By Marc Campos
State Senator John Whitmire is the focus of four pieces in today's Chron. An editorial, Rick Casey's column, a Kristen Mack column, and a Mack story. Subject: the city of Houston's Safe Clear towing program.
Whitmire demonstrated his power yesterday by calling a press conference in Austin to trot out the proposed Make Safe Clear Roadkill Act - signed by 28 state senators. A number of Texas House leaders also attended the press conference.
In one of the articles, Houston State Rep. Garnet Coleman charges that Whitmire is helping Republicans. Commentary must have missed this one. When did freeway towing become a partisan issue? Pretty lame accusation Garnet. Whitmire's effort is also supported by a number of Democratic legislators including State Senator Mario Gallegos and State Reps. Senfronia Thompson and Dora Olivo.
One of the articles says that Whitmire is running interference for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. According to unnamed speculators, Dewhurst is afraid that Houston Mayor Bill White is a potential opponent and that Dewhurst wants to embarrass White.
Whitmire points out that he is genuinely trying to fix what he perceives is bad public policy. He also says that he has been a champion of city issues in past legislative sessions. He's right.
In past sessions, Whitmire has been the city's go to guy when trying to kill bad legislation or pass much needed bills. Commentary has discussed the freeway issue with Whitmire. With Whitmire, this is all about the issue and the policy. This is not a testosterone driven initiative.
It is silly to question his party loyalty or political motivation on this one. Whitmire is doing what he thinks is his job.
February 4, 2005, 9:00AM