Category Archives: Uncategorized

Juliet Stipeche Joins Turner Administration

stipecheCongrats to one of my favorite great minds in the world, Juliet Stipeche, on being named Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Director of Education. It isn’t often when one meets such an intelligent and forward-thinking individual who has been able to push through the political muck and still end up being productive–and for all the right reasons. She’ll be great at this job.

Here’s the press release:

Mayor Sylvester Turner has selected former Houston Independent School District Trustee Juliet Stipeche to serve as Director of Education, a new position within the mayor’s administration.

“Juliet is very passionate about education and children and I share that passion,” said Mayor Turner.  “She is a visionary with transformative ideas.  Her collaborative approach of working with parents, administrators, business, law enforcement and neighborhoods will help achieve my goal of moving this city forward and reducing the income inequality that is so often the result of deficiencies in the education system.”

Stipeche comes to the mayor’s office from Rice University where she was Associate Director of the Richard Tapia Center for Excellence and Equity.  She spent five years as a trustee on the Houston Independent School District Board, including serving as President in 2014.  Since 2007, she has been Shareholder of Counsel at Nagorny & Stipeche, P.C.  She has written and presented lectures on nearly 20 topics ranging from demanding excellence in education to empowering students in today’s world to educating for equity in Texas.  Her law degree was earned at the University of Texas and she graduated magna cum laude from Rice University with a B.A. in Political Science, Policy Studies and Religious Studies

Stipeche’s professional affiliations include membership in the State Bar of Texas, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Mexican American Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of Houston, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Texas Association of School Boards and the National School Boards Association.

“The creation of this new position is meant to compliment, not compete, with the hard work of our area school districts,” said Turner.  “Creating the strong, well-educated Houston of tomorrow will require everyone working together.  Juliet is the perfect choice for ensuring my vision gets implemented.”

“I am excited and deeply honored to work with Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is committed to building a City where educational equity and opportunity exist for every child regardless of zip code,” said Stipeche.  “I look forward to collaborating with fantastic community partners to build lasting relationships to promote educational excellence in the City of Houston.”

Stipeche joined Mayor Turner’s administration effective February 1, 2016.

Hillary Counting on Bernie’s Demographic Challenges

bernieIt didn’t take long for the other side of Bernie (Hillary) to come out telling us that as the states get browner, their candidate will win more. Talk about taking voters for granted!

These are the same kind of Democrats who’ve wanted to rely on demographics to win elections. And when nominated, it’s all about, “Yeah, let’s move to the right on certain issues, they’ll be with us anyway, right?” It’s the sort of mentality that has kept turnout rates low and mediocre candidates on our ballots.

Bernie Sanders’ platform is as close a match to how Latinos respond to issues based on most polling. And people are listening to the issues, instead of just blindly following. No doubt, Sanders’ showing in Iowa will cause more eyes to open. Will it be enough? Well, there’s still time to convince folks that we need to get behind a people-driven agenda, rather than the same ol’ tired messaging.

Latinos have much to think about:  34% of Latinos are still uninsured and it will take more than the ACA to get it done. Latino unemployment is higher than the national average. 2.5 million deportations later (and more on the way), Latinos are tired of being kicked down the road on this issue. Lack of access to college because of cost is wearing on the Latino demographic. The same ol’ message doesn’t motivate voters, especially those of us with much to think about.

The Sanders message is one of hope. We’ve learned from President Obama’s hope and change message that not everything gets put in place during an 8 year period, but we’ve also learned that how we attempt to push a legislative agenda can be cause for a deflated base. I doubt a President Sanders will start at the middle and move to the right on hot issues. If you want to have a powerful base that backs you up, then you have to fight for that base. The “No Se Puede” message of the other side is not something that is exciting, that’s for sure.

But if a campaign wants to ride on demographics, well, I guess that’s their prerogative. I’ll stick with Bernie Sanders.

 

Adrian Garcia Rolls Out Community Endorsements in Race for CD-29

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Credit:  Garcia Campaign

Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia held a press conference at Moody Park on Monday morning to announce endorsements from members of the community who reside in Congressional District 29.

Obviously, this is a response to incumbent Gene Green’s roll-out of Latino elected officials, recently. Pointing out persistent problems in the district, while pointing to Green’s record, various community leaders spoke in support of a change–and in support of the former Sheriff.

