Friday, January 24, 2014

Bay Area Houston: Dan Patrick. When you lie with teabaggers

Bay Area Houston: Dan Patrick. When you lie with teabaggers: Texas State Senator Dan Patrick is a smart liar. Case in point, his comments about immigration from Peggy Fikac’s of the Houston Chronicle :...

Monday, January 13, 2014

Water! Water! It's about Water and Education for this Texas Senate District 9 Candidate

By Faith Chatham - Jan. 13, 2014
Gregory R. Perry is a quiet-spoken intelligent man. When asked why he is running for Texas Senate District 9, he replied: "Mainly Anger!"
When he begins talking about public policy and how it impacts his grandchildren, it becomes clear that Gregory R. Perry is determined to change the course of Texas public policy. Gregory is convinced that the trajectory of this state is at odds with the opportunities facing his grandchildren and their generations. Gregory R. Perry is a man with a purpose and he knows what must be done and is ready to get to work seeing that it gets done!
1. Education - "Without education no one is going anywhere!" Perry says that even highway funding is inconsequential if we do not educate our children. He is running in an urban district (Arlington,  Irving, Grand Prairie and the Mid-Cities) which has over 89,000 adults who have not graduated from High School.  Unopposed in the Democratic Primary, Gregory R. Perry is facing incumbent Kelly Hancock (R) in the General Election. Hancock voted to slash school funding in 2011 while in the Texas House. In the Senate he has done little or nothing to restore the funding or to strengthen the public education system in Texas. In the Senate, Hancock opposed Equal Pay for Equal Work for women.

2. Public Infrastructure - especially Water - For Gregory Perry it comes down to energy and water. The U.S. Government stopped building reservoirs in the 1980s. The Reagan administration tried to privatize building water reservoir. Perry, retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, specialized in water management and river engineering. He says that until the Reagan administration, the Army Corps of Engineers built three reservoirs per decade to keep up with water demands from population growth and expanded industrial usage. When Reagan tried to sell of the reservoirs and speculated that future reservoirs could be constructed by private corporations, they failed to factor in the impact of flood control and sovereignty.



Only the United States Government can claim sovereignty. When reservoirs have to open the floodgates in exercising flood control, the government can defend itself from law suits because of sovereignty. A private company cannot. Therefore, it is too big a risk for private corporations to invest in reservoirs. There is a water crisis in Texas and it will not get better. Deferring investment in water solutions -- long term investment in infrastructure is imperative for the quality of life and economic future of North Texans. Gregory R. Perry worked on the Joe Pool Lake, Lake of the Pines, Sam Rayburn, and Lake of the Pines Corps of Engineers water management projects. He understand water and he knows Texas aquifers. With the stress of trillions of gallons of water used by horizontal drilling/fracking in Texas during drought, water is a priority for this next legislative session. He has worked on the rivers and lakes of Texas and now Gregory R. Perry is prepared to bring solutions to the floor for consideration.

Commenting on the power plants which went off-line during the January cold spell, Perry explains that these plants are coal power plants and it takes longer for a coal plant to come on-line. Water powered power plants come on-line rapidly. However, in Texas we do not have the water to power new hydro powered plants.

We have to think ahead and be innovative and apply sustainable energy solutions throughout the state. "Fossil fuel is a limited resource. We must shift to renewable energy for powering our homes and businesses and save the petro chemicals for producing plastics." Perry sees the current use of fossil fuel as "squandering resources which are too precious to use on generating electricity."


3. Equal Pay for Equal Work - Gregory Perry says that failure to index the minimum wage to inflation has eroded the financial base of families and transferred costs to the government which should be included in the cost of business when making a profit. In Senate District 9, over 48% of the households in the district live on less than $50,000 a year.  About 45% of the households in the District are renters. The median gross rent is $850 a month. Transportation cost is high. The Texas Legislative Council estimates that 110,536 people were living in poverty in Senate District 9 in 2011 and the per capita income is estimated as $25,046. Gregory R. Perry believes all workers should be fairly compensated. Gender and racial workplace discrimination must stop. The percentage of Latino and African American workers are three times more likely to live in poverty than Anglo workers. Texas has a higher employment rate than many other states but 28.6% of Texas jobs are low-wage. Gregory R. Perry says that "Trickle-down economic is a dismal failure. Money flows to the top one percent and American jobs have gone off-shore. Money hasn't trickled down to the middle class. The earning of many of the middle class is now below the poverty level." Gregory Perry cites a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report that the number of families living in poverty in the United States is now at the highest level in 50 years.





Perry sees education as the big divide between economic stability and opportunity.  The Texas Legislative Council reports 26.6% of the adults in Senate District 9 have Bachelor's Degrees or higher. However, 18.1% of the adults 25 years and older do not have high school diplomas. Many of the 45.8% of the district which have graduated from High School have difficulty affording a college education. In 2011 only 45,613 persons in the district were in college, attending university or trade schools. Gregory R. Perry says that lack of education combined with racial and gender discrimination in pay rates and job opportunities impacts the poverty level in the district. When families earn less, they have less to spend. This impacts the retail, housing and wholesale sectors of the district and impacts the overall economics of the region.


Gregory R. Perry does not think in sound-bites. He thinks like an engineer who is interested in macro economics. He views the big picture and looks for short-term solutions as a bridge while  long-term investments can be implemented to prevent future problems.

I found the conversations with Mr. Perry very stimulating. He does not duck and hide from the difficult questions. He is a family man who thinks of the future instead of just trying to put a band-aide on current problems. I find him refreshingly honest and intelligent. He is not a politician. He's neither polished nor evasive! He does have a plan and he has purpose. I like him. He is worth giving serious consideration for replacing the current incumbent in Senate District 9.

Visit his website at www.txsen9gregoryperry.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GregoryRPerrySen9/


Google+:
https://plus.google.com/114868630917640358013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New Campaign Rules Proposed for Tax-Exempt Nonprofits


