Category Archives: Harris County

2018 DC Nod: Nile Bailey Copeland for County Treasurer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 Posts of 2017

This had to be my most un-busy year in the last 12 years of blogging about local/state politics, culture, etc. By the end of 2017, I’ll be lucky to have written up to 75 posts for the year, with December being my busiest–on which I blame the 2018 Dem Primary.

The good thing is that these Top 10 of the year earned me thousands of views, lots of social media shares, a few complaints, lots of cool compliments (thanks, Campos!), and even a couple of threats (bodily injury and being reported to INS). Annoyances include friends who didn’t bother to share my posts, but are sharing obviously fake posts from sites with non-Spanish names. But that’s nothing new. Obviously, blogging can still be fun, although, my reasons for being un-busy are plentiful. I won’t bother explaining that, but I will continue to be a thorn in the side of candidates who are too willing to sell out entire constituencies in their quest to earn unattainable votes.

2018 will be my 13th year writing up stuff. Yes, DosCentavos will be a teenager. Perhaps a “treceañera” is in order so I can score some free drinks. Maybe a fajita taco? (I miss the good ol’ days when candidates offered up steak dinners.). In 2018, I expect to be busier and, as always, not fair and balanced.

Thanks to all who read, share, etc. Thanks to partners like Tejano Nation and local and national issues groups who share information, and to some of my favorite politicians and officeholders (you know who you are). Gracias!

“First they laugh, then they copy.”

  1. SB4 Passes Texas Senate Committee
  2. 38th Annual Festival Chicano
  3. It’s Election Season 2017 (Alief)
  4. DC Reviews:  Joe Posada – Zapatos En La Mano
  5. Houston Texas House Members Send SB4 Letter to Houston Council
  6. Houston Texas Senators Send SB4 Letter to Harris County
  7. La Fiebre Rocks Proof Rooftop
  8. Sheriff Gonzalez Ends 287(g)
  9. Democratic Reaction to SB4 Passage
  10. DC Reviews:  The Mavericks – Brand New Day

Thoughts on Alabama

 

No, Ted Cruz, Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, John Culberson, and the other Republicans probably aren’t pedophiles.

On the other hand, it can be said that Republicans in Texas really don’t like children. CHIP is dying. Medicaid surely is in their sights. Some of these bad men don’t even believe in the free lunch program. They surely don’t like to fund K-12 and higher education.  Yes, these bad men really don’t like children.

But guess what? These bad Republican men and women don’t like adults, either. They certainly don’t like the elderly. Republican tax cuts will be devastating to lower income and middle class families. They aren’t done trying to kill the Affordable Care Act. Stagnancy in funding flood relief, especially for those who have little to nothing and are living in tents during these cold days. And our safety nets, Medicare and Social Security, are headed for the cutting board if these bad men and women remain.

If any Republican says something nice about one group and then vilifies the other by voting for a law that targets that group, there is nothing good about them. I don’t consider any type of political evil-doing as “moderate.”

Everything is in place for Texas Democrats as far as the message goes. Alabama happens in Texas with good, well-funded organizing, sincere engagement of oft-ignored groups, and the strongest defense against voter suppression.

That, and good candidates that won’t sell out any of our issues.

 

 

Lina Hidalgo Will Lead the County Dem Ticket

After rumors of attempted late entries into the race for Harris County Judge, it appears that Lina Hidalgo will be the Democratic nominee for the post to take on Republican Ed Emmett.

Criminal justice and healthcare advocate Lina Hidalgo will run unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Judge. The deadline to file to run for office in 2018 closed yesterday at 6pm.

“I am honored to lead an outstanding slate of local Democratic candidates for election to county offices,” said Hidalgo. “Our campaign looks forward to working with Democrats all across Harris County and across this great state to complete the progressive sweep in Harris County and Turn Texas Blue.”

The Hidalgo campaign will stress the leading issue on the minds of the people of Harris County: flooding and infrastructure.

“The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board is right–the 2018 election in Harris County will be about flood control. The current County Judge and Republican County Commissioners have failed in their duties to keep us safe. They must be voted out of office. I am running for County Judge because we need an advocate at the head of the Commissioners Court who will lead with foresight on flood control and emergency management, health care, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, transportation and other key issues. As new Harris County leadership, we will stand up for our community as we rebuild our county and ensure it is a model for the nation: equitable, sustainable, and resilient.”

