Category Archives: Kingwood Politics

Rally for Reproductive Rights – The Bus Schedule

Thanks to Richard Shaw for getting this bit of information out about Saturday the 28th.

Rally with the Women of Texas on the Steps of the Capitol

Unite against the War on Women!

Date:    Saturday, April 28, 2012

Time:    4-6 P.M.

Where:  Texas State Capitol, Austin, Texas (South Steps)

Buses from Houston

North:  Deerbrook Mall parking lot by Macy’s, 20131 Highway 59 North, Humble, Texas 77338

Central:  Lowe’s parking lot, behind the IBEW Hall, 1475 North Loop West, Houston, Texas 77008

Cost:  $20 early registration (by April 25th)

 $25 after April 25th

Meet at 11 a.m.  Buses depart promptly at 11:30 a.m.

Bring your favorite snacks or soft drinks.  Water provided.

Reservation and payment required:

http://www.wcscwebs.com/wowhoustontexas

For Inquires, email:  wowhouston@gmail.com or leave phone message at 713-868-4805.

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Kingwood Dems Support March Against War on Women

No sooner had I moved into the city, I was already back in Kingwood yesterday to visit the Kingwood Area Dems. The KADers have committed to going to Austin to support the March Against the War on Women. Egberto has the story:

We were honored to have Diane Mosier and Andrea Gardner, Houston, TX leaders of the “National March Against The War On Women”. They eloquently detailed the plans for the march at our Capitol in Austin, Texas on April 28th, 2012. Please visit the site and make a donation NOW if you can. I just made my donation.

TexasObserverApril2012coverWe must have a large well supported rally to let our Texas Legislature and all legislatures around the country know that we won’t allow them to infringe on the rights or put the health of our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our grandmothers, our nieces, or our wives in jeopardy. Men, women, and children will be standing up for the rights of all women.

Our Kingwood Area Democrats members Susana Palma and Angelo Palma have kindly offered to provide a bus to take part of a group to Austin.

The Palmas are pretty awesome people and among my favorite pro-choice activists. I guess I’m committed to heading to Austin, too!  See you on the 28th!

Side-Note:  It was great seeing CD-2 Democrat Jim Dougherty making the rounds. He knows Kingwood and the northern reaches of the county have some hard-core activists who will support him. Make sure you visit his Facebook page and give it a “like.”

Side-Note #2:  In a separate post, Egberto provides a copy of a hate letter he received from one of his neighbors. Don’t worry “Ergbeto,” we got your back, carnal!

Council Joins Voters: Turn Them Off!

Houston City Council voted to repeal the red light camera ordinance today, and according to a tweet from inside city hall, they have been turned off as of 12:01 PM. Although some argue this brings some finality to the issue, I seriously doubt it.

The contract dispute does continue and I would certainly hope that the naysayers continue to speak out as it is our City tax dollars which could take a hit, depending on settlement negotiations or any other outcome. And somewhere in the process of the contract negotiation a few years ago, it was the red light camera vendor/corporation which thumbed its nose at the people.

As a vendor to the government, and therefore, the people, American Traffic Solutions has a responsibility to support the people’s position in a contract negotiation and not just be in it for the profit. Whether this is codified anywhere is beyond me, but it is common sense if such a company would like to remain a vendor in the future.  Actually, that would just be good business to always keep the position of your customers in mind.

I was not a fan of red light cameras, but not because of the usual reasons. 9-11 and the Patriot Act allowed for a whole bunch of paranoia, and the same folks who like to pick and choose whose window to look into, in this case, don’t want to be caught on camera themselves. So, that was not a reason for my opposition.

Mine came more from a mistrust of government vendors and corporations who more often are having more say in how government is run than the people. While the people look for excellence in service, corporations seem to only be looking at their own bottom lines. This whole episode is an example of this. I’m all for companies providing their professional services to our governments, but let’s not get greedy, now.

Obviously, we’re still keeping our attention on this and I hope Mayor Parker and her legal team are able to limit any damage, since she (and now Council) seem to have gone out on a limb for the 53% of the people who voted against red light cameras.

Drive safely! I know I do.

Mandatory Water Conservation Is Coming

Whenever I cross the river (the San Jac) over to Humble, whether it is along US 59 or Lake Houston Parkway, it’s easy to notice that water levels have dropped significantly. With Lake Houston being one of our main sources of water, I was wondering when exactly we’d be told to conserve water.

It’s here!

Under Stage 2, those restrictions would become mandatory. Other restrictions, such as a prohibition on washing cars, would be added, Parker said. Residents also would be required to repair water leaks on their properties within 72 hours.

The mandatory restrictions would be enforced through fines, though Parker did not elaborate.

“We are coming closer and closer to drawing down water from Lake Conroe to stabilize the water levels in Lake Houston,” the mayor said. “And we are coming closer and closer to a stage 2 water conservation, which is mandatory.”

The city has not had to draw down water from Lake Conroe to stabilize Lake Houston since 1988. The water from Lake Conroe would be use to boost the level in Lake Houston to prevent damage to intake mechanisms that supply water to the city.

Of course, a good way to lower water use is through embarrassment. Look at what the San Antonio Water System is known for doing.

In Other Water News…

Meanwhile, my elected officials want to dredge up Lake Houston to get rid of some of the silt at the bottom of the lake, and they’ve asked the Mayor to do it. Of course, Ted Poe should be asking for federal money for this, but instead, they’d much rather raid the drainage fee and other local sources to fund this.

Here’s an idea:  Go after the mining companies that dump silt into the river. What? Do they think the silt appears naturally?

Because of sand mining, the San Jacinto was named one of 10 most endangered rivers in 2006 by American Rivers. Sand and gravel mining – including the production of its main product, concrete – contributes an estimated $19.6 billion to the Texas economy annually. (For comparison, wildlife watching contributes $1.3 billion, and total tourism $44 billion). Sand mining may have a role in Texas, but does it belong on the San Jacinto? The river provides the city its drinking water via Lake Houston, and the upstream forested reaches of the watershed help protect Houston from downstream flooding.

With $19.6 billion being exchanged, certainly someone should be paying for it, and it doesn’t only have to be the gum’mint.

Of course, for the future, perhaps Poe, Huberty and their Republican buddies can do something about this:

Sand mining is not a regulated industry in Texas, unlike most other states. In other words, the industry has no regulations to follow, no permits to apply for, and no reclamation to complete once finished.

Silly me.

Lawsuit Filed Against Harris County Over Redistricting

A lawsuit was filed today by a group of plaintiffs, including Houston City Councilmembers James Rodriguez and Ed Gonzalez, as well as DosCentavos.net contributor Dr. Reynaldo Guerra.

CM Gonzalez released this statement:

“The proposed map cracks communities of interests and dilutes the voting strength of Latinos in Precinct 2. Despite the fact that Latinos drove the overwhelming growth of the population since the last census and now constitute over 40% of the population in Harris County, Latinos are poised to lose the only seat on Commissioners Court where they have an opportunity to elect a representative of their choice,” said Council Member Gonzalez.

He followed, “The inclusion of a suburban community, Kingwood, into Precinct 2, is neither necessary nor justified. Alternate maps have been drawn by members of the community that show that it is possible to increase the population and voting strength of Latinos in Precinct 2 without adversely impacting neighboring Precincts from electing a representative of their choice.”

“We need a map that is representative of the County and that is fair for Latinos,” concluded Gonzalez.

As a resident of Kingwood and Precinct 4, I would have to agree with the Councilman. In fact, I would go further and state that the inclusion of Precincts 758 and 760 (north of the San Jacinto River) directly contribute to the Precinct’s decimation as a Latino opportunity precinct.

DosCentavos.net will be following the lawsuit and the litigation. Harris County can either comply with the Voting Rights Act and deliver a representative map, or it can spend tax dollars in defending a politically-motivated redrawing of Harris County.

Mention is also given to Harris County’s election and voter registration practices, which stand to further target Latino voter registration. Frankly, this goes beyond Precinct 2 to all four precincts, so I’m glad that this will also be heard.

Kuff has more.

Here’s a copy of the lawsuit:

ReDrawing Houston 2011

The Mayor’s first map in the Houston re-draw has been released and I must say that I am not surprised. The map tells us something I said upon my return to blogging a few weeks ago after the Census was unveiled–Latinos are everywhere!

Greg Wythe provided us some live-blogging of the conversation at City Hall today. It seems a few folks aren’t too happy based on conversations on the Twitter and at least one press release, while others are ecstatic with the proposed District J bounderies.

One thing is for sure; based on the numbers, there are four Latino-majority population districts, with the original H and I being joined by A and F. Even if you count for Voting Age Population (VAP), A, F, H, and I are over 50% Hispanic. And B, C, E, and K are 30% to almost 40% in Hispanic VAP.  Again, Latinos are everywhere and we aren’t concentrated in a couple of neighborhoods anymore–even in the electoral sense. And all that sounds great, but currently, that may not amount to CITIZEN voting age population (CVAP) for those districts in which we see a burgeoning Hispanic population. And that is where some of the disappointment may lie.

So, there will be questions like, “where’s the new Latino district?” and others challenging the proposed “J” which has almost 1/4 Latino VAP, but not drawn to be a more Hispanic district, as expected by some. I continue to ask if another Hispanic district with enough citizens of voting age can be drawn without it looking like some weird maze. “Maybe,” is what I hear.

But I go back to the fact that I tend to be enjoying more–Latinos are everywhere! And if you’re concerned about CVAP, then this article tells us that Houston gained more in child population than any other metro area, so that means more future voters–everywhere!

In other words, I see an opportunity in all of this for a combination of representation and power-sharing, if I can be so bold as to use the latter term. District F serves as a prime opportunity to maximize voting power between the Asian-American and Latino communities, and others who may want to join. Other districts which are predominantly African American are seeing an increase in Hispanic population, so there is an opportunity there, as well. Obviously, District A is one of those districts in which much can be done, if there is a real commitment.

The bottom line is that it is fast becoming a challenge for any one group to hold on to absolute power, or at least have what some would call representation, in a district, let alone citywide. As I’ve always said, a majority in population does  not amount to power unless you are able to utilize the vast majority of that population to gain power. And power does not necessarily mean just another brown face.

Latinos are not there, yet, (some argue we don’t even try given our voter turnout numbers) and as long as we have elected officials content with adequate turnout to ensure their own re-elections, then Latinos will not get far at all and we will continue being a blip in future historic political victories, instead of a force.

Obviously, the debate has just begun, and there will probably be some tweaking to the map, but for all intents and purposes, I think it’s a good start and brings to light some realities that Latinos must face–we’re everywhere! At the very least, it provides an opportunity for discussion.  Obviously, if Latinos want representation (or influence) in at least a couple more of these districts, well, we need to vote. We certainly cannot get squeamish about the work that must be done to put a couple more brown faces on the horseshoe at city hall.

My camarada Kuff has his view on things.

At least regarding the direction of this discussion, we can certainly be civil and not play the victim.

Rally Sends Message: Don’t Mess With Texas Schools!

Teaching was the hardest work I had ever done, and it remains the hardest work I have done to date. ~ Gov. Ann Richards

Led in by a high school drumline, thousands of teachers, parents, students and just plain ol’ Texans converged on the Capitol to demand of the Texas Legislature and Governor Perry to “save our schools.”

Although estimates go from a Texas DPS trooper’s estimate of 8,000 to the organzers’ 11,000, looking at the crowd from the makeshift stage sure did make for a beautiful sight.

Speakers of all ages, such as Dallas student Dalton Sherman, educational leaders like Michael Hinojosa, Bobby Rigues, John Kuhn, and John Folks, and political leaders like Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio anchored the event. Most impressive were students, parents and teachers who also spoke to the crowd about the educational needs of their respective communities.

The crowd looked like Texas as it was very diverse in color and in politics, yet, it was one issue that brought them to Austin from across the State of Texas:  Funding education.  And let me tell you, although the “attack” may have been on Rick Perry, the governor sure as hell earned it with his recent shirking of his responsibilities, blaming school districts for their budget shortfalls, although it is Perry who has threatened to cut $9 billion from public schools.

As Republican legislators begin to embrace the fact that releasing the Rainy Day Fund is a necessity, it seems they were also in town for the Rally. I know I saw several cars with “State Official” plates  parked on the Capitol grounds and at least one Republican state rep. from my neck of the woods was actually sitting with colleagues behind the podium, Dan Huberty (although in this pic, he seems to be his very own little island.)

No doubt, Huberty was there to greet and hopefully listen to his consituents (teachers,  students and parents) who made the trip for the rally, including Humble ISD chief Sconzo.

Six hours of driving, a nasty sunburn on my face, and dealing with annoying Austin bicyclists who think they own the road, I have returned to Houston satisfied with the out come, and reassured that these direct actions will continue across the state and in Austin. Hanging out with 8,000 or 11,000 (or even if it only had been 100)  of my closest friends was worth it.

It’s about Education, studid! As Texans, we have a right to demand what is right.

Reminder: Houston gets its own rally on the steps of City Hall on Tuesday, March 15. DosCentavos will be there, camera and all! Stay tuned!

Photos:  DCMedia, All Rights Reserved

Coverage:

Austin American Statesman
Texas Tribune
Coby @ Bay Area Houston
Off The Kuff
PDiddie
Eyes on Williamson County
Juanita Jean

The Longoria Affair: A Soldier’s Civil Rights Story and Discussion at LSC-Kingwood

DosCentavos.net will be at the screening of The Longoria Affair on Monday night at Lone Star College-Kingwood. In invite all my friends to attend, learn a bit about the Mexican American Civil Rights movement’s roots, and learn some real Texas history.

A soldier’s fight during War World II did not prepare his family for the civil rights battle that ensued after his death. Pvt. Felíx Longoría’sstory, now known as “The Longoría Affair” will be shared for free with Lone Star College-Kingwood students, faculty staff and the community Monday, Nov. 15.

John J. Valadez, producer of “The Longoría Affair” will show the audience how Longoría’s death gave life to the Mexican-Americans’ fight for civil rights in Texas. The documentary will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in the college’s Student Fine Arts Theatre.

“‘The Longoría Affair’ is a compelling story of the struggle for Mexican-American civil rights during War World II. As a resident of Three Rivers in Texas, draftee Pvt. Felíx Longoría served his country patriotically. Sadly, the soldier’s supreme sacrifice to America culminated more than half a year into his tour of duty in the Philippines when he was shot by an enemy sniper in 1944,” said Raúl Reyes, history professor.

Posthumously, Longoría became a national victim of racial bigotry when according to the PBS documentary, “the funeral home in his hometown refused [to host the soldier's wake] and turned away his widow for fear that the whites might not like it.”

Longoría’s story angered many in the Mexican-American community and caught the attention of Dr. Héctor García, president and founder of the American GI Forum (World War II Mexican-American veterans). Garcia advocated on behalf of the widow and sent at least 17 telegrams to politicians and radio personalities such as Drew Pearson and Walter Winchell.

“The radio personalities aired Garcia’s impassioned telegram which reflected that the denial of burial services was a direct contradiction of the principals that this American soldier made in sacrificing his life for his country and for the same people who denied him his last funeral rites, which is deserving of any American hero regardless of origin,” Reyes said.

The ensuing fight for civil rights paid off when Senator Lyndon B. Johnson arranged for a full military honors and burial for Longoría in the Arlington National Cemetery in 1949.

“The Longoría Affair” will be shown as part of LSC-Kingwood’s International Education Week Nov. 15-18 and in belated recognition of Veterans Day. For more information on the event, contact Raúl Reyes at 281-312-1594 or email him at Raul.R.Reyes@LoneStar.edu. For more information on “The Longoría Affair” click here.


KAD Thanks HSYD

The Houston Stonewall Young Democrats saved the Kingwood Area Democrats! Seeking a pretty awesome photo for their ad for the local Tribune, KAD sought out the organization that developed the best direct mail piece for 2010.

HSYDs piece showcased their endorsed slate in a photo that really shows the diversity of the Democratic Party. And then KAD sent me to beg HSYD for permission to use it.  (Just Kidding!) Actually, HSYD came through showing that our clubs work together toward a common goal–electing a diverse Democratic slate.  And that’s something we in Kingwood aren’t afraid to show ‘em, either.

