Thursday, February 27, 2014

CCR 02-27-14: Let's Party

the   Controversial  Committee   Report
“We don’t raise sacred cows...we just butcher them.”

Happy 30th Anniversary, CCR
(A Collector’s Edition...What’s in your safe files?)

     We know.  Patting ourselves on the back for celebrating thirty years of ‘kicking cats’ and butchering sacred cows isn’t really noteworthy.  So you say!

     In fact, it’s amazing that there are still enough politiCats in Irving left to kick.  Many have already used all nine lives.  But then, there are politiCats like ex-mayor Herbie who just cannot stay out of the hubris limelight.  Be assured, kicking a furless cat like ex-mayor Herbie is no longer entertaining, but someone has to do it.  And if he does file to run against mayor BVD, the kicking is...on again.

     A rematch, between these two, would only demonstrate that critical thinking in selecting the mayor of Irving has boiled down to voters having to choose between: Dough Boy (Billy Bob Bucks again?) or Glamor Gal (Ms. PR Addict).  Only in Irving, Texas.  However, this could be the Mother of All Political Cat Fights...without a real dog in the mix (cough...Dylan Westie).  One could wager that there will be plenty of nail scratching, eye gouging and smeary campaign dirt flung all over the city.

     Be assured of one fact...the CCR will not be endorsing, favoring or supporting either individual.  All one has to do is review what has occurred in the city for the past nine years to know that the next three years with either individual will not provide any significant change.  Future CCR reports will attempt to remind voters of these issues.

     But we digress.  For newer readers and those who frequently receive a copy of the report from a friend’s mailing list, a brief walk down the CCR path could be helpful to understand what this publication is all about.  And when you discover its secret, be sure to let us know.

     First, the Answer is: Mark Holbrook, Publisher; Dylan Westie, Executive Editor and Part-time Wordsmith and almost Mayor of Irving; Mike Howard, Owner.  And the Question is: Name a: nom de plume wordsmith, West Highland White Terrier and a cat kicking ex-politico?  If you have difficulty answering this Carnac the Magnificent question, please stop reading now and return to opening your beer bottles with your teeth while watching monster truck rallies on ESPN.  Staff of the CCR would like to maintain its readership IQ level higher than Charles Barkley’s shoe size.  (Those not familiar with Carnac the Magnificent are too young to be reading this grown-up material anyway.) 

     Okay, moving on to the history of the CCR, the following is how these sleazy politically informative reports, that you read today, first saw the light of day.
     A Brief History Of Irving Controversy
(Pop Quiz to Follow)

     The Controversial Committee Report (CCR) started as a gentleman’s oral report for humor and gentle ‘cat kicking’ in the Irving Rotary Club and was delivered by Leo Jackson.  After being a member of the club for a short period of time, Mike Howard was asked to join the group, which also included Tim Gillen, Bill Gandy, and Dr. Willie Starnes, to provide periodic oral reports.  Fast forward a couple years.  After Howard served as president of the club, he started writing the club’s weekly bulletin, “The Blade.”  It was at this time (1984), Howard began publishing the CCR reports in the club’s bulletin.  After about seven years of kicking cats in the bulletin, Howard “retired” from writing the club’s bulletin.  The CCR soon began producing reports that were separate from the Rotary Club and mailed to interested parties.

      Irving was in a tremendous growth and expansion mode during this time and it seemed that many political decisions were being made for reasons unknown or understood by Howard as he served on the Irving city council (1981-1985).  As a result, Mark Holbrook was created born and began publishing “Letters to the Editor,” using the pen name Mark Holbrook, for The Journal, a newspaper serving the north Irving community.  The weekly letters later became known as the “Raging Bull” column and was generally well received by the paper’s readership, but scorned by the politico(s) who may have been responsible for the inane action(s) documented.  All of this led Howard to retool and crank up the CCR for a monthly report that was mailed to a paid subscriber base.  During this time two additional writers also participated in the monthly reports -- Jan Dickson, a grammarian who penned highly intelligent articles about the Irving education scene; and Phil Harvey who had a unique wit and sense of humor in his writings that would even make Dave Barry chuckle as he blew beer through his nose.

