Keeping an Eye on 2016 Dem Primary

donkey-fightYes, most political insiders and activists have all eyes open for Bernie, O’Malley, and Clinton, but there will be much more on the 2016 Democratic Primary Ballot. The Harris County Democratic Party already has a webpage up to give you the latest filings for the Primary, which shall be held on March 1, 2016.

Although there does not seem to be a lot of contested races, the deadline to file is December 14, 2016, so we can expect more. There is some scuttlebutt as to an opponent for HD137s Gene Wu. The race to replace Sylvester Turner in HD139 already has two candidates, including Randy Bates, whom I’ve known from his service on the Lone Star College board, and Kimberly Willis. Also, although only Mary Ann Perez has filed, I’ve heard of at least two more filing soon to take back HD144.

On the judicial side, the 11th Civil District Court has two, thus far, with Rabeea Collier, whom I’ve known from my Kingwood days, and Julie Countiss. I won’t write about other prospective contests until they actually file. Judicial candidates require signatures, whether they pay the filing fee or not, so, I don’t want to get ahead of myself and announce anyone that may end up failing to collect them.

All of this said, just keep visiting Harris County Democratic Party to stay updated on filings. There will always be some who will be upset with the possibility of contested primaries becoming divisive, but, that’s why we have primaries; so we can have a choice.

Stay connected!

Cafe College Coming to Houston

When the notice from the City of Houston landed on my inbox, I must say that I was pretty excited. Something like CafeCollege, which helps prospective college students through the college-going process, has been needed for a long time. I recall then-Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio pushed this concept through, and I now send kudos to Mayor Annise Parker and all involved for bringing it to Houston.

Here’s the info on the grand opening of CafeCollege Houston:

Cafécollege Houston – Grand Opening at the Houston Public Library

Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 10 AM

Cafécollege Houston at the Houston Public Library (HPL) is a free resource and service center offering assistance to anyone with the desire to go to college and to also encourage those who are undecided about attending. Cafécollege Houston is located at Carnegie Neighborhood Library and Center for Learning at 1050 Quitman, 77009, 832-393-1720. The community is invited to the Grand Opening on Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 10 AM. This center will provide the opportunity to make college dreams become a reality.

Cafécollege Houston is a “one-stop-shop” for teens and adults to receive help in finding the right college; SAT and ACT preparation, college admission assistance, filling out college applications, workshops, deciding on a career, finding financial aid; as well as having free Wi-Fi available. Whether attending college to get a degree or work on a certificate for a professional trade, HPL will have experts offering guidance to every applicant to make sure they get help through each step.  No one is too young or too old to get started.

Kicking off the grand opening celebration will be:
Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson, Director, Houston Public Library
Mayor Annise D. Parker, City of Houston
Ed Gonzalez, Mayor Pro-Tem, District H, City of Houston
Ann B. Stiles, Ed.D., President & CEO, Project GRAD Houston
Dr. Adriana Contreras, Executive Director, San Antonio Education Partnership / cafécollege

Cafécollege Houston is an educational partnership between the City of Houston, Ed Gonzalez, Mayor Pro-Tem, District H, the Houston Public Library, Project Grad Houston, and the City of San Antonio.

Cafécollege was implemented in the City of San Antonio and is one of two statewide pilot programs for the Texas College Access Network (TxCAN).

Houston Public Library’s cafécollege Houston hours of operation will be:
Tuesday – Thursday, 9 AM – 7 PM
Friday, 1 PM – 5 PM
Saturday, 10 AM – 3 PM

VIDEO: Amanda Edwards for AL4

For your consideration…

Post-Turkey Read: TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at Rick Perry’s day in court as he tries one more time to quash the indictments against him.

Libby Shaw contributing to Greg Abbott Brings Out the Worst in Texas. Again.

Stace at DosCentavos offers a tribute to his uncle, Sheriff Jose Serna. Sheriff Serna was the first elected Mexican American sheriff in Zavala County.

There may be some lessons for Democrats to learn from Louisiana, where they elected a Democratic governor on Saturday, but PDiddie at Brains and Eggs suspects the biggest one is “Run the Bluest Dog you can find against the worst Republican you can find”. And that’s just a tired recipe for the same failed election results in Texas over the past twenty years.

