Category Archives: Accion

James Cargas for CD-7 Ad

Before it became cool to run for CD7, James Cargas was already talking about issues affecting the district, including the threat of flooding due to neglect of our reservoirs in West Houston. Here’s Jim’s latest ad, which was uploaded to YouTube this past week.

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2018 DC Nod: Nile Bailey Copeland for County Treasurer

I met Nile Bailey Copeland, Democrat running for Harris County Treasurer, almost a decade ago when he embarked on his first Democratic campaign for a local district court. I was immediately impressed as he was personable, knowledgeable of the law, and listened intently to Dem activists who are usually the first group one has to convince to earn support. He wasn’t afraid to engage with all voters, while others played the handshake game with VIPs. So, it didn’t take long for he and I to become good friends.

He learned much in his first Democratic campaign in 2010, which readied him to run for the 1st Court of Appeals in 2012, losing by less than 15,000 votes in a 10-county race to a well-funded Republican. While he won Harris County, it was just too tough to win over the other GOP-heavy counties, but he and his counterparts worked hard.

That said, Nile Bailey Copeland has done much work for Democratic causes, whether it was providing legal expertise on election contests, including one in which he helped defeat GOP stalwart Paul Bettencourt; providing legal and ethics advice to candidates; training poll watchers for Borris Miles’ campaign, and even volunteering at the Party office stuffing envelopes and licking stamps. The kind of work that doesn’t earn you awards or accolades.

In 2016, after deciding that he didn’t want to challenge friends running in the Dem Primary, he decided to learn how the other side worked. I asked him how he could run as a Republican if he was to the left of most Joe Lieberman Democrats I knew. The Republicans sure as hell knew his Dem background. Well, he ran anyway. I was reminded that one of our favorite Dems, DA Kim Ogg, once ran as a Republican back in the GOP heyday because she wanted to win, but we Dems don’t want to admit to that, right? Nile just wanted to do it to gain some knowledge. So, I forgave Nile when I found out what he was up to and he ended up learning a lot about how Republican primaries work compared to our own. (Many of us forgave DA Ogg, obviously.) Hell, we all knew the Democrats were going to sweep Harris County in November!

End of Discussion: Copeland earned 38,000 votes in that GOP primary (3rd of 4), which one ought to consider possible crossover vote potential to defeat the GOP incumbent in this race, which his opponents don’t offer.

Beyond his Dem bonafides, he’s a successful private practice attorney, an active realtor, and a successful business owner. He has participated in citizenship assistance forums and has advocated for immigrant communities across the County, even participating in DREAMer support rallies as early as 2010 when I invited him to one–and he showed up. Finally, Copeland has also served the City of Houston as a Municipal Judge appointed by Mayors Annise Parker and Sylvester Turner. He’s built an impressive resume, earning every opportunity and acting on it, by being the grown-up in the room. Which is what we need in government more than ever.

So, Nile Bailey Copeland is running for Harris County Treasurer with the hopes of unseating an entrenched Republican incumbent who has failed to achieve anything for voters. He’s pledged to make the office a relevant one that takes its responsibilities seriously, while proposing the office become more educative to constituents regarding how county government works. As an attorney and professional, he has built relationships, rather than political opportunities. Along the way, he’s earned the endorsements of former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, Texas Senator Borris Miles,  the Communication Workers of America Local 6222, attorney J. Goodwille Pierre, among other local leaders.

So, endorsing my friend has been a no-brainer. He’s the candidate who can defeat the Republican in November. And he will serve Harris County well.

Thoughts on Viernes…02092018

He Did What?

Note to all Democratic candidates:  Don’t appear on *ucker Carlson’s Fox News show. He’s a bigot, a liar, and a real asshole. And your critics will accept the premise of his bigoted questions, while you try to make a little 10 minute ad for yourself. The thing is, any candidate would probably reach more future constituents with a web-ad than appearing on the shit-fire that one steps on by appearing on *ucker Carlson.

