Attacking the Ones Who Made it Happen? Bad Politics.
by David Karlsruher
Posted on February 10, 2008
I think it was timely that the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine announced that it won accreditation during this tumultuous election season. You may remember that the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine was once known loosely as the "Texas Tech Medical School." It wasn't until a guy named Paul L. Foster won a dollar-a- ticket raffle at the county fair that let the winner name the school after himself did they change the name. Just kidding … Foster wrote a monster check and probably could have cared less whether or not they named the school after him, which brings me more to the point of this collection of words.
I suppose they didn't hold a big press conference for this latest announcement for fear of every local elected official trying to wrestle his or her way to the podium to take credit for the whole thing … again. It seems that every event connected with the school is overrun with local political-types patting themselves on the back in front of the cameras. It's quite the spectacle. I wonder how the folks who really made this happen feel.
If you're feeling a little froggy and want to leap into the history of the school and who actually made it happen, go here. I didn't spot one local back-patter on the whole damn page just in case you didn't take the time to read the whole thing.
Let's face it, the attention-seekers fighting for the credit played minor parts in the whole process. As a matter of fact, one of the credit claimers prides himself on voting initially against the budget containing the cash for the school – read here. Later the next month that same person took credit for the school and failed to mention some very important people who were actually the reason the school funding was made available.
Who did the author of those letters forget to mention? Woody Hunt and the Hunt Family Foundation, Paul Foster, the Stewarts, Rick Francis and many more of the folks who selflessly gave/give their hard-earned dollars for the betterment of our community. I've never seen any of those individuals fighting for the spotlight at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. I see them sit there politely as these politicos fight to steal their thunder. A Senator from Florida once told me, "it doesn't take much class to be a politician, however, it does take a hell of a lot of it to be a leader in your community."
While our elected leaders were playing the Texas version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Hunt and the gang were giving millions of dollars of their own money to keep the medical school dream alive. Foster and friends used every avenue and every contact in Austin they had to make this happen.
It was but just a few years ago that these guys raised earnest money in order to prove to all interested parties that they were indeed very serious about making this happen. Here's a press release from 2005.
I could go on forever about how much J.O. Stewart and friends did for the school, but I think you get the point. What bothers me is that when these people decide to exercise their privilege to donate to campaigns they are chastised when certain local political mafias don't approve of the person or persons they support. Lately the Margo vs. Haggerty race and the Marquez vs. Moreno have brought out their worst.
Foster and Hunt have given money to one or both of the aforementioned challengers. The Shapleigh Campers have done their best to highlight the involvement in the Margo and Marquez campaigns of Hunt and his government affairs guy, Mark Smith, and continue to bring up the specter of Speaker Craddick. It's become apparent that some politicos in town are happy to see the big money guys throw money around up until they throw it to someone running for office that they didn't recruit and didn't approve.
When the subject of Craddick came up recently Shapleigh wrote a very rude letter to an extremely kind El Pasoan named Woody Hunt. You can catch the letter right here in the Newspaper Tree. If you read Paul Burka's blog, he takes a shot at both the El Paso delegation and at Craddick - take from it what you will [burkablog]. The way I look at it is that Rep. Norma Chavez was the first of the El Paso delegation to "play ball" and we were subsequently awarded the funding for the medical school.
I'm still flabbergasted that Shapleigh would publicly slap the very guy who made the medical school he often takes credit for happen. And why would he do this? Because Woody gave money to some candidate that Shapleigh didn't approve of, or defended Craddick's commitment to the medical school?
The bottom line is, these guys have given plenty to help build the community. And trying to tear them down in the heat of an election, well, that's just bad politics.
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