong conservative positions on just about every issue, but there are a few I disagree with. I oppose his desire to sanction China for currency manipulation (protectionism is still loser economics). His evidently friendliness with the John Birch Society (there’s a reason William F. Buckley, Jr. felt compelled to cast them out of the respectable ranks of the conservative movement) is not a plus. And the few areas that I do prefer his policies over Cruz (eliminating the EPA and the Departments of Education and Energy, for example) are ones which have absolutely no chance of being passed in the near future. Which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be pushed for…

    If Ted Cruz were not in the race, I would vote for Addison knowing that he would probably be creamed by Dewhurst.

    Fortunately, Ted Cruz is in the race.

    Early on there was debate whether Cruz or Michael Williams was the best Tea Party candidate for the seat. Cruz won that “Tea Party Primary” so decisively that Williams dropped out. Not only is Cruz the unquestioned Tea Party representative, he is the one with the broadest and deepest conservative background. While the phrase “Ivy League Trial Lawyer” is technically accurate, you don’t specialize in 9th and 10th Amendment studies because you want to be rich, and you don’t work at the Texas Public Policy Foundation if you want moderate Republicans to consider you one of their own. Cruz is not only exceptionally sharp, an excellent debater and a gifted public speaker, he’s also a classic fusionist candidate with both strong free market and social conservative credentials, and fits the definition of the rightmost electable candidate in the race.

    Don’t buy the MSM consensus wisdom that Dewhurst is invulnerable because he’s rich. There are lots of “unbeatable” politicians who have been knocked off by lesser-known challengers. Ed Koch was a shoe-in for Governor of New York until he ran into Mario Cuomo. Charlie Crist was going to mop the floor with Marco Rubio until he didn’t. George H. W. Bush looked invulnerable heading into 1992. Despite Dewhurst’s numerous advantages, he hasn’t been able to poll above 50% and Cruz has been steadily eating into his lead. I’ve had relatives who aren’t nearly as politically aware as I express unbidden how impressed they are with Cruz. The grassroots excitement about Cruz is not only palpable here in Texas, but among conservative and Tea Party organizations across the country, with conservative senate stalwarts like Jim DeMint and Rand Paul eager to help Cruz join their ranks.

    I believe Ted Cruz is far and away the best best candidate in the race, and I urge all my Texas readers to cast their votes for him as the next United States Senator from Texas in the Republican primary.


    Monday, March 5th, 2012

    A busy weekend, so here’s a LinkSwarm to nourish the regulars:

  • The SEIU is helping fund and lead the Occupy movement, and their goal is to “abolish capitalism.” They’re also sneakily incorporating local branches, with names like “Good Jobs, Great Houston.” (Hat tip: Common Sense and Wonder.)
  • Also on on Commonsense and Wonder: an interesting piece about the history of Islamic conquest.
  • Add another member to Republican’s super-majority in the Texas House: Rep. J. M. Lozano of Kingsville (District 43) just announced his switch to the Republican Party.
  • In related news, here’s a piece from last year in the liberal Texas Observer talking about Republican outreach to Hispanics. That seems to be working out a lot better than the “inevitable Democratic majority” theory people like Ruy Teixeira have been pushing for the last decade.
  • Obama’s IRS attacks the Tea Party.
  • Iowahawk on Andrew Breitbart: “How did this socially liberal Jewish RINO from Brentwood become the Emmanuel Goldstein of the left’s unhinged 2-Minutes Hate? A big, lovable, random, generous, fearless, patriotic grinning goofball.”
  • Down With Wind: “If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often wilfully deaf. The good news though is that if you look closely, you can see David Cameron’s government coming to its senses about the whole fiasco. ” (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • Texas’ outsized role in U.S. exports.
  • Debra Medina may run for State Comptroller? We could do worse.
  • How feminist dogma has hidden an obvious truth: the wide availability of contraception has increased illegitimacy, general to the detriment of women.
  • UT to student media director: Balance your department budget. Student media director: OK, how about we sell these TV and radio licenses? UT: Not that balanced. You’re fired. (Hat tip: Mike Godwin’s Facebook page.)
  • LinkSwarm for Friday, November 11, 2011 (11/11/11)

    Friday, November 11th, 2011

    I hope you’re celebrating both Veterans Day and Nigel Tufnel Day (11/11/11) today. A few bits of news:

  • Willisms debunks a lot of false claims about Texas jobs.
  • He also notes that Texas leads the nation in exports.
  • Care for a disabled child in Michigan? The SEIU can deduct union dues from your social security check. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • I’ve not been keeping up with the situation in Killeen, but evidently City Council members voted to give the City Manager a $750,000 buyout, then refused to justify their actions to the taxpayers. The result? All five remaining City Council members were successfully recalled. Note to politicians across the state: Texas is not California. Try to get away with this sort of self-dealing here and we will boot your ass out of office. (Hat tip: Blue Dot Blues.)
  • Mexican cartel gunmen crossed into the small Texas town of Escobares in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • Speaking of cartel violence, the Mexican government evidently has the La Familia Michoacana drug gang on the ropes. La Familia was previously allied with the Gulf Cartel, but more recently worked with the Zeta cartel. I’d previously mentioned La Familia (and their activity in Austin) here.
  • Obama to tax Christmas trees in order to pay for a board to promote Christmas trees.
  • Democrats on the “SuperCommittee” propose…wait for it…wait for it…spending more money! Remember, any time a congressional Democrat says they want to cut spending, they’re lying. (If a Republican says they want to cut spending, there’s at least a possibility that they’re telling the truth.)
  • David Brooks praises Mitt Romney as “smart” and “sophisticated.” Yeah, like conservatives needed another reason to vote against Romney…
  • By contrast, George Will says that in Romney “Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis.” (What’s the difference between David Brooks and George Will? One is a well-dressed, articulate, sophisticated, respected conservative columnist, and the other is David Brooks.)
  • Related.
  • Search and Rescue trailer stolen from NW Austin. Contact your local police if you spot the trailer shown in the picture.
  • I already mentioned this yesterday, but here’s the video of Sen. John Cornyn laying the smackdown on Eric Holder as to the difference between Wide Receiver and Fast and Furious.

  • I’ll try to do a Greek/Euro debt update just as soon as I figure out just what the hell Europe is actually doing…