Category Archives: 2013 Categories

State Senator Sylvia Garcia Hosting Supply Drive for Refugee Relief

From the Inbox:

HOUSTON, TX – Senator Sylvia Garcia is asking the public for help with collecting supplies for the thousands of women and children refugees who are detained in South Texas after seeking asylum from violent conditions in Central America.

In the Rio Grande Valley where many of the refugees are entering the United States,  a group of non-profits have formed a coalition called, South Texas Refugee Response, to provide women and children with basic necessities while they are being processed by Border Patrol.

Senator Garcia is asking the general public and non-profit and faith based organizations from the Houston area to support South Texas Refugee Response, “While there has been much talk about the best course of action to address the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in South Texas, folks from the Rio Grande Valley are stepping up in a big way and giving women and children refugees a place to rest, access to showers, a few changes of donated clothes, meals, and items for their young children. They aren’t waiting on an act of Congress, they are doing something to help people now, and they need our support.”

The supply drive will be held from July 30th to August 15th.

The following Items Are Needed (All Items Must be New or Unused):

Women’s Walking Shoes (sizes 6-7), Men’s Walking Shoes (sizes 7-9) Children’s Walking Shoes, Backpacks, Sweaters/hoodies (small/medium sizes for adults and children), Women’s Clothing (sizes 0-8), Women’s Deodorant, Sippy Cups, Pedialyte, Newborn Nido (zero) formula, Hairnets, Soup Bowls, Disposable Spoons, Clorox, Mops, Lysol, Large Trash bags, Ziploc Bags (various sizes)Women’s Bras (32-34 cups, A, B, C) , Women’s Cotton Underwear (sizes 7 and under) Children’s Cotton Underwear.

Drop Off Locations and Times:

Senator Garcia’s Polk Office 5425 Polk Street, Suite 125, Houston, Texas 77023 M-F 8:30am-5:30pm

Senator Garcia’s East Harris Office 13301 East Fwy, Suite 304, Houston, Texas 77015 M-F 8:30am-5:30pm

Casa De Alabanza Church 10264 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77037 M-Sat 9am-8pm

St. Patrick Catholic Church 4918 Cochran St, Houston, TX 77009 M-F 9am-6pm

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 1510 Pannell St, Houston, TX 77020 M-F 9:30am-4:30pm

Financial Contributions Can Also Be Made:

Catholic Charities: http://www.cdob.org/catholic-charities135/donate-now

OR

The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank:

https://foodbankriogrande.ejoinme.org/MyPages/DonationPage/tabid/2309/Default.aspx

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100 Days Out, Dems Need “The Talk”

It’s no secret that I’ve been calling out Democratic candidates who are falling short when it comes to the unaccompanied minors crisis. Whether it’s Wendy Davis’ call for a “law enforcement” special session or Hillary Clinton’s “deport ‘em now!” attitude, the current de facto leaders of the Democratic Party are leaving much to be desired when it comes to this particular issue. And I’m not the only one calling them out.

This week, Arturo Carmona of Presente.org, let Democrats have it in an op-ed in The Hill because of their indifference during this crisis. You see, many of my hard-core Dem friends easily point out that Republicans are the problem. As if we didn’t know they would be a problem from Day 1; or as President Obama should have known before he made the “Year 1, Term 1″ promise to pass immigration reform?

The botton line is that we can argue until we’re blue (forgive the pun) in the face, if Democrats simply brush off the commentary and concerns of Latino leaders, in favor of a “at least we’re not as bad as the Republicans” defense of our leaders, then Democrats are just as bad at Latino engagement and outreach as the Republicans.

Carmona hits the nail on the head:

As the unaccompanied minors crisis continues to grow and the calls for executive leadership escalate, it’s shameful that the president has not ceded to the calls for him to visit the border and see the living conditions of these children. He needs to meet with the children we are sending to Latin America to their likely death. According to Latino Decisions, a major Latino polling firm, mass deportations are leading to a hemorrhage of support from the Democrats, particularly among young Latino voters. And according to a recent gallup poll, no other community has lost more faith in Obama than Latinos in the last year.

And if Democrats think that President Obama’s decisions (or lack of) do not affect the Democratic ticket in 2014 and 2016, they are living in la-la land. So,  if what an Obama aide said is true–that an executive order on immigration will be a cause for impeachment–then I would hope that President Obama makes it count.

Of course, the same could be said of Texas Democrats on the 2014 ballot who want to “talk tough” on immigration when the issue is child refugees. But that’s for another op-ed.

