Thursday, March 04, 2010

Dems' demagoguery over ex-offender business owners counterproductive

Another of the Texas Democratic Party's top ten attacks against Republicans in 2010 they've identified is that the Public Utility Commission regulates businesses owned by people with criminal records. "PUC allows criminals to manage prepaid electric providers," screamed the headline to a widely circulated Democratic attack piece.

But do Democrats really believe that people with criminal records should not own small businesses? In many cases, no one will hire an ex-prisoner and starting their own business can be the best way to get back on their feet. Hell, TDCJ partners with a nonprofit called the Prison Entrepreneurship Program teaching ex-cons to start businesses when they get back to the free world. Why would Democrats discourage that? If businesses abide by state regulations and provide electricity people are paying for, who cares if the owner has been to prison? There are already way too many laws restricting what ex-offenders can do for a living.

Certainly there are legitimate issues to raise concerning electricity de-regulation and the wisdom of allowing prepaid electric providers. But that has nothing to do with anyone's criminal record; it was a regulatory decision by the state to allow prepaid providers to operate legally in the market. The real issue, as the Dallas News put it, is that "Texas utility commissioners, intent on spurring competition, have licensed prepaid electric companies even though consumer protection rules do not address their unconventional business model."

Democrats should run on improving regulations to benefit consumers instead of demagoguing about "criminal-run electric providers." That's transparently sensationalist, unconstructive rhetoric that shifts the focus away from helping consumers.

RELATED: Should Democrats attack Rick Perry over TYC?


Phillip Martin said...

When consumers are being charged dramatically increased rates, its an issue voters can and should care about. Moreover, the regulations -- not the criminals -- were the target of the piece.

And again, just to note -- these are old releases from last fall you're just looking at now.

Charlie O said...

If this is all the Democrats in Texas have to run on, no wonder morons like Perry stay in office.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Perhaps "these are old releases from last fall [I'm] just looking at now," but according to Burnt Orange Report on March 2, some guy named Phillip Martin thinks these are still "Rick Perry's Top Ten State Agency Scandals: His Decade of Failure." They're the current, circulating Dem talking points, whenever they were drafted.

IMO it's just not true that "the regulations -- not the criminals -- were the target of the piece." Read the headline (which any marketing person knows is all most people read, especially in a friggin' 10-part series!): "PUC ALLOWS CRIMINALS TO MANAGE PREPAID ELECTRIC PROVIDERS" (caps in original)- no mention of de-regulation, consumer protection, etc.; the takeaway message is just fear-driving hype about criminals.

In fact, the article astonishingly declares that allowing people with criminal records to run these companies is "more appalling" than the fact that "258 Texans died due to exposure to excessive natural heat'" because "the Public Utility Commission routinely brushes off" requests for delaying electricity shut-offs during hot summer months. Maybe it's just an example of very poor writing, but that's what it says.

Whether this top ten list is old or new, I'm sick of Democrats issuing cynical talking points designed to scare the public that throw the issues I care about under the bus. I'm looking for leaders who will step up to say ex-offenders should be able to find jobs, start businesses and make a life for themselves. Instead they're too often treated as fodder for demagoguery. There's a long history why that's true, but it doesn't mean I have to like it, or support candidates who engage in such behavior.

And to Dems who aren't out there hyping crime and fear for votes, I'm not talking to or about you. But I probably am talking to or about some of the consultants for candidates you support.

Phillip Martin said...

Scott, you're taking a giant leap from my mentioning something on a blog to Bill White using it as a message point -- which is what you've done. Moreover, you're not saying, "Phillip Martin shouldn't be posting this." You're saying the TDP -- and in your other post, Bill White -- shouldn't be saying this. White wasn't even in the Governor's race when these were released by the TDP.

You're making a fair point in that I should be giving more context to these discussions (and I'll be looking to you to help me do that going forward). I agree with you about that. But equating a blog post I decide to write at 5am (and publish live at 10am) with the "circulating Dem talking points" is going a step or too to far.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Phillip it's a bit of an understatement to refer to this as just a personal blog post by you when you're actually distributing attack points put out by the Texas Democratic Party on their website. Did they send you a retraction, perhaps, after you published them? Are these things they're no longer telling party activists to say?

Bill White may or may not use this as a message point. But we KNOW the Democratic Party has already done so and I certainly hope their gubernatorial nominee does not follow suit.

