Category Archives: Texas Dems 2012

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.

SD-6 Candidate Filings

Well, the good people at the Communications Department of the Secretary of State just provided me with the applications of those who have filed for a spot on the January 26 ballot for the Senate District 6 Special Election. There are eight who filed applications (in the order SOS sent them).

  • Carol Alvarado – Democrat
  • R.W. Bray – Republican
  • Susan Delgado – Democrat
  • Sylvia R. Garcia – Democrat
  • Joaquin Martinez – Democrat
  • Dorothy Olmos – Republican
  • Rodolfo “Rudy” Reyes – NO PARTY AFFILIATION LISTED
  • Maria Selva – Green

More commentary on this later, but that’s the latest. PDiddie has his comments, though.

Kuff adds this to his piece from earlier today:

What we don’t know is why there was no one at the Chron or the Trib that bothered to find this out, leaving it instead to a bunch of unpaid bloggers. Be that as it may, I’ll have a post with more information tomorrow.

All it took was a nice e-mail, actually.

Joaquin Martinez Announces for Senate District 6

Joaquin Martinez, Democrat for SD-6

As the deadline for filing comes to a close, a post by a Facebook friend caught my attention. Joaquin Martinez, a community advocate who has spent the last decade working for Neighborhood Centers, Inc., announced he would be seeking the position of State Senator for District 6. Here’s his post.

For those who may not know, the filing date for the Senate District 6 race is Thursday, December 27th. I plan on filing for candidacy for this race. I need community support and backing in order to reach some of these goals. I am setting a stage for “new,” motivated and engaged individuals that want to be a part of the conversations that affect us all.

In addition to being a father, I strive to fulfill my role as productive citizen. I understand that it is important that we find a balance in family, finances and service in our community. We work to provide paths to success for our children through education, hoping to enhance their lives with opportunities our parents did not have.

We hope to one day own homes and build a community that is a true “home” where safety and health are values upheld for function and principle. If we attain these dreams, we must realize our successes were supplemented by the guidance, love, and support of our mentors and role models; we should look to find ways to give back in the same manner they have.

I am running for office with faith that I can find common ground with current leaders through new conversations about how we can build communities from the ground up. Over the years, I have come to realize that my responsibility as a parent and community leader is to not only inform families about our civic process, but to also connect families with this process. I have had numerous discussions with individuals that are eager to take part in this social responsibility, but no one has been around to cultivate and mentor these potential leaders.

The people of Texas Senate District 6 are in a pivotal position to empower themselves in this city and this county once we have grassroots leadership willing to take on this responsibility. I want to be a part of this new conversation. I am asking those that want to become more knowledgeable with this process (while becoming more engaged) to support me during this race. If you are interested in getting involved, then please contact me at your earliest convenience. You can start by liking my page, Joaquin Martinez.

On his Campaign facebook page was this bio.

Joaquin Martinez, father to Joaquin Edward Martinez, is a native Houstonian and has been a silent community leader in the East End. Joaquin has worked for one of Houston’s oldest and largest non-profits, Neighborhood Centers, for over 10 years within the Community Based Initiatives department. Joaquin’s continued perseverance and personal values have allowed him to continue his education at the University of Houston – Downtown as he pursues a B.A. in Political Science.

Joaquin’s previous role as a Youth Manager has been to build youth programs in the East End, Sunnyside, Independence Heights, Pasadena and La Porte communities in order to build upon the skills of the youth in these communities. Joaquin also took on the role of Program Coordinator in the Pasadena and La Porte communities, where civic engagement and education were fundamental in creating an community environment. Joaquin has seen many youths become successful; he continually challenges parents to remain involved their children’s lives. Joaquin also worked as Staff under Council Member John Castillo, in which he visited several civic club meetings and was committed to assure that community member’s needs were met.

Joaquin Martinez has a strong commitment to public service. Joaquin has been a little league coach for both East End Little League and Dixie Little League for over 6 years and continues to provide a leadership role as the Vice President of the Board with Dixie Little League. Joaquin has also been active at Mason Park as a coach for the Magnolia Park Sharks for 2 years. Joaquin shall continue his involvement because he believes that these activities are not only important to the mental, physical, and social development of his child, but also to the children in his community. As a father, Joaquin has continued to be engaged in his son’s education by taking on a leadership role with the Parent Teacher Organization board. Joaquin recognizes that community involvement and genuine conversations are fundamental to the growth and development of a vibrant community.

