Photo: Trey Martinez Fischer
Ferdinand Frank Fischer III would be a great name for a Mexican monarchist trying to reclaim the crown of Emperor Maximilian, but it’s a lousy name for an ambitious American politician from a Latino district of San Antonio.
That’s why Fischer ditched it years ago, trying on a couple of monikers before building a name for himself as Trey Martinez Fischer, politician on the rise.
The trick worked, as it has for so many starlets, but now he is easily startled by questions of authenticity and vanity. When he found out that Gov. Rick Perry had used the term “charlatans and peacocks” to describe a group of politicians – Fischer among them – who were threatening to impeach Regent Wallace Hall, he bristled.
At a public hearing in May, he harangued one of the recipients of Perry’s email, Regent Brenda Pejovich, to tell him just who Perry was talking about.
“You can’t take a guess on who the charlatan is and who the peacock is,” Fischer prompted. Pejovich refused, but there’s no mystery. If you take charlatan to mean a fraud, a fake, a phony, a pretender, or a flamboyant deceiver, then you could say the charlatan here is the man calling himself Martinez.
There’s no mystery why Fischer would want to pretend to be named Martinez. Sixty percent of the voting-age population in his district is Hispanic, and the percentage is even higher among Democrats. Six of the seven Democratic state representatives from Bexar County use Hispanic last names; the other five, as far as we know, have every right to do so.
Before he ran for office, Fischer was reportedly known as Tracy Fischer.
The question is why he’s been allowed to use the name Martinez on ballots for more than a decade, when Texas law requires candidates to use their real names, with an allowance for one legitimate nickname.
Even Kinky Friedman had to go by “Richard ‘Kinky’ Friedman” on the 2006 ballot for governor. If nothing else, the law keeps the candidate roster from sounding like a Key & Peele sketch.
Martinez is the maiden name of Fischer’s mother, Guadalupe Martinez Fischer. But Fischer was born Ferdinand Frank Fischer — the third after his father and his father before him. According to Southern custom for third in a line of namesakes, he got the nickname Trey.
Needless to say, there is no line of Martinez Fischers before him.