The updated version of the Bettencourt resignation story has his statement, a brief summary of his career, and a couple of statements from folks like Jared Woodfill (who not too surprisingly loved him) and Gerry Birnberg (who not too surprisingly was more critical). As Bettencourt himself was unreachable for comment (gotta love those late Friday stories), that's what we've got to work with for now. One point Birnberg made is worth noting:
Friday night, Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Gerald Birnberg said he expected Bettencourt to resign at some point, believing he had an interest in statewide office.
"So, I had expected him to resign to run for another office or to be more involved in the radio business," Birnberg said. "It occurs to me that Paul is too deliberate for this to have occurred 'day before yesterday.' It has got to be something he was thinking about more than 30 days ago, before the election, and I am disappointed he did not share his plans with the voters.
"I didn't agree with him on many things, but I have always respected his straightforwardness," he said.
As for Bettencourt's replacement, PDiddie suggests in the comments to the previous post that former District Clerk Charles Bacarisse might be tapped, and that he wouldn't be an improvement from our perspective. I certainly agree that he'd be no less partisan, but I'm not convinced he'd be in the running. One presumes Ed Emmett owes him no favors, after all. Regardless, it wouldn't be a bad idea to let Commissioners Garcia and Lee know that you think it would be swell if we had a Tax Assessor who spent more time on the job than he or she did on talk radio. In the meantime, if you've got a rumor or a wild notion about who might draw the golden ticket, leave it in the comments.
UPDATE: As soon as I'd hit the Publish button, the following email from Annie's List landed in my Inbox:
In the middle of the night it has been confirmed by the Houston Chronicle that Paul Bettencourt intends to vacate his seat effective December 10th and that the Harris County Commissioners Court will now need to appoint an interim successor to fill his term.
"We strongly encourage Judge Emmett and the Commissioners Court to appoint Dr. Diane Trautman to fill this unexpected vacancy. She is an extremely accomplished woman who, after being a candidate for the position for over a year, understands the Tax Assessor-Collectors office and has a clear vision of how to move this office forward while removing the air of partisanship that has undermined it in the past" said Annie's List Political Director Robert E. Jones.
"With over 24 years experience as a teacher, administrator and college professor, Dr. Diane Trautman has demonstrated she has the experience and a track record of ethical leadership to run the Tax Assessor-Collectors office as a service organization that puts people over politics."