Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Black Lawmaker Flips Out In Redistricting Deposition

Houston Press : The Insider Party of One, Ron Wilson gets down on fellow Democrats

Now that he's the only black Texas lawmaker to have voted for the controversial Republican-crafted redistricting plan, Wilson has formally declared war on the party's white liberal establishment and many of his fellow African-American officials.

After a turn on the witness stand two weeks ago in the Democratic lawsuit challenging the plan, Wilson attacked colleague Garnet Coleman for his history of manic depression. Many considered it a low blow, but that was just one more unstatesmanlike wisecrack in an ongoing torrent of invective by the Houston legislator.

Perhaps the most pungent unreported trial verbiage came in an exchange between Wilson and the Democrats' pro bono attorney, Susman Godfrey partner Lee Godfrey. Asked by Godfrey if he was the only black to support redistricting, Wilson answered, "I am the only one that had the -- things -- big enough to do it."

Godfrey then noted that "those things are not something we can see as we're sitting here, would that be correct?" Wilson invited Godfrey to come up to the witness stand and "I'll show it to you." A trial lawyer claims that Wilson muttered under his breath -- not on the record -- to Godfrey: "You'll see the rumors about black men are true!"

Given the heightened hostility between Wilson and the party establishment, it's certain he'll face a challenge in the spring Democratic primary. State Board of Education member Alma Allen ran against Wilson two years ago and will likely get support from peeved party officials eager to remove a major embarrassment.

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