SocraticGadfly appreciates the intent, but questions the wisdom, of states making a state-by-state attempt at single-payer type “national” health care.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme doesn’t understand why some Texas pastors go out of their way to spew hate.

Neil at All People Have Value said the value of everyday life is a good foundation for a broad movement demanding that our everyday work and relationships be given proper regard. APHV is part of


Grits for Breakfast calls for police disciplinary files to be opened up.

Juanita goes biblical on Greg Abbott’s shameless announcement refusing refuge to people from Syria.

Robert Rivard notes that Abbott’s decision is in contradiction to Catholic teaching and practice.

The Texas Election Law Blog mocks the three-judge panel for its refusal to act on the ongoing redistricting litigation.

Dallas City Council member Lee Kleinman touts hit town’s non-discrimination ordinance.

Paradise in Hell annotates Greg Abbott’s surrender to the terrorists.

Mary Pustejovsky says no one should have to lose a love one to an automobile accident.

Austin On Your Feet provides five lessons from the passage of a “granny flat” ordinance.

Haley Morrison says it is our American duty to show compassion to refugees.

RIP Sheriff Jose Serna, Zavala County

serna2Believe it or not, at one point in our state’s young history, there was a political revolution of sorts in South Texas. Yes, Mexican Americans were voting…a lot. They had a good reason to vote:  Candidates with which they could identify; a liberal political platform which served regular working people; and a collective hope to effect meaningful social change after years of what could only be described as an apartheid in our own country and state. And a lot of this happened in my hometown during the days of La Raza Unida Party, a political party fed up with the racist and elitist ways of the Democratic Party of the day.

sernacampIn 1972, my Uncle Jose Serna was elected the first Chicano Sheriff of Zavala County. Prior to that, he, along with his wife, Olivia, had organized farm and seasonal workers to stand up to employers for fair wages and better working conditions. They organized fellow Crystal Citians to demand their rights to vote, to get educated, and to have a prosperous life. Their daughter Diana, played a central role in the Crystal City school walkouts as one of the banned Chicana cheerleaders and student organizers. Later on, Olivia would be elected to the Crystal City City Council, then chosen by her peers to serve as Mayor, becoming the first woman in that role. All of this under the banner of La Raza Unida. After Tio Joe ended his terms as Sheriff and took a well-deserved break, he became interested again in 1988, and won again after a contentious Democratic Primary.   His calling was about more than protecting and serving, but about making sure his community’s needs were met.

Tio Joe passed away on November 17, 2015, after a short illness, having lived just short of 86 years. He was my mom, Flora’s,  brother. He leaves to celebrate his life his daughters Diana and Olivia, as well as sons Joe, Jr., Roberto, Jose, Jr., Mario Alberto, and Eduardo–all successful kids in their own right. Roberto and Eduardo continued the political legacy, Roberto as the District Attorney of the 293rd District and Eduardo as Zavala County Attorney; however, all have served their communities well in the fields of law, education, and business.

Of course, my memories began quite early as a five-year old kid who experienced his first political rallies at La Placita in the Mexico Chico neighborhood of Crystal City. My towering Uncle Joe was a commanding presence with his trademark mustache, western bow ties, and that shiny badge. He always gave me “deputy” badges to wear, which meant I had to be the Sheriff when I played cops and robbers with my friends. As a grown-up, I made several trips back to Cristal and I made sure to visit him. Our talks were about politics, especially in 2007, when we were both rooting for Hillary, although that young guy Obama probably had a good shot. We agreed that if Obama won, we’d support him and I’d send him stickers I’d procure from the local Party office.

If I sound like a little kid going through some hero worship it’s because I am. I grew up in a politically charged town that impacted Texas History so much, even Dolph Briscoe called us Little Havana. My parents instilled in me a love and drive for political involvement in a town where we had local heroes that went beyond the high school football field. It was a time of Chicano governance; it was something to continue striving for beyond Crystal City, too.

Lately, I’ve felt a bit disillusioned with politics. The ugly head of hate and fear seems to be growing–even among so-called Democrats–and now is the time for a new crop of heroes that will fight for what is right. Perhaps I’ll increase my involvement in things political, but one thing is for sure, my Uncle’s passing has been a reminder that the work is not done and that the struggle continues.

