Luis Lopez is the new Finance Chair for HCDP

luisRecently, Democrats received an e-mail from outgoing Democratic Finance Chair Bill Baldwin who stepped down to take on some campaign duties on a 2015 campaign. Today, Democrats received an e-mail from HCDP’s new Finance Chair, Luis Lopez.

I’m sure you’ve seen him mentioned here on the DC, since I had the honor of helping Luis out as he repped Dems in the race for Texas House District 132. Luis ran a great campaign in a very red year, did some respectable fundraising in a year when Dems were mostly funding the top of the ballot, and, although the result wasn’t in his favor, Luis recommitted to serving his political party and his community. I’m always boasting that Luis is a force of nature, and he will not disappoint in his new role with the Party.

Here’s his e-mail, if you didn’t receive it. Let’s support Luis’ efforts!

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to you.

My name is Luis Lopez and I was recently appointed as the new Chair of the Harris County Democratic Party’s Finance Committee.

I could not be more excited to take on the role and the task of helping increase the financial security of our county party.

Election after election we see that when we invest our time, our energy and our financial resources into the Harris County Democratic Party, we get real results. So, yes, I will be asking you to open your wallet and make a contribution in this email.

The backbone of our Party is our sustaining membership program.

What if I told you that it would take an additional 1,292 Harris County Democratic Party Sustaining Members just to match the MINIMUM donation of at least $5000.00 that 31 people have made to the Harris County Republican Party to become members of the Republican Party Cornerstone Club.

We have to do better.

I want to ask you to commit to becoming a sustaining member, renewing your sustaining membership, or even just making a donation of $20, $50, or $100 today.

The Finance Committee is working on ways to keep the Party financially secure and raise the funds necessary to continue running programs throughout the year – but we cannot do it without you.

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We have a lot of work to do, so let’s get started!
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Diversity in Local Races

Schleifer at the Chron had an interesting article about the lack of women in the Houston Mayor’s race. Diversity is important, no doubt, but for this avid voter, having a progressive-minded candidate whose policies are on the liberal side of things is a lot more important. Ultimately, though, given the opportunity, even the most progressive candidate seems to moderate his/her views once in office (or worse, during a campaign).

Now, some will argue we haven’t ever had a real progressive leading the horsehoe, while most will split the difference or else some right-wing-nut might get elected. Frankly, there are a lot of constituencies (ethnic, business, etc.) to appease, especially when it comes to committee and top-level appointments, and that ends up screwing up priorities, which Kuff has done an excellent job of outlining. Because, ultimately, there’s an actual job to do.

So, as much as folks will argue about the fact that there are no women running for Mayor, the bottom line is that there are no Latin@s either, yet. Well, much like I ask about the current crop of candidates, I will ask the same of any woman or Latin@ candidate:  Are they progressive? Hell, are they liberal? And just how much have they sold out in previous campaigns to bad people? If neither of the candidates are willing to be mostly progressive, are they worth supporting while swallowing the worse they offer?

And this is how voters should be deciding for whom to vote; based on their views and their needs as this city’s constituents. That’s how I decided to vote for Annise Parker and Bill White. I even swallowed some of Adrian Garcia’s positions on deportation and voted to re-elect him. It’s Texas, I’ve done it for so many, but I’ve also left races blank when I couldn’t find anything tasty to help swallow those awfully bitter pills (Dan Morales).

Of course, I also look at the little things, like, why a Latina candidate for Mayor elsewhere might call her public safety website page “secure communities,” or other dumb, consultant-created things one might see on social media. But, that might be for another post.

Bottom line:  If one is running for anything, they better stay true to their values, and the progressive values that could make this city and state great. Riding that yellow center stripe just doesn’t interest this voter nowadays.

Kuff has  his perspective.

Schempp and Chancey Give Excellent Church/State Separation Talk

As a member and supporter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, I am always seeking out great presentations on the subject. Last night’s talk at HCC-SW featured Ellery Schempp and Mark Chancey.

