Category Archives: City of Houston

Ad: Vote Yes to Protect HERO

City of Houston Races Are Set!

city-of-houston5PM Monday came around and the final filings were released by the City of Houston for the 2015 races. Looks like there will be contests in most races, some will be decided on November 3, others in the December run-offs.

Council Races on my radar (click here for full lists):

District F (home):  Kendall Baker, Steve Le, and incumbent Richard Nguyen. From the looks of it, Baker and Le are pro-discrimination, while Nguyen is a HERO supporter and has served my new district well.

District H:  Jason Cisneroz, Roland Chavez, Karla Cisneros, and Abel Davila. Jason is a friend of mine, I’ve made no secret of that.

District I:  Robert Gallegos (incumbent) and Herlinda Garcia. If this is the same Garcia who ran for HCC on the fake-Black Dave Wilson anti-Gay ticket, then, we know where she stands. Gallegos, on the other hand, hit the ground running once elected and has done a great job for the district that I almost landed at when moving.

District J:  Mike Laster, Manuel Barrera, and James Bigham. Before I moved to F, I supported Laster for his second term. He’s represented the district well and is a HERO supporter.

At-Large 5:  There are five candidates, but the only one worth watching is Philippe Nassif.

At-Large 1:  With eight candidates, only two have interested me:  Lane Lewis and Tom McCasland. Of course, I’ve known Lewis for a while and have supported him in the past.

At-Large 2:  Incumbent David Robinson remains the only candidate of the five who filed that is interesting and serving constituents well.

At-Large 4:  Seven filed for this seat; however, the two that I have met and remain the most interesting and qualified are Amanda Edwards and Laurie Robinson.

At-Large 3:   Doug Peterson is the only candidate I’ve really met from my Democratic activism. Some might want anyone but Kubosh, but Peterson is getting the Dem nods.

City Controller:  This one has six candidates, but the only one I’ve given my attention is Chris Brown.

What is unfortunate is that while many of my favorite candidates have an actual interest in serving and addressing multiple issues, their opponents seem to be more interested in being bigots, or making this a bathroom election. Houstonians need to learn about the candidates, about the real issues, and vote accordingly.

Well, those are my thoughts for now. I’ll work on something for the Mayoral race soon.

Chron did a little breakdown of the races.

Catching Up on a Lunes

First Day of School

juiceboxGood luck to all involved in educating kids. If you’re a college student, take responsibility for your academics, take advantage of all kinds of student services (especially tutoring!), and don’t expect any hand-holding. Teachers, please enjoy your after-school juice box (see pic). All, be safe on the streets.

Local Campaigns

Now that it seems the club endorsements are about done, I’m looking forward to the actual campaigns, including the pro-HERO campaign. If you want to catch up on some of the local races, check out Kuff’s interviews with District F’s Richard NguyenDistrict H’s Jason Cisneroz, At Large 3’s Doug Peterson and  Texas Leftist’s questionnaire of At Large 5’s Philippe Nassif.

Protesting Children

Just when Hillary double-downed on Central American kids last week, we’ve got some anti-kid activity at a local HISD Arabic magnet school on the first day of school. See what I did there?

Monday Music ~ Ram Herrera – Los Años (Mucho Mas Que Amor-2015)

Emerging Latino Leaders Video Series: Adrian Garcia

Emerging Latino Leaders Fellowship program has started a video interview series featuring Houston mayoral candidates with the purpose of informing young voters about the local 2015 elections. They kick-off the series with Adrian Garcia.

Emerging Latino Leaders Fellowship, Mi Familia Vota, El Gato Media Network, and Kalipsous Production joined forces to organize and produce interviews with Houston’s mayoral candidates with the goal of attracting the youth to vote this November.

Emerging Latino Leaders is a collaboration between Rice University Center for Civic Leadership and Mi Familia Vota, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing Latino civic engagement. ELL provides future leaders with the confidence, support, and skills needed to take an active role in their communities.

