Category Archives: Historia

A Weekend of Voting and Cultura

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was a pretty active weekend of voting and culture this past weekend.

Early Voting Sabado was huge and I got to experience a part of it by spending some time at Moody Park with the hard-working folks of Tacos and Vote and then headed out to MECA’s  and Casa Ramirez’s Dia de los Muertos festivities to get a dose of culture.

My friend Dr. Reynaldo Guerra and his crew put together their Tacos and Vote GOTV effort at three early voting locations. Open to all, the festivities included a Taco truck, mariachis, a jump house for kids, and plenty of fun at Moody, Bayland, and close to Ripley House. All of this after blockwalking the surrounding neighborhoods. It was good seeing Adrian Garcia, Democrat for County Commissioner Pct 2 working the crowd at Moody. From the looks of it, Moody had a good turnout on Saturday and reports from the other locations stated their events were a success.

Afterwards, it was off to MECA to enjoy some culture while celebrating and honoring  those who have departed this life. From the looks of it, a diverse group of thousands enjoyed all sorts of food, music, ofrendas, and the Retablos31 exhibit throughout Saturday and Sunday.

I caught an excellent performance by Mas Pulpo–Vladimir Castellanos on guitar and Roberto Rodriguez on the squeezebox. They took us through some classic Tex-Mex standards that all enjoyed, but their show-ending Volver Volver was cause for a sing-along.

After a taco at Teotihuacan on Airline, it was off to Casa Ramirez, the folk and culture bookstore on 19th Street in the Heights. They held their annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration and March. The ceremony was opened by Danza Azteca, which provided Aztec ritual, history, and dance before hundreds of attendees joined a march to Casa Ramirez. Attendees enjoyed tamales, polvorones, and live music by Bossa II, while visiting the ofrendas offered by families honoring deceased loved ones. It was definitely a family affair enjoyed by all. And emotional, too.

I don’t care what the high-priced consultants tell you, politics and culture go together; especially if we’re adding some resistance to it. Brown folks have a target on their back and it is through cultural celebrations and political resistance with which victory can be achieved.

Advertisements

Beto’s Immigration Ad Is Pretty Good!

I was hoping Beto O’Rourke would hit back at Ted Cruz on immigration in some way and soon. I must say his ad, which I saw last night during the local news, is pretty good. He hits Cruz hard on his fear-mongering and support of deportation policies, as well as his obstruction on moving the conversation forward. Hopefully, it’ll be on rotation through November 6.

Check it out:

Little Joe Headlines Houston GOTV Event

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Around 200 East End voters and activists attended a Get Out The Vote Rally at the East End Events Center on Saturday afternoon. Headlining was the legendary Little Joe y La Familia, with Dallam County Band opening the event with some toe-tapping country tunes.

Little Joe has endorsed Lupe Valdez for Texas Governor and was part of this event which also showed off Sylvia Garcia for Congress, Lina Hidalgo for County Judge, and Adrian Garcia for County Commissioner, Pct. 2. But beyond the political speeches, it was good mix of multi-generational fun and celebration of cultura–all a great combo when it comes to Latino GOTV.

There was no doubt as to the progressive nature of the event–the Harris County Democratic Party was among the driving forces behind the event, so Party Chair Lillie Schechter deserves kudos for this. But it was the candidates and their stories which energized the crowd. Whether it was farm worker kid Lupe Valdez going through the ranks to become Dallas County Sheriff or Lina Hidalgo’s trek from a drug-torn Colombia to the United States and a life of public service, the crowd was energized by all of the candidates.

Little Joe Hernandez, the King of the Brown Sound, also spoke on the importance of this election, giving a rousing endorsement of Valdez while also declaring victory after viewing Valdez’s debate performance against Greg Abbott. “I had never been prouder of a candidate for representing us and fighting for us. As Dolores and Cesar said, “Si, Se Puede!”

Valdez spoke regarding the uphill battle, as Abbott is running anti-Latino ads on TV paid for by wealthy friends who then get appointed to choice positions in the government. “This campaign will be fought, not bought,” has become theme for all Democrats. Valdez added that she’s fought uphill battles all her life–in life, in the military, and in politics. “One more battle is nothing!”

Lina Hidalgo reiterated her theme that she’ll show up to work as County Judge every day, and not just when it floods, noting that the people of Harris County need a proactive leader that gets ahead of problems, rather than waiting for problems to arise.