Jose Angel Gutierrez wrote in The Making of a Chicano Militant: After Judge Gutierrez swore in all of the newly elected Raza Unida officeholders who had swept out the bigoted incumbents, “I was presented with the keys to the office suite and with a can of Lysol by Sheriff Jose Serna, who stated in Spanish, ‘Go spray the county judge’s office, the commissioner’s courtroom, and the district judge’s courtroom to disinfect any redneck germs that may remain.'”


Monday Morning Read: TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks maybe we should finish celebrating Thanksgiving before we begin the Christmas season as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a closer look at how people voted in the Houston Mayor’s race.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos wonders if Houston’s anti-HERO supporters (those who embrace discrimination on behalf of bathrooms) know the group’s head ringleader is defending a male bathroom pervert? Anti-Hero Activist Defends Man Photographing Women in Bathroom.

Socratic Gadfly is trying to popularize the term Inside the Mopac media as a parallel to “Inside the Beltway media.”

Donald Trump asked “How stupid are the people of Iowa?” and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs answered, “stupid enough to vote for you, asshole”.

Neil at All People Have Value said that Mark Rothko had an almost Starbucks level of hatred for Jesus. APHV is part of

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme thinks its all kinds of wrong to have private businesses pay for our border patrol.

From main line media reporting, it almost seems like some “shocking development” that the same forces which defeated the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance would now turn their ire upon the city of Dallas. But to Texas Leftist, or anyone that has closely followed the U.S. Pastor Council, this move was just a matter of time. Hold on to your seats North Texas, and get ready for some heinous lies to come your way.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs:

Grits for Breakfast calls out DPS for screwing up racial classifications on traffic stops.

Morgan Guyton decries Houston pastors who bore false witness against their transgender brothers and sisters.

Texas Watch has a petition calling for hospitals to be accountable for their doctors.

Raise Your Hand Texas reviews the education-related interim charges for the Legislature.

Alexa Martin-Storey and Kate Prickett remind us that plenty of laws and policies that undermine same-sex parenting still exist.

The Texas Election Law Blog updates us on the continued election woes of the city of Martindale.

Turner Earns Key Endorsements

turnerAfter receiving the endorsement of former opponent Adrian Garcia, as well as the collective nod of local Latino elected officials, another former opponent, Steve Costello, announced that he, too, will support Sylvester Turner for Mayor.

“Sylvester and I agree that ReBuild Houston is a good baseline infrastructure program that can and must be improved to meet the needs and expectations of Houstonians,” said Costello.  “We agree that our police force needs to be increased to match the city’s growth and growing needs, and that we must get back to community-based policing so officers are connected to our neighborhoods’ challenges and successes.”

“After leaving office in January, my focus will be on finding a path forward to position Houston for its next steps in mass transportation,” said Costello.  “Sylvester Turner is the best candidate to connect all of Houston through multi-modal transportation, and I look forward to working with him on critical transportation issues like commuter rail.”


Credit: Turner Campaign

Among the Latino elected officials endorsing Turner are:  HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche, CM Robert Gallegos, CM Ed Gonzalez, State Senator Sylvia Garcia, State Reps. Ana Hernandez, Armando Walle, Jessica Farrar, and Carol Alvarado, and Constable Chris Diaz.

Thus far, the most notable post-first-round endorsement is that of former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who came in at third place in the race.  No doubt that these lighting fast endorsements from former foes with slightly varying platforms and views are evidence that Houston can come together to elect a “mayor for all.”

Stay tuned for more Run-Off news. Run-off is December 12.

Tony Diaz Needs Every Vote Counted

In my election thoughts from yesterday, I failed to mention a very important race in Aldine ISD, where my friend, Tony Diaz, was challenging an incumbent for a seat. Diaz’s campaign put forth a valiant Election Day effort, earning almost 60% of the vote after a slower show in mail ballots and early voting. The five vote margin shows that every vote really does matter; unfortunately, it was Diaz who was short.