ELL Fellowship, along with other groups, will be hosting a Mayoral Candidate Forum on September 12, 2015 at Rice University at 10:30AM. Stay tuned!

And now, here’s Adrian Garcia:

Houston Activates Heat Plan; Extended Through Monday

gosh

From the Inbox:

HOUSTON – The National Weather Service has extended the Heat Advisory for Houston until Sunday evening, as high heat indices are expected over the next week. The City of Houston’s Public Health Heat Emergency Plan is currently in effect, and provides for free transportation from METRO to designated Cooling Centers, for Houston residents.

In addition, The Houston Health Department has extended hours for the following Multi-Service Centers on Sunday, August 9th to ensure that an adequate number of facilities are open to serve as Cooling Centers.

The following Multi-Service Centers will be open Sunday from 12:00pm – 7:00pm:

  • Acres Home Multi-Service Center (6719 W Montgomery)
  • Kashmere Multi-Service Center (4802 Lockwood)
  • Third Ward Multi-Service Center (3611 Ennis)
  • Southwest Multi Service Center (6400 High Star)

A full list of air conditioned City facilities and their normal operating times are online at houstontx.gov/emergency.

Residents requiring transportation assistance may contact the Houston 311 Help & Information Line by calling 311 or 713.837.0311

In addition, residents are reminded to take precautions to keep themselves safe in extreme heat.  The Houston Health Department has posted tips for reducing heat-related illnesses at their website, houstonhealth.org.

Adrian Garcia Raises $1.5M in 56 Days

adrianpicThe Adrian Garcia for Mayor campaign reports raising $1.5 million in the 56 days it had to raise funds before the first reporting deadline. Giving credit to grassroots energy and a base of loyal supporters, Garcia states that voters are attracted to his fiscally responsible management practices during his terms as Sheriff.

Garcia:  “Our message that we reformed the Sheriff’s Office, saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, and kept people and families safe is resonating with voters across Houston.  We will bring that same fiscally responsible approach and smart management practices to tackle the tough issues at City Hall.  The broad base of support we have already built puts us well on the way to victory in November.”

Local pundits had stated that for Garcia to look viable he would need to report raising at least $500k during this period, shortened because he was still on the job as Sheriff. Pundits also stated he would need to raise $2 million or more to run a viable campaign thru the first round. What this blogger noticed upon Garcia’s launch was a burst of energy and excitement from supporters that I hadn’t seen in a local campaign, especially from people who aren’t always involved in the political process. From Garcia, I expect a pretty different campaign than what we have seen from others in the recent past.

That said, for perspective, Garcia’s fundraising abilities seem to be pretty awesome if one considers the first Annise Parker campaign in 2009 raised about $800,000 in a period of five months. Garcia’s campaign calls it unprecedented in Harris County. I’m not surprised that he could do it given the energy that is backing him up, but I think I did let out a “¡Hijole!” when I read the press release. Or something like that.

Garcia’s campaign is quick to point out that he basically started from zero in the fundraising department and that he did not transfer any money from his Sheriff’s campaign account. As the Garcia campaign stated:

“We have always believed that Texas Ethics Commission rules and the City of Houston’s campaign finance laws were clear that it is inappropriate to raise money into an account for a different office with the intent to transfer those funds into a city campaign account.  We saw this recently in San Antonio when Leticia Van De Putte ultimately decided not to transfer funds from her lieutenant governor’s campaign account into her mayoral campaign account.”

As some will recall, Garcia opponent, Sylvester Turner went on a fundraising frenzy during his re-election campaign for State Representative and it is known that he will be transferring as much of the million dollars in his legislative account into his mayoral campaign account as possible. It is what it is, I guess.

Obviously, I’m looking forward to the actual report, but I am told that in-kind contributions to Garcia were minimal considering that we’re talking seven figures in total contributions. So, we await the press releases and finance reports from everyone else in the race. I can’t say I’m a fan of money races in politics, but, as they say, “money isn’t everything in a campaign, but it helps.”

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

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.

