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APRIL 7, 2006 TheTexas Observer FEATURES PARK AND PARCEL 6 The underfunded Texas Parks and Wildlife Department struggles to sell itself by Joe Nick Patoski WHO DECIDES FOR WOMEN? 10 An interview with the new president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards by Geoff Rips DEPARTMENTS DIALOGUE EDITORIAL IYa Basta! POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE CAPITOL OFFENSE At the Governor’s Pleasure by Leah Caldwell COMMENTARY The Public’s Right to ‘No’ by Andrew Wheat MOLLY IVINS Wall Street to Newspapers: Drop Dead JIM HIGHTOWER We’ve Been Warned LAS AMERICAS $H20,000,000: Gracias for Sharing by Gabriela Bocagrande 2 3 4 12 13 14 15 16 BOOKS & CULTURE POETRY 21 by John Hammond PARK THE SUVS 22 by James E. McWilliams A FRONTAL ATTACK IS NOT 24 THE BEST IDEA by Julie Ardery AFTERWORD 28 Alfred Longoria by Ruperto Garcia Cover by Matt Omohundro 7,2CM.47, by Ohotojournalist Blakeslee #gas ,been awarded the J. Anthony in a small is a classic expose of justice in small town America, written with meticulous documentation t ic flair,” the j ud in 1998, the Lukas Prize eSA mericanile4ifiliVICriting, Lukas, a journalist won two Pulitzer Prizes ‘ . died in 1997. The Lukas Prizes min istered by the Graduate School of Journi alsm at Columbia iversity at Harvard University lri our M arc 24 editorial “V for Voucher Vendetta,” we incorrectly reported the amount of money raised by the campaign of state. Rep. Carter. Casteel Dialogue RATE OF REVERSAL Nate Blakeslee had a chance to get his facts straight when it came to reporting Judge Sally Montgomery’s reversal statistics, but he consciously chose not to do so. [“The Worst Judges in Texas,” February 10, 2006] It is apparent now that he did not want to consider the appropriate information, lest it dilute the dramatic position he wanted to take with regard to Judge Montgomery. Mr. Blakeslee claimed Judge Montgomery’s reversal rate is much higher than the average reversal rate for judges appealed to the Dallas Court of Appeals \(which Mr. Blakeslee estimated at one reversal for every three cases reversal rate is less than the average. I am the person who compiled the affirmance and reversal statistics fOr Judge Montgomery’s tenure on the County Court at Law, so Mr. Blakeslee’s inquiries about Judge Montgomery’s reversal rate were referred to me. Mr. Blakeslee gave Judge Montgomery just a few hours to respond to his claims about the reversal information that he found on Westlaw. I was unavailable by phone that day, however, I made it a point to call him that night to discuss the information he was focused on and the conclusions he was drawing from it, especially with regard to his claim that Judge Montgomery’s website was misrepresenting her record. I pointed out to Mr. Blakeslee that Westlaw was not the source of the statistics used for the website, and that it cannot be used as an accurate source of any judge’s reversal rates because it is so incomplete. Not every disposition on the merits gets published by Westlaw, and some decisions that are published by them are not dispositions on the merits. For example, I told Mr. Blakeslee that one of the cases he was counting as a reversal was actually a dismissal for lack of jurisdiction, something that has nothing to do with the trial court judge’s decision. Rather than revise his rate calculation, he noted in the article that Judge Montgomery’s judgment in that case was “vacated,” with an insinuation that such action by the court of appeals is a comment on the judgment’s correctness. It is not. It was clear from talking with him continued on page 18 2 THE TEXAS OBSERVER APRIL 7, 2006