Thoughts on Viernes…08012014

Happy August!

Let’s hope the temps begin to cool. (Eye roll)

Why Wait?

With the GOP playing their usual game of hate and delay, the ball is in President Obama’s court. Rumor is he’ll sign some sort of executive order in another month or so. Why wait? If the GOP is having their usual freak out with each other, and there are a few Democrats who are being their usual chicken-shitted selves on immigration, there isn’t an opportunity like today to sign an executive order that halts deportations and expands DACA to family members, while addressing the need for lawyers and resources for child refugees and not just more judges. And I do mean today. Unfortunately, the only thing President Obama spoke of today was being in agreement with 80% of the GOP bill, and that it had gotten more extreme since yesterday. Sign the order, Mr. President!

They Aren’t Waiting in Houston

We’ve known for a while that State Rep. Sylvester Turner is running for Houston Mayor and he’s been busy visiting Democratic and neighborhood clubs. In other words, making contact with the activists. Turner was recently appointed to chair a state committee to oversee the effectiveness of Rick Perry’s border surge, and let me tell you, he shined at a recent meeting by questioning the need for national guard troops on the public’s dime given the decrease in border crossings and border-area crime rates that are relatively low. Of course, we heard what State Rep. Bonnen had to say about teaching Katrina evacuees versus Latino immigrant kids using a nasty word. Anyway…

We also heard that the local Hispanic Chamber head, Dr. Laura Murillo, announced her intent to run for Mayor. Other names include CMs Pennington and Costello, and former CM Chris Bell. Who else? Well, anyway, the hardest of the hard-core voters will want to know about partisan voting records and positions on city policies, and let’s face it, there are a few contentious ones–HERO, Employee Unions, Fire contracts, just to name some. So, expect to see candidates trying to get ahead of each other early to solidify a base. Then again, this early, they should be trying to get beyond the base. Run-offs are hell!

For now, we have some Democrats to elect in 2014, so, I’ll also be watching which 2015 prospects help our slate.

No Refugees for Dallas, But They Have a Leader

Well, given the decrease in child border crossings and more shelter beds opening up, it looks like Dallas will not be hosting some of the child refugees. The good thing that came out of this is that Democrats have a leader “con ganas” who, at least in my eyes, positioned himself for a statewide seat in the future. Unlike other Dems who give great speeches on all the other issues, Judge Clay Jenkins didn’t fumble on this temporary crisis.

Great Quote from #LVP

“The presence of these outside independent militia groups does nothing to secure the border; it only creates an unsafe situation for law enforcement officials that are protecting our communities. Unfortunately, the vile rhetoric of my opponent inspires misguided efforts.” ~ Senator Leticia Van de Putte

Music Break ~ The New Single from the legendary Johnny Hernandez – Le Escribo Al Amor (Paz Mundial-2014-Stronghold Records)

 

 

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Big Week for Van de Putte, Offers Jobs and Economic Policies

letiDemocrat for Lt. Governor, Senator Leticia Van de Putte, has been enjoying a busy and productive week. Not only did she earn the endorsement of a major law enforcement organization (Texas Sheriffs), she also earned the nod of Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

Today, Van de Putte announced her Texas First Jobs and Economic Development policy proposals at my favorite, St. Arnold’s Brewery, after meeting with entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“As Lieutenant Governor, I will fight for a strong business climate and a quality workforce, so that businesses create jobs in Texas. Through fair and low taxes, predictable regulation, smart investments, and a public education that is second to none, we will foster a prosperous future for Texas businesses and workers.”

Van de Putte wants to foster entrepreneurship and small business growth and will do so by keeping Texas the “space state,” and supporting space exploration, streamline tax policies, investing in tech start-ups, attracting microlenders to support small businesses, and foster small business growth through the use of Jobs4Texas, Texas Enterprise Fund, and the Texas Emerging Technology Fund.

