Dec 31, 2008

2008 in Retrospect (A Baker's Dozen)

As promised, here are some of the Philip R. Klein's funnier moments from 2008.  My choice for Philip's Quote of the Year is this:
If the media does their job (laugh) and if a lawsuit is filed - then will the District Judge that the Review has uncovered stand up and be counted? Or will he do a mia-copa?
That's mea culpa, not "mia-copa!"  For the proper usage, Philip, see my article below:
Philip R. Klein's Mea Culpa
On to the dirty 13: This list this is not comprehensive; rather these are a few of my favorite highpoints from the Southeast Texas Political Review 2008.  There is no implied order.

1. Gillam vs. Klein Settlement: Klein settled his lawsuit with Judge Tom Gillam by printing a retraction:
Evidence that we now have obtained indicates that the Review must side with Judge Gilliam and his denial of the incident. Seemingly, Judge Gillam is a victim in an attempt to smear him in the court of public opinion and that is not fair to him, his family, supporters and any other public person that may choose to serve their community. In the Review’s opinion, Judge Gillam is innocent of the accusations against him.
As a reader pointed out, the only person "in the court of public opinion" who smeared Gillam was Philip R. Klein. However, Philip later retracted his retraction:
Media outlets are reporting this morning that the Southeast Texas Political Review has issued a "retraction" of the story previously written one year ago regarding Justice Thomas Gillam.

This is incorrect. The Southeast Texas Political Review did not issue a retraction of its original story.

Simply put - we stand by our first story - and we stand by our second story.
This can only make sense to Philip R. Klein.

On a side note, Philip also claimed on occasion that Operation Kleinwatch was a conspiracy among plaintiffs in the trial to discredit his good name (said with tongue in cheek). Klein contended that Operation Kleinwatch would disappear as soon as the lawsuit was settled:
A new web site appears on the Internet. It is named “The Decline of Klein.” The site is written anonymously by a pen name of “Gus Pillsbury.” The site is originally headed according to Google Security from Lamar University Systems computer. The site abruptly changes its name to “Operation Kleinwatch” post enquiry [sic] from Google Security. The site keeps the following themes through all stories : (1) made up [sic] sources, (2) liable [sic] issues towards individuals or governments, (3) the purposeful inability to get stories correct, (4) and that “Klein lies.” The “writer” notes themselves as a retired professor.
This "writer" has never implied that I'm a retired professor, nor has Philip ever produced that communication from "Google Security."  My archives are up, but where are the SETPR archives?

Most importantly, Operation Kleinwatch continues.

2. The Great Gumball Investigation
: On March 11, 2008, Philip R. Klein alleged that a huge conspiracy existed regarding gum balls at the Jefferson County Courthouse:
The Review has learned over the last twenty four hours of an investigation ongoing by Judge Ron Walker regarding gumballs [sic]  being sold.
This was a one-hit wonder; Philip never mentioned the issue again.

3. The Tax "Abetment" [sic] that Never Was
: In early May, Philip claimed Jefferson County Commissioners were considering a new tax abatement for the Total Refinery:
Today, the Jefferson County Commissioners have on their plate a huge tax abetment [sic]. And this time it is with TOTAL. And it .... should pass. With yes votes from Arnold (leading the charge) and Waymon Hallmark.

"We will be watching today," said one manager to the Review over the weekend.
Philip clearly manufactured this source. Surely a plant manager would know the abatement had been passed five years earlier for the Total Hydrotreater project, completed in 2006.  The action Klein references as a "tax abetment" had to do forming a committee to determine whether conditions for all such abatements were properly met after completion.

4. Obama vs. Clinton Lawsuits
: On March 4, the night of the Texas Presidential Primaries, Philip wrote:
The Southeast Texas Political Review has learned that lawyers for both Obama and Clinton have been dispatched to major cities and strong democratic held  [sic] counties - including Jefferson County - armed with lawsuits in an attempt to insure [sic] each candidate will obtain their proper amount of votes in the county caucus voting.
In which courts were those lawsuits filed?

5. Nancy Pelosi Visits Texas
: Back in January, Philip's sources revealed:
Okay - so get comes Ms. Nancy [Pelosi] to Texas...what a joke." "We expect to raise around $300,000 for the speaker," said a loyal democrat [sic] in Houston this afternoon.
Nancy never made it to Texas, so apparently Philip and his source were quite disappointed.