Joaquin has attended Blessed Sacrament Church for over 20 years were he is also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #7230. Joaquin is also member of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity and graduate of the National Hispanic Professional Organization were he has cultivated his leadership and service values that has given him a conviction to serve his community in a leadership role.

From what I’ve seen of Joaquin, he’s an energetic community leader who can build a grassroots base on a strong foundation. Will the fast run-up to the January 26 election date be a challenge against some well-financed candidates? Obviously, but it is good to see a “new” leader put his name out there for consideration.

Contact information:

Phone (832) 278-2186

Email joaquin@martinezcampaign.com

Website http://www.martinezcampaign.com (Up and Running))

Inbox: SD6 Election Timeline

The Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis sent out a timeline of what to expect for the SD6 Special Election, now that Perry actually set a date.

Candidates for this special election must file the Application for a Place on the Ballot (Special Election to Fill a Vacancy) with the Secretary of State by 5:00 pm on December 26, 2012. Early voting runs form Wednesday, January 9, 2013 to Tuesday, January 22, 2013.

Timeline 

December 2012

  • December 14, 2012 – First day to apply for Ballot by Mail
  • December 26, 2012, 5:00pm – Last day to file for a place on the Ballot
  • December 27, 2012 – Last day to register to vote
  • December 31, 2012 – 30-day campaign finance report due (tentative)

January 2013

  • January 9, 2013 – First day of Early Voting
  • January 15, 2013 – Semiannual finance report due
  • January 18, 2013 – Last day to apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked)
  • January 18, 2013 – 8-day campaign finance report due (tentative)
  • January 22, 2013 – Last day of Early Voting
  • January 26, 2013 – Election Day

One interesting tidbit.

HCDP will not be taking a position on any Democratic Candidate nor will it be providing any favorable resources to one candidate over another.  All paid staff of Harris County Democratic Party is prohibited from making any public endorsements, financial contributions, or expressing public favoritism for any particular Democratic candidate.

That’s a good reminder.

Obviously, if you’re thinking about running make sure you look at the residency requirements and other qualifications. And if you do decide to run, make sure you file your Texas Ethics Commission campaign treasurer’s appointment and complete your reports. These are the kinds of things bloggers like to look at.

Governor Calls for January 26 Special Election in SD6

Gov. Rick Perry has finally set a date for the SD-6 Special Election.

Gov. Rick Perry today set Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, as the special election date to fill the Texas State Senate District 6 seat formerly held by the late Sen. Mario Gallegos.

Candidates for this special election must file applications with the Secretary of State no later than 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2012. The early voting period runs from Wednesday, January 9 to Tuesday, January 22.

The winner will serve a four year term beginning in 2013.

View the governor’s proclamation setting the special election for this vacancy.

Will there be a run-off? And when? Well, let’s get through this first round, first.

UPDATE:  Sylvia Garcia Responds

“Governor Perry’s decision to call the special election for Senate District 6 is bittersweet. Our campaign and our supporters are thrilled that the election date has been set. We are knocking on nearly 10,000 doors per week, identifying thousands of supporters, and working hard to earn the votes of working families in this district.

But make no mistake, this session will begin with an empty seat for Senate District 6 at a time when we will see battles over our children’s education, expanding Medicaid to bring quality healthcare to our families, and fighting for good jobs in the Houston area. Governor Perry’s delay in his decision means our communities will have no voice in Austin for nearly 10 percent of the 2013 session.

That is why it is so important that we elect a Senator with the courage and integrity to fight for schools, fight for our health care, fight for our jobs, and to stand up to Rick Perry. That is why I am running for the Texas Senate, and it is why I believe we will win.”

Some will argue that “nothing happens” during the early part of the session, but isn’t that a part of the problem? Let’s remember that the session only lasts 140 days and it is Latinos, the poor, women, the elderly and others that need to be defended from Rick Perry and his right-wing.

