Kinky Stances

Photos by Steven Devadanam for HouStoned Images Ltd., Ulmtd.
Kinky: tough on crack heads, soft on the crocodile guy.

The chatter is thicker than cigar smoke as folks wait for raconteur/gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman to hold his first Houston press conference today, much to the delight of H-town Kinky supporters, the media and one Dr. Carolyn Farb.

The TV cameramen and reporters mingle with fans wearing "No Teacher Left Behind" t-shirts at the Galleria Hilton. Farb — Houston's social empress — gushes over the black-hat-wearin' candidate. "I'm a volunteer for his campaign because I truly admire him," she says, looking impossibly glamorous for a late morning event. She held a fundraising event for Kinky last night at Fleming's which netted $64,000. "Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top flew down from New York just to be there," she says. "I believe in what Kinky will do for the state. He's going to give Texans back their state pride."

She's interrupted by a clamor at the door -- Kinky has entered the building. He takes the stage, introduced by the baritone-piped "Little Jewford" ("He's a Jew and he drives a Ford" Kinky explains) who's wearing a shimmering sports jacket: "The next governor of Texas, Kiiiinky Friedman." Friedman, wearing a blue shirt, black vest and his trademark black hat takes the stage and tells us that he's here to talk about some "hot button" issues and to unveil his new K.I.S.P. plan: Keep It Simple, Politicians (an obvious play on the good ol' KISS plan). Essentially, in Kinky-speak, the four major issues right now — crime, taxes, illegal immigration and government spending — can be handled simply, stupid.

Ninety seconds in, and he's got the whole room -- reporters and all -- in stitches.

First off, border control. "We've been waiting for 153 years for the feds to help us," he says, "and you know what? They ain't gonna." Kinky says it's time Texans take the border into their own hands. He's calling for 10,000 troops, and massive fines for anyone trafficking illegals. He also wants a Tax I.D. for all non-documented workers. "The foreigners can pay for them," he says. He's visited the border several times, though "Rick Perry's only been there once in five years," and says things are getting "worse and worse and worse. That's basically where I stand."

Illegals, check. How about crime? "I don't think I need to tell you people about crime,' he says. He adds that the governor has basically invited everyone to someone else's house for dinner "and didn't stick around to pick up the tab." Crime is clearly out of control in Houston. He wants all freeloading folks from N.O. shipped out. The eminently quotable Kinkster offers this socio-anthropological tidbit:

"The musicians and writers have mostly moved back to New Orleans now. The crack heads and the thugs have decided that they want to stay in Houston."

Mother of pearl, it's an invasion! No worries, Houstonian -- Kinky's got a plan. He wants $100 million to get 1,000 to 1,200 new police officers on the street.

So just how do we pay for all that new fuzz? "We have a surplus estimated now at eleven billion dollars," he says, adding that he has no idea where the spending is going, but that it's up 18 percent from two years ago. He notes that even with a huge lottery, Texas isn't' sending any kids to college, while in Georgia, any high school kid with a B average or higher gets a scholarship. The surplus is going to the general fund, says Friedman, and until someone changes things (presumably, him), that's where it'll stay.

Jimmy Carter boatlift, anyone?

He barely skims over taxation, mentioning that his whipping boy, Governor Perry, is taxing small businesses. Maybe that's because his train of thought is interrupted by his cell phone, which has a surprisingly non-cowboy ring. "I really should get a new song," he says. (No judgment here, Kink.)

Where was he? Oh yeah, the other gubernatorial candidates, who have a combined 89 years of politics under their collective belts. He didn't come up with that figure with himself, he admits, but rather from his nephew David's internet research. Then, another memorable quote:

I don't use the internet. I think it's the work of Satan.

Wait, we thought it was this guy...

Anyhoo, all those years that Rick Perry, Chris Bell and Carole Keeton Strayhorn have accumulated don't exactly add up to good experience, sez the Kinkster. "The more experience you have, the worse you get."

Somehow, and somewhat seamlessly, animal-lovin' Kinky manages to throw in a shout-out to deceased croc guy Steve Irwin. He then calls himself a statesmen (who thinks about the next generation), not a politician (who only thinks about re-election). And he promises to be a "good shepherd" if he's elected, giving the speech a Joel Osteen kinda vibe.

When he finally opens the floor to questions, we pounce on him about his stance on Katrina refugees. Surely not all folks from Nawlins are deadbeats, crack heads and thugs? Kinky remembers one Katrina victim, who, jobless, said he'd have to "get his hustle on" and says we need to get our "hustle on" and "send 'em back to Louisiana." Or, hell, "send 'em everywhere. We gotta do a Jimmy Carter boatlift here."

Deportation? Kinda harsh, isn't it, Kinky? "Listen, black folks are the ones who pointed this out to me," he says. "I was visiting some black churches, and people there warned me that there was an underbelly of thugs within the Katrina ranks, and they said 'Don't let 'em in.' And everyone in the white churches said 'bring 'em in.'"

Okay, then. If Kinky seems tough, suddenly, it's only to the foreigners. "If you're not a Texan, I don't have any time for you," he says. And now he has no time for us. He leaves with a "shalom, peace, God bless you."

And he's left us wondering: If he's elected, how the hell will he pull off a "Jimmy Carter boatlift?" — Steven Devadanam

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