Category Archives: Local Politica

Wendy Davis Outlines Higher Education Plan

Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Governor, outlined her proposal to make college affordable.

As Governor, Wendy Davis will work hard for every Texan to have the same higher education opportunities that made such a difference in her own life. She will ensure that Texans are prepared for jobs today and careers tomorrow. Specifically, Wendy will:
  • Create Educational Opportunities for all Texans
    • Create a Career-Technical Coordinating Board to facilitate coordination among local industries, community and technical colleges, and public high schools and streamline the entry of Texas students into 21st century technical jobs.
    • Improve Adult Education and Literacy programs to make it easier for Texans to transition from adult education to the workforce.
  • Make College Affordable
    • Commit to achieving full funding for the TEXAS Grant program to improve education accessibility and affordability for Texas families.
    • Work with the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board to ensure the Texas Tuition Promise fund remains a reliable saving tool for Texas families by improving program outreach and public awareness efforts.
    • Improve accessibility to the B-On-Time low interest loan program, including opening the program to part-time students.
    • Establish a sales tax exemption program for college students’ textbooks to lessen the cost of higher education for hardworking students and families.
  • Improve Graduation and Retention Rates
    • Encourage Texas schools to experiment with programs aimed at assisting first and second year students to navigate the personal and academic challenges they will face as they transition into higher education.
  • Expand the Number of Texas Universities Ranked at Tier One Status
    • Continue to support and encourage Tier One initiatives to ensure Texas creates more world-class research universities.

I must say this is the strongest higher education proposal I’ve seen in a long time. No doubt Texas needs movement on college retention and graduation rates, and the proposed sales tax break to college textbooks and supplies is something student activists have been proposing for quite a while.

“For too long, the insider network in Austin has left our schools underfunded, understaffed and our children undervalued,” said Senator Davis. “Greg Abbott has been in court, defending over $5 billion in cuts to more than 600 Texas school districts and the children who go to those schools. That means overcrowded classrooms, thousands of teachers being laid off, schools being closed down, and our sons and daughters missing out on opportunities that will prepare them for the 21st century.”

I don’t expect the Republicans to offer much of anything on higher education. The Texas economy needs a well-prepared workforce at all levels, so, I’m glad that Davis is elevating these topics. If the Republican response is, “How do we pay for it?,” then obviously, they aren’t all that interested in doing anything bold to improve access to higher education.

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Tweet of the Day: Los 20 Latinos

DC followed the Austin “10-1″ single member districts battle last year and the result is that Latinos in Austin seem to be running everywhere, and not just in one or two districts. Here’s a Tweet from DC friend Paul Saldaña:

Good luck to the candidates, but I have some favorites, thus far. Here’s the list:

Mayor – Council Member Mike Martinez
District 2 – Delia Garza and Edward Reyes
District 3 – Susana Almanza, Julian Fernandez, Miguel Ancira, Mario Cantu, Eric Rangel, Sabino “Pio” Renteria and Ricardo Turollols-Bonilla
District 4 – Gregorio Casar, Monica Guzman, Marco Mancillas, Gabe Rojas, Xaiver Hernandez, Robert Perez, Jr. and Manuel A. Munoz
District 5 – Mike Rodriguez
District 7 – Pete Salazar, Jr.
District 8 – Eliza May

May 3: March for Immigration Reform

marchmay3

Tweet del Dia: No Latino Love for Ted

Van de Putte Takes Houston

State Senator Leticia Van de Putte, candidate for Texas Lt. Governor, spent the entire day in Houston on Saturday, moving from one end of town to another. And this blogger turned into a groupie who went to at least a few of her Houston stops–and let me tell you, it’s pretty easy to support such a magnetic and real candidate.

My day started at the Universal Shopping Center in the far western reaches of Bellaire Blvd. A diverse and energetic crowd welcomed Senator Van de Putte to Houston as her tour bus rolled in. No sooner was she off the bus, she was shaking hands and giving out heartfelt abrazos to supporters.

The Vietnam Veterans memorial provided a powerful backdrop for the Senator’s speech which covered everything from Veteran’s affairs to public education to infrastructure development (roads). Van de Putte also gave a defense of the Rio Grande Valley, which some Republicans have called the “third world,” citing over $700 million in trade per day and the vibrancy of the area. The responsive crowd stuck around after the speech to meet-greet and take selfies with the Senator.