The Senator also proposes to ensure a business climate that will include a regulatory system that is fair. She states she wants to improve the environmental permitting process to help businesses moving into the state. Van de Putte also mentions her past support of regulatory changes that made it easier for breweries, distilleries, and wineries to get their products on the market.

She also wants to keep Texas competitive in a changing economy by protecting and strengthening the military and aerospace industry that pumps $150 billion into the state economy.

Of particular interest to this blogger was Van de Putte’s continued support of the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Emerging Technology Fund which some say have been slush funds for Rick Perry’s favorite donors. The Senator wants to ensure accountability for these programs through a thorough applicant review process and a process by which Texas collects damages if the goals on which investments to an individual company are based are not met.  For the Tech fund, she will alter the composition of the board to ensure checks and balances.

Finally, Van de Putte wants to ensure the availability of workforce programs as it is predicted that by 2020, over 55% of jobs will require some sort of credential.

I’ll admit that, based on the current workings of the Texas economy, this is a strong proposal–heavy on business support and practical on regulatory matters. And this is what Texans are expecting from the state to ensure a positive jobs climate and safe workplaces.

Tonight, Harris County Democratic Party volunteers are filling up the HQ making calls in support of Leticia and the great candidates on the ballot. Visit her website and/or make a contribution!

 

 

State Senator Sylvia Garcia Hosting Supply Drive for Refugee Relief

From the Inbox:

HOUSTON, TX – Senator Sylvia Garcia is asking the public for help with collecting supplies for the thousands of women and children refugees who are detained in South Texas after seeking asylum from violent conditions in Central America.

In the Rio Grande Valley where many of the refugees are entering the United States,  a group of non-profits have formed a coalition called, South Texas Refugee Response, to provide women and children with basic necessities while they are being processed by Border Patrol.

Senator Garcia is asking the general public and non-profit and faith based organizations from the Houston area to support South Texas Refugee Response, “While there has been much talk about the best course of action to address the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in South Texas, folks from the Rio Grande Valley are stepping up in a big way and giving women and children refugees a place to rest, access to showers, a few changes of donated clothes, meals, and items for their young children. They aren’t waiting on an act of Congress, they are doing something to help people now, and they need our support.”

The supply drive will be held from July 30th to August 15th.

The following Items Are Needed (All Items Must be New or Unused):

Women’s Walking Shoes (sizes 6-7), Men’s Walking Shoes (sizes 7-9) Children’s Walking Shoes, Backpacks, Sweaters/hoodies (small/medium sizes for adults and children), Women’s Clothing (sizes 0-8), Women’s Deodorant, Sippy Cups, Pedialyte, Newborn Nido (zero) formula, Hairnets, Soup Bowls, Disposable Spoons, Clorox, Mops, Lysol, Large Trash bags, Ziploc Bags (various sizes)Women’s Bras (32-34 cups, A, B, C) , Women’s Cotton Underwear (sizes 7 and under) Children’s Cotton Underwear.

Drop Off Locations and Times:

Senator Garcia’s Polk Office 5425 Polk Street, Suite 125, Houston, Texas 77023 M-F 8:30am-5:30pm

Senator Garcia’s East Harris Office 13301 East Fwy, Suite 304, Houston, Texas 77015 M-F 8:30am-5:30pm

Casa De Alabanza Church 10264 North Freeway, Houston, TX 77037 M-Sat 9am-8pm

St. Patrick Catholic Church 4918 Cochran St, Houston, TX 77009 M-F 9am-6pm

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church 1510 Pannell St, Houston, TX 77020 M-F 9:30am-4:30pm

Financial Contributions Can Also Be Made:

Catholic Charities: http://www.cdob.org/catholic-charities135/donate-now

OR

The Rio Grande Valley Food Bank:

https://foodbankriogrande.ejoinme.org/MyPages/DonationPage/tabid/2309/Default.aspx

100 Days Out, Dems Need “The Talk”

It’s no secret that I’ve been calling out Democratic candidates who are falling short when it comes to the unaccompanied minors crisis. Whether it’s Wendy Davis’ call for a “law enforcement” special session or Hillary Clinton’s “deport ‘em now!” attitude, the current de facto leaders of the Democratic Party are leaving much to be desired when it comes to this particular issue. And I’m not the only one calling them out.