The Obama administration on Tuesday moved to issue new rules that would curtail political activity by tax-exempt nonprofit groups, with potentially significant ramifications for one of the fastest-growing sources of campaign spending.
The proposed rules, announced by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service, would expand and clarify how the I.R.S. defines political activity and then establish clearer limits for how much activity nonprofits can engage in. Such a change — long urged by government watchdog groups — would be the first wholesale shift in a generation in the regulations governing political activity.
The move to curtail nonprofits follows years of legal and regulatory shifts, such as the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010, that have steadily loosened the rules governing political spending, particularly by big corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals.
The rules would not prohibit political activity by nonprofit organizations. But by establishing clearer limits for campaign-related spending, the new rules could have a significant impact on the big-spending nonprofit groups that have played a central role in national politics in recent years, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on political advertising and voter outreach.
The administration’s proposal would apply to nonprofit groups organized under Section 501(c)4 of the tax code, which are permitted tax exemption in exchange for devoting themselves primarily to the promotion of “social welfare,” which under current rules can include some political activity.
The largest political nonprofits — such as Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, co-founded by Karl Rove, the Republican operative, or Americans for Prosperity, backed by the conservative philanthropists Charles and David Koch, have exploited that provision to spend heavily on election-themed advertising.
But the proposed guidance, a broad swath of campaign-related activity — including any ads that mention a candidate within 60 days of an election — would be excluded from the definition of “social welfare.”
“Depending on the details, this could be dramatic,” said Marcus S. Owens, a former chief of the I.R.S.'s exempt organizations division.
The rules would also effect political activity by conservative and liberal grass-roots organizations, including Tea Party groups whose complaints of aggressive treatment and harassment by I.R.S. employees led to the resignation of several high-ranking agency officials last spring.
More details of the proposal were scheduled to be released later on Tuesday. The final rules are unlikely to be issued until after the 2014 election, after a lengthy public comment period, possible hearings and more deliberation by the agency.
“This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” said Mark J. Mazur, the assistant Treasury secretary for tax policy.
Unlike candidates, parties and “super PACs,” such groups do not have to disclose donors, giving rise to the label “dark money” for organizations that spend heavily on elections but claim to be engaged in promoting social welfare.
The vague — and inconsistently enforced — rules for political nonprofits, along with the anonymity they offer donors, have made them the vehicle of choice for wealthy individuals, corporations and unions seeking to influence elections in secret. From 2006 to 2012, election spending by tax-exempt groups rose to more than $300 million from less than $5.2 million.
Read more in The New York Times

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Max Bus Service is a Feeble Beginning

By Faith Chatham - Arlington, TX - Nov. 21, 2013
RIDE THE MAX is a two-year pilot program linking Arlington to the Dallas DART and Fort Worth T Systems. It is a controversial start to mass transit service for Arlington, Texas. I see it as necessary, but feeble beginning.
Currently there are two MAX bus stops in Arlington for the service operated by DART which connects Arlington with the TRE at the Centerpoint Rail Station. The service runs 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. It does not run on Saturday when most of the games are played at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium.
The Entertainment District stop was only added Nov. 4th. The location, in my opinion, is wrong. It is located at Andrews and Collins, where there are no benches and no covered shelters. Andrews is four blocks North of the Cowboy Stadium and about a block South of Lincoln Square.
In our neighborhood, two blocks west of the Cowboy Stadium on Webb Street near Randoll Mill Road, there are twelve benches and four shelters. This infrastructure already exists and Arlington taxpayers have already paid for them. I wonder why we have to stand out in the rain and don't have a bench to sit on while we wait for the bus when there is existing under utilized infrastructure on another near-by street!
During the week, when the MAX buses run, these benches and shelters on Webb Street, and the adjacent Cowboy Stadium parking lots, are TOTALLY deserted This already existing public infrastructure (facing an Arlington street and situated on public right-of-way) is very under- utilized. These benches and shelter are used, at the very most, three to five hours a week during football season.
The benches and shelters on Webb Street are two blocks from the Cowboy Stadium, one half block from Randoll Mill Rd, two blocks from Walmart, one block from Walgreens and are adjacent to neighborhoods which have numerous apartment buildings and small single-family homes and duplexes. This is my neighborhood.
,Many of the residents of my neighborhood favor mass transit because we need it. Some of my neighbors have cars which cannot stand up to regularly commuting to Dallas or Fort Worth. Riding an affordable bus with connections to the .TRE and DART or T systems can open up better job opportunities for many people. Better jobs for Arlington residents means more money to spend locally, and that improves our city's economy!
I am a MAX bus rider. Like many of my neighbors, I can walk to the benches at Webb Street, but current bus stop is seven blocks farther away, and that is much harder for me and my neighbors. As a mobility impaired person, I have to have a place to sit down while I wait for a bus or I wait for Handitran to pick me up and take me home..
Richard Webber and other critics of the MAX service have pointed out that the AISD charter bus contract is for $70.00 an hour while the DART contract for MAX service is $150.00 an hour. When accounting for the value of the service, I think it is important to consider that the DART contract includes fares for passengers' connecting service to the TRE and either Fort Worth T systems or the Dallas Dart systems. The AISD contract only includes payment for where the bus goes -- and does not include the right to connect to the T or DART system. You cannot weigh the per hour charge between the AISD Charter Contract and the MAX contract because they are not similar services. One is only for the bus transportation. The other is for the bus transportation and for transportation on the TRE Train and 24-hours of connecting service with the Fort Worth T and Dallas DART systems.
There is a very organized group of Arlington citizens who oppose mass transit of any kind. There are as many, probably more, Arlington citizens who favor it. However, those who favor it are unorganized and not as vocal as the opponents.
The opponents frequently argue against any subsidy of mass transit. They claim, as tax payers, they deserve to be able to drive their cars without having buses on "their streets." They fail to acknowledge that every taxpayer in Arlington subsidizes them when they put their automobile onto a public highway or city street. Their car taxes, gas tax and inspection fees do not generate enough money for the State of Texas, U.S. Government or City of Arlington to build and maintain pubic streets. Transportation is already subsidized  for people driving private automobiles.
It is past time for Arlington to join the modern world and and create a mass transit system which will augment existing modes of transportation (currently only private automobiles). This system must move more people more efficiently between where they live and work, worship, serve, and go to school and  play! We cannot afford to continue exercising public domain to acquire more right-of-way to expand more roads and streets. We cannot afford the pollution from more and more automobiles. We cannot afford the time spend in gridlock because there are too many cars for the capacity of our streets and highways.
Arlington's golden days were the 70ies and 80ies when its location between Dallas and Fort Worth on the DFW Tollroad and its proximity to DFW Airport were it's major selling points. Few other adjacent cities had mass transit then. Now Arlington is the only major city in the region (except for Grand Prairie) which does not have mass transit. Today, it is less attractive to industries seeking places for expansion or plant relocation.
When visitors come to Arlington one of the first questions they usually ask is "Why don't you have mass transit!"  We need to solve this so that when they come here, they'll see what we have instead of being bewildered about why we don't have a system which will efficiently move people throughout the city and connect to other places in the region.
It is time that Arlington moves beyond the resistance of the nay sayers and we roll up our sleeves and seriously find a solution that will allow us to fund a mass transit system which will serve all quadrants of the city.  The MAX is a beginning. It's a feeble beginning, but it is a beginning.
I ride it several times a month. Today there were ten people plus the driver on the bus. My $2.50 gave me a ride on MAX from the Entertainment District to the Centerpoint Station. It allowed me to ride the TRE train to and from Dallas. If I'd wanted to, I could have connected to any DART bus or rail line and ridden all day. If I had wanted to, I could also have ridden the TRE to Fort Worth and gone anywhere on the T System all day. As a rider, it was affordable and a good deal.