While the Senator went to a couple more events, including the Texas Democratic Women’s “Women Making History” Luncheon, I headed out to Fiesta Loma Linda for some menudo and to await a sit-down between the Senator and the local progressive blogosphere.  What could have been a Q&A was more like a family around the table, joking a little, discussing policy and politics, and mostly, getting to know the Senator. Let me tell you, watching her on TV or on the web, one gets the feeling that she’s as real as they come. In-person, though, she is amazing, and as one blogger friend of mine states, “formidable.” She doesn’t mince words and she tells one how she feels. As I like to say, and actually told her, my favorite thing about her is that she is a Latina candidate who wasn’t created in laboratory and doesn’t run away from her upbringing or feels the need to revamp her story for political purposes. She’s a proud mom and abuela who is basically fighting for what’s right. Plus, she’s a state university-educated woman and I really like that about her.

The fact that she was the real-deal became quite obvious when she spoke to a group of college student leaders, most from collegiate Dem clubs. The most powerful part of her speech was her breakdown of tuition deregulation and how it has affected tuition rates to the tune of a 58% increase since it was first made policy. The compare/contrast in which she admits that during her days in college, one could work a part-time job and still afford tuition and living expenses, but that today’s college students are racking up loan debt even while working, showed me a candidate who understands the current situation. I had never seen a Texas Dem candidate who could connect so well with college students about the issues that affect them, and the future that awaits them if given the right opportunities with leaders that care at the helm of the Texas government.

For me, the day was over, but for Van de Putte, the bus was on its way to Fort Bend County and then on to Corpus Christi for another leg of her 2500 mile Texas tour–the first of several around the state. I highly recommend Texans give their attention to the Senator–attend her events, seek her out on social media and spread word about her campaign. Either of her prospective opponents will continue Texas’ race to the bottom, and Senator Van de Putte is all about the future of Texas.

Website:  www.LeticiaVandePutte.com

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/leticiavdp

 

UPDATE:  I also captured some video of her speech to the college students. I had to reduce it to 11 minutes, but, here you go:

 

DC Turns 9 in April

dc9That’s right, DosCentavos.net got its start sometime in April of 2005–nine years ago. Thanks to all of you who continue to visit–especially those who enjoyed the four-year old April Fools Joke I posted on the Facepage. Apparently, it just means I have a bunch of newer readers, which is always good.

Not much more to say, except that I need to get back on the horse and create a lot more material. This little funk of mine has definitely caused some writer’s block, although there is a lot to be said about a lot of things that many blogs out there aren’t saying–except our Texas bloggers since they’re always spot-on on the issues. Thanks to my fellow bloggers who continue to support and whom I support in any way I can. When you want real commentary on the latest issues, you need to rely on the folks of the Texas Progressive Alliance. Seriously.

Stay connected for the latest opinions and commentary on local, state, national, and even global issues, as well a cultura, musica y mas! We’ve got elections to win in November and that needs to be our focus if we are to get any positive legislation and public policy passed in the near future.

For now, here’s the very first op-ed I wrote in the Chron which really got DosCentavos started.

We’ve got a lot coming in the next few weeks!

 

 

 

 

Luis Lopez for HD-132 Launches This Weekend

luis

LA Times: DHS Considering Options on Deportation

Obviously, Friday was a slow news day, so, when this story came out in the afternoon, it was obvious that it wasn’t meant to be a major news event. As cynical as I’ve become with the Administration, I usually look to organizations like Presente.org to gauge their level of excitement on any moves by the President or his people. Despite what may seem like good news, it is still obvious that deportations must stop.

As far as the two changes go:

The first change would ease or stop deportations of foreigners who have no criminal convictions other than immigration violations. If approved, deportation efforts would chiefly target people who have been charged or convicted in court and pose a potential threat to public safety.

and

Another change under consideration would scale back a controversial program known as Secure Communities. It allows immigration authorities to request that immigrants in the country illegally be held in local jails until they can be transferred to federal facilities for deportation.

The proposed change would limit those local detentions and focus only on people with criminal records.

As I have mentioned previously, any major changes would have to take into consideration how local law enforcement would be affected. Obviously, less work at warehousing immigrants should be considered a good thing, and having more local cops on the street should help fight crime. It’s a no-brainer.