This week, Arturo Carmona of Presente.org, let Democrats have it in an op-ed in The Hill because of their indifference during this crisis. You see, many of my hard-core Dem friends easily point out that Republicans are the problem. As if we didn’t know they would be a problem from Day 1; or as President Obama should have known before he made the “Year 1, Term 1″ promise to pass immigration reform?

The botton line is that we can argue until we’re blue (forgive the pun) in the face, if Democrats simply brush off the commentary and concerns of Latino leaders, in favor of a “at least we’re not as bad as the Republicans” defense of our leaders, then Democrats are just as bad at Latino engagement and outreach as the Republicans.

Carmona hits the nail on the head:

As the unaccompanied minors crisis continues to grow and the calls for executive leadership escalate, it’s shameful that the president has not ceded to the calls for him to visit the border and see the living conditions of these children. He needs to meet with the children we are sending to Latin America to their likely death. According to Latino Decisions, a major Latino polling firm, mass deportations are leading to a hemorrhage of support from the Democrats, particularly among young Latino voters. And according to a recent gallup poll, no other community has lost more faith in Obama than Latinos in the last year.

And if Democrats think that President Obama’s decisions (or lack of) do not affect the Democratic ticket in 2014 and 2016, they are living in la-la land. So,  if what an Obama aide said is true–that an executive order on immigration will be a cause for impeachment–then I would hope that President Obama makes it count.

Of course, the same could be said of Texas Democrats on the 2014 ballot who want to “talk tough” on immigration when the issue is child refugees. But that’s for another op-ed.

 

 

Save the Date~ Aug. 1 – All About Ann in Houston

Dos Centavos:

Just a friendly reminder…

Originally posted on :

allaboutann

HOUSTON, TX – On Friday August 1, Annie’s List and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, in partnership with a number of local elected officials and organizations, will bring “All About Ann”, HBO’s documentary about former Texas Governor Ann Richards, to Houston for FREE!

Beginning at 8:00PM with live music, food and drinks, join us at Discovery Green’s Anheuser Busch Stage and enjoy this wonderful documentary about Texas’ only female Governor as we all work hard this fall to have Wendy Davis as the second woman in the Governor’s House!

Drinks will be donated by 8th Wonder Brewery and Mayor Annise Parker will introduce the film.

State Senators John Whitmire, Rodney Ellis and Sylvia Garcia, State Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Armando Walle, Mayor Annise Parker, Ambassador Arthur Schechter, Hon. Debra Danburg as well as Annie’s List Board Members Licia Green-Ellis, Eileen Olson, Kathy Overly and Amber Mostyn are just some of…

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Leader Pelosi Meets With South Texas Leaders

Thanks to the Leader’s staff for the invite to a photo-op of this meeting which shows that some folks in DC are actually listening to South Texas leaders regarding issues surrounding the child refugee situation in the Valley. Thankfully, I just received a press release from participant, Congressman Filemon Vela’s office, regarding the meeting.

The highlights:

  • None of the meeting participants expressed any support for reducing the due process rights of immigrant children, modifying the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, or deploying National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Participants agreed that the funds requested by the President are desperately needed to deal with unaccompanied children entering through the Rio Grande Valley.

I can’t say I’m in total agreement with the President’s request for money since he has stated that it would expedite court dates and deportation; however, the leaders today were in favor of protecting the due process rights of the refugees and protecting the 2008 Act signed by President Bush.

Leaders who attended provided some pretty strong statements regarding the President’s request for funds and Rick Perry’s National Guard deployment. Yesterday, President Obama announced he would send a Homeland Security team to study whether a federal deployment of National Guard troops would be necessary. Let’s hope he hears South Texas leaders (and not Rick Perry) loud and clear.