Anyway…

Republatinos

I was asked, regarding yesterday’s voter registration post, why I didn’t say anything about electing Latino Republicans, instead just talking about Democrats. Apparently, he don’t know me very well. Seriously, though, polling of Latino voters shows heavy support for public education, access to health care, a strong economy with good jobs, and yes, a working immigration system and an end to mass deportations. So, I base my vote, including in a Dem primary, on that criteria. And I’m pretty sure most Latinos (since 65% or so end up voting for the Dem in November) do the same.

So, if you wonder why there aren’t enough Latino Republicans getting elected, ask Republican primary voters why they aren’t putting them on the November ballot. If you want to see more Latino Republicans, then vote in the Republican primary. Ultimately, though, if they (and you) support mass deportations, de-funding public schools, taking away affordable health care from brown people, and low-wage jobs for said brown people, then republatinos won’t even get Latino votes.

The DC Immigration Debate

So, no shutdown, some sort of a budget, and a debate on immigration will start next week. Some bill will be debated and members will get to add all sorts of amendments to it. It’s the amendments that worry me. Amendments are the cause of most derailments of bills. Especially immigration bills.

I expect guest worker crap, literacy exams which citizen-bigots can’t even pass, and pledges to the supreme Cheeto, and other pendejadas. We shall see.

 

The Latest in Harris County Voter Data

Thanks to Hector de Leon from the County Clerk’s Election Office, I’ve got my hands on the latest on the county voter registration rolls. FYI, when they break down the Hispanic numbers, they’re just estimates since they go by surnames. When registering, we are not required to give our ethnicity.

That said, there are 2,119,052 voters whose status is active. And of that, 470,041 are Spanish surnamed. That’s 22% of the voter rolls, folks. And if 20,000 or so would fix their status, we’d be closer to 500,000.

When broken down by congressional district, the county finds that 57% of voters in CD29 are Spanish surnamed. But in a show of “we’re everywhere!” we are anywhere from 14 to 22 percent in the other CDs. In the “hotter” races for CD2 and CD7, Spanish surnamed are 16% and 14%, respectively. In my own very Democratic CD9 and in Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s district, Spanish surnamed are at 19%. But when one looks at CD22 and CD36, which are quite suburban, Spanish surnamed are at 22% and 20%, respectively.

We’re everywhere! And this is a good thing because the ability to impact elections in Harris County is not just in one particular area, and “control” of GOTV efforts are not in any one group of politicos. On the other hand, there is plenty of opportunity to GOTV for those who really want to put in the effort and money. [I’m talking to those big money raisers and groups who GOTV, now.] Particularly when it comes to registered non-voting Latinos who often go ignored, or easily scapegoated, depending on the political party.

One particular set of data to note is how County Commissioner’s seats are broken down. What used to be a stronger Hispanic opportunity precinct, Precinct 2, is at 39% Spanish surnamed. I recall arguing before the County’s redistricting lawyers that while I appreciated Precincts 1 and 4 becoming more Hispanic and it seemed like a good thing because it showed we’re everywhere, it wouldn’t take much cutting from both precincts to bolster Precinct 2 as a Hispanic opportunity district. They didn’t listen. This is important as Latino candidates in the Pct. 2 Democratic Primary fight for whom gets to the chance to knock off a GOP incumbent, thus adding some needed diversity to the Court. I guess it’s important for those of us seeking partisan balance at the County, too.

There’s some 2014 data through which I need to sift that gives a clearer picture about where Latinos voted and in which Primary in 2014, and, no surprise, one finds those more “conservative” ones in the more suburban areas of the county. Has there been much change in how these Latinos feel about one side versus the other after a year of Trump? Are there new voters who haven’t even been given attention by either side? Well, I wish Latino Decisions would give it crack to find out.

Anyway, no doubt there has been growth. Voter registration efforts continue and there’s plenty of time to further impact these VR numbers toward November. What this tells either side of the political spectrum is that upwards of a quarter of the voter rolls are up for grabs if a political party takes that segment seriously in its GOTV efforts.

As Tony Diaz and I discussed on Tuesday on his radio show, it takes more than speaking Spanish and eating a taco in public. It takes being in tune to where Latinos are on the big issues. Those are usually Education, Health Care, Economy (jobs), and of course, Immigration. And I’m pretty sure a lot more of us are listening–whether you’re speaking to us or not. And that’s how November decisions are made.

Anyway, this is where we’re at regarding voter registration.

 

 

 

 

02/06/2018, 6PM: Nuestra Palabra Radio Show

Yours truly will be joining el Librotraficante Tony Diaz and his crew on the Nuestra Palabra:  Latino Writers Having Their Say radio show today, February 6, 2018, at 6PM on KPFT 90.1.

My appearance is somewhere between 6 and 7, so, you might as well listen to the whole show. You can also catch it on http://www.KPFT.org.

The topic:  Everything about the Chicano Renaissance that fits.

Here’s the podcast (starts at about 4:10):

Hill Top Cafe Benefit Concerts for Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs

From the inbox:

Our friend, Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs, lost his home to a house fire on New Year’s Eve. His family of seven was able to escape, but lost all of their possessions when their San Antonio rent house burned to the ground in a matter of minutes. The Baca family did not have renters insurance.

Our network of family, friends, and musicians are pulling together in an effort to raise money for this wonderful family. Hill Top Cafe will be sponsoring two evenings of music and relief efforts: Wednesday, February 21st and Saturday, February 24th.

Hill Top Cafe 10661 US-87
Fredericksburg, TX 78624 (830) – 997-8922

Some of Texas’s most revered artists (Marcia Ball, Johnny Nicholas), along with rising songwriters (Kelley Mickwee, Jaimee Harris) will be joining forces to raise funds and hope for the Baca family.

Hill Top Cafe will be serving a four course meal during the benefit shows, and will host a raffle. $100 per person / Lone Star Dining Room, $50 per person / Cavern Dining Room.

All proceeds will go to the Baca family in order to help them rebuild and recover.

Additional benefit concerts will be held in San Antonio and Austin.

Artists that will be participating at the various benefits to be held at Hill Top Café, Austin & San Antonio include:

  • Johnny Nicholas & Hell Bent
  • Bill Kirchen
  • Marcia Ball
  • The Delinquents’ from Lafayette Louisiana (Swing & Cajun)
  • Los Texmaniacs
  • Kelley Mickwee
  • Jaimee Harris
    MORE TBA…

For those of you who are unable to attend, but would still like to help, you may purchase raffle tickets or make a donation directly to the family.

Please contact Kayla at Hill Top Cafe for more information. (830) 997-8922reservation@hilltopcafe.com

The 2018 DosCentavos Stace Slate – Democratic Primary

LatinoVote(This is an evolving document.)

Well, I’ve spent a few minutes going over the sample ballot that pertains to my domicile and I’ve made some decisions on whom to support in contested races. There are a dozen or so contested races in which I’m undecided because, well, I’ve never met any of the candidates or heard of them along the way. So, I’ll update those races later.

For now, here’s the DosCentavos Stace Slate 2018. [Note:  No contributions or memberships were required to be purchased to earn an endorsement from the DC.]

  • US Senator – Beto O’Rourke
  • Texas Governor – Lupe Valdez
  • Lt. Governor – Mike Collier
  • Comtproller – Tim Mahoney
  • Land Commissioner – Miguel Suazo
  • Railroad Commission – Roman McAllen
  • 14th Court of Appeals – Pl. 3 – Jerry Zimmerer
  • 14th Court of Appeals – Pl. 8 – Margaret Poissant
  • Judge, 55th District – Latosha Lewis Payne
  • Judge, 113th District – Rabeea Collier
  • Judge, 185th District – Jason Luong
  • Judge, 189th District – Fred Cook
  • Judge, 234th District – Lauren Reeder
  • Judge, 269th District – Cory Sepolio
  • Judge, 281st District – Christine Weems
  • Judge, 248th Family District – Charles Collins
  • Judge, 289th Family District – Barbara J. Stalder
  • Judge, 309th Family District – Kathy Vossler
  • Judge, 313th Juvenile District – Tracy Good
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #2 – Harold Landreneau
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #5 –
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #7 –
  • Judge, County Crminal Ct #11 –
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct. #12 – Juan J. Aguirre
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct. #13 – Raul Rodriguez
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct. #15 – Kris Ougrah
  • Judge, County Probate Ct. #2 – Jim L. Peacock
  • Judge, County Probate Ct. #4 – James Horwitz
  • Judge, County Civil Ct #2 –
  • District Clerk – Marilyn Burgess
  • County Clerk – Diane Trautman
  • County Treasurer – Nile Bailey Copeland
  • County School Trustee, At Large – Richard Cantu
  • Vote FOR all of the propositions.

Contested Races NOT on My Ballot

  • CD2 – Darnell Jones or Silky Malik
  • CD7 – James Cargas
  • CD18 – Sheila Jackson Lee
  • CD22 – Steve Brown
  • CD23 – Judy Canales
  • CD29 – Sylvia R. Garccia
  • SD17 – Fran Watson
  • HD27 – Ron Reynolds
  • HD126 – Natali Hurtado
  • HD138 – Adam Milasincic
  • HD146 – Shawn Thierry
  • County Commissioner Pct 2 – Adrian Garcia
  • County Commissioner Pct 4 – Penny Shaw

Continue reading

LULAC Retracts Trump Letter; Questions Remain

NBC News has reported that LULAC National President Roger Rocha was planning on retracting his letter to El Cheeto which supported his anti-immigrant agenda. The letter went so far as to support “the four pillars” of Trump’s plan, which included a border wall, border militarization, and familiy separation.

In a lengthy article, LULAC Executive Director Brent Wilkes (he led the effort that supported right-wing Latino Miguel Estrada for a judicial appointment in 2003, by the way) stated that LULAC’s national assembly voted to support a more progressive immigration agenda, including a “Clean DREAM Act,” no border wall, opposition to immigrant warehousing in private prisons, and local cops acting as immigration agents.

What was disturbing is that Rocha stated that he was asked by “business leaders” known as the Latino Coalition to write the letter. This group is a supporter of right-wing conservative causes, such as opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), support of Social Security privatization, and promotion of bad trade deals that exploit workers in Latin America. Issues in which LULAC and Latinos, generally, do not fall in line.

The funniest line:

Wilkes said the letter “was never intended to go public.” Rocha “didn’t anticipate it would be shared with members of Congress,” he said.

Because they didn’t anticipate Trump salivating over having some Hispanic lackeys to push his bigoted agenda, thus spreading the word about it?

Anyway, there was membership backlash all around, which has now caused Rocha to say he would retract the letter. How that is done without sending a powerful message that the group–which according to Rocha is the only group being allowed into the White House immigration discussion–does not back Trump on his framework, I don’t know.

At least, that’s what I hope members would demand.

LULAC is a membership-driven organization. It’s elaborately broken down into local councils that do much good work, such as scholarships, leadership development, promotion of higher education, etc. State organizations are broken into districts. And once a year, they assemble for a national convention which is quite the con-fab. Leaders are elected, most times controversially, and a legislative agenda is set for the organization to have some pull at the various levels of government, among other stuff they work on. That’s the elevator description.

So, it’s easy for me to say that I’m not a member, although I did do my time in the group in a council we called “The Cesar Chavez Council” during my college days. And I still support a few of their local causes. Me and my cohorts always thought of the group as too tame, if not conservative, but having it as a tool to push legislation and create leaders from the grassroots, we made it our own–not always to the liking of state and national leaders. And this usually came up during state and national conventions. Ahh, memories.

So, again, I’m not surprised that a screw-up like this would occur. But members and leaders need to grab hold of this organization if they want to be relevant at the national level as a group that fights for people’s rights, and not for border wall contracts for conservative “business leaders,” or for whatever reason the Latino Coalition support Trump’s wall.

As far as questions remaining, one needs to ask why Rocha would involve LULAC in a group like Latino Coalition that is very anti-Latino in its agenda.

LULAC Supports Trump Wall

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by LULAC’s letter supporting El Cheeto‘s immigration framework–“rogue” or not. It’s not the first time LULAC has taken an awful position on something that could be detrimental to Latinos.

Back during the Dubya years, he appointed Miguel Estrada, a right-wing honduran immigrant, to the US Court of Appeals in DC. LULAC took the route of supporting this guy despite his opposition to judicial review–a concept that has kept most LULAC and civil rights lawsuits alive.  The reason? He was Latino.

Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.

So, that LULAC was trying to get on Cheeto’s and Republicans’ good side again, despite how awful the proposal is for people, should not be a huge surprise.

In these modern times, it seems these corporate-funded Latino groups are more interested in tux and gown proms and invites to the White House, rather than actual civil rights work. These groups get White House invites to meetings, while the actual activists, the DREAMers, get the shaft. Much love goes to members of Congress who had DREAMers as guests at the SOTU.

With this letter, Republicans are now able to parade around “the oldest Latino” group in America, in support of El Cheeto’s wall, border militarization, and family separation. Great job, LULAC!

I’ve always said to Democrats. If you want to fight this fight in the best way possible, follow the DREAMers, not the corporate-funded groups who will sell out a kid just to look good to whomever is in office.

 

It’s Not Just The Wall That Is Up For Debate

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz

An article by MSNBC talking head Victoria Soto caught my eye. Basically, she states that Democrats should give away the proposed border wall for DACA. Of course, there is no mention of what else Trump and the Republicans want. Added militarization in the form of more border patrol, draconian changes to family reunification (called by Trump “chain migration”), and other changes to the visa lottery, at least. No, Trump doesn’t just want the wall–a monument to stupidity, as called by Luis Gutierrez–he wants blood.

I will agree with Soto that by making the shutdown about CHIP vs DREAMers, it pretty much became about competing ethnicities. While the vast majority of DREAMers are Latino, only 37% of CHIP beneficiaries are Latinos. And let’s face it, ZERO DACA kids are on CHIP (or even Obamacare). But, no, Democrats have wasted no time in Demsplaining it as a victory. Considering that it was funded for the next six years, it’s pretty obvious that Republicans would have supported it in the end. Republicans just found a good hostage on which Dems could pull the trigger.

In other words, a longer shutdown would not have hurt CHIP in the least.

Now, it’s like everything is starting from ZERO on DACA/DREAM. Republicans have control of the DACA/DREAM issue and will allow for some pretty awful amendments, whenever it is they decide to get to it. Along with the amendments will be plenty of time to vilify DREAMers, immigrants, and your run-of-the-mill American Latin@. Probably more racially charged Trump ads about murderers, drug runners and visa overstays as “criminal illegals” will hit our TVs.  Certainly, talking heads and Congress members instilling fear and hate and spreading it around the country. Over the last seventeen years, we’ve been through this process plenty of times as if it is a brand new issue.

No doubt, DREAMers are hard at work trying to convince members of Congress in both parties for a Clean DREAM Act through direct action. Perhaps some changes might be OK, but not wasteful crazy ones like a wall or changes to family reunification some have stated privately. I mean, if there’s going to be a drawn out process, then the DREAMers must get the opportunity to speak, too.

But for Soto and others to simply give away the wall as they have done when we have already been forced into a new process is a bit shortsighted. Firstly, you never want to be the “Latino for the wall.” And for Soto to write this piece as if nothing else is up for debate is a bit disingenuous. Schumer already offered up the wall with a measly $1.6 billion of funding–not even close to the $20 billion Trump wants. Dems can’t even give away the store right if they’re trying to paint some picture of uncooperative Republicans.

So, all that is left is a legislative process that has been promised by someone who doesn’t really keep his promises. I’m glad the DREAMers are still working hard because I don’t know how hard Congress members will push. And it might be a good idea for Democrats and the few “moderates” left on both sides to listen to them during this process. And help stop the madness by standing up to stupidity.