 

 

Leader Pelosi Meets With South Texas Leaders

Thanks to the Leader’s staff for the invite to a photo-op of this meeting which shows that some folks in DC are actually listening to South Texas leaders regarding issues surrounding the child refugee situation in the Valley. Thankfully, I just received a press release from participant, Congressman Filemon Vela’s office, regarding the meeting.

The highlights:

  • None of the meeting participants expressed any support for reducing the due process rights of immigrant children, modifying the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, or deploying National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Participants agreed that the funds requested by the President are desperately needed to deal with unaccompanied children entering through the Rio Grande Valley.

I can’t say I’m in total agreement with the President’s request for money since he has stated that it would expedite court dates and deportation; however, the leaders today were in favor of protecting the due process rights of the refugees and protecting the 2008 Act signed by President Bush.

Leaders who attended provided some pretty strong statements regarding the President’s request for funds and Rick Perry’s National Guard deployment. Yesterday, President Obama announced he would send a Homeland Security team to study whether a federal deployment of National Guard troops would be necessary. Let’s hope he hears South Texas leaders (and not Rick Perry) loud and clear.

  • “As today’s meeting made clear, many South Texans do not support the HUMANE Act’s expedited removal process or deployment of the National Guard to the Rio Grande Valley,” said Congressman Vela. “A better approach is to: (1) provide the needed resources to address cartel activity in Central America, Mexico and across the U.S.; (2) support Customs and Border Protection by providing the necessary funding to increase the number of agents and support personnel; and (3) provide funding to the immigration court system to allow for speedier determinations pursuant to current law while protecting due process requirements of the U.S. Constitution.”
  • “Leaders from across the Rio Grande Valley, who are dealing directly with the unaccompanied children and their families, know firsthand what is most needed on the border and they all agree that sending National Guard troops to the border is not a solution to this humanitarian issue,” said Congressman Hinojosa. “The Rio Grande Valley is not suffering from public health issues or violence from the immigrants so there is no need to militarize the border. Doing so would be an affront to the good qualities our region has to offer.”
  • Texas State Representative Armando Martinez explained, “Deploying the National Guard is the wrong approach and sends the wrong message; we have a vibrant border community that is safe.  Those dollars could be better spent in the community for education, healthcare and transportation.”
  • City of Pharr Mayor Leo Palacios, Jr. noted, “My father came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1913 as a 13 year old boy, scared and penniless as a refugee from the Mexican revolution. He crossed the Rio Grande River along with his younger brothers and sisters, seven in all, seeking safety and refuge from the violence occurring in Mexico at the time. He and his brothers and sisters settled in Pharr, Texas just a few miles from the river they crossed. During the rest of their lives he and his brothers and sisters gave more than they took. His story is not unlike what is happening today. Yes it is 100 years later and many things have changed but what cannot change are the basic principles which have made our country the greatest country in the world today. Senator John Cornyn and Representative Henry Cuellar are both good friends of mine and I respect them greatly,” Mayor Palacios stated.  “However, I in good conscience, cannot support the immigration bill they have put forth. That would be the ultimate act of hypocrisy and contrary to what I have worked for all of my life. That 13 year old refugee from Mexico was accepted by our country and allowed to live in peace, start a life, obtain his citizenship, and contribute his fair share to his new country.”
  • City of Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia remarked, “The $12 million per month that it is estimated to cost to deploy the National Guard along the Texas border could be much better spent on economic development programs or to provide education to our children.  Crime statistics along the border are relatively low compared to other parts of the state.  Deploying the National Guard to turn away immigrants is not in line with our American values.”
  • Hidalgo County Chief Administrator Yolanda Chapa explained, “This is not a security crisis, and South Texas residents do not feel threatened by these unaccompanied children entering the U.S.  Our border community has compassionately responded to helping these children who are fleeing violence in their home countries.”

From The “You’re Doing It Wrong!” Files

The tweet that had my afternoon coffee spraying out my nose was this one from Leader Harry Reid’s Hispanic Media guy. I guess he knew it was good for a great laugh.

Democratic Responses to the Militarization of South Texas

Well, you all know how I feel about the militarization and politicization of South Texas 100+ days away from election day. Well, the press releases have finally made their way to my inbox and I’ve found these to be the strongest, thus far, especially Senator Rodriguez’s which points to past problems with the use of the National Guard the military at the border:

Leticia Van de Putte for Governor:  But to strictly militarize the border won’t help us meet this unique humanitarian challenge.  The people of the Rio Grande Valley have made that clear.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia:  Putting military troops on the ground is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.  We should be asking the President and Congress to put politics aside to help our border patrol agents deal with this unprecedented refugee situation and to put resources on the ground for the people who are actually tasked with securing the border and those who are sheltering the unaccompanied minors.

