A recent post over at Austin Political Report places the blame for the success of an arson attack that did significant damage to the Governor's Mansion squarely on the shoulders of Rick Perry and Texas Republicans:
According to news reports, the infrared security system at the Governor’s Mansion may have been broken for two months before the fire. Or maybe the DPS troopers assigned to guard duty had simply been led to believe it was broken, like nearly half of the surveillance cameras were. The troopers complained about the lack of a backup security plan and proposed posting additional guards on the grounds until the surveillance technology could be repaired. Their bosses rejected the idea, citing the cost of overtime pay for the officers.
No one wants to admit this penny-wise policy was handed down from on high by Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Tom Craddick. But this much is certain — what might have cost taxpayers a few thousand dollars in extra pay for troopers may now cost taxpayers $100 million or more to rebuild the landmark. Not to mention the $1.8 million in taxpayer money that had already been spent on the renovation project that was underway before the fire.
As the APR points out, the burnt-out Governor's Mansion is a poignant metaphor for the sorry state of affairs here in Texas after six years of exclusive Republican control:
Nearly three years after Hurricane Rita, about one dozen of the many thousands of taxpaying citizens victimized by the storm have received the aid they applied for. But a private firm whose lobbyist used to be the Governor’s chief of staff was given a multi-million-dollar contract to conduct the relief effort — if and when there ever is one.
“Too little, too late” state policies imposed by political leaders in Austin inevitably lead to “even less, even later” results for the taxpayers who foot the bills and expect vital services to be safeguarded.
Like the inability to get aid to the victims of Hurricane Rita nearly three years later. Like underfunding public schools while pushing plan to funnel tax dollars into private-school voucher schemes support by campaign contributors. Like making children’s health care less accessible, not more, and college harder to afford, not easier. Like looking the other way as powerful power companies increase electricity costs while Big Insurance takes state regulators to court to prevent them from stopping unwarranted rate hikes. Like the two years during which political leadership tried to keep the lid on brewing troubles in the Texas Youth Commission until they erupted into violence.
Under Rick Perry and the Republicans, Texas is a national laughingstock. Unfortunately we're stuck with Governor Goodhair for two more years, but we have an opportunity to begin the long process of righting the Lone Star State by taking back the Texas House of Representatives this November. The down-ballot races may not excite us like the presidential and Senate races do, but the outcomes of those races have a profound effect on our daily lives, so we can't afford to ignore them.