Wednesday, September 15, 2004

First Black Jurist to Head TX Supreme Court

First black jurist tapped to lead state's high courtWallace Jefferson won two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court By John Moritz Star-Telegram Austin Bureau
AUSTIN - Gov. Rick Perry today will name the great-great-great-grandson of a slave as chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, making the jurist the first black to preside over the state's highest civil court, sources said Monday.
Perry will name Wallace Jefferson, 41, to lead the court in a formal announcement in San Antonio, where Jefferson lived and practiced law before Perry appointed him to the court as an associate justice in 2001. Jefferson was elected to the court as a Republican in his own right in 2002.
Neither Perry's nor Jefferson's office would comment on the selection until today's announcement, but three sources influential in Texas Republican Party circles confirmed that Jefferson has been tapped to replace former Chief Justice Tom Phillips, who resigned this month to become a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston.
The sources requested anonymity because they did not want to upstage the governor's announcement.
The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Texas Senate, but Jefferson will be allowed to preside over the nine-member court until the Legislature reconvenes in January. He easily won confirmation when Perry first named him to the court 3 1/2 years ago.
"Wallace Jefferson is an excellent choice," one of the sources said. "He will be the only chief justice in the state's history who has argued and won two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. That's a high honor, because most lawyers never get even one chance to appear before the Supreme Court."
In a 1998 U.S. Supreme Court case, Jefferson successfully defended the Lago Vista school district in a sexual harassment suit over a teacher who had initiated a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student. The high court was swayed by Jefferson's argument that because the Austin-area school district had not been notified of the relationship, it shouldn't be held liable for damages.
An article published in Texas Lawyer in 1998 said Jefferson "did the best job that day of arguing on his feet. He spoke confidently and without hesitation, rarely if ever running into trouble with questions."
Jefferson, who is also the first black to serve as a Texas Supreme Court associate justice, can trace his ancestry back to Waco in the 1860s, when his great-great-great-grandfather was owned as a slave by a judge in McLennan County.
Born in Tacoma, Wash., Jefferson earned a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in 1985 and earned his law degree in 1988 from the University of Texas School of Law.
In San Antonio, Jefferson was once director of the city's Young Lawyers Association and also treasurer of the San Antonio Black Lawyers Association. Before joining the court he was a partner in the San Antonio firm of Crofts, Callaway & Jefferson and before that worked for Groce, Locke & Hebdon.
Louis Sturns, the state's first black criminal appeals court judge, said in a 2001 interview that Jefferson has an "outstanding reputation" and has done a lot of work for the state bar's continuing education programs.
"I think it's real important that we have a judiciary that reflects our population," Sturns said at the time. "I think Governor Perry recognized that. It should have been done some time ago."
John Moritz, (512) 476-4294

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

What Bush means to African-Americans Star Parker
September 7, 2004
Republican and Democratic party national conventions are always a mix of content and choreography. The relative mix of both tells us the shape that a party is in. Quality content with fitting form is the sign of a healthy party. A party in bad shape will have mostly form (choreographers are easy to hire) to deflect attention from an absence of ideas and content.
A few short weeks have passed since the conclusion of the Democratic convention. Can anyone recall what he or she heard from John Kerry and John Edwards? Does anyone have a clue what specifically they have in mind for our nation? I'm trying to avoid being partisan here, but I would like anyone to tell me one creative new idea he or she heard during the four days that the Dems met in Boston.
This week's Republican convention was a refreshing contrast. Whether or not you agree with George W. Bush's take on the world, the week in New York left little doubt what this man is about.
I walked away from a week in New York with a clear sense that Bush is about a strong and unapologetic U.S. stance around the world and a society at home emphasizing an increasing role of American citizen in controlling all aspects of their lives.
The choreography of the Republican convention was also interesting to note. As unapologetic as the Republicans came off regarding what they believe, they were equally unflinching in having this message delivered uniformly by tough white men - John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudolph Giuliani, Zell Miller.
Gone was the usual attempt to showcase the big tent. Where was the usual high-profile trotting out of the blacks, the Latinos and the women?
Recall that in 2000 Republicans were falling over themselves to show the nation that the Bush administration had given blacks lofty positions of unprecedented influence.
It was almost as if the Bush administration was saying this time around: "We've got important business to do here and not a lot of time to get it done. The focus needs to be on getting our message across as clearly and forcefully as possible. There isn't time here for the usual political affirmative action games."
As a black woman, am I offended by this?
Absolutely not. On the contrary, when I am looking for someone to give me tax advice, guidance on how to invest my money or ideas on how to manage my organization, I'm looking for content, not form. The marketplace is too unforgiving, and the rewards too attractive, to look for anyone other than those who will provide the best information and advice. Why should the criteria be any different in choosing those who will run my government?
Furthermore, I want blacks to be as in-your-face back to the Republican Party as Bush is to the nation and the world. Ownership and choice are far more critical for blacks than for rich white men.
I am thrilled that Bush is showing the imagination and leadership to put Social Security in play and open the door for personal accounts. But, back to the choreography and content trade-off, blacks need a minimum of the former and a maximum of the latter. I cannot think of one reason why any African-American earning $30,000 a year should be forced to continue putting one dime of hard-earned income into a retirement regime that does not involve ownership and market returns. Social Security provides neither and we want out, as soon as possible. We want returns on our hard-earned money, and we want to own and control what we work for.
No Child Left Behind and standards and testing sound great. But as long as our school system remains a government monopoly, where competition and alternatives cannot drive quality and excellence, there is only so much we can expect. And again, blacks have more at stake here than rich white folks who have the resources to buy alternatives. Even a miraculous revival of the black family in our nation's inner cities will not justify forcing the kids of these families to attend politically correct government schools.
Modest-income blacks need a market-driven health-care market. Health Savings Accounts and similar innovative ideas are crucial for poor people. Let's get employers out of the healt-care business for employees and open a real and dynamic market for personal health care that will force insurance companies to innovate and allow working men and woman of limited resources to buy health care that fits their needs and their pocketbooks.
I congratulate the president for bold and creative leadership and for emphasizing content over form. I want to encourage him to be even bolder.
It is not enough for government to allow African-Americans to put a toe into the pool of ownership and choice. We need government to get out of the way and let us dive in.
Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education and author of the newly released book 'Uncle Sam's Plantation.'
©2004 Star Parker

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Convention Diary!

Friends! Forgive me for not posting as often as I should, however, I am very busy trying to run a small business. Yes! I am one of the many small business owners in the US that are a vital part of our US economy. I wish there were more hours in a day! Unfortunately blogging falls to the back burner very often. (I need a few good interns!)

Now on to my convention report and activities. I think all of you will enjoy my trip to NYC.

Sunday August 29th 2004
I RSVPd to an event at Gracie Mansion to meet "Hizzonner" Mayor Michael Bloomberg from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, however, I got to NYC late and decided to just hang out in the hotel and head up to Harlem later in the day for the CORE (Congress for Racial Equality) party.

2:00 p.m. - Ran over to the DC delegations meeting to receive credentials and important materials. All of us were given a lovely large bottle of catsup so we would not use Heinz ketchup during our visit to NYC. (Since all of the restaurants in NYC serve Heinz catsup.)

CORE Party - Museum of Harlem
What a great party. This party was my first introduction to Roy and Niger Innis. What an amazing organization! Great venue for the many black Republicans that were in NYC for the convention. I met Don King! I met several black Republicans from Harlem (yes, they do exist) and from other parts of the country. Several congressional members and Lt. Governor Michael Steele attended the event.

After the party, I went to dinner and back to my hotel.

Monday August 30th 2004
I began my day by attending a breakfast at the hotel of the DC delegation, with Democratic mayor Anthony Williams. A great breakfast in which DC Mayor Tony Williams applauded the works of the DC delegation.

I missed the W Stands for Women luncheon. I RSVPd late and the event was full. There was also a tea for Mrs. Pataki at The Plaza. I got there late as well. Walking around NYC is so much fun, you tend to take your time and enjoy the sites.

Monday early evening - BAMPAC party
Alvin Williams held a extremely successful party for his organization BAMPAC. The standing room only event was highlighted by a visit from Sen. George Allen, Michael Steele. Sec of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson and many other dignitaries. I had a wonderful time! Also we were privileged to have a surprise visit from IL Senate candidate, Alan Keyes, who addressed the packed house about his vision for IL.

Americans for Tax Reform Party - After leaving the BAMPAC party where I hooked up with the wonderful and dynamic Star Parker. (I just love her!) I headed over to the NY Yacht Club for a party hosted by Americans for Tax Reform. The Manhattans were flowing, the feast was open and the bar was friendly to all. I met Senators, Congressman, and my first reporter of the convention. (Upon leaving NYC on Thursday a.m. I have completed 5 media interviews.)

Yes! Every reporter I met during convention asked the same question. "Are you really a black republican?"

Monday evening - I headed over to Madison Square Garden to listen to Sen. John McCain deliver his speech. I got lost in MSG and ended up in the press area. I was trying to find Radio One (black talk show network) in order to let them know that I was there and wanted to do press interviews if they needed to speak to Black Republicans. However, I could not find them.

Late Monday evening - GMAC Party (Travis Tritt)
After leaving, MSG I went accross the street to the GMAC party to listen to the sounds of Travis Tritt and enjoy the food, dance, and merriment. Some of the food was very foreign to me. The menu was Texan favorites. There was a strange tasting punch that was served. Too different for me. Also lots of salsa's, chili's, and three different cold soups. I grew up on the East Coast so some of the Texan food was a bit too different. However, the drinks and desserts were fine! They even had a sushi bar!