Schempp was the 16 year-old student who sued the Abington, PA school system after he protested the fact that the Bible was being forced upon public school students through readings of Bible verses. In 1953, the US Supreme Court ruled in Abington v. Schempp that state-sponsored Bible readings in public schools were unconstitutional. The ruling also stated that state entities could not promote one religion over another, which constitutionally mandated readings of the King James version did in Pennsylvania at that time. Fifty years later, the career physicist continues his church/state separation activism, re-defining the fight for religious freedom.

Chancey is a professor of religious studies whose thrust of his presentation proposed teaching academic, non-sectarian religious studies, rather than religion, as a matter of civic necessity, as religion has played a role in the history of the world. This has been a method which has not been up for debate or discussion as the debate has usually been about religious zealots wanting to force their versions of the Bible on everyone else without much inclusion of other religions. Meeting the Abington v. Schempp guidelines has seldom been a goal, politically.

That said, there is much to be learned about religion in the making of Texas. As I mentioned previously, the illegals the Southern US who were allowed to make Texas their home had to swear allegiance to Mexico’s Catholicism. Is it any wonder that religious references in Texas’ governmental documents are heavily stoked in protestantism? Even moreso, how those wanting to force the Bible on public school students come from a protestant background?

I guess I’m not much in agreement with Chancey’s argument because, given the nature of Texas politics, religion is probably best taught at home and church. Moreover, I wonder if the religious practices of indigenous folks would be considered, because, let’s face it, Mexican/Chicano Catholicism is filled with various Native practices, as well. And let’s not forget the paganism infused in all of them.

Excellent presentation, nonetheless. Thanks to Professors Schempp and Chancey and Americans United for some great food for continued thought and discussion.

Thoughts on Viernes…02062015

This Week in Bigotry

Anti-Vaxxers are OK; It’s the Illegals who are spreading measles! ~ Apparently, these idiots don’t realize that vaccinations rates are  higher in Latin American (99% in Mexico; 92% in the US) than in the US. But these people prove everyday that facts are too complicated and hate is a lot easier to spread.

Republicans just don’t know when to shut up, as is the case of Molly White. White is the North Texas bigot who decided to pull a Debbie Riddle and demand her brand of US allegiance from US Muslims.

President Obama told the truth about Christianity this week at the Prayer breakfast. Republicans and others had a freak-out. Mostly, these folks don’t like the truth. Beyond Obama’s remarks on slavery and the inquisition, let’s face it, America’s founding is based on “conquest”–the obliteration of native people and their religious practices. Texas is no different, with illegals from Tennessee and other parts coming over here, not following Mexico’s laws (including laws requiring the practice of Catholicism by the immigrants), killing Mexicans, etc. But come March 2, there’s a big celebration commemorating Texas and how “we” beat the Mexicans. Well, it’s history. Why avoid the truth? If the movie Selma told us anything is that History is up for interpretation. It just goes to show that when religion mixes with government, some folks want holy war, and that’s scary.

Vermont wanted to be a little hoidy-toidy and come up with a Latin motto for their state. As in Latin the old language from way-way-way back. Not “Mexican,” not Spanish, etc. Of course, the nativists lost their shit and reiterated their anti-Mexican, anti-Latino, anti-everyone else attitudes. The winner of Let’s Parody the Bigots Contest?

Music Break ~ Intocable – Fuerte No Soy (XX Aniversario)

 

 

 

 

 

UT Chancellor Supports Texas Dream Act

While Republicans in Texas have run and won on anti-immigrant attacks, in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who meet residency and graduation requirements has been the hot anti-immigrant issue in Republican primaries.

The original HB1403, signed by Rick Perry, caused Perry problems when he ran for President in 2012. University and college leaders have always supported the policy, which has helped thousands of Texas students who have established roots in Texas, whose parents paid local property Texas, and have earned a high school diploma. While immigration reform is still in limbo, President Obama’s executive action ensures that this first step for students who utilize this opportunity will be employable in the jobs for which they studied.

Now, UT’s new Chancellor has given his voice to the issue in support of in-state tuition calling it a “morally right thing to do.” As reported by the Trib,

“My job is to help educate the young men and women of Texas,” McRaven said in an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. “If we have been doing that for these undocumented students for, at a minimum, the past three years as they’ve made it through high school, and in many cases since they were in elementary school, I think it’s appropriate to continue to educate them.”

