February 21, 2004
Keeping an eye on the candidates
It goes without saying that the upcoming election is vital, and I consider it a top priority to help every good candidate that I can to win. I'm going to highlight a few of these candidates here, and will continue to keep an eye on them and push their campaigns during the year. I'm also going to issue an open invitation to every Democrat I mention here: If you'd like for me to publish an interview with you, drop me an email at the address above.
Via Southpaw, check out Gary R. Page, who will be running against Kenny Boy Marchant, the golden boy of the State House who got his very own custom-made district out of our endless legislative summer. As noted here, Marchant is nothing but a Forgy Kerr candidate, a nonentity whose purpose in life is to serve the interests of those who aim to put him in Congress. Now, I don't have any illusions about Gary Page winning this race - if Martin Frost didn't think the new 24th CD was winnable for him, it sure won't be winnable for some Democrat no one's ever heard of. But that doesn't mean any of us should be willing to roll over and die.
You've already met Morris Meyer, who's running against Smokey Joe Barton in the 6th CD. He's been busy with his blog ads, and he's been getting a push from Atrios, which ought to help him out. Again, this is a race the Democrats should have no chance in, but I like the fact that we're fighting. I believe only good things can result from that.
And when you read Atrios's link to Tom DeLay's charming comments about homosexuals, remember that Richard Morrison is taking on DeLay. Richard has a primary opponent in Erik Saenz, and while I'll be happy to support Mr. Saenz if he winds up with the nomination, I strongly believe in Richard's candidacy and would like to see him win in March. Given that he needs to be campaigning now, Richard could really use a little help.
If there's one thing we've learned from this past year, it's how important control of the State House is. Greg Wythe is strongly supporting a few Democratic House candidates, including Byron Barclay, who hopes to unseat Martha "No Thong" Wong in HD 134; the perenially threatened Scott Hochberg in HD 137, who is consistently one of our best incumbents; and Alma Allen, who hopes to unseat the turncoat Ron Wilson in HD 131. I urge my Houston readers to get to know these candidates, especially if you're in one of their districts.
Finally, Byron has more about Alma Allen and Ron Wilson (with similar stuff posted in his Kos diary). He's also watching the GOP-only 10th CD race, and I'm sure he'll be equally focused on Austin's State House races.
It's never too early to get involved. The new Congressional boundaries may be reality, but they don't have to be destiny. Let's roll up our sleeves and get down to it.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 21, 2004 to Election 2004
Man. No link for "No Thong"? You leave us wondering!
Sorry about that. This story, from the Chron on July 9, 1998, explains the nickname:
City officials said Wednesday that plans for a bikini thong contest in Eleanor Tinsley Park are canceled, despite widespread advertising for the July 18 event.
"I dare say Eleanor would object to it," said Councilwoman Martha Wong , in reference to the former councilwoman the park is named for.
The apparently scuttled contest was to be a featured attraction at the Texas Freaknik, the first-ever local version of an event that has been banned in Atlanta. A similar gathering has also caused problems in the past in Galveston.
The Freaknik is an annual gathering of African-American fraternities and sororities with live music and other entertainment. But the rowdy crowds and drinking surrounding Freaknik events elsewhere have resulted in numerous arrests and traffic problems.
On Wednesday, Wong said at a City Council meeting that she is "shocked, appalled and disgusted" the city would allow a thong contest in a public park.
"I think we ought to break the contracts," Wong said. "I know some of our council members would like to be judges at this contest, but I don't approve."
Councilman Chris Bell, seated nearby, chided Wong that "next thing, you'll object to me wearing my thong at the council meeting."
City officials, alarmed about the Freaknik plans, spent considerable time behind closed doors discussing security and other arrangements for the event.
Jay Aiyer, chief of staff for Mayor Lee Brown, said the Freaknik promoter has all proper permits to operate a gated event in the park and serve alcohol.
According to plans, 30 Houston police officers will be supplemented with 35 other security personnel provided by the Nation of Islam. About 15 of the supplemental security force will be armed, and metal detectors will be used to screen unauthorized weapons at the event.
Promotional materials for the event list "invited guests" as basketball players Shaquille O'Neil, Sam Cassell and Robert Horry, along with recording artists 2 Live Crew.
However, city officials said confirmed acts for the event are Texas and Louisiana rap groups, a poetry group from Third Ward and a Zydeco band, among others.
Although city officials said that although the promoter has agreed to cancel the bikini contest, which included a $5,000 first prize for the winner, the city has no authority to restrict such activities in the parks.
Wong asked Brown's administration to investigate the city's leeway in restricting such events in public parks, noting the tough regulations only recently imposed on the topless club industry.
"A thong contest," Wong said. "It sounds like now we are having city parks to be used as sexually oriented businesses."
I've called her Martha "No Thong" Wong ever since.
Ask and ye shall learn. Thanks, Kuff.