Category Archives: City of Houston

AL5s Douglas First Council Candidate to Stand Against SB185

durrelWe all know that SB185 has been getting its debate in Austin with some delays. The question of the matter is whether we want state and local law enforcement agencies to practice legalized racial profiling, which is basically what SB185 does. While some law enforcement leaders have stepped up against the bill, including Sheriff Adrian Garcia, I can’t say there have been many municipal elected officials or candidates for municipal office stepping up. So, to find that Durrel Douglas, candidate for AL5 has made his voice heard by asking Houston City Council to get involved in the issue was refreshing.

While Public Safety accounts for $1.3 Billion of our city’s FY-2015 $4.7 Billion budget, those resources should be used for police training, recruitment and community policing initiatives that build bridges, not break them down.

While some in the state legislature want to increase the burden and responsibility of over-exerted police departments, over the last five years, HPD has solved just 8 percent of burglaries, and the clearance rate has gotten worse, dropping lower every year since 2010 according to ABC-13 (KTRK).  Although SB 185 is to be voted on under the pink dome of our state capitol, our Houston Mayor and City Council members should use their influence to discourage passage of this horrible legislation.

Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, a community organizer, is heading in the right direction as he uses the megaphone entrusted to him by his constituents.

Obviously, this legislation would open the door for racial profiling since people like me wouldn’t be asked to show my papers.  Which race of people would be most likely to be “asked for their papers?”  Racial profiling of any kind is wrong.

Elected officials, conservatives, in particular, enjoy using border and immigration issues for their political purposes. I recall then-District E Councilman Mike Sullivan and then-CM Anne Clutterbuck went on an anti-immigrant tirade in support of 287(g) six years ago. With SB185 being debated, it seems both sides of the issue have been quiet at the horseshoe, but this law would greatly affect City coffers, police services, and community trust of he police. Where’s the outrage against the Lege by our local leaders?

Thanks to Mr. Douglas for bringing it up while it is still being debated.

 

At-Large 5: Philippe Nassif and Durrel Douglas

As Kuff mentioned last week, there’ve been some changes in the race for At-Large 5, with one prospect bowing out and two candidates coming in to challenge the incumbent, Jack Christie. I wrote a short piece about Durrel Douglas, whom I’ve known for a few years; however, it was a short time after that I found out that Philippe Nassif, who had been running for At-Large 1, had made the jump into At-Large 5.

nassifI met Nassif within the last year and there’s no doubt he has a lot of energy and great ideas on which to run for AL5. I had the pleasure of meeting with him recently and found out a lot about him, including his Lebanese and Mexican background.  His experience working with Mayor Annise Parker, the Obama Campaign, and the White House, as well as with a global nonprofit, gives him a well-rounded background on which to base his campaign.

Durrel Douglas

Here’s what I wrote about Durrel last week.

durrelI’m glad to see Durrel Douglas announce for At-Large 5 against Jack Christie. He’s been a good organizer and activist and will have a lot to say during the campaign.  Douglas, an immigration reform supporter, has already proposed enacting a municipal ID as a means of making Houston more welcoming and safer. I’m looking forward to Durrel elevating the political conversation in this town. It is way overdue.

There’s no doubt that both Nassif and Douglas will provide some energy to the race that the incumbent hasn’t ever had. While the incumbent has an endless supply of cash, I’m hoping voters seek new leadership from the unboring, energetic, and responsive. And in this race, voters have a couple of choices.

Stay tuned.

Chavez Day-Houston [Photos]

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Parade Grand Marshal Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

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State Rep. Sylvester Turner visiting Chavez Day prior to his campaign kick-off for Mayor.

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¡Que Viva!

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Leader and Activist Maria Jimenez honored for her years in La Causa.

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CM Robert Gallegos mentioned that the Cesar Chavez Parade was among the first events he attended when he launched his campaign for District I.

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Part of the crowd.