Usually I am riding with people who are going to work, going to college in Dallas or Fort Worth, or are going to a museum, sports event or concert.   I'd like to see the MAX service expanded to include days when the Cowboys and Rangers are playing. The more people who come on buses, the less traffic we have in our neighborhood.
Connecting bus service on the weekends between Arlington and Centerpoint could help  attract more hotel guests. As it is, guests who stay in Dallas or Fort Worth hotels can easily travel to sites throughout the Metroplex without taking Taxi cabs or Limos or renting a car. There are no mass transit options for Arlington hotel guests cannot get into or out of Arlington on the weekends to visit tourist sites in neighboring cities or for hotel guests of other cities to come here. Arlington would get a better share of the tourist dollars which are being spent in the restaurants, malls and shopping centers in neighboring cities. if it made mass transit, easy and accessible seven days a week. For Arlington to regain its edge of being conveniently located between Dallas and Fort Worth it must have a mass transit system. Without mass transit in 2013 Arlington is between Dallas and Fort Worth but it is  no longer convenient and it certainly is not competitive!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

2013 is off to an exciting election year

By Faith Chatham - Arlington, TX - Nov. 21, 2013

I write when I have something to say. From 2011-present I didn't blog a lot. It was usually about the air, water or an EPA hearing. It was usually more germane to "About Air and Water" or "DFW Regional Concerned Citizens" of "Preventable Pipeline Hazards" so it went on those blogs. Even though a lot happened with insurance and healthcare,  my own hospitalizations and surgeries prevented me from covering those issues. But this is a new year. It's a new election cycle.

It is obvious that 2013 is off to an OUTSTANDING start. From the moment Senator Wendy Davis rocketed into the minds of people around the world standing in the Texas Senate in her pink running shoes, it has been obvious that this is definitely not a "business as usual, boring old election cycle."

More Democrats have declared for office in Tarrant County, especially in Districts in Arlington, than I have witnessed since Ronald Reagan took office! The caliber of expertise and credentials and campaigning skill displayed among most of the first-time candidates impresses me. The Republican Primary is also lively. Tea Party candidates are challenging Republican Incumbents. Non- Tea Party Republicans are challenging Tea Party incumbents. A lot of races this year are worth watching.

Some of my favorite candidates from previous election cycles have already declared their intention to run again. Maria Luisa Alvarado, 2006 Democratic Nominee for Lt. Governor is already campaigning hard. She launched her campaign website ONE TEXAS FOR ALL.NET.

 Sen. Leticia Van de Putte has announced for Lt. Governor. For the first time in the history of the Texas Democratic Party, two strong Texas women who are both proven leaders will b. e going head-to-head, each presenting her case as to why she is the best choice for Texans as Lt. Governor. I'm enthusiastic about this race. I expect both women to expand the base of people voting Democratic with their campaigns.

Dale Henry has decided to try again to show Texas voters why they should elect a person with his knowledge and expertise in preventing Oil and Gas spills and water contamination to the Texas Rail Road Commission instead of the people that Republicans have chosen to fill those slots for decades. Each time Mr. Henry has run, he has educated Texans on the industry and the importance of sensible regulation to prevent water depletion and /or contamination.

Reclaiming the Texas Turf and Grassroots News U Can Use are two blogs where we'll be covering some of these very interesting races. There are a lot of other progressive political blogs in Texas. Perry Dorrell's Brains and  Eggs is one of my personal favorites.  David Van Os blogs as Notes from a Texas Patriot.

When it comes to issues, there are a number of excellent environmental writers. Texas Sharon remains among the best with BlueDaze.  Here in the Barnett Shale, there are a number of citizens who have turned activist and are communicating by blogs. Some of the best include:  Westchester GasetteFishCreek MonitorFort Worth CanDo,   Dallas Drilling Blog, Dallas Residents At Risk Fort Worth Follies.

On transportation, there is the Texas Democratic Pork Barrel Caucus which is a private facebook group which Texans who vote in the Democratic Primaries can ask to  join. Out of San Antonio there is a "non partisan" pac lead by Republican Terry Hall called Texas Turf. In addition to some of Texas's "Innovative financing -leveraged toll projects proving to be unprofitable and projected to go "belly up" by the summer of 2014, there are other interesting developments with Texas Roads. The wear and tear from gas production vehicular traffic has worn out a number of Texas' Farm to Market Roads. TxDOT proposes to widen them and to convert paved roads to unpaved roads.  The folks who live on those roads and have to drive long ways to shop and go to work and to the doctor and to school are "none too pleased" to say the very least at the prospect of their roads being converted to a gravel like asphalt composite because the state has mis-managed the funds they charged the gas drillers and/or transferred those dollars to other uses rather than maintaining existing roads. We'll cover that in more depth later.

Join us and KEEP WATCHING! It's already off to an exciting year.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The Superrich Don't Need Our Middle Class Infrastructure

Monday, 04 November 2013 09:25By Ronnie CumminsOrganic Consumers Association | Truth-Out, Op-Ed, Nov. 4,  2013,Read more: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/19794-millions-against-monsanto-five-lessons-from-the-battle-against-gmos

America is falling apart - and this nation's super-rich are to blame.
There was once a time in America when the super-rich needed you, and me, and working-class Americans to be successful.
They needed us for their roads, for their businesses, for their communications, for their transportation, as their customers, and for their overall success.
The super-rich rode on the same trains as us, and flew in the same planes as us. They went to our hospitals and learned at our schools.


Their success directly depended on us, and on the well-being of the nation, and they knew it.
But times have changed, and the super-rich of the 21st century no longer think that you and I are needed for their continued success.
And in some ways, they have given up on America, period.
As Paul Buchheit brilliantly points out over at AlterNet, "As they accumulate more and more wealth, the very rich have less need for society. At the same time, they've convinced themselves that they made it on their own, and that contributing to societal needs is unfair to them. There is ample evidence that this small group of takers is giving up on the country that made it possible for them to build huge fortune." 
Buchheit goes on to say that, "The rich have always needed the middle class to work in their factories and buy their products. With globalization this is no longer true... They don't need our infrastructure for their yachts and helicopters and submarines. They pay for private schools for their kids, private security for their homes. They have private emergency rooms to avoid the health care hassle. All they need is an assortment of servants, who might be guest workers coming to America on H2B visas, willing to work for less than a middle-class American can afford"
Unfortunately, these millionaires and billionaires who have given up on America and on the working class are in control of the political process in this country.
They have brainwashed Republicans into thinking that the success of working-class Americans no longer matters for the future of this nation.
As a result, Republicans are no longer investing in things that have traditionally made America - and the working-class - successful.
Take America's infrastructure for example - or lack thereof.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers annual report card on America's infrastructure, America's infrastructure is a mess. 
Our roads are falling apart, our transportations systems are in turmoil, and our energy and electrical systems are stuck back in the 1900's.
new graph released by investment research firm BCA shows why. 
Non-defense related infrastructure spending was around $325 billion per year when George W. Bush stepped foot inside of the White House.
Today, it's around $235 billion per year, a $90 billion drop in funding from when Bush took office.
Republicans, brainwashed by America's super-rich, have repeatedly refused to fund comprehensive infrastructure spending bills, all in the name of austerity.
But cutting funding to the nation's infrastructure isn't the right way to address American's debt or spending problems. And it certainly isn't the right way to rebuild this nation.
As Cardiff Garcia over at The Financial Times points out, "It's also likely that much of the investment that has been forgone in the name of fiscal consolidation will have to be made eventually anyways - only it will be made when rates are higher, exacerbating the long-term fiscal outlook rather than improving it. And as Think Progress points out, "continued underfunding in this arena over the coming years will cost businesses a trillion dollars in lost sales and cost the economy 3.5 million jobs." 
The Society of Civil Engineers says that it will take a staggering $3.6 trillion investment by 2020 - or $450 billion per year - to bring the American infrastructure into the 21st century, and to avoid risking a complete infrastructure collapse.
But the super-rich don't care about how much funding is needed to save this country, as long as they have their private schools, private hospitals, private airports and private places.
The super-rich in this country are bleeding working-class Americans dry, while destroying the infrastructure of the nation that has done so much for their success.
No matter what Jamie Dimon, Charles Koch, or Shelly Adelson will tell you, America's wealthy elite did not make their fortunes on their own.
Without a strong economy and infrastructure, America's millionaires and billionaires would not be where they are today. It's that simple.
So what can we do right now to rebuild America's infrastructure and give a boost to the American economy?
First, it's time to bring an end to globalization.
We need to be protecting American jobs, instead of letting the super-rich ship them overseas and build factories in China and third-world countries.
But more importantly, we need to roll-back the Reagan tax cuts, and make sure that America's wealthy elite are paying their fair share to support our economy and infrastructure.
Right now, the burden for rebuilding America is on the backs of working-class Americans, and that's just wrong.
It's ridiculous that working-class Americans struggling to survive day-to-day are paying more in taxes than billionaire banksters and oil tycoons.
A lot has changed in America over the past 100 years or so but one thing remains the same: The success of the super-rich still depends on the success of you and me.
The super-rich still need us for their roads, for their businesses, for their communications, and for their transportation.
Our infrastructure may be crumbling, but there's still time to get America back on the road to success.
We're all in this together.
This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.

Millions Against Monsanto: Five Lessons From the Battle Against GMOs

Millions Against Monsanto: Five Lessons From the Battle Against GMOs

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ronnie Dugger Endorses Rachel Barrios-Van Os



Legendary progressive journalist Ronnie Dugger (Recently featured in “Ronnie Dugger: The Free Man", Austin American-Statesman, 4-29-2012) endorses Rachel’s campaign for State Party Chair:
“Speaking as a Texan and lifelong observer of Texas politics, if I’ve ever seen a political party that desperately needs a new style of leadership, it’s the Texas Democratic Party. It hasn’t won a statewide election in 18 years, and now it has fallen to its lowest point in the history of Texas, holding no statewide offices and only 48 seats in the 150-member Texas House of Representatives.
This record is a disgrace to the proud history of the Texas of old.
The candidacy of Rachel Barrios-Van Os for the Texas Democratic State Party Chairmanship is like a bugle call to alert all Texas Democrats that their Party must come back to life and fight like hell for Barack Obama to carry Texas in 2012.
Rachel is a strong, tough Texas woman who is a born fighter and visionary. She offers the winner’s style and attitude that Texas Democrats desperately need. Rachel’s decision to run for the party chairmanship gives me more hope for the Democratic Party in Texas than I have felt in a long time.”
-- Ronnie Dugger
Winner of the George Polk Career Award in Journalism for 2011
Author, Our Invaded Universities, The Politician (Lyndon B; Johnson biography), and other critically acclaimed books
Founding Editor, The Texas Observer (for identification only)

Why Hank Gilbert endorses Rachel Barrios-Van Os for State Chair

Hank Gilbert Endorses Rachel Barrios-Van Os


Hank Gilbert, one of the top statewide Democratic vote getters in 2006 and 2010 in his spirited races for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, endorses Rachel for State Party Chair and tells us why:
“I met Rachel on the campaign trail when we campaigned across Texas back in 2006. It really impressed me that even though Rachel was managing her husband David’s campaign for Attorney General, she always promoted the whole Democratic ticket at every event. She is pure Democrat to the core.
Rachel will stand up for the hard-working people of Texas and won’t back down to the Republicans or to any other talking heads. This party needs someone with courage, conviction and the backbone to do the right thing. Rachel will unite the people to support the Democratic Party and bring it back to a majority in this state.
She’s one tough woman with a heart of gold and I support her all the way for State Party Chair.”

Faith Chatham endorses Rachel Barrios-Van Os for State Chair of the Texas Democratic Party



Faith Chatham endorses Rachel Barrios-Van Os for State Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

I have worked with Rachel on several state wide campaigns. She is tireless, organized, and resourceful. Rachel is no novice to the electoral process. She has directed several state wide races and ran for local office in one of Texas's largest cities. During the 2006 election cycle, Rachel traveled to EVERY COUNTY in Texas and personally met with the county chairs and activists. She values EVERYONE and assists others.
Rachel is absolutely right about the deplorable plight of the leadership of this state. Democrats have not won a statewide race for decades. We cannot continue doing the same thing and expect a different outcome.

The goal of the State Democratic party once the voters have selected the party's nominees in the primary should be to do everything we possibly can to get our nominees elected. Numerous former statewide candidates have told me many times that they had more resistance from the state party than from Republicans! This must stop. Rachel will recruit, energize, train, and equip Democrats throughout the state to band together and effectively support the party's nominees. The goal is to win and Rachel knows how to do it and is relentless when she fights for the people of this state.



Here is a link to an interview by the Texas Tribune.
http://www.texastribune.org/texas-politics/texas-democratic-party/rachel-barrios-van-os-tt-interview/

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

State ethics board fines two office-seekers from Tarrant County

Jan 06, 2010 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A STATE AGENCY HAS CRACKED -- or at least gently flung -- the ethics whip at a State Board of Education member representing part of Tarrant County and a Republican running for a state House seat in south Arlington.


The Texas Ethics Commission fined both late last month a modest $500 -- combined -- for failing to follow such basics as correct math and "What is your name?" The names of those who filed the complaints are confidential under state law, commission officials said.

Patricia Hardy, who represents Tarrant, Ellis, Johnson and Parker counties on the education board, has a master's degree in secondary education. So what's up with her adding skills? She was accused of filing a pre-election report in March 2008 that said she had $1,052.58 in political contributions maintained, according to a commission documents. After some pencil sharpening, Hardy agreed with a complaint that she really had $2,885.71 and filed a corrected report.



Second allegation: Her July 2008 semiannual report listed $8,518.07 in political contributions maintained. But that was wrong, too. She actually had $4,808.45.

According to the commission documents: In November 2008 she listed $5,018.07 in political contributions maintained; real total: $4,808.45.

The same month, she reported $5,118.07 in the coffers; real total: $4,908.

In January 2009, she reported $5,018.07; real total: still $4,908.

"You could say 'sloppy account,' but, hell's bells, everybody else has somebody else do their work for them," Hardy said. "I'm doing it myself at my office in my house, where I have 500,000 other things going on, too." In addition to her work on the board, Hardy works for the Weatherford school district.

