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Demos resist desire to return home (Chicken Run)
San Antonio Express ^ | 8/31/03 | Guillermo X. Garcia

Posted on 08/31/2003 7:44:40 AM PDT by Libloather

Demos resist desire to return home
By Guillermo X. Garcia
Express-News Austin Bureau
Web Posted : 08/31/2003 12:00 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thirty-five days after defiantly leaving the state, and five days after successfully killing a second special session on redistricting, the Texas 11 are no closer to home this holiday weekend. Although some of the AWOL Democratic state senators had hoped to spend the long weekend with friends and family back in Texas — one member even made tentative reservations to return to Houston — they remain holed up in a high-rise hotel here with no clear exit strategy.

Their hopes hinge on a federal lawsuit whose merits have been questioned by a judge who many thought would be friendly.

While claiming victory on the legislative and judicial fronts last week, the 11 Democrats were showing signs of strain after more than a month of hotel living and the nonstop media glare from their show of opposition to a redistricting bill that could shift the balance of Texas' congressional delegation.

A combination of homesickness, frustration from the self-imposed exile and the stress of battling the Republican political majority across state lines resulted in cracks appearing for the first time in what previously had been a wall of solidarity.

Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, said he was called on the carpet earlier in the week by Democratic Caucus chairwoman Sen. Leticia Van de Putte after he told a reporter he was frustrated with the impasse and that he had come "pretty damn close" to booking a flight to Houston.

"I thought if there was no special session and with the holidays, then I thought it reasonable to go back to Houston and be back here Tuesday morning," Whitmire said. "But it became too widely known that I was going back. ... Then out of an abundance of caution I decided it would be smart to stay around Albuquerque."

He said he remains steadfast in his opposition to redistricting.

The absent Democrats also face hefty fees after most of their Republican colleagues voted to fine them up to $5,000 a day and penalize their staffs by rescinding legislative perks, banning them from the Senate floor and preventing them from purchasing office supplies.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is ready to arrest the senators if they return, and their stand is playing worse in the polls than the issue of redistricting itself.

Still, they remain defiant.

"I didn't come here to make a statement of three or four days," said Sen. Judith Zaffirini , D-Laredo. "We've been here more than a month and we'll stay as long as it takes to win this."

The Texas 11 likely will have to keep waiting until at least mid-September before they can come home. That's when a panel of three federal judges is expected to decide whether to grant the senators a temporary restraining order that would allow them to return to Texas without fear of arrest while the case makes its way through the courts.

The Democrats' attorneys have warned them not to return to Texas without coming to terms on a "cooling off" period with Republican leaders, as U.S. District Judge George Kazen of Laredo has suggested. Kazen suggested that Republican Gov. Rick Perry give the senators a 72-hour notice before calling another session.

Perry, through a spokeswoman, rejected the suggestion. He has said he will keep calling special sessions until the lawmakers pass a bill that will ensure changes in the 17-15 majority that Texas Democrats in Washington currently enjoy.

The 11 senators took the holiday weekend off. Some were visited by family, others left for a fund-raiser in Denver, while still others attended to personal issues: a pedicure and manicure.

None returned to Texas, and they vowed to each other to regroup Tuesday as they scoffed at Republican claims that several would be returning home.

They are increasingly turning to the Internet to raise funds for a publicity campaign.

In four days of Web appeals, the Democrats' backers gathered $1 million they plan to use in a nationwide media blitz that will start this week. It's aimed at countering Republican charges that the runaways fled rather than stay and fight the redistricting battle — which Democrats know they'll lose.

But while they may claim victory in several fronts, winning the war appears far from certain.

Kazen, a Democratic appointee, denied the state's motion to dismiss the Democrats' lawsuit, even as he questioned the merits of their case. Rather than rule on the motion by himself, he asked for a panel of three judges including himself to hear the case.

The Democrats claim that a decision by Dewhurst to suspend use of a Senate rule during the redistricting debate not only violates minorities' voting rights, but that it discriminates against the senators themselves; nine of the 11 are Hispanic or African American.

They also charge that the redistricting plan would disenfranchise millions of the state's minority voters by limiting their ability to elect minority members to Congress.

Dewhurst changed the Senate's two-thirds rule, which requires at least 21 of the 32 senators to agree to bring legislation up for a vote. The 11 Democrats had used the rule to keep redistricting from being heard in the Senate until Dewhurst eliminated it, prompting them to flee to Albuquerque.

ggarcia@express-news.net


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Politics/Elections; US: New Mexico; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: chickens; demos; desire; home; ll; mexico; new; rats; resist; return; texas
Still, they remain defiant.

Good. Double the fines...

1 posted on 08/31/2003 7:44:41 AM PDT by Libloather
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To: Libloather
Post an APB out on the Outlaw 11 Chicken Little Ds...
2 posted on 08/31/2003 7:46:32 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Libloather
they remain holed up in a high-rise hotel here with no clear exit strategy.

