The Stace Slate – 2022 Dem Run-Off

It’s that time again. Early voting for the 2022 Democratic Run-off begins on Monday, May 16 and continues through May 20. Run-off Election Day is on Tuesday, May 24. You can find your nearest polling location by clicking here. Need a sample ballot? Find yours by clicking here.

And for whom am I voting?

Here’s the Stace Slate:

Lt. Governor – Mike Collier

Attorney General – Rochelle Garza

Comptroller – Angel Luis Vega

Land Commissioner – Sandragrace Martinez

Judge, 185th District – Jason Luong (Incumbent)

Judge, 208th District – No Recommendation

Judge, 312th Family District – Clinton “Chip” Wells (Incumbent)

Judge, County Civil Court #4 – Treasea Treviño

County Commissioner, Precinct 4 – Lesley Briones

Races not on my ballot, but maybe on yours.

Justice of the Peace, Pct 1, Place 2 – Sonia Lopez

Congress, District 38 – Diana Martinez Alexander

State Rep, District 147 – Danielle Keys Bess

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine, and also decries the misogynist and regressive SCOTUS draft opinion on abortion, as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff reminds us that Texas Republicans are way out of step with public opinion on abortion.

SocraticGadfly says that the Squad is really the Fraud and that Chomsky went a bridge too far on various Russia-Ukraine War issues.

Stace lectures us all regarding taking advantage of Democratic majorities before it’s too late.

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

Therese Odell vents her fury at that draft opinion.

Your Local Epidemiologist demonstrates that abortion is still health care and won’t just go away in a post-Roe world.

The Texas Signal brings Rep. Veronica Escobar’s warning that the Republicans will push for a nationwide abortion ban.

Amanda Marcotte digs into Greg Abbott’s desire to use the Dobbs decision to push for an end to public education for undocumented children.

Jessica Shortall has no trouble connecting the pending evisceration of abortion rights to a broader culture of misogyny among its proponents.

The Bloggess talks about depression, joy, and music.

This Week’s Abbott Idiocy

Abbott Wants To Starve Brown Babies

Greg Abbott continued to show how evil he is this week when he blamed migrant children for the baby formula crisis. Abbott pointed to migrant children receiving formula while in federal lock-ups while blaming Biden for not providing it to the rest of the country. Standing with the bigoted Border Patrol Council, a club of white supremacists who do Border Patrol spin, they stated, “…the Biden Administration is happy to provide baby formula to illegal immigrants coming across our southern border,” while a crisis created by baby formula companies who have failed to come up with a solution to the problem has been going on for months.

The problem is that Democrats and advocates want to debate Abbott on something that is not up for debate–child starvation and abuse. Call Abbott and his bigoted base evil and heartless for their actions, instead. A debate only provides Abbott more free advertising and gas to throw on a fire, rather than a forum for solutions. The Biden administration is at least attempting solutions, such as increasing imports (which Trump purposefully screwed up with his USCMA), cracking down on price gouging, and doing away with WIC restrictions that force consumers to buy smaller portions, thus, allowing companies to produce large containers faster. These are all things Abbott would never support, thus, he’s evil!

It’s Always Been A Boondoggle

Whether it’s been both political parties supporting the $4 billion Republican boondoggle at the border or, now, the use of pandemic relief money from the feds to fund a money giveaway at the border, it’s always been a waste and a policy based on bigotry strictly to appease right-wing bigots for their votes. Biden’s Treasury Department is looking into pandemic money being used for border militarization after some Dem Congressmen, including Joaquin Castro of SATX, demanded it. I’m with Kuff on this, there are no consequences for Abbott other than beating him in November. We’ve had our chances in the past, but even some Dems have given Abbott a 2nd chance by making weak , coded excuses to not vote for his opponents.

