Category Archives: Houston Dems ’12

SD-6 – ELECTION DAY – SATURDAY

Well, it’s Saturday, January 26, and according to Rick Perry, today is the day you get to vote in the Senate District 6 Special Election. You missed early voting, but you get one final shot at picking your next State Senator, but you need to vote in your neighborhood polling location.

Need to find your polling location? HarrisVotes has a cool tool where you just punch in your address and voila!, you get your location and a sample ballot! Click on the image below to get there. Polls are open from 7am to 7pm. Do your duty!

FindPoll

About these ads

SD-6 More Money Pours In (and Out!)

Well, if the first report did not tell you this was an expensive race, then the 8-day report will knock you out.

In the last few weeks (up until last week), Sylvia Garcia raised another another $177,000 (including recent telegram reports in the run-up to Election Day), and has spent almost $300,000.  Garcia had $228,000 in the bank a week ago. The biggie donation was over $80,000 in-kind from Texas Organizing Project PAC, which endorsed Garcia and is doing a lot of field campaigning (that amount not included in final expense amount). Back to Basics PAC also provided a $10,000 in-kind contribution for research. Expenses include some big outlays for mail pieces and more media (I think I noticed over $150K of all that), but one that I found the most interesting was a January 10th expense to Lake Partners for another poll (wish I knew the results of that!). Otherwise, it’s salaries, field, consultants and other expenses.

For Carol Alvarado, another $199,000 was raised (including telegram reports up till today), with $314,000 spent. And a week ago, she had 109,000 left to spend. Some biggie expenses included a couple of huge media buys totaling  over $200,000; a campaign mailing at almost $30,000; various outlays to what I think are field expenses; then the usual expenses on consultants, staff, and campaign needs.

The contributions that popped out most for both was one each from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Otherwise, it was lawyers, unions, businesses and individuals for both of them; although, it would seem Alvarado has a huge lead with big business PACs.

A DC-tip-of-the-sombrero goes to Joaquin Martinez who reported over $5,000 raised–100% from individuals. Rodolfo “Rudy” Reyes reports over $16,000 in loans for the race, and he had mentioned he was using his own money to run at a recent event. The other candidates didn’t report anything eye-catching.

Early voting finished yesterday with 8,245 cast, including 2,876 ballots by mail. Election Day is Saturday, 7 to 7 at your neighborhood polling location. If you live in SD-6, go to the Harris Votes website, type in your address and find your location and sample ballot.

People are asking for projections. I kind of agree with Kuff.

With tongue firmly in cheek, I’d suggest that between 40 and 50 percent of the vote in this race will be cast early, so on the extremely optimistic assumption that there will be about 9,000 votes total cast early, we’re looking at an over/under of about 20,000 – say between 18,000 and 22,500, to be obnoxious about it. If we’re closer to 8,000 votes cast by tomorrow, lower those endpoints to 15,000 and 20,000.

I didn’t see any major expenses for the usual ballot by mail experts in the latest reports, so, I’m wondering if there will be a final push to contact those other 4,000+ mail ballot holders. Otherwise, let’s hope for a big election day.

Update:  Kuff has money and projections. In fact, he changed up his projections on me!

With four more days for mail ballots to arrive, I’d guess the number will ultimately be about 8,500 when the first results are posted Saturday evening. As such, my official guess for total turnout is between 17,000 and 22,000.

I’ll be a rebel and stay with original projections of between 15,000 and 20,000. PDiddie has more, too.

DC-Voice ~ Joaquin Martinez, Democrat for SD-6

DosCentavos.net attended the Power of the Community Rally in support of SD-6 candidate Joaquin Martinez. Martinez, a Democrat and community activist, has been running a grassroots campaign powered by volunteers and shoe-leather. I took an interest in this campaign because he was saying something different, plus he was attracting young voters who are seldom targeted in local campaigns. A crowd of over 125 was in attendance at Talento Bilingue Houston for this event. Here’s his stump speech from the evening.

Update:  I just noticed that some mobile apps may not be seeing the link to the Soundcloud file, so, here’s the link where you may connect.