“If not, where will those undocumented students end up?” he said.

He’s talking sense in a world where the Texas Lege has become a tool for destructive practices:  de-funding K-12 and higher education, unlawful and racially targeted voter ID laws, and the decimation of women’s access to health care. What’s next in 2015? Who knows, but Republicans have made it clear that they are not on the right side of history on in-state tuition. Perhaps respected leaders like McRaven will provide the guidance they need to make the right decision.

For more information on the defense of HB1403, visit the website here and enlist in spreading the word.

Update:  New Aggieland Leader Also Supports HB1403

As reported in the Chron, the sole finalist for the A&M presidency, Michael Young stated:

“When I think about the issue of tuition and financial aid and so forth, for me, undocumented is part of it. I realize it’s a politically charged issue to talk about and etcetera and etcetera, but I think we ought to step back and ask that broader question, which is what do we do to make sure that all kids who are prepared and qualified have this opportunity.”

 

 

Garcia, Others Chosen by Obama for Executive Action PR

adrianJulian Aguilar at the Trib reports that a group of Texans have been chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as the PR team to promote his executive action. Sheriff Adrian Garcia, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, construction guy Stan Marek, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez were on a call with Obama and his Hispanic appointee Cecilia Muñoz. Pretty soon, the next phase of DACA and the new program DAPA will have their roll-outs, as well as new deportation measures.

A bit of a reminder, Muñoz has done much of the defense of the President’s delays on immigration reform and the defense of his deportation policies. One time, she went so far as calling the 2 million, mostly non-criminal, deportees “collateral damage.”

Of course, the local Sheriff is best known for his defense of the Obama-managed deportation programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities. He had this to say:

Garcia, the Harris County sheriff, said the president’s change would actually promote law and order in his county because people would be more willing to cooperate with law enforcement efforts to fight crime.

“When there are questions and concerns that local law enforcement may become more concerned with a person’s immigration status rather than information that they have regarding cartels, human traffickers or other individuals that are interested in causing harm in our communities, like domestic or international terrorism, it impedes public safety,” he said.

Well, it sounds like the Sheriff has come around, right? Well, an article in Free Press Houston gives some analysis as to where Garcia has been and where he might be nowadays.

The President’s change includes a re-vamped deportation program which supposedly deports the worst of the worse; however, that was the intent as written of the original program. So, it is still a program that will be under the microscope, especially at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, whether Garcia is at the helm or not.

Given that there is still an imminent announcement of a Mayoral candidacy, Garcia resigning and leaving the post to a right-wing Republican who more than likely will not agree with the President’s executive action will surely put Garcia in a position to defend the President’s executive action during the Mayoral campaign. Certainly, it will also frame the position of a possible Republican appointed Sheriff for 2016.

 

COH At-Large 4 Becomes a Contest

Schleifer at the Chron reports that the At-Large 4 race has become a multi-candidate contest.

Laurie Robinson, Amanda Edwards and Larry Blackmon will all run for the at-large city council seat to be vacated by C.O. “Brad” Bradford, according to campaign treasurer designations filed in recent weeks.

Robinson is a management consultant, Edwards is a lawyer at a big national law firm, and Blackmon a retired educator and local activist. If one rates local races by money, then it could become quite the contest. Obviously, in a low turnout race, getting known is a lot more challenging. And, given that folks will begin to realize that AL4 is an open seat, there may be more candidates before the filing deadline.

At Large 1

Last week came the e-mail that HCC Trustee Chris Oliver joined the AL1 race. So, we have Dem Party Chair Lane Lewis, Philippe Nassif, Jenifer Pool, and a far-right winger whose claim to fame is suing the City to raise money he probably can’t raise anyway.

Now, who wants to challenge the incumbents?