Adrian Garcia, vying to upend an entrenched Republican who has cut various program that benefited families and the community stated that his opponent and the current administration play off the same sheet of music and that new leadership is needed. He also pointed to the campaign of Penny Shaw, running in Pct. 4, as a need for change and a new majority in Harris County.

Leading the charge was State Senator Sylvia Garcia, who for all intents and purposes, will become the next Congresswoman of the 29th District. Still, she hasn’t stopped getting out the vote for Democrats. “Vote Straight Democrat and we’ll elect the right people–all of them,” she stated. It should also be said that she arrived after an afternoon of blockwalking in the East End.

Also at the event were judicial candidates Raul Rodriguez and Alex Salgado; Richard Cantu for Harris County Dept. of Education Trustee; Carol Alvarado for HD145 and SD6; among other elected officials.

Hopefully, this is the first of many GOTV events targeting Latinos.

 

Albert Peña Bio by Jose Angel Gutierrez Wins Best Biography

Congrats to one of my favorite mentors, Chicano scholars, and one of my dad’s old customers at Medellin’s Texaco in Cristal, Dr. Jose Angel Gutierrez, on winning Best Biography at the 20th Annual Latino Book Awards for Albert A. Peña, Jr., Dean of Chicano Politics.

My 2006 post of Peña’s obit continues to earn traffic. Along with fighting for school desegration in the 50’s, Peña’s history includes having defended activist Angela Davis in 1972, which was cause for him to lose re-election to the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court because of Davis’ Communist Party affiliation. Davis was recently in Houston for a UH speaking engagement.

Here’s the full press release:

The 1st place winner in the category of author of the Best Biography in the Non-fiction Awards section of the 20th International Latino Book Awards Ceremony held on the California State University Dominguez Hills campus in Carson City, California on September 8, 2018 was Crystal City, Texas native, Jose Angel Gutierrez.

He is best known as the last standing member of the Four Horsemen of the Chicano Movement. Dr. Gutierrez has written over a dozen books and is Professor Emeritus of the University of Texas Arlington as well as a practicing attorney in Dallas, Texas. He now resides in Redlands, CA.

This first-place winning biography is about the life of San Antonio native Albert A. Peña, Jr., former Bexar County Commissioner. He is the famous icon of the Chicano Movement era for his political acumen, vision in founding so many of our current institutions such as Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, National Council of la Raza, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Presenting the award to Dr.  Gutierrez was none other than Dr. Julian Nava, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico during the President Jimmy Carter years and author in his own right.

The packed-house event featured some of the most creative and brilliant Chicano and other Latino authors of our time. Some winners were repeat honorees, but many were first-timers in the fifteen categories for entries.  This awards ceremony is the largest of its kind featuring authors, illustrators, translators, and publishers of books in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

It is organized annually by the non-profit organization Latino Literacy Now led by Kirk Whisler and Hollywood actor Edward James Olmos.

The winning book is titled Albert A. Peña, Jr. Dean of Chicano Politics and published by Michigan State University Press in 2017 as part of the Latinos in the United States Series, editor Dr. Ruben Martinez of the Julian Samora Research Institute.

RIP: Jimmy Gonzalez (Grupo Mazz)

I was in the middle of celebrating my birthday with some friends and breakfast tacos when I got the alert bearing the awful news of music icon Jimmy Gonzalez’s passing. It wasn’t until I made it home that I got to think about the impact he made in the Tejano music industry over 40+ years of performing, producing, composing, and singing.

An accomplished guitarist, Gonzalez was the musical director of the iconic Super Grupo Mazz, founding the band with his childhood friend and vocalist, Joe Lopez. So close were the two that they were actually both born on the same day, say year, and 30 minutes apart. Started in 1978, the group, with RGV Onda Chicana roots, took a bold turn toward Spanish-language pop and cumbia music producing albums that weren’t easily accepted by Chicanos–who didn’t expect some boys from Brownsville to perform disco-esque music en Español. Adding some much wanted rancheras and polkas to their follow-up albums shot them toward being a radio and fan favorite.

