Category Archives: Education – K12

2nd TEA Talk-at-Community Meeting Goes As Expected

Greg Abbott’s minion, Mike Morath at TEA, failed to show again at an HISD takeover community meeting, and Morath’s own minion (Alejandro Delgado) failed at running a meeting, again, as he attempted to show that powerpoint. Parents and teachers did show up again to ask questions for which they are not getting answers. When they didn’t get the answers, they took over the meeting.

The report from KHOU points out that Delgado states that over 200 questions have been collected and half are about the board of managers. Those at meetings do not seem to be asking about the board appointment process, so, my guess is that the questions are from the TEA online portal, where it’s safe for chaqueteros to ask. Also, 138 people have applied to be on the board of managers and TEA wants more applicants to justify their appointment process and outcome.

As Kuff points out, TEA’s meeting practices don’t give folks the warm and fuzzies to capture their hearts and minds, but I’m pretty sure that hasn’t been TEA’s intent this whole time. According to Campos, all of the loud noises from the people at the meetings aren’t going to change a thing about TEA’s takeover. But, hell, the lawsuits and the Lege didn’t work, so, what’s left? If this doesn’t turn into an actual and long-term people-led movement, instead of just a regular ol’ political campaign to win a seat with the least numbers possible, then nothing will change.

Anyway…

TEA Takeover Meeting a Farce

By the looks of it, the TEA Takeover public meetings are just for informational purposes; and by that, I mean, the information that TEA wants to provide.

Last night’s meeting at Westbury High School was planned to last one hour, was all about a PowerPoint presentation one can find on the TEA website, and an attempt to recruit community members for the “board of managers” Greg Abbott wants to create. The result: More chaos and more anger.

Houston community members were irate Tuesday night as state education officials tried to explain the process of taking over their school district. State officials did not take questions about the effects such a move could have on Houston Independent School District, which is the largest in Texas, but did try to recruit community members to replace the existing school board.

About seven minutes into the Texas Education Agency’s PowerPoint presentation on the impending HISD takeover, parents and community members erupted in shouts directed at TEA deputy commissioner Alejandro Delgado.

“We got questions,” attendees repeatedly yelled. “Y’all tryna take our community.”

Further, TEA commissioner Morath didn’t even bother to attend and Greg Abbott was somewhere else outside of Houston ISD borders talking about giving public money to private schools.

If this doesn’t tell you what kind of a farce this is, I don’t know what will. It is obvious that a hand-picked board, much less the TEA, will not be accountable to the people. Certainly, they do not want to have a conversation with the people as they passed out notecards for folks to write their questions those in charge could hand-pick to answer. One can only think this is how “board” meetings will be run.

Local activist TravisMcGee, whose children attend an HISD high school, said the meeting was “very disrespectful” to community members. People wanted to express their concerns and frustrations directly to TEA officials through a microphone on a podium regarding the board of managers change, rather than hear about the application process, he said.

“The board of managers is going to be a bunch of puppets,” McGee said. “Our school district ain’t perfect, but I doubt the state of Texas gonna do any better.”

Arnetta Murray, a Houston ISD teacher, said the TEA has not listened to the community about more pressing concerns. If they did, they would know the district has a bus driver shortage and teachers are stressed over standardized testing.

“I don’t care about no board of managers,” she said. “I care about our students and I care about the teachers.”

At this point, rolling over and allowing Greg Abbott’s takeover to happen is not an option, much less participating in the farce through the board of managers. At least, that’s how the people feel.

There are three more “talk-at the community” TEA meetings to reach 200,000 children, 30,000 employees, and millions of taxpayers. I hope DPS copters in Morath. The mouthpiece he sent seemed useless on the TV.

Thoughts on Viernes – 03172023

Clarifying The Undemocratic Takeover

So, when TEA takes over Houston ISD in June, they will replace all of the elected trustees and give power to a board of managers appointed by Mike Morath and Greg Abbott. That much we knew. A look at the TEA FAQs regarding Houston ISD gives us more details, such: Authority is removed, but trustees remain elected officials. Board elections continue and when a Board of Managers is removed, elected board members return. The timeline includes how elected trustees will be phased back in to power, which will be done in thirds after the board of managers meets the goals acceptable to TEA.

So, the part of democracy where those we elect do the actual work is placed on a ventilator, but the campaigning and political consultant fees continue? Can’t wait to see the campaign messaging: “I’ll do these things if Greg Abbott gives HISD back to us!”

Once I read the official correspondence from TEA to the Board of Trustees, I saw this:

While the Board of Managers is in place, my hope is that members of the Board of Trustees will choose to continue to be engaged by members of the Board of Managers in an advisory capacity, to help facilitate a seamless return for those local elected officials when the time comes.

So, it’s nothing statutory, but just an invite–maybe. Whatever cover of democracy TEA and Abbott are attempting is just that.

If you want official stuff, then, visit TEA’s page on the Houston takeover.

La Marisoul and Los Texmaniacs Drop Las Nubes

Little Joe y La Familia made the tune, Las Nubes, a theme song of the Chicano civil rights and farm worker movement. A somber tune about suffering and challenge ends up giving one hope for the future. It’s been recorded and re-recorded many times, each time with its own brand of sabor. La Santa Cecilia vocalist La Marisoul, Los Texmaniacs, and Little Joe, all Grammy winners, have come together to produce a conjunto version of the song, filled with soul and acordeon. I love it, especially as things seem to be going to crap in the world–politically, at least. There’s always hope, right? Check it out:

Thoughts on the TEA Takeover of HISD

It has been a year since I moved back into Houston ISD territory after living a block away just inside Alief ISD for a number of years. I was so upset that I moved in too late to have voted for my friend Holly Flynn Vilaseca in HISD District VI. As Greg Abbott begins his move to transition HISD into the Texas prison system (or something like that), the reality that elections matter hits people right in the face.

Political realities are the worst thing people can feel when bad decisions affect them, especially if they voted against their best interests or didn’t vote at all. And for almost 200K students, 30,000 staff, and millions of taxpayers, the fact that our democracy has been compromised by a power-hungry Greg Abbott should have us living in fear, yet, wanting to do something about it. So, I have a few thoughts about the TEA takeover that will happen in June.

  • The voters of HISD District VI had a hard-working trustee in Flynn Vilaseca. She was fighting for our kids, our teachers, and our democracy. Unfortunately, various powers preferred misinformation and a person whose idea of representation has been to sell-out HISD stakeholders, Kendall Baker, whose support of Greg Abbott’s idiocy was on TV news yesterday. Baker supports the TEA takeover and sacrificing his own political career to prove his loyalty to awful people. Baker is a right-wing zealot who has been supported by vultures, such as State Rep Mayes Middleton and local county commissioner and election denier Tom Ramsey. I hope the voters who were duped into voting for him realize what they did in voting for him. Removing him from the board is probably a good thing (as undemocratic as that may be), but knowing there are better-connected right-wing zealots who do not support public education out there and whom Abbott will appoint is unsettling. Kendall Baker was a great pawn for the right-wing zealots, though.
  • Watching the various news reports yesterday, I found that reporters set-off to find HISD parents to ask their opinion of Greg Abbott’s takeover of HISD. A few were somewhat informed, yet, surprised that it was going to happen. The concern was palpable. Others had the mentality that, “as long as something is done to make things better,” but with no knowledge of the politics and process and upheaval that Greg Abbott’s route would cause. And then there was that parent who wanted to feign knowledge, but was not at all paying attention. So, that there is a lack of information out there is not a surprise. And that parents need to be spoon-fed the information is also not a surprise, whether it’s done by trustees, administrators, or the political class in Houston. But it is TEA who will take advantage of the way things have always been done to keep people misinformed as only four (4) informational meetings have been scheduled to reach 200,000 students, 30,000 employees, and millions of taxpayers. Ignorance is bliss all-around, but while some hope no one says anything so that no one messes with the status quo or other agendas that may exist, the right-wing-nuts goes merrily along and actually does something to further their race to the bottom.
  • Kuff has a little bit more. He thinks people should apply to be on the board of managers to see if a few good minds can be placed, and I do see the logic. But there are bad things that will happen because of this unelected, undemocratic board and I’d hate for any of our good people be tainted by those decisions. I’d prefer some sort of movement to call out the decisions that are being made–a mass movement led by people and not the politicians who have that taint on them no matter which title they possess. I’d like to see those who fight hardest against Greg Abbott’s shenanigans be on the next board of trustees–once, HISD is paroled from Abbott’s prison system. At this point, I see anyone who has applied to be on the board as suspect. I hope that this takeover causes more good people to find the drive in themselves to serve–as thankless as this job may be. And also, redistrict HISD!

TexTrib: One Last Reunion of La Raza Unida Party

When I heard that there would be another (and maybe final) reunion of La Raza Unida Party in San Antonio, I was saddened that I would not be able to make it. Thanks to Alexa Ura at the Trib, we have a lengthy report on the confab and even some history to remind folks about a liberal third political party that made a difference during the 70s, while pissing off Democrats and making Chicanos a more serious target of GOTV.

They were once deemed radicals on the front lines of the fight for Chicano rights in Texas. On this cloudy Thursday so many decades later, the visitors of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s downtown campus were mostly septuagenarians. They arrived from South and Central Texas or made the trek from other parts of the country to revisit a brief but significant chapter of Texas history when legions of Latinos and Latinas banded together in pursuit of political empowerment.

Out of the fight against institutionalized racism and injustices came La Raza Unida Party, a regional political apparatus that for a few years grew large enough to offer Texans a third political party. The party won local elections, made political organizers out of marginalized Texans and brought scores of new voters into the electoral fold.

I always like to say that I was born into a Raza Unida family. Yes, my parents were stalwart Democrats who finally had enough of Dem Party shenanigans that kept Chicanos and Chicanas from elected office through racist voter suppression and supported a third party that was successful locally.

Democratic county officials maneuvered to try to keep Raza Unida candidates off the ballots, and issues arose with the ballot petitions the nascent party submitted. Left off the ballot in three of the four targeted counties, organizers decided to run write-in campaigns for some candidates.

Doing so forced them to confront the far reach of the state’s discrimination. Illiteracy rates were high among the area’s Mexican Americans who had not been afforded an education, and some local officials vowed to continue barring interpreters at the polls even though federal courts said they must be allowed.

In Crystal City, organizers gathered with voters in parks to walk them through the process of casting ballots. In English and Spanish, they helped voters inspect sample ballots so they could learn to measure the spaces between entries and know where candidates’ names should be written. Then, they helped them memorize how to write out the names.

When voters arrived at the polls, they faced intimidation, illegal literacy tests and ballots intentionally printed with races in a different order. Some ballots were tossed based on misspellings even though state law allowed election workers to use their best judgment to accept a voter’s intentions.

Just one of the party’s 16 candidates won. Still, they amassed on average nearly 40% of the vote, according to the retelling in “United We Win.”

In fact, my Mom’s brother, Jose Serna was among the first Chicanos elected under RUP as Zavala County Sheriff after having organized farm workers and townspeople along with his wife, Olivia. Sheriff Serna was also one of the candidates who earned a majority of votes as a write-in candidate, but was disqualified because of different spellings of his name. When Democrats took over later, he was re-elected as a Democrat.

In the 1960s, Black and Latino people walked a tightrope between oppression and possibility.

Some were coming of age after a lifetime in segregated schools. The social mobility education could offer was mired in everyday inequities. In Texas, racist teachers regularly insulted Mexican American students relegated to rundown schools that often lacked air conditioning. Students were shunned, or even abused, for speaking Spanish. Too many did not graduate high school. Too few made it to college, and the cycles repeated year after year.

Politically, Latino Texans battled for even a sliver of power. It hadn’t been that long since Mexican Americans attempting to vote faced violence and brutality often carried out by the Texas Rangers or were shut out by “white primaries.” Hispanic veterans returning from the Vietnam War found the state’s white power structure marginalizing them by instituting poll taxes and banning interpreters who could help Spanish-speaking or illiterate voters cast ballots.

Some Mexican Americans were from families that had been in Texas longer than it had been a state; others were the children of migrant farmworkers eager to form part of their communities. All were consigned to second-class citizenship.

As Greg Abbott and Republicans nationally continue their bigoted attitudes and practices toward brown people, that feeling of second-class citizenship is still in effect, unfortunately. It gets worse when Democrats, even when they have a majority in Washington, DC, fail to do anything about it.

Still, ingrained in many of us who grew up in the time, is the feeling that the fight must continue, “La Lucha Sigue.” But for so many in Democratic circles, this is a history they try to avoid while pretending to be “woke” about Chicanos and trying to earn their vote. Ultimately, if a political party sells the right message to the voters, they will respond. But it better be done with the same “ganas” that brought out voters during this historic time of empowerment and agitation.

“It was women and families that brought the agenda into the party,” said Martha Cotera, a librarian by trade who moved to Crystal City with her husband so they could moonlight as organizers. “The issues of the platform and the values are all reflective of the needs of a multigenerational group of people because if you bring the whole family in, you’re going to bring in several generations.”

The Uvalde Report Touches on Migrant Chases

The Texas House committee charged with getting to the bottom of the Uvalde shooting hasn’t dug up enough information or solutions for the future. Ultimately, the reason for the shooting will always be about easy gun access and lax background check policies as these officials continue to pass the blame to everyone but themselves.

I will give the Texas Tribune a lot of credit for their work in Uvalde, including trying to get to the bottom of the report with their takeaways. Among the takeaways included law enforcement and community being desensitized to emergency situations because of the frequent Border Patrol and Greg Abbott-enlisted local law enforcement chases of migrants and smugglers in individual vehicles that caused “bailouts.”

One reason for a culture of complacency around alerts is that they happened so often. Uvalde is located about an hour from the U.S.-Mexico border and police described an increase in “bailouts” near the school, in which officers chase a vehicle containing suspected undocumented migrants who then purposely crash and scatter to avoid apprehension.

Since late February, there were 47 “secure” or “lockdown” events at Uvalde schools, according to the report. Around 90% of them were attributed to bailouts, the committee said.

“Uvalde CISD parents became so concerned about the number of bailouts occurring near the elementary-school campuses that they offered to hire off-duty police to supplement the Uvalde CISD police presence,” the report said.

The vilification of migrants instilled so much fear of them in the community that they ended up not thinking about what else could happen to their children. They were more concerned with people escaping violence and poverty than with some kid with, as the report found, actual mental health issues and online hints of violence that went ignored. The systemic problems include Greg Abbott and his border boondoggle, but they won’t go so far as to blame him.

Just a reminder, early on, it was this blog who mentioned the online rumor mill in Uvalde which included stories of bad migrants attacking the schools from people made ignorant by Greg Abbott and the Keystone Cops which did nothing to save the Uvalde children. It’s an issue, and, unfortunately, it will still go ignored if people (and Democrats) allow it. It will still be a good photo op for area cops who want their trophies to impress Greg Abbott.

Kuff has more on the rest of the report.

Uvalde

I was born and raised about 40 miles from Uvalde, TX in Crystal City. As much as the media talks about how small Uvalde is, those residing in the even tinier towns that surround it think of Uvalde as the closest big city that provides a small hospital, a big Wal-Mart, the KFC and other restaurants, car dealerships, and nice parks that provide more than dirt lots on which to run around in. There’s also Eagle Pass 40 miles in the other direction at the border, but we didn’t like to stop at Migra checkpoints because as Americans we didn’t enjoy having our citizenship questioned, unless we really had to go to La Aguila for the mall or the Social Security Admin office.

Uvalde also offers the area’s junior college for students who aren’t yet ready to leave the area for other universities or who seek workforce degrees in nursing, auto mechanics, HVAC, and law enforcement, or for dual credit courses at the high schools. I even took my ACT at SWTJC. The middle school field trip to the John Nance Garner Museum (FDRs VP aka Cactus Jack) was very interesting, too. The Uvalde Coyotes sports teams have been among Crystal City’s top rivals for decades. I’d add that many of us even have relatives and friends in Uvalde. So, what occurred in Uvalde affected the whole area, whether personally or emotionally and we feel so much for the families that were directly affected. Even those of us who have been gone for 33 years.

Before the news channels got ahold of the events, I was finding out about it through text messages from close friends who had friends with grandkids in the school. Later, when other friends were posting photos of unaccounted for children, and some who even knew slain teachers during their childhood, I found out we aren’t all that disconnected from each other in that area of Texas. In fact, slain teacher Irma Garcia’s father was the Principal at Crystal City High School before they moved to Uvalde during the 80s and Irma’s family are related to a cousin-in-law of mine. Eva Mireles grew up in Eagle Pass, which is the other little city in the area. The father of one of the little girls is from a town down the road from Houston where a friend of mine has taught for years.

When I started doing my internet searches of people talking about it on Facebook, there were so many stories going around that law enforcement had not even announced. One story blamed a “migrant bailout” after a chase because the Migra engages them dangerously and frequently. One news channel (CBS) even took notice of all the Border Patrol members in the vicinity that even that talking head was buying into the fake story. The reality is that BP has a checkpoint just outside of Uvalde on the way to Del Rio and Eagle Pass on the border. And they give all sorts of assists to LE when they’re not hunting brown people or causing accidents from chases. So, there’s a reason folks were questioning the Migra’s appearance and there are enough people there who love to blame “the other.” But it’s a small town and chisme happens really fast and that made things all the more frustrating when people were searching for their kids. The frustrations became more immense in the aftermath, though.

The lack of information provided to parents of missing children was quite angering as the school district, law enforcement, and the hospital were not providing information. It seemed they were getting the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” treatment. When they began to bring them in one-by-one for DNA swabs to assist in identity purposes, I knew what the outcome would be. One reporter stated they could hear the crying screams of parents as they were told why a swab was needed. One thing about small town folks in crises, we always hold out for hope because that’s one thing we always have and own, and most held out to the very end. But that they were left without a hint of a status for hours is a travesty.

Now, the information is still slow in coming and fast in changing to the point of inconsistencies, even after today’s DPS presser and Greg Abbott’s second presser. Greg Abbott’s first press conference featuring his political buddies was a joke and provided misinformation. Beto O’Rourke’s actions were quite welcome as he spoke truth to power, and their reactions showed us they knew it. A day later, the DPS press conference provided different information and left too many gaps to be filled. The one-hour gap between law enforcement getting shot at and the killing of the shooter was missing.

But then, there is also the allegations of mistreatment of parents by police, or rumors that law enforcement weren’t going in to the school, or others saving their own kids first, including BP agents. I know an investigation takes time, but when parents begin to provide facts of what they were met with when they arrived at the school, it seemed the presser became about defending law enforcement actions against parents, rather than actually investigating those allegations. That same regional director who headed up the first DPS presser, Victor Escalon, is the guy who interrogated Melissa Lucio, who almost ended up in the death chamber recently. That this guy has gotten promoted says a lot about Abbott’s operation.

The timeline is important, but we also need to know who was in charge during the various actions taken by law enforcement, from going into the school initially to the call-up of additional law enforcement and specialists to that one-hour gap to when they finally killed the shooter. It wasn’t until the aftermath that we found out Texas Rangers took over. But who was in charge the rest of the time? As DPS Director McCraw told the press, there is no need for someone in charge in an active shooter situation. One just goes in and takes out the shooters. (We found out later that the incident commander was Chief Arredondo of the school police, who gave the very first press conference on the evening of this tragic day.)

In Friday’s DPS presser, we found more truths, and maybe even more individuals to blame as a school resource officer was mentioned as driving into the school parking lot after the shooter had crossed the fence. Also mentioned was a back door that was propped up by a teacher who may have gone to his/her car to get a cell phone that he/she forgot. But let’s also recall that an awards ceremony had been held earlier that morning and there were a lot of parents going in and out of the building and it was probably close to the lunch period. It never fails that instead of finding systemic gaps in problems, they’ll find an individual to blame so that those in charge seem unblameable.

Congressman Joaquin Castro (because Uvalde’s right-wing guy Tony Gonzalez is useless) put out a request for the FBI to take over the investigation. I think this is a great idea considering that there were federal agencies involved in this. And the FBI responded after meeting with Congressman Castro.

It would seem to me that the kids who survived this tragedy, that were in the building, that heard the law enforcement demands and the shooter’s response, and heard the shots being fired at the children and teachers are providing the most information. And I commend the media for putting those stories out as DPS director McCraw went so far as saying some witnesses are “wrong.” Based on what, if he wasn’t even there. And why would victims lie? Let’s recall that 19 cops didn’t even go into the classroom where this happened.

