The Trump Thing and Latino Voting

trumpinata

by Lalo Alcaraz

Fact:  Trump is a pendejo. Fact:  All the pageant and show cancellations are not going to hurt Trump’s wallet. So, what else are all the hurt Latinos going to do after the Trump anger fades away?

What was noticeable in all of this was Latinos declaring that they would not be voting for Trump in 2016. Of course, I asked myself if they meant in the Republican Primary or in November 2016? Given that not many Latinos vote in the GOP primary, I’m guessing they meant November, in which Trump was likely not going to be candidate, anyway. So, those declarations didn’t excite me much, but if it means more Latinos are going to show up or get involved, great!

But let’s look beyond the idiotic comments and pay attention to issues, like health care, education, jobs, economy, and yes, immigration. Who has real solutions, or which candidates can we as voters drive toward real solutions, rather than just the usual campaign talk? Thanks to Trump, folks are paying attention, so, campaigns need to talk issues rather than just point fingers at Trump and Republicans.

In the quest for higher turnout, Latinos won’t respond favorably to blame, though.

Here in Texas, no sooner did Leticia Van de Putte lose in her bid for Mayor of San Antonio, I started seeing rants from liberals and Dems blaming Latinos for the loss. It was a bit annoying, considering it was coming from folks who are part of the problem and who refuse to look inward for solutions.

My friend Joaquin Guerra from TOP penned an excellent op-ed. Here’s a bit of it:

If we’re not part of the plan to win or part of the engagement strategy, then, no, we’re not to blame for the fact that you came home and dinner wasn’t waiting for you on the table.

Stop taking us for granted.

Here are five tips for politicians, pundits, reporters, editorial boards and political consultants who are scratching their heads about what happened:

  • Respect: Stop implying that Latinos are too lazy and disinterested to vote..
  • Ask Latino voters what’s important to them.
  • Lean into economic and racial justice issues. Economics and race are at the core of some of our biggest problems.
  • Make Latinos part of the solution.
  • It’s not just about Latinos. We’re all in this together. It’s easy to look at voter data and say that Latinos don’t vote, but the reality is that Texans as a whole don’t, either.

Read the whole thing and not just the tips I took out of the article.

The bottom line is that Latino hires and token words by campaigns aren’t enough to excite Latino voters. And avoiding questions surely doesn’t help. And, it certainly doesn’t help when Latinos are used by supposedly liberal candidates as a piñata to gain a few right-wing votes, either.

Obviously,Trump’s Mexican attack was an attempt to gain votes in the GOP primary, and we’ll hear it from other Republicans, too. But, Dems do it as part of a continually losing strategy, too, if they get desperate enough. It needs to stop and Trump is just the tip of the iceberg.

So, let’s take Joaquin’s tips seriously. Seriously.

KHOU 2015 Mayoral Poll Has Some Interesting Results

adrianpicNot surprisingly, the first poll of the 2015 Mayoral race has Sylvester Turner (16%) and  Adrian Garcia (12%) leading among likely voters. Because I’ve always thought that the entry of Adrian Garcia would change the dynamic of Hispanic voter participation, I was not surprised to see that among registered voters, with a larger sample of Hispanics, Garcia is in the lead 15% to 13%. In other words, because of Garcia’s entry, I’d put some weight on increased Hispanic participation in 2015 and voters who don’t usually participate. Wishful thinking on my part? Perhaps, but I don’t think of Adrian Garcia as an LVdP type of candidate–for those who want to make comparisons to San Antonio. In other news, KHOU reported on Wednesday night that among Anglo voters, Garcia held a 13% to 9% edge on Turner, which made the results all the more interesting.

turnerFor those who are surprised at the Garcia result, they must look beyond the usual Democratic club meetings and Dem activist Facebook posts, where there was much more animosity toward Garcia for his decision to run for Mayor. Perhaps a higher GOP sample may provide conservative candidates like King and Costello some higher numbers, and, in time, Republicans will find out who their “R” candidate is. This is just the first poll. Things will look different in the future.