6. Mangled Politicians and Races
: On May 14, 2008, Philip wrote:
Well Mississippi went democrat [sic] in a senate race this week. Why is that important? Well it has been held by a GOPER for the last ..... million [sic] years. Everyone is running around saying go democrat [sic] - but [sic] that really is not what the exit polls are showing.
In reality, Travis Childers won Mississippi's 1st Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, not the Senate as Philip claimed. Likewise, that seat has been held by Republicans since 1995, not the last million years as Philip claims.  Prior to that, the seat was held by Democrats since Reconstruction. Putting this into proper perspective, Republicans held the seat for 13 years, while Democrats held the seat for over 120.

On November 2, 2008, Philip made this prediction on the U.S. Senate race:
John Cornyn should be the winner. We think he will pull about 54% of the vote against Bell.
Philip and Philip weren't aware that Rick Noriega, not Chris Bell, was the candidate in the US Senate race against Cornyn. Bell ran in Texas Senate District 17 race against four other opponents.

And here' my favorite.  Back in January, Philip's sources revealed  that some candidates were waiting to run against an incumbent Jefferson County Commissioner:
Two are waiting in the wings to run the only GOPER for any seat - being Eddie Arnold.
Actually, no one ran against Eddie Arnold, either Democrat or Republican, who won reelection by default in the March primaries. Philip never mentioned that again.

7. The Calvary to the Rescue
: In March, Philip's sources  revealed that the US Attorney's office, the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, DEA, and the USCIS/Border Patrol were about to descend upon Port Arthur to help the Port Arthur Police Department:
Sources that we contacted late Sunday told us that not only is agencies [sic] in the United States have been lined up to help the local cops, pep rallies of sort will be given all week long to the shift officers in the Department.
That never happened.

8. The "No Endorsements" Endorsement: On March 20, 2008, Philip wrote:
We have never, will never and shall never endorse any candidate for any office. We say it before ever picks and pans we make on this web site?
This statement came shortly after Philip wrote this about Jefferson County Precinct 3 Commissioner candidate Jimmy Dike:
Jimmy Dyke [sic]. For over 10 years he has managed the biggest government project in the history of Jefferson County. That being Pleasure Island. And when you look about - you see a guy that understands the show. Sources this weekend tell the Review that Dyke  [sic] has simply put his resume out there. He is a leader with a positive outlook that is refreshing. And frankly - if any of the above should take the ride - it should be Jimmy Dyke [sic].  We would love to see him up there giving some common sense to some pretty big time guys in politics that have their own agendas in place and as a goal rather than what is best for Jefferson County.
Since Klein misspelled Jimmy Dike, this could have gone under mangled politicians, but Philip's "no endorsement" endorsement deserved a mention.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

9. The Red Tidal Wave in Southeast Texas
: Philip claimed,
Switch-a-roo is a rumor in Hardin County. Some kind of wave going around about party changing in the Court House like went down in Chambers County.
Reality: 0ut of 13 races, two had Republican candidates. Of those two, Commissioner Precinct 3 Ken Pelt is the sitting Republican, who drew no opposition. Philip further claimed that:
Orange County is...a Red County to boot!
Out of 12 local races, NO Republicans filed.

10. Cantu Can Do: After Philip alleged that Alma Cantu was illegally campaigning while being on the clock for Jefferson County, he conducted his own investigation by obtaining her time sheets. The results of Philip's investigation:

She gets a Grade "A" from us.
However, Philip's commentary was priceless:

She has also taken one "Holiday" pay for the 1st of January. Meaning, it was a holiday but she got paid.
Isn't that why it's called "Holiday Pay?" Klein is also quite confused about comp time by his own admission:

And so we know now how many hours have been taken in vacation time, comp time (we had no idea there was such a thing) and holiday time to stump on the campaign trail.
Philip doesn't comprehend simple payroll concepts like holiday pay and comp time, but attributed his incapacity to Jefferson County:

Sorry - we forgot this is Jefferson County...on with the story.
Someday, I hope to have a serious discussion with Klein about advanced payroll topics like overtime and time-and-a-half.

11. Refilling Cases
: My favorites from this year had to do with Philip's mud-slinging at Hardin County Attorney David Sheffield,  who ran a successful campaign for Hardin County District Attorney.

On January 22, 2008, Philip sources told him:
"Sheffield screwed up big time. He has attempted to cover up his mistake by going back and refilling [sic] over 800 cases in an attempt to correct the problem. But I have to tell you that any case that was settled or tried can be overturned without question. This is going to be a feeding frenzy if it gets out."

