Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Once more the only major local daily "newspaper" we have has endorsed a Democrat against a Republican incumbent, picking Harriet Miller for State Representative, in a mostly suburban district in north Dallas County. There are three possible explanations. The one which we'd all like to believe is that the "News" just recognized the truth, that she really is a much better person for the job than the guy who's there now. That has never been sufficient before for the editorial staff at the Belo Corp., so let's consider two other possbilities.

That paper notoriously endorses some token Democrats each year, ones so certain to win that the editorial writers figure opposing them is hopeless -- and jumping on the winners' bandwagons will prove how "bipartisan" they are. This can't be one of those races, because the district is very strongly Republican. So what is this about? I suspect the clue is in their comments about his being "ambivalent" about supporting an increase in local sales taxes to support a regional mass transit system. The Dallas establishment, largely droolers over "development" opportunities in real estate, conned the people of the city and a few suburbs to backing DART, but now want to extend its taxing grasp -- and the related profits in property speculation -- to the whole area.

In other words, the incumbent is not being a good "team player" in sticking it to the little guys for the sake of the fat cats. Miller, whom they praise as being "practical", may reasonably buy into their argument that more mass transit is needed to get more cars off the street, reducing the pollution levels here so that DFW won't lose the federal transportation funding now threatened by the emissions from various industries. Those smokestacks, of course, are too sacred to put filters on. Let the "little people" bear the burden of disrupting their lives. It's a defensible position, but it won't work. Texas drivers are not going to hang up their pickup and SUV keys to clear the air, no matter how convenient regressive taxes make it. I'd still vote for her, and I hope she wins, because she's much better on other issues, but this endorsement is all about fighting over the spoils.

Once again, I pass on a copy of their editorial, which Tom Blackwell emailed me from that periodical which I do not choose to register to read on line. [Note to their shysters: "This contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law."]
Texas House District 102: Newcomer Miller outshines incumbent
12:06 AM CDT on Monday, October 4, 2004

Legislators are sometimes like a fine wine - they get better with time. But that doesn't seem to be the case with GOP state Rep. Tony Goolsby.

With regard to school finance, Mr. Goolsby told us he was "shocked" by the court ruling last month that the funding system was unconstitutional, even though such a ruling was the topic of weeks of speculation. When we pressed him about reform ideas, the 16-year legislative veteran was reluctant to disclose which options he favored. When we pressed harder, he told us he'd support an expansion of the business tax - an idea we applaud, but something Mr. Goolsby voted against earlier this year.

A graduate of the University of North Texas, Mr. Goolsby told us he would vote next year to restore cuts to the Children's Health Insurance Program, another position we support. But Mr. Goolsby voted in favor of those cuts earlier this year.

Mr. Goolsby, 70, was ambivalent about whether he supported a North Texas local-option election to raise the sales tax by a half-cent for a seamless regional transit system - something hundreds of North Texas leaders have worked hard to develop a consensus around for the past year.

We're troubled by these inconsistencies and by Mr. Goolsby's sometimes-dismissive attitude to ideas and people he disagrees with. According to his own count, Mr. Goolsby's held just four district town hall meetings in 16 years.

Democrat Harriet Miller, on the other hand, struck us as smart, responsive and practical. A lawyer who graduated from Rutgers University, Ms. Miller has practiced law for 30 years and cut her teeth at the federal agency once known as the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. She helped draft the federal regulations implementing Title IX, which led to increased funding for girls' sports in public schools. For the last 10 years, she has worked as a professional mediator. We hope that she can put those consensus-building skills to work in Austin.

Ms. Miller, 55, supports an expanded business tax to pay for education, restoring funding for children's health insurance, the local-option transit election and pledges to be more in touch with district interests than the incumbent. She has an uphill climb in this GOP-heavy district, but as a former PTA president in the Richardson school district, she knows something about community meetings.

We thank Rep. Goolsby for his service.

We recommend Harriet Miller.


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