By Marc Campos
Houston Mayor Bill White has made it known that he does not think much of lobbyists. Who can blame him? His own hired guns have let him down big time. Last week, the high priced city of Houston lobby team in Austin was caught flat footed when State Senator John Whitmire suspended the rules and held a hearing on Whitmire's Make Safe Clear Roadkill Act. The bill zipped out of the Senate's Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Surely one of the city's lobbyists should have had an informal agreement with Whitmire or his staff on a heads up on when the bill would move.
In yesterday's Chron, there was an article on how METRO's light rail initiative was denied funding in the latest congressional appropriations bill. Turns out Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Houston Congressman John Culberson did not lift a finger for METRO or worked against METRO. When Mayor White took office, he hired a full time lobbyist staffer that had special connections to DeLay. The DeLay connection was touted when this staffer was brought aboard. White even supplemented her city salary by paying her from his campaign account. She is one of the highest paid White staffers. Looks like the mayor ought to be asking for his money back.
What about those Grammys last night? Props to Melissa Etheridge for her rocking tribute to Janis Joplin. Etheride has breast cancer and appeared on stage with her bald head. The "Across The Universe" rendition with Bono, Stevie Wonder, Steve Tyler and others was four star cool. Some critics this morning are panning the J.Lo/Marc Anthony duet. Hey, they looked like they are in love. Maybe they did not understand it - the song was performed in Spanish.
Leading up to the Grammys was a very pathetic interview on 60 Minutes with former pro baseball player Jose Canseco. Canseco's book, "Juiced", goes on sale today. The interview last night was a tell all on steroid use. The book covers the same subject. Canseco drops a few of his former teammates in the grease by accusing them of using 'roids. The interview was a clear case of book sale promotion. Canseco has sealed his fate within the baseball community. Players, sportswriters, management, and fans now think he's a joke. Looks like the baseball that hit him on the top of his head and bounced over the fence for a homerun did some damage.
February 14, 2005, 9:00AM