Of course, there is the matter of name recognition. That Chris Bell is in third place in the poll shouldn’t be a surprise as he’s run locally and statewide. If indeed Democrats were oversampled, then that may be why Bell polled at 8% in the likely voter category. But among registered voters, he only polled at 4%, as did Stephen Costello (2% of likelies). Perhaps money and TV ads will help in this regard.

The polling questions on issues tell us that Houstonians like the direction Houston is heading, that they still like Mayor Parker, that they don’t want a sales tax increase or tax dollars spent on the Astrodome, but that they do want their traffic and roads fixed. Given these results, it may be that voters are looking for a positive, unifying figure, rather than an angry, blaming one–even with a higher GOP sample. Certainly, we can’t go by the opinions of non-Houstonians who comment in the Chronicle, right?

Perhaps we will see campaigns bolstering their messages, while others change them altogether. Or, the attacks may begin in some attempt to gain traction or attract the 50%+ who have not yet decided. Certainly, the results of the poll will be cause for concern for some in the check-writing-class of our local democratic system. Here’s hoping for a continually educative process, rather than one filled with negativity.

At least, that’s my take on this day.

Polls, as they as say, are just polls. Usually not the best measure of a race, but a measure nonetheless, they are still a snapshot from which to move forward. For me, at least, the poll did wake me up with the hopes of a more exciting summer.

PDiddie and Coby have their takes. Kuff has an excellent take, too.

Stay connected!

Obama’s Newest Deportation Program Slammed by Civil Rights Groups

Many of us have been waiting for the first assessments of President Obama’s “Priority Enforcement Program.” Would it be an actual new program, or just a re-branding of Secure Communities? I’ll let this press release  from the National Day Labor Organizing Network explain:

Civil Rights Organizations Slam DHS’ Latest Deportation Program; Call on DHS to Discontinue Use of Unlawful Detention Requests

Replacement for Discredited “Secure Communities” Program Suffers From Serious Legal Flaws that Expose DHS and Cooperating Law Enforcement Agencies to Liability

Wednesday, June 16, 2015—In response to new details released on Friday about DHS’s “Priority Enforcement Program” (PEP), prominent civil and immigrants’ rights organizations today delivered a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) calling for an end to detention (“detainer”) and notification requests. The letter asserts that PEP—created as a replacement for the controversial Secure Communities program— suffers from many of the same legal problems that contributed to the agency’s decision to end the Secure Communities. As a result, local law enforcement agencies that choose to participate may face liability.

In the letter, the organizations call on DHS to discontinue the use of “immigration detainers,” which ask local law enforcement agencies to detain individuals in their custody after their authority to hold them expires. After a series of federal court decisions last year holding that immigration detainers fail to comply with the Fourth Amendment, hundreds of local law enforcement agencies across the country adopted policies prohibiting compliance with immigration detainers absent a judicial warrant or judicial determination of probable cause. DHS still does not provide a judicial determination of probable cause either before or after issuing an immigration detainer, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Jessica Karp Bansal, NDLON Litigation Director, said, “When DHS first announced PEP back in November, it acknowledged the need for reform in light of federal court decisions holding that immigration detainers do not provide a lawful basis to detain a person. So we were surprised to learn that DHS plans to continue issuing detainers through PEP that don’t comport with constitutional requirements. PEP creates a trap for unwary local law enforcement agencies, which will be subject to legal liability should they choose to participate.”

In addition to legal concerns, the letter also criticizes PEP as contravening the recent recommendation from the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing to “decouple” federal immigration enforcement from local policing.

Said Salvador Sarmiento, NDLON Legislative Director, “PEP is completely out of step with the national conversation on the need for policing and criminal justice reform. We question why DHS is continuing to entangle local police in immigration enforcement when the President’s own Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended against doing so. The result will be the same kind of deterioration of police-community trust that we saw with Secure Communities.”

