Category Archives: Democratic Stuff

Early Vote Day 1 Was Great!

Over 128,000 Harris Countians showed up and voted on the first day of Early Voting. Add the mail-in ballots and that number is 169,000+. Overall, it was a good voting day.

I showed up at the HCC-Alief campus on Westheimer yesterday morning and spent less than an hour in line with my neighbors. Visual estimates probably had 50 head of me with more folks showing up behind me. By the time I left, the line had gotten longer. Unlike my COVID Primary voting experience, the ID scanner actually worked on my ID and I didn’t have to spend a few minutes being questioned. The folks working the polls were friendly and efficient. Perhaps they needed more machines, but with 122 locations countywide, one could find faster locations checking wait times on the Harris County clerk’s website.

Obviously, it’s not over as Early Voting ends on October 30. And the Republicans are still trying to stop you from voting by filing a frivolous lawsuit to end the convenient drive-thru locations that are being offered by Harris County. All I heard were good things about this innovative way of voting, yet, Republicans want to make voting harder.

During these pandemic days, convenience is preferable to all–no matter theit political affiliation. Republicans, though, cannot stop their love of voter suppression. Whether it is Greg Abbott stopping multiple drop-off locations for mail ballots, or whiny lawsuits to annoy voters, the Republicans do not want you to vote.

Well, yesterday showed that people will show up in spite of Republican voter suppression tactics. And this must continue. In Harris County find your early voting location here, print out a sample ballot here, and spread the word to your friends and family! And don’t forget to thank the hard-working folks at your voting location.

And, vote for the Democrats!

2020 Early Voting Is Oct 13 thru Oct 30!

Hey, y’all! Miss me? It’s been a while.

Early voting begins today, October 13, 2020! Here in Harris County, you can print a sample ballot for the races on your ballot here, and you can find an early voting location here. Harris County is offering more locations, as well as convenient drive-thru-voting locations around the county. Along with ballot by mail and the ballot by mail drop-off at NRG Stadium, as well as a 24-hour locations which will open on October 29, this is the most convenient voting has ever been, thanks to the Democrats who are in office. THERE IS NO EXCUSE! VOTE!

As far as whom I suggest you vote for, I say vote for every single Democrat on the ballot. Go through every single race on the ballot and click on the person with a (D) by their name. We need change and we need better representation, and we need fair and just judges that only the Democrats will provide. Start with Biden Harris and vote all the way down to your JP or other local candidate.

Since Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature got rid of “straight ticket” voting as a means of making voting harder, we’ll need to spend a few more minutes on our ballots, so, vote in every single race.

Early Voting continues through October 30. Again, click here for the early voting locations to find out where there are drive-thru locations, 24-hour locations, or the location closest to you. There are also many more NEW locations for your convenience. If you’re wondering about how long you need to wait in line, click here for wait times! I’ll keep you updated, too!

And, remember: TAKE YOUR PHOTO ID, PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING and WEAR YOUR MASK! And follow the directions of the good people working the polls.

Planned Parenthood Picks Anti-Immigrant Republican over Democrat

During these days of Trumpism (racism, hate, etc.), we need all the allies we can get. And other “progressive” groups have needed Latinos to be on their side, but apparently, they have their limits as to how much support they return.

Planned Parenthood (or their Texas PAC) has decided to endorse HD134 right-winger Sarah Davis, who was a vocal supporter of Senate Bill 4, a law which allows for racial profiling in the republican hunt for immigrants, over Democrat Ann Johnson. So, it’s obvious that PP wants a certain kind of republican ally when they say they want more republican allies.

Either that, or they’re hoping for a baby cagin’ contract from the state or feds, since it’s getting harder for them to run on their current business model because of republicans.

I was reminded of Margaret Sanger and her love of all things eugenics when she founded the organization. PP at the national level had disavowed Sanger and removed her name from the national HQ this summer because of her quest to “improve” humanity through selective breeding, as well as sterilization of groups of people to arrive at that goal.

What do you call racial profiling for the purpose of ridding undesirables from the US ? I’m pretty sure it’s the hate and racism we are all currently fighting against.

Some will argue about Planned Parenthood’s bigger purpose today:  Providing health care to those who need it, whether it be prenatal care, well-woman services, sex education, and yes, abortion. You know, the kind of stuff that we’re supposed to support. And that’s fine. But I draw the line at supporting bigots. I just thought that would be a general rule amongst progressives:  Don’t support bigots!

One would think such a group with an ugly history  they are still trying to overcome (Sanger and eugenics, in case you forgot) wouldn’t sell out entire groups of people to support their purpose, but they don’t seem to mind when it comes to Latin@s. And I’m pretty much tired of getting sold out by “progressive” groups, but told to shut up by these same people when we say “Abolish ICE” or “Defund the Police.” In other words, Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of an anti-immigrant republican is insulting to those of us who support progressive causes as part of some coalition-building effort.