Kinney County Flush With Migrant Cash

Part of Greg Abbott’s bigoted boondoggle is to open up state-run prisons to warehouse migrants who are given a bogus trespassing charge for walking on private land while escaping poverty and violence, and are finally convicted before being turned over to the Migra. The county that has benefited the most seems to be Kinney County in Southwest Texas. They have collected over $2 million in bond money from family and advocates who have bonded out migrants. The money is sitting in a bank account, but Kinney County is putting up rules and requirements that block that bond from being returned once the cases have been disposed. (Reminder: Bonds are not punishment, they are a guarantee that the accused will show up in court.) Greg Abbott has created all sorts of boondoggles to benefit dirty cops at the border, whether with state, federal, or migrant money. And no one seems to want to stop it.

Chou Goes Disingenuous With Briones Attack

Thursday morning, I saw a couple of attack ads on Facebook against Lesley Briones, Democrat for County Commissioner, Pct 4, paid for by her opponent Ben Chou. (Coby has the artwork.)

I really wasn’t sure if I should write about it because I think bringing it up would give it more attention than the ads actually earned, but since it is a race in which I actually vote and the Briones campaign responded, I thought I’d pay attention and say something.

Attacks are nothing new and this blogger (and others) has been known to play “gotcha!” with many a political campaign based on and backed up by actual facts after a hell of a lot of research. But when an attack is not backed up by facts, then, one is just being disingenuous, probably during a fit of desperation, hoping something will stick as Early Voting begins soon.

Each Facebook ad, which were paid by Ben Chou but under the guise of a group that suddenly popped up out of nowhere, had a link to a Houston Chronicle article by Zack Despart regarding “pay to play” on the Commissioner’s Court, while the caption written by the group was an attack on Briones’ fundraising as a judge. The problem is, the linked article had nothing to do with Briones; if anything, the article didn’t even mention her because she is not on the Commissioner’s Court. But the caption by the Facebook group made it seem as if the Chronicle was somehow linking Briones to activities on the Commissioner’s Court.

As Facebook ads go, I’m pretty sure local campaign attack ads are seldom clicked as whatever the caption states is enough for the uninformed voter. Facebook activists will share a caption before they read an article. I’m pretty sure that was the goal of the Chou campaign, which makes it all more disappointing because he’s supported by a few groups and individuals that promote “democracy” and other stuff I support. So, I clicked the link thinking Chou would provide facts about his attack only to be sent to Despart’s article, which I read months ago.

Worse, Chou (or a supporter who once ran for Congress in CD9 and is Chou’s treasurer) seems to have created an organization on Facebook and Twitter that has no members (and 5 likes) and probably isn’t an official political action committee, nor reports any of its expenses or activities as an individual organization supportive of Chou as required by campaign finance laws. Chou’s campaign finance statements show he’s paid Human Age Digital (which is credited on the Facebook page of the new group) a nice amount of cash.

Briones responded stating that Precinct 4 deserves much better than a candidate who spreads lies and violates campaign finance laws. The campaign statement defended her time as a judge pointing to the fact that she cleared her docket backlog and “connected low-income individuals to to free legal representation.”

I have no idea what Chou’s response would be, now, other than backing up his attack with numbers and confusing paperwork. Or, just ignore the backlash and let it ride.

Either way, it’s a cheap attack which lacks substance and really shows a campaign that is seriously tanking or badly advised. Chou’s digital ad had a better message but he fell short of expanding on it given these Facebook ads. “Electing better leaders” takes a convincing argument that captures hearts and minds and simplistic attacks are not a good strategy to achieve that goal.

Early voting begins on Monday.

Tollways to Trailways Approved by County

La Leona

ABC-13 and others reported on this new plan from the Harris County Toll Road Authority to spend $53 million on connecting 236 miles of hike and bike trails along the Sam Houston Tollway.

According to Commissioner and avid cyclist Rodney Ellis, expending money from toll road surplus monies for this work is in compliance with the statute that created the Toll Road Authority as it improves accessibility, safety and transportation. Connecting the trails would provide, in the long run, an opportunity for an 80 mile loop around the region.

It is definitely something that is needed as Houston competes with the Central Texas region which is creating a San Antonio to Austin trail which runs for 100 miles and would connect the Great Springs of the region, including Barton, San Marcos, Comal, and San Antonio springs. Like HCTRA’s, this is a long-term project. No doubt, such projects create opportunities for economic development and tourism, not to mention healthier communities.