Hoy, Laura Ya No Vive Aqui, Yo No Se, Calla, and many more hits recorded under an indie label provided a solid foundation during the 80s. But when the 90s heyday rolled in, it was labels, such as CBS/Sony and Capitol/EMI that would catapult them toward regional, national, and international success. Songs, such as Laura, No Te Olvidare, and Ven Devorame Otra Vez would turn into record album sales which then turned into year-round touring, which included luxury coaches and semis to carry light shows and professional PA systems. From nightclubs to ballrooms in rural towns to convention centers in big cities and even arenas around the US and Mexico, they attracted thousands to their shows. They’d even lend their talents to political fundraisers throughout South Texas, as both Joe and Jimmy experienced the challenges that most working class Chicano families experienced and wanted to change for the better by supporting good candidates.

Leading the musical charge for Mazz was Jimmy Gonzalez, who took on producing, arranging, booking, and management duties along with his edgy and innovative guitar playing and harmonies. Though the Tejano bubble of the 90s was short-lived while Tejano radio stations closed and an internationalized music industry gave less respect to the Tejano genre, Mazz continued to work, though, by 1998, Jimmy and Joe parted ways, each with their own projects and goals. But, yes, Mazz continued.

With a Texas-based label, Freddie Records, Gonzalez and Mazz would record 18 albums over the course of 19 years. Gonzalez’s latest, Porque Todavia Te Quiero, was just released in April and enjoying the usual airplay earned by Mazz’s reputation for producing good music. Many Tejano Music Awards and Latin Grammys later, Gonzalez was definitely enjoying his success and what he offered the industry. He also enjoyed working alongside his sons who were an integral part of his organization.

My friends at TejanoNation have more to add about Jimmy Gonzalez.

Thanks to my sisters, I was introduced to Mazz in 1979 (on 8-track tapes) and my first live show was a concert thrown by the CCHS Senior Class in 1981 at our football stadium. Yeah, I was a kid at the time. Since that time, I attended many shows and I was even at the live recording of Una Noche Juntos:  Live at San Antonio’s Rosedale Park in 1992, along with 8,000 of my closest (like sardines) friends, during my college days. My mom and her comadre would joke that one was Joe’s girlfriend and the other was Jimmy’s, they loved their music that much. So, one can imagine that many memories were flowing throughout the day and I wasn’t the only one going through this. So many of Jimmy’s fellow musicians and singers, along with DJs and promoters, posted throughout the day of their experiences with Jimmy–at concerts, at recording studios, and everything in between. The Tejano music industry, though competitive at times, is a very tight-knit group. It’s really a family and it has lovingly come together to celebrate Jimmy’s life.

DosCentavos sends condolences to the family of Jimmy Gonzalez and the Mazz organization, as well as Freddie Records.

Follow TejanoNation for the latest.

 

Lupe in the News [TXGOV)

I’ve been impressed with coverage of Dem for Texas Gov, Lupe Valdez after her historic and solid victory in May. Here are links to some of the stories that caught a national audience:

Lupe Valdez on NBC

Lupe on Ending Gun Violence (A response to Greg Abbott’s non-plan)

Lupe on AMJoy (MSNBC)

I’m glad to see stories about Lupe and for what she stands. These are the kinds of stories that Democrats should be sharing now through November.

All the other BS of possible impeachments, possible indictments, possible pardons, and other White House BS  does nothing to energize voters. Dems need to show off what they’re offering as an alternative to despots and racists. And I’m joining this effort.

 

Privilege Sure Has Its Privileges

The Austin Police, the Feds, the White House, and the media have done an amazing job of describing the murdering serial bomber from Pflugerville.

He’s “challenged,” says the Austin police chief. Others say he was “troubled.” Friends say he was “reserved” and “nice.” Law enforcement and media parade him around in pleasant photos of some of his better days while stating that he didn’t say “terrorism” in his confession video–or anything about terrorism or a motive. And since he mentioned personal problems, he must have been “challenged.” Certainly, official people don’t think of him as a terrorist.

And these are the same people who push for mandatory minimums, defend cops who kill unarmed black and brown people, and railroad through the courts any low-grade offender who can’t afford a lawyer or bail–mostly black and brown.

But this murderer did plan these attacks. Some might say meticulously. He did build these bombs part by part–from Home Depot! And he even stupidly ended up trying to send them by FedEx, leaving a trail. And he knew he killed two people and injured several more. Hell, he kept going after he killed the first individual and attempted to kill many more. He wasn’t even sorry for it. And he did what most terrorists do well–kill themselves.

This wasn’t some crazed 2-minute episode with an AR-15. I’m of the belief that when you’re at a point of mass murdering during an extended time period, you pretty much know what you’re doing. Some do it for politics, others do it for sheer enjoyment. And if you’re the government or a white supremacist group, well, you can have it both ways. Both get so challenged sometimes, right?

One thing is for sure. The descriptors of the dead murderer, the murderer’s family and all their “god” talk, and some might say the practices of law enforcement, all have exhibited and promoted the privilege afforded to some in our society. Meanwhile, the victims (including their families) are victimized all over again because this murderous man (he’s definitely not a kid) has already been labeled by official people as challenged, troubled, etc.

I won’t get bogged down in definitions of terrorism or his background and upbringing. We already know he did it. But the manner in which official people with badges take up the PR job for people who, in their eyes, don’t fit the profile of a terrorist is quite the art form. And the media is no help in failing to challenge law enforcement.

Privilege sure has its…privileges.

TMA Fan Fair ’18 in SA This Weekend

From the inbox:

#tejanomusicawards2018 Media Alert #tmafanfair2018 #sa300               

Monday, March 12, 2018                                                                                      

TEJANO MUSIC AWARDS FAN FAIR 2018 

Set for March 15, 16, 17, 18, 2018 at Historic Market Square San Antonio

Celebrating Over 21 years of showcasing Tejano Music Bands from Across the U.S.A and the World!

Four Days of  FREE Non-Stop Tejano Music 

CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE

Over 200 Tejano Bands from Across the U.S.A & Mexico

TMA FAN FAIR 2018 WEEKEND, THURSDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 15-18, 2018 AT MARKET SQUARE:

WHAT:  Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018: Four days of FREE live Tejano music on five stages

WHEN:  FREE ADMISSION; 12 Noon – 11:30 pm, ThursdaySunday, March 15-18, 2018

WHERE: Historic Market Square in downtown San Antonio, Texas

VISUALS: Live Performances, autograph sessions for fans and an estimated crowd of 95,000

CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE

KICK-OFF CEREMONY ON THURSDAY, MARCH 15:  Members of the working media are invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon in Market Square during which a City Councilman will present a proclamation from the City of San Antonio.  TTMA officials and Tejano artists will be available for interviews.

SAN ANTONIO, TX (03-12-2018) – Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) presents the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018. Set for March 15-18, 2018. (ThursdaySunday). Thousands of Tejano Music Fans from across the country will travel to Historic Market Square in Downtown San Antonio for the Tejano Music event of the year.

The four-day event  runs from 12:00 noon to 11:00pm each night and will showcase over 200 bands from across the U.S. to include Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Florida and of course Texas. The TMA Fan Fair draws over 95,000 die-hard fans each year and offers an up close and personal atmosphere with live music on five stages featuring emerging acts and top established performers as well as surprise guest performances.

There will be a variety of foods and beverages at this family oriented event as well as crafts booth selling t-shirts, caps various items and face painting for the kids. Fans will get exclusive access to their favorite artists participating in the special autograph sessions featuring, Ram Herrera, Andres Salgado, Miss Reina Latina San Antonio Sydney Gonzalez and Miss Reina Latina San Antonio Teen Giselle Gomez scheduled during the four days of TMA Fan Fair.

The Tejano Music Awards continues to shine each year by producing the largest Tejano Music events in the country. Scheduled to perform this year Michael Salgado, Jay Perez, Stefani Montiel, Los Palominos, Hometown Boys, Ricardo Castillon Y La Diferenzia, Isabel Marie, Ben Ozuna, Sunny Sauceda, Fama, DJ Kane, La Calma, David Farias, Eddie Gonzalez, Ricky Naranjo y Los Gamblers, Joe Bravo, Patsy Torres, Avizo, Conjunto Romo, Adalberto, Rio Jordan, Stephanie Lynn, Da Krazy Pimpz, Boni Mauricio, Bajo Zero, Los Garcias Brothers, Bad Boyz De Valle, Massore Erick y Su Grupo Massore, Carlos y Los Cachorros , Pio Trevino , Xelencia, Augustine Ramirez , Massore, Joe Posada, Angel Gonzalez y Vimana and many more.

CLICK HERE FOR SCHEDULE

San Antonio the “Tejano Music Capital of the World”, will host the 38th Annual Tejano Music Awards Show for Fall of 2018.

For the latest information on Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 and performance schedule please visit the official website  at www.tejanomusicawards.comSchedule is subject to change.

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 Sponsors : Budweiser, Hermes, MetroPCS, 7up, Squirt, WellMed, RDS Marketing

Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair 2018 Media Sponsors : KEDA 99.9FM San Antonio, La Prensa San Antonio,

Magic 106.5 FM Lubbock, Q99FM San Angelo, Z93FM Laredo, Star 106.3 FM Abilene, La Pistolera 95.1 FM Rio Grande, Tejano 1600 AM Arizona, Bnet Radio, Tejano Nation

Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote professional excellence; a better understanding and greater appreciation for Tejano music; and to provide a public forum for songwriters, performs and musicians in order to recognize their artistic efforts and achievements through the annual Tejano Music Awards and related events. TTMA is based in San Antonio, Texas.

 

The Latest in Harris County Voter Data

Thanks to Hector de Leon from the County Clerk’s Election Office, I’ve got my hands on the latest on the county voter registration rolls. FYI, when they break down the Hispanic numbers, they’re just estimates since they go by surnames. When registering, we are not required to give our ethnicity.

That said, there are 2,119,052 voters whose status is active. And of that, 470,041 are Spanish surnamed. That’s 22% of the voter rolls, folks. And if 20,000 or so would fix their status, we’d be closer to 500,000.

When broken down by congressional district, the county finds that 57% of voters in CD29 are Spanish surnamed. But in a show of “we’re everywhere!” we are anywhere from 14 to 22 percent in the other CDs. In the “hotter” races for CD2 and CD7, Spanish surnamed are 16% and 14%, respectively. In my own very Democratic CD9 and in Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s district, Spanish surnamed are at 19%. But when one looks at CD22 and CD36, which are quite suburban, Spanish surnamed are at 22% and 20%, respectively.

We’re everywhere! And this is a good thing because the ability to impact elections in Harris County is not just in one particular area, and “control” of GOTV efforts are not in any one group of politicos. On the other hand, there is plenty of opportunity to GOTV for those who really want to put in the effort and money. [I’m talking to those big money raisers and groups who GOTV, now.] Particularly when it comes to registered non-voting Latinos who often go ignored, or easily scapegoated, depending on the political party.

One particular set of data to note is how County Commissioner’s seats are broken down. What used to be a stronger Hispanic opportunity precinct, Precinct 2, is at 39% Spanish surnamed. I recall arguing before the County’s redistricting lawyers that while I appreciated Precincts 1 and 4 becoming more Hispanic and it seemed like a good thing because it showed we’re everywhere, it wouldn’t take much cutting from both precincts to bolster Precinct 2 as a Hispanic opportunity district. They didn’t listen. This is important as Latino candidates in the Pct. 2 Democratic Primary fight for whom gets to the chance to knock off a GOP incumbent, thus adding some needed diversity to the Court. I guess it’s important for those of us seeking partisan balance at the County, too.

There’s some 2014 data through which I need to sift that gives a clearer picture about where Latinos voted and in which Primary in 2014, and, no surprise, one finds those more “conservative” ones in the more suburban areas of the county. Has there been much change in how these Latinos feel about one side versus the other after a year of Trump? Are there new voters who haven’t even been given attention by either side? Well, I wish Latino Decisions would give it crack to find out.

Anyway, no doubt there has been growth. Voter registration efforts continue and there’s plenty of time to further impact these VR numbers toward November. What this tells either side of the political spectrum is that upwards of a quarter of the voter rolls are up for grabs if a political party takes that segment seriously in its GOTV efforts.

As Tony Diaz and I discussed on Tuesday on his radio show, it takes more than speaking Spanish and eating a taco in public. It takes being in tune to where Latinos are on the big issues. Those are usually Education, Health Care, Economy (jobs), and of course, Immigration. And I’m pretty sure a lot more of us are listening–whether you’re speaking to us or not. And that’s how November decisions are made.

Anyway, this is where we’re at regarding voter registration.

 

 

 

 

RIP: Juan Gabriel

JUAN_GABRIEL_2014_Thumb

Alberto Aguilera Valadez “Juan Gabriel” (1950-2016)

“Mientras exista alguien que cante mis canciones, Juan Gabriel vivirá.”