Category Archives: 2013 Categories

Thoughts on Viernes…12192014

I hadn’t done one of these in ages. In fact, I haven’t done much blogging as I’ve sorta been out of sorts when it comes to local, state, and national politics. No, not because my side lost, but because if one loses his/her head in the aftermath of November, one will lose focus on more important things. Besides, there will be plenty of fighting against the GOP to do during the Texas Lege, considering the GOP is going so far to the right, they’ll end up falling off the edge of their idea of a flat Earth. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I need to end the year strong, so, here goes.

Valero’s Xmas Present

Houston City Council voted to give away some corporate welfare to Valero as they expand in the East End. This occurred despite opposition from East End Councilman Robert Gallegos. This also occurred despite East End concerns about air pollution caused by the refinery.  This also occurred despite East End folks not hearing anything from Valero about their plans.

Valero, their lawyer, and eleven members of Council didn’t seem to care about all that, either. The revenue cap allows it to happen, they say. De-annexation has nothing to do with emissions, they say. But rewarding a company despite this is quite concerning. The lack of transparency and community input, though, runs this whole deal off the charts. It would seem to me Valero was fine with this, and as well as those who voted for it.

Thanks to my own CM Mike Laster for voting against the welfare giveaway. Something besides the refineries and chemical companies really stinks.

IRS Refund Delays Are Coming; Thanks For Not Voting

Hidden in the online Chron was this story about the coming delays in IRS refunds in 2015 due to budget cuts from the Republican Congress. $350+ million less money means less staff and resources to answer phone calls and check on folks’ 1040s. Basically, Republicans are trying to hurt the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, but really, it will help tax cheats who will enjoy less enforcement. Anyway, when you don’t vote, Republicans in Congress will tell you that you really don’t matter.

Music Break:  Siggno ~ Y A El Si (from Zodiacal/Freddie Records)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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City of Houston: Is 2015 Going To Be Interesting?

Well, there’s no doubt that there are folks running for Mayor in 2015–good, OK, and awful–and there are those rumored-t0-be candidates–good, OK, and awful. The Chron’s Schleifer provided another report on where things seem to stand, especially regarding the possibility of a Latino candidacy.

Obviously, the biggest name is that of Sheriff Adrian Garcia. There are a lot of folks who would be excited for this kind of run, but there are also Democrats who are thinking about the ramifications of this for 2016, including my favorite Senator Sylvia Garcia.

“You’re going to be giving them an early 2016 gift,” said Democratic Sen. Sylvia Garcia, who had the sheriff at her home this month and expressed concern about a run. “Nobody wants a Latino mayor more than I do, but it’s got to be the right time.”

While there’s a lot of buzz about Garcia, folks should know that if he were to announce, he is done as Sheriff.  Those thinking about 2016 argue Garcia is needed on the ticket to help down-ballot Democrats. And then there’s even more to think about which I’m sure people are avoiding talking about. I do agree with Kuff that the 2016 Prez candidate will help down-ballot folks a lot more than someone like Garcia who has enjoyed support from the other side of the aisle that may not have really transferred to those down-ballot Democrats. If our incumbent Dems can’t win during a presidential election year, then our problems are much bigger than missing one of our anchors.

Anyway, the article mentions a host of others, including local State Rep. Sylvester Turner, who has been labeled the front-runner and top fundraiser. Still, I’m sure there will be plenty of cash available for the top tier candidates and their consultants and staffers.

Of course, At-Large 1 seems to have gotten interesting with a Chron article telling us that Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Lane Lewis has tossed his hat in the ring. I had also heard about Phillipe Nassif’s candidacy. I’ve heard other names, too, but I haven’t seen anything remotely official. Once all the candidates are announced, t’ll be a pretty diverse race, which will make it all the more interesting and a race to keep an eye on. Texpate has more.