AL3’s Kubosh surely needs one, even for voters like me who want a choice, rather than to leave the race blank in a show of no confidence (as if I ever had any). Through a tip, I hear At Large 5’s Christie will have a challenger, but until I get confirmation (like a report on a treasurer assignment), I’ll wait to tell the world. Still, I’d like to see a challenger in that race.

More to come, I’m sure.

Update:  Here are takes from  Brains & Eggs, Texpatriate and Off the Kuff.

Included in Noah’s take is the fact that David Robinson in AL2 will be in a rematch with Andrew Burks. Perry blows the lid off of the the Jack Christie AL5 challenge (or not) by Jan Clark. Christie is one of those still rumored to be running for Mayor.

Pretty soon, we’ll need a program. Then again, that’s what we’re here for.

 

 

The TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance believes that our government should be open and available to all as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff writes about opposition to the Plano Equal Rights Ordinance from transgender activists, who say it excludes their community.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos sounds the alarm bell on conservative lawmakers. When one touts one’s conservative credentials voters should never assume this means one is necessarily fiscally responsible, ethical or honest. Conservative Texas: Cronies, Crooks, No-Bid Contracts, No Oversight, Junk Science. But?.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Dan Patrick and the GOP are going to cut taxes, no matter what and Need Has Nothing To Do With It.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is appalled at the racism coming from Texas Republican Representatives to the US House and the Texas Legislature.

Politicians love to talk about the economic skills gap– where there are a lot of job opportunities out there, but not enough skilled workers to fill them. But thankfully as Texas Leftist learned, some Houston politicians are moving beyond the talk and working to actually address the issue. Plus, some big news for Texas musicians as we finally learn the fate of the Texas Music Office under Governor Abbott.

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

The TSTA Blog reminds us that “school choice” is not a choice for many families in Texas.

The Rivard Report predicts that driverless cars will not solve all of our traffic problems.

Texas Clean Air Matters urges the Legislature to restore clean air funding.

Keep Austin Wonky maps the decline of the capitol city’s bus service.

Minding Houston explains 1115 waivers.

Mark Phariss implores the citizens of Plano not to reject its equal rights ordinance. Nell Gaither, on the other hand, argues that it excludes the transgender community.

Newsdesk explains how open carry advocates shot themselves in the foot.

Scott Braddock highlights another controversy connected to Michael Quinn Sullivan.

Unfair Park reports that the city of Fort Worth has extended spousal benefits to same-sex spouses.

2/7: Congressman Luis Gutierrez Speaking in Houston

Definitely save the date for this important event regarding the President’s Immigration Executive Action:

Immigration Rally on Executive Action

Saturday, February 7, 2015

2:00 p.m. (doors open at 1:15 p.m.)

Lindale Assembly of God

503 Reid

Houston, Texas 77022

What to expect: 

Information about Executive Action

Guests:  Bishop JR Rodriguez, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero

For more information:  www.nalec.org

Bigot Day at the Capitol

I guess y’all heard that the bigot circus came to the Capitol today.

Photo Credit: KERA

I’m sure this will be one of many, what, with the Muslim community doing some lobbying at the Capitol today, and Planned Parenthood having theirs soon, and Latinos and immigrant rights groups playing defense against the Republicans; the list goes on. I’m sure each lobbying day will have a coinciding Bigot Day at the Capitol like today’s. The difference from previous years is that Republican legislators (Molly White) seem to be encouraging the hate in obvious ways, instead of staffing it out (but I guess she did that, too).

In June, she took to the social network to pledge that “finding Jihadists in Texas and arresting them” and purging the state “of all Muslim, military training camps including Imam’s who promote, assist and encourage Jihad” would be among her top priorities as a legislator.

In the comments on that post, she warned her followers that “Muslims cannot be trusted no matter how peaceful they appear.”

“If they come here and convert to the American way of life I may be more willing to trust,” she continued. “When they come here to advance their way of life, Islam, then no trust there.”

And here I thought Debbie Riddle would never have competition.

I’m so looking forward to any immigration-related debates and the protestors who will show up. (Sarcasm)

Some say this kind of hate is not representative of Texas; unfortunately, when hate takes the form of Texas public policy, one cannot deny what Texas has become.