By militarizing the situation, we are going to encourage these children and families to avoid the authorities and cause more deaths and confusion.”

Emmanuel Garcia, Texas Democratic Party:  Governor Perry is continuing his routine of photo-op politics to further his Presidential aspirations….Perry’s use of our guard to score political points is wrong. This is a time for humanitarian support.

State Senator Jose Rodriguez:  Let us not forget less than 20 years ago, in 1997, National Guard troops were sent to the border and that action resulted in the tragic death of 18 year-old Ezekiel Hernandez, Jr. National Guard troops have no knowledge or training about the people who live in this region and will serve no real purpose in a border area where migrant children are willingly turning themselves into Border Patrol.

Militarizing the border isn’t going to solve the problems highlighted by the Governor. Neither will blindly spending millions of dollars without discernible accountability or metrics for success.

State Rep. Ana E. Hernandez:  Activating the Texas National Guard and militarizing the Rio Grande border does not address the problem given that these immigrants are voluntarily turning themselves in and according to local law enforcement there has been no increase in crime.

State Rep. Armando Walle:  Sending troops in to scare children is only the latest chapter in Gov. Perry’s pandering to resurrect his failed presidential run. Gov. Perry’s inappropriate, simpleton, and heavy-handed rhetoric and decision-making in this crisis showcase an ability and willingness to to appeal to fringe elements of his party while also serving as an alarming showcase of bad policymaking.

Wendy Davis, candidate for governor, reiterated her call for a special session to fund more deputies. I would respond, but people need to read it from people who don’t look like me, and PDiddie is on it.

Texpatriate has a take, too.

And Kuff has more, too.

 

 

Save the Date~ Aug. 1 – All About Ann in Houston

allaboutann

 

HOUSTON, TX – On Friday August 1, Annie’s List and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, in partnership with a number of local elected officials and organizations, will bring “All About Ann”, HBO’s documentary about former Texas Governor Ann Richards, to Houston for FREE!

Beginning at 8:00PM with live music, food and drinks, join us at Discovery Green’s Anheuser Busch Stage and enjoy this wonderful documentary about Texas’ only female Governor as we all work hard this fall to have Wendy Davis as the second woman in the Governor’s House!

Drinks will be donated by 8th Wonder Brewery and Mayor Annise Parker will introduce the film.

State Senators John Whitmire, Rodney Ellis and Sylvia Garcia, State Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Armando Walle, Mayor Annise Parker, Ambassador Arthur Schechter, Hon. Debra Danburg as well as Annie’s List Board Members Licia Green-Ellis, Eileen Olson, Kathy Overly and Amber Mostyn are just some of the proud hosts of this event.

RSVP at www.pptexasvotes.org/AllAboutAnn. If you are interesting in joining the host committee to help cover costs of the event or are interested in a table at the event, please contact Shelby Hansen at Shelby@LillieSchechter.com or 281-224-4525.

“All About Ann”: Fiesty, fiery, fearless, a force of nature . . . and funny as hell. These are just some of the words used to describe Ann Richards, one of the most charismatic American political figures of the last 30 years. This portrait chronicles the life of the liberal Richards who rose to power in a conservative state, effecting sweeping state reforms while becoming a beloved national icon.

Continue reading

Sunday Reading: TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes you all a Happy Bastille Day as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff discusses the latest advances in voter ID litigation.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kos reports on the busy week in Texas politics. Greg Abbott Blames Terrorists for his Koch Problem. Meanwhile the POTUS pays us a visit.

Horwitz at Texpatriate gives a run-down of the possible Democratic candidates for President in 2016.

Texas Democrats have much to celebrate this week as San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro clears Senate confirmation. And as Texas Leftist discusses, his appoint brings some much needed geographic diversity to the President’s cabinet.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson, the people see the government as a an abstract entity they have no control over, Transportation Trouble – Every Issue Comes Down To This.

The most important stories in Texas last week were the border refugee crisis and President Obama’s fundraising visits to Dallas and Austin, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs, assembled several of the various reactions to both.

Another election questioning the Hidalgo voting machines. CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders what will be revealed.

Neil at All People Have Value posted from Cincinnati, Ohio this past week. Neil offered nice pictures of Cincinnati & wrote about seeing his friends and the passage of time. All People Have Value is part of NeilAquino.com.

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

Greg Wythe analyzes City of Houston turnout patterns to get a handle on how the attempt to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance may play out.

Texas Vox believes that US solar manufacturing could make a comeback.