"We know of 27,000 cases that may be overturned," said a source that demanded there [sic] name not be used.
Philip claimed that he investigated the incident by obtaining copies of those cases through a public information request:

The SET Political Review has obtained copies of over 800 cases that have had to be re-filed [sic] in Hardin County by County Attorney Sheffield. The Review has also obtained copies of over 2,000 cases under investigation for the lack of filing the "Informational" as prescribed by Texas Law.
He also identifies the source of this paperwork:

[The] Review has received a list from a county employee this morning and we are researching it now.
Consider that the charge for copies of records obtained through a public information request is set by the Texas Administrative Code, Title 1, Part 3, Chapter 70, Rule §70.3, which mandates that standard paper copies are $0.10 per page.  Klein claims to have at least 2,800 pages of documents, if each case is only one page. At the minimum price of 10 cents per page, that would cost about $280.

By Klein's admission, these records were provided to him by a county employee.

Philip never answered my questions concerning who paid for those cases, nor could my own sources document any payment received in Hardin County for such a request during that time period.  Does this constitute theft of official court documents?

During this time period, Philip provided periodic updates of his "investigation;"
Sheffield - We did the research and got the cases. Over 1,320 so far that are in question. AG says the question must be raised. The media? Quiet. And this guy wants to be a DA? Oh...wait.
Eventually, Philip determined that over 27,000 cases would have to be "refilled."

Philip's mud-slinging apparently backfired, since Sheffield ironically won the race in a landslide. 

12. An Unreliable Source
: Examples are legion - I've already included several above. In this case from Jan. 23, 2008, Philip R. Klein invented an issue, a source, and an investigation. This had to do with Jefferson County Constable Precinct 6 Joe Stevenson:
Constable Joe Stevenson has put into place a program to "inspire" the employees that work for him by assigning police cars and putting his deputies names on them.:
A long time ago - namely in December of 1997 - the Attorney General of Texas came out with opinion 97-112. It is a simple one page letter. And here is what they said:
"An elected official may not inscribe his or her name on a county-owned motor vehicle."
 Philip purportedly contacted a source:
"I think we have a violation," said a Texas Attorney General's office representative when shown the picture.
His source was unaware that our current AG, Greg Abbot, officially overturned that Letter Opinion 97-112 in GA-0158
In our opinion, Letter Opinion 97-112 incorrectly concludes that section 721.004 provides an exclusive list of the items that may be printed on a county-owned vehicle.
Note that Letter Opinion 97-112 came from an underling in Morales' office, Rick Gilpin, not the Attorney General as Klein claimed. Readers should also note that GA-0158 came directly from AG Greg Abbott.

While most of this has to do primarily with advertisements on county-owned vehicles, Abbott, in his closing statements, found that other inscriptions, such as names of deputies, are indeed legal:
Attorney General Letter Opinion 97-112's construction of section 721.005 is overruled.
Inscriptions other than those described in section 721.004 may be printed on a county-owned vehicle, but they may not obscure the required identifying marks or make identification of the vehicle difficult.
Philip never commented on the issue again.

13. Missing the Forest for the Trees
: Philip's obsession with Willie Bae Lewis made for some funny articles over the year. After Lewis was defeated in his reelection bid for his seat on the Port Arthur City Council, Philip wrote on Monday, May 19, 2008:
Another source who spoke to the Review this morning told us that Willie's intent is to take as much time and money of the city [sic] and try to bring it down some more.
That never happened, so Philip wrote on June 10, 2008: 
The Southeast Texas Political Review has been told over the weekend that complaints have been filed with the Texas Ethics Commissioner on Willie Bae Lewis. According to the source, Lewis "violated two election codes."

Another source who spoke to the Review this morning told us that Willie's intent is to take as much time and money of the city [sic] and try to bring it down some more.
That never happened, either. However, Philip obliviously missed the real story in the Port Arthur City Council elections.

A war broke out between Elizabeth Segler and Cal Jones over the election, which resulted in a lawsuit. From the Beaumont Enterprise:
An ousted Port Arthur city councilman's dispute of his loss in the city's May election will be heard in a trial June 28, a judge ordered Monday.

Carroll "Cal" Jones, defeated by Elizabeth Segler, sued her after the May 10 election, claiming city election administrators improperly excluded mail-in ballots that could have swung the Position 2 race in his favor.
During the trial, voter fraud was alleged:
According to testimony during the trial, the Early Voting Ballot Board found that the mail-in ballot applications shared similar handwriting and were submitted without the signature of the person responsible for filling out the applications.
Even funnier, this incident had all of the necessary ingredients for another Klein "conspiracy:"
Under the instruction of the Texas secretary of state, Hanks reported the incident to the Jefferson County district attorney's office. The DA investigated, but found no criminal wrongdoing.
As it turned out, the votes in question were never allowed and Segler kept her seat.  My question, if Philip is so wired into the local governments, how did his sources miss this story?
In closing, I'm reminded of Philip R. Klein's quote from January 25, 2008:
We stand up and say we are wrong when we are wrong.
Happy New Year!

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