Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The festivities today *updated*

... at the Pink Dome are televised here for those of us who cannot be there in person.

Tom Craddick's BFF Frank Corte gave up his big office in the Capitol so that Otto wouldn't have to be in the extension:

In his final days as House speaker, Tom Craddick escaped what might have been severe Capitol culture shock – plummeting from a plush, newly renovated, historic apartment behind the House chamber to a meager underground office that amounts to a closet.

But, as they've done for most of his tenure, his Republican friends in the House came to his aid at the last second, made sacrifices, created a new rule, and yanked him back from the precipice.

Rep. Frank Corte, a House committee chairman elected 15 years ago, took one for the team and gave Craddick his airy, first-floor digs. He didn't want to see Craddick forced to trade offices with Joe Straus, elected four years go, who is about to replace him in the speaker's chair. ...

The office shuffle comes as Craddick prepares to step down after six years at the helm – and just two years after spending $1 million in private donations to turn the run-down speaker's apartment, the only one of its kind in the country, into a high-class living space for him and his wife, Nadine. ...

Offices are doled out partly based on seniority, and proximity to the House chamber is a rough measurement of power. Once members pick their offices, they have them until they either choose to change or they leave their posts. Every session, there's a little shuffle – members depart and leave vacant gorgeous offices with balconies and picture windows.

Normally, Craddick would have his pick of the offices, since he's been there longer than any other lawmaker. But by the time it became clear he would no longer be speaker, members had long since moved into their offices. ...

Craddick had asked if he could get his pre-speakership office back, but that's now occupied by Rep. Al Edwards –- a longtime Houston Democrat returning to the House after being out for one term.

On Friday morning, Edwards, having fought hard for his first-floor digs, declined to give them up. Corte insisted that Craddick take his.

What a guy.

Two years ago this morning, I and a couple of hundred others were on our way to Austin for the inauguration of Borris Miles as the new representative of HD-146, and the drama swirling around the speaker's race. Yesterday, Miles went on trial:

A former state lawmaker accused of pulling a pistol during a party and at a Houston Rockets game goes on trial Monday in a case that could sent him to jail if he is convicted.

Borris Miles, who was defeated in the Democratic primary last year in his bid for another term, is charged with two counts of deadly conduct. The charge is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine on each count if he is convicted.

A six-member jury was chosen Monday in County Court 13 and is scheduled to begin hearing testimony this afternoon before Court at Law Judge Mark Atkinson.

Miles was indicted in connection with two incidents that took place in December 2007. He has pleaded not guilty.

In the first incident, Miles is accused of showing a pistol and threatening Texas Southern University regent Willard Jackson and his wife during a Rockets game at the Toyota Center.

The second incident occurred at the St. Regis Hotel ballroom, where Miles is accused of displaying a pistol and forcibly kissing another man’s wife while crashing a party.

World keeps turnin'.

Update (1/16): Not guilty. I'm pretty sure Greg knows the difference between 'not guilty' and 'innocent'. Muse has the merlot details.

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