The trifecta of bad....You’ve heard
of people who can _____(expletive deleted) a bowling ball?
Well, it seems our state representative Charlie Howard is
one of those.
I have obtained an advance copy of next
month’s Texas Monthly, only to learn that Howard has
hit the publication’s “10 Worst” for the third time.
Although Charlie originally campaigned to
serve only two terms (I have plenty of money and I only want
to serve), later amended to claim he said three terms, is
now in his seventh term (14 years), he’s close to being
named to the All-Star list of bad legislators for the number
of times he’s appeared on the list.
The public didn’t realize and some of us
political junkies didn’t snap that the challenge to Craddick
in the opening days of the session lead to major contention
during the entire session. We also didn’t realize that
actions by Charlie Howard led to the final confrontation
between the speaker and everyone else which almost led to a
shut down of the entire session without some important bills
It went thusly:
As a good Republican who had served seven
terms in the House and was a Craddick true-believer, Howard
was finally rewarded with one of the easiest committee chair
jobs in the legislature. He was appointed as chairman of the
Local & Consent Calendars which means he was the gate keeper
for all the bills that are unimportant to anyone but the
particular representative’s public. In other words,
congratulatory or laudatory proclamation-type bills. The
committee’s mission according to the state’s web site is
“are in fact local or will be uncontested, and have been
recommended as such by the standing committee of original
Some examples are “In memory of Harry Lee
Westmoreland, Jr.” or “Congratulating Sugar Land Regional
Airport for being named the 2007 Reliever Airport of the
But Charlie either let his power go to
his head or he didn’t exactly understand what his job was
all about because according to the magazine he allowed only
bills filed by Republicans (or Republicans who supported
Craddick) to get on the Calendar, or with rare exceptions,
bills filed by the few Democrats who supported Craddick.
According to Texas Monthly, local
bills lingered until “all Hell broke loose.” When
legislators realized what was happening, Democrats started
torpedoing the bills which made it onto Calendars by
debating them for over 10 minutes which automatically kills
In a show of bipartisan solidarity,
Republicans started pulling their own bills, and jumped on
the microphone and called Charlie down, demanding he put up
the Democrat bills also. Supposedly, Charlie had to take his
medicine and it was characterized by Texas Monthly as
“Like the Boston Tea Party, Howard provided the spark that
ignited the revolution” at the end of the session.
I think after this display of ineptitude,
and in view of the fact that Howard has already served four
more terms than he promised, and his earlier criticism of
former representative Jim Tallas for making the “Worst”
list, Charlie needs to go.
Fort Bend County was underrepresented for
many years in the Texas legislature. (We won’t even discuss
the embarrassment of Tom DeLay.) Dora Oliva has served us,
but I’m concerned by Dora’s mind-set these days.
Only recently with the election of Kyle
Janek, Glenn Hegar and John Zerwas has our representation
been truly representative of the type of people who populate
our community--people who are highly educated, selfless, and
can get along with their fellow legislators (the true key to
getting anything done in Austin).
And I think the reason we now have some
good representation in Austin is because the above lawmakers
are elected by voters other than those ultraconservative
Republicans who vote in Charlie Howard’s district. It’s time
Sugar Land was represented in the Texas House by someone who
has a more global outlook than Charlie Howard. And it’s time
that Howard got out of the way and announced his retirement,
so someone worthy would come forward.
Did the punishment fit?....I never
weighed in how I felt about FBISD and the Carpenters’
imbroglio concerning the teacher who missed 22 days of
school for appearing on “The Bachelor.”
First, I think “The Bachelor” is a silly
show that is insulting to women. I think the teacher should
be ashamed for appearing on something so demeaning.
A little time has allowed me to think on
the situation more and I think the whole incident could have
been avoided if both Dr. Jenney and Ms. Carpenter had acted
with a little more professionalism.
No one knows the role that Ms.
Carpenter’s immediate supervisor, Mark Smith, played in the
situation. But Ms. Carpenter should have asked permission
from Mr. Smith for the extended absence of the teacher.
However, Dr. Jenney should have
reprimanded Ms. Carpenter by calling her down and putting a
letter in her file. His choice of a week with no salary or a
demotion was heavy-handed, and one can’t help but wonder if
he was just trying to scare his troops as the new
Well, he chose the wrong person to make
an example of, but in my opinion, she overreacted and could
have taken the week with no salary and gone about her
business. Either she or her friends involved the media, and
her husband’s letter inflamed the fire.
This all left a bad taste in my mouth. If
you are no longer happy with a school district, vote with
your feet. But to make a public spectacle out of it, while
satisfying my personal desire for a good story, was
unprofessional in my opinion. If you want to go...go
But bottom line, it’s a shame that such a
well-respected teacher and principal and then her winning
coach husband are lost to the district over something that
should have been resolved.
I’m keeping my eye on Dr. Jenney.