     As an aside, Harvey and Howard later collaborated and wrote a column for The Journal entitled “Cool and the Geezer.”  Since Harvey had the age advantage to be cool, that only left Howard to be the token Geezer...a condition he still enjoys to this day.  The column later moved to the Irving Daily News...yes, it was a daily back in the ‘dark ages’ before fading away when a new Irving News editor arrived on the scene.

     After several years of publishing and mailing the CCR reports, ‘staff’ of the CCR took a sabbatical to rest, refresh and reflect on new ways to kick cats.  When wordsmithing juices were rejuvenated, the reports returned and entered a new era...publishing on the Internet with only Mark Holbrook and Dylan Westie penning the swill political tabloid happenings.  The original mailing list was used as a basis for creating the initial readership for e-mail distribution and expanded as the reports were read and re-circulated throughout the community.  Additionally, the CCR blog was established as a tool to reach an even larger audience.  As of 2014, over 51,000 folks have visited the CCR blog.

     Enough about us.  The readership is the most important ingredient in the report’s equation.  While the CCR is opinion generated (which opinions are seldom wrong...snicker), many in the readership are not shy about expressing their opinions or take issue with a ‘cat,’ they may support, that has been kicked.  If responses received to CCR opinions are not about the writing style, from a flying harpy, or Kool-Aid-dripping souse, ‘staff’ generally responds to these critics in polite fashion.  

     When actual facts and figures are noted in a CCR report, ‘staff’ attempts to ensure their accuracy.  And if an error is made, it is happily corrected in the next report.  Additionally, if an individual request their name be removed from the bcc: (to protect e-mail addresses) mailing list, this is done without reservations.  (Lost reader = another lost soul joining the Irving information impaired-citizenry.)  Losing a reader only averages about two per year which is not even noticed compared to those who sign on to receive the reports.  (Funny note: One individual requested their name be removed from the distribution list due to the ‘cat being kicked’ in the report, but her mother still receives the report.  Now that’s a hoot!) 

     So, what is next for the CCR.  Honestly, staff actually considered retiring again.  But after discussions with a couple friends and readers, the decision was made to plod forward.  (Please, no collective sighs or profanity laced comments.)  

     While most individuals do not keep current with happenings in beautiful downtown Irving, the CCR attempts to act as an agent of opinion on these events and the misadventures of your local elected officials...especially on inane activities they may pursue or be considering.  A greater goal of the report is an attempt to eliminate PADD (Political Attention Deficit Disorder) which seems to be pandemic in Irving.  Some feel the CCR is an agent, or at least the first dose, toward an eventual cure.  (Are there any research funds available for the CCR to conduct this study?)

     Curing PADD could lead to a better elected representation which actually has the concerns of citizens, not special interest groups, in mind when decisions are made on behalf of the city.  Okay, we are dreaming again.  But, without an informed voting public, there cannot be change.  Too often, individuals vote for a candidate based on personality or if they are contributing large sums to their campaign fund in order to tie strings to the candidate’s voting arm.  Sadly, this is far too accurate and true.  For skeptics, read a candidate’s campaign finance report and see who is actually pulling the strings and directing their votes...large contributors.

     Well, that’s today’s CCR history and lesson in a nut shell.  Stay tuned and keep your favorite politiCat off the streets.  While the CCR is kind to feral cats, we tend to have little regard or concern with imbecilic politiCats.  After all, they are the easiest target to kick.

     We have purchased a new pair of steel-toed boots that could last another thirty years!
‘Staff’ of the CCR    
    All this being said, look for the CCR to be more timely with reports in the future.  And to keep the confusion down, previous CCR reports entitled: Dylan sez...; City Hall Elevator Rumblings; IISD Lunchroom Chatter, Zap!; and BlogSpasms of the CCR will be collapsed and carried under the ‘official’ banner -- the Controversial Committee Report.  Additionally, the Tweet account for Dylan Westie, almost mayor of Irving, will be used sparingly.  If you are not following Dylan, he can be reached at: @dylanwestie1.  As of this report, he has managed to kick the cat thirteen times.

     Speaking of Dylan, if you missed any of his 15-minutes of fame on the Irving mayoral campaign trail, go to the following link, or Google: Dylan Westie.

     Happy reading for another thirty years dear faithful followers and remember...keep your wayward politiCat indoors and out of the political spotlight.  Unless, of course, you really desire they be booted or neutered. 

……………………….Mark Holbrook