You recently wrote us because Bill White asked you to show some emotion about recent actions at the State Board of Education. Well, Bill White misled you about those actions. He used a cheap distortion of the facts to get your riled up. Maybe Bill White should do his homework?
I’m not Randy Neugebauer or Joe Wilson, so I won’t stand up and holler “You Lie!” or “Baby Killer!” at Jordan Root, but there’s so much wrong with his response I can scarcely credit it as the work of a literate adult.
First of all, Bill White never asked me to show some emotion.
He asked me to join him in urging the Governor to send the state curriculum standards back for review by teachers, educators, and historians. I agreed wholeheartedly, because under the leadership of Gail Lowe and Don McLeroy, the SBOE has tirelessly revised curriculum standards for literature and English, science, and now social studies — and in every case they’ve revised away from fact, away from diversity, toward a discredited ideal of WASP male fundamentalist superiority.
In fact McLeroy told the Washington Monthly he concurred with Peter Barton’s “vindication” of McCarthy; without McLeroy’s appointment to do so, Barton never could have written proposed curriculum guidelines and raised claims that it wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr. who won civil rights for African-Americans, it was Republican men who allowed the rights of those African-Americans to be recognized under the nation’s Constitutional majority rule as potential content for Texas textbooks. McLeroy’s similarly suggested women’s rights arose out of male magnanimity. His bloc of Christian Conservatives booted Oscar Romero and Thomas Jefferson in favor of Joe McCarthy and Phyllis Schlafly, and his board’s members suggested that Jefferson actually lived “hundreds of years later” than the Enlightenment, which it claims included John Calvin.
I’m shamed, and I’m not alone. Texas voters refused to give McLeroy another term during the primaries.
Now, for the rest of Jordan’s claims about Bill White:
1. Spending: Bill White used Enron-style accounting during a six-year spending spree that left the taxpayers of Houston with twice as much per capita debt as California. He is a big-spending liberal who mortgaged Houston’s future to spend money citizens didn’t have on projects they couldn’t afford.
2. Texas Values: Bill White joined a group of East Coast mayors in support of gun control measures that limit the ability of citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights. White also opposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, putting him on opposite side of more than 75 percent of Texas voters. With a record of supporting same-sex marriage, restraints on lawful gun ownership, and his history as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer, White is just another liberal Democrat out of touch with mainstream Texas values.
3. Protecting Illegal Immigrants and Illegal Behavior: Under Bill White, Houston was classified as a “Sanctuary City” by the Congressional Research Services and labeled this way by the Houston Chronicle, making the city a safe haven for illegal immigrants because law enforcement couldn’t ask a citizen’s legal status. In addition, White opposes a common sense measure to protect the integrity of our elections by requiring voters to show a photo ID.
4. Obama’s Ally in Texas: Bill White supports the massive Obama healthcare plan and has indicated support for nationalizing healthcare, meaning the government both finances and runs healthcare for Americans. White also supports California-style environmental regulations that would destroy the Texas economy, in particular industry in the Houston area. He also has a record of lobbying the Legislature to force neighboring cities to adopt his own environmental policies.
Let’s look what the Austin American Statesman found, Jordan, starting with how similar your email sounds to a letter Cathie Adams, the state’s GOP chair, issued recently in a bid to raise money for Rick Perry’s re-election.
Politifact found her claim Houston offered sanctuary to illegal aliens false.
Politifact Texas found her claims White would back regulations destroying jobs and support Obamacare “pants on fire” false.
Politifact had this to say about the Houston budget issue:
The city’s director of finance and its former director countered in November that the city is not broke and “there is no potential for bankruptcy.” Assets exceed liabilities by $1.7 billion, they said, and the city’s general fund balances increased from $136 million in 2004 to $332 million in 2008.
But the city’s debt load did increase on White’s watch. According to the city, the outstanding debts for all municipal entities totaled $9.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2003, about when White began his first term. The total exceeded $12.8 billion by Dec. 31, 2009, toward the end of his third term. Over the years, debt went up $2.9 billion, or 29 percent.
The subset of debt payable from property taxes — as opposed, say, to income from the airport or other city services — increased at a faster clip. That total was $2 billion as of the end of 2003 and reached $3.3 billion at the end of 2009 — a 65 percent increase while White was mayor. These include $625 million in bonds approved by voters in 2006.
Two can play the debt blame game: White has said the state’s debt load went up 100 percent on GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s watch.
PolitiFact rated that claim as true, Jordan.
Maybe you ought to do your homework.