Garcia Makes It Official, Is Running for Mayor

adrianpicLongtime lawman and public servant Adrian Garcia finally answered the question on Wednesday:  Will he, or won’t he? He will run for Houston Mayor, Garcia announced before dozens of friends and family members at the Lindale Park Community Center located in the Northside where he resides.

Stating he’s the candidate who can balance a budget, save taxpayers millions, and protect Houston families, Garcia added, “We commit to enhancing a quality of life that benefits everyone, from the wealthiest to the humblest, but never ignoring one for the other.”

In a speech in which he credited much to his wife and family, he reminded folks of what he was taught when he was young.

“I have done what my parents taught me to do years ago, and that is to simply work hard and do a good job”

Talking with several of his supporters, the one word that all agreed this campaign would be is tough, but that with their hard work and determination Garcia can come out victorious in the end.

Frankly, I’m glad he’s in the race, despite any concerns about a new right-wing Sheriff I might have. Bottom line, he was forced to resign, while others in the running get to keep their elected positions. Garcia in the race could add some excitement, as well as some ánimo to the electorate for a real discussion on the issues. I think Kuff just said something similar. Great minds!

It’s no secret, I’ve been critical of Garcia in the past, but he’s also served the community well all these years. I’m no one-issue voter; if so, I’d show up and not vote for any of them, right? So, let’s keep an eye on this race. Enjoy!

Update:  Holy mole , my buddy David Ortez was also at the announcement.

Video of part of stump in Spanish.

The Price of Ramen Noodles Is Too Damn High!

Update After the Oberg Story: Did you know that it would take 6.8 million packages (at 25 cents each commissary price) of ramen noodles to pay the Harris County consultant who has saved the Jail money? No, this info was not in Oberg’s report, not that there was much of anything else.


ABC13’s Ted Oberg is doing a story on a no-bid contract that the Sheriff has given to a consulting firm. According to the Sheriff in one of ABC13s ads promoting the report, the consultant has saved the county a lot of money.

One thing I noticed from ABC13’s teaser is that the money paid to the consultant comes from profits from the jail commissary. So, that means that the overpriced ramen noodles, cupcakes, sodas, and other items bought by the inmates is paying for it. That’s a lot of ramen noodles eaten and no tax dollars wasted, at least at first glance.

I have to wonder if there’s a story to this. I would think the bigger story is that the price of ramen noodles is too damn high. Either that, or it’s sweeps week for the local news.

We shall see.

UPDATE:  The HCSO/Sheriff Adrian Garcia released this statement on the savings to taxpayers over the years.

When Sheriff Adrian Garcia took office in 2009, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office was overspending its budget by about $58 million annually. In fact the agency had balanced its yearly budget only once in a decade.

In 2015, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has come in under the budget allocated by Commissioners Court for the fourth consecutive fiscal year.

Fiscal Year 2015, as it was known in county government, ended Feb. 28. After allowing for all accounts to settle from the previous budget year, the HCSO is celebrating another year of successful budget discipline.

“Keeping the people of Harris County safe is our top job,” Sheriff Adrian Garcia said. “Safeguarding public funds and protecting the pocket books of tax payers is a close second.”

“We are keeping the lid on crime for the 1.7 million people in the unincorporated areas of the county while keeping the door shut against monstrous budget deficits,” the sheriff added. “We accomplish this on the front lines with deputies on patrol and in the back offices where employees with business backgrounds eliminate financial waste.”

Some of the biggest savings have come from drastic reductions in overtime pay to staff the county jail, inmate rehabilitation programs that reduce repeat crimes, management of supply contracts and wider use of generic medications for ill inmates.

In the previous three years, budget savings allowed the Sheriff’s Office to put more deputies on patrol. About 90% of the $422 million budget for FY15 was allocated for law enforcement payroll.

“We’ll continue to work with Commissioners Court and other stakeholders to make sure we have the resources to preserve Harris County as a safe place that people choose every day as the place where they want to live, work and raise a family.”