Finally around 1:00 a.m. I made it back to my hotel. When I arrived the Gaming Association was hosting a party. I decided I was partied out and went to bed!

Tuesday August 31st 2004
Early a.m. - I tried to wake up early to attend a breakfast. However, I slept in and did my first interview with a reporter from Harper's magazine. I was very honored the reporter told me that he was interviewing two people during convention, little old me, and Rev. Jerry Fallwell. Interesting mix don't you think?

To help further my business on Tuesday, I took a potential NY client to lunch in Times Square. At the restaurant I met a few extremely handsome Secret Service guys, and enjoyed the good food and life in NYC. My client would not let my pay for lunch so my trip to NYC was turning out to be extremely inexpensive. :)

Early p.m. - I started my evening at the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Bank party at Rockefeller Center. Great party, with an excellent band and theme. The party featured different billiard games and other fun things to do. I had a great time and met a few delegates from FL.

After leaving that party, I went over to the convention center to hear Michael Steele and Arnold's speeches! My seat on Tuesday was in the press box. So I was the only one standing, cheering, yelling "that's right brother" and generally having a good time. So you can imagine how popular I become in the press box. All of the sudden reporters from all over the country wanted to sit next to me and ask me questions. Of course, each interview began with the same question. "Are you really a black republican?"

As many of you have heard the protestors were very vocal and aggressive on Tuesday. The NYC police did not want convention goers to walk around the perimeter outside of MSG. So I decided to take the shuttle bus home. We were escorted by NYC's finest. It was very exciting. On the bus, I met a few folks from the Bush Cheney re-election team.

Decided to head home and not hit any late night parties.

Wednesday September 1st 2004
GOPAC Prayer Breakfast
JC Watts and the GOPAC team did an excellent job! An amazing prayer breakfast that saluted the LT. Governor's of the US. The attendees were privileged to have the Rev. Donnie McClurkin minister to us with his voice. GOD was in the room and my day began with prayer and peace.

Afternoon - Shopping!

Bush Cheney - African American meeting
The Bush Cheney re-election team held a meeting for black republicans at the Waldorf Astoria! The meeting was packed. Standing room only. I met candidates from all over the country. Several elected leaders. There are especially a lot of leaders in Iowa and places you would never expect to find black's, let alone black republicans.

JC Watts made a wonderful statement, that in a few years, we will so more black republicans in office. The grassroots efforts are moving forward and it is not a "strange site" to see or hear of black republicans running for office on the local level.

Evening - Stayed in the hotel and watched Zell Miller's speech!

Late Evening
Nextel Party - Diversity in Government
I started my evening at the Nextel party watching the convention. I sat with other black republicans watching the Vice President's speech. Great job! Several members of the FL delegation were in attendance. We spoke about the hurricane. Some of the members told me that they would be heading home soon to assist with the preparation for Hurricane Frances.

The Nextel party was amazing. Joe Sample and Lela Hathaway performed for the standing room only crowd!

Kid Rock - RIAA
After leaving the Nextel party, I went down to Chelsea to try to get into the Kid Rock party. When I got to the venue, the line was around the corner. There were a lot of girls there anxious to get in to see Kid Rock. (It was 1:00 a.m.) So I hung out in line for a few minutes and decided I did not want to wait an hour to get in to a party. I haven't done that since college and am too old to do it now.

Cipriani's - Rudy Guiliani event - Drove by in my cab. Seemed to be ending!

MD Party - Michael Steele event
Around 1:30 a.m. I hit the party for Lt. Governor Michael Steele at Jay Z's 40/40 club. Several 40/40 club regulars attended this party. They had no idea, that a bunch of republicans had taken over the venue. The DJ was playing hip hop and R& B and the diverse crowd enjoyed the sounds and hit the dance floor. The Lt. Governor gave me his card and told me to call his office regarding minority business. (Yes!)

Got home around 4:30 a.m and decided that I was going to head back home to DC the next morning.

Thursday September 2nd 2004

Woke up at 8:30 a.m. Ouch! My head really hurts!

Packed, check out of my hotel and caught the 10:30 train back to DC. The train was full and had very few seats on board.

I got home to my house around 2:00 p.m. and was fast asleep in my bed at 3:00 p.m.

Thursday night I sat on my couch in the tv room and watched George W. Bush give the speech of his life! What a great moment!

Well these were the highlights of my trip to NYC. I did not attend 1/3 of all the events I was supposed to attend. I missed the Log Cabin Republicans party on Sunday. Also several receptions and luncheons. Too much to do and too little time!

Next week - Congressional Black Caucus weekend! Breakfast at the Old Executive Office Building!