Starr: Been There, Done That and Got the T-shirt

A Breitbart Texas article describing CD-19 congressional candidate retired Col. Michael Bob Starr’s LGBT activism prompted the candidate to fire back Monday wrapping himself in the flag and calling his detractors “cowards.”

The article includes a picture of then Col. Starr triumphantly crossing the finish line in the Dyess Air Force Base “Gay Fun Run” wearing a gay pride T-shirt. The event was a part of the Dyess observation of LGBT Pride Month according to the caption on the Dyess AFB photo. The Breitbart headline described Starr as a gay rights activist.

bob_starr2In today’s news conference Starr said that he did not support LGBT activism or gay marriage but was only there to support his troops.

A statement from Senior Airman James Rogers to the Abilene Reporter News confirms that Starr was indeed very supportive. “We’re the first LGBT support group on Dyess,” Rogers said. “The atmosphere of acceptance, from Col. (Michael Bob) Starr to the new Airmen Basics has been great. They’ve put an emphasis on changing. You can see with us out here, we’re here because we have the support to be out here” (Abilene Reporter News, May 3, 2015).

It appears from photos that Starr has shown his support in two such “Fun Runs.”

Who is the real Bob Starr?

The LGBT agenda is well known to be a left leaning political agenda that seeks, among other things, to force businesses to participate in activities the owners may find objectionable on religious grounds.

Now all of that is fine, if that is who Michael Bob Starr is, an active supporter of the LGBT agenda.

The question seems to be, “who is the real Michael Bob Starr?”

In a January Faith & Family Forum at Rock City Church, Michael Bob Starr was as militantly anti-gay as any Republican candidate on the dais.

In Monday’s news conference the Michael Bob Starr we saw was a sniveling whiner who called those who told the truth about his actions “cowards” who were conducting a “coordinated, well-financed attack.”

The Michael Bob Starr we saw was a sniveling whiner.

Starr demanded his opponents not make Dyess Air Force Base part of their attack strategy.

But wait, aren’t those military aircraft in the background of Michael Bob Starr’s commercials? Or was that a Greyhound bus? Doesn’t he use “U.S. Air Force” liberally in his material? If Michael Bob Starr can use his command of Dyess AFB as a qualification isn’t it fair for someone else to criticize his actions while serving as base commander?

And while he denied supporting the LGBT agenda, Michael Bob Starr also stated plainly about his actions, “I don’t regret any of this.”

Starr never identified who was behind the “coordinated, well-financed attack.” Jason Corley, the only candidate who has raised this issue, is hardly “well-financed.” Corley is also the only candidate to have not raised and spent enough money to require him to file a campaign finance report. And Breitbart Managing Editor Brandon Darby says he only found out about the issue when the Starr campaign called him trying to do damage control. Darby is an outstanding reporter and editor but it doesn’t require a Bob Woodward to Google “Michael Bob Starr LGBT” once you get that call.

Starr: “I don’t regret any of this.”

Through all the invectives, hurt feelings and whining Starr never denied any allegation contained in the Breitbart article except to say that running in a gay pride race and wearing the gay pride T-shirt did not imply that he supported the gay pride agenda, only the troops.

Been there, done that and got the T-shirt but I really didn’t mean it.


Editorial hypocrisy produces Flores endorsement

Lubbock’s daily newspaper, we like to call it the Daily Nickel, has come out with its endorsements. They are notable but only for their hypocrisy.

Sedeno
Commissioner Sedeno

The Daily Nickel’s endorsement of former Commissioner Gilbert Flores for county commissioner over incumbent Bubba Sedeno in the Democratic Primary was, in its best light, a blatant act of doublespeak. It also renews questions about how relevant a daily newspaper can be when it is owned by a Georgia media conglomerate and has little or no corporate memory.

The argument for editorial hypocrisy is found in the editorial’s reference to Sedeno’s vote for a raise for commissioners. That vote was 4-1 for the raise and Commissioner Bill McCay, who received the Daily Nickel’s endorsement for Pct. 1 Republican Primary, also voted for the raise.

Flores made the motion for a twenty percent raise.

A further demonstration of the duplicity at work is found in a July 24, 2001 article in the Daily Nickel. There we learn that during his previous tenure on the commissioners court Flores himself made the motion for a larger, twenty percent pay raise. The commissioners approved that raise by a 4-1 vote also. McCay was not on the commissioners court at that time.

One of the underlying reasons for the Daily Nickel’s duplicity is found in its ignorance. Ignorance is a sad accusation to make of a media outlet however the Daily Nickel boasts a lack of any institutional memory of itself or the community it presumes to serve. imageTwo thirds of its editorial board are new transfers to Lubbock. Collectively, editorial board opinions are a vivid demonstration of the absence of any historical context.

This is the same publication that in its December 27, 2015 edition announced on the front page that it would soon feature a new column edited by a former Lubbockite who at the time also appeared on the state’s registered sex offender list. The article no longer appears on the paper’s website yet no retraction can be found.

One assumes that Daily Nickel management, when confronted with public outcry over the outrageous move, backed down and attempted to cover up all trace of the lapse. Had management merely looked up its new columnist in its own archives it would have learned the truth. Ignorance on the front page.

Sedeno refuses to be a token.

But ignorance is not the only reason behind the specious endorsement. Unlike his opponent, Bubba Sedeno refuses to be a token. He didn’t take office to get along with the rest of the commissioners. He has consistently challenged the status quo and boldly represented his district without apology.

The commissioners court has long been run by a Queen Commissioner and her Duke. Those two believe their districts, although equal in population to Sedeno’s, merit better and more attention from taxpayer dollars. For years, while Flores was commissioner and without his objection, those two commissioners ran the county with an iron fist behind a cloak of secrecy that produced questionable expenditures and backdoor raises to favored employees.

Commissioner Sedeno has fought for transparency. Unlike Flores, he’s not satisfied to merely collect a paycheck. But the power establishment at the county and the Daily Nickel abhor a minority who isn’t there to just get along.

The power establishment at the county and the Daily Nickel abhor a minority who isn’t there to just get along.

If Sedeno “erred” past offending the Queen and her Duke, both of whom have the ear of the editorial board, it was in cooperating with any media outlet except the Daily Nickel. The editorial board is punishing Sedeno for not realizing that the Daily Nickel and it’s ever shrinking circulation is the only game in town. Except it isn’t the only game in town and Sedeno made no mistake when he refused to bend his knee to the Queen and her Duke.

Whether on the front page or the editorial page, the Daily Nickel has become the marionette for establishment interests and the politicians who cater to it. That calls in question the legitimacy of every endorsement it makes.


Councilwoman’s Votes Help Pay the Rent

City council watchers will remember the North and East Lubbock Community Development Corporation. It encompasses a for-profit corporation owned by a non-profit through which it takes over one quarter million dollars per year that it only partially accounts for. In the larger scheme of things it is a mechanism by which Councilwoman Latrelle Bright Joy helps siphon public dollars into her law firm; dollars which allegedly help develop north and east Lubbock.

NELCDC is an exercise in economic alchemy. We are asked to believe that funneling your tax dollars through an Amarillo-based law firm, will magically help minority communities of north and east Lubbock.

NELCDC is an exercise in economic alchemy.

This notwithstanding the fact that there exist minority owned law firms that lie within the boundaries of NELCDC’s designated economic development zone which could do the work just as easily. But that wouldn’t serve the purpose of spending money with Councilwoman Latrelle Bright Joy’s law firm, where LBJ’s partner, who is the chairman of the NELCDC board as well as its attorney, has made an art of turning public service into a profitable venture.

Between NELCDC, which LBJ votes to fund, and Reese Redevelopment Authority, to which she votes appointees, her firm rakes in about $100,000 or more of public funds per year. That’s enough money to rent an entire floor of the Wells Fargo Building downtown for most of a year.

at Lubbock City Council meeting 9/10/2013
LBJ’s votes help pay the rent.

So while LBJ claims to get no benefit from NELCDC payments to her firm, it is that funding and the decisions of her appointees to the Reese board that help pay the rent for her firm. Her protestations are false and actions disingenuous.

Follow the logic: LBJ recuses when a matter involving her lawn boy comes before the city council but on two votes that together will pay the rent for her law firm for most of the year she engages and even lobbies the council to do her will. It is something that even her own partner calls “the appearance of impropriety.” In our opinion, it is the appearance of corruption.

But in spite of LBJ’s best efforts, NELCDC may be nearing the end of its ability to pull the wool over taxpayers’ eyes. Funding for the beleaguered organization was scheduled to be discussed at last Thursday’s meeting but was put off because NELCDC is past due in submitting it’s annual audit to the city; not usually the sign of a transparent and fiscally sound organization.

The Mayor’s plan calls for applying the funds directly.

In noting this Mayor Glen Robertson announced his intention to offer an alternate plan for the over one million dollars tentatively scheduled to be given to NELCDC. Instead of funding to NELCDC, which spends over $250,000 on administrative overhead (and was asking for more), the Mayor’s plan calls for applying 100% of the funds directly to paving the over 55 miles of unpaved roads in north and east Lubbock.

Such a plan would allow the city to avoid duplication of administrative costs and put more money directly into needed projects in north and east Lubbock. No more waiting for delinquent audits from NELCDC. All of the money would go directly to improving infrastructure in north and east Lubbock. The only loss is the economic development done at Latrelle Bright Joy’s law firm.