{There’s an error in the embedding that I’m checking out, but click on the link  to directly access the recording.}

SD6 ~ Re-Checking the Mail–Direct and Electronic

My post this morning about the start of early voting earned me a call-out about my take, and let’s just let be known that if you call me out and state your case, then, I can be a fair guy–even though this blog wasn’t designed to be “fair and balanced.” But I may just take the pay-route like the Chron, so, be warned.

So, I had written:

There was a flare-up yesterday over a Sylvia Garcia direct mail piece that called out Carol Alvarado’s METRO dealings, which PDiddie covers. Negative pieces are designed to tarnish competitors, and like most things, it’s all in the timing. It’s a lot harder to respond to a negative mail piece than to something on TV. And when the e-mail response to said piece has a couple of linked exhibits and is sent by a surrogate, well, it’s hard to be effective. Targeted voters have something tangible in their hands, in this case. Believe what you will, enjoy the negativity or not, in a race like this where there are too many similarities in issues stances, that’s what one does, beyond the door-to-door.

What seemed to me like an attack on Alvarado’s work for METRO was specifically about the East End rail line and the problem with running the new light rail line across the existing freight rail line crossing on Harrisburg and Hughes. One solution, which METRO supported, was an overpass–a six-block  long bridge over the freight line, 26 feet high. While many of the politicos supported it or thought it feasible, business owners and residents called for an underpass–below the freight line. So, as stated in the article, State Rep. Alvarado was hired as a consultant to find funding for the added cost of the project (bridge or underpass project). In the direct mail piece, Garcia seems to question Alvarado’s work for METRO in support of a bridge while also serving the same constituents who did not support METRO’s idea of a bridge.

In his response to the mail piece, CM James Rodriguez took exception to Garcia’s line of attack and provided a link to a letter from then-commissioner Sylvia Garcia which had stated that she supported “the concept of a bridge or underpass” at the freight rail crossing, and not just the underpass. Citing comments regarding elected officials and “guts” made by Garcia at a candidate forum, Rodriguez challenged Garcia  by stating that many of the area’s officials worked to find the funding for the project and that Garcia did not attend meetings on seeking a solution. Rodriguez further stated that Garcia “declined” to contribute County money to the project.

In fact, Garcia’s letter stated that there was no provision in the county’s most recent bond referendum for this money and that the county was “not in a position” to commit money for the proposed bridge.

So, hopefully, I’ve provided background and fairness to this whole thing about a mail piece. Obviously, there are differing takes and opinions to this whole thing and I have some of my own. Needless to say, the people got an underpass and that’s what matters.

To add a bit more fairness, there was a lot of online rumbling from supporters of Joaquin Martinez, who pointed to the two “serious” campaigns’ warring as a means of pushing the alternative–Joaquin. When other bloggers and even the Chron minimize the other candidates, they tend to get a little upset. As someone who has worked with those kind of candidates, I don’t blame them! But we all know political realities, and those other candidates do, as well.

As far as attacks go, let me say that I seldom mess with people’s livelihoods or personal lives when working campaigns–too many people can get hurt. The bigger story here is that the Texas Legislature was built to be occupied by wealthy people, or at least those who make enough money in their endeavors in a year that they are allowed to take 140 days off to be in Austin. (As if they don’t do Lege work the other days, right?). We seldom question the rich lawyers in the Lege about their money, thus, I’m not a fan of questioning anyone else.

Why can’t they all be like the late, great Ernie Glossbrenner? But that’s for a whole other blog post.

SD6 Early Voting Begins Today

It’s early voting season–again! Well, at least in Senate District 6. All is quiet on the western front where I reside, but since so many opinions are available on this race, I’ll share mine soon enough. Still, it is very important for my friends, relatives, and even a few enemies that reside in SD6, to vote–and early! Kuff’s got a bit of an overview.

There was a flare-up yesterday over a Sylvia Garcia direct mail piece that called out Carol Alvarado’s METRO dealings, which PDiddie covers. Negative pieces are designed to tarnish competitors, and like most things, it’s all in the timing. It’s a lot harder to respond to a negative mail piece than to something on TV. And when the e-mail response to said piece has a couple of linked exhibits and is sent by a surrogate, well, it’s hard to be effective. Targeted voters have something tangible in their hands, in this case. Believe what you will, enjoy the negativity or not, in a race like this where there are too many similarities in issues stances, that’s what one does, beyond the door-to-door.

