Category Archives: Texas government

Letter to Public Integrity Unit: Criminal “coercion” by Senator John Whitmire

If Governor Perry is guilty of criminal “coercion” for “threatening” to use his constitutional veto authority under article 36.03 of the Penal Code, then Senator John Whitmire is guilty as well.  Democrats have used the indictment of the Governor under a faulty law as a political opportunity, with no consideration of the very serious constitutional problems raised by the penal code provision.  Perhaps they will start to understand the problems posed by this law, in light of the below.

Restraining Order Paralyzes Hidalgo City Council

A very interesting, and troubling, story in The Monitor. Councilmember Rudy Franz appears to have a business incentive to prevent approval of a permit for a competing transportation company, so he went to court to get a restraining order against a few fellow councilmembers.

With the one-page document, Rudy Franz paralyzed the City Council and blocked a new bus company, which met all Hidalgo’s permit requirements, from serving the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge. Mayor Martin Cepeda called the incident a black eye for Hidalgo.

“As mayor, I’m very disappointed that this is going on,” Cepeda said. “But what can you do? It’s the law.”

The new bus company, S to N Transport, would have competed with Rudy Franz’s businesses — Franz Taxi and STS Transportation, a bus company — that shuttle people from the international bridge to McAllen.

I’ll be interested to pull the documents and see what the judge believed justified a restraining order that prevents elected members of a city council from performing their duties.  This case raises very interesting and important separation-of-powers issues.  We’re used to thinking of separation of powers in terms of federal constitutional law, but structural principles of government are no less important in local affairs.