As far as paying for it, the 2 right-wing, naysaying commissioners who voted against it feel that the toll road authority wasn’t created for this purpose. But alternate transportation on 2 or 3 wheels is still transportation and we need to get beyond Cagle and Ramsey’s concrete and air pollution thinking.

Personally, I like the idea as we need more connected trails out here on the West side of town and the trails/lanes need to reach inward toward the Galleria area (my neighborbood). That means we need a new County Commissioner who actually listens to the people to work with a supportive city government. Precinct 4 is not well-represented at the moment, as Cagle’s no vote on so many Dem-supported programs tells us. La Leona, my Trident Trikes recumbent trike, is ready for some new trails and connectors.

We are learning just how important elections are, and a Democratic majority on the Harris County Commissioner’s Court must remain for these innovative programs to continue.

DCs Weekly COVID-19 Report

Because everyone else seems to be ignoring the COVID-creep that continues.

Houston Health reported yesterday that the 14-day positivity rate is now at 6.1% and the wastewater load is now at 91%. People are still dying. Houston Health still calls it “low,” but at what point does it become “moderate”? I wish they’d tell us so we know how foolish we can act before calming down when it’s too late. (Yes, that was snark.)

Speaking of, some locally popular folks are testing positive lately–even a popular doctor who helps develop vaccines and a County Commish. I wake up this morning and find out even Kelly (from Kelly and Ryan) has it! I wish them well. And I also wish they’d stop jumping into unmasked COVID-y crowds.

Me, I wake up with bad allergies and wonder if some unmasked fool at Walgreens coughed on me or if the unmasked woman in the electric cart at Kroger who had a coughing fit in the baking aisle infected me. Because I mask all the time, especially in crowded places with people I don’t know. But you just never know when it’s going to hit you. And while “vax’d and boosted” may save you from the worst, we still don’t know what can happen to a person post-COVID infection. It’s the long COVID and effects of this inflammatory disease that can be scary. And no one seems to take this aspect of it seriously.

Needless to say, Joe Biden needs to send more free tests and Congress needs to fund more COVID-19-related healthcare services for the uninsured. Better yet, universal healthcare all of the time!

Anyway, mask-up. Stay clean. If you call yourself a “leader,” be a freakin’ example and wear a mask if you feel the need to post selfies from crowded events.

And that’s todays COVID-19 report of disappointment.

My May 7 Election Report

The most uneventful election this year was held on Saturday and Texas homeowners voted themselves some minor tax giveaways.

Voters approved two propositions intended to lower property taxes for homeowners by decisive margins — one aimed at older and disabled Texans and another that would provide modest relief for homeowners across the board.

Unfortunately, renters were largely ignored by the Texas Lege. It’s no secret that, as property values increase across the board, renters are taking any tax bill increases in the teeth. But if you think about it, any tax giveaways to property owners would probably never make it to renters. Makes me think: They couldn’t have added a $175 gift card for renters? I mean, they’re giving away money that will negatively affect us in the long-run, let’s all benefit.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are eyeing a $12 billion surplus in state revenue to pay for some public school costs so districts may lower their property tax rates. Texas is also suing the federal government for the right to use $3 billion in federal stimulus funds to pay for tax cuts.

In other words, they’re using money that all Texans contributed to the pot to reward some while giving the rest the shaft. There’s no idea on how these cuts will be paid for in the future, either, unless they slice education budgets. Also, there is no fairness in this, but it wasn’t like anyone was going to launch a campaign against it.

Local Races

A friend of mine ran for Mayor in a tiny town to the south of Houston, but was defeated. On the other hand, one of my CCHS classmates (who’s also the Dem Party Chairman in Zavala County) squeaked by to win his race for Crystal City City Council. Congrats, Joe Uribes!

Otherwise, this was a boring election.

The Run-Off

But the Democratic Party run-off is on May 24, with early voting starting on May 16th and ending on May 20th. Find your sample ballot here (when it becomes available) and study those in the running.