Beyond that, there have been a few opportunities for voters to attend forums, although I tend to like the community forums more than the “business” group forums. This is about the people, and not the contributors or people wanting a government contract. There are a few more opportunities this week and weekend, including one breakfast forum being hosted by the National Hispanic Professional Organization on Saturday.

Early Voting locations can be found here. With eight candidates on the ballot, there’s no excuse not to vote. Show up! It’ll make you feel good!

The Lege Begins: What’s Your Priority?

There’s no doubt that Latinos take a hit every time the Republican-led Texas Legislature meets. $5 billion in cuts to K-12 funding affects Latino kids who make up a majority of all Texas students. $1 billion in higher education cuts affects Latino college students who were made an admissions priority, yet struggle with college preparedness because of the K-12 cuts. Add to that cuts to health care, and, no doubt, a vicious circle appears that threatens to do in the State of Texas.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities released a statement today after the State Comptroller released a higher estimate than expected of the revenue that will be available for the next biennial budget.

“Today Texas lawmakers heard they will have $101.4 billion in General Revenue to work with when writing the 2014-15 state budget. However, $5 billion is needed for the Medicaid IOU, leaving $96.4 billion to barely continue the current barebones budget and leave in place the devastating 2011 cuts to education, health care, and other areas of critical need. In addition, the state’s Rainy Day Fund will have $11.8 billion available to support state services and investments by the end of 2014-15.

“With available revenue and the historically high Rainy Day Fund balance, which together total $108.2 billion, Texas lawmakers have the opportunity to return to the level of services provided five years ago—-before the financial crisis slashed state revenue. If we are willing to use the Rainy Day Fund, we could fund the rapid population growth and inflation while also undoing the devastating 2011 cuts that have left so many Texas families struggling.

“Today’s revenue estimate announcement officially begins this session’s budget writing process. Now, it’s up to state lawmakers to create a budget that reflects our state’s needs and priorities.

“Legislators should use the money available now to invest in the education and health care systems that will help ensure our state’s future prosperity.

If only it was that easy with the vicious Republicans at the helm. I say vicious because their attitude exhibits more than just plain carelessness as elected leaders, but a lack of care for their fellow Texans. Much like Boehner’s Republican Congress, it’s all about paying back their political contributors–the wealthy Texas corporations.

I was having a conversation with a Republican Latino friend from Denver Harbor and we both agreed that somewhere along the line there needs to be middle ground on which to move legislation that takes care of the people, the schoolkids, the college kids, and those who need health care. I even admitted that, as liberal as I am, even I understand the need for compromise. But if his side is going to talk or act crazy, then I’ll sound so left that I’ll put a few Latin American Presidents to shame.

So, while I’d love for the Texas Lege to come together and do the right thing, perhaps discuss the Texas HOPE legislative priorities, I expect for the Latino community to be on the defensive again from Republican attacks. Once Rick Perry rattles about his non-existent voter fraud and sanctuary cities, and when some other righty whines about HB1403 (Texas DREAM Act), Republicans will once again prove themselves a failure. Of course, we will fight back!

But if the Republicans prove me wrong, well, great!

Best of luck to my State Rep. Gene Wu and the rest of my friends in the Lege.

VP Biden: Hispanics Are All That And A Bag of Tostitos

Well, VP Joe Biden sorta said that. What he actually said was:

“What’s finally happened is the American people, the American people have finally begun to understand …the awesome potential, future potential of the Hispanic community,” he said Thursday at a welcome reception for new Latino members of Congress. “…Now the nation — and I might add the hemisphere — understands the Hispanic community must be courted. Must be courted.”

Of course, as I always say, it’s all about policy. And VP Biden didn’t ignore the policy implications of what he stated.

At the same time, the vice president said the deferrals are “only a small part of what has to be done.” But he also said that he believes Republicans have had a “rapid epiphany” since the election about immigration reform.