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Constable Heliodoro Martinez of Pct. 6 working the crowd.

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The Congresswoman had kind words for Tejano Association for Historical Preservation and Cesar Chavez Street activist Benny Martinez.

It was a well-attended event that must continue to grow. It was great to see Chavez High School students enriched by this celebration, as well as Pct. 6 Constable Martinez challenging the students to get involved as the struggle for civil rights is far from over.

Some kudos must also go to Sylvester Turner for showing up, which is more than I can say about the other announced candidates. As CM Robert Gallegos stated, a couple of years ago, this was the first event he attended and look at him now. One cannot expect votes if they don’t show up. And here’s a secret:  People who show up to these events celebrating activists actually vote–or are willing to listen.

Congrats to the TAHP and all involved for a great event.

 

District H: Jason Cisneroz

Earlier in the new year, I looked at a couple of places in District H only to get out-bid–on rentals! Obviously, folks think is the place to live. Yes, District H is still an up and coming council district and with CM Ed Gonzalez being term-limited, folks in the district get to choose a new council member to represent them. Jason Cisneroz is in the running and recently launched his campaign and social media presence.

Jason is a member of our Houston Police Department where he serves as a community service officer, working directly with citizens to improve neighborhoods and public safety. He has served our nation’s military overseas. And, he has deep roots in District H while offering institutional experience at City Hall having worked for then-Council Member Adrian Garcia and soon-to-be outgoing CM Ed Gonzalez. He has lived a life of public service and he still has much more to accomplish.

Keep an eye on Jason Cisneroz as he states his case to serve as District H’s next representative on the horseshoe.

Website:  http://www.jasoncisneroz.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JasonCisnerozCampaign

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jasoncisneroz

 

Catching Up on Local Political Stuff

Cops Endorse

I haven’t been a fan of HPOU ever since they supported racial profiling of Latinos for immigration purposes. You see, some of us good liberals never forget. I always hope that some of my favorite candidates vie for the nod then throw it back in their faces. Of course, I’m always disappointed. Earlier this week, some activists protested at HPOU requesting that they not back the current racial profiling law that is being debated in Austin (SB185). The protesters pretty much got the same message as before from the cops.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia continues to be the only prospect for 2015 to take a stand against SB185, which would directly affect HPD and the City of Houston.

Durrel Douglas for AL5

I’m glad to see Durrel Douglas announce for At-Large 5 against Jack Christie. He’s been a good organizer and activist and will have a lot to say during the campaign.  Douglas, an immigration reform supporter, has already proposed enacting a municipal ID as a means of making Houston more welcoming and safer. I’m looking forward to Durrel elevating the political conversation in this town. It is way overdue.

Make sure you attend Durrel Douglas’ kick-off.

Who Will Run on Fighting Corruption?

Because I got sick of it 10 years ago when airport concessions were being debated.

 

 

 

Is He or Isn’t He? The Saga Continues…

adrianWell, there’s nothing official yet, but Schleifer at the Chron cites “sources” as saying that Sheriff Adrian Garcia will announce for Houston Mayor in another month.

Garcia has sent signals over the past six months that he would join the crowded race to replace Mayor Annise Parker, emptying his mostly non-transferable political bank account, commissioning a poll and this past weekend attending a labor-organized policy forum intended for potential candidates for municipal office.

I’m sort of with Kuff on this in that it really is sounding like a broken record; not Garcia’s record player, but everyone elses. But, what if it’s really true?

I’m sure the Democratic freak-outs will continue over the Sheriff’s imminent resignation, leaving the Republican county commissioner’s court to appoint a right-winger to the post. I’m sure none of us wants a right-winger as Sheriff who will roll back any advances Garcia has pushed forward. And for those who have a beef with the Sheriff over his deportation record given his support of 287g and Secure Communities, I’m pretty sure we’ll be debating immigrant tent jails and pink striped jail uniforms soon with a Republican in office. Still, nothing is forever, and if Garcia wants to move on to another position, that’s his right. Who knows? He may become your favorite candidate for Mayor if and once he rolls out his plan for Houston.