Hidalgo has emphasized since announcing a few months ago that the people of Harris County must have a seat at the table and a meaningful voice in helping to equitably rebuild our county. To do that, she believes, there must be transparency and accountability at the Commissioners Court.

“Before we go to the voters with a bond proposal, we need to account for misprioritization of bond funds in the past. In 2007 Commissioners Court did not include funding for flood control in the county bond election. In the 2015 county bond election, after Allison and Ike, flood control was nowhere near the number one priority.”

Learn more about the Hidalgo campaign at www.LinaHidalgo.com

Of course, because we do live in a democracy, there will be contested races from the top to the bottom of the ballot. I’ve already mentioned three countywide races and my favorites candidates in those races. Stay tuned for more about the rest of the Democratic contests.

The Harris County Dem Primary Is Quite Contested

If you’d like to check out the list of races in your county, you can visit here and then pick the county of your choice. The final updated version may not come for a day or so, I’m thinking.

The Harris County Dem Primary has shaped up to be a contested one for some of the countywide races. For District Clerk, Marilyn Burgess has been working the various Democratic clubs around the county for most of the year. She has ended up with three opponents. You can find them on the list on your own.

For County Clerk, Diane Trautman announced her intention to run over a year ago and has been working hard getting reacquainted with voters. A known commodity on the Dem side of things, Diane has served on the Harris County Department of Education Board for a full term. She now has two other opponents.

Many of us had been wondering who was going to take on the current Republican County Treasurer. I’m happy to see that my friend (more like a brother) Judge Nile Bailey Copeland, a Houston municipal judge appointed and re-appointed by Democratic mayorshas signed up to run. He’ll have a couple of opponents. Nile has been on the Democratic side of the ballot a couple of times for judicial posts, and he’s given his time on issues and questions of election law and voter access that have benefited Democrats and democracy, in general. And he’s always a great person with whom to have coffee on any given day of the week. I look forward to following his campaign.

I’ll keep scanning the contested races to see which direction I’m heading.

 

 

 

Looking Forward To The 2018 Dem Primary

Well, looks like all the excitement (and panic) over the race for Congressional District 29 has subsided as current and former officeholders who contemplated running for the seat decided to either run for re-election to their respective seats, or, go in a different direction.

State Reps Armando Walle (140) and Carol Alvarado (145) have decided to run for re-election. Both have served for multiple terms and are considered leaders at the Capitol who will be needed to take on an expected right-wing onslaught of bigoted bills. Of course, both may also be thinking of the free-shot at running for SD-6 without the need to resign if/when Sylvia Garcia is elected to Congress, which we’ll know after the Dem Primary since the district usually goes Democratic in November.

Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia has also decided to go in a different direction and challenge right-winger Jack Morman for County Commish Pct. 2, which covers East Harris County. As much as Adrian Garcia and I have debated on some issues, I’ve always been a fan of his. I think he can run hardest toward November, as well as excite the electorate to vote down-ballot.

Harris Democrats have been updating a page containing folks running for judicial positions. There are a few candidates in contested races that I’m supporting, including Rabeea Collier for the 113th District Court; Fred Cook for the 189th District Court; and Raul Rodriguez for County Criminal Court #13.

I’ve known Rabeea for over a decade, which is most of her legal career. We both organized in the Kingwood/Humble area as activists trying to increase the Democratic bottom line. As an activist, she has worked hard to turn Harris County blue. As an attorney, she zealously represents her clients. She has put in the sweat equity over the years and deserves to be our nominee.

Fred Cook first ran for judge in 2008 in a very contested race in which Judge Steven Kirkland was the victor. I supported Fred back then and we both supported Kirkland afterwards. When I heard he was running again, I felt it was about time.

Raul Rodriguez has run for positions at different times, while also putting in time volunteering in various activities. I mean, whenever I go to something in the community, Raul (and wife Pati) are there! Raul deserves to be our nominee in November. He’s experienced and has a sincere connection to the community.

There will be more to come as more candidates file, especially the statewides. I’m hoping Sheriff Lupe Valdez of Dallas files for Governor, otherwise, I won’t be left with any good choices and I may just skip the race entirely (or hold my nose in November). And I really hope Little Brown Trust Fund Baby gets a challenge for Land Commish.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  And within an hour of this post, this just in:

Lina Hidalgo, Democrat for Harris County Judge, Responds to State of the County

Well, if you’re going to take on Ed Emmett (and Republicans, in general), Lina Hidalgo, Democrat for County Judge, offers up the right attitude and ideas on which to base such a challenge.