Clearly, they thought the Republicans didn't have spines.

I just hope those Republican spines hold out.

3 posted on 08/31/2003 7:49:16 AM PDT by Paul Atreides (Bringing you quality, non-unnecessarily-excerpted threads since 2002)
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To: Paul Atreides
Not many people can afford an entire month's stay in a swanky hotel.
4 posted on 08/31/2003 7:50:02 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: goldstategop
And, pile on the mounting debt of the fines (which, I'm sure, the Republicans will waive upon their return).
5 posted on 08/31/2003 8:00:01 AM PDT by Paul Atreides (Bringing you quality, non-unnecessarily-excerpted threads since 2002)
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To: Libloather
If the democrats prevail here they will pull this crap every time they are the minority, and disagree with something in all 50 states. It's a new tactic to subvert the will of the majority by the minority.
6 posted on 08/31/2003 8:02:13 AM PDT by chainsaw
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To: goldstategop
"Not many people can afford an entire month's stay in a swanky hotel."

I'm sure they plan to recoup any financial losses from "MoveOn.org" and other leftist funding sources. Won't they be surprised if they aren't able to???

7 posted on 08/31/2003 8:02:23 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel)
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To: Libloather
The modern face of the democRAT party.

"I didn't come here to make a statement of three or four days," said Sen. Judith Zaffirini , D-Laredo. "We've been here more than a month and we'll stay as long as it takes to win this."

These democRATS see this as a fillibuster.

8 posted on 08/31/2003 8:03:12 AM PDT by PokeyJoe (Don't talk about my armchair unless you know how to pull the recliner lever.)
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To: Libloather
I'm sure glad they don't represent me. I would want a man or woman standing up and not running like a yellow coward. Wow, is that how they handle everything in their lives? Get up and run as fast as you can to avoid responsibility? Yellow, yellow, yellow, spineless cowards. That's the only proper description of these idiots. Well, maybe they'll stay away forever...who cares?
9 posted on 08/31/2003 8:04:51 AM PDT by cubreporter
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To: PokeyJoe; Wonder Warthog; chainsaw
This is about the twelfth time I've posted this:

The Pubbies need to take off the gloves and play hardball.

Email Texas GOP: Taxpayers demand absconding Dems be charged with:

(1) theft of government services,

(2) misuse of office,

(3) misappropriation of tax funds,

(4) abuse of public office,

(5) receiving illegal gratuities,

(6) filing false documents,

(7) abuse of government power,

(8) conflict of interest,

(9) possible FEC violations,

(10) violating their oath of office;

(11) dereliction of duty.

email address: texasGOP.org

10 posted on 08/31/2003 8:09:14 AM PDT by Liz
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To: Libloather
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is ready to arrest the senators if they return, and their stand is playing worse in the polls than the issue of redistricting itself.

Now there’s a little known fact you won’t find in any headline in the Austin American Statesman. The Texas Republicans need to stand tall and stay strong. These chicken $hits are feeling the heat.
11 posted on 08/31/2003 8:26:38 AM PDT by schaketo (White Devils for Al Sharpton in 2004... NE Chapter)
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To: Libloather
As I understand the situation, the Texas legislature needs a 2/3 vote to pass a re-districting bill, and they can't get the 2/3 vote unless the wayward dems are there to vote. What I don't understand is why the vote doesn't go ahead with the missing dems' votes counted as 'not present'? Is there some provision in the Texas constitution of legislative by-laws that prohibits this? What would happen if the chicken dems were all killed in a bus accident? Would the Texas legislature grind to a halt like it has now, or would new legislators be appointed/elected to fill their shoes? Whatever the procedure for replacing a missing legislator, why isn't it being implemented now?
12 posted on 08/31/2003 8:36:28 AM PDT by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: Wonder Warthog
Brit said the other day that moveon does not guarantee that the chicken d's will get all of the donations that mo receives for them.
13 posted on 08/31/2003 8:46:34 AM PDT by mathluv
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To: randog
A 2/3 'quorum' is needed to have a vote, not to pass the law. We have no recall, and the senators who fled are pretty much in safe districts. If kicked out, new dims would probably be elected.
14 posted on 08/31/2003 8:50:02 AM PDT by mathluv
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To: Libloather
What the Democrats should do is go on a 'hunger strike'.
Then they would have been taken seriously and it would all have
been over during the first time they left the state.
15 posted on 08/31/2003 8:58:59 AM PDT by duckln
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To: randog
What would happen if the chicken dems were all killed in a bus accident?

The legislature would have to adjourn while new elections were set.

The idea that keeps coming up on these threads is some sort of variation of kicking these senators out of office. It won't work for a variety of reasons, and even if it did, it wouldn't accomplish anything except an enormous delay.

