Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Oscar Holcombe: The Plastic Man of Houston Politics.

December 29, 2009

Oscar F. Holcombe was an absolutely amazing Houston politician. Had he lived to celebrate the December 31st birthday that he shares with me and God knows how many others, he would need 121 candles to torch each of his

Houston Mayor Oscar F. Holcombe, Pakistani Prime Minister Ali Khan, & Houston Power Mogul Jesse Jones, 1950.

earthly years. Born in in Mobile, Alabama on December 31, 1888, Holcombe’s family moved to San Antonio when he was very young. After growing up in the Alamo City, Holcombe moved to Houston at age 18 and started making a living in construction. Holcombe married Mary Grey Miller on May 3, 1912. They had one daughter.

By age 26, he had formed the O.F. Holcombe Company as his own construction business. He was on his way to using his business savvy and political contacts as a pathway to riches as one of Houston’s new millionaires.

In 1921, Holcombe entered politics and was elected for his first term as Houston’s mayor. He would end up serving as Houston’s mayor for 22 years, but over 11 non-consecutive terms across four decades. He was the most resilient politican in Houston’s history, adapting to changes in the times and rarely losing his broad appeal in the face of fast growing and changing Houston voter demographics. Holcombe was a soft spoken business-oriented conservative who advocated and believed strongly in the city’s physical expansion of its georgraphic boundaries and in the growth and maintenance  of public services like libraries, adequate sewage, and the development of a superior municipal auditorium for special shows and functions downtown.

Holcombe’s mayoral terms extended from 1921 to 1929; from 1933 to 1937; from 1929 to 1941; from 1947 to 1953; and from 1956 to 1958.

During the early 1960s, Houston renamed the section of Bellaire Boulevard east of Southside Place which runs through the Texas Medical Center, as Holcombe Boulevard. In the late 1980s, the municipality of West University Place also renamed Bellaire Boulevard as Holcombe Boulevard within the space of its jurisdiction.It was a fitting tribute to a man who had personified the Houston boomtown spirit as clearly as it had been drafted by local mover and shaker Jesse Jones. Holcombe was the man to have in office whenever Houston leaders wanted to get some new development deal done and under construction. His actions invited a hoarde of reform candidates along the way, including the late Roy Hofheinz, but people always seemed to come back to Holcombe, even after they threw him out for a term or two.

Was Holcombe dishonest? I can’t say. All I can tell you from what I recall and have since read more about is that he was a superlative politician. Does that help answer the question?

As for sports, Holcombe was was mayor during the time that Buff Stadium was built and opened four miles to the east of downtown Houston in 1928. He fell time-short of being in office when Houston won their battles for major league baseball and football, but I think he supported those goals in general, even if he did not support the personal gain that passed to his old rival Roy Hofheinz through baseball. During the great “bigger is better” era of  Houston shaker thought, Holcombe favored “bigger and wider” as goals that were good for Houston – and quietly profitable for those that did the actual financing and building of growth and expansion.

Oscar F. Holcombe passed away in Houston on June 18, 1968 at the age of 79.

Pardon Me, Ford!

August 16, 2009

Nixon Ford Over the years, writing parody has always been one of the main ways I sought rest from a particular research subject for a day or so. The practice rejuvenated me. It felt like the written equivalent to doodling. I followed this pattern all through school too – and also over the heaviest years of my private practice work – when I practically had  no other energy left over at the end of the day for writing anything beyond case record notes. – Even then, I could write parody, if nothing else. Wow! – Talk about “all work and no play making Jack a dull boy!” I had some nadir-level years with writing much beyond my own signature in that regard back then. I may still be duller than dishwater as a writer, but I’m enjoying it a whole lot more these days.

Most of my word doodles I’ve trashed, but the one I bring you today felt like a keeper from the start. It was my favorite – and I’ve needed no hard copy to hold onto it. It long ago took its place in the jukebox (i-pod?) region of my memory bank and won’t go away from my list of favorites.

My favorite little “vacation” work came to me back in 1975, when I wrote Pardon Me, Ford, a parody of how I speculated that the pardoning of President Richard M. Nixon came about. I was so pumped from the experience that I even submitted it to Lorne Michaels at Saturday Night Live for their use as a skit. They didn’t use it, but Michaels, at least, wrote me back. He explained that they only did their own material – and that they didn’t take in unsolicited writing or do other people’s laundry.

That being said, here it is again. I did something like this way back on Chron.Com, but what the heck? I feel the need to do it again this morning.

********************

Pardon Me, Ford

By Bill McCurdy

The time is 1973. The scene is the Oval Office of the White House. President Richard Nixon is meeting with newly appointed Vice-President Gerald Ford to discuss the potential fallout from Watergate and the probability that he is going to be impeached and possibly face jail time for criminal acts. Ford is sitting. Nixon is pacing the floor. When Nixon finally speaks, he sings what he has to say to the tune of the old Johnny Mercer song, Chattanooga Choo Choo. Use yur imagination and you will see the scene evolving to the point of Nixon and Ford dancing off stage at the end of the act like a couple of smiling, hand-waving vaudevillians.

Pardon me, Ford! – Let’s have a chat and choose your new shoes!

I will resign! – Then everything will be fine!

There’s gonna be – a Watergate Investigation!

It won’t be fair! – ‘Cause Johnny Dean will be there!

They’ll have the votes for my impeachment so I might as well go!

Then you can be the President – and they’ll never know!

If I have conceded! – (Expletive Deleted!)

If I knew – or didn’t know – they just can’t read it!

I’ll never roam – away from my own tax-free – San Clemente home!

And you can wear the new shoes – that go along with the throne!

Pardon me, Ford! – Pardon me, Ford!

All aboard!

Pardon me, Ford!  – Pardon me, Ford!

Get on board!

(both Nixon & Ford now singing and dancing off stage together)

AND WE CAN WEAR THE NEW SHOES … – (trombones: dada da da!)

THAT GO ALONG WTH THE THROOOOOOOOOOOONE!

(drum riff: Bada-Bing! – as Nixon & Ford disappear off-stage left.)

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle