Category Archives: Cultura

Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez Enters Senate Race

Have you ever had a bunch of candidates to choose from and still can’t make a decision? Yeah, me too.

But Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez has entered the race for the Senate to rid us of  John Cornyn, so, perhaps the choice is easier today.

Ramirez is an activist and organizer who founded the Workers Defense Project and voter engagement group, Jolt Texas. Many of us have watched her interviews on MSNBC speaking on behalf of the pro-migrant cause during these painful days of mourning since the El Paso shooting and since Trump’s attacks on the Latino community. Obviously, she’s running as a progressive on all the issues Democrats love.

I’m running because I want to ensure that every Texan has high-quality healthcare, to build an economy that creates millions of good jobs and positions our state as the leader in our global transition towards a green future, to protect the rights of immigrant families and communities of color, and to ensure that every single Texan that wants to go to college can afford it and graduate debt free.

Given her positions on these issues, I do not expect her to change her views mid-General to appease the unreachable and unattainable, which happens in most Texas campaigns. So, I expect her to run a strong, grassroots campaign funded by working people who seek real change in Washington, DC.

I’m running because I have the most beautiful two year old son in the world, Santiago, and when I imagine the world he’s going to inherit, and the one I leave behind for him, I want him to be proud of what I stood up for. What we stood up for together. I want him to know that in a moment where 1 in 6 Texans didn’t have access to healthcare and millions were struggling just to make ends meet, when communities were being pitted against one another on the basis of race, and our world was at the brink of an imminent climate catastrophe, we came together and worked as hard as we could to make his life and other children’s lives like him better.

What’s the path to victory? Given her message, it’s through all communities. And that will take visibility across Texas. From the Trib:

Tzintzún Ramirez welcomed a competitive nominating contest as healthy for Democrats, saying the candidates in the Senate race are “all essentially at the same starting place,” unknown to most voters statewide and thus forced to run on the merits of their platforms. Asked how she plans to distinguish herself, she pointed to her forthrightness on the issues and her record of mobilizing the kind of voters often overlooked by politicians.

“I know how to speak to the diversity of this state,” Tzintzún Ramirez said.

This kind of video helps.

The Trib has more.

 

 

The Day 2 Dems: We Need To Thin The Top Tier By 1

If anything has become obvious after two days of Democratic debate, it’s that most of the white dudes want to keep criminalization of border crossings and the candidates of color and women want to do away with it. And the pro-criminalization side has its king in Joe Biden.

Biden’s “back of the line,” “all border crossers are criminals” tirade set him apart from the rest of the crowd. He’s basically the Democrats’ Trump, saying what probably 1/3 of the Democratic Party think or is OK with a candidate saying because they just want to get rid of Trump and think anti-immigrant BS is the key to victory. Pro-Tip:  It’s not!

I can’t say I hate myself or a group of people enough to vote for this kind of Democrat.  Maybe that would change at the voting machine in November 2020, but I’ve been worn thin and will speak freely today. And Democrats refuse to learn from our past, even getting upset when some of us criticize previous Dem administrations. Nothing should be off-limits when we are picking the next leader of this country because we should strive for the best.

Performance-wise, I think Julian Castro did quite well, considering CNN only gave him less than 11 minutes to speak, while Back of the Line Biden got twice as much–most of it debating Kamala Harris.  But Julian proved that we Chicanos can do a lot with a little. Whether it was taking on Biden’s fear-based and gutless immigration pronouncements with a truly comprehensive plan or detailing his thoughts on a health care for all compromise, Julian was focused and coherent.

And while some will whine about Joe Biden being the target of some of the others, I think that’s a good thing. It showed us what he’d sound like in a debate with Trump, and if it didn’t scare you, then you are up in the clouds thinking he can beat Trump.

Cory Booker faired well against Biden after Biden’s attack on the town in which he was Mayor. (Why are white dudes attacking black cities and their leaders lately?) There are a few reasons Booker isn’t my favorite, but he’s quite the debater. Kamala Harris did well, too, on health care, despite attacks from the right in which scary numbers and confusion were thrown around by the mods.  Gabbard, of course, pointed out Harris’ flaws as attorney general of California, but it didn’t earn her points as much as it may have smudged Harris. Gillibrand has made a turnaround on immigration and sounded much more coherent on the issue and other issues than usual. Even DiBlasio and Yang weren’t awful.

Democrats have a decision:  Pick the right person that can take on Trump or settle for mediocrity.

I get lectured by former republicans and Dems who give money and support to “tolerable” republicans that we need to beat Trump with any sack of potatoes with a (D) by their name, but it’s early enough that we can thin the herd of basically bad people in our Party. For all the flaws that are pointed out, I think Castro, Warren, Sanders, and Harris are great candidates. Booker is OK, too.  But this round of debates proved that the mod(erate) squad, led by Biden, do nothing to increase participation of those constantly left behind in the conversation with their “no se puede” attitudes. If they don’t fire up an avid voter such as myself, then they won’t fire up the others we need. So, it’s not a bad thing, 6 months ahead of the first primary/caucus, to have some real conversations about the candidates–even picking them apart to see what they’re made of.

Happy candidate hunting! Go Julian!

 

 

The Winner of Tuesdays Debate…

I couldn’t help but think the same thing, Congressman!

As far as debate performance went, I thought Senator Warren did a great job, especially of defending herself from the mod(erate) squad that was relentless in attacking her and Senator Sanders’ platforms. It’s good to know that she’ll be able to handle similar attacks from the right from Joe Biden in the future.

Bernie Sanders reminded me why I was such a fan of his in 2016.

“I wrote the damn bill!”

Buttigieg, likewise, did OK. While I’m not a fan of the whole soldier thing, I agree with him that the right is going to paint Dems as socialist, open borders, private insurance hating Antifa terrorists no matter where Dems fall on the issues. So, let’s put out a platform promote it and defend it.

Beto was Beto; always trying to be the great white hope.

The rest didn’t leave an impression on me, although, Marianne Williamson said plenty of things that needed to be said on racism and Washington, DC corruption.

Regarding health care, the debate is becoming about keeping private insurance in a “universal” plan since people who can afford insurance don’t want to lose what they have. And while government jobs don’t offer the best insurance choices, some companies do offer some pretty good ones. Let’s remember that platforms are platforms. Let’s remember Obama promised comprehensive immigration reform in the first year of term one and then ignored it completely. So, let’s not get all nasty here because it also takes political capital and using it well to get things done. The key, in this case, is to increase access to the uninsured while lowering prices and ending insurance company corruption. Eyes on the prize!

On immigration, it was Warren who stayed strong on the issue of decriminalizing border crossing, while the others seemed to want to keep the “criminal” designation alive for whatever reason. The mod squad put the blame on Trump, but even Democrats have warehoused immigrant families and deported millions without due process because of this designation. So, it’s better to get rid of it. Bernie came close until he mentioned the idea of more immigration judges. Although I understand his sentiment regarding backlogs in the entire system, the comment reminded me of Hillary Clinton’s “deport the kids” attitude of 2014. And in these debates, sound bytes matter.

As much as people talk about “Russia,” Democrats need to be reminded that US meddling in Latin American elections is still a thing. And, if we want to talk about “root causes” of migration, we may need to start with this fact.

Day 2 of Who Gets Voted Off the Island is today. As always, I’m rooting for Julian Castro. He’s only two spaces away from Joe Biden, so I hope he lands some chingazos (political ones, of course) tonight.

Houston CM Amanda Edwards Enters US Senate Race

And with this announcement, I can honestly say I don’t know where I stand on this race. But I will say Edwards’ video announcement is one of the best I’ve seen in recent times, featuring imagery to capture hearts and minds. And that’s what it’s going to take, along with a lot of campaign cash, to defeat Cornyn.

Edwards joins the already announced MJ Hegar, Sema Hernandez, and Chris Bell. (Maybe there are others.) We await announcements from State Senator Royce West and Jolt CEO Christina Tzintzun Ramirez.

Texas is a huge state, so, one has to ask themselves what the path to victory is for all of these candidates. Only Hernandez (US Senate primary in 2018) and Bell (for Governor) have run statewide. Houston area candidates obviously know Houston is where it’s at in this state, especially during an active presidential primary. Dallas is no different, though.

But South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley will play a major role, as always, and must not be ignored or ceded by any of the candidates–no matter what they think their chances are based on the ethnic make-up of the region. Remember, one of them will end up taking on Cornyn and if they ignore big swaths of the state, they won’t get much attention in November 2020. So, don’t ignore South Texas!

We will be seeing more and more activity about 2020 given all of these announcements. I’ll remind you that, here in Houston, we have a 2019 City of Houston election that should be on our minds. Obviously, Edwards not running for re-election in City Council At-Large 4 changes things and we’ve seen some current candidates switch from one race to another, including Nick Hellyar from a very crowded District C and Dr. Letitia Plummer from a crowded At-Large 5. I expect more to announce as we move toward the filing deadline. As Kuff reminds us, today, there are a lot of open seats and these races are crowded.

As always, follow Eric Manning’s spreadsheet to find out who has filed campaign treasurer appointments for City, HISD and other races. It’s starting to get interesting, if not exciting.

 

A Few GOPers Weep Over Trump’s Racism

I was asked what I thought of a few Republicans who suddenly saw the racism of the Trump/GOP administration.

They didn’t say anything when the GOP was keeping children and families uninsured.

They didn’t say anything when the GOP railroaded thru some tax cuts for the rich against poor and working families.

They didn’t say anything when the GOP and Betsy DeVos cut education funding and did away with civil rights for many students.

They didn’t even say anything when Trump and his ilk were putting children and families in filthy warehouses and cages, thus enriching private jail companies.

They didn’t see the racism in Republican policies all this time. Hell, they benefited from these policies in one way or another, politically or financially.

But “Go back to your country” was really below the belt?

Spare me!

These GOPers are either hoping for forgiveness from their God, or hoping for re-election as they see well-funded opponents in their midst.

And the retired Latina judge who suddenly found God in all of this? She should go back to her country club.

City of Houston Races Continue to Shape Up and Contract

Click Here For The Latest List of Prospective City of Houston Candidates

The local race all eyes (at least those paying attention) are on is that of Houston Mayor. Mayor Sylvester Turner was already taking on a couple of self-funded millionaires before CM Dwight Boykins joined in and was backed by the firefighters. Then, after Boykins’ verbal diarrhea in which he offended, well, everybody (especially young women), former CM Sue Lovell joined in. There are others running, but that’s all I’ll say about that.

Where does this leave the race for endorsements? Well, we heard a little about the endorsement game this week, too. I’ve never liked the local endorsement game where endorsing club memberships are bought by candidates in order to pack the endorsement meeting for a said candidates. The excuse (from the consultant class, especially) continues to be, “Well, it’s the way it’s always been done.” That doesn’t mean it’s right, and it certainly doesn’t mean things cannot change for the better. There’s something very wrong when you have 300 people at one club meeting, then 15 at the next. Anyway…

Where do I stand on the Mayor’s race? Obviously, I’m just not into it this year. Although I do side with Mayor Turner in that he’s attempted to responsibly give firefighters raises that are affordable and within budget, he has left me wanting stronger responses to the local baby jails and planned ICE raids. Simply promoting “diversity” is not enough if you’re not defending children (including 17 year olds at 419 Emancipation) or fighting against migrant round-ups that instill fear in a community.  This is the issue of the day and even local candidates must speak up against the Trump administration and those benefiting from racist policies. So, Mayor (and the others), up your game!

City Council

My own District F will not have an incumbent as current CM Steve Le has decided to not seek re-election after causing much controversy. There’s also that thing about not even residing in the district, I hear; not that it’s ever stopped anyone. I’m still undecided, but Tiffany Thomas is on my radar, as is former District F CM Richard Nguyen. Still, it’s crowded and anything can happen. So, impress me.

District H, which serves the Heights and Northside has a couple of challengers for Karla Cisneros. Most recently, Isabel Longoria, a local organizer and activist, joined the race. I expect a great challenge from her.

District J out in SW Houston is also crowded. I met Sandra Rodriguez and Nelvin Adriatico the other day. Both are personable and communicate well with prospective voters. And that’s the key–talking to actual voters in a low-performing area of town. A lot of my friends are backing Rodriguez, though, and her experience on city issues puts her ahead of the pack.

Check out the list to find out about other district races.

I’ll be doing another post about the at-large races later. I am definitely supporting Raj Salhotra in At-Large 1 and Janaeya Carmouche in At-Large 3.

 

 

Julian Castro Continues To Impress in Houston

First of all, thanks to the Harris County Democratic Party for inviting presidential candidates to Houston so that Democratic voters can get a closer look at them. In the case of Julian Castro, he impressed from arrival to exit.

Entering a packed St. John’s Downtown to Selena’s Baila Esta Cumbia, Castro showed that his campaign is indeed connecting with voters and much of the interest is owed to his debate performance. No, not because he schooled some of his opponents on immigration reform, but because his delivery on a variety of issues was strong and to the point. Castro has brought the issues of policing, housing, and education to the forefront, and he expects to release a plan on climate change soon. And we must keep listening.

Check out the video!

Yet, I would venture to say that if it were not for Castro’s bold immigration reform plan, the campaigns would not be responding to the issue as strongly as they have been. While the current wave of anger toward the Trump administration is because of children in cages, awful prison conditions, and a racist, inhumane Border Patrol, Castro has pointed to a broken system beyond asylum seekers and the easier platform point of DREAMers. Getting to the root cause as to why people are coming to the US is something that hadn’t been spoken of since Bill Richardson ran for President in 2008; in Castro’s case, a proposal for a Marshall Plan to bolster those countries whose citizens are suffering through bad economies, bad right-wing regimes, and government- and gang-led violence.

I hope that we will hear more about Latin America policy from the candidates. Let’s face it, much of the cause of Latin America’s issues is US intervention in democratic elections, including a coup in Honduras during the Obama administration because they didn’t like the progressive-minded guy who won. We’re talking hard truths that Democrats must swallow if they really want to move toward fixing a problem, rather than putting a band-aid on it and ignoring it for two terms.

Check out the video

This said, I’m glad Julian Castro is on the debate stage. He’s brought a Mexican American point of view to American politics that has gone ignored for too long. Castro offers his rich political and family history that America has neglected to embrace and he just happens to show off his abilities to talk domestic and foreign policy in a manner that doesn’t sound like “inside baseball.” So, let’s all of us keep listening. We may just learn something.

 

 

Si Llega ICE A Tu Puerta * If ICE Is At Your Door

Gracias a United We Dream por esta lista de derechos y recomendaciones si acaso llega ICE a tu Puerta.

1) NO ABRAS LA PUERTA

La migra solo puede entrar a tu casa con una orden de arresto emitida por un juez de la corte criminal, o si tu le abres la puerta. Dígale al oficial que pase la orden de arresto bajo la puerta o que la enseñe tras una ventana. ¡No abras la puerta!

2) GUARDA SILENCIO

La migra puede y usará cualquier cosa que digas en contra ti mismo en tu caso de inmigración. Es importante que te mantengas callado/a y hablar con un abogado. Simplemente dile al oficial de inmigración: “Quiero ejercer mi derecho bajo la quinta enmienda y decido mantenerme callado/a hasta que hable con mi abogado.”

3) NO FIRMES NADA HASTA HABLAR CON UN ABOGADO

Muchas veces, La Migra tratará de engañarte y hacerte firmar tu propia deportación. Esto se conoce como una ‘Voluntary Departure’ o ‘Deportación Voluntaria’. NO FIRMES NADA que te den sin hablar con un abogado primero.

4) GRABE TODO

Es importante tomar fotos y grabar video con tu celular a no ser que estes en propiedad del gobierno federal. Toma notas detalladas de números de placa, cantidad de oficiales, la hora, tipo de autos que usaron, y exactamente que paso. Reportantdo esta informacion nos ayudará a determinar si cualquier violación de derechos ocurrió en parte de la migra y también ayudará a exponer las tácticas manipuladoras que utiliza la migra para redondear y deportar a los inmigrantes.

5) REPORTE SU ENCUENTRO

United We Dream tiene una línea directa llamada MigraWatch para que nuestra comunidad pueda reportar la actividad de la migra. Haga su reporte llamando nuestra línea directa al 1-844-363-1423.

6) CONSIGUE AYUDA

Consigue un abogado de confianza y exploren todas las opciones para pelear su caso. Si es detenido/a, recuerde que tal vez pueda conseguir una fianza – no pierda la esperanza. Visite nuestros, compañeros, IMMI, para encontrar ayuda legal gratis o de bajo costo cerca de usted.

7) LUCHA

Otra manera de pelear tu caso, es unirte a una comunidad que está tras usted. Como la organización mas grande de la nación dirigida por jóvenes inmigrantes, United We Dream ha ayudado parar cientas de deportaciones. Manda un mensaje de texto que diga NosQuedamos al 877877 para luchar junta/o nosotros.

IN ENGLISH

1) Do Not Open Your Doors.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot come into your home without a warrant signed by an immigration court judge. With your door shut, ask them to slide the signed warrant under the door or push it up against a window. They cannot come in unless you let them.

2) Exercise Your Right To Remain Silent.

I.C.E can and will use anything you say against you in court. It’s important for you to remain silent and ask to speak to your attorney. Simply tell the immigration officer: “I am exercising my fifth amendment right and choosing to remain silent until I speak to my attorney”.

3) Do Not Sign Anything Before Speaking to an Attorney.

Many times, I.C.E. and Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.) will attempt to trick and make you sign your own deportation. This is also known as a voluntary departure. Do NOT sign anything that they give you without first speaking to an attorney.

4) Record Your Encounter.

It’s important to take photos and record video on your phone unless you are on federal government property. Take detailed notes of badge numbers, amount of agents, time, type of cars they used, and exactly what happened. Reporting this information will help us determine if any rights violation was made on behalf of the immigration agency and help us expose their rouge, manipulative tactics that they use to round up and deport immigrants.

5) Report Your Encounter.

United We Dream runs a hotline called the MigraWatch Hotline for people to report activity of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E), Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P), or any other immigration agencies. Report the activity by calling this hotline at 1-844-363-1423.

6) Get Help.

Get a trustworthy attorney and explore all options to fight your case. If detained, remember that you might be able to get bail – don’t lose hope. Visit our partners, IMMI, to find free or low-cost legal help near you.

7) Fight Back.

Another way to fight back, is to join a community that has your back. As the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country, United We Dream has helped stop hundreds of deportations. Text HereToStay to 877877 to fight back alongside us.

Credit:  United We Dream

 

The May 2019 Election – Results

Santa Fe, TX

The biggest news from Saturday’s election is that a good friend and associate of mine will be joining the Santa Fe, TX City Council. Fidencio Leija, Jr. won his race for Place 4, defeating an incumbent in grand fashion.

Leija, a native of Santa Fe, returned home to start a family and an insurance business. Known for his commitment to community during his time in Houston, Leija immediately became involved in his Santa Fe community serving on various committees and associations. It was obvious that he’d be a good fit on the City Council and the voters responded quite well to his campaign.

Congrats to my friend and fellow Texas State Bobcat, Fidencio, and his family. I know he will be a voice for the betterment of the community.

Pasadena, TX

Kudos to Cody Ray Wheeler on his re-election to City Council District E for the City of Pasadena. He fended off a challenger while campaigning to continue being a voice of reason on the Council. Also, police officer Ornaldo Ybarra returned to the City Council defeating the incumbent. Unfortunately, Steve Halvorson’s challenge fell short, but he ran a great race. Sammy Casados was unopposed in his race for re-election.

Cy-Fair ISD Bond

Since I spend a lot of time in that part of the county, I must say that I’m happy the bond passed with over 70% of the vote. Cy-Fair is one of those fast-growth districts that needs the space. In other school news, Conroe ISD, another one of those fast-growth districts, voted down their bond to add much needed space. Cy-Fair was smart. Conroe, not so much.

San Antonio and Dallas

Looks like there will be run-offs for Mayor in SA and Dallas.

In SA, it’s Mayor Ron Niremberg who was forced into a run-off after falling just short of being re-elected. The race is a contentious one in which a lot of mud has been thrown at Mayor Ron.

In Dallas, it’s State Rep. Eric Johnson who will be in a run-off for the open seat with Scott Griggs. I’m rooting for Rep. Johnson.

Local elections are for positions and boards in which the most important decisions are made. Houston is headed toward November already and there will be some contentious races. Read the facts, instead of the rhetoric, before clicking “cast vote.”

May 15-19, 2019: 38th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival

It’s that time of year again. The 38th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival, the biggest conjunto festival in the world is set to launch in a couple of weeks in San Antonio and the list of performers and activities does not disappoint.

The fest begins on May 15 with a Seniors Dance at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Theater at 1301 Guadalupe featuring Eddie “Lalo” Torres y su Conjunto. The dance is FREE! There will also be a screening of Chulas Fronteras, a documentary film about Texas conjunto music and its history.

On May 16, the newest inductees into the Tejano Conjunto Hall of Fame will be presented at the Guadalupe Theater. This year’s inductees include Norfy Layton, Lorenzo Martinez, and Pepe Maldonado.

But it’s May 17-19 which will have the most activity at SA’s Rosedale Park at 303 Dartmouth. The three-day concert series includes some of the best conjuntos in the business.  Get your tickets here. Here’s the schedule:

Friday, May 17, 2019
Rosedale Park, San Antonio, TX
5:30pm-Midnight
$16 daily admission
5:30pm Opening Ceremonies
6:00pm Flavio Longoria Conjunto Kings
7:00pm Los D Boyz
8:00pm Rio Jordan
9:00pm Los Cucuys de Rodney Rodriguez
10:00pm Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers
11:00pm Los Garcia Bros
AFTERPARTY: FAR WEST @ 2502 Pleasanton Rd, San Antonio, TX 78221

Saturday, May 18, 2019
Rosedale Park, San Antonio, TX
12:00pm-12:00am
$16 daily admission
12:00pm Conjunto Student Showcase
3:20pm Cristina y Los Latinos
4:00pm Robert Casillas and Company
5:00pm JR Gomez y Los Conjunto Bandits
6:00pm Los Morales Boyz
7:00pm Los Leones de Alberto Solis
8:00pm Los Tremendos V
9:00pm Los Monarcas de Pete y Mario Diaz
10:00pm Conjunto Califas
11:00pm Lazaro Perez y su Conjunto
AFTERPARTY: BOSMANS @ 672 Elks Dr, San Antonio, TX 78211

Sunday, May 19, 2019
Rosedale Park, San Antonio, TX
12:00-11:00pm
$16 daily admission
12:00pm Conjunto Student Showcase
2:00pm Los Hermanos Tellez
3:00pm Konjunto Kompaz
4:00pm Tejano RoZe
5:00pm Linda Escobar y Su Tremendo Conjunto
6:00pm Eva Ybarra y su Conjunto
7:00pm Los Texmaniacs featuring Flaco Jimenez
8:00pm Ruben De La Cruz y su Conjunto
9:00pm Tony Tigre y la Rosa de Oro
10:00pm Los Palominos
AFTERPARTY: THE SQUEEZEBOX @ 2806 N. St. Mary’s
San Antonio, Texas 78212