DHS responded to the widespread criticism of the Secure Communities program in November with plans to discontinue it; however, ICE’s new PEP forms and informational material, released last Friday, suggest PEP is little more than a re-branding of the same flawed product.

The letter and more info on PEP available at: www.ndlon.org/en/pressroom/press-releases/item/1148-release-civil-rts-groups-slam-latest-dhs-deportation-program-demand-dhs-discontinue-unlawful-detention-requests

DC Reviews ~ Los Texmaniacs – Americano Groove

grooveGrammy Award winners, Los Texmaniacs, are back with a new studio album–Americano Groove. The new album is bold, offering a variety of music:  Tex-Mex, cumbia, country, funky Latin rhythms, and other familiar stylings in music.  Throw in a star-studded group of guests like Alejandro Escovedo, Kevin Fowler, Joe Ely, Rick Treviño, and Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo and you have the makings of a collector’s item. It truly is an Americano Groove.

Down in the Barrio kicks off the album; a tune filled with social commentary about barrio realities and solutions. Escovedo joins in on this one while the band provides a solid rhythm. Ya No Te Quiero Ver is a sped-up polka
“tell-off” tune that allows Josh Baca to flex his acordeón abilities and Max Baca isn’t too far behind with a bajo sexto solo. How Can a Beautiful Woman Be So Ugly has that Tornado-esque feel created by Augie Meyers’ organ while telling us the story of a heartbreaking woman. How Long Is Patient is a Baca-delivered ballad, with help from Tania Marie, centered around the strumming of a bajo sexto and an electric guitar–a pretty awesome combo.

Country star Kevin Fowler joins the production on Adios Mamacita–a fun Tex-Mex rockabilly tune about a crazy, yet fun, woman. Known for their power polkas, Max and his nephew Josh Baca on acordeon take us back to when polkitas were played with a bajo sexto and acordeon around a camp fire with Muchachos Alegres. Then, the legendary Joe Ely joins in on I Wanna Known Your Name, in another Tex-Mex rocker of a song.

Herido, a haunting ballad about love ending, is aptly delivered by drummer/guitarronista Lorenzo Martinez. Como Te Quiero is a ranchera that has gained popularity at live gigs and was showcased at the 40th Anniversary concert of A Prairie Home Companion. With the traditional conjunto sound with slide guitar thrown in, this tune will definitely be a favorite.

Rick Treviño proves he’s still got it with the country tune Big Night in a Small Town. Los Texmaniacs add in what can be called a cumbita raza, Mentirosa, with its barrio slang, and Lobos-esque style and harmonies; not to mention a searing guitar solo by David Hidalgo. And the album ends strong with Polka Palitos, again, done in the traditional bajo/acordeon style of the old days with a strong full conjunto ending.

The album was produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, a legend himself. There’s an obvious tell of his involvement with how easily various non-conjunto instruments are mixed in. More than the obvious risk-taking in doing a different kind of Tex-Mex album is the feeling of how fun it may have been to record this project. To have been a fly in the wall of that studio.

Anyway, look for the album online. Since I really wanted the liner notes to this one, I found it at Wal-Mart this morning. Get your copy today!

Houston Mayoral Candidate Forums – This Week!

Arts Forum
Wednesday, June 3
Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Asia Society
1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX 77004


City Budget & Economic Development Forum
Thursday, June 4
Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location: University of Houston Student Center South (ballroom)
UC – Building 565
126 University Drive, Houston, TX 77004


Area Labor & Community Organization Forum
Saturday, June 6
Time: 9:00 a.m.

Location: Talento Bilingue
333 S Jensen Dr, Houston, TX 77003

Americans United: Bills Threatening Church/State Separation Defeated

I got some good news from Americans United for Separation of Church and State in the inbox. Some pretty awful bills were killed with the end of the Texas Lege session this week. Here’s the story:

The Texas legislature introduced a variety of bills that threatened to violate the separation of church and state that is vital to true religious liberty. But, thanks to your action and hard work, these bills were defeated! Here is an example of some of the problematic bills that did not pass:

Anti-Sharia Bills:Texas House Bills 562, 670, and 3698 did not mention Sharia law specifically, but were really motivated by anti-Muslim animus. Their purpose was to combat the unfounded fear that Sharia law could be applied in Texas courts. This precaution is unnecessary as Texas courts are already empowered to refuse to enforce foreign law judgments if they violate Texas and U.S. laws.  The bills’ only effect, therefore, would have been to spread anti-Muslim rhetoric.