There’s no indication of how the it will vote on the issue, but the council has a chance to stop pouring public money into a black hole that serves no good purpose other than to assuage one man’s need to purchase influence and pay the rent and instead put over a million dollars directly to work that serves north and east Lubbock.


Sheriff to Constable: Keep Your Bullet in Your Pocket, Barney

Lubbock County Sheriff Kelly Rowe has a message for Constable Precinct 2 Joe Pinson: keep your bullet in your pocket, Barney. The sheriff does not want Pinson, who has wrecked three county vehicles, joining in any more high speed pursuits. The Sheriff’s letter reads, in part, “specifically with regard to pursuits I must insist you not interject yourself into any in the future.”

Wrecking vehicles isn’t Crash Pinson’s only offense. According to the Sheriff’s letter, Pinson made a u-turn into one way traffic becoming a menace to others. After crashing into a deputy’s parked vehicle the constable then had to be forcibly removed from a suspect so that he could be handcuffed. Download the full letter here.

Since that time Crash Pinson has had the opportunity to take a NADP driving course. He failed to finish.

The constable had to be forcibly removed from a suspect.

It seems to be well-documented that Constable Joe Crash Pinson is a hazard to public safety. He’s the most dangerous kind of elected official: out of control with a badge and a gun. Surely the voters of Precinct 2 can do better.

The larger question becomes whether Lubbock County wants four cowboys accountable to no one but with the authority to take life, liberty and property under the color of law.

The most dangerous kind of elected official: out of control with a badge and a gun.

According to the US Department of Justice, there were 2630 full-time constables/deputy constables in Texas in 2000. Of this number 35% were assigned primarily to patrol duties. In Bexar and Harris Counties (San Antonio and Houston) there are entire constable departments complete with deputy constables.

This may be exactly what those counties need. Perhaps there exists a law enforcement deficit in some counties. They ought to be able to opt for constables.

A solution to the constable problem
Republican Chairman Carl Tepper believes that it’s worth investigating options other than constables in Lubbock County. We concur. For Tepper it is simply a matter of expediency. “If you can consolidate and achieve efficiencies by allowing the Sheriff to take over those responsibilities why not explore giving citizens that option?”

Tepper favors legislation that allows county voters the option to do away with the office.

Tepper favors considering legislation, even if it requires a constitutional amendment, that allows county voters the option to do away with the office of constable and allowing the county to delegate the responsibilities to Sheriff.

We agree with Chairman Tepper for several reasons and financial expedience is the least of them.

In Lubbock County the four constables are, at best, a sizeable but inefficient means by which we serve papers from the Justice Courts. At their worst they are an rogue police force with little accountability and less professionalism. Out of shape, out of date and out of control all describe a group that, in the aggregate, makes the Crosbyton Police Department look leading edge.

It is their lack of accountability and inclination to do what they have no practical business doing that causes us to support legislation and a constitutional amendment that will allow Lubbock County voters the option to do away with the office of constable for our county.

*The above article expresses an editorial opinion that is solely the author’s and is independent of KCBD, its news department and its management.


City Council review – Anti-smoking ordinance

Thursday night’s Lubbock City Council meeting offered a glimpse of the future direction of that body and the news is mixed.

The anti-smoking ordinance was on Thursday’s agenda, at least for those not privy to the council within the Council comprised of members Gerlt, Joy, Hernandez and Price.

Over seventy-five people showed to express their displeasure at the proposed ordinance however proponents of the measure apparently had some prior warning that the vote would not be considered because the baker’s dozen of usual suspects supporting the measure failed to show. In the interest of full-disclosure, the Sandstorm Scholar cannot use any tobacco product and eschews cigarette smoke.

punch-smokers
An incremental property
confiscation measure.

In a move that was clearly orchestrated prior to the meeting Councilman Pastor the Reverend Jim Gerlt, who had only hours earlier announced that he would not support the smoking ordinance, made a ninety degree turn and supported an indefinite postponement of the measure instead. His vote was a vote in support of keeping the ordinance alive.

Several days before, Gerlt told Wade Wilkes in an interview on AM580 that he would support the anti-smoking law even if it caused his defeat at the polls. So much for representative government.

It isn’t that the Mayor Pro-Tem cannot be taken at his word; it just depends on who talks to him last. Who was it that said “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways”?

The disconcerting aspect of the way the Council handled the matter is twofold. First, it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a good deal of council business done off the dais. Interminably long council meetings are not for the fainthearted, but at least the business is done in public.

The second cause for concern is the Lubbock City Council’s willingness to encroach upon private property rights. To the degree your use of your property is limited you have lost that property.

The proposed anti-smoking ordinance is based on pseudo-science. It reaches past business and into your home and vehicle and denies the ability of the market to provide solutions for smokers and non-smokers alike. It is an incremental property confiscation law done not for the health or well-being of others but to satisfy the personal preferences of council members and those who control them.