Obviously, Latinos are not only about immigration reform, but it is the one issue that Republicans, including their great brown hopes like Cruz and Rubio, have used as their means of pumping up their Tea Party base. In 2012, we all know how that went, but the message is clear:  Don’t target Latinos with hateful legislation if you want to win. And the message goes for Democrats, too.

At least the VP seems to get it.

“You’re the center of this nation’s future,” he said.

NCLR Says Cliff Outcome Good for Latinos

Bigoted Chron Commenters Go Nuts

Janet Murguia from the National Council of La Raza, which the media calls “La Raza” to rile up the right-wing racists, spoke out today in favor of the fiscal cliff outcome which brought both parties together.

“We applaud the White House and Congress for working together to deliver a fair approach to reducing our deficit that doesn’t come at the expense of vulnerable, working and middle-class families,” said Janet Murguía, CEO of the National Council of La Raza.

Murguía hailed the deal, which won the backing of Texas Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and all nine Texas congressional Democrats, as a balanced approach to repair the nation’s fiscal health.

“The overall tax plan passed today is a strong first step toward ensuring that the burden of deficit reduction is shared more fairly, without jeopardizing the health of our economy and the financial security of Latinos and other vulnerable communities,” she said.

Taking a look at the comments, it seems like several heads exploded while commenting. The racism from supporters of the big losers, the Tea Party, speaks for itself. If the Republicans want Latinos votes, then they need to shape up and throw out the Tea Party rhetoric and be a little nicer. Doubtful, but they can always try.

Anyway, the battle isn’t over. Wrangling over spending cuts is coming up, and while the Democrats will take the scalpel approach, the Republicans are hard at work washing themselves to create the bath water with which to attempt to throw the baby. The people, the voters, must remain vigilant and responsive now that a new Congress takes over tomorrow.

SD6 Ballot Positions

SD-6 candidate Joaquin Martinez was at the County Clerk’s office this morning to draw for a ballot position and posted this pic on Facebook. Here’s the order in which the candidates will appear on the ballot.

We all know how folks say that the closer you are to the top the better for you–some say by a few percentage points if you are #1. But in a race like this, I’m pretty sure it will be all about candidate ID, doors knocked and/or bodies dragged to the polls. Good luck to all!

Meanwhile, Kuff has a post on an issue I hope to hear more about in the SD-6 special election–payday lending reform.

2012 – Latinos Bank Some Political Capital

For all intents and purposes, it would seem that 2012 was a bit more than just OK for a lib-lab like myself. It provided more hope–at least more ganas to fight–for public policies beneficial to Latinos. And because the policies would benefit Latinos, they would benefit most everyone else–even the 1%. Of course, I speak in a national sense, since Texas Latinos have more of a fight against the Tea Party’s scorched earth agenda in the Texas Legislature.

President Obama’s re-election, along with the election and re-election of good Democrats in various battlegrounds, has put into play the importance of not only the Latino vote, but the Latino community as a whole. One cannot ignore that Latinos represented 1 in every 10 votes in 2012. If anything, Latinos proved something else:  That ours is a progressive agenda that takes into account all Americans. But instead of fighting for mere existence in American political society, Latinos have now carved themselves a niche in the national conversation, and it should not be only on immigration reform.

Some would argue that we’ve had that niche for a long time, pointing to anecdotal “Latino” political appointments and all other types of window dressing. But that is not enough. As I not-so-jokingly tell people, “It’s about policy, pendejos!”

So, if Latinos truly feel that we made a difference in the 2012 elections, then we must go beyond Election Day and push forth the agenda the we have supported with our vote. And if those we elected to push forth that agenda on our behalf falter in their support, then we must do what we must and call them out, correct them, or vote them out. That’s all part of our rights as voters. And there’s nothing wrong with expecting a return on our investment as voters, no matter who may be the incumbent, no matter who is in charge of our neighborhood political machines.