I’m not sure about a recount process at this time, but I do know every vote must be counted before the official canvass. That said, there are provisional ballots which were cast in the race that can only be counted if the voter heads over to the County to prove their eligibility to vote by way of a Voter ID by Monday. As Diaz reminded voters:

Provisional Votes MUST be Counted. Every Vote Counts.

If you voted a provisional Ballot on Nov 3 in the Aldine School Board race. You have time to make your vote count.

Monday Nov 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm is the deadline to make you Provisional Vote count.

To Make you Provisional Vote Count for Tony Diaz for Aldine ISD you will need to go to the Harris County Administrative Building, 1001 Preston St, Houston, TX and present one of the following approved ID’s to make you Vote Count:

TX Drivers License
TX Election ID Certificate
TX Concealed Handgun License
TX Personal ID Card
United States Military ID
United States Citizenship Certificate
US Passport
US Military ID

To find out more about what forms approved of ID’s visit: or call 713-755-6965

Provisional Votes MUST be Counted. Every Vote Counts.

So, if you voted provisionally because you forgot your ID, or for whatever reason, and you live in Aldine ISD, make sure your vote is counted!

DC (Finally) Reacts To Tuesday

By the time I clicked [REFRESH] a little after 7PM on Tuesday night, I knew most of my picks were going down in flames. Here are my reactions to a few races a few days after sifting through the ashes–in no particular order.

LatinoVoteJuliet Stipeche-HISD8:  It was pretty upsetting to see her down by 10% the whole night. What was the reason? Her unique name versus a familiar “Hispanic-sounding” name? Her opponent endorsed by anti-Equality bigots? The fact that there were almost 5,000 (29%) undervotes? And what caused the undervote? Interest in smacking down HERO? Interest in voting for Adrian Garcia and pushing [CAST BALLOT]? Or are people fed up with HISD and any incumbent was a target? Or as Campos mentioned, was Juliet’s opponent not taken as seriously as she should have been? One thing is for sure, Stipeche had a good team and partnerships with other campaigns to GOTV. Perhaps all of these reasons are the reason for such a defeat in one way or another. A loss is still a loss, but I expect Stipeche to stay in the game, giving back to her community as she always has, and fighting for the people. What’s next for HISD? I don’t know, I reside in Alief ISD.

Adrian Garcia-Mayor:  Garcia started out criticized by most Dems for leaving his post as one of the top Dems in the County. Funny, these are the same people who’d get mad at me for challenging him on 287g and other immigration issues because “we need to re-elect him and then we can work on ‘your’ issues.”  So, I threw caution to the wind and decided to support Adrian–a progressive-to-moderate Latino who I thought had the most potential to be a mayoral “first” during the next decade. (I don’t see many other Latin@s with that potential locally, yet.)

Kuff has a good post on what may have happened to Adrian. One “cause” may have been a lack of (or slow) reaction to when the white Dem candidate and the right-winger who made the run-off went on the attack about the jail conditions and jail budget issues, which were mostly inherited by Garcia. I asked myself, “How can we expect a major culture change in a law enforcement agency that is over a century old led by any one Democrat (with no help from a Republican commissioner’s court) for a few years?” At least, that would have been my defense for the purpose of not losing Dem loyalists and moderates, since he needed more of those to make a run-off. Garcia was still a cop at heart, but he made some impressive gains in less than two terms. But he left, so, that left him open to attacks from Dems who weren’t happy he left, I guess. I’d like to think that if he had stayed in the post, the Dem loyalists would have been defending him for a third term. Maybe? Or would he have been primaried? I’m not afraid to say that this part showed a lot of hypocrisy by Dems all because they wanted their guy to win. Sure, you might say I’m a hypocrite for overlooking my differences with Garcia, but at least I embrace my hypocrisy and still criticize those I support (like Adrian), when needed. Ah, politics! 

Run-Off:  I’ll support Sylvester Turner, as Adrian Garcia has.

Controller:  Chris Brown must win. No-brainer.