I know my initial leanings have either changed or are drawing a blank at the moment. Races to watch include Texas Attorney General, Texas Land Commish, Texas Comptroller, as well as the Harris County Commissioner Pct 4 race and local judicial run-offs. It’s a busy ballot and all the races will all become a lot more interesting. Kuff has something on one of the judicial races. I’ll have a new and improved Stace Slate soon.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff wants to know where the coverage of mail ballot rejections in the May election is.

SocraticGadfly said that the Green Party’s call for a gas boycott from Earth Day to May Day ultimately came off as virtue signaling.

Stace tells us about Greg Abbott’s sudden change of heart regarding who pays for his welcome wagon.

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

Jef Rouner shows how more and more of Texas’ government is now under Greg Abbott’s control.

Rick Casey looks at one San Antonio school district’s response to a book-ban inquiry.

Laura Morales shows how Greg Abbott’s anti-trans executive order also harms intersex people.

Michael Li breaks down the weirdness of New York’s Congressional redistricting process.

Paradise in Hell reacts to the Elon Musk Twitter news.

The Dallas Observer reports on the effort in Denton to get a pot decriminalization referendum on their November ballot.

Thoughts on Viernes—05062022

Establishment Dems Double Down on Cuellar Support

If ever there was an unwritten litmus test in the Democratic Party it is the issue of abortion. When it comes to “major” positions of power, Dems haven’t let up on requiring someone who is pro-choice to lead a ticket. Down ballot, though, Dems have always kept quiet when an anti-choice zealot is running and use those races as proof of being a “big tent” party. But the TX-28 congressional race has become quite nationalized with grassroots support going to Jessica Cisneros and corporate and establishment support going to anti-choice, anti-immigrant incumbent Henry Cuellar.

Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Cuellar while attempting to lead on abortion rights, though, and her deputy Jim Clyburn made a campaign trip to support Cuellar while using the “big tent” excuse. They even credit Cuellar with helping Biden, which is far from the truth on most issues, especially asylum and immigration reform. While Democrats are against the ropes with a looming decision to end Roe v Wade, it is not the time to be playing nice with those Democrats who support that decision. It is demoralizing (while Dems try to use the issue for votes and cash) and gives the impression that Latinas in South Texas affected by this decision do not matter.

Needless to say, I’m hoping Congressional Dems are looking around the room for new leadership, no matter the results of the 2022 elections.

COVID-19 at 5% Positivity

In case you haven’t noticed, Houston has reached 5% positivity while new variants of the disease take hold. These new variants escape immunity, whether one is vaccinated or has had it before. Nationally, hospitalizations are increasing. And people are still dying as we have reached over 1 million dead. Meanwhile, mass, unmasked events led by self-proclaimed local leaders continue and it’s pretty cringy to look at. The White House Correspondents dinner was pretty cringy, too.

Anyway, mask up. Distance. You know the drill. But you’ve been ignoring it.

Abbott Goes After Immigrant Children

Greg Abbott truly is evil.

He announced that, since a right-wing extremist SCOTUS is willing to end abortion rights, well, Texas may as well challenge other rulings, like 1982’s Plyler v Doe, which ruled unconstitutional Texas’ practice of withholding money from schools serving immigrant children.

Abbott cites the cost of educating students in his most recent anti-immigrant attack. Others go straight for racist bullshit.

“We’re talking about public tax dollars, public property tax dollars going to fund these schools to teach children who are 5, 6, 7, 10 years old, who don’t even have remedial English skills,” Joe Pagliarulo (right-wing radio host) said. “This is a real burden on communities. What can you do about that?”

Actually, it’s all about Republican hatred toward brown folks. These bigots want you to forget that people pay property taxes through rent payments, they pay local sales taxes to keep businesses open. But that doesn’t matter if these kids are in their schools offending their white supremacist sensibilities.

“Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program, in a case called Plyler versus Doe. And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue about denying, or let’s say Texas having to bear that burden. I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler versus Doe was issued many decades ago.”

Times are different? I think Abbott means that Trump allowed challenges based on hate, rather than on law and precedent.

Anyway, I just wanted to point out another reason to throw Abbott out of office in November.