Oct 24, 2009

Phil Klein: Unfair and Mentally Unbalanced

Philip R. Klein has offered eight questions to the local media for Jeff Branick, who officially began his campaign for Jefferson County Judge this week. I've answered Klein's questions below, but substituted my own pen name since I do not represent Jeff Branick.

After reading through Philip's suggested questions, it's obvious why the Southeast Texas Political Review represents the absolute worst of political blogging. Most reporters would be fired on the spot for asking such overtly biased and uninformed questions as these. Here's why:
1) Mr. [Pillsbury] - over the past twenty years under the democrats - government spending has doubled in the county. Do you have any plans to curtail the spending by commissioners court?
Mr. Klein - We should always consider an effective return on investment of taxpayer money as our highest priority. However, if you'll check your figures, you'll see that your facts are wrong. Furthermore, since Republicans gained control of the Texas State budget 20 years ago, spending has quadrupled.

Petty partisanship has no place in this campaign.
2) Mr. [Pillsbury] - since Judge Walker has been in office - the budget has increased from 86 million to 126 million. During this time you were Judge Walkers architect in building up government. Do you feel your strategy successful has been successful and healthy for Jefferson County?
Mr. Klein - Your figures are again wrong. In the three budgets so far under Judge Walker, spending has increased from $121.6 million in 2007 to  132.6 million for next year. While you claim an increase of 40 million, the real budget has increased by only 9 percent during Judge Walker's term, roughly the same rate as inflation. Judge Walker has done an admirable job of holding county costs while providing the same services during the worst recession in 80 years.
3) Mr. [Pillsbury] - can you explain what you will do as the top leader in Jefferson County - what you will do to stop citizens from moving out of Jefferson County?
Mr. Klein - I advocate a positive approach, rather than dwelling on the negatives. By developing our resources, we can attract more business to Jefferson County. The problem you mentioned will take care of itself. In reality, Jefferson County faces the the same problems as most U.S. metros whose primary economic bases are manufacturing. 

Jefferson County is an attractive place for business. Since Judge Walker took office, both Valero and Eastman Chemical have announced plans to build two plants here worth a combined total of almost 4 billion dollars in new business. Because of this current recession, both projects have been temporarily suspended.This has nothing to do with the business climate in Jefferson County, but rather represents the global nature of the current recession.

The best thing we can all do is to work together in a positive manner, rather than quoting false statistics intended to cast our county in the worst possible light.

I'm proud of being a native of Southeast Texas. Have you considered moving?
4) Mr. [Pillsbury] - since Judge Walker has been in office - and you have been his assistant - unemployment has increased from 6% to 11%? What can you do as the leader of Jefferson County to attract business and create jobs?
Mr. Klein - you're comparing an annual rate of 6 percent with a  monthly rate of 11 percent, so your logic is clearly fallacious. So far, the annual rate for 2009 in Jefferson County is approximately 9.4 percent, but the year is not yet over.

Your question further implies that Jefferson County is not subject to the same recessionary pressures that affect the rest of the state and country, but during the same time period, unemployment in Texas has increased from 4.7 percent to 8.2 percent. This parallels the same increase in Jefferson County. Are you seriously suggesting that Jefferson County Commissioners are in control of the global economy?

The negative tone of your question also implies that Jefferson County has done nothing to improve the local business climate, yet the county has standing tax abatement agreements with 16 industrial projects that cover more than $923.9 million.

During Judge Walker's term, Motiva Enterprises has begun an expansion of its refinery, which will provide jobs for approximately 6,500 people by this time next year. That's almost exactly a third of the current number of unemployed people in Jefferson County. The 7 billion dollar project will make Motiva's facility the largest refinery in the United States and among the top 10 in the world.

This is the biggest current construction project in North America and it's located in Jefferson County, Texas. The new expansion will generate about $17 billion in economic activity for Southeast Texas,. Likewise, Royal Dutch Shell and Sempra Energy are both building new plants or expanding existing facilities.
5) Mr. [Pillsbury] - since Judge Walker has been in office - and you have been his assistant - the population of Jefferson County has dropped by 3%, do you think the tax increases and anti-business conditions in Jefferson County has hurt the population?
Mr. Klein - your question again shows a bias against Jefferson County. The current tax rate in Jefferson County is the same rate that citizens paid in 2000. It's also obvious that Motiva, Sempra, Royal Dutch Shell, Valero, and Eastman have found Jefferson County to be a very attractive area in which to do business.

There are many more examples, but surely five Fortune 500 companies should provide adequate evidence to even the most obtuse of self-proclaimed political consultants.
6) Mr. [Pillsbury] - state law is very specific - a sitting judge cannot support or be involved in a political race. Why is Judge Walker here tonight? Isn't that a strict violation of the law? Do you condone it? And what about the other judges in the room?
Mr. Klein - you are correct. State law is very specific. From Canon 5 of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct
A judge or judicial candidate may attend political events and express his or her views on political matters in accord with this Canon and Canon 3B(10).
The bias is obvious in your question. While you specifically mentioned Judge Walker, you did not mention Judge Bob Wortham or Judge Donald Floyd, both of whom also attended. Is this an honest error or evidence of a hidden agenda? 
7) Mr. [Pillsbury] - I notice the Union Leaders are here tonight - and they will support you in all probability - as many union members have moved out of Jefferson County to better schools and lower taxes - the ones that are left are losing their jobs because of the anti-business sentiment of the Commissioners Court to which you wish to lead - would you support tax relief to these hard working members and their companies so they can expand and hire more workers?
Mr. Klein - your confusion is again evident. Jefferson County Commissioners have nothing to do with local schools, which is why they're called independent school districts. 