  • “As today’s meeting made clear, many South Texans do not support the HUMANE Act’s expedited removal process or deployment of the National Guard to the Rio Grande Valley,” said Congressman Vela. “A better approach is to: (1) provide the needed resources to address cartel activity in Central America, Mexico and across the U.S.; (2) support Customs and Border Protection by providing the necessary funding to increase the number of agents and support personnel; and (3) provide funding to the immigration court system to allow for speedier determinations pursuant to current law while protecting due process requirements of the U.S. Constitution.”
  • “Leaders from across the Rio Grande Valley, who are dealing directly with the unaccompanied children and their families, know firsthand what is most needed on the border and they all agree that sending National Guard troops to the border is not a solution to this humanitarian issue,” said Congressman Hinojosa. “The Rio Grande Valley is not suffering from public health issues or violence from the immigrants so there is no need to militarize the border. Doing so would be an affront to the good qualities our region has to offer.”
  • Texas State Representative Armando Martinez explained, “Deploying the National Guard is the wrong approach and sends the wrong message; we have a vibrant border community that is safe.  Those dollars could be better spent in the community for education, healthcare and transportation.”
  • City of Pharr Mayor Leo Palacios, Jr. noted, “My father came to the U.S. from Mexico in 1913 as a 13 year old boy, scared and penniless as a refugee from the Mexican revolution. He crossed the Rio Grande River along with his younger brothers and sisters, seven in all, seeking safety and refuge from the violence occurring in Mexico at the time. He and his brothers and sisters settled in Pharr, Texas just a few miles from the river they crossed. During the rest of their lives he and his brothers and sisters gave more than they took. His story is not unlike what is happening today. Yes it is 100 years later and many things have changed but what cannot change are the basic principles which have made our country the greatest country in the world today. Senator John Cornyn and Representative Henry Cuellar are both good friends of mine and I respect them greatly,” Mayor Palacios stated.  “However, I in good conscience, cannot support the immigration bill they have put forth. That would be the ultimate act of hypocrisy and contrary to what I have worked for all of my life. That 13 year old refugee from Mexico was accepted by our country and allowed to live in peace, start a life, obtain his citizenship, and contribute his fair share to his new country.”
  • City of Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia remarked, “The $12 million per month that it is estimated to cost to deploy the National Guard along the Texas border could be much better spent on economic development programs or to provide education to our children.  Crime statistics along the border are relatively low compared to other parts of the state.  Deploying the National Guard to turn away immigrants is not in line with our American values.”
  • Hidalgo County Chief Administrator Yolanda Chapa explained, “This is not a security crisis, and South Texas residents do not feel threatened by these unaccompanied children entering the U.S.  Our border community has compassionately responded to helping these children who are fleeing violence in their home countries.”

From The “You’re Doing It Wrong!” Files

The tweet that had my afternoon coffee spraying out my nose was this one from Leader Harry Reid’s Hispanic Media guy. I guess he knew it was good for a great laugh.

Democratic Responses to the Militarization of South Texas

Well, you all know how I feel about the militarization and politicization of South Texas 100+ days away from election day. Well, the press releases have finally made their way to my inbox and I’ve found these to be the strongest, thus far, especially Senator Rodriguez’s which points to past problems with the use of the National Guard the military at the border:

Leticia Van de Putte for Governor:  But to strictly militarize the border won’t help us meet this unique humanitarian challenge.  The people of the Rio Grande Valley have made that clear.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia:  Putting military troops on the ground is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.  We should be asking the President and Congress to put politics aside to help our border patrol agents deal with this unprecedented refugee situation and to put resources on the ground for the people who are actually tasked with securing the border and those who are sheltering the unaccompanied minors.

By militarizing the situation, we are going to encourage these children and families to avoid the authorities and cause more deaths and confusion.”

Emmanuel Garcia, Texas Democratic Party:  Governor Perry is continuing his routine of photo-op politics to further his Presidential aspirations….Perry’s use of our guard to score political points is wrong. This is a time for humanitarian support.

State Senator Jose Rodriguez:  Let us not forget less than 20 years ago, in 1997, National Guard troops were sent to the border and that action resulted in the tragic death of 18 year-old Ezekiel Hernandez, Jr. National Guard troops have no knowledge or training about the people who live in this region and will serve no real purpose in a border area where migrant children are willingly turning themselves into Border Patrol.

Militarizing the border isn’t going to solve the problems highlighted by the Governor. Neither will blindly spending millions of dollars without discernible accountability or metrics for success.

State Rep. Ana E. Hernandez:  Activating the Texas National Guard and militarizing the Rio Grande border does not address the problem given that these immigrants are voluntarily turning themselves in and according to local law enforcement there has been no increase in crime.

State Rep. Armando Walle:  Sending troops in to scare children is only the latest chapter in Gov. Perry’s pandering to resurrect his failed presidential run. Gov. Perry’s inappropriate, simpleton, and heavy-handed rhetoric and decision-making in this crisis showcase an ability and willingness to to appeal to fringe elements of his party while also serving as an alarming showcase of bad policymaking.

Wendy Davis, candidate for governor, reiterated her call for a special session to fund more deputies. I would respond, but people need to read it from people who don’t look like me, and PDiddie is on it.

Texpatriate has a take, too.

And Kuff has more, too.

 

 

Save the Date~ Aug. 1 – All About Ann in Houston

allaboutann

 

HOUSTON, TX – On Friday August 1, Annie’s List and Planned Parenthood Texas Votes, in partnership with a number of local elected officials and organizations, will bring “All About Ann”, HBO’s documentary about former Texas Governor Ann Richards, to Houston for FREE!

Beginning at 8:00PM with live music, food and drinks, join us at Discovery Green’s Anheuser Busch Stage and enjoy this wonderful documentary about Texas’ only female Governor as we all work hard this fall to have Wendy Davis as the second woman in the Governor’s House!

Drinks will be donated by 8th Wonder Brewery and Mayor Annise Parker will introduce the film.

State Senators John Whitmire, Rodney Ellis and Sylvia Garcia, State Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Armando Walle, Mayor Annise Parker, Ambassador Arthur Schechter, Hon. Debra Danburg as well as Annie’s List Board Members Licia Green-Ellis, Eileen Olson, Kathy Overly and Amber Mostyn are just some of the proud hosts of this event.

RSVP at www.pptexasvotes.org/AllAboutAnn. If you are interesting in joining the host committee to help cover costs of the event or are interested in a table at the event, please contact Shelby Hansen at Shelby@LillieSchechter.com or 281-224-4525.

“All About Ann”: Fiesty, fiery, fearless, a force of nature . . . and funny as hell. These are just some of the words used to describe Ann Richards, one of the most charismatic American political figures of the last 30 years. This portrait chronicles the life of the liberal Richards who rose to power in a conservative state, effecting sweeping state reforms while becoming a beloved national icon.

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Rick Perry Sets Up More Border Photo Ops

This time, it’ll be with the Texas National Guard–1000 of ‘em–to be deployed by Rick Perry. Apparently, DPS troopers in military garb and automatic weapons just isn’t enough of a sideshow; now, Perry wants to militarize South Texas.

The National Guard troops will join the Texas Department of Public Safety in its recent surge to combat human smuggling and drug trafficking amid the influx of mostly Central Americans illegally crossing the Rio Grande.

This will send costs skyrocketing to about $5 million per week with no particular source in mind for this cash. (Update:  Rick Perry’s people say that the cash will come from “non-critical” budget items like transportation and health care.)

And this is why Democrats running on the statewide ballot should never support anything Rick Perry does, especially if it’s DPS troopers or armed soldiers running around South Texas.

Hopefully, I’ll receive something slamming Rick Perry from Wendy Davis and Leticia Van de Putte.  For now, this is the best tweet.