Category Archives: Elections

JP 1-2 Candidate Victor Lombraña Featured on Univision

The local Univision station did a short story on Victor Lombraña recently.

Victor is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1-Place 2 and is the son of Judge Julia Maldonado (507th Family Court), who will be a Dem candidate for the Supreme Court of Texas.

Lombraña lives with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment. Despite the challenges, he has achieved much success in life professionally and personally as a husband and as a father of two boys. But one challenge he overcame was running the Aramco half-marathon this past weekend, which was the reason for the story.

I’ve known Victor for around ten years having worked on his Mom’s campaigns. He’s been an avid volunteer on her campaigns despite a busy career and home life. And he’s just a genuine, good-hearted, service-oriented person who would be an excellent JP.

The Chron told us in 2017 that he’s also a big Astros fan.

Victor’s in a six-way race, so it’ll be a busy race. I’ll be following his journey–a quick one as early voting is set to begin February 14th!

Kuff Interviews Precinct 4 Hopefuls

Thanks to Charles at OffTheKuff.com for interviewing those running for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Commissioner Precinct 4. The interviews are informative and allow one to get a feel for a candidate’s views without having to sit through a mass event, like a candidate forum during a pandemic.

Here’s the list of interviews in the order Kuff presented them:

Ben Chou, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Ann Williams, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Gina Calanni, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Lesley Briones, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4
Clarence Miller, Harris County Commissioners Court Precinct 4

Also, click here for all of the interviews he has done, thus far.

Thoughts on Viernes…01142022

Netflix Dumps Gentefied

One of the few good things on TV featuring a brown cast was dumped by Netflix. Gentefied featured a good storyline, well-developed characters, and good actors with my favorite city, LA, as the backdrop. I guess the good thing is that there was some sort of resolution to the show at the end of the 2nd season. What’s the reasoning for the slashing? Well, it didn’t appear in the Top 10 Netflix shows, so, I guess that was reason enough. Variety seems to defend Netflix by saying they are producing more shows with a Latin@ bent to it, including “I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter” which will be directed and headed up by America Ferrera and others from the Gentefied team. So, yeah, it’s upsetting, but as long as brown actors keep getting employed in the future and more content is produced, I guess I can keep watching Netflix.

Judge Opens Up Challenges to Abbott’s Migrant Round-Up

A state district judge in Austin threw out the conviction of a migrant arrested by Greg Abbott and his thugs for trespassing. Abbott’s new initiative has thrown money at local law enforcement on the border to capture, jail, and prosecute migrants who are simply walking on private land while they escape poverty and violence in their home countries. These trumped up charges have closed down state prisons for use as misdemeanor lock-ups of over 2,000 men in Kinney County, wasting human resources and taxpayer funds. The case was challenged in Austin because Kinney County’s court system is slanted against migrants, with a corrupt judicial appointment system. The judge’s decision challenges the constitutionality of Abbott’s human warehousing program. No doubt, there will be more challenges to convictions of migrants who are being railroaded by Abbott.

Congress Wants to Investigate Abbott’s National Guard Deaths

Thirteen members of Congress have called for an investigation into the suicides within Greg Abbott’s National Guard and Abbott’s treatment of the National Guard as he uses them to add photo ops to his border boondoggle. There is a record of poor working conditions, delayed pay, and then the suicides which have put Greg Abbott in the spotlight, though, the problem is Abbott’s involvement in immigration issues in the first place. Abbott has put on a show for his bigoted base by putting up shipping containers to serve as a “wall,” he’s called up 10,000 National Guardsman from their otherwise private lives for photo ops and news conferences, and is wasting billions of dollars on a a few miles of “wall.” Seems to me he needs to be investigated for a lot more.

Voter Suppression is Real

New Voter ID requirements for mail-in ballots are the cause for hundreds of mail ballot applications being rejected for the March Primary. IDs are not matching up to information in voter databases, thus, cancelling out those applications. Republicans were warned that this would happen, but I guess it became more of an incentive to support it. The voter suppression is working.