I will add that recently, Sheriff Garcia came out against SB185–the legalized racial profiling bill that was debated on Monday. Of all the unofficial and official candidates, Garcia is the only one who has offered a take on a bill that would affect the City of Houston quite negatively.

That said, until I get a embargoed press release from his team, he’s still Houston Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

PDiddie has some questions for the Sheriff.

 

 

 

And Now We Have Six

Houstonians cannot say that they don’t have candidates to choose from come November–whether they like them or not. CM Stephen Costello, as expected, has tossed his hat in the ring for Houston Mayor. Some expect a few to half-a-dozen more before the deadline.

And, as expected, Costello is running against the recent City-Firefighters Pension deal, which is probably a good position on which to begin, given that another candidate, Sylvester Turner, helped broker the agreement. That’s if you believe this is THE issue. (Kuff has more on the pension deal back and forth.)

As Costello seems to see it, it’s a battle for “local control,” which is something the Republicans at the Texas Lege have turned away from recently. While Costello wants local control for Houstonians to decide on the pension, Republicans have been dead-set on seizing local control from cities who have passed nondiscrimination ordinances.

Local control is local control, so, how Costello navigates between the pension and the NDO (which will be an issue in 2015 one way or another) will be interesting. Whatever the debate on pensions, though, there probably won’t be much of a battle for the firefighters union endorsement this time around.

Of course, there are others in the running, including Chris Bell, Ben Hall, Marty McVey, and Bill King. And from these folks, we’ve seen everything from Pre-K (Bell) to international investment (McVey), to potholes on Kirkwood and elsewhere (King). So, if you’re looking for an issue, someone is bound to offer it up for discussion at a candidate forum.

Who’s next?

 

 

 

Playing Catch-Up on Houston Election Stuff

runningPDiddie posted on a meeting last week in which it was rumored that Sheriff Adrian Garcia was going to make some sort of announcement. I had been too busy with family stuff to give it any attention, but, here goes.

Perry credited a “Latino activist” as spreading the rumor, but, when I saw who it was, I realized that it was a self-proclaimed mayoral campaign staffer of the republatino who’s rumored to become a perennial candidate if he runs a third time.

Anyway, chalk it up to barrio chisme which doesn’t really help get Latinos excited about the 2015 election.

What is news is that Sheriff Adrian Garcia has taken on the issue of Pre-K as a means of stopping the school-to-prison pipeline. It’s good to see someone in law enforcement looking toward a future that lessens the number of warehoused folks.

“Many of the inmates in our Texas jails and prisons encountered setbacks with behavior and academics in their earliest years. A high-quality pre-kindergarten education is a crime prevention tool that will help children succeed while saving lives and taxpayer dollars in the future.”

Anyway, from the looks of the internets, there’s some movement among other candidates–whether it’s attending events, photo ops, or actually announcing. I’m not feeling the warm and fuzzies with the current line-up for Mayor, though.

That said, I hadn’t been feeling it for City Controller either, at least, not until the revelation that Chris Brown, who serves as the chief #2 in that office, was running for it. I mean, the institutional experience is a good thing, but I’m still waiting for the rest of the line-up. With four candidates, thus far, it may have the makings of a big, media-heavy race. But if any more join the fray, we’re looking at a race to make a run-off, for sure.

There was also movement in District H, but perhaps also a switcheroo, which PDiddie references. Since I don’t live in the district, I haven’t gotten any official announcement from any of the announced candidates, but I have spoken to at least one prospective candidate in local police officer Jason Cisneroz, whom I think will be the candidate to watch once he tosses his hat in the ring.

One possible race that I’ll start to watch is District F. I’m pretty sure that my own District J CM Mike Laster will get re-elected, therefore, he will not need my vote. In other words, I’m making a move to District F, and I’ve heard some good things about Richard Nguyen.

