Burka on SB1317

Paul Burka delves into the politics of anti-clean air bill SB1317 and how it wound up in the wrong committee in the House.

The bill addresses a legitimate issue, which is how far cities should be able to extend their jurisdiction. But this bill is not just about a fine point of law. It is about politics–2010 gubernatorial politics. [Lt. Gov. David] Dewhurst expects to be the Republican nominee, and his opponent is likely to be none other than Bill White. Here’s what I don’t get: Why does Dewhurst think it’s good politics for him to be for this bill? This is going to be a TV spot for White! It is going to saturate the airwaves in Houston. “When Houston was trying to protect the public from toxic air pollution, where was David Dewhurst? He was protecting the polluters.” What’s Dewhurst going to say? “My opponent has it all wrong. Houston was abusing its authority at the expense of these good corporate citizens.” Yeah, right. Dewhurst doesn’t get it. This is not 2003. Clean air has become a huge issue in this state in the Republican suburbs, which is where the votes are.

Emphasis in the original. We ought to get a good preview of how this will play out in 2008, when bill sponsor Sen. Mike Jackson runs for re-election (assuming he doesn’t retire; there have been rumors to that effect). Jackson’s opponent, Joe Jaworski is already banging this drum, and he’s sure to have the resources to run ads hammering Jackson for this bill. Jackson’s district was modestly purple in 2006, slightly redder than the state as a whole but not by much. If Jaworski gets traction on this issue in SD11 next year, then watch out in 2010.

Burka also points the finger at Eddie Lucio, and prints a letter from a disgruntled now-former Republican. Matt Stiles has more from Mayor White’s perspective. Check it out.

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