Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bedlam Calling

We’re happy to report that our man on the Houston City Council, M J. Khan, is fighting back against the would-be usurper of the budding but eventually term-limited Khan dynasty in District F, K. A. “Scooter” Khan (Scooter is not K. A. Khan’s nickname, at least as far as we know; we just felt like giving it to him to save us the trouble of double-checking whether we were confusing M. J. with K. A., or perhaps confusing K. A. with A. Q. Khan, the Pakistani nuclear mastermind, as we mindlessly tap-tap-tap away).

M. J.’s campaign has rolled out a recorded phone endorsement from Mayor Bill White, and its opposition researchers have discovered that Scooter Khan claims his homestead exemption on a residence outside the district (which appears to be true), even though in filing to run he swore that he lived in District F since June 2004. Not only that, but according to the mailer we received from M. J. (and we believe almost anything a politician tells us, especially when it’s delivered in the mail), Scooter has bothered to vote but once in Houston, in the November 2004 general election, and was then registered using an address outside District F (the address actually appears to be in the district but seems … fishy).

So, suggests the M. J. mailer, Scooter may have committed one of the following: 1.) Perjury 2.) Voter fraud or 3.) Tax evasion (M. J. obviously has retained some professional hired help). Whatever the case, it seems apparent that Scooter, who’s probably reported raising more money than any challenger to a council incumbent, is something of a suspicious character (we’re being polite in recognition of the end of Ramadan, and likewise will refrain from using such vile and ungodly terms as f--k, sh-t, p-ss, and c--------r for the duration of this positing).

The District F field is composed, as every schoolboy in Islamabad now knows, solely of Pakistani-Americans, a development unworthy of notice in the local daily newspaper but potentially all the buzz in the illicit gambling dens of the Punjab, if not for the recent earthquake. The third candidate in the race is Paki-Am John Shike, who on his Web site “strongly” proposes renaming the following: Wilcrest Drive after Rosa Parks, Harwin west to Beltway 8 after Muhammad Ali, Harwin from the Beltway to Highway 6 after George Foreman, and Westpark (all of it, we guess) after Barbara Jordan. While cynics may deride Shike’s proposal as a blatant example of what political scientists call “pandering,” we think each suggestion is worthy on its own merits, and we can easily envision a commemorative plaque and tacky "Rumble in the Jungle" sculpture at the point where Ali Drive meets George Foreman Drive.

Meanwhile, M. J.’s office recently organized a community meeting to rally opposition to what is being called the “expansion” of the renowned Carnival Night Club from its current location in a down-at-the-heels mall on Highway 59 to a site formerly owned and occupied by Gillman Motors near the tenuously ghetto-fabulous Sharpstown Mall. Gillman has sold the Sharpstown property and relocated its operation out to the Beltway, leaving behind only the concrete foundations and its very tall sign that now thanks Sharpstown for “38 wonderful years” (the sign, it probably goes without saying, is an atrocious eyesore and looks as if it were designed by one of the local 11-year-old graffiti artists.)

An excellent story in our local This Week section of the Chronicle by Zen T.C. Zheng paints Carnival as some seething Boschian netherworld right across the freeway from Memorial Southwest Hospital (we’re familiar with Carnival through those live remote advertisements for the place on Spanish-language Channel 61, which always seem to show three very happy guys in cowboy hats rubbing up against one wide-bottomed woman in spray-on jeans … they’re “dancing,” apparently). Some selected excerpts from Zheng’s story:
“… between Nov. 27, 2003 … and Oct. 27 of this year police responded to 377 calls [associated with the club] for loud music, assault, drugs, theft, robberies, gunshots, illegal weapons, underage drinking and a murder … a show at the club on May 12 this year drew 2,585 patrons while its occupancy limit is set at 1,207 ….[the director of the ER department at Memorial Southwest Hospital] said the emergency room has been burdened by [Carnival] patrons who have been assaulted at the club and some club patrons have brought prostitution and violence to the hospital parking lot … the emergency room has become overcrowded in the past 12 months on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 3 a.m. with those injured at the club …"
The story quotes auto dealer Ramsey Gillman as saying he was unaware that Carnival planned to relocate to his former property and knew only that he was selling to a “Mexican-American entrepreneur.” He added: “It never occurred to me that certain group [sic] doesn’t like them.” Them apparently being ... Mexican-American entrepreneurs? ... and the certain group being … just who do you mean, Mr. Gillman? Your neighbors in Sharpstown for those 38 wonderful years? Yeah, bye-bye, and enjoy the gunfire and prostitution in your front yard.

Khan has been on the Carnival case for a while, Zen T. C. Zheng reports, having protested the club’s liquor license with the TABC back in January. Hopefully he can continue that work after Tuesday. (And by the way, why was this story relegated to the zoned weekly “community news” section of the Chronicle? It seems to have all the elements for a great story, or for a take from a local columnist, if the paper had one who actually lived in Houston: the hallowed Houston right to do what the hell you want with your property vs. less hallowed notions of greater community good, shifting demographics, changing neighborhoods, multiculturalism and diversity and blah blah, dancing and firearms and cowboy hats and blaring Latino music … oh, yeah---somebody might want to read that.)

No comments: