Thoughts on Viernes…08102012

El Mayor Tony V for JRR!

I was at the County Executive Committee meeting visiting with my Dem friends (and also to watch the canvassing of the run-off). After all the Dem business came the announcement from Chairman Lane Lewis that the speaker for the Johnson Rayburn Richards dinner will be Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles.  The JRR will be held on September 22.

The Mayor is one of President Obama’s campaign surrogates, is the Chair of the DNC Convention, and has been a great Mayor for LA. Here’s a sample:

The Bonds…The Bonds!!!

Well, Houston ISD approved their bond package for the November ballot–$1.9 billion. Yes, with a “b” but also a much needed “b.” I had a conversation with a Milby HS teacher last night who truly believes that our high schools need to get a lot of the bond money. Bottom line:  That’s their last stop before college, that’s where we have been losing them, and they should be in facilities that are not falling apart; our high schools need a lot of work–or replacing. But with anything come controversy and there are those questioning the prioritization process. And one expert thinks all this drawn out questioning of the bond will hurt its chances of passing.

The drawn-out questioning could make it more difficult to win the approval of voters on Nov. 6, said Rice University political science professor Bob Stein, who has polled voters about the bond proposal on behalf of HISD.

“I think it has undermined voters’ confidence in adoption of the bond,” Stein said.

A poll conducted before Grier rolled out his plan in late June found that 48 percent supported a $1.8 billion bond and 28 percent opposed it.

Still, that’s no reason to rush it through to get it in on time for the November election. The process could have been better and more transparent. So, frankly, I’m glad the Trustees gave 60+ people a chance to ask all the questions they wanted.

Houston Community College System also approved a $425 million bond package for the November ballot. And maybe they read my post, but they also did this:

However, at Thursday’s vote, the trustees pledged to use the bond money first to complete construction of the Hayes Road building, a new campus in Alief.

Well, great! The thing is, those complaining seem to be complaining more about meeting the needs of a high school in the building, which would seem to me to fall under the auspices of the Alief ISD. Then again, I’m still trying to catch up on deals made, etc.

And More Bonds!!!

I also attended the HCDP Brown Bag Lunch at the HQ yesterday which featured CM Melissa Noriega who spoke on the City Bond. My ex-councilman Mike Sullivan tagged the bonds, so, we’ll have to wait until next week to finally approve them for the ballot. On the ballot, voters will get to decide which priority they want, if not all.

One bond is for $160 million for Parks. What was interesting to me is that $100 million of that will go to the Bayou Greenways Project, which will basically create park and green spaces along the bayous. All council districts are included in this improvement, so, I guess we benefit from the investment–that was my biggest worry. Still, out in my area, I think we need more soccer fields. (That’s a hint for my Council Member, maybe?)

The city bonds will not affect our property tax rates, so, that’s a good thing. The Houston ISD will have a phased-in tax rate increase, but if property valuations increase, it could be that the hit is lessened. And HCC’s bond also comes with some added costs. I really don’t mind if we’re getting top-notch facilities in our neighborhoods.

Kudos to US Senate Candidates Who Push for DREAM on Platform

The big news about the DNC platform was that marriage equality would become one of the planks. The little heard news was the push from some US Senate candidates for the DREAM Act being included in the platform.

Rep. Martin Heinrich, the Democratic nominee for a Senate seat from New Mexico, is leading the effort and said that formally supporting the immigration proposal would provide voters with a clear choice on an issue that many care deeply about.

“I think the time has come for the DREAM Act to be part of our identity as a party,” Heinrich said in a telephone interview.

Democratic candidate Shelley Berkley in Nevada said she supports the campaign, and a spokesman for Richard Carmona in Arizona said he does as well.

Good to see this from some folks in battleground states, too. But…

It’s unclear whether the Democratic Party’s platform committee will add support of the bill to the platform.

“The platform process is ongoing, but the president and Democrats support the DREAM Act and are committed to taking steps toward passing it.” said Melanie Roussell, spokeswoman for the DNC.

True, but it still wouldn’t hurt to add it to the platform.

Have a great weekend, folks!

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One response to “Thoughts on Viernes…08102012

  1. Pingback: HISD board approves its bond package | The Alief Post