The Texas Election Law blog reviews the lawsuit filed by college students challenging North Carolina’s voter ID law.

Unfair Park lauds the Texas Clean Fleet Program, which is designed to get old diesel-powered school buses off the streets.

LGBTQ Insider gives a fond farewell to former Fort Worth City Council member Joel Burns.

Texas Watch reports that workers exposed to cancer-causing asbestos have just had their lives made harder by the state Supreme Court.

Scott Braddock documents the resistance Texas business leaders face on immigration reform.

Thoughts on Viernes…07182014

Collier Set to Tour Texas

Mike Collier, Democrat for Texas Comptroller, is about to take off on a tour of Texas next week. For the next two weeks, Collier will hit around 36 cities and towns in a tour called the Texas Watchdog Tour. I’ll do an expanded post on the schedule this weekend, but make plans for Sunday’s send-off.

Who: Mike Collier, The Watchdog — Democratic candidate for Comptroller
What: Texas Watchdog Tour Kickoff
Where: Tin Roof BBQ, 18918 Town Center Blvd. Atascocita, TX 77346
When: Sunday, July 20 at 12:00 PM
 

National Democratic Leaders Support The Child Refugees

With immigration-related stuff hot in the news, it’s good to see nationally recognized Democratic leaders take a lead in actually offering services and shelter, rather than become immigration “experts” and offer nothing. Obviously, Texas’ own Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has done a great job. Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland has done a great job of taking on the Obama administration’s express deportation policies, while trying to protect the children from Murrieta-type hate in his own state. Now, Massachussets Governor Deval Patrick is offering up his state to child refugees. I hope we find more of these unafraid Dems, especially in Texas.

An Evening of Texican Rock and Roll

So, I caught West Texas Chicano rockers Los Lonely Boys at HOB last night. It was a flawless show, for sure. The Boys tested out five new tunes from their latest release, Revelation, and they were definitely crowd pleasers. Blame It On Love was my favorite, but Don’t Walk Away, So Sensual, and Give a Little More were just as perfect.

LLB dug into their first album, recorded over 11 years ago, and gave the crowd Crazy Dream, while closing with their top hit, Heaven, which became a sing-along. In between, the Boys offered a tribute to the late Johnny Winter, and in between tunes, they offered some musical interludes which showcased the guitaristics of Henry Garza, the massive bass sounds of JoJo Garza, and the powerful drumming of Ringo Garza. The brothers invited a percussionist whose name I didn’t catch (Longoria?), but he provided some powerful rhythms to most of LLB’s hits.

Great performance, great music, and they are coming to a town near you. Dallas (18th), El Paso (20th), then Califas for a while. Check out their tour.   And don’t forget to get their new album, Revelation!

Music Break ~ Los Lonely Boys – Give A Little More (Revelation)

Heroes and Photo Ops

Real Texas Heroes.

I’ve been against Rick Perry’s DPS Surge because the minute I heard about it, I knew he’d use it for propaganda and photo ops. Obviously, in the pic below, Rick Perry is more interested in scaring children with paramilitary uniforms and high-powered weapons. It doesn’t give me the image of “heroes.” I still believe Democrats should stay away from the surge other than to say how much of a waste of tax dollars this is.

 

Thoughts on Viernes…07112014

Abbott Can Multiply!

Or at least one of his minions can. When he came out in support of the DPS surge, the only amount we heard was “$1.3 million per week” but not much else. Yesterday, he announced that the surge could cost $50 million! Well, duh. Republicans call for a surge of South Texas, but just now realized the total cost?

As I told Wendy Davis yesterday:

Access Earned

Just read that a high-powered lawyer who paid a nice chunk of change for a fundraiser to gain access to El Prez told him that he needed to do some executive action on immigration reform. The “hecklers” at the Obama speech got a 2-minute meeting with El Prez to tell him the same and didn’t have to pay one cent for access to El Prez. This is the problem with politics today. Unless you have money, you have to be bold and gutsy to be heard.

Lost Photo-Op

So, El Prez didn’t want a photo-op? As bad as his refugee deportation plan is, politically, he could have outdone the GOP by just showing up to a Valley area human warehouse to check out the realities of failed US-Latin American policy. Now, we have Rick Perry and Sean Hannity posing with a machine gun. Classy stuff. And a lost political op for El Prez…again. Who’s in charge over there?

And If This Is Obama’s Katrina…

…who in the hell is Brownie? Well, here’s a poll you can take to decide.

Heckuva job, Brownie(s)!

Music Break – Los Lonely Boys – It’s Just My Heart Talkin’ (LIVE)