Abbott Calls Criticism of His Border Waste “Politics”

Credit: Gay/AP

All those photo ops at the border, photos with Trump whining about the border, photos with National Guard members, photos in DPS choppers doing fly-overs of the border. Then there’s the billions of dollars wasted on this boondoggle with no transparency in sight, and the soldier suicides during this border folly. The criticism has piled up on Greg Abbott and it comes from Democrats and Republicans.

Abbott’s response, “It’s just politics.”

No, politics is blaming people escaping poverty and violence for the problems caused by Abbott’s own budget giveaways to the wealthy, thus making the Rio Grande Valley the most uninsured region in the state and still vulnerable to another freeze. Politics is looking away when local law enforcement is stealing money from undocumented people trying to find safety. Greg Abbott is all about politics and using his power to blame others for the purpose gaining the support of the bigots in society. But, we’ve known this. It’s just that it’s taken people too damn long to admit it for fear of losing “moderates,” instead of strengthening our base.

Thankfully, Democrat Beto O’Rourke has been speaking out a bit on Abbott’s border folly, especially demanding answers regarding Abbott’s mistreatment of the National Guard.

If Abbott truly cared about law enforcement (beyond using them for photo ops), he wouldn’t have sent 10,000 National Guard troops to the border while failing to pay them and slashing the benefits he promised them. He owes them answers.

Hopefully, he’ll call Abbott out on his border policies beyond the National Guard. Really, O’Rourke’s border pronouncements should be about ensuring human rights and access to services. The rest of the problem, such as asylum process and immigration reform is President Biden’s job, and O’Rourke can demand more from the White House.

Legislators from both sides of the aisle have also been calling out Abbott, but, they’re also the ones who fully funded the $3 billion Abbott demanded for this debacle without much questioning. They need to be paying attention before this crap happens, but they’re too preoccupied with passing something for their own districts. Welcome to the show, anyway, I guess.

Democrats have waited too long–years–to demand answers for Abbott’s border boondoggle. Abbott and his fellow bigots have done a good job of convincing border folks that all of the problems they face are the fault of people escaping poverty and violence. And Democrats have done little to combat this, even going along to get along with Abbott.

I hope that as O’Rourke calls out Abbott on these policies that those legislators calling him out back Beto up. Otherwise, all the complaints are just media-ops for themselves.

We Suck Even More! Back at Red

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has placed us back at threat level RED–the highest level. All while blaming record hospitalizations and the unvaccinated.

DosCentavos.net will add that the vaccinated and unmasked attending all sorts of holiday parties and continued mass events in this new year helped drive the percentage of COVID-19 positive tests to almost 40% of those testing.

From the County Public Health Office:

Today, Office of County Judge Lina Hidalgo increased the COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from level 2 (Orange) to level 1 (Red). Unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask, physical distance, and avoid all gatherings. Vaccinated individuals follow the latest local public health guidance on wearing a mask while indoors in public places, in crowded outdoor settings, and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. We urge all unvaccinated people to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Visit vacstrac.hctx.net or call 832-927-8787 for scheduling and appointments are not required, although recommended.

I think it’s better to just have one blanket suggestion to not go to crowded settings and to always wear masks. One may hang out with someone who is vaccinated, but we never know where that vaccinated person may have been. I think that’s one reason why so many vax’d people got Omicron after attending holiday parties and mass events. And I’m just tired of rewarding bad behavior.

Hopefully, more workplaces will be pushing vaccinations and masking in the office if forcing employees to sacrifice themselves at work. Otherwise, let’s hope for at least some lower density work environments calling for split shifts and a couple of days of working at home. And hope that managers aren’t up the hindside of Greg Abbott.

And do we really think the unvaccinated are going to avoid crowds, wear masks, and get vaccinated? We don’t hear about it until their family members start their GoFundMes with, “Covid ain’t no joke.”

Because of comorbidities and other issues, I’ve remained at RED since Day 1. Don’t expect me to be out and about. (There have been a couple of nervous attempts at patio dining pre-Omicron.) As far as deciding on whom to vote for in the Democratic Primary, my only source of information will be unmasked (-vs- masked) selfies and blockwalking pics on Facebook and/or Instagram.