Talk about selective progressivism on the part of Planned Parenthood.

Reviewing the DNCC – Day 2

Well, Day 2 was a lot more palatable.

It was good seeing Texas folks in some of the coverage, including Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of El Paso and State Rep. Victoria Neave of the Dallas area–both early Biden endorsers.

Although I wish Stacey Abrams had spoken longer, I liked Senator Chuck Schumer’s speech as it highlighted what Joe Biden is offering the people, which I think needs to be pounded into the brain of voters. Bill Clinton delivered some good lines that stabbed at the failure that is Trump. The heartstrings were pulled with Jimmy and Roselynn Carter’s speech, perhaps because of my own family memories of watching the DNCC, or the fact that they are up in years, now.

I was not too thrilled with the “empire” portion of the show. Bringing out military and intelligence folks to buttress the US’s drive for world domination, but in a kinder, gentler way, is not my thing.

Much like Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez stated in her nominating speech of Bernie Sanders, I, too, was hoping for a different kind of foreign policy in 2020 that only Senator Bernie Sanders offered. Unfortunately, Democrats have this need to prove toughness during convention time, rather than promote peace between nations that should be our allies, if the poor and indigenous were not looked down upon by US interests backed up by the US military. These policies pushed by both parties, which are anti-democratic and labor-exploitive must end, or else, the challenges of violence-based, climate-based and economic-based migration will continue.

Joe Biden will keep the US war machine well-oiled and funded when our priorities should be elsewhere during this pandemic, or else the Lincoln Project wouldn’t be so supportive. And he will likely continue US-Latin America policy that has been detrimental to the poor and indigenous of those nations, while supporting right-wing regimes who allow foreign corporations to exploit their natural resources and workers. I mean, ask anyone which Latin American countries have the most mass graves, missing and dead climate and political activists and it will be nations led by right-wing monsters supported by the US.

Thankfully, Dr. Jill Biden saved the day with her presentation. It’s obvious that she would be a first lady who would be proactive and kind, rather than dead inside. No doubt the story of Joe and Jill Biden offers some humanity, rather than the current “blooper reel.”

I think the favorite part was the roll call of states who announced their delegate totals. My favorites were North Dakota and New Mexico, which featured Natives and Chicanos. Somos Indios, cabrones!

And for those that freaked out over Sanders being nominated, that’s all part of the rules and convention process. Those of us who voted for Sanders gave him enough delegates to qualify for nomination, thus, AOC and the UAW guy were asked to give the nominating speeches. Don’t worry, I blame those at the DNC who fail to explain the process for those watching because they think you’re ordinary voters who won’t bother to watch democracy in action.

By the way, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the nominees, officially.

Anyway, let’s see what Day 3 offers.

Reviewing the DNCC – Day 1

I think the only part of the Democratic National Convention (Day 1) in which I got teary-eyed was during the singing of the National Anthem and “America,” because I was hoping beyond hope that these tunes would actually mean something, again, in the future. Otherwise…

This first day seemed to be all about appeasing the middle, the right, and the white. That tried and true strategy that never works. Devoting 5 or so minutes to Republicans for Biden who basically stated that Joe Biden was not the big bad leftist portrayed by Trump didn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. If anything, it makes me think that they’ll be quite comfy with the status quo that still enriched them during Dem administrations. The fact that Dems think that this is a workable strategy to gain white Republican votes still leaves me dumbfounded.

The use of Meg Whitman reminded me of her 2010 run for CA guv when she was considered the “cool republican” who suddenly turned on immigrants to the point where she supported the deportation of her undocumented housekeeper if republinuts gave her the nomination. All I saw was a reminder of bigotry and hypocrisy; but, that’s the kind of thing I look for in these kind of events. Let’s face it, after all of these years of immigrants being used as a political piñata by republicans, the Dems using them for votes leaves me disappointed. But, Dems refuse to learn.

Even more embarrassing was the use of Art Acevedo, the HPD head cop, in a racial justice discussion. He still hasn’t answered for HPDs killing of Nicolas Chavez, he refused to release bodycam footage of the killing, yet, the Democrats seem to think he’s part of the “racial justice” solution. What’s his answer? Crocodile tears and high-fiving protesters before gassing them and wrongly arresting them? I’m not the only one who was perturbed by this. Hell, Julian Castro has been doing some great work regarding police reform; why wasn’t he in this discussion?

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Senator Bernie Sanders were exceptional in pointing out the Biden agenda (which is what we all need to hear), especially Bernie. Bernie even did a better job on the issue of immigration and hate in his few minutes of speaking. And I’ll be the first to agree that a guy that looks like Bernie Sanders (old and white) should be stating these positions and not just brown folk. I hope Biden states them so eloquently.

Michelle Obama gave a great speech, as always, but I know I wouldn’t be able to say that being President reveals who you really are knowing my spouse deported 3 million immigrants and warehoused hundreds of thousands more (kids included). Of course, when it comes to remembering the “good ol’ days” of the Obama administration, I’m pretty much dead inside. Still, good speech.

Anyway, we’re all trying our damnest to be good soldiers despite the things that piss us off about those in charge of the Democratic Party. As Bernie reminded us, some of the issues we have fought for are now part of mainstream messaging (if not thinking) in the Party. It’s our job to keep those we elect accountable is what we’re told about democracy. Therefore, expecting better candidates does not end when the ticket is decided, either.

On to Day 2.

 

Local Dem Ballot Finally Done

The Harris County Democratic Party’s precinct chairs met this past weekend to discuss and approve the final two candidates to be placed on the ballot:  County Clerk and Harris Co Dept of Education Trustee.

Precinct Chair-slash-Blogger, Charles Kuffner, provided us an inside look to the happenings.

As I expected, Teneshia Hudspeth was unanimously approved and without any opposition. In the race for HCDE Trustee, though, there was some competition among the three candidates. According to Kuff:

Three candidates were nominated for this position: David BrownObes Nwabara, and Jose Rivera, as was expected. Brown led the voting with 38%, followed by Nwabara with 35% and Rivera with 27%. The rules say that a majority is needed, so we went to a runoff, and there Brown prevailed with a 53-47 vote. The closeness of the vote was appropriate for a tough choice, as all three candidates were excellent and well-qualified.

I was rootin’ for my friend, Jose, but he was a good Democratic sport about the result.

My work and passion for community will continue and I support 100% David Brown for HCDE Trustee for the Fall election. I would also like to congratulate Obes Nwabara on a spirited and great race as well. I am excited to see the energy and momentum of a new generation of leadership that is ready to work to ensure our community is equitable and accessible for all.

I’m pretty sure that Jose is not done and that someone with his deep history and connection to Democratic causes will be on the ballot (or for consideration to some sort of appointment) in the future.

That said, looks like the Democratic ballot is done. A comprehensive and Democratic list of candidates is available here.

 

The Noticeable Lack of Latinos at the Dem Convention

There’s a lot of talk among the brown masses about the lack of brown faces at this week’s national Democratic convention, which will formally nominate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to be the top of the ticket for 2020.

The latest list of brown faces on a shortened 2-hour per day program, includes:  Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (Nevada); Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY); Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM); and an article by Adrian Carrasquillo mentions early Biden endorser Congressman Filemon Vela (TX) who will be pre-recorded.

Let’s face it. Showcasing our best is not just about selling Biden, but also about giving Latino leaders a national spotlight to show us as more than just leaders of Latinos, and as people who can run a country.

The same article also gives reasons for the lack of brown faces:  Not enough time in the program; they don’t want too many elected officials speaking; and there were not enough early brown-faced Biden endorsers (Julian Castro and others didn’t endorse Biden until June). One former Obama brown person stated:

“At the end of the day, the convention is for party insiders, and in the times of COVID, I question the number of ordinary people who are paying attention and tuning in,” Stephanie Valencia said. What will move voters instead is the kind of field, television, digital and radio program the campaign has invested in, she added.

I think my “ordinary” Chicano parents just turned over in their graves, and not just because Republican John Kasich is on the list of speakers.

Frankly, I’m not too trusting of Democratic messaging for Latinos. In Florida, Biden will again (as Hillary did in 2016) run attack ads against dead Latin American presidents and other Latin American countries with democratically-elected leftist leaders who support things like universal health care and public education, while the other states will be reminded of Obama and DACA–and that’s about it. At least that’s my guess. But at this point, it seems that the excitement of Biden’s Latino agenda has sort of stalled because of the lack of brown faces at the convention. I’m thinking Biden and the DNC didn’t want things like “Abolish ICE” to be said too many times to a national audience.

So, it’s back to pointing fingers at Trump as a means of convincing brown folks to vote for Biden. But, as I’ve stated before, if Biden wants to win big, he needs to portray himself as more than the next guy brown people will be protesting.

The reality is that we won’t be seeing too much complaining from those brown faces considered “high-profile.” They are either getting support for their PACs to help regional campaigns, they don’t want to be brownballed by the DNC and state parties, and/or they are hoping for a job.

Seriously, though, nothing surprises me anymore.

 

 

 

The Dem Primary Run-Off Results

As far as Texas Democrats are concerned, I’m sure we are all glad it’s [almost] over. For DC, well, it wasn’t the best night for those I supported. Still, it’s on to November like the good little Democrat I try to be.

Royce West’s campaign against the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (and MJ Hegar) fell short, but I sure am proud of my friends who worked on West’s campaign and came up with a respectable result against the odds and the DC cash. We shall see what kind of campaign is run against Cornyn, now. Issues? Trump? Both? Will the DSCC even stick around? Questions that must be asked and answered, and now.

Family friend and fellow Cristaleño, Roberto Alonzo, gave it a go for Texas RR Commish, but it was obvious that Chrysta Castañeda was too much to overpower in the big cities. Still, we are proud of Roberto and the whole Alonzo family because they just don’t give up when it comes to the issues that matter.

Michelle Palmer cruised to victory in her race for SBOE-6, as did Te’iva Bell for the 339th District Court. Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas was soundly defeated by Cheryl Elliot Thornton for the 164th. Thornton is well-qualified and will be impressive in November. Cheri Thomas came up short for one of the appellate court seats against Tami Craft, but she is a great candidate who should remain in the game for future consideration. And Mark Alan Harrison is on his way to November in his run for Constable Pct 5.

Diana Martinez Alexander ran a great grassroots race for County Commissioner Pct 3 against big money and influence. I’ll still give her credit for being the only candidate in the running to shake my hand when asking for votes at one event I attended with most of the candidates in attendance. After doing some campaign finance sleuthing and seeing how she was outspent, and considering the final result, I must say that I am quite impressed with what she accomplished. She’s another one that should stay in the game because her activism will be an asset to Democrats up and down the ballot.

The race that was the most interesting was Texas House 148 with Penny Shaw and incumbent Anna Eastman, who won a special election to replace retiring Jessica Farrar earlier this year. No doubt, Eastman has said the right things on most issues important to Democrats, but it was Penny Shaw who may have gotten a late boost because of the policy differences she had with Eastman on public education and the out-of-town PACs that filled Eastman’s campaign coffers. It always seems to be the difference in these races–Teacher Unions -vs- Big Charter School Money. In this case, it was the union-supported Penny Shaw winning the early voting period and election day to put her over the top. While one side blames “negative campaigning,” it really was all about who turned out the most votes from their targeted base. I mean, c’mon, it was 200 votes difference. In non-COVID times, that would be a candidate attending a quince in the northside as the difference. As this is a Democratic district, Shaw will likely win in November.

Akilah Bacy cruised in HD138 and it seems incumbent State Rep Harold Dutton will squeeze by to another term. Incumbent Constable Chris Diaz was unseated by Jerry Garcia by less than 300 votes. Again, whomever turns out their base wins, no matter how negative it gets.

Big wins elsewhere include Dr. Jennifer Cantu for Fort Bend County Commish Pct 1, Delia Garza for Travis County Attorney, Jose Garza for Travis County DA, and Candace Valenzuela for Congressional District 24.

In Austin, it looks like State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and former Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt will be in a run-off later this fall for Senate District 14. While this special election brought out Republicans to support their own, it’ll be interesting to see which candidate Republicans choose as their candidate. It could be the difference in the race if Republicans decide to even come out.

It’s been real, y’all. Let’s win in November!

DC’s #StaceSlate – 2020 Dem Runoff

In case you all have forgotten, Democrats have a run-off election to begin participating in come Monday. For some of us, it’s a busy ballot from the Senate down to Constable.

Early voting begins June 29 and goes on through July 10. Run-off election day is July 14. Find your sample ballot here. You can find a polling location here. Here is the 2020 Democratic Run-Off #StaceSlate :

Continue reading

DACA – It’s A Small Win

No doubt, there was a sigh of relief after the 5-4 SCOTUS decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was announced. Many of my friends are less worried.

For the meantime, Trump and his minions have been told that they will have to find another way to make a declaration on DACA’s legality that would lead to its end.

As SCOTUS stated:

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. “The wisdom” of those decisions “is none of our concern.” Chenery II, 332 U. S., at 207. We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner. The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew.”

This may only further delay its demise, although, any new Trump effort to end DACA will once again be met by a challenge in the courts. This decision certainly adds to the political pressure against Trump and Republicans to do something about the entire issue (immigration and deportation reform and not just DACA), but also places pressure on Democrats who tend to get squeamish on any of these issues within the realm of immigration reform during election time.

For now, it’s still election season. As local group FIEL’s ED Cesar Espinosa stated:  “We are ecstatic that the supreme court sided on the right side of history and allowed for the DACA program to be in place for the meantime. We hope that in this interim time we are able to petition congress to come up with a permanent solution not only for DACA recipients but the immigrant community at large.”

And as various DREAMers stated at a press conference held today at FIEL, “It’s a small win,” and it is time to vote. It is time to study the candidates, find who is really on the side of DREAMers and immigrants, and vote them into office. It’s time to get beyond executive orders and actually do something.

This is not to say it’s all about politics. Much like the drive toward police reform, it’s about saving people’s lives. If politicians aren’t in it to work for the betterment of the people. then it’s just another popularity contest. Here’s a chance to do something.

There will be more on this, for sure. For now, it’s a good day.