“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So what became of rebels / Who sang for you and me? / Grapplin' with their demons / In the seach for liberty

This race pits two fine men vying for the seat being vacated by Debra McCartt.

Jim Simms, however, deserves the nod over Prenis Williams, the other leading contender.
Amarillo Globe-News, April 17, 2005

[D]on't be surprised if the upcoming May elections prove a point... There is at least one minority candidate. . . [whose] qualifications are impressive... no matter whether an at-large or single-member district setup is used. A [Prenis] Williams win this time wouldn't be a shocker.

Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe-News, February 22, 2007

[T]he legal battle over single-member districts and at-large districts in Amarillo's election system has been put on hold... There are at least two minority candidates... - Prenis Williams in Place 2 and Daniel Martinez in Place 3... If one or both candidates win or even make it a close race, which wouldn't be a shocker, that sort of refutes the basis for the single-member argument...
Dave Henry, Amarillo Globe-News, April 26, 2007

2010: The next odyssey: It seems the legal odyssey that is the dispute between single-member districts and at-large districts in Amarillo's election system will wait until the 2010 Census...
Amarillo Globe-News, April 30, 2007

The current at-large system works well for the city.
Amarillo Globe-News, May 1, 2007

Eades' primary opponent is civic activist Prenis Williams, who serves on the Amarillo College Board of Regents. Williams is an admirable man who should stay active in our city's affairs.

But for this contest at this time, Brian Eades is the better fit.

Amarillo Globe-News, April 29, 2007

I hate to agree with Dave Henry about anything at all, but the damned weasel's right about one thing: this May election will prove a point about single-member districts.

The point, however, will be just how badly such a system is needed to enfranchise southeast and north Amarillo, and that point was painfully clear as the candidates struggled tonight to stay awake through a League of United Latin American Citizens forum in the basement of Our Lady of Guadalupe School. This election, like the last one, is largely about single-member districts-- to everyone but the establishment, who wish the issue would just go away.

The problem is this: those who were leading the fight are playing into the hands of that establishment. They're helping to make the issue go away. According to interviews and the press release below, J.E. Sauseda and Friends are, variously, dropping the lawsuit, putting the lawsuit on a back burner, and/or waiting until after the election. Even in the seemingly unlikely event that they still want single-member districts, they've done a great job of making those still advocating for the issue look silly and irrelevant.

Not that it's easy to divine what J.E. Sauseda and Friends want at this point. I've tried asking directly. At the PRDC forum last week, Daniel Martinez equivocated as masterly as the gravedigger in Hamlet. Before tonight's forum, when I began posing questions to Mr. Sauseda, he suddenly needed to talk to the Father.

I'm not going to speculate on how badly Mr. Sauseda may need to speak to a priest. I do know that Pride and Greed are endemic to politics-- and are two of the deadliest of sins.

Persistent rumors-- rumors that began circulating long before any motions were made to drop the suit-- maintain that a devil's bargain was struck. In exchange for the dropped suit, the rumors run, Paul Harpole and Robert "Batcrap Crazy" Keys would step down from places 2 and 3. Prenis Williams and Daniel Martinez would run for those slots. When they won, the city would be divided and they would be allowed to rule as viceroys of the southeastern and northern provinces.

It probably would've sounded good to Prenis Williams and Daniel Martinez, who would be assured an easy race to win a position both have coveted. It would've sounded good to Sauseda, who would get out of a difficult fight he wasn't assured of winning and which he wasn't being paid for. And, in place of fighting Power, he would have access to Power.

Once the deal was struck they would have waited until the most advantageous time for their candidates and then announced that they were dropping the suit.

It's not what I'd like to believe, but it's the simplest explanation, the one that makes the most sense, the one that Occam's Razor instructs us to believe.

But what if yet another Old White Amarillo Male ran for one of those seats and a boyish Ob-Gyn ran for the other? And what if J.E. Sauseda and Friends opened their Sunday papers to read that those candidates were supported by a smattering of the old guard-- Wares and Bivinses and Hodger the Dodger, oh, my! And even the mayor's brother.

At worst, it would have felt like a betrayal. And when they turned to see the newspaper's endorsement of the Old White Amarillo Male and the boyish Ob-Gyn, the most positive emotion they could summoned would surely have been sinking fear.

What would they have done, in that event?

Easy: they would have Hedged their Bets. They would have drafted a press release that "clarified" their position, while backing ever-so-slightly away from dropping the suit. They would have made it clear-- not to the people of Amarillo, that's where the Globe-News misparses the words, but to the current Commission-- that the dropped suit was contingent on the victories of certain candidates.

It didn't matter that the air was so close in the basement of the Our Lady of Guadalupe School. No one will be breathing until May 12.