Update:  Carol Alvarado’s Reaction (Facebook)

I am pleased Governor Perry has called a prompt election on January 26th to succeed Senator Mario Gallegos. In just a few weeks, the Texas Legislature will convene with serious issues facing our state – restoring funding to our public schools, creating good jobs and economic opportunity, making college affordable, and protecting our senior citizens. The people of Senate District 6 need and deserve representation on these and all issues, and a January 26th election will give them a Senator sooner rather than later.

 

You Callin’ Me F’urn?

Well, according to SA Mayor Julian Castro, the Republicans sure as heck think of Latinos as something foreign.

“What they’re not getting is that it’s not just about changing the tone, it’s not just about not talking about electrified fences and not being uncivil. It’s also about fundamentally changing the policies that they embrace. Being more willing to engage in conversations and discussions and actually get comprehensive immigration reform done. Get the Dream Act done. Think about and include the Latino community as a part of the fabric, the family of the Untied States which it clearly is and always has been. When they think about the Latino community you can tell in both in tone and in policy that they think of it as something foreign.”

Well, I’m glad someone with national prominence finally said this. Of course, there are a few Dems that do/have done that, too. And the Democrats have fallen over each other to support right-wing, anti-immigrant Dems here in Texas. I won’t bother rehashing the names, but we all know it’s true.

The GOP still has not begun to learn any lessons from their 2012 thrashing at the hands of Latin@s, but they are attempting to write the lesson plan to their own liking. Obviously, Castro reads them like I do.

Ultimately, when we begin to hear these type of remarks from people who do not look like Castro, then we will begin to see a lot more stirring from the Latino community.

Garcia to Perry: Call This Election

Sylvia Garcia, the former county commish running for Texas Senate District-6 has asked Gov. Rick Perry to call a special election as soon as possible. Perry has yet to respond or say anything about SD-6, so, Sylvia Garcia is engaging the people of Senate District 6 by asking them to sign a petition to show Perry that the people want a State Senator sooner and not at his political leisure.

“The legislature will start on January 8th and Senate District 6 needs a strong voice in Austin to restore public education funding and fight for healthcare for our seniors and our children. Unless Governor Perry calls the election right away we could be without a state senator in Austin for two months after the session has started,” said Garcia.

Representative Jessica Farrar pointed out that the 7 state representatives that are in Senate District 6 are left with out a leader in the Senate to work with on bringing their legislative issues forward from the house. “We need a Senator on January 8th, I am asking all of my constituents to sign, please go to Sylvia Garcia’s website and sign the petition,” said Farrar.

Garcia continues to campaign and the endorsements continue to roll-in, including influential neighborhood organizing group, Texas Organizing Project. Hundreds attended the grand opening of her campaign HQ on Saturday, and already over 100 have signed the petition demanding the Governor call a special election.

The energy is definitely out there. The people want an election and they deserve it. Like any political office, it belongs to the people.

Immigration Policy Center: 287(g) Flawed and Obsolete

The Immigration Policy Center released a report on the dreaded 287(g) program  which allows local law enforcement to act like federal immigration agents. They basically call it what DosCentavos has been calling it since its inception:  Flawed. And today, IPC stated that the practices used in running the program are obsolete. This should send a message to law enforcement agencies, such as Harris County Sheriff’s Department.

Here are a few highlights of the report:

287(g) Agreements Have Resulted in Widespread Racial Profiling

A report by Justice Strategies found that 87% of the jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements had a rate of Latino population growth higher than the national average.

287(g) Agreements Drain Local Coffers

Aside from training deputized officers on the enforcement of federal immigration law, ICE does not pay for any costs associated with implementation of the program, including overtime and financial liability arising from civil rights violations.

287(g) Partnerships Net Few Violent Criminals

[When DosCentavos debated HCSO’s communications guy back in 2010 on 287(g) at a Young Dems meeting, he wasn’t able to give any real figures as to detentions of violent criminals; instead, they have boasted big numbers on all detentions. An ICE report and other reports stated that the majority of immigrants detained using 287(g) were low-grade offenders whose crimes usually do not net a deportation. This report mentions a UNC report which gives a similar outcome in North Carolina.]

The report from the University of North Carolina found that 287(g) agreements in the state were primarily used to target offenders who posed no threat to public safety or individuals with no criminal record. For example, 33% of individuals detained through the 287(g) program were charged with traffic violations, a figure that rose to 41% in Alamance County and 57% in Gaston County.