Some fear some nastiness in this and other races, but as I’ve told folks recently, we need some contentious battles to get peoples attention. Let’s face it, elections generally have been boring affairs, other than for the volunteers and activists and the consultants. If candidates can commit to lively, productive discussion and debate, all the better. If the people aren’t caring enough until they get mad about bathrooms and charitable meals way after election season, then there’s a bigger problem in this game we call democracy.

More to come, I’m sure.

 

 

DC Reviews ~ Siggno: Zodiacal

The new and highly anticipated release of Siggno’s Zodiacal happened on Tuesday and already it is #1 on iTunes. Let me tell you, fans and listeners will enjoy this new production recorded at Freddie Records and in Mexico at Los Temerarios’ recording studio.

Known for their heavy rhythm section and hard-driving tunes, Siggno doesn’t disappoint on Zodiacal. Vocally, though, it would seem to be lead vocalist Jesse Turner’s best effort yet. In fact, in a pre-release interview produced by the band, Turner states that after the vocal tracks were laid, the record company chiefs decided that much more could be brought out of him at the Mexico studio and Turner went through the motions to re-record the vocals. Apparently, Turner struck gold as he seems to give it all he’s got vocally.

Siggno has assembled some great composers for this album, giving this new set of songs some lyrical maturity. One can notice this on rancheras Asi Sera, Inevitable and El Vaso Derrama, on the cumbia Sin Nada Que Perder, and the ballad Te Llevare.

Overall, Zodiacal is a powerful and diverse mix of tunes that keeps one toe-tapping and wanting for a dance floor. The waltzy Tus Labios could be a good live tune, while the uptempo cumbia Un Monton De Estrellas will keep folks dancing. My favorite tune, thus far, is the ranchera Y A El Si, with the excellent drumming of Joey Jimenez and the creative bajo playing of Richard Rosales, which actually, is evident in every tune on the album.

No doubt, this production has something for all ears and will be a fan favorite on both sides of the border. The good thing about Siggno is that they are more than able to reproduce the sound on stage, so, I’m looking forward to hearing the new music in a live setting.

Get your copy today!

The End of Secure Communities?

A few days ago, Kuff had a short post on the coming revamping of Secure Communities, called for in President Obama’s executive action on immigration. I agree with Kuff, such an action is long overdue as Secure Communities and 287(g) have done much to break-up families and negatively affect local economies across the nation. Of course, I do need to respond to this from Kuff:

I’d like to see what folks like Stace have to say about this before I commit to a position, but “cautiously optimistic” seems reasonable for now.

First of all, I will remind folks that I wasn’t too ecstatic about the executive action as it left people and families out, especially parents of DREAMers who have benefited from DACA, the 2012 Obama executive action. And the reason given by the administration (the lawyers told us to do it!) didn’t really satisfy me, either. Even after reading about DAPA and the deportation reform called for by the newest executive action, and to answer Kuff, I was cautiously optimistic about some of it, and fearful of other parts of the action.

So, as is customary for me, I look to others who have a pretty tight understanding of the issue, such as Prerna Lal, who had a list of the good, bad, and ugly of the executive action. The elimination of Secure Communities, as I suspected, came under the “bad” list:

Elimination of Secure Communities with a new program that targets immigrant communities: DHS is replacing the current “Secure Communities”  program with a new “Priority Enforcement Program” to remove individuals convicted of criminal offenses. While it could be a marked improvement that moves us from a pre-conviction to post-conviction model and uses notification instead of detainers, unfortunately, this continues the entanglement of local law enforcement with immigration enforcement.

The involvement of local law enforcement has always been a sticking point for me. I’ve never been a fan of the federalization of local cops for the purpose of rounding non-criminal working brown people; I don’t care if the cops are led by a Democratic mayor or sheriff. Prerna’s post has more on the deportation aspects of the executive action.