My policy of not giving to GoFundMe funeral fundraisers for the unmasked and unvax’d will remain in place. Those who die from being vax’d, yet unmasked and endangering themselves, will go through a committee vote.

In other words, stay masked, get boosted, and stay away from gatherings for now. And if you’re an elected official or candidate, be a damn example. I’d like for whom I am voting to not get COVID and die while in office.

Kuff adds a similar sentiment while asking if anyone is listening anymore.

New Year’s Week in COVID-19

The Omicron surge continues, well, surging, as more positive tests are added to the count. And, testing has surged, too, as folks have tested for travel and family visit purposes and seem to be testing after the Christmas weekend. So much so, COVID tests are still in demand, whether PCR or at-home quick ones. A drive down Westheimer on the west side found long lines at testing kiosks, whether in ones car or by foot.

It will take another week or so to count new infections that came about from unmasked and/or unvaccinated family visits over the Christmas weekend. It takes 3 to 7 days for symptoms to appear, on average, so, those testing soon after a weekend visit may get a negative. That just means one should test again in a few days to make sure. Even the at-home tests have two tests for this reason. And if you’ve been exposed and are asymptomatic, test anyway!

The CDC has cut the number of days one must quarantine in half. Specifically:

Americans who test positive for COVID-19 but do not have symptoms can stop isolating after five days as long as they continue wearing masks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday, halving the agency’s previous isolation period down from 10 days. 

The CDC also said it was loosening its guidance for quarantining after a COVID-19 exposure for unvaccinated Americans or those eligible for a booster who have not yet received their additional shot. It now recommends a five-day quarantine followed by five days of strict mask-wearing, but says that if quarantine “is not feasible,” it can be skipped as long as they wear a mask in the 10 days after exposure. 

The CDC says people who are fully vaccinated and boosted do not need to quarantine after exposure.

The keyword in all of this seems to be masks. The ones the vaccinated (Dem politicos included) weren’t wearing while attending two weeks worth of holiday parties and the reason we just can’t only blame the unvax’d for his new spread. Wear them. And wear the good ones (n95 or kn95), or, at the very least, wear a surgical/medical mask covered by a cloth mask. Omicron is very transmissible as one person can infect as many as three, on average. Also…

As to when to wear a mask, obviously you want to cover up when you’re using public transit, including airports and airplanes, and when you’re indoors in grocery stores or other public places, as with previous surges.

And also with family visits, if one isn’t sure about everyone’s vaccination status. All it takes is one to affect many.

Also, listen to updates from Dr. Fauci or Dr. Peter Hotez in Houston. You can find them on the news or on Twitter!

I’ve gotten or seen social media posts telling me everything from “We’re all going to get it,” to “diets” to avoid COVID-19. If you don’t want to get it, follow the guidelines of mask-wearing and maybe stop jumping into a COVID snot cloud at a crowded event. Stop looking for excuses to not wear a mask or to go to mass events. It’s that simple, if you really care about humanity. If you don’t, well, stay away from me and my family. I have no problem writing people off when there are family members to protect.

America should have been ready for this.

Y’all Suck! We Are Back At Orange!

Looks like we are back at Code Orange in the COVID-19 threat level in Harris County.

“Due to the explosive growth of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus across Harris County, public health officials are strongly urging all eligible Harris County residents, especially individuals 65 and older, to get their booster shots as soon as possible,” county officials said in a statement released Monday. “Residents who are not vaccinated are cautioned to do so immediately. Regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask and get tested before attending holiday gatherings.

I don’t like to second guess leaders that I support, but the masking/testing suggestion for all should have continued, instead of going “Yellow.” Instead, we’ve seen so many maskless mass events attended by the unmasked, yet vaccinated, as holiday parties and graduations have been celebrated and, unsurprisingly, the numbers took a turn for the worse in a very bad and quick way. Some of our Democratic stars are getting breakthrough infections. My worry is also with workplaces who have “fully opened” and have gone unmasked as they follow Greg Abbott.

