What a year 2019 was, and last week we ticked off those who ticked us off that year. It was so much fun, let’s do it again, starting with our instant residents, those pols who parachute in and declare themselves our leader. Pierce Bush, the grandson of former president George H.W. Bush, is running as a Republican for the 22nd Congressional District. Bush, CEO of a non-profit organization, seeks the nomination to an open seat. Earlier this year, Bush considered a run for the 7th Congressional District, but reconsider and filed for the 22nd district just ahead of the deadline. Bush said he and his wife plan to move into the district. Soon after Bush’s announcement, Greg Hill, a Republican candidate for the district, called Bush “an unproven candidate who has never even spent a night” in the district.
Pete Sessions was defeated in his attempt to be re-elected as a Congressman from Dallas, so he moved down I-35 to Waco seeking an open seat there. It isn’t going over too well, some local Republicans said he was a carpetbagger trying to muscle his way back into power. Sessions’ problems are growing. He has been ensnared in the Ukrainian scandal. Two Soviet-born American citizens allegedly gave him campaign donations, using a concealed front, beyond the legal amount. In an indictment, Sessions is identified only as “Congressman-1” and is not charged with any crime, but was pushing to remove or recall the then-US ambassador to Ukraine. Not exactly a priority in Waco.
Floyd McLendon, a Republican House candidate, spoke to an audience at his campaign kickoff event wearing a Navy uniform adorned with numerous medals, including what appeared to be the SEAL Trident. He’s retired, but the Navy prohibits wearing uniforms at political events. The inaugural rally in Dallas was held in the 30th Congressional District, while McLendon is running in the 32nd District. Speaking of the Bushes, as we were a moment ago, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush has been at the helm of a $450 million planned makeover of the Alamo Plaza. As such, he has been falsely accused of wanting a memorial honoring the Mexican Army including a statue of Santa Anna. A group called Save the Alamo, headed by Rick Range of Plano, on the group’s Facebook page argued that Bush is trying to “desecrate the Alamo.” Range unsuccessfully challenged Bush in the 2018 Republican primary election. Justin Lecea, Democratic challenger for Joaquin Castro’s congressional seat, wrote this to Obama: “I just want you to think about all the people who have and will die because Obamacare is pointless and your entire presidency was a waste. If god was just, you would get the most malignant cancer imaginable.”
The West Loop, that parking lot from Interstate 10 to the Southwest Freeway (now Interstate 69) is the most-congested highway segment in the state, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. That’s the fourth year in a row the West Loop has held that, well, honor. Actually, Houston claims 12 of the top 20 worst freeways.
A North Texas sheriff called immigrants living in the country illegally “drunks” who will “run over your children,” citing repeat offenders in the jail he oversees, during a White House media briefing with the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “If we have to turn them loose or they get released, they’re coming back to your neighborhood and my neighborhood,” said Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn. “These drunks will run over your children, and they will run over my children.” One day later, Waybourn’s son, Sergei, was arrested in Arlington. He was charged with public intoxication and indecent exposure. Fortunately, Sergei was not an illegal immigrant. Near the town of Turkey, northwest of Dallas, a crop-duster dumped 350 gallons of pink water during a couple’s gender reveal celebration. Then the plane stalled out and crashed. One passenger suffered minor injuries.
Bringing Cole to New York: Astros ace pitcher Garrit Cole signed a nine-year contract with the Yankees for $324 million, the most ever for a pitcher. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball is investigating allegations the Astros used video equipment to steal signs from opposing teams. Also in sports, college football fans in Houston had a sad season. UT went 7-5. Texas A&M also 7-5, UH, 4-8 and Rice, 3-9. Not much to show for all those millions spent on coaches’ salaries.
To the dump, again: Tropical Storm Imelda dumped more than 40 inches of rain in some parts of the Lone Star State. It caused more than 10,000 flooded vehicle insurance claims, while vehicle and home damages will likely cost billions of dollars. The Houston Fire Department performed over 100 high water rescues and put out five fires. Imelda has been compared to the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 killed more than 100 people and left catastrophic flooding from southeast Texas into Central Texas. It caused more than $125 billion in damage. Congress, the state and FEMA are still wrestling with funds for aid, but President Trump told an audience in Arlington, “You made a fortune on the hurricane!” Mr. President, Hurricane Harvey was not the art of the deal, and that’s not fake news.
A fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Co. at the Houston Ship Channel burned for three days, sending a black plume of smoke visible for miles, temporarily shutting down the Channel, causing $1 billion in losses and leading to several shelter-in-place orders in the area due to air quality concerns. It was the second of what would become five fires in the Houston area since the spring. One of those fires, at a TPC installation in Port Neches, which makes chemicals used in synthetic rubber and gasoline, burned for six days, injured three workers and caused the evacuation of about 60,000 residents. Firefighting efforts were hampered when an automobile drove through a barricade and cut lines supplying water to firefighters.
Ashby looks forward to 2020 at email@example.com