As President Obama put forth in his interview with David Gregory on Meet The Press, comprehensive immigration reform is a top priority for Year One of Term Two. Frankly, I am glad he said this after all of the posturing by both sides of the gun debate after the tragedy in Newtown. Although I fall on the side of President Obama and Vice President Biden on the debate, the bottom line is that both were elected to put forth public policies that save and bolster our economy, add to the middle class, expand health care, fully fund education, and enact comprehensive immigration reform, among other policies. The voters responded to long-term challenges that have been hounding working and middle class families since Bush-2 was in office. On November 6, President Obama was provided with the political capital to respond to these issues, but he cannot do it alone, either.

Should gun reform be a part of this? Sure. But it should not take precedence over those issues on which many invested their community capital–as activists and as voters.

The fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, jobs and the economy are an ongoing priority, and Latinos wholeheartedly agree. Investing in infrastructure and education is also a top priority for Latinos. Expanding access to health care, too. The one issue that encompasses all of these is comprehensive immigration reform, and so too will it be a top priority. And the polls and the election outcome show that Latinos and the majority of Americans agree. But the battle did not end on Election Day, as the fiscal cliff rhetoric tells us. The people, and in this case, Latinos, must demand these policies be enacted.

Back in 2006, when Democrats won back the majority of seats in Congress, I spent no time in declaring that it happened because of Latinos responding to Republican craziness on the immigration issue. When candidate-Obama won, and the numbers showed that the margins of victory in various battleground states could be credited to the Latino vote, I spent no time in declaring that Latinos should expect some political payback–mostly in the form of comprehensive immigration reform and maybe some good political appointments. In 2010, when Harry Reid defeated a well-funded Tea party challenge by speaking the truth on immigration reform, rather than taking the “blue dog” approach of making Latinos (and not just immigrants) the example, it seemed to me that 2012 had the potential to be special. But our elected leaders need to realize that our importance goes beyond the ballot box. Our importance must be exhibited in the process of creating public policy, and that means Latinos taking responsibility by joining and steering the debate.

It seems that since at least 2006, we’ve been banking some political capital. Yes, we’ve voted in elections past, but did we ever have real potential to effect meaningful and positive public policies? Or a better question, did both sides of the political argument ever have the realization that we matter in the overall conversation? To me, it is obvious. No, on both counts.

Let’s face it, when Republicans are in power, the only policies having anything to do with Latinos have been negative–Voter ID, cuts in public education, sanctuary cities laws, etc. Democrats, although defending on most aspects of the progressive agenda Latinos seem to support, failed on comprehensive immigration reform, which I’ve argued encompasses all other issues in one way or another, and was the basis of most of the negativity coming from Republicans.

But in 2012, it seems to me that we have a political savings account in which we’ve saved up our well-earned political pennies to expend on a positive political agenda. And it’s time we do. Not only the voters, but any progressive Latino elected official, too. The Latino electeds should not just wait to be told that it’s their turn, and neither should the Latino electorate wait. Whatever the outcome, it is the fight that matters and empowers us for the future.

Now, it may seem to any right-wing Republican or to any white liberal who thinks he/she is doing Latinos a favor, that I’m being too Latino-centric. Well, I started this blog because no one was mentioning Latinos in the progressive conversation, unless it was to chastise our voter turnout on the day after election day. So, let’s toss the hurt feelings aside and begin an inclusive progressive movement. Don’t try to do Latinos any favors with pats on the head, but do some listening, instead.

In 2012, Latinos sent a message and have become part of the conversation–even though most of the TV talking heads on Sunday morning aren’t Latinos, but that’s a whole other battle. But it is up to the Latino electorate (and not just those individual Latinos on end-of-year “Top 10″ lists) to continue pushing beyond Election Day to ensure our elected officials create public policy that is beneficial to all.

Let’s get to work.

Update:  LA Times seems to be just as worried about immigration reform being overshadowed by the gun fight. I’m sure Republicans would breathe a sigh a relief.

Update:  Think Progress tells us that President Obama, much like he mentioned on Meet the Press, is moving forward with immigration reform.

The Obama administration’s “social media blitz” will start in January and is expected “to tap the same organizations and unions that helped get a record number of Latino voters to reelect the president.” Cabinet secretaries and lawmakers from both parties are already holding initial meetings to iron out the details of the proposal and Obama will to push for a broad bill.