Tuesday, October 13, 2009

M.J. Khan Shows It’s Better to Give Than Receive, At Least When It Comes to One Particular Donor

We noticed the largest expense our man on City Council, M. J. Khan, recently reported for his apparently not-too-happenin’ campaign for city controller was a $10,000 payment listed as “refund for contribution” (we think that should have been contributions, plural) to Mr. Haroon Shaikh on Aug. 16. That’s the day after the Chronicle revealed (or at least that’s where we first saw it) that Shaikh had resigned from the Houston-Harris County Sports Authority “amid questions,” as they say, over his apparent ownership of the local Foxx Video chain, which appeared to be sexually oriented businesses but were operating in the city without the required SOB permits (we’re mildly nonplussed when reminded that some consumers still go to the “video store” for their porn, which must be like keeping a rotary-dial phone at your house*).

That’s gratitude for you, huh? It was only two years that CPA Shaikh played host to a gala re-election fund-raising banquet for Councilman Khan at the “elegantly decorated Grand Ballroom of the Westin Galleria Hotel,” as this report on the Muslim Media Network described it, which featured none other than Mayor Bill White and which met the fund-raising “target of $250,000 for the night.” White roused the crowd––contrary to vicious rumor, many attendees did not doze off on their desert plates––by wheezing about the city’s “embracing diversity” through Khan’s election to council (BTW, its there anything you can do with or to diversity, individually or collectively, other than "embracing" it?) and saying that he
.. admired the support Councilman has received from his supporters and his family, especially from his wife, as M. J. preferred to be full-time councilperson as compared to others, which means leaving early in the morning and returning home everyday well past 9:00PM.
... which possibly led some in the crowd to wonder whether the mayor was referring to the
953-square-foot unit in the townhouse complex inside the city on Wilcrest where Khan is registered to vote, or the 10,000-square-foot mansion in the municipality of Piney Point listed under his wife's name. (In either case, 9 p.m. isn't that late, is it?)

In the interest of full transparency we must disclose here that we have no preference in the race for city controller; in fact, we don’t really care who’s elected city controller, as long as that individual doesn’t embezzle taxpayer funds––or at least isn’t caught on tape by the FBI doing it––and speaks passably good English. We most likely won’t be voting for Khan, however, as we’ve already voted for him two and possibly three times for city council and haven’t gotten a whole lot in return. We may flip a coin between the other two, or do something really drastic and follow the Chronicle’s recommendation.

As for Khan’s abrupt return of what he apparently believes is tainted money, consider us unimpressed. From a mere fiscal standpoint it appears that the would-be controller could use the dough, since the financial wellsprings of his campaign seem to have shriveled to fellow affiliates of the local Indo-Paki community (he did have a substantial amount of cash on hand as of last week, but most of it appears to have been carried over from his council campaign stash). More importantly, what does this say about his loyalty? We fully expect to soon see one of those big ugly plywood signs fastened to a fence out in the wilds of Wilcrest, proclaiming, “M.J. Khan: He Doesn’t Dance with Those That Brung 'im.

*Except for truckers who need something to watch on those long hauls.

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