So, thanks again to HSYD! Here is the KAD finished product.

In A Side-by-Side, Montemayor is the Obvious Choice

The Tribune ran a comparison of the candidates for Texas House District 127.

I’ll let Joe Montemayor Speak for himself.

Education

Montemayor strongly believes that Texas has failed to prepare students for college and/or the workforce, and that schools need to be fully funded in order to improve student performance.

“I’ve been concerned with the representation we’ve been getting for our kids,” he said. “It also concerns me that tuition fees for college are getting outrageous; I’ve talked to kids in heavy debt; it’s been a big concern for me.”

He also strongly advocates for mentoring programs for high-school students.

“We need to start doing that now,” he said. “I’ve helped kids all my life, and what we are working for is the future of our children.”

Economy

“I’m a conservative Democrat,” said Montemayor on the topic of economy. “I believe in transparency and accountability.”

In a similar stance to Huberty, Montemayor also believes that the margins tax is ill-advised.

“It shifted the burden to small businesses to pick up the load for the lack of funding for our schools, basically,” he said. “When that happened, we knew this was going to bite us in the backside. We have to go back and revisit that whole system.

“Small businesses need relief or it will strangle our economy,” he concluded.

Montemayor also said he is an advocate of lifting the moratorium on deep-water drilling, because of how much it is hurting the economy.

He pointed out how important it is to have someone in Austin who can relate to the average Texan.

“I’ve been blue-collar all my life,” he said. “I didn’t sit behind a desk. I know what it’s like to struggle to pay the mortgage. We need someone in Austin who understands that.”

Border Control

Montemayor believes intelligence, not a “boots-on-the-ground” mentality, is what is needed most to address the challenges Texas faces at the border. He brings several years of experience to the table with immigration and border issues, having spent 25 years with the Department of Homeland Security as an agent with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).

“Boots on the ground is great, but I’ve been preaching intelligence forever, and how intelligence gathering is key,” he said. “We need to be smart about how we enforce the laws, and develop the resources and critical contacts necessary.”

Montemayor feels confident he can handle these issues.

“I think I’m better qualified to know what border security is all about,” he said.

Wrap-up

Montemayor believes in a life of service, and he wants to continue that tradition by serving the state of Texas.

“I’ve devoted over half my life to serving the community,” he said. We are in a crisis situation, and we need a representative who has the best interests of the people at heart.”

Montemayor also asserts that Governor Perry has run up the debt and did not make tough choices. He compared the situation to that of parents that know their child has gotten out of control and needs boundaries, and that a “fraternity brother” mentality has reigned over the politics in Texas.

“It’s time for the parents to step in and say, ‘you know what? It’s over,’” he said.

Meanwhile, his opponent talks the same old line, especially regarding “border control” where he includes “strict Voter ID” law as part of the border. The waste on “fraud” charges at the Texas Attorney General’s office where over $4,000,000 was wasted shows that the whole idea of voter fraud is a Republican myth that continues the tax waste.

On Education, Joe’s opponent calls for “local control,” but under Dan Huberty, Humble ISD has struggled, taxes have increased with little return, and teachers are not effectively represented and defended. We may have a shiny new stadium that we’ll pay off in 30 years, but our teachers will not get raises and our children will still be in over-burdened classrooms today.

On the economy, Huberty calls for less regulation, but Huberty doesn’t mind Rick Perry’s Corporate Slush Fund, which has benefited Republican donors and has resulted in low wage jobs and a failure to meet job-creation targets. Huberty believes in government for a few if it’s his chosen few, and not you.

And on “border control” Huberty is simply ill-prepared, taking lessons from Ted Poe’s right-wing mentality. Joe Montemayor offers experience and talks sensibly, rather than divisively.

Simply put, as the article mentions the end of Joe Crabb’s career, this election is about whether voters want to continue the Joe Crabb Era or have a new beginning in state government. With Joe Montemayor, you get representation, an independent voice, and a representative not tainted by corporate contributions.

With Dan Huberty, well, you get the same old songs with a different album cover.

Contribute to Joe Montemayor today.