"What's funny about this is that no one is more straight-laced as I am and as conservative," she said.

Hardy said the complaints were nit-picky. Aside from a $400 fine "because I had mathematical errors" she also had to hire an attorney, she said.

Also receiving a mild wrist slap was former state Rep. Bill Zedler, who is running against former Mansfield school board President Joy Keller for the Republican nomination for the District 96 seat. The winner will face Democrat Rep. Chris Turner.

Zedler was fined $100 after he sent out mailers that said they were political advertisements "paid for by Friends of Bill Zedler." The problem? Officially, there is no "Friends of Bill Zedler." Zedler's campaign paid for the mailers, not a "Friends of" political action committee.

"The disclosure statements that appeared on...[the] political advertising indicated that the communications were political advertising, but failed to identify...[Zedler] as the person who paid for the political advertising. Instead the disclosure statements...implicitly suggested that the communications emanated from persons other than" Zedler, commission documents stated.


Zedler's attorney, Trey Trainor of Austin, said the forms candidates file to establish a treasurer don't include a place to name the campaign.

"Are you going to call it the 'Bill Jones for State House Committee,' or are you going to call it 'Friends of Bill Jones?'aEURe" Trainor asked. "It's obvious that a yard sign that says 'Vote for Bill Zedler' probably was paid for by Bill Zedler. ...I think the commission recognized that and said 'No harm, no foul;' it's $100 and we'll do away with this."

DARREN BARBEE, 817-390-7126 Read more in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dedicated to Mayor Cluck and the City Council - Can't you See it's Acid Rainin'?

Kim Feil - July 31, 2010



Can't You See It's Acid Raining
Added by Kim Triolo Feil (videos) Song by Jack Johnson with words "tweeked a little bit" by Kim Triolo Feil

Environmental plea for City Councils all across America to be patient until air and water studies are complete and unbiased regarding the safty of natural gas drilling using toxic chemicals in the hydraulic fracturing process. The loopholes on regulations that allow free emissions and exemptions on this fast growing industry needs to be overhauled in the oil and gas industry. We need a new TX governor sympathic to human lives and NOT big business. Also BP's dispersant activity also comes into question about acid rain - who knows how far pollution fall out travels? God help us all! Here are the lyrics...

Can't You See It's Acid Raining?

It's dangerous to go outside! It's so crazy!
You hardly even notice when I try to show ya.
This song is meant to keep ya from drilling up the town!
Methane gas extraction, maybe we'll explode?
Make us all die early, pretend like its so safe outside.
We could pretend it all the time.
Can't You See It's Acid Raining?
Ain't no healthy air outside. But just maybe
Hollering the ladies "drillings killing babies!"
Really don't want no spill by my Cowboy Stadium.
Greedy, greedy sell out; money buys the people.
We could close the loopholes
prevent pollution flowing now.
Then we could prevent it all the time.
Can't You See It's Acid Raining?
Don't let the children play outside.
And the telephone's singing ringing
City Council won't pick it up.
Pleas don't drill here we got everything we need right here
And everything we need is enough. Just so sleazy-
When the whole world watched BP's toxic harm
Do we really need to blindly drill without alarm?
Take it slow, take it slow. It's so crazy
You hardly even notice when I try to show ya
This song is meant to keep ya from fracking up the water,
Taking in the big bucks, breathing benzene SUCKS!
Making a water shortage pretend like its no problem now.
We could pretend it all the time.
Can't You See It's Acid Raining?
Toxic concoctions just outside.
Make me wheeze, lung disease
Dr Cluck you're in denial.




HELP GIVE KIM's PAL the gas masked life-size dummy a name. He's become very social lately. He's been at the TCEQ hearing in Arlington, the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Contamination Hearing in Fort Worth, was threatened by an Arlington Policeman for making a "political statement" at the so-called non-political Arlington Fourth of July Parade, to Old Town Neighborhood Association Watermelon in the Park and ha accompanied Kim numerous other places lately yet he has no name.

Submit suggestions for name to arlingtontexan@gmail.com.

We'll come up with some sort of prize. It will probably be a "cheap one" but it will be a prize!


NOTE BY FAITH CHATHAM:
The video showing on the screen behind Kim was shot by her in July on the fork of the Trinity that goes behind Elzie Odom Recreation Center. It is of the gung - grey brownish foam pollution flowing downstream. Kim brought it to my house immediately after she left the Trinity and we called every water regulatory agency and everyone told us someone else was responsible for testing or overseeing that part of the Trinity! There seems to be no easy quick way to report pollution and to get answers about the state of our waterways when they aren't in specific jurisdictions or if you don't get routed to the right person within responsible agencies. Pollution does however, make interesting backdrops for music videos.

This is in part a duet. Kim is almost upstaged by her bird!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Roy LaVerne Brooks stays on ballot in Tarrant County

By Faith Chatham - Feb. 25, 2010
Former Texas State Democratic Vice Chair Roy LaVerne Brooks wins second round of strategic legal assault by financier Dick Abrams. Unable to get County Chair Steve Maxwell to remove Ms. Brooks from the Tarrant County Democratic Primary Ballot so that he could run unopposed for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6, Democratic donor and bundler, Dick Abrams brought suit in District Court. Abrams' suit against Roy LaVerne Brooks and Tarrant County Democratic Chair Steve Maxwell was dismissed with prejudice Friday. ((aka - don't refile this case)

The contrast between the two candidates is stark. Abrams, former C.E.O. / C.O.B. of failed Surety Bank and Surety Holding, engendered support of Democratic incumbents and some Democratic "want-a-be's" by writing substantial checks to most incumbents and Democratic Clubs, creating a buzz about him being a "viable candidate." Simple Google searches bring up numerous Federal S.E.C. and Comptroller of the Currency documents chronicling Abrams less than stellar performance at the helm of Surety Bank and its holding company. Those touting how "viable" avoid mentioning that Abrams was barred from banking for failure to comply with Federal Banking laws! He settled with the Comptroller of the Currency by agreeing not to participate in any capacity in any federal funded housing, federal loans, banks, or savings and loans because of fiduciary irregularities, misrepresentation of fact on Federal Reports, and failure to follow Federal Law, and the use of bank premises for “for profit endeavors by board members and members of the family of board members.” However, because he can write max allowable checks to high profile candidates some think that he deserved to be the nominee.

In contrast, a Google search on Roy LaVerne Brooks profiles a Democratic Party activist, community servant and civic leader who was named the "Outstanding Woman Citizen of Fort Worth" and inducted into the "Texas Hall of Fame" for 30 years of civic leadership and consistent service to her hometown and the State of Texas. Brooks, a graduate of Prairie View A&M, with M.A. in Divinity from Southwestern, has chaired the handicap transportation authority (MI.T.S.A.C) in Fort Worth and served as Vice-Chair of the Fort Worth "T". Conservative with her finances, Ms. Brooks does not have as deep pockets as her opponent. The contrast between a social workers' salary and the check-writing resources of her opponent are substantial.
Abrams' lawsuit drained much of Brooks "Get out the Vote" resources. None of the newspapers or television stations are mentioning that Texas or Federal Law does not prohibit individuals who are barred from banking for violations of Federal Law from running for (and possibly winning) judicial seats in Texas, or election as State Representatives and State Senators.

