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Be careful what you wish for

It would appear that some of Rep. John Culberson’s constituents are not happy with his ideas about mobility solutions.

Residents of the 7th congressional district this week launched a petition to oust U.S. Representative John Culberson. Leading the effort is Paul Staton a Katy freeway daily commuter who accused Culberson of representing the Texas highway lobby and not the “little guy stuck on the freeway” when it comes to local transportation issues.

Staton is a longtime Houston oilman who identifies politically as independent. He said he is just one in a “groundswell” of voters who first bristled when Culberson referred to opponents of the I-10 expansion project as “environmental whackos” on a local talk radio call-in show lastyear.

Culberson denied making the remarks even after he repeated them at a town hall meeting weeks later.

“He’s not a bad man and we’re not trying to be malicious, but we’re his constituents and he needs to treat us better,” Staton said. He called Culberson a bully and accused him of using intimidation tactics to try to kill the Metro light rail plan.

Culberson drew fire last month when he sponsored legislation requiring Metro to list each section of rail on the November 4 ballot.


Staton said in three weeks he plans to collect 1,000 signatures, enough, he hopes, to get the Congressman’s attention. He says he’s using word of mouth and a free web site to advance the cause.

“This isn’t militancy, it’s not an attack. It’s just the only way we could get his attention,” he said. “In the strongest terms we’re shouting out please listen to us.”

Culberson said it won’t matter how many names Staton collects. The only way he’ll leave office, is if constituents vote him out in 2004.

Far be it from me to pee in someone’s punch bowl, but I checked Staton’s petition this morning, and as of then he had 24 names. Even if he succeeds at getting 1000 signatures, he’s unlikely to impress a man who had no Democratic opponent in 2002 (beating a Libertarian candidate by 90,000 votes) and who crushed a Democrat by 120,000 votes in 2000 after the seat had been vacated by Bill Archer. Maybe 10,000 names would get Culberson to take a look, but you’re still a long way off from threatening him.

On the other hand, if the new Congressional map does stand up in court, Culberson may have bought himself a bigger pro-rail constituency.

In the new map adopted by the Legislature, the Texas Medical Center and the University of Texas Medical Center move into the 7th District of U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston.

The rail line that’s now under construction, which any future Metro expansion will connect to, runs right through the Medical Center and is intended to relieve the godawful traffic and even worse parking in that part of town. Culberson may well find that the folks who live and work around there take a different view of rail than the people in Hunter’s Creek and Memorial. It’d be pretty funny if Culberson and his anti-rail fervor were some day jeopardized by the Medical Center getting redistricted into CD 7.

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  1. Paul Staton says:

    Mr. Kuffner:

    Thank you for posting my petition asking Congressman John Culberson to resign. The petition asks Mr. Culberson to step down for the simple reason that he fails to help his constituents and at times seems to be against them.

    Mr. Culberson does a lot of things well, but representation democracy is not one of them. I feel like I am in feudal England tithing to the King. I don’t like the feeling.

    Even though the petition is undersubscribed it was successful on a large matter. We were successful in making Mr. Culberson say: “I will not resign!” thus accomplishing one of our goals of making Mr. Culberson use the word “Resign” in a complete sentence.

    On the issue on rail itself, with former Mayor Bob Lanier supporting the Metro Solution(Hou.Chron.Oct19,2003), my next task is to get Mr. Culberson and his sidekick Paul Bettencourt on the record saying “Bob Lanier is wrong!”

    Wish me luck.
    Paul Staton

  2. I do indeed wish you luck, and despite my light tone I’d love to see someone give Culberson a reason to sweat.

    On your latter point, I don’t think either Culberson or Bettencourt feels any particular allegiance to Bob Lanier, and as such I won’t be surprised if they do attack him.

  3. Ginger says:

    My mother would be very happy if there were a chance of getting rid of Culberson. She lives in his district.

    I don’t know if she’s turning liberal in her old age or whether the “conservatives” are getting reactionary, but it’s hard for me to fathom how a Reagan-Bush campaign worker could be as annoyed as she has been recently with a number of Republicans.

  4. Mike says:

    Good luck getting rid of Culberson. We supported him through law school. We supported him to his victory into state politics. Furthermore, we supported him through his victory into his U.S. capacity. Why? Because he has never forgotten where he came from or who he represents.

    People who live in that district live there for many reasons, but political representation is right on the top of the list. From a personal standpoint, Culberson still remembers my face and name ever since he visited my debate class in 1984 at Westchester Senior HIgh School. He remembers my daughter’s name and what school she currently goes to. He remembers that his constituents follow school board politics as much as they do any other type. These things he never forgets. These things ensure his continued re-election as long as he wishes to pursue office.

    Bring on the Medical Center!!! That will do nothing but increase his power. The only doctor your going to see on the toy train is Dr. Doolittle. Parking for Med Center employees is free in the huge lots just north of the dome. The busses run through so often you’re never without one. Now do you think you’re going to see a majority of those folks walk over to the tracks, wait, and then hop on a train when they can more easily and quickly hop on a bus that will drop them off door-to-door? I don’t think so.

    Also, isn’t it kind of funny that Bob Lanier used to own land on or near many of current Metro Park ‘N Ride locations? Check out his land holding as they relate to proposed rail. You’ll re-think what type of green he is going for.