Voucher Bills: Senate Bills 4, 642, and 1178, each would have created a different kind of voucher scheme. Whether in the form of a “scholarship,” “grant,” or tax credit, these voucher programs would have funneled taxpayer money into primarily religious schools, violating our country’s commitment to the separation of church and state.  Studies show voucher programs do not improve academic achievementor provide greater educational opportunities for disadvantaged students.  According to multiple studies of the District of Columbia, Milwaukee, and Cleveland school voucher programs, students offered vouchers do not perform better in reading and math than students in public schools. They also often lack accountability, oversight, and civil rights protections.

So-Called “Religious Freedom” Bills: The Texas legislature introduced over 20 of these so-called “religious freedom” bills that could have trumped the civil rights of all Texans, and the LGBT community in particular. House Bill 4105, which was later added to House Bill 2977, attacked marriage equality specifically. Even if the Supreme Court decides this month that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, this bill would have prohibited state or local public funds from being used for an activity that includes the licensing, support, or recognition of a same-sex marriage. This bill would have also codified a particular religious view of marriage to the exclusion of other religious views held by many Texans.

House Bill 3864 would have allowed state-funded child welfare agencies to discriminate against potential parents for religious reasons. For example, adoption agencies could have refused to place a child in a good home with a same-sex couple, previously divorced individuals, or adherents to a religion with which they disagree. Not only would this bill have permitted government-funded discrimination, but it would have placed the child welfare agency’s interest above that of a child’s.

Thank you for contacting your legislators and helping us defeat these bills! There will be no legislative session in Texas in 2016, but please watch for our Federal action alerts and help to make a difference defeating bad bills in Congress!

As long as right-wing zealots exist, these bills will continue to re-appear. Thankfully, good activists exists who advocate for those who are constantly under attack.

Adrian Garcia Campaign Announces Grassroots Organizing Experience

The Adrian Garcia for Houston Mayor campaign announced a pretty awesome opportunity to earn some organizing experience–and it’s paid.

Adrian Garcia is a product of Houston, and is personally committed to empowering Houstonians to own a piece of his campaign for Mayor. Typically, campaign internships are unpaid, which tends to severely limit the diversity of the applicant pool. The Adrian Garcia for Mayor campaign is committed to cultivating the next generation of Houston grassroots organizers by offering those accepted a monthly stipend of $500.

Over the course of the eight week program, Fellows will:

  • learn and implement modern grassroots organizing best practices
  • learn requisite technical skills for grassroots organizing
  • empower volunteer leaders to organize their neighborhoods together

With comprehensive training and support from Deputy Field Directors, Fellows will empower and train volunteer leaders to organize their neighborhood’s voter contact and volunteer recruitment activities.

Requirements:

  • A minimum of 20 hours a week
  • 20 hours a week must include nights and weekends

You should apply if:

  • You thrive in a fast-paced environment, surrounded by people from various and diverse communities
  • You are a natural leader, with strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • You are both a self-starter and upbeat team member

We’d be especially interested in your application if:

  • You are bilingual
  • You have knocked doors or made phone calls for a campaign before

Empowering and developing volunteers within our organization is a cornerstone of our campaign. Fellows will be tasked with providing volunteers the tools and resources they need to organize their neighborhoods.

I can vouch for your future bosses, which includes one of the architects of Annise Parker’s historic 2009 victory. So, if you want to be a part of the Adrian Garcia campaign, apply.

The 84th Lege is Over!