We’ve spent decades debating gun control, gun safety, etc., and nothing has come about other than more guns. There are close to 400,000,000 guns out there. That’s more than one gun per person. They are accessible to criminals. But this shooter wasn’t a felon, wasn’t deemed mentally unstable, wasn’t reported by social media friends and was able to purchase two deadly weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammo. The ammo purchase reminded me of Chris Rock’s suggestion that we need bullet control because whether it’s someone who is unstable or someone who gets off on shooting high-powered weapons for whatever reason, the fact that they are buying this much ammo should be a red flag in itself.

What’s the answer? Obviously people will protest and counter, and now the Senate has a committee to discuss disagreements and whatever else they discuss. Is there hope? There’s always hope, but there’s also a lot of right-wing nuts who will get in people’s faces to prove their point and I fear law enforcement will round-up anti-NRA protesters before they round-up armed idiots, no different than those cops who failed to go into the classroom until someone deemed a “specialist” arrived.

At this point, I want the investigation to continue, I want these families to receive the answers, all of the answer, they deserve, and I want Greg Abbott and his minions at all levels to stop the bullshit of covering each others asses. There were multiple agencies involved and a few days later, no one can determine answers until they agree on one that is favorable to them, it would seem.

So, when people who fear politics tell us to not get political, my response is to grow guts, or a pair, and get in the fight. Or get out of the way. Although this is the issue of the week, the fact that the inaction and failures at all levels occurred in South Texas tells you how little they care about the area and how easily they get their vote with rhetoric that blames “the other,” for the problems elected leaders cause. And, this isn’t just about gun laws, it’s about how the victims are being treated by authorities.

So, yes, it is political. Get over it. As someone who grew up down in that area, it’s also personal. The fact that so many people are interconnected with the victims makes it personal. And not just the murders, but also the ineptitude of those in charge.

Finally, if you really want change, vote out Abbott, Patrick, and all of the Republicans. They are not on the side of the people.

PS…GOFUNDME sent an email to users listing legitimate fundraisers raising money for victim families. There are alot of fraudsters out there, so, be aware.

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.

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.

The 2021 Run-Off Results

Congrats to Elizabeth Santos (D-I) and Sue Deigaard (D-V) on their re-elections to the HISD board. While Santos squeaked by against a well-funded and hard-working opposition Dem, it was Deigaard who was able to defeat a right-wing nut quite handily.

Unfortunately, my friends Holly Flynn Vilaseca (VI) and Anne Sung (V) were defeated by right-wing nuts who promise to threaten the lives and health of teachers, students, parents, etc., with their anti-mask positions. They are also all about a whites-only history education. Seems to me voters fell for some stupid positions by some hateful (and vindictive) people. Of course, perhaps there was some anti-incumbent sentiment because of actions made by some of them. But people are falling for just about anything that divides and conquers entire communities, possibly even their own communities.

Kuff and others point out that these districts were previously held by Republicans who some call moderate. I never thought of them as moderates since their positions with the new GOPers are similar, just with meaner delivery. And since moderates hardly exist anymore, and this election proved that there were indeed two sides from which to choose, what the hell happened?

I’m thinking turn-out. But I also think voters are taking a turn for the stupid and Democrats need to worry about that in 2022. And I mean the Primary, where we will see some judicial and countywide candidates exploiting issues like crime and bonds, which are easily attacked with one liners and only defended with position papers.

Obviously, in a close election, someone is bound to go negative. Campos isn’t too happy that his client in D-I was attacked, but he’s really pissed about the Democratic Party’s involvement in a race between two Democrats and I understand where he’s coming from since everyone seems to want to be a kingmaker, lately.

As Kuff pointed out, Democrats still have a 7-2 edge on the school board, but these right-wing nuts know how to make noise. They know how to blame others for society’s ills–especially those caused by right-wing nuts. So, I don’t see the majority as a strong one. Given how easy candidates were being bought and paid for by the right and special interests all around Houston, the majority can be controlled by the minority. Hell, just look at “Democratic” Washington, DC.

Anyway, I’m of the opinion that a big effort at redistricting HISD is in order if we really want to utilize this majority. There is no reason to have a district that has River Oaks paired with Gulfton, or Sharpstown with West Houston or Northside with the Heights. It’s just too damn diluting. But I’ll leave that to the experts who will probably lecture me on this.

Anyway, it’s on to the 2022 Democratic Primary where some of our favorite officeholders get challenged and are forced to spend money to keep their party nomination. I swear, we love democracy until a fave officeholder gets challenged.