Hook Em Horns said...

Texas, like other states, kicks the crap out of offenders while they have them down and in many cases for good reason. When a man, or woman for that matter, walks free from prison having SERVED there sentence, everyone needs to back the hell off and give them a chance at LIFE which includes the ability earn a living.

And I thought Perry was bad. Hells bells, at this rate, Texas really doesnt have a chance!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Walker,

Bill White was quoted in the FW Star Telegram this morning as follows, In a telephone interview with the Star-Telegram, White said he would reach out to voters in both parties as well as independents and suggested that he would raise some of the themes against Perry that were leveled by the governor's primary opponents, including rising unemployment and the state's high dropout rate.

Please explain to me how the governor of this state or any other state can control school dropout rates. Is this not the responsibility of parents rather than government?

Anonymous said...

This article was in our newspaper February, 17, 2010, which was Ash Wednesday. I did not write the article but would have since I know this information is true and something needs to be done about for people who get out of prison and have paid their bill in order for them to get their lives back.

BETTER TREATMENT: We need to change how we treat our felons.s People are sentenced to prison to serve out their allotted time and this is set by a judge or a jury. The person serves their time, paying the debt to society. Whe he/she is released he has a felony on his record for life. It might as well be a big scarlet F on his forehead. He goes to complete a job application and if tells the truth, 99.9 percent of them are asked, :Have y ou ever been convicted of a felony? Please explain." She the person checks "yes" and tries to explain to the best of their ability.

I have known people who stat a job and once their paperwork comes back showing their felony, they are terminated. So, they served their time, were released and cannot land a decent job. So, now what are they to do? The recidivism rate is high because many resort to their old behavior to earn money to live. They sell drugs, steal and rob. I am not in anyway condoning this lifestyle, but this is the reality. It takes money to survive. Dog the Bounty Hunter is a Texas felon and he put it on his job applications when the felonyy qestion came up, "will discuss in person." One cannot lie about a record with the inception of and if the information is not correct, no one cares. If the information is on the internet, then it has to be true. This informatin will surface sooner or later. He was determined to make something of himself. He cannot carry a gun so he uses pepper spray. Why isn't a felon allowd to vote?

He also cannot even be in a house where there is a gun. So, if he lives in a high crime area, he cannot own a gun to protect his family.There are also white collar crime where a gun was not an issue. So, the answer would be to do more to help these people find gainful employment. They deserve to make an honest liveing. The Bible teaches us that if we don't forgive others God won't forgive us. I say it is not time to give others a second chance, these are not "throw away people". We have all made mistakes. They all deserve a life and a chance to live it. Jesus Christ gave all of us a second and many other chances for forgiveness and happiness, why not the legisltors in Texas.

Governor Perry vetoed a very good bill that would have taken care of this and the bill was written by a House Member who cares. If you care to read the bill look up HB 3481. How can this man even say he is a good person?

Anonymous said...

"They sell drugs, steal and rob" and lets don't forget rape and murder. Those of us who know the incarcerated know that they fantasize around the clock about these fun activities. The thousands I have known, with few exceptions, were pretty devoted to the thug life.

Anonymous said...

From today's Dallas Morning News......Deaths from child abuse and neglect in Texas soared 31 percent to 280 last fiscal year, according to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

The largest increase was seen in Houston and Harris County, where child deaths from abuse or neglect rose 90 percent from 2008, according to the department's annual Data Book

So who was the mayor of Houston at the time? Mr. Martin, you would do well to watch who you blame for what.

x684867 said...

Let's remember people that Texas has a SUCCESSFULLY LOW recidivism rate because of the efforts of our criminal justice and law enforcement professionals.

As an ex-convict, I will admit that I committed two felonies in 1993 and 1994 at ages 17 and 18. I am self-employed because (a) I have no other option and (b) because I believe I can deliver better services than the competition. If you want to regulate me out of my IT consulting profession, or to regulate any law abiding citizen out of business, may I suggest you LEAVE TEXAS. Go live somewhere like California where recidivism is higher, and the economy is so well regulated into bankruptcy. Do not advocate big government in MY state!

Anonymous said...

The dems need to watch how much they manage the ex-offender business owners. There are a ton of Bankruptcy Lawyers in California that would love to take a crack at them.