Contributions to the Brooks Campaign can be made on-line at WWW.BROOKSFORJP6.ORG. $35.00 can reach half of the registered voters in the precinct by robocall. The primary is March 2nd. Act now if you want to support a qualified woman candidate for public office. The Court ruled that the people have the right to decide who their nominee should be. Money will determine whether the voters get to learn about the differences in the two candidates.

I am not pretending to be unbiased. I know Roy LaVerne Brooks and admire and respect her for her lifetime of service, incredible leadership skills, and understanding of the challenges facing individuals who come before the bench in that Justice of the Peace Precinct. If Mr. Abrams had chosen to campaign to win rather than to use the courts to remove his opponent, this race would probably have avoided my radar. As I examined the court documents, signatures on the petitions, candidate’s credentials, and the needs of the precinct, sharp contrast between the candidates convinced me that Roy LaVerne Brooks is the candidate who can truly best serve the people as Justice of the Peace. The way to build the party is to bring honor to it by fielding and electing people whose life reflects consistent integrity, service and honor. Roy LaVerne Brooks is a woman of integrity, and possesses a heart for the people and the intellect and discernment to do the job.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Candidate intimidation tactics in Fort Worth Texas JP Race

By Faith Chatham - Feb. 12, 2010
The right to compete and let the voters decide has been skewed by influence money. Now in Tarrant County, an independently wealthy candidate is using his ability to out-sue, out litigate, out spend on attorney's fees to chase his opponents out of the primary and/or drain-dry the resources of opponents.

Richard (Dick) N. Abrams filed for Justice of the Peace, Pct.6 in South Fort Worth against two other Democratic opponents. He challenged the petitions of his opponents claiming that all spaces on the form were not filled in or were incorrect. Abrams threatened to sue his opponents and the County Chair if the county chair did not remove their names from the primary ballot. One opponent, John Williams, was disqualified for filing for more than one office. Tarrant County Democratic Chair Steve Maxwell reviewed the challenge and ruled that Ms. Brooks had sufficient valid signatures of registered voters in the precinct to remain on the ballot. Abrams filed a law suit in Tarrant County District Court against Maxwell and Brooks, seeking and injunction to keep her name off the Primary Ballot and all his court costs and legal fees. All judges in Fort Worth are Republicans.

"It is absurd," said Harriet Irby, Ms. Brooks' treasurer. "I don't understand why a Democratic candidate would do this. There are no Democratic judges in Tarrant County. This matter will be settled in a Republican judge's courtroom. He knew that when he filed this suit!" She added: "He seems to be someone who likes to file lawsuits and has plenty of money to easily pay the legal costs. There are a number of them filed by him in recent months. He seems to win about half of them."


There are court records to support Irby's impression of Abrams. He sued Unity Mutual Life Insurance Company over what he claimed was a hand-shake agreement for commissions. When the ruling was that hand-shake agreements ae unenforceable, he appealed it from the U.S. Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division No 99 C 3182 to the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. All rulings were that his alleged hand-shake agreement for commission on preneed funerals were non-enforceable.

Abrams' lawsuit against Tarrant County Democratic Chair Steve Maxwell and his opponent, Roy LaVerne Brooks, is worded to indicate intentions of appealing any decision which does not remove Ms. Brooks' name from the Democratic Primary Ballot all the way to the Texas Supreme Court (another all Republican body).

Mr. Abrams has established a pattern of using his financial prowess to threaten costly legal action in attempts to intimidate less affluent citizens from exercising their constitutional right to run for public office. At each stage, he threatens further legal battles. In the brief filed by his attorney in Tarrant County District Court further threats of lawsuits and costs if he does not win are included in # 4 on the last page: "Abrams' reasonable and necessary attorney's fees incurred through trial and through any appeal taken to the court of appeals and/or the Texas Supreme Court, as permitted by Chapter 37 of the Texas Uniform Declaratory Judgements Act, or as otherwise recoverable by contract, common law and/or statue;"
and "#5. Prejudgement and post-judgement interest, if any , as provided by law;"
and "#6. All cost of suit;"
and "#7. Such other and further relief, special or general, legal or equitable, to which Abrams may show himself to be justly entitled."

NEED TO STEP-UP LATE PRIMARY FUND-RAISING EFFORT


Roy LaVerne Brooks, former Vice Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, is a candidate for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6 in Tarrant County. Roy's vision is to partner with the community to help prevent some of the situations which bring people into the JP Court. One of her opponents, a billionaire and C.E.O. of Surety Bank, filed a challenge on all of his opponents seeking to get their names removed from the ballot. Abrams alleges that they did not have enough valid signatures on their petitions. One candidate withdrew rather than to fight legal challenges.

The challenge against Roy LaVerne was reviewed by the Tarrant County Democratic Chair. The ruling was that she had sufficient names on her petition of registered voters in the precinct and her name remains on the ballot. Mr. Abrams was not satisfied with that ruling and threatened to sue the party chair and Roy LaVerne. He filed suit in District Court, asking for an injunction to keep Roy's name off the ballot and asking that she pay all his court costs should she lose. Since all judges in Tarrant County are Republicans, he knew that this Democratic Party election case would be tried in a Republican judge's courtroom. Due to snow on the original court date, Fri. Feb. 12th, the hearing has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 20, 12 noon in Room 236 of the Tim Curry Court Bldg. in Fort Worth.

In addition to Get Out the Vote and other campaign expense, she is now forced to hire an attorney to defend her right to run for office. Unlike her opponent, Roy LaVerne Brooks is not a woman of independent wealth. She is a hard-working Democratic activist, community organizer, who is employed as a hospice counselor.

Mr. Abrams has the right to pursue legal means, as do all citizens. He is not the only Tarrant County JP candidate to challenge his opponent this year. He is the JP candidate who has already filed lawsuits and refused to accept the ruling of the court this year. He is the one who said he'd sue instead of mediate and whose brief asks the court to have his opponent pay his cost up to and through appeals to the Texas Supreme Court if she loses. He is the candidate whose substantial wealth dwarfs that of his opponent. Just because he has the right to sue and the means to doesn't mean that suing is the right thing to do, or that it is fair for him to. Bigger, stronger "kids" can tell a weaker one what they can do and what they have done. It's intimidating when someone with a history of taking things to the mat has many more resources to arm and fight than you do. When you do something to show your strength to intimidate instead of seeking a fair resolution, that is bullying.

She has strong name recognition in the district and years of community service/activism. Many believe that Mr. Abrams knows that she will probably beat him if the election is fair and if she is given an equal opportunity to take it to the voters. He prefers to bully and sue his way, to attempt to keep his opponent enmeshed in court, attorney's offices and in last minute fundraising to pay court costs.

