Back before Thanksgiving I said Texas gubernatorial race is like musical chairs. Well, here’s the second (or third or fourth) verse. It’s the same as the first. On November 23, Houston Mayor, Bill White held a press conference to announce he will announce his decision to run for governor by December 4. As promised he announced yesterday that he will run for governor. After he made that announcement, Hank Gilbert dropped out of the race and endorsed Farouk Shami.
Meanwhile, Governor Rick Perry, the longest serving governor, made his announcement for an unprecedented third term.
Like Paul Burka says, “Perry is now fighting a two-front war.” One with Democrats in the general election and one with the Republicans in the primary. While most people think the primary will be a joke, Perry still has to be careful. The issues Perry raises in the primary wont be the same as the issues in the general election.
The Statesman reported yesterday that Governor Perry is removing Linus Wright, a former Dallas school superintendent, as chair of the board that oversees the $88 billion Teacher Retirement System and will replace him with a current board member who is also a member of Perryâ€™s campaign finance team, Dallas real estate investor R. David Kelly. (Wright succeeded Jim Lee, who was one of three co-chairs of the Perry fundraising apparatus; Lee had resigned in the wake of news reports that he had run up six-figure gambling debts in Las Vegas.)
The removal of Wright occurred just a few days after Perry had announced the death of the Trans-Texas Corridor.
In my humble opinion this is something we need to watch and keep in check. If TRS is raped to fund the TTC we loose twice.
Perry is hardly unique among Texas governors in using appointments to further his ambitions. However, in the current campaign the incumbent is subordinating competent governance of public university systems to his own re-election efforts.
In doing so he only strengthens the argument of Hutchison that a decade-plus tenure as governor fosters cronyism and misuse of official powers.
I was checking the followers list on twitter and look who’s following me now, @GovPerry2010. It seems Governor Rick Perry – or his campaign manager – started a new twitter account for the 2010 elections. I started following @GovernorPerry and @TeamKay a few weeks ago just to keep tabs on Rick and Kay. So, apparently, twitter is the new battle ground for politics. Can they get votes from twitterers? Will we ever use twitter polls to cast our votes? Probably not – not after the dangling chad incident and alleged Texas voting machine tampering*.
AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry’s blind trust had capital losses of $567,529 in 2008 but still managed to provide the governor and his wife, Anita, with $28,043 in income, according to tax returns released Tuesday.
Perry has routinely released his tax returns to the news media when requested since 1998.
His Republican primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has not yet released her returns, but her campaign has said she will do so.
Even if you quit a university president’s position, it’s all good because there’s always the golden parachute.
From theeagle.com: Severance details released
Murano’s severance package included being paid her salary of $425,000 while she is on leave through June 2010. She’ll also be paid $295,000 by the end of the week in exchange for agreeing to not file a lawsuit against the system or its officers.
And the other shoe drops…
From the same article:
The special regents meeting kicked off with a presentation that painted a dire economic forecast for Texas A&M University and higher education in general, including continued tuition increases, funding shortfalls in the next legislative session and possible reductions in other revenue sources such as investment earnings.
The presentation — made by B.J. Crain, associate vice chancellor for budgets and accounting — said that Texas A&M University’s total operating budget increased 66 percent from 2000 to 2008, from $553 million to $918 million. The spike was significantly higher than the cost of inflation, she said.
The administration (the BOR, Presidents Murano and Gates) over spent and now it’s time to tighten the belt. Of course combining functions with their flagship university allows the System to save money, but it’s a crutch. They may lower cost slightly and keep income steady, but next year, everyone will be worse off when the Texas Legislature cuts the budget. Long live the president and the office of the president.
“…Presidents and Chancellors come and go….”
As seen on http://texan4texas.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/video-perry-on-murano-decision/