Well, let’s keep our ears open for the latest chisme.

Diversity in Local Races

Schleifer at the Chron had an interesting article about the lack of women in the Houston Mayor’s race. Diversity is important, no doubt, but for this avid voter, having a progressive-minded candidate whose policies are on the liberal side of things is a lot more important. Ultimately, though, given the opportunity, even the most progressive candidate seems to moderate his/her views once in office (or worse, during a campaign).

Now, some will argue we haven’t ever had a real progressive leading the horsehoe, while most will split the difference or else some right-wing-nut might get elected. Frankly, there are a lot of constituencies (ethnic, business, etc.) to appease, especially when it comes to committee and top-level appointments, and that ends up screwing up priorities, which Kuff has done an excellent job of outlining. Because, ultimately, there’s an actual job to do.

So, as much as folks will argue about the fact that there are no women running for Mayor, the bottom line is that there are no Latin@s either, yet. Well, much like I ask about the current crop of candidates, I will ask the same of any woman or Latin@ candidate:  Are they progressive? Hell, are they liberal? And just how much have they sold out in previous campaigns to bad people? If neither of the candidates are willing to be mostly progressive, are they worth supporting while swallowing the worse they offer?

And this is how voters should be deciding for whom to vote; based on their views and their needs as this city’s constituents. That’s how I decided to vote for Annise Parker and Bill White. I even swallowed some of Adrian Garcia’s positions on deportation and voted to re-elect him. It’s Texas, I’ve done it for so many, but I’ve also left races blank when I couldn’t find anything tasty to help swallow those awfully bitter pills (Dan Morales).

Of course, I also look at the little things, like, why a Latina candidate for Mayor elsewhere might call her public safety website page “secure communities,” or other dumb, consultant-created things one might see on social media. But, that might be for another post.

Bottom line:  If one is running for anything, they better stay true to their values, and the progressive values that could make this city and state great. Riding that yellow center stripe just doesn’t interest this voter nowadays.

Kuff has  his perspective.

Garcia, Others Chosen by Obama for Executive Action PR

adrianJulian Aguilar at the Trib reports that a group of Texans have been chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as the PR team to promote his executive action. Sheriff Adrian Garcia, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, construction guy Stan Marek, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez were on a call with Obama and his Hispanic appointee Cecilia Muñoz. Pretty soon, the next phase of DACA and the new program DAPA will have their roll-outs, as well as new deportation measures.

A bit of a reminder, Muñoz has done much of the defense of the President’s delays on immigration reform and the defense of his deportation policies. One time, she went so far as calling the 2 million, mostly non-criminal, deportees “collateral damage.”

Of course, the local Sheriff is best known for his defense of the Obama-managed deportation programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities. He had this to say:

Garcia, the Harris County sheriff, said the president’s change would actually promote law and order in his county because people would be more willing to cooperate with law enforcement efforts to fight crime.

“When there are questions and concerns that local law enforcement may become more concerned with a person’s immigration status rather than information that they have regarding cartels, human traffickers or other individuals that are interested in causing harm in our communities, like domestic or international terrorism, it impedes public safety,” he said.

Well, it sounds like the Sheriff has come around, right? Well, an article in Free Press Houston gives some analysis as to where Garcia has been and where he might be nowadays.

The President’s change includes a re-vamped deportation program which supposedly deports the worst of the worse; however, that was the intent as written of the original program. So, it is still a program that will be under the microscope, especially at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, whether Garcia is at the helm or not.

Given that there is still an imminent announcement of a Mayoral candidacy, Garcia resigning and leaving the post to a right-wing Republican who more than likely will not agree with the President’s executive action will surely put Garcia in a position to defend the President’s executive action during the Mayoral campaign. Certainly, it will also frame the position of a possible Republican appointed Sheriff for 2016.