Let’s not forget that when we went to “Yellow” the other day, word of Omicron surfaced. And what we know about Omicron now is that we will have more breakthrough infections. And the worry is that many of those breakthrough infections will hit hospital and medical staff.

We should have remained careful. Hell, I did and continue double-masking and avoiding maskless crowds, but that’s because I have my own comorbidities and I have family members who are immunosuppressed that I’d much rather hang-out with than all other humans. I’m not going to risk them.

I know leaders want to provide citizens some sort of incentive or reward or relief from masks for bringing numbers down, but, with so many still unvaccinated and unmasked scoffing at our leaders who are trying to do something good, well, idiocy should not be rewarded. Certainly, the maskholes didn’t feel the need to vax and mask while those of us who have done our part were the ones who were actually being rewarded.

President Biden will speak on Omicron on Tuesday. While I hear chatter from some considered experts that “COVID-19 is here to stay” and that “we will all get it, eventually,” I hope leaders at the very top don’t listen to them and actually lead. Some of us just don’t want to get sick, no matter how “mild” the symptoms.

For more, here’s Kuff.

The Omicron Wave is Upon Us

We’ve known about the Omicron variant for a few weeks now and the health authorities have been prompt at gathering information regarding how well the COVID-19 vaccines will work against it. Unfortunately, its existence hasn’t done much to make people cautious and cognizant of its ability to spread faster than other variants, so, the numbers of people testing positive and being hospitalized for COVID are increasing locally, according to a report in Houston Public Media.

Methodist confirmed a total of 307 positive COVID-19 tests on Monday and Tuesday of this week, according to the hospital. That’s up from 76 positive tests reported last Monday and Tuesday. Additionally, the hospital confirmed on Wednesday that 54 cases of the omicron variant have been identified by Methodist’s sequencing lab since early December.

Unfortunately, some people are still acting like the pandemic is over because they are fully vax’d or boosted. That’s their prerogative, I guess. They’re OK with getting infected and suffering through mild symptoms, so they attend all the big christmas gatherings with people not in their immediate circle. Just don’t expect to ever be around me. Your mild infection can still affect those with other health concerns.

As I drove around my area this week, I’ve noticed lines at testing kiosks and facilities. So, some folks are either sick or getting worried about Omicron enough to test themselves.

But there is a concern that even if omicron doesn’t affect most people, even a small percentage of patients could quickly overwhelm hospitals in the Houston area, Boom said.

“If this spreads so rapidly that there are massive numbers of infected people, even if on average they’re very mild, if that hits the vulnerable in our population and they end up hospitalized, that can still be an incredibly challenging time,” Boom said.

So, the push for vaccination and boosters continues, but Texas is still ass-backward Texas with folks complaining about a tiny needle and a shot that’s been tested on hundreds of millions of Americans. My new motto for the holidays: My money is not going to your DeathFundMe accounts for funerals because of your stupidity.

Speaking of, I’ve seen too many unmasked events going on from folks on my side of the aisle. Like I said, it’s their prerogative. But how easy is it to spread disease? Well, anecdotally, one local workplace I was told about had some unmasked fool walking around, supposedly vaccinated. He got sick because he was probably unmasked at a gathering, tested negative and then was coughing up a lung at work. The person finally tested positive and protocols went into effect. Thankfully, because most co-workers were vax’d and masked at work despite Abbott’s no-mask-mandate idiocy, COVID-19 tests are coming back negative for the co-workers, thus far, but what an inconvenience! But all it takes is one person, even among folks you see everyday at work and who think they’re invincible to spread it to unmasked others. So, mask up!

I must give out a tip of my Stetson to State Rep. Penny Morales Shaw (148) for turning an in-person fundraiser to a Zoom-only event because of health concerns for the people she serves. The politicians I respect the most are the ones who set examples for the community. So, give her a few bucks for her efforts.

2:50PM Update: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner just announced that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He has mild symptoms and will rest. He’s been to a lot of unmasked events, so, how does the contact tracing work in this situation?

So, yeah, y’all need to stop with the unmasked events.