Mr. Abrams track-record in banking leaves questions about why he is pursuing election as Justice of the Peace. The Dallas Business Journal published an article about the sale of Surety Bank, a financial institution which Mr. Abrams served as C.E.O./C.O.B. from 2000-2007.
The former chairman of Surety Bank, Dick Abrams, remains one of the largest shareholders in Surety Capital Corp., Surety Bank's holding company.But he was barred in June by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from engaging in banking and leading the holding company.
The number of shares owned by Abrams is in dispute, but Surety's bankruptcy filings describe Abrams as one of the corporation's largest shareholders and notes that his son, girlfriend and family trust are also significant shareholders. Abrams could not be reached for comment.
Abrams stepped down on Oct. 1 as Surety Capital Corp's chairman. Weiner, another shareholder in the bank, took that role on the condition that Abrams promise not to sue him, Weiner said.
Says Thompson: "He volunteered to do the job that nobody else wanted."
Since then, Weiner has focused on getting the institution sold and getting investors' money out of the institution.
Surety Capital Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 21.


This Fund Raising Appeal in support of Roy LaVerne Brooks is an appeal to stand up for the right of ordinary Americans to run for public office.

It is an appeal to stand with her against a man who is trying to bully and harass his way onto the General Election ballot instead of campaigning and letting the voters decide.

This is an appeal to help her defend this case in court and defend the right of all citizens to exercise their civil right to participate in the democratic process which is the foundation of our American system.

This is an appeal to let the Voters' Decide who they want as the Democratic Nominee for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6.

Contributions of ANY AMOUNT are welcome. We welcome contributions as small as your weekly coffee money or as large as you can afford. If you can join us Saturday and show Roy LaVerne that you stand with her, we welcome your presence at the tea.

Contributions can be made securely on-line at BROOKS FOR JP6


THIS IS A CASE OF "I'll Drain You Dry in Court If My Challenge Doesn't Result in You Being Thrown Off of The Ballot."
If Mr. Abrams had a pristine registered voters petition list, we might think he was fighting over principle. However, his petition has more incomplete boxes than Ms. Brooks and many more names of people who live outside the district. If he wins and gets her thrown off the ballot on the grounds he claims in his brief, a counter-suit on the same grounds should result in him being removed from the ballot.

His financial resources are greater than the two other candidates in the race. (John Williams withdrew rather than face the challenge by Richard Abrams.

In June 2000 Richard N. Abrams Richard N. Abrams, Northfield, Illinois filed with the F.D.I.C. to acquire additional voting shares of Surety Capital Corporation, Fort Worth, Texas, and thereby indirectly acquire additional voting shares of Surety Bank, National Association, Fort Worth, Texas.

Surety had problems with the S.E.C. In the Sept. 12, 2001 Share Holder's Report Richard N. Abrams, C.E.O. wrote:

We entered into a formal agreement with the Office of the Controller of Currency in November, 1998. This Formal Agreement still remains in place, although the bank is currently in compliance with all requirements. Hopefully, we will be operating without this Formal Agreement next time I address the shareholders. However, due to the Formal Agreement, the bank can not pay dividends to the holding company. Therefore, we are unable to meet the holding company's financial obligations, i.e., debenture interest and operating expenses. I have guaranteed these payments for 2001. All loans made for this purpose are evidenced by a note payable which is convertible into stock of the holding company at $0.36 per share.


In return for meeting the Holding Company's obligations, Mr. Abrams and the board granted him (them) generous stock options. Surety's 2001 Stock Holder's Report showed Richard N. Abrams, age 60, as a Chairman of the Board, Director and C.E.O. since 2000. His bio at that time was:
RICHARD N. ABRAMS has served as a director of Surety Capital since May 2000 and was named Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer in March 2001. He has served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Funeral Financial Systems, Ltd. (a special purpose finance company that specializes in the funeral industry) since August 1985, and of Executive Offices, Ltd. (a shared office building) since October 1986. Mr. Abrams has also served as Chairman of the Board of FuneraLeasing, Ltd. (a leasing company that specializes in the funeral industry) since December 1998. Mr. Abrams is a certified public accountant. Mr. Abrams has served as a director of Surety Bank since March 2000.


It baffles many who are watching this race. Why would a man with Richard Abrams financial interest run for Justice of the Peace??? Few can envision him actually sitting in a Justice of the Peace courtroom five days a week listening to truancy and eviction cases? Why is he doing this?

Abrams grabs power in troubled by exercising stock options.
His relative, Rodney Abrams, also increased his bank s
tock.

Following an S.E.C. investigation on Surety Holding's insurance division, this notice was sent to Surety Bank Stock Holders (signed by Richard N. Abrams, C.E.O.):

We entered into a formal agreement with the Office of the Controller of Currency in November, 1998. This Formal Agreement still remains in place, although the bank is currently in compliance with all requirements. Hopefully, we will be operating without this Formal Agreement next time I address the shareholders. However, due to the Formal Agreement, the bank can not pay dividends to the holding company. Therefore, we are unable to meet the holding company's financial obligations, i.e., debenture interest and operating expenses. I have guaranteed these payments for 2001. All loans made for this purpose are evidenced by a note payable which is convertible into stock of the holding company at $0.36 per share.


Mr. Abrams acquired an option on stock at a fixed $0.36 per share which he could exercise after the price of the stock rose.

COMPENSATION OF DIRECTORS

Surety Capital's and Surety Bank's board of directors consist of the same members and both organizations hold meetings on the same dates. In 2000, the bank paid each director $500 for each bank meeting attended. In 2001, the cash compensation was stopped and each outside director now will receive 2,000 shares of unregistered common stock for each board meeting attended and 1,000 shares for each committee meeting attended.

We have adopted the 1996 Stock Option Plan for Directors and the 1997 Non-Qualified Stock Option Plan for Non-Employee Directors. Under the 1996 and 1997 Directors Plans, an aggregate of 250,000 shares of our common stock were set aside for issuance pursuant to the exercise of options granted thereunder. The 1996 Directors Plan is a formula plan pursuant to which annual options are automatically granted to our directors who are not our employees at fair market value. All options under the 1996 Directors Plan are non-qualified stock options, and vest one year following the date of grant. On the first business day of each calendar year, each non-employee director is automatically granted an option to purchase 2,000 shares of our common stock at 100% of fair market value on the grant date.

2000, each non-employee director received an option to purchase 2,000 shares of our common stock at an exercise price of $0.74 per share. The 1997 Directors Plan provided for the one time grant of 25,000 non-qualified stock options to directors who were not employees at fair market value. In 1997, each non-employee director received an option to purchase 25,000 shares of our common stock at exercise prices ranging from $4.18 to $5.375 per share. These options vest over five years.

We also adopted the 2000 Non-Qualified Stock Option Plan for advisory directors. Under the provisions of the plan, 100,000 shares were allocated for non-qualified stock options to advisory directors. Grantees are awarded 10-year options to acquire shares at the market price on the date the option is granted. The options vest and become fully exercisable based on a vesting schedule as determined by the compensation committee on the date of grant. On November 6, 2000, grantees were awarded options to acquire 28,000 shares of our common stock at $0.55 per share, which vest and become fully exercisable on November 6, 2001.