Ultimately, there has been little oversight of SCOMM and 287(g) to the point where there are some Sheriffs who have used it as a political tool, rather than for its actual purpose–to detain and deport major criminals. Furthermore, many local and state governments have refused or stopped cooperation with ICE because of the program’s flaws. And most of these flaws are because of local law enforcement involvement and lack of oversight.

It has been said that a “comprehensive” solution will not come until 2016. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything good, considering we are dealing with a Republican-led Congress. So, for now, we’ll just have to be vigilant of the effects of President Obama’s executive action and the new deportation programs and targets, as Kuff also suggested. As if keeping an eye on the Texas Lege’s quest to stop in-state tuition and proclaim the existence of “sanctuary cities” wasn’t enough.

Special to DC: Robert Rivas Interviews Johnny Hernandez

johnnytachI think it’s pretty obvious that I’m all about promoting Tejano, Chicano, Tex-Mex music, but it’s also important to preserve the history of this musical genre. Thanks to DJ Robert Rivas, a little piece of Chicano music history has been preserved with an interview of the legendary (and friend of DC) Johnny Hernandez.

From Johnny’s background as a farmworker kid to his musical beginnings with Little Joe and the Latinaires to his solo career–and all the turmoil and struggle in between, which included political involvement with Cesar Chavez–Rivas navigates through an interview that answers a lot of questions, and almost seems cathartic for Johnny.

I’ve been a fan of Johnny’s since his La Familia days, but I was truly excited about his solo career which began in the mid-80s and took off in the mid-90s with the release of his “No Me Hagan Menos” album. For about an hour, the interview touches on a lot, but it’s never enough. The good news is that Johnny is working on an autobiography which will answer even more questions, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to it.

Here’s the interview:

 

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is back from its tryptophan vacation as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is cheering for the Texas same-sex marriage plaintiffs as they move for the stay of the ruling that threw out the ban on same-sex nuptials to be lifted.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and Daily Kos is taking a few days off to spend quality time with family. I hope all of our readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Some helpful tips to avoid looking like a jackass with respect to the events in Ferguson, Missouri this past week were offered by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme disagrees with the GOP view that only rich, white, old men should vote.

Neil at All People Have Value attended the Michael Brown protest march in Houston this past week. The work of freedom is always up to each of us. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

The controversial decision in Ferguson, Missouri sent shockwaves across the country, with many communities immediately engaging in protests. But as Texas Leftist discovered, the Houston protests may yield some substantive progress in the quest to outfit officers with body cameras. Plus, a new video highlight’s HPD’s work to tackle homelessness.

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

The Rivard Report, with a clear view of what “bipartisanship” means these days, reminds us that it only takes a few generations to go from immigrant to hypocrite.

Lone Star Ma has had it with the textbook adoption process.

Grits for Breakfast questions Republican funny math on border security funding.

Texans Together discusses hardship exemptions for the Affordable Care Act.

LGBTQ Insider explains another acronym for the spectrum.

#UStired2: The Cost and Consequences of US Govts “Plan Mexico”

 

 

 

 

ustired2-infowww.ustired2.com

 

 

Video: #UStired2 is English for #YaMeCanse

Watch this!

Administrative Relief Information Sessions – Houston

And the work begins on making sure people are given the right information, as well as some great initial advice. Thanks to Neighborhood Centers and United We Dream for hosting these events.

ncentersea

Executive Action/Admin Relief Watch Parties – Houston

 
November 20, 2014
 
Own The DREAM Admin Relief Watch Party
1900 Kane St., Houston, TX 77007
6pm
 
Mi Familia Vota’s Immigration Action Watch Party
4124 Telephone Road, Houston, TX 77087
6PM
 
FIEL Watch Party
6610 Harwin, Houston, TX 77036
6PM
 
Also…
 
Neighborhood Centers Inc. will be hosting two live watch parties. One at our Leonel Castillo Community Center (2101 South St, 77009), and another at our Baker – Ripley Neighborhood Center (6500 Rookin, 77074).