16 posted on 08/31/2003 9:03:54 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Libloather
The Democrats claim that a decision by Dewhurst to suspend use of a Senate rule during the redistricting debate not only violates minorities' voting rights, but that it discriminates against the senators themselves; nine of the 11 are Hispanic or African American.

Photos taken from the Texas Senators of the 78th Legislature website.

The 11 Obstructors:


Gonzalo Barrientos, Austin/Rodney Ellis, Houston/Mario Gallegos Jr., Houston


Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, McAllen/Eddie Lucio Jr., Brownsville/Frank Madla Jr., San Antonio


Eliot Shapleigh, El Paso/Leticia Van de Putte, San Antonio/Royce West, Dallas


John Whitmire, Houston/Judith Zaffirini, Laredo


The Lone Democrat that is staying:


Kenneth Armbrister, Victoria


17 posted on 08/31/2003 9:11:55 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Check out the Texas Chicken D 'RATS!: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/keyword/Redistricting)
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To: MeeknMing
The only reason Armbrister is staying is because his district is 60% republican and he knows he isn't safe come the next election. Yet he supports them and voted against any fines and other sanctions...
18 posted on 08/31/2003 9:19:32 AM PDT by Froggie
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To: Dog Gone
The legislature would have to adjourn while new elections were set...it wouldn't accomplish anything except an enormous delay.

But that's what Texans have now--an enourmous delay. Why not at least go through the motions (to show that you're trying to do something) and make it a PR nightmare for the dems?

19 posted on 08/31/2003 9:21:47 AM PDT by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: Froggie
Yep ! Hope he and all the others get booted ... though I'm not holdin' my breath ...

20 posted on 08/31/2003 9:22:14 AM PDT by MeekOneGOP (Check out the Texas Chicken D 'RATS!: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/keyword/Redistricting)
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To: Libloather
The Texas Congress can compel attendance, can they issue warrants for the arrest of the ‘Rats?

If so, the ‘Rats could be extradited from New Mexico or wherever they land.
21 posted on 08/31/2003 9:27:33 AM PDT by RJL
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To: randog
Why not at least go through the motions (to show that you're trying to do something) and make it a PR nightmare for the dems?

Because it wouldn't succeed, and the spin would create a PR nightmare for us.

It takes a 2/3rds vote to expel a senator, and as long as we don't have 2/3rds of the senators in Austin, we couldn't even hold that vote.

If Governor Perry attempted to declare their seats vacant, it would cause a court battle that I don't think we could win. The proposition that these people are no longer Texas residents is a loser. They have homes and family here, and they're not renouncing their residency. They claim they want to return, and nobody realistically believes that they're going to stay in NM, get new jobs, register to vote there, etc.

In any event, new elections would have to be held, and presumably each of these senators would fight to be on the ballot. They'd win that fight also, and then win re-election.

The costs of all this nonsense would be blamed on the Republicans, and it wouldn't change a thing.

22 posted on 08/31/2003 9:41:07 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: RJL
The chief RAT in New Mexico has stated that he wouldn't honor an arrest warrant from Texas on the Albeturkey 11.
23 posted on 08/31/2003 9:41:32 AM PDT by PokeyJoe (Don't talk about my armchair unless you know how to pull the recliner lever.)
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To: PokeyJoe
The chief RAT in New Mexico has stated that he wouldn't honor an arrest warrant from Texas on the Albeturkey 11.

Can New Mexico just refuse?

If Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas and his brother was robbing banks in neighboring states could Bill just say no, you can’t have him?

It seems like there must be some federal authority or statutes in cases like this.

24 posted on 08/31/2003 11:18:12 AM PDT by RJL
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To: Libloather
"They also charge that the redistricting plan would disenfranchise millions of the state's minority voters by limiting their ability to elect minority members to Congress."

This "charge" dumfounds me. Its one of those reads that sounds coherent when first read, but becomes ridiculous when pondered. It has nothing to do with the race of the people. It has everything to do with the politics. A conservative "minority" candidate could easily win an election. So to be honest, the entire sentence needs to be restructured. But there I go expecting honesty from journalist and democrats.
25 posted on 08/31/2003 11:20:42 AM PDT by whereasandsoforth (tagged for migratory purposes only)
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To: Libloather
None dare call it . . . VACATION
26 posted on 08/31/2003 11:22:44 AM PDT by ChadGore (Kakkate Koi!)
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To: RJL
The Rats are not committing a crime by being away from their jobs, so no state has to honor an arrest warrant from Texas. It's no surprise that the Rats have been hiding in states with a Rat governor.
27 posted on 08/31/2003 11:23:55 AM PDT by Dog Gone
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To: Libloather
If rumors of prostitutes/orgies were in the air, maybe pressure from spouses can do what politics can't.
28 posted on 08/31/2003 4:28:12 PM PDT by Mark (Treason doth never prosper, for if it prosper, NONE DARE CALL IT TREASON.)
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