Abrams capitalized on the bank's situation:
In addition, in consideration for the extraordinary time and effort the members of the board of directors have given to the company and the bank, various members of the board were awarded shares of unregistered common stock at the August, 2001 board meeting. The awards were as follows: Mr. Abrams received 400,000 shares, Mr. Chappell received 60,000 shares, Mr. Bley received 30,000 shares, Mr. Kwentus received 15,000 shares and Mr. Morris received 10,000 shares. Mr. Abrams also received shares of restricted stock which will vest upon certain events. Pursuant to the grant, Mr. Abrams will receive 300,000 shares of common stock when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency terminates the formal agreement entered into by Surety Bank prior to Mr. Abrams' affiliation; 200,000 shares if he remains as the Chief Executive Officer until the end of the 2002 fiscal year; and he will receive one share of common stock for every $3.00 of net profit realized by Surety Bank, as determined on a quarterly basis with a maximum of 400,000 shares over any two year period.

The following table shows beneficial ownership of shares of our common stock by all current directors, nominees for director and named executive officers individually, and together with all current executive officers of the Company as a group, as of August 28, 2001:

Amount and
Name of Individual Nature of
or Number of Beneficial Percent
Persons In Group Ownership (1) of Class (2)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Richard N. Abrams 1,266,744(3) 16.2%

Charles M. Ireland 44,583(4) *

Garrett Morris 166,749(5) 2.2%

David F. Chappell 115,555(6) 1.5%

Thomas J. Kwentus 17,777 *

Guy J. Butts 0 --

Milton M. Bley 99,000(7) 1.1%

All directors and 1,710,408(8) 21.6%
executive officers as
a group (7 persons

-------------------- * Less than 1% of all the issued and outstanding shares of common stock.

(2) Based on 7,624,511 shares of common stock issued and outstanding at August 28, 2001, as adjusted for shares convertible or exercisable within sixty (60) days which are deemed outstanding for a specific stockholder pursuant to Rule 13d-3(d)(1) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

(3) Includes 184,444 shares of common stock which are convertible from notes and 2,000 shares which Mr. Abrams has the right to acquire within sixty (60) days from the date hereof. Also includes 65,100 shares owned by Funeral Financial Systems, Ltd., a company under the control of Mr. Abrams. Does not include the restricted stock described on page 5.

(4) Includes 33,333 shares of common stock which Mr. Ireland has the right to acquire within sixty (60) days from the date hereof.

(5) Includes 19,000 shares of common stock which Mr. Morris has the right to acquire within sixty (60) days from the date hereof.

(6) Includes 55,000 shares of common stock which Mr. Chappell has the right to acquire within sixty (60) days from the date hereof.

The following table sets forth certain information with respect to our stockholders who were known to be beneficial owners of more than five percent (5%) of the issued and outstanding shares of the common stock as of August 28, 2001, except for Richard N. Abrams, whose ownership interest is disclosed in the preceding table.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Name and Address Amount and Nature Percent
of Beneficial Owner of Beneficial of Class(2)
Ownership(1)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Carlson Capital, L.P. (3) 519,300 6.8%
301 Commerce Street, Suite 3300
Fort Worth, Texas 76102

Pine Capital Management, Incorporated(4) 528,647 6.9%
353 Sacramento Street, 10th Floor
San Francisco, California 94111

Cullen W. Turner(5) 471,377 6.2%

Rodney A. Abrams(6) 575,055 7.5%

With his relative, Rodney Abrams' shares, Richard N. Abrams controlled more Surety stock than the rest of the board combined by August 2001


Questions about his employment status
In January and February 2007 he made Federal Campaign contributions and listed "retired" as his employment status on the donor cards. In March 2007 he lists CEO Mortuary Financial on another Federal Campaign donor card. On June 11, 2007 the Comptroller of the Currency issued a cease and desist order to Surety Bank, National Association, Fort Worth, Richard N. Abrams, C.E.O.


S.E.C. Investigations and Cease and Desist Orders
In 2001, Surety's S.E.C. difficulties were attributed to his predecessor. However, in 2007 when Surety was issued a Cease and Desist Order by the Comptroller of the Currency, Richard N. Abrams has been at the helm of Surety Bank of Fort Worth and Surety Holding for seven years. Difficulties could no longer be attributed to any failure of leadership other than his own. He was the major stockholder and controlled more voting shares than any other member of the Board.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Citizens Right to Run for Public Office Challenged by Bank C.E.O.'s Lawsuit



Click on IMAGE for larger view.

Roy LaVerne Brooks, former Vice Chair of the Texas Democratic Party, is a candidate for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6 in Tarrant County. Roy's vision is to partner with the community to help prevent some of the situations which bring people into the JP Court. One of her opponents, a billionaire and C.E.O. of Surety Bank, filed a challenge on all of his opponents seeking to get their names removed from the ballot. Abrams alleges that they did not have enough valid signatures on their petitions. One candidate withdrew rather than to fight legal challenges. Mr. Abrams describes himself as a "small business owner." For most of the past decade he was CEO/COB of Surety Bank of Fort Worth, until he was barred in June 2007 by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency from engaging in banking and leading the holding company.

The challenge against Roy LaVerne was reviewed by the Tarrant County Democratic Chair. The ruling was that she had sufficient names on her petition of registered voters in the precinct and her name remains on the ballot. Mr. Abrams was not satisfied with that ruling and threatened to sue the party chair and Roy LaVerne. He filed suit in District Court, asking for an injunction to keep Roy's name off the ballot and asking that she pay all his court costs should she lose. Since all judges in Tarrant County are Republicans, he knew that this Democratic Party election case would be tried in a Republican judge's courtroom.

In addition to Get Out the Vote and other campaign expense, she is now forced to hire an attorney to defend her right to run for office. Unlike her opponent, Roy LaVerne Brooks is not a woman of independent wealth. She is a hard-working Democratic activist, community organizer, who is employed as a hospice counselor.

She has strong name recognition in the district and years of community service/activism. Many believe that Mr. Abrams knows that she will probably beat him if the election is fair and if she is given an equal opportunity to take it to the voters. He prefers to bully and sue his way, to attempt to keep his opponent enmeshed in court, attorney's offices and in last minute fundraising to pay court costs.

This Tea and Fund Raising Appeal in support of Roy LaVerne Brooks is an appeal to stand up for the right of citizens to run for public office.

It is an appeal to stand with her against a man who is trying to bully and harass his way onto the General Election ballot instead of campaigning and letting the voters decide.

This is an appeal to help her defend this case in court and defend the right of all citizens to exercise their civil right to participate in the democratic process which is the foundation of our American system.

This is an appeal to let the Voters' Decide who they want as the Democratic Nominee for Justice of the Peace, Pct. 6.

Contributions of ANY AMOUNT are welcome. We welcome contributions as small as your weekly coffee money or as large as you can afford. If you can join us Saturday and show Roy LaVerne that you stand with her, we welcome your presence at the tea.

Contributions can be made securely on-line at BROOKS FOR JP6

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