Image: “He wants a safe environment; he avoids controversy at all cost,” explained former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson speaking to The Golden Hammer about current Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. The disappearance of Bush from a March 16, 2021, hearing before the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Land and Resource Management in Austin should have come as no surprise.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin, March 17 – The Notice for the Tuesday, March 16, 2021, hearing before the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Land and Resource Management began, “The Committee will hear invited testimony from General Land Office.” Although there certainly was such an invitation – to General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush – the invited testimony never occurred, because Bush failed, for the second Legislative Session in a row, to show up for the hearing.
Instead, Bush sent the General Land Office’s (GLO) General Counsel Jeff Gordon to fade the heat from legislators who hoped to discuss Bush’s plans for the coming two years for the state agency and specifically for the Alamo monument for which Bush’s plans, along with rock star Phil Collins, to revise its history have sparked enormous controversy and objections. Biedermann repeatedly invited Gordon to refute allegations that Commissioner Bush had planned to “reimagine” the Alamo monument and move its theme away from honoring the approximately 250 Texians who died there in early March, 1836.
State Representative Kyle Biedermann, Republican of Fredericksburg, spoke with The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, yesterday afternoon. “The purpose of hearing was for the agency to give a recap of what they’ve been doing and what they plan to do,” Biedermann told this newspaper in an exclusive interview. “Everybody knows that Bush and the Land Office got chastised after signing on to move the Alamo Cenotaph two years ago and wanting that to happen, over the objection of many Texans, especially those whose ancestors died at the Alamo. But when the Texas Historical Commission denied the permit to move the Cenotaph, Bush and the GLO have not responded.”
The Cenotaph is a monument, dedicated on November 11, 1940, adjacent to the Alamo, which commemorates the individuals who fought on the Texas side at the Battle of the Alamo and bears their names of the Texans who fought there. Bush, Collins, and the City wanted to move the Cenotaph off of the Alamo Battleground near the Menger Hotel.
Biedermann explained, “Commissioner Bush didn’t show up last time either [referring to a similar hearing in 2019.] He sent his legal team last time. It’s consistent with how he operates. He just doesn’t want to get caught. He made a huge mistake that looks really bad for him. He doesn’t want to highlight his terrible mistake with the Alamo and the Cenotaph.”
Biedermann noted that San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also didn’t appear for a special hearing two years ago on the same topic. During the hearing yesterday, Biedermann had hoped to seek assurances from Bush that (1) the GLO would maintain the battle as the focus of the Alamo monument, (2) the lease with the City of San Antonio would change to assure an emphasis upon honoring the brave fighters who lost their lives defending Texas in the Battle of the Alamo, and (3) the GLO would act with openness in its future plans and actions with respect to any changes in the Alamo monument.
In his 2018 book God Save Texas: A Journey Into the Soul of the Lone Star State, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright explained that Bush, San Antonio city officials, and British rock star Phil Collins, who donated his entire Alamo artifact collection to the GLO for display there, had agreed to revise the presentation of the Alamo to de-emphasize the 1836 battle while describing the history of the indigenous people who lived in the area of the Alamo during the past ten thousand year.
Despite efforts by Texas Land Commissioner Bush and British rock star Phil Collins to “reimagine” the Alamo and move its glorious Cenotaph monument to their liking, on September 23, 2020, the Texas Historical Commission (THC) denied a permit request from the City of San Antonio to relocate “Spirit of Sacrifice,” a 1936 cenotaph honoring Texian and Tejano soldiers who died at the 1836 Battle of the Alamo. Please see “Grassroots Conservatives garner major victory over Land Commissioner Bush, Rock Star Phil Collins: The Alamo Cenotaph will not move,” The Golden Hammer, September 23, 2020 https://thegoldenhammer.net/grassroots-conservatives-garner-major-victory-over-land-commissioner-bush-rock-star-phil-collins-the-alamo-cenotaph-will-not-move/
Former General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who endorsed Bush as his successor in 2014, was also critical of Bush during an interview yesterday. “This is a pattern of Bush. He doesn’t like hard questions, even if they can be easily explained,” Patterson said. “Commissioner Bush avoids controversy at all cost. He takes strong positions on topics only when there’s no controversy. He wants a safe environment; he avoids controversy at all cost.”
Patterson explained, “The redo of the Alamo is still going forward. Citizens need to stand up against it.” He pointed out that when Bush was previously asked whether he would support keeping the Alamo Cenotaph in the same place where it currently stands, Bush sidestepped the question with the answer, “As long as I’m Commissioner, the Cenotaph will always stand.”
Patterson gives credit to Bush for continuing the GLO’s strong operations with “high revenues from oil and gas leasing and real estate income.” He noted, however, that Bush may also have wanted to avoid answering tough questions from the Land and Resource Management Committee members about his poor handling of the Hurricane Harvey response, as the GLO oversees the State’s emergency response role.
“If you’re an elected official, if there’s no controversy, you’re not doing anything,” Patterson quipped. “That tells you a lot about our Land Commissioner.”