When Republicans fight among themselves, it is usually kept private, maybe after praying in church or in the country club bar. Or maybe you fire your shotgun at your hunting partner and claim you were just trying to kill some quail.

But the fight among local Democrats is getting public and nasty, and it’s all about the race for the county chair position, between incumbent Art Brender and challenger Doreen Geiger.

Seems the local Mid-Cities Democrats held a fund-raiser last month, collected $3,400, and indicated it may give some of the money to Geiger. That went over like buckshot in the mug to Brender, who attended the fund-raiser and says giving money to his rival is unfair and maybe illegal. “It is deceitful to invite candidates and their supporters, … charge them admission, and then turn those funds over to their opponents,” Brender wrote in an e-mail to local Democrats.


Mid-Cities Democrats prez Miki Hawkins said the club checked with the Texas Ethics Commission and was told they can vote their money to whomever they want. Brender is “acting like a stuck pig, and he hasn’t even been stuck yet,” Hawkins said.

The other dispute is kinda crazy, even for Democrats. Geiger said State Rep. Lon Burnam met with her in December, asked her to quit the race, and said if she did run it would cost him $22,000. Geiger said Burnam was planning to move his office to the party headquarters and said he couldn’t do that if she was there.

In response, Burnam said he meant that her running would cost the party money, because Brender would have to use that amount in campaign funding. Burnam said Geiger is “libeling” him by airing the $22,000 flap on her web site. Geiger said she sticks by her version of the meeting.

One thing Static knows for sure: These Democrats shouldn’t go quail hunting together.

All the News That’s Pretty

Well, wonders never cease. Mayor Mike Moncrief finally woke up the other day and got excited about an issue – even spoke strongly. And here we thought he’d put his righteous anger in a blind trust for the duration.

What’s he all hot and bothered about? Newspaper boxes. Apparently the boxes out of which Fort Worth Weekly, the Star-Telegram and a host of other publications sell or give away their products are “ugly” and “degrading,” according to the Star-T’s coverage of a Feb. 7 council debate. And the mayor painted a terrifying image of the future: “Picture these same boxes in front of the new convention center hotel!!!” he moaned. (Exclamation points, italics, and “moaned” added by Static.)

Not to be outdone, council member Carter Burdette said that he hopes “we don’t get carried away with the First Amendment.”

Oh, please, no, not the First Amendment. Not that beleaguered basic tenet of American freedom that’s pretty much being shrunk, hammered and shot through with holes every day by the Bush administration. Let’s not get carried away with that.

One of the concerns, it seems, is that the boxes might be covering up decorative planters in front of buildings. Well, there’s a weighty problem – ranks right up with world hunger and grackles. And oddly, even though another concern is that the boxes might tip over in the wind, the proposal is also to prevent them from being bolted or otherwise secured. (The Weekly had to start doing that with its boxes soon after it started publication, because they tended to disappear mysteriously in the night.)

Not sure what newspapers need to do to impress on our fearless leaders how important is the people’s right to know – and to read the news. Wait, though – maybe all the publishers should get together and ask the city to create a newspaper TIF – a tax-increment foolery district. Then, instead of being asked to remove the boxes, the publishers would be offered tens of millions of tax dollars a year to beautify them.

Just remember, these people are from the government, and they’re here to help.

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