At-Large 1:  There are a lot of upset people because their guy didn’t make the run-off. Well, you can’t run on a sweet resume and wealthy connections alone. You actually have to be personable, talk to people, and make connections with regular people. That’s why I liked Lane Lewis, because he’s been doing that for a while and it would have been a good quality to have on Council. Hell, it’s hard not to support someone who “likes” FB pics of your mom or asks about “Flo,” right? Instead of the DosCentavos nod, perhaps the #FriendsOfFlo nod would have helped more. (Of course, this is just my perspective.) Keep on truckin’, Lane!

In other thoughts, a few more elections and Griff may make it to Council!

Run-Off:  [Blank] Anti-Hero BS bothers the hell out of me.

At-Large 2:  David Robinson had too many opponents and is left challenged by a right-wing, anti-Equality, anti-Civil Rights preacher. Obviously, we need to keep Robinson.

At-Large 3:  Nice try, Doug Peterson. Thanks for stepping up and giving us a choice.

At-Large 4:  Amanda Edwards made the run-off against anti-immigrant, anti-Latino Latino Ol’ Roy. Amanda must win the run-off!

At-Large 5:  Philippe Nassif ran a good campaign. He’s got more potential in his pinky finger than most office holders have in their entire bodies, so, keep an eye open for this guy. This is another run-off that I’m leaving BLANK. The whole anti-HERO BS just bothers the hell out of me.

HERO: I’ve had conversations with a few people. There’s talk that Mayor Parker will bring it up before she leaves office–and during the run-off campaign. That has a lot of people upset who want to make sure pro-Equality candidates aren’t caught in the undertow of hatred and ignorance in a run-off that will surely bring out the bigots if HERO is still an issue. There’s talk of adding other protections to HERO to make it more palatable to the haters. Well, in that case, add protections for gun nuts and “persecuted” christians. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know I’m not a fan of voting on civil rights protections. They should just exist–even after a fight in the courts. One thing is for sure, there is a hate-slate for the haters that must be defeated on December 12.

District F:  I hope my CM Richard Nguyen isn’t in trouble. The results between two anti-Equality candidates and Nguyen scare the heck out of me. Nguyen needs to be re-elected.

District H:  Jason Cisneroz must win this one. More than the issue of Latino representation, this is also about ensuring constituents are well-served from day 1, and Jason has that edge.

District I:  Congrats to Robert Gallegos. He ran a great race, and stayed classy against an unclassy opposition.

Ramiro Fonseca-HISD3:  Ramiro has so much potential and is sincere in what he does. Perhaps getting out of a district and trying citywide is better for him? Maybe I just want the chance to cast a ballot for him.

Final thought:  When we look at the numbers, a couple of things will be true:  Latinos still aren’t taking their responsibility to vote seriously, and, those that are voting aren’t friendly to Equality issues, even though our community’s history is steeped in the Civil Rights era. All of this has got to change. What’s the answer? I found a recent Noam Chomsky quote that put things in perspective:

“The only thing that’s gonna ever bring about any meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated popular movements which don’t pay attention to the election cycle.”

The Stace Slate – 2015

Here’s for whom I’m  voting:

Mayor………………………..Adrian Garcia

City Council At Large 1…..Lane Lewis

City Council At Large 2….David Robinson

City Council At Large 3….Doug Peterson

City Council At Large 4….Amanda Edwards

City Council At Large 5….Philippe Nassif

City Council District F…..Richard Nguyen

City Controller…………….Chris Brown

City of Houston Proposition 1……………….YES!

City of Houston Proposition 2……………….YES

Harris County Proposition 1, 2, 3, and 4………………….FOR

Alief ISD Position 1……….Lily Truong

Texas Prop 1- AGAINST

Texas Prop 2- FOR

Texas Prop 3- AGAINST

Texas Prop 4- AGAINST

Texas Prop 5- AGAINST

Texas Prop 6- AGAINST

Texas Prop 7- AGAINST

I Can’t Vote in These Races, But I Encourage You To Vote For:

Houston City Council District H…….Jason Cisneroz

Houston City Council District I……..Robert Gallegos

Houston City Council District J……..Mike Laster

Houston ISD District VIII……………..Juliet Stipeche

Houston ISD District III……………….Ramiro Fonseca

Aldine ISD Position 1…………………..Tony Diaz

HCC District III…………………………..Adriana Tamez

HCC District VIII…………………………Eva Loredo