Thoughts On The 2022 Dem Primary

I’m going over the candidate list that Erik Manning is completing for the 2022 Dem Primary and I’m already seeing some races of interest. Here are a few:

From the looks of it, it looks like we will be keeping Lizzie Fletcher as a member of Congress, CD7, who came out unopposed in the primary. Of course, the redraw had me losing Congressman Al Green, and now my sis up in Cypress has lost Fletcher. In fact, Fletcher is going to be repping a more Democratic and diverse district with a lot more area that she has not represented. If her office is as responsive as she has been with folks she represented, we’ll be fine and she’ll be around for awhile.

Beto O’Rourke will likely be our gubernatorial candidate despite having a few opponents. Let’s face it, he’s been everywhere in the state and has a good infrastructure. He’s in the best position to rep us and beat Abbott.

There are three in the run for Lt. Governor. Mike Collier is the one who has been in the running the longest, but two female opponents (Michelle Beckley and TSU Prof/TDP Vice Chair Carla Brailey) will make the race interesting. I’m leaning Mike because he’s been everywhere in Texas and not just aiming for regional acceptance to get the nomination.

The AG race will be a tough one for me. I’ve known Joe Jaworski since his days as Galveston mayor and I like that he’s been everywhere in Texas. Lee Merritt says all the right things. And Rochelle Garza is the South Texan in the race who has worked in civil rights through ACLU. I’m just going to sit in the cheap seats and watch for a while.

Comptroller of Public Accounts has a Fort Bend area guy by the name of Angel Luis Vega. He had contemplated running for CD-22 but looks like he landed on this one. Don’t recognize the other names but Vega did send me a FB friend request. Sometimes, it’s all about trying, right?

General Land Commissioner race has Jinny Suh, whom I’ve mentioned before. There has been talk of Jay Kleberg of the King Ranch people. Not a fan of King Ranch’s history with Mexicanos, but we’ll get into that later.

The race for State Rep 147 to replace Garnet Coleman will be an interesting one. A couple of faves are Reagan Flowers and Aurelia Wagner. But I’ll be watching from the cheap seats.

The area Court of Appeals races and a couple of statewide judicial races have my attention. I see sitting District Judges running for a promotion and that’s great. They’re good people. But if/when they were to win, whomever is governor gets to name their replacement. I guess we need to work extra hard for Beto, then.

The race for the 14th Court Place 2 has long time District Judge Kyle Carter versus Cheri Thomas. Cheri ran in 2020 for an appellate position and is well-liked. It’s easy to coalesce behind a popular sitting judge, but the thought of Abbott possibly getting to replace a couple of them makes me uneasy. It gives me more respect for Judge Ravi Sandill who was also running for an appellate seat but withdrew to stay in his current seat.

The race for County Commissioner Pct 4 ended up with six candidates: Leslie Briones, Gina Calanni, Benjamin Chou, Clarence Miller, Jeffery Stauber, and Ann Williams. I’ve mentioned three here who announced with much excitement, and the others I have not heard from in the form of some communication. But it’s still early…sorta. The possibility of a run-off is strong in this one, so, we may see each of the candidates playing to their immediate fan base to get enough for the run-off. Of course, if there were to be some sort of coalescing behind one who has institutional support, then, it would not surprise me. Let’s hope they make it exciting.

County Commish Adrian Garcia is being challenged by long-time JP George Risner and one other unknown. What’s up with that? Either you support what the Democratic majority on the court has done or you want to play to the right and cause division among Democrats.

County Judge Lina Hidalgo ended up with a few challengers who should be negligible. There may be one who has enough support to cause annoyance but it all depends on how that candidate challenges her. Hidalgo has led the county effectively through this pandemic, and, thankfully, a Democratic majority on Commissioner’s Court has helped pass various funding and reform packages despite right-wing opposition. Never has county government been this accessible. Now, if a Democratic challenger is going to whine about it and somehow call this “division” because the Republicans are acting like whiny idiots whose only answer to good policy is “NO!”, well, go for it and see if trying to divide our Party over pandemic decisions works. I’m with Lina.

This is just a quick overview of what’s catching my eye. Once the campaigning begins beyond the Christmas party selfies, I hope we learn more about the candidates.

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.