Politically, though, some law enforcement agency leaders wouldn’t want to get rid of Secure Communities all that easily since it serves as a political crutch. Lately, it’s been a crutch for Democratic sheriffs like in Travis County. Some activists would say locally, too.

Let’s hope the Obama Administration wants to move forward to stop deportations, since the Republicans are intent on stopping any kind of real reform of the citizenship and visa system.

I’m of the opinion that these kind of administrative changes will prod the Republicans into doing one of two things:  A change of course on reform, or a whole new course of bat-shit craziness.

Let’s see what happens.

DC Reacts to Dem Primary

donkey-beats-up-elephantWell, there’s not much to say other than, “We have another round to go?”

Let’s just take my reactions one-by-one.

US Senate:  With all the mail and cash being tossed about by David Alameel, I expected him to be a top candidate. I also expected Kesha Rogers to somehow sneak into a run-off, but not by much. Like many of my fellow activists, I took a liking to Maxey Scherr in the beginning, but only because the activists were talking her up and she was the only one saying anything. When that UT/Trib poll came out, I sorta changed course, thinking that only Alameel would be the guy who could win without a run-off. In the end, after much movement of the dial on the voting machine, I ended up voting Alameel, hoping he wouldn’t need a run-off. I think Alameel can take it rather easily, if he campaigns in the same fashion–mail, trips to South Texas, etc. And with TDPs continued truth-telling of Rogers, perhaps stepped up.

Congress – 7:  James Cargas was the big winner. He sent the cutest e-mail yesterday morning, which I think sealed the deal. Yes, that’s my Flo! Congrats to Jim.

Governor:  Well, we all knew Wendy Davis would win, but let me tell you, in my mind, I always wondered how she would do in South Texas given a spanish-surnamed opponent. When I saw she was losing my birth-county of Zavala to Ray Madrigal, the first thought that came to mind was, “She should have gone to the Spinach Festival.”  This can be dissected in more than one way, but let’s move forward. She’s the nominee, South Texas counties vote overwhelmingly Democrat, but that’s no reason to simply take it for granted. Turnout is key. Davis needs to make sure she spends a lot of time down there listening to voters and saying the right things. Abbott won’t have much to offer South Texas other than right-wing culture wars on gays and women. Dan Patrick will probably move the entire ballot to the right, too, especially on anything having to do with Latinos.  Davis and the rest can bring some much needed sanity to South Texas and Texas.

Lt. Governor:  No surprise–Leticia Van de Putte was unopposed. Still, she will probably end up with Dan Patrick as the opponent. Patrick will get another month of batshit crazy campaigning against gays and Latinos and women. That shouldn’t help him or Republicans overall, but my feeling is that Van de Putte must not wait for the winner to start going on the attack. A response to every single hate-filled ad and comment by Patrick will be needed. And the same goes for Davis.

Railroad Commish:  My friend Steve Brown was the big winner. He campaigned in every direction and did well. Congrats, Steve.

Ag Commish:  We have a run-off between Kinky and Jim (w)Ho(?)gan. I’m endorsing Kinky, if only to make things a little exciting in my life. I know he’s good friends with Willie Nelson, Little Joe Hernandez, and the Texas Tornados, so that scores him some points in my book, especially if he can join either of them on their respective tour buses to give a few speeches at concerts. And if he can bring them along toward November, even better. I’m over 2006.

113th District Court:  Congrats to Judge Kirkland. He overcame a judge-buying lawyer and his candidate who was relentless in attacking him. Kirkland ran an expensive campaign to try to get ahead of the attacks, and that was exactly what he needed to do. It is sad when supposed Democrats try to attack peoples’ personal past just to score points–even when they do it to Republicans. It’s low-ball bullshit that doesn’t empower the electorate in any way.

246th District Court:  What can I say? Julia Maldonado came up short. Ultimately, she lost by less than 1000 votes. Julia won election day by about the same amount (900+) but it wasn’t good enough to overcome the thousands of dollars of her own money that her opponent spent on ballot by mail and early voting. That made the difference, along with a couple other things. I’m really disappointed in this outcome, but, ultimately, Julia still landed on her feet with a thriving family law practice and her community work. I’m proud to have helped her out and I’m proud to call her my friend (and sometimes customer).

