No 'fake news' in a wild week with fighting energy commissioners, and a $51,000 bill for an online psychic
Editor's note: Mike Ward, who appeared on this podcast, was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle whose reporting was called into question in August, 2018. Although the podcasts were primarily analysis of current events, in the interest of disclosure, we thought it wise to include this information.
The Houston Chronicle retracted eight reports and issued corrections in multiple others, saying they were based on fabricated information, after an outside investigation revealed 44 percent of people quoted in Ward’s stories did not appear to exist. Ward resigned earlier this year while the investigation was underway.
There are weeks when no one seems happy, especially when public officials are giving them such good material to be upset about.
Take Gordy Bunch, the head of The Woodlands township board, who suggested at a community meeting that the Confederate statutes being pulled down across Texas could find a new home in his happy community.
Make that formerly happy.
Within two days, Bunch was backing up on that offer faster than greased lightning, and posted an apology video on his Facebook page. Someone went to the woodshed in The Woodlands, we'd guess.
Next came the nomination of Jeff Mateer for a federal judgeship in the Lone Star State. Critics quickly pointed out that he had once called the LGBT agenda "Satan's plan."
And then the Texas Railroad Commission, always a fun group, went public with a nasty family spat over the future of executive director Kimberly Corley. It seems that Commission Chairman Christi Craddick met with Corley and told her to look for work elsewhere, unbeknownst to the other two commissioners.
Not good, said miffed Commissioner Ryan Sitton, who quizzed Craddick in a public meeting about what happened, at one labeling Craddick a "dictator." He then filed a request for an opinion from Attorney General Ken Paxton about whether Craddick overstepped her authority.
For her part, Corley turned in her resignation letter effective Nov. 7, enough time for the commission to have another blowout or two in public over Craddick's handling of her departure.
Finally, state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, the Austin Democrat who is under indictment on corruption charges, provided this capper: She spent $51,000 on an online psychic, appeared for work at the Capitol impaired and hid a cellphone from investigators.
In a case straight from TMZ, with all its twists and turns so far, this is a new one.
You can't make up stuff this good.
From Mike Ward, the Houston Chronicle's Austin Bureau chief, and Scott Braddock, editor of the Quorum Report, comes Texas' leading online podcast about Lone Star politics -- now coming to you in collaboration with Texas Public Radio. We've got the lowdown on all the political action under the Pink Dome in this week's Texas Take, a weekly insiders look at Texas politics -- and what it means to average Texans.