Once upon a time there was a little girl named Dana who pulled the wings off butterflies until she realized she could get her brother, Alvin, to do it and it was just as much fun.
Dana sent Al around with a big fat magic marker to write her name on other people’s shit, and when she wanted it, she sent Al to take it. Then, by the time they were teenagers, Dana and Alvin were stealing cars. Here’s how that worked. They would find some hooptie for sale in the classifieds and as soon as somebody bought it, Dana would send Al around to scare them into selling it for half of what they’d paid for it.
“We didn’t know this car was for sale,” Al would say. “And we need it to take our crippled old granny to the doctor.”
“Fuck off, greaser,” the buyer would say. “I answered the ad in the paper and bought it fair and square.”
“Sell it to us—or else,” Al would say, clenching his teeth and balling his fists.
“Or else what, you juvenile delinquent?” the buyer would say.
And then he would find out. Al would come in the night with a tow truck and winch, haul off the car and it would sit in granny’s driveway until she really was old and crippled. But Al would leave behind a little cash on the buyer’s doorstep. Not exactly grand theft auto. And this served the greater good.
Of course, I am totally making this up. I don’t know if SHSU President Doctor Dana Gibson has a little brother, and even though I can totally see her pulling the wings off things, I don’t know for certain she did that either.
I do know that she’s a coward and so do you.
That’s why you don’t see her anywhere in the mix in Huntsville’s latest reality show episode, “SHSU Land Grab.” Doctor Dana is up in the Ivory Tower filing her acrylic nails while her poor secretary fends off the public and Al Hooten, the Hand of the Queen, makes a fool of himself in the press.
Don’t you wish you were at the meeting in which Dana and Al cooked up the best public relations scheme in Sam Houston’s history?
Dana: “What are we going to do, Al? The regents didn’t give us permission to bid on the old Armory building yet and now that tattooed A-Rab is gonna get it!”
Al: “Cool your jets, Dana. I’ll tell council to eighty-six the asshole’s bid. I’ll say we didn’t know it was for sale and Maalouf swooped in on his camel and stole it out from under our Master Plan. I’ll bring Yebra and some other humble-pie, buzz-cut veterans with me for show and tell during public comment. Piece of cake, sisterwoo.”
Dana: “You’re sure there’s no public record emails showing that we asked for the appraised value of the land twelve days before the bid closed?”
Al: “Pish posh, my queen. Leave this to your Hand. All the usual fixes are in. We can count on Mac to step out of the room while we bludgeon the A-Rab to a pulp. And, of course, there’s Don Johnson and his five guaranteed votes.”
Dana: “Ah, yes. Well just for good measure call the Plumber and tell him to show up at council in a red, white and blue shirt to underscore the point with the peasants. I mean public. Are you sure we can’t have them pipe in the theme from ‘Patton’ while you speak?”
But in a stunning upset on July 2, things didn’t go SHSU’s way. City council accepted Tarek Maalouf’s bid for $50,000 over the $600,000 appraised value. Cha-ching! And Hooten stormed out of council chambers in a transvestite-grade huff. (Also, it’s not nice to use veterans to lie to the public. I hear they don’t like that too much.)
Hooten’s head might be on a pike right now if Gibson had another good candidate for Right Hand. You know how capricious these queens can be. But Hooten’s still coming to work. And we don’t know why Don Johnson didn’t deliver what HMH board gal pal Gibson wanted or why Joe the Plumber of Ward 1 didn’t vote with the rest of council to accept the sole bid for the land. Council’s entire discussion occurred, probably illegally according to TOMA, behind closed doors in executive session. (I like what you did, just not the way you did it.)
Too bad the Huntsville Item missed it when, at the August 20 council meeting, Emmett finally revealed why he would rather kiss SHSU’s ass than add commercial property to the tax rolls. He’s ditched economic development to campaign on Prohibition.
First he wanted to send the cops to shut down Maalouf’s bars on Sam Ave for public “harassment” because of the noise they send bouncing over the rooftops of Ward 1. Chief Lunsford explained that, this not being a totalitarian police state, such a move was probably not legal.
Then Emmett went on and on about the fire station sharing the driveway with what he is sure will be yet another Maalouf bar. Mayor Woodward assured him the fire chief was FINE with it and Tish Humphrey—yes, you read that right—politely told him to shut the fuck up so council could move on.
The Item didn’t even mention the Bizzaro World spectacle of Jack Wagamon commending council for acting in favor of economic development while invoking the infamous words of Lanny Ray, “taking the hard right over the easy wrong,” as Don Johnson smiled benevolently.
If things keep going like this, errbody in HTX might one day get along, and I would be out of a job.
Tarek spoke at council, too, showing signs he’s dug in, no matter how many times Gibson’s good ol’ errand boys wheedle him or Greg Abbott’s thugs threaten him. If Tarek can hold onto his land, that might save other small businesses in the blue and orange zones that Gibson has claimed for her empire building. And Al and Dana might learn what it feels like when a couple of bullies finally get punched in the nose and all the other kids laugh.