287(g) Agreements Threaten Community Safety and Hinder Community Policing

  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the nation’s premier law enforcement association, has stated that “local police agencies depend on the cooperation of immigrants, legal and illegal, in solving all sorts of crimes and in the maintenance of public order. Without assurances that they will not be subject to an immigration investigation and possible deportation, many immigrants with critical information would not come forward, even when heinous crimes are committed against them or their families.”
  • The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), a group of police chiefs from the 64 largest police departments in the United States and Canada, similarly has written: “without assurances that contact with the police would not result in purely civil immigration enforcement action, the hard won trust, communication and cooperation from the immigrant community would disappear.”

287(g) Agreements Lack Sufficient Federal Oversight

  • Although federal law mandates that 287(g) officers be subject to the direction and supervision of federal officials, numerous investigations have found federal oversight to be insufficient and lax. A March 2010 report by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that ICE and its local law enforcement partners had not complied with the terms of their 287(g) agreements; that the standards by which deputized officers are evaluated contradicted the stated objectives of the 287(g) program; that the program was poorly supervised by ICE; and that additional oversight was necessary.
  • A January 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that ICE has failed to articulate the 287(g) program’s objectives or how local partners are to use their 287(g) authority. While ICE officials have stated that the purpose of the program is to address serious crime, such as narcotics smuggling, ICE has never documented this objective or provided statistics to validate it. As a result, local police have used their 287(g) authority to detain immigrants for traffic violations and other minor crimes.

287(g) Agreements are Obsolete

  • With the Secure Communities program in effect in virtually all U.S. jurisdictions, many have argued that 287(g) agreements no longer serve any plausible law enforcement benefit. Under the Secure Communities program, fingerprints of all state and local arrestees are routed to ICE officials, who can themselves determine whether to initiate removal proceedings. While Secure Communities also jeopardizes community policing and public safety, and fails to solve the problem of racial profiling by state and local police, all immigration enforcement decisions under Secure Communities are made by federal authorities.
  • In its budget justification for fiscal 2013, DHS sought $17 million less in funding for the 287(g) program, and said that in light of the expansion of Secure Communities, “it will no longer be necessary to maintain the more costly and less effective 287(g) program.”

The local sheriff has testified in favor of re-funding 287(g), but the bottom line is that another bad program (Secure Communities) has the same goals. Still flawed, though, it doesn’t make sense to fund two flawed programs. At the very least, 287(g) needs to be ended, especially as moves are made toward a sensible immigration policy in Washington.

Garcia Calls on Perry to Set Date in SD-6

If you’re following on Facebook, you have noticed that there’s been a lot of campaigning for the SD-6 special election, but the problem is that there is yet to be a date set for said election. Today, one of the candidates, former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, called on Governor Rick Perry to set a date. Here’s what just came into the inbox:

Houston, TX – Senate District 6 candidate Sylvia Garcia, today called on Governor Rick Perry to set an election date to fill the senate district seat as soon as possible.

“This is a simple taxation without representation issue,” Garcia said. “The working families of our district, most of whom are Latino and African American, deserve to have their voices heard in Austin without delay.”

“I have one thing to say to Governor Perry,” Garcia continued, “call this election now. The families of Senate District 6 deserve a strong voice in Austin for the legislative session that starts in January of 2013.”

According to published reports by the Houston Chronicle and Texas Tribune, Perry can set the special election for District 6 anytime between Dec 15, 2012 and February 5, 2012.

“The next legislative session begins in less than 2 months,” said City Council Member Ed Gonzalez. The legislature will be making decisions that impact our city and the citizens of Senate District 6.  That is why it is so important that this election happens as soon as possible — the families of our district don’t have time to waste.”

“Rick Perry has cut billions of dollars from our public schools and fired thousands of teachers. And because Perry is opposing President Obama’s health care law, up to 400,000 Harris County residents could be denied health insurance,” Garcia concluded. “It’s no wonder Rick Perry is now dragging his feet by refusing to set the special election date for Senate District 6, and making it harder for our families to have our voices heard.”

We’ll be waiting for the Governor to say something.