You're also repeating your biased questions, as I've already addressed your erroneous statement concerning sentiment of Jefferson County towards business expansion.

But as another example, a company from the Woodlands is investing more than 300 million dollars to resurrect The old old Independent Refinery in Hamshire. Even though the refinery has been closed for 25 years, the new Jefferson Refinery LLC will provide from 100 to 150 local jobs when completed.

While the examples I previously mentioned are in the petrochemical sector, I'll note that other business sectors have been quite successful in Jefferson County during Judge Walker's administration, too.

According to published statements from a local private detective located in Nederland, his business has expanded from a purely local firm to three international operations during Judge Walker's term. Yet the home office of this global business empire is still located in Jefferson County Texas.  Why?

Regarding the support of local labor, County Commissioners have tightened the county's tax abatement policy, so that companies seeking abatements must agree to recruit local workers and contractors that work these projects must also recruit local labor first. Why didn't you mention that?
8) Mr. [Pillsbury] - the Jefferson County Democratic Party has owned and operated Jefferson County in every single elected office inside the county over the last twenty years - in that time - population has decreased by 7.5%, plants have cut back, businesses have left and hundreds of millions of government funds have been spent to either create jobs or to attract companies. Do you think it has worked? Do you think it is time for a two party system in Jefferson County - and sir - do you plan on business as usual or you willing to cut back the size of government in Jefferson County?
Mr. Klein - the facts that you've cited are again completely wrong.

The current estimated population estimate for 2008 is 243,090. According to the 1990 Census, the population of Jefferson County as 239,397. This represents a net growth of 1.5 percent, not a decrease of 7.5 percent as you claimed.

I've already noted the partisan nature of your questions. Demagoguery has no place in this discussion.

I've also previously provided evidence that many businesses are not cutting back, but instead are expanding as a competitive advantage in the current recession.

In the case of that local private investigator, this business has grown from a purely local firm specializing in sniffing dirty laundry and serving jury summons to spearheading the search for Patrick McDermott, a relatively unknown Hollywood cameraman whose biggest claim to fame is that he once dated an Australian singer. Since you frequently report rumor as fact, you might mention that this private investigator will also launch searches in upcoming months for Judge Crater and Jimmy Hoffa.

Perhaps you need to revisit your sources, Mr. Klein.

Special note to Operation Kleinwatch readers: I apologize for taking a couple of days to get this up, but it's always easier for Philip to simply make up numbers than researching the real answers to these questions.


Anonymous said...

Well written, well reasoned, and informative. Thank goodness we have rational people like Gus to respond to this fabricated trash and qualified individuals like Jeff Branick willing to make the sacrifices necessary to lead Jefferson County. Once again Philip, you have been exposed and embarrassed.

Anonymous said...

He is such a media wannabe but in truth will neverbe.

Anonymous said...

In contrast to eight rambling questions for Jeff Branick, I have only one for Phil:

Did you forget to take your medication?

Anonymous said...

What a total embarrassing idiot. He is a disgrace to the Republican party, a disgrace to Nederland and a disgrace to his family. Dangerous is a man who prides himself on being the village idiot.

Anonymous said...

why is this klein-flu still tolerated in jefferson county?
please do not wish wee klein on someone else. lock him up at rusk

Anonymous said...

This guy is an embarrassment to men. Why is he tolerated? This goon actually thinks he is a lawyer and a cop all rolled into one. He issues fake legal papers, harasses people for no reason, all the ethical attorneys will not use him because he lies on the stand. He is a laughing stock in the legal community....

Anonymous said...

how many signatures are required to pack fillup off to neverland at rusk for confirmation of his mentality issue,
his lies hurt the innocent and cost the taxpayers
does his family claim him
what about the crimial charge for badfly and jacobs nonhouse funds

Anonymous said...

Phil-Do us a favor and keep bad mouthing Jeff Brannick. That will assure him a landslide victory.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Phil comes up with this crap on his own, or is he obeying the voices in his head? It is like he is possessed by a mentally challenged demon.

Anonymous said...

Right now, I’m fuming as I open my 2009 tax statement. Klein probably is right: "Corruption in Jefferson county, out-of-control commissioners." Let's see how much more those bandits in the courthouse want....damn, EXACTLY the same as last year, right to the penny. Whew!

Anonymous said...

Mine to. What a coincidence.

Anonymous said...

Look at the tax breakdown. You will find a majority of it is coming from the school districts, not the county. The BISD rate is through the roof.

Anonymous said...

Darn right...the BISD is out of control. But Gus makes a good point about getting the government you deserve. Next time they have a school board election, I hope somebody shows up to vote.