As much as it is a message to voters around the County, it is also a message to Democrats who so easily get enamored by so-called “moderates” who still do much for their right-wing-nut-job of a political party. Including staying quiet and raising dollars for them even when laws like SB4 are passed.

Give it a listen!

 

The Undocumented Worker: Hated Until Needed

Some will point to Republican hatred toward immigrants since 2006, and others will point to Bill Clinton’s immigration act which created 287(g) and increased enforcement without fixing the system, but all of this time later, and after $150 billion in Harvey damage, now, there’s a freak-out over the target that hovers over the undocumented laborer who would be tasked with rebuilding Houston if everyone just looked away, especially Trump and his ilk.

All of this time later, various attempts at “comprehensive immigration reform” have failed because Republicans and some Democrats just had to show some artificial toughness to keep the bigoted happy. We’ll let in some people, but we’re going to triple the Mexican hunting police force (border patrol), federalize local cops, start a guest worker exploitation program, and build a fence. I’m all for give and take in a negotiation, but most CIR attempts, even Kennedy-McCain, bordered on ridiculous.

Nowhere along the way has there been much discussion of fixing a broken immigration system–fixing the “line” that everyone tells the undocumented to get to the end of. Nowhere along the way has there been much discussion about correcting US policy in Latin America that supports murderous right-wing regimes and US corporate interests, while attacking progressive leaders who want to provide basic necessities to the poor and indigenous–long ignored by the right-wing and wealthy. Yet, the blame only falls on the undocumented.

Now, you add a despot whose supporters hate Mexicans (and others) just for existing and, instead of looking at the human rights aspect of this, people think, “Who’s going to rebuild us?”

While I appreciate Lisa Falkenberg’s article about the undocumented rebuilding Houston, I’m still irked by the assumption by others that the only reason we need them (at this time) is for cheap, uninsured labor without worker protections. Especially when builders and contractors are the ones crying the loudest as they stand to make the most during the rebuild with this source of cheap labor.

It goes back to why we need more than just a DREAM Act. We need the parents of DREAMers and other workers who make up this exploited labor force, too. They must be protected. They must be paid what they’re worth. They must be insured and have worker protections from bosses who will exploit them during these times. Because, suddenly, it seems they’re not “taking someone else’s job;” they are filling open jobs, if we let them.

As Falkenberg stated:

But honesty takes only mere seconds. Enough with the hypocrisy. We need these workers. Right now, they’re digging Houston out of the worst flood in American history. The least we can do is offer them a path out of the shadows.

 

 

Houston Food Bank Food and Resource Fairs – Various Locations

Beginning September 5, 2017, Houston Food Bank and South Texas Dental will be hosting Food and Resource Fairs across the Houston area to assist those affected by Harvey.

Click on image to enlarge:

Sheriff Gonzalez Ends Use of Private Jails

Now, this is the kind of news I like to hear coming out of Sheriff Gonzalez’s office.

For years, Harris County has spent millions transporting and warehousing inmates in private jails and prisons because of overcrowding. Sure, the article states that this was done mostly for budget savings and to curb overcrowding, but these private jails are badly run with little oversight. Still, it’s good to see the Sheriff take action on the matter.

“I simply think we incarcerate way too many folks; and there is a cost associated with that. Whether it be the cost of daily housing or sometimes outsourcing inmates. So I think that we need to change those practices… And that’s why I’m a big advocate for reform, and really addressing our mass incarceration complex that we have in this country,” Gonzalez said.

He says there are also other benefits to bringing inmates back in-house.

“We have more control of what we’re doing. You know, the medical records, things like that,” Gonzalez said.

Another benefit? Loved ones can visit inmates, without having to travel to other municipalities or cities.

There are still some major systemic problems that need to be dealt with, but, I guess culture change takes a lot of time to achieve buy-in and implementation. At least that’s what I keep getting told by the local experts.

One thing’s for sure, we really need to do something about that bail system; however, for that, we’ll also need some good candidates to defeat the incumbent county judge and Precinct 2 commissioner.