Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Grandma Sued By Former Camp Director

The troubles just seem to be piling up for Grandma. In the past few weeks, she has been accused of using state employees to work on her campaign during state work hours, and tying tax refunds to campaign donations. Now she is being sued.

Betty Lou Gaines was the director of a Texas camp for troubled youth, until a state investigation closed the camp. Grandma put out a report in 2004 that was critical of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In the report, Grandma mentioned the Woodside Trails Therapeutic Camp in Bastrop County, accusing a counselor of sexually abusing a camp resident. The resident later recanted his accusations, but Grandma left the accusations in her report anyway.

Last month, two administrative law judges ruled that the state had no evidence of sexual abuse at Woodland Trails. Last week, Ms. Gaines filed a lawsuit in an Austin federal court. The suit claims, "The closing of Woodside Trails was the culmination of the extensive and relentless political pressure exerted against the agency and the facility by Defendent Strayhorn....Had a proper investigation been conducted, free from politics and bureaucracy, the allegation of sexual abuse and the allegations of neglect against [Gaines] would have been ruled out by a preponderance of the evidence."

It looks like the plaintiff may have a point here. It certainly looks like Grandma went off half-cocked, and issued a false report for her own political gain. Now it's coming back to bite her in the ass. Grandma didn't need any more trouble. Yesterday, a Zogby poll was released that showed Grandma had only 9.6% support in her race for the governor's office. This new problem certainly won't help her in the polls.

I believe it is time for Grandma to leave the governor's race. But whether she leaves or not, it is certainly time for those who were considering voting for her to reconsider. There are too many candidates in the race to support a troubled and failing campaign like Grandma's.

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