Well, this time around, I didn’t get to blog much about Lege happenings. My compadres in the blogosphere did a lot of good writing and that was good enough for me.

The main bills I kept an eye on were targeted ones, like legalized racial profiling (sanctuary cities), a ban on in-state tuition for undocs, and, because I have family members who work in higher education, guns on college campuses. If Abbott signs the campus carry bill despite the amendment which allows University and college presidents to designate gun-free zones, then I’ll have gone two out of three. Not that that’s a good thing, considering the danger of allowing concealed guns on campus.

There were other victories that came in the form of dead bills–bills that either didn’t make the cut or were chubbed by Democrats, especially anti-LGBT bills. Of course, some of our favorite reps and senators passed bills that affected or impacted their respective districts. I’m sure the press releases will start trickling in.

One huge pile of waste is the almost one billion dollars that will go to Greg Abbott’s brand of border security through the use of an overburdened DPS. It’s already been proven a waste, but in order for gringo Republicans to feel the warm and fuzzies, I guess this needs to be done, right? It certainly doesn’t make Texas safer.

So, while this session is over, I’m sure we’re in for more during the 85th, including a whole new fight over sanctuary cities and in-state tuition, and anything else the bigots come up with in the name of “sovereignty” and “border security.”

Anyway, Happy Sine Die!

Crucial Deadline Passes on In-State Tuition Ban, Racial Profiling Law

Our friends at KeepHB1403.com remind us that the Texas Senate missed a deadline on Saturday to pass SB1819, a bill to ban in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who meet local residency and other requirements.

According to the group, if the Senate had passed the bill by the deadline, it also needed to have gone to a Texas House committee for consideration prior to a vote by the full House. Since none of these occurred, it becomes a lot more difficult to pass a ban, but not necessarily impossible if it is attached as an amendment.

Also, SB185, which would allow immigrant status checks by local law enforcement (a racial profiling law) seems to have experienced the same situation after it was “not placed again on intent calendar” on Saturday. Could it be added as and amendment? Well, you never know. With a few days left in the Texas Lege, all eyes are on a lot of legislative battles over amendments and bills that made the deadline.

Obviously, Abbott could call a special session for any of these things, and if he doesn’t, they’ll come up again in a couple of years.

We’ll keep an eye and ear open.

Update:  The DMN reports on this, too, as does the Amarillo paper. The AGN had some surprising GOP quotes, too. In fact, even Charles Perry, the senator who wrote SB185, says it is dead.

State Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, gave stronger reasons for opposing SB 185 and Senate Bill 1819, the in-state tuition bill filed by state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels.

“Let me just say that there are three problems with (SB) 185,” Estes, said. “It is absolutely important to realize that it’s the federal government’s job to enforce our immigration laws, and I worry about the burden that it puts on our local police.

“Point No. 2 is this: I feel that the bill lacks the protections for American citizens being stopped at random. American citizens, no matter what their ethnic origin, have the right to go about their daily business and not be stopped and be questioned. … Let me say this: The phrase ‘Show me your papers’ is more like Nazi Germany than it is about the U.S.A.

“The third reason is a political reason. … For the Grand Old Party, the Republican Party to be viable in the future, we have to compete for the American Hispanic vote. And nothing could alienate Hispanic Americans more than being stopped at random arbitrarily and asked their status because of the color of their skin.”

Well, OK, then!

Find Your Towed Car…

Originally posted on :

Ever had your car towed and you just don’t know where it went? After smacking your head for not paying your parking fines, you can now go to a website which may point you in the right direction.

The city of Houston has just added a convenient little tool to help you deal with the tremendous inconvenience of having your car towed.

A Houston Police Department bulletin to the media announces a new Web site, www.findmytowedcar.com, which provides access to information about towed vehicles.

By entering your license plate or vehicle identification number, you can find out where your car is.

Here’s a link to Police Chief Charles McClelland explaining the site, which launched last week.

This hasn’t happened to me (knock on wood), but one time in college I came close. Considering that the City or any impound yard could make a killing during the time you seek your…

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