Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Public Property, Private Use
As a tea party leader, I've organized several rallies and protests around the Houston area. When we held our first rally on the grounds of Discovery Green, we paid hundreds of dollars to secure the venue and insurance and the proper permits.
When we held our huge Tax Day Tea Party April 15, 2009 that brought over 11,000 people to Jones Plaza in downtown Houston, we spent thousands of dollars to secure the venue and insurance, as well as pay for off-duty officers to provide security and crowd control.
When Occupy decided to start a Houston chapter, however, we never heard of permits, or insurance, or security. Tents sprung up around the park, people camped out, and the group even made use of city power without paying. That always struck me as wrong and inequitable.
We in the tea party have always been willing, and usually been able, to pay for the use of public property such as parks and public buildings. We believe in following the rules, and in doing what's right while we call attention to the miserable state of the finances at all levels of government.
So when I saw that the ads from supposed "tea party" District Attorney candidate Mike Anderson were shot in an actual courtroom and NOT on a set, I got a little miffed. Did Anderson, who retired as a judge but who occasionally serves in that court, PAY for the privilege to use county resources to film an ad for his campaign? Was that even legal?
It may or may not be, but the principle is what gets me.
I don't know much about county politics, but I know any D.A. race is contentious; especially so here, after Harris County went through the Rosenthal scandal. I'm not working on D.A. Lykos' campaign, and there are a few cases where I want to ask some serious questions about her office's policies. But after paying our way so dilligently for so long, and seeing the Occupy crowd get special treatment from the city, I decided to see if an ordinary citizen can get a hearing on this type of complaint.
So today I'm filing a complaint with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct over this ad. We'll see what happens. It may amount to nothing. But I'm tired of seeing ethical lapses brushed aside with an "Oh, well. Nothing you can do about it." Let's see whether Anderson filmed the ad properly by paying for the use of public facilities. If so, fine. If not, then I want an explanation. And possibly a refund.