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February 17th, 2006:

I don’t even know how to title this one

The headline pretty much says it all: Candidate worked as prostitute.

[Tom Malin, a Dallas Democrat who is seeking election to the Texas House] acknowledged Thursday that he once worked as a prostitute.

“I’ve made mistakes in my life, and I’ve stood before my Creator and I’ve accepted responsibility for my behavior,” Mr. Malin said. “I’ve also accepted his grace and his redemption and his love and his forgiveness, and that’s what’s important.”

Web pages that have been used to advertise the sexual services of “Todd Sharpe” say he previously worked in the New York City and Los Angeles areas. His rates ranged from $200 to $600, according to graphically detailed reviews from men whom the pages described as satisfied customers.

Mr. Malin said he no longer works as a prostitute.

“I knew that if I continued on with that, I would die,” Mr. Malin said. “God spoke to me, and I knew I had to make a different choice in life.”

[…]

Mr. Malin is running for House District 108, which covers much of central Dallas and the Park Cities.

On Thursday, he received a key endorsement from the Dallas Tejano Democrats, a Hispanic political group.

“We were not aware of this, and he never mentioned it to us during the screening,” said Domingo Garcia, chairman of the local Tejano Democrats. “Obviously we will have to reconsider our decision based on the new information.”

The Dallas Morning News editorial board also recommended Mr. Malin, but in light of this new information, said it was reconsidering that recommendation.

His opponent in next month’s Democratic primary is retired salesman Jack Borden, who said he was disappointed to learn of the revelation.

“I’m wondering who put him up to run in the first place,” Mr. Borden said. “I don’t approve of anybody selling their body.”

Mr. Malin said the decision to run was his own.

The winner will face incumbent Republican Dan Branch in November. Mr. Branch had no comment on Mr. Malin’s past, saying he looked forward to standing before voters in the general election.

Former Dallas County Democratic chairwoman Susan Hays, a Malin supporter, said the candidate told her about his past in the buffet line of a local restaurant.

“He kind of amazed me,” she said. “He’s been a mess, but righted himself. He’s got more honesty and energy than his Democratic opponent and Dan Branch.”

[…]

Mr. Malin said he would continue to campaign for the state House.

“People don’t care where you have been,” he said. “They just want to know where you are going. All I know is that the ultimate authority is God. That’s what’s most important.”

There are, I suppose, two ways to approach a story like this. One is to give in to the natural snark instinct (“Hey, Jeff Gannon! Finally, there’s someone you’re qualified to interview!”), and the other is to note that one of the great things about America is that it’s a land of redemption and second chances. I believe the expression in the evangelical community is “the greater the sin, the more glorious the salvation”. If the primary voters choose to look at where Mr. Malin is going as opposed to where he’s been and pick him to be the nominee for HD108, I’ll be fine with that.

Keven Ann Willey of the DMN editorial board explains in their blog why the paper will in fact rescind its endorsement of Malin. Whether or not you agree with her conclusion, I at least see nothing objectionable about the board’s reasoning. Check it out.

Richmond rail meeting at METRO

The METRO meeting to discuss the Universities rail line was very well attended.

Some 350 people arrived in cars, buses and light rail trains Thursday to hear 28 of them advise the Metro board on whether its planned University line should go on Richmond Avenue.

The unofficial score was eight opposed to rail on Richmond, four in favor and 16 wanting the Metropolitan Transit Authority to consider all its options, talk with a lot of people and make a wise decision.

Whatever the board decides late this year, it should “keep the city’s long-term best interests in mind” and “build something our children and grandchildren can be proud of,” said blogger Tory Gattis.

Gattis also said that if Richmond is the choice instead of Westpark — the designated route in a 2002 referendum on Metro’s transit plans that was narrowly approved by voters — the board should appoint “somebody with real power” to advocate for business and residents during construction, and ride herd on contractors to minimize harm.

Metro should also “consider a well-funded ‘Support Richmond Business’ campaign,” Gattis said.

As previously noted, Gattis summarized his remarks here. Robin Holzer has some more in depth coverage here. Christof was one of the sixteen who spoke in favor of letting the process work. There’s some discussion of the meeting in this Houston Architecture Forum thread as well. I’m encouraged that as many people as did spoke in favor of looking at all available options and making a sound decision based on that rather than on emotion and political expediency.

Henry Cuellar, serial Bush hugger

It wasn’t just the 2006 State of the Union address where Henry Cuellar gave President Bush some sugar. The Lone Star Project has the video evidence.

Of much greater concern than that is Cuellar’s support of the Minutemen. Let me just say: eww.

You can hear Ciro Rodriguez‘s interview on Agonist Radio here. He’s up to $127K on ActBlue now, by the way.

Speaking of video evidence, what happens when a Star Wars fan with too much time on his hands dinks with Frank Madla’s Democrats in my trunk clip? You get this. Whoever said politics had to be stuffy?

Slightly more seriously, Carlos Uresti filmed a campaign ad hammering Madla for his vote on HB2292 from 2003. We know that bill helped bring Arlene Wohlgemuth down in her bid to unseat Rep. Chet Edwards in 2004. Will it strike again this year? Here’s a nice overview of the race so far.

Endorsements! Barbara Radnofsky picks up the nod from the DMN to go with the earlier recommendation of the Star Telegram. This was an obvious choice for the Democratic primary, of course, but both papers still went out of their way to say good things about her.

Latinos for Texas make their picks as well. Read the comments for some good discussion on the decision they made in the Governor’s race.

Finally, on the other side of the aisle, there’s some rumblings in Williamson County, where State Rep. Mike Krusee, a top target of anti-toll road forces, has apparently commissioned a push poll. Eye on Williamson has the details.

Why Howard won

I like Philip Martin‘s postgame wrapup on the HD48 special election. Much of what he mentions is, I think, replicable in other races. And yes, Ben Bentzin’s ties to the DeLay machine certainly did him no favors. Dems will need to take advantage of that where they can.

Jason Embry and Gardner Selby offer their views as well. One should never draw too broad a conclusion from a special election like this – if nothing else, the only-game-in-town factor skews the dynamics of such a campaign – but there are definitely things to learn from them.

Just a thought: Compare the education, income and housing, and population overviews of HD48 to the same three things in HD134. They’re pretty similar. Probably doesn’t mean anything, but it’s interesting to note.