Here’s the press release:

Houston, Texas – Several community activists and leaders endorsed Adrian Garcia for Congress today, citing the poor conditions in communities across the district, and calling for new leadership in Washington, DC.

“Gene Green should have been fired a long time ago,” said Ben Mendez, past Chair of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC).  “When you look at the poverty, the high drop-out rate, and the lack of economic opportunity in our district, we can only reach one conclusion.  Gene Green has stopped trying to make things better, and it’s time for new leadership.”

“I have known Adrian Garcia for more than twenty years, and have witnessed with pleasure and admiration his progressive involvement in community affairs,” said Houston Community College Board Chair Adriana Tamez.  “We have volunteered together at numerous community agencies, and when Adrian went beyond volunteerism to seek serving the community as an elected official his focus reflected his commitment to his hometown, especially the area of Houston where he was born and raised–the 29th congressional district.  Adrian’s deep roots in the district, his first-hand knowledge of the issues and needs of the district, his experience as a city and county public servant, the fresh perspective he has of the district, and his desire to give back to his own community are the perfect combination that makes Adrian Garcia the best candidate to become the next US Representative for the 29th Congressional District.   I’m voting for Adrian Garcia, and I want to encourage you to vote for him, too.”

“If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, then it would be insane for us to send Gene Green back to Congress and expect conditions in our community to improve,” said Oscar Del Toro, a community activist from Pasadena. “For too long, we haven’t had a choice, but now we do.  We know Adrian, and he knows us.  I am proud to support Adrian for Congress, and we need to work night and day to make sure we don’t miss this opportunity for change.”

“Twenty-seven children were shot in Harris County last year, and we know of two accidental child shootings in the past week in Harris County,’ said Second Ward activist Jessica Hulsey.  “Gene Green voted against the Brady Bill, against child safety locks, for the assault weapons ban repeal, and for keeping the gun show loophole. We need to support Gun Safety Legislation now, so these tragedies stop.  Adrian Garcia is the best candidate to lead the fight.”

“I’m proud to have the support of advocates and activists who are on the side of the community and who spend every waking moment fighting for positive change,” said former Sheriff Adrian Garcia.  “We have real problems, which have persisted for decades.  Our district ranks as one of the worst in America when it comes to education, health care, and poverty – and each of these statistics speaks to missed opportunities and broken dreams for an entire generation of kids in our community.  Enough is enough.  We can do better, but we have to come together to get the change we need.”

“Gene Green acts like our friend in the district, but when he goes to Washington he consistently votes against us.  According to the EPA, we have the second highest risk of cancer in Texas caused by air pollution.  Gene Green takes $1.3 million from oil and chemical companies, and then votes against clean air and clean water legislation.  He has a lifetime A rating from the NRA while kids in our community are dying.  It’s outrageous.”

“Enough is enough.  We can do better, and we have to come together to get the change we need.”

Ed Gonzalez Slams Hickman’s Proposed Cuts at HCSO

cafeed2Ed Gonzalez, Democratic candidate for County Sheriff, came out swinging against current Sheriff Ron Hickman’s proposed cuts to dismantle an investigative unit and slashing the number of jail inspectors. Put another way, Hickman is making jail operations less transparent when much reform is needed.

“This is a very poor decision that shows a disappointing lack of judgment and leadership on the part of our current sheriff,” said Gonzalez. “At a time when more incidents of abuse and neglect continue to surface, we should be increasing transparency and oversight at the jail, not taking a step backward.”

Gonzalez pointed to a recent investigation by the Houston Chronicle that “exposed avoidable in-custody deaths, civil rights abuses, beatings, unjust prosecutions of prisoners and allegations of medical neglect” at the jail.

“Pulling back on reforms to increase transparency and accountability not only compromises public safety, but also erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement and the hard-working deputies and staff who are working to keep our county safe,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is running for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Sheriff. Offering over 18 years with Houston PD, he was also a murder investigator. While on the Houston City Council, he chaired the Public Safety and Homeland Security committee and served as Mayor Pro-Tem.

Early voting begins on February 16 and runs through February 26. Democratic Primary day is March 1.

 

TPA Round-Up; Back on the Horse

flomeIt’s been a pretty emotional couple of weeks.

