Sunday, February 06, 2005

Rough talk aimed @ State Rep. Bonnen

When a city official accused State Rep. Dennis Bonnen of "pandering" in the local paper, I immediately went to the Internet and punched up to make sure I understood what they were talking about.

Uh-huh, the definition was just as I suspected.

Next to "pandering" is the following:

1 : the act or crime of recruiting prostitutes or of arranging a situation for another to practice prostitution —compare PIMP
2 : the act or crime of selling or distributing visual or print media (as magazines) designed to appeal to the recipient's sexual interest

This was confusing as the pandering allegation was made in connection with Bonnen's proposal in the current legislative session to limit property valuation increases to 3 percent. Naturally, I had to find out more, so I did what Woodward and Bernstein did in the Watergate investigation -- I followed the money.

I got on the Internet, again, and looked up the Texas Ethics Commission web site, where public officials file their lists of campaign contributions. The answers must lie here. Tantalizing stuff. Not smoking gun stuff, but enough to get the ol' antenna up. Here's a partial list of monies contributed to Rep. Bonnen and those who contributed:

1. $5,000 -- by Texas chicken magnate Bo Pilgrim. Chicken magnate or chickenhawk magnate? That's what I want to know.

2. $200 -- by Tilman Fertitta, for 2 tickets to a Houston Texans football game and dinner for 2. Fertitta, majordomo of Landry's Restaurants, is buying the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. What goes on in Las Vegas? Topless showgirls, gambling and drinking. And what else goes on in Nevada? Legalized prostitution!!

3. $500 -- by the Beer Alliance of Texas political action committee. Beer! 'nuff said.

4. $3,000 -- by 3 members of the M.M. Collins family of Las Vegas, Nevada. (See #2)

5. $500 -- by Sonic Drive-In #1, Lake Jackson. Teenagers! Teenagers playing rap music! And driving too fast!!

The list goes on and on and on. Political action committees for corporate law firms, home builders, insurance companies, petrochemical interests, railroad interests, insurance companies, teachers, doctors, department stores, medical schools and, frankly, organizations represented by acronyms that I can't make heads or tails of.

Is any of this proof of pandering? Frankly, I have to say no.

Is it proof that many many people want to help Rep. Bonnen, a Republican, contribute to good government? Absolutely, because many of the organizations that contributed large sums of money have "Good Government" in their official political action committee name (examples: Dupont Good Government Fund of Wilmington Del. gave $2,000 while the Good Government Fund of Fort Worth kicked in $500.)

There was not a single contribution from an organization that I know for a fact is in favor of pimping or prostitution or anything else associated with "pandering."

So, if I'm Rep. Bonnen and was accused of pandering, I might be tempted to ask for an apology. Except, what's that old saying? It's better to let sleeping dogs lie? Yeah, maybe it's better just to let it be.
[The Facts]

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