the controversial drug bust in Tulia \(see “Color of Justice:’ by Nate Blakeslee, June of civil rights violations spurred the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the Tulia bust, and the credibility of Coleman’s testimony has also come under scrutiny in the ongoing investigation. News of that investigation has been reported everywhere from T.O. to The New York Times, but apparently not everyone has gotten the word. Now the itinerant lawman has been fired from another drug task force, reportedly for abusing his power as an officer. Working for the Southeast Dallas County/Ellis County Task Force, Coleman went undercover to set up a series of small buys in the Waxahachie area, just as he had in Tulia. Just before the cases went to trial, however; Coleman was suddenly fired. Ellis County District Attorney Joe Grubb, who hired Coleman and assigned him to the task force, won’t say exactly why Coleman was canned in late April. According to several defense attorneys with clients from the bust, however, Coleman was accused of mistreating a confidential informant who helped him 330101113-11/1 03111929 make the cases. According to a source close to the case, who asked not to be named, the confidential informant accused Coleman of sexually harassing her. When she refused his advances, Coleman allegedly revealed her name to one ofthe defendants she had snitched on, who subsequently beat her up. The D.A’.s office is reportedly investigating other allegations about improprieties committed by Coleman while on the job in Waxahachie, though Grubb said he currently had no plans to file charges against Coleman. Grubb said he was not aware of Coleman’s history when he hired him. In the meantime, these allegations have prompted several area defense attorneys to take a closer look at Coleman’s background, according to attorney Mark Griffith. “Our position now is that not one of these cases should go to prosecution:’ Griffith said, although a couple of defendants from the sting have already pled guilty. “I would be hardpressed to tell a client of mine to plead out based on evidence provided by Tom Coleman, because he has zero credibility; he said. ,IsIv:Virgloymnaf. 1.10^,,’ Mt” .171,4.1t10.1 ,4*N.., “‘VW …VS CRUNCH TIME FOR ENVIROS One of the Sierra Club’s top legislative priorities is coming down to the wire, and the outlook is as hazy as the Houston skyline at rush hour. On the nuke waste front, all eyes are on S.B. 1541 by Sen. Robert Duncan \(Rafter being hijacked by Sen. Teel Bivins \(RSpecialists, the company that wants to dispose of Department of Energy waste at its private dump in Andrews County. On May 15, the bill slipped through the House Environmental Regulation Committee with suspicious ease, fueling growing suspicion around the capitol that House Speaker Pete Laney is on board with Waste Control’s controversial plan. Dump opponents are still hoping that Duncan, who supports a private dump for commercial reactor waste, but not for the much stream, will at least strip the Bivins amendment off in conference committee, though the tenuous alliance between the Panhandle Republican and environmental lobbyists is showing signs of strain. Molly Ivins, continued from page 14 one. Consequently, minority citizens got packed into a few districtsa process in which the Rs gleefully coop-. eratedand the result is more minority reps and fewer Democrats, over all. At least in theory, the 70-percent rule is now down to between 55 and 60 percent, maybe 65. Thus, only a selfish minority rep would cling to his or her 70 percent and stubbornly refuse to loan a few of those minority voters to some worthy neighboring Democrat. The all-time prize for selfish performance \(meaning normal-incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson, now chair of the congressional .black caucus. Eddie B. was, in her days in the Lege, consid ered something of a sell-out by liberals, and was also known as “the NeimanMarcus N-word,” but I consider her a hero, by Dallas standards. You tell me how else the first black out of Dallas ever would have gotten elected to Congress? The two members tied for the Eddie B. Johnson Award this year are Domingo Garcia of Dallas and the ever-improbable Ron Wilson of Houston, both for pretty disgusting performances. Since redistricting is the ultimate Me-First game, I am rarely moved by any plaint, but I did have to spare a moment of sympathy for Rep. Steve Wolens of Dallas. Wolens is not only one of the smartest people in the House, he’s also a liberal by Dallas standards, and there he was having to beg for a few Hispanic votes on account of Deli-win has lumbered him with half of the Park Cities, the River Oaks of Dallas. Now that’s cruel, Delwin. Another sufferer was Rep. Glenn Maxey of Austin, always carefully described by the Texas press as, “the only openly-gay member of the Legislature.” Maxey is turning out to be one of the great inside power-players of recent years \(so are a couple of other The Rs, who have made enormous gains in the burgeoning lily-white suburbs of Austin, may even be entitled to another district, but Maxey played the gay card. His voice breaking with emotion, he said to his colleagues, “I have tried to be a helpful member of this body” Of course he is helpful above and beyond, and specializes in getting serious homophobes to recognize him as a human bean. Maxey handily defeated the Republican amendment to destroy his district. As the whole process shuffles uneasily toward the redistricting board, we will all be waiting with bated breath to see how it turns outor at least the incumbents, their spouses and potential opponents will. The rest of us can just enjoy the aesthetics. Molly Ivins is a nationally syndicated columnist. Her book with Louis Dubose, Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush, is out in paperback. 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5/25/01
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