After spending an enjoyable Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Day after Christmas, my mom (Mama Flo Medellin) fell ill on the 27th, spent a few days in the ICU, then spent a couple of weeks in hospice until she passed on peacefully surrounded by her children, grandson, and son-in-law. We appreciate all of the messages, calls, texts, and personal visits from family and friends from all over, including some of our local elected officials and candidates. Special thanks to State Rep. Gene Wu and his awesome personnel who offered a Texas House resolution honoring my mom. Particular thanks go to my buds in the Texas Progressive Alliance who attended mom’s memorial service and offered the kindest words. I’m grateful.

And, now, it’s back on the horse time. Here’s this week’s TPA Round-up, which includes a link to Mom’s “Flobituary.”

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that Alan Rickman is attending a David Bowie concert in heaven as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff describes the qualities he wants in a County Commissioner to succeed the late El Franco Lee.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos continues her series on the state’s top three leaders, their hopeless pandering and lack of vision. The Texas Blues: Living in a place run by the Three Stooges of Bigotry, Snake Oil and Malfeasance.

SocraticGadfly, anticipating last Sunday’s Democratic Debate, took a cold look at the new heat, primarily on Hillary Cinton’s side, between her and Sanders, on single-payer health care vs. gun nuttery.

Before the last GOP debate, PDiddie at Brains and Eggs sensed desperation in the air. After it, the smell of fear lingered like… well, you-know-what.

CoudBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad that there are regulations to keep our food, air, water, pharmaceuticals, workers, and consumer products safe. We need more and better, not worse and less.

Neil at All People Have Value noted the passing of baseball Hall of Famer and Negro League star Monte Irvin. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

The TPA is greatly saddened by the passing of Florencia “Flora” Medellin, and extends its deepest sympathies to her family and many friends.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Grits for Breakfast pinpoints the underlying legislative problem that proponents of police body cameras will have to solve to achieve real transparency.

Better Texas Blog reviews the changes in penalties for not having health insurance.

Tamara Tabo laments how little we all know about our rights when we are pulled over by a police officer.

The Great God Pan Is Dead selects his favorite art books from 2015.

Paradise in Hell ponders Greg Abbott’s constitutional tantrum.

Juanita revels in the latest Ken Paxton revelations.

‘Tis the Season for Buenos Diaz Buñuelos

Why re-create perfection? Get your buñuelos from Buenos Diaz today!

bunueloI made a trip to Buenos Diaz on Tuesday to get my buñuelo fix.

What’s a buñuelo? Well, the easiest, yet falling short, way of describing it is that it is sort of a thin, deep-fried dough (not a tortilla!) that is then coated with a sugar/cinnamon mix soon after it gets out of the fryer. There are numerous recipes, different styles credited to different Latino nations, but I prefer the Mexican Buñuelo. These treats are very popular during the Christmas/New Year season.

buenosThe one pictured (and the 29 others I purchased today) was team-made by Celia Diaz (aka The Buñuelo Lady) and her son Jose Manuel Diaz (who is a FODC-Friend of DosCentavos) and sold out of their storefront at 6319 Lyons in Denver Harbor. All I can say is that they’re pretty perfect, especially during this holiday season.

stacebunAs one of my college classmates was telling me, it’s easy to find…

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Ed Gonzalez Files for Harris County Sheriff

cafeed2Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez announced through Facebook that he had filed to seek the Dem nomination for Harris County Sheriff.

This afternoon I officially filed for a place on the ballot to serve as your next Harris County Sheriff!

I’m a proud life-long Houstonian and have spent the last 24 years as a public servant. As our city’s Mayor Pro-Tem and as an 18-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, I’ve dedicated my career to: crafting innovative and effective solutions to modern-day crime issues, transforming government through the use of innovation and technology, improving mobility and infrastructure, and ensuring that our city’s future leaders have access to world-class educational opportunities.

As your next Sheriff, I’ll keep our families safe, the budget balanced, and criminals off our streets. I’ll ensure that the Harris County Sheriff’s Office is transparent, efficient, and responsive to the needs of every neighborhood. Thank you for your support as we embark on this campaign!