The others: Jim Evans, Barbara Stalder, and George Barnstone move forward to November in the other judicial races. Congrats to my friend and always DC-endorsed Ann Bennett who becomes our nominee for County Clerk.

The Referendums:  As expected, they all passed overwhelmingly. Immigration reform, locally, didn’t do as well as the others–probably because of the relentless anti-immigrant ads from Republicans with little-to-no response from Democrats. Statewide, immigration reform was 3% or so behind the other items. Small, but not negligible, and definitely noticeable. Again, these were a non-binding temperature reading. Ultimately, when it comes to civil rights, it shouldn’t be about how voters feel, but about what is right.

Latin@s on the Dem Side:  Leticia Van de Putte leads the pack for Lt. Gov., but there is also Gina Benavides for Supreme Court; Farrah Martinez running for a district court; Raul Rodriguez for County Court; and Josefina Rendon for County Probate Court running statewide or countywide in Harris County. Yep, that’s 5. Yeah, the usual few Latina/o State Reps are up, but adding some fresh faces are Luis Lopez for HD-132 and my good friend Amy Perez who ends up taking on Debbie Riddle in HD-150. And I’ll add to that Jim Davis running for SD-7. So, overall, that makes  for a dozen or so.

The GOP is offering seven brown ones overall, if I counted correctly. But I think of Pé Bush as more of a Floridian.

I’m REALLY looking forward to the precinct-by-precinct breakdown. Yeah, right!

Thoughts on Viernes (Early Vote Sabado Edition) 02222014

Go forth and vote early!

During early voting you can vote at any polling location, which can be found here. Don’t know who’s on the ballot? Well, click here and find your very own sample ballot.  And did you know you need an acceptable ID to vote? Well, click here and find out what IDs are acceptable.

Vote JULIA MALDONADO for the 246th-Dem Primary

I may be helping her out on her campaign, but State Senator Sylvia Garcia, Democrats, Organized Labor, Colleagues and the Chron can’t be wrong.

The Rest of Team DC

U.S. Senate:  Undecided Between Alameel and Scherr
Congress, District 7 – James Cargas
Governor – Wendy Davis
Lt. Governor – Leticia Van de Putte (Unopposed, but yeah!)
Ag. Commissioner – Hugh Asa Fitzsimons
Railroad Commissioner – Steve Brown
113th District Judge – Steven Kirkland
246th District Judge – Julia Maldonado
280th District Judge – Barbara Stalder
308th District Judge – Bruce Steffler
District Attorney – Kim Ogg
County Clerk –  Ann Harris Bennett
County Court at Law #10 – George Barnstone
*Senate District 15 – John Whitmire (I reside in SD13, but this one is the obvious choice for my friends in 15.)
* Texas House District 145 – Carol Alvarado (I reside in 137, but the Rep. is another one of those obvious choices.)
 

VOTE JAMES CARGAS for CONGRESS-7

In a tough district, there’s no doubt that we need to build toward winning. My friend James Cargas has been doing that since 2012, and he deserves another shot at Tea Party Culberson. James has the experience and the maturity that Congress needs to get things done. At the moment, we are stuck on neutral (some say, reverse) and we need a common sense voice to bring solutions to DC, rather than the same old “gotcha” politics of Culberson. Cargas is right on all of the issues, especially comprehensive immigration reform. I’m sticking with him in 2014.

The Referedum Referenda Referendums?

There are also four non-binding referendums on the Democratic Primary ballot and I suggest you answer YES to all of them.

IMMIGRATION REFORM:  The United States Congress must pass immigration reform; including an earned path to citizenship for those individuals contributing to the economy and the dependents of those individuals.

A LIVING WAGE FOR ALL TEXANS:  Congress should pass legislation raising the federal minimum wage to at least 110% of the federal poverty level for a family of four without exception.

MEDICAID EXPANSION:  The Governor and the Texas Legislature should accept federal funds; as provided in the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act of 2010; for the expansion of Medicaid to provide coverage to millions of uninsured and underinsured Texans.

NON-DISCRIMINATION LEGISLATION:  The Congress and the Texas Legislature should adopt legislation that expands protections against discriminations in employment; housing; and public accommodations based upon sexual orientation and gender identity.

MUSIC BREAK – Little Joe – Las Nubes