With Gonzalez’s entry into the 2016 political scene, we have an exciting candidate with a record of effective service to the community. As Mayor Pro-Tem, his reach has gone beyond the District H he serves. And, as he finishes his third term, he’s kept on working hard for Houston as was noticed this past weekend with the opening of CafeCollege Houston–a service for all Houstonians who want to go to college or find information on how to change careers and earn workforce certifications in which Gonzalez played a major role in developing. Obviously, his service as a local police officer gives him an edge in regards to political viability and the ability to manage HCSO.

I couldn’t think of anyone better to lead our countywide slate in 2016.

 

Turner Earns Major Latino Nods

turnerToday is Early Vote Saturday for the 2015 Mayoral election, and according to some of my friends in the know, Latinos made up 8% of the total vote cast, thus far. No doubt, this is dismal, and if Latinos expect to play an influential part in this election, Latino turnout must increase–and in favor of Sylvester Turner, Chris Brown, Amanda Edwards, David Robinson, Richard Nguyen, Mike Laster, and Jason Cisneroz.

On Friday, Mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner earned the endorsement of Congressman Joaquin Castro, who served in the Texas Lege with Turner.

“…I saw firsthand his commitment to working on the issues that matter to Houston’s middle class families; jobs, education and opportunity for all. Sylvester will unite the people of Houston and move the city forward.”

Former Mayoral candidate Adrian Garcia held a press conference outside of Moody Park to urge Latinos to come out and vote and support Sylvester Turner.

“Houston’s future is too critical for our city to be allowed to go back to basics,” said Garcia.  “If you don’t vote, we risk setting our city on a backwards course.  Everyone, especially Hispanics, should vote for Sylvester Turner for mayor.”

HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche also added her support for Turner.

“Sylvester will build bridges and collaborate with our schools,” Stipeche said.  “Every child deserves a bright future.  I urge everyone to vote for Sylvester Turner, a leader who believes in that bright future.”

Turner has long been a supporter of Latino issues, while also defending against some of the worst policies offered by Republicans (who support Bill King).

  • Voted NO on anti-Latino “Sanctuary Cities” bill
  • Voted NO on Voter ID that limited Latino voting opportunities
  • Voted NO on Redistricting maps that diluted Latino voting strength
  • Supports expanding Medicaid and affordable health insurance

Turner also offers the best and workable solutions to Houston’s challenges, whether it increasing public safety, fixing our streets, or expanding economic opportunity for all–and through fiscally responsible methods.

I urge Latinos in Houston to vote Sylvester Turner. Today (Saturday, 12/5/2015) is a gorgeous day. There is no excuse to not show up at the polls. VOTE TODAY!

IF WE DON’T VOTE – WE WON’T MATTER

Here’s Your Chance to Sponsor a Newcomer Student!

’tis the season to help out our fellow humans, and when this came across my inbox, I decided that, along with the Houston Food Bank, this cause should get everyone’s attention. These causes that make a direct impact on an individual always tug at my heart, and here’s your chance to sponsor a newcomer student. Read below and get involved!

newcomerxmas

Keeping an Eye on 2016 Dem Primary

donkey-fightYes, most political insiders and activists have all eyes open for Bernie, O’Malley, and Clinton, but there will be much more on the 2016 Democratic Primary Ballot. The Harris County Democratic Party already has a webpage up to give you the latest filings for the Primary, which shall be held on March 1, 2016.

Although there does not seem to be a lot of contested races, the deadline to file is December 14, 2016, so we can expect more. There is some scuttlebutt as to an opponent for HD137s Gene Wu. The race to replace Sylvester Turner in HD139 already has two candidates, including Randy Bates, whom I’ve known from his service on the Lone Star College board, and Kimberly Willis. Also, although only Mary Ann Perez has filed, I’ve heard of at least two more filing soon to take back HD144.

On the judicial side, the 11th Civil District Court has two, thus far, with Rabeea Collier, whom I’ve known from my Kingwood days, and Julie Countiss. I won’t write about other prospective contests until they actually file. Judicial candidates require signatures, whether they pay the filing fee or not, so, I don’t want to get ahead of myself and announce anyone that may end up failing to collect them.

All of this said, just keep visiting Harris County Democratic Party to stay updated on filings. There will always be some who will be upset with the possibility of contested primaries becoming divisive, but, that’s why we have primaries; so we can have a choice.

Stay connected!