Category Archives: Local Politica

James Cargas for CD-7 Ad

Before it became cool to run for CD7, James Cargas was already talking about issues affecting the district, including the threat of flooding due to neglect of our reservoirs in West Houston. Here’s Jim’s latest ad, which was uploaded to YouTube this past week.

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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 DosCentavos Stace Slate – Democratic Primary

LatinoVote(This is an evolving document.)

Well, I’ve spent a few minutes going over the sample ballot that pertains to my domicile and I’ve made some decisions on whom to support in contested races. There are a dozen or so contested races in which I’m undecided because, well, I’ve never met any of the candidates or heard of them along the way. So, I’ll update those races later.

For now, here’s the DosCentavos Stace Slate 2018. [Note:  No contributions or memberships were required to be purchased to earn an endorsement from the DC.]

  • US Senator – Beto O’Rourke
  • Texas Governor – Lupe Valdez
  • Lt. Governor – Mike Collier
  • Comtproller – Tim Mahoney
  • Land Commissioner – Miguel Suazo
  • Railroad Commission – Roman McAllen
  • 14th Court of Appeals – Pl. 3 – Jerry Zimmerer
  • 14th Court of Appeals – Pl. 8 – Margaret Poissant
  • Judge, 55th District – Latosha Lewis Payne
  • Judge, 113th District – Rabeea Collier
  • Judge, 185th District – Jason Luong
  • Judge, 189th District – Fred Cook
  • Judge, 234th District – Lauren Reeder
  • Judge, 269th District – Cory Sepolio
  • Judge, 281st District – Christine Weems
  • Judge, 248th Family District – Charles Collins
  • Judge, 289th Family District – Barbara J. Stalder
  • Judge, 309th Family District – Kathy Vossler
  • Judge, 313th Juvenile District – Tracy Good
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #2 – Harold Landreneau
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #5 –
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #7 –
  • Judge, County Crminal Ct #11 –
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct. #12 – Juan J. Aguirre
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct. #13 – Raul Rodriguez
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct. #15 – Kris Ougrah
  • Judge, County Probate Ct. #2 – Jim L. Peacock
  • Judge, County Probate Ct. #4 – James Horwitz
  • Judge, County Civil Ct #2 –
  • District Clerk – Marilyn Burgess
  • County Clerk – Diane Trautman
  • County Treasurer – Nile Bailey Copeland
  • County School Trustee, At Large – Richard Cantu
  • Vote FOR all of the propositions.

Contested Races NOT on My Ballot

  • CD2 – Darnell Jones or Silky Malik
  • CD7 – James Cargas
  • CD18 – Sheila Jackson Lee
  • CD22 – Steve Brown
  • CD23 – Judy Canales
  • CD29 – Sylvia R. Garccia
  • SD17 – Fran Watson
  • HD27 – Ron Reynolds
  • HD126 – Natali Hurtado
  • HD138 – Adam Milasincic
  • HD146 – Shawn Thierry
  • County Commissioner Pct 2 – Adrian Garcia
  • County Commissioner Pct 4 – Penny Shaw

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Demsplaining The DACA Sell-Out

Obviously, some of us are upset at Democrats…again. Dems agreed to a weak promise from Mitch McConnell to re-open the government in exchange for more DACA talk in a few weeks. DREAMers are pissed, allies like myself are pissed, and even some Dem loyalists and a few elected officials. But it’s the Demsplaining by many that will probably cost Dems more votes than spineless Congressional Democrats.

There’s nothing like being pissed off and being told:

  • “We can’t put party before country.”
  • “If DREAMers keep complaining, the polls are going to go against them.”
  • Shutdowns “is how systems end up in disaster.”
  • “You can wait three weeks.”
  • “If McConnell doesn’t come through, it’s bad for Republicans.”
  • Now, I’m waiting for, “These DREAMers whining about Democrats are probably Russian agents.”

I’m sure there are other excuses out there. All of these excuses point to Democrats wanting a complaint-free campaign toward November. Party before country is all about portraying Dems as loyal to the flag and faux bipartisanship to get elected; bad polls for DREAMers is all about shutting them up; disastrous systems are about people wanting to keep the status quo; making people wait (for 17 years, not just 3 weeks) is about power; and hoping McConnell fails is all about keeping the issue alive toward November. The Russian thing will come after election day, obviously.

As far as systems are concerned, I was taught by an emeritus professor of political science, after suggesting that some of us more liberal brown folks needed to get inside the system to change it, that the problem is that it’s not our system. And damn, are we constantly reminded of this fact.

I’m at a point where I’m ready to turn in my secret decoder ring to the Dem Party HQ (after 13 primaries of involvement)–not that it’s ever worked. Again, not my system. But when I hear people whine about Hillary losing and blaming “third parties,” I’m reminded why my parents left the Democrats for La Raza Unida Party. I’m also reminded of those that sell us out just for a title.

 

Not A Good Time for Mandatory Anything Right Now

During a time in which a good chunk of people aren’t fans of federal government (or who’s in charge of it), when there is distrust of law enforcement and politicians in charge, and when government is negatively targeting entire groups of people while benefiting others, it may not be a good time to do mandatory anything, especially mandatory volunteer service for all.

That’s not to say Beto O’Rourke’s idea is a bad one, it’s just one of those policy things that gets pretty mucked up when people demand specifics rather than general campaign talking points. Because entire groups of people can get screwed once specifics are discussed. It’s kind of like how I feel when I hear politicians say they “support comprehensive immigration reform.” I want specifics because too many times, specifics like walls or temporary worker visas or “legalization vs citizenship” can screw entire groups of people.

As a young college student, I had big dreams of serving my community, state, and nation. No, not in the military, but in helping run things–legislation, departments, etc. Being a poor kid from South Texas living on student loans and the few grants that hadn’t been cut yet, though, it was hard to “volunteer” for a government internship, drive 80 miles a day to/from Austin, and try to impress some VIPs when bills had to be paid. So, a non-political job on campus and one in a call center had to do, while kids with influential parents or just plain ol’ family money could get most of the opportunities. Needless to say, sometimes one has to make ones own opportunities to do what one enjoys.

That said, the thought of a mandatory volunteer service program brought back memories about how it might work. Will the rich kids get the better volunteer opportunities with a phone call and a campaign donation? Can a poor kid from South Texas get some sort of incentive and “political” support that the privileged brats usually get to end up in a good opportunity? Because the service should end up amounting to something tangible, and not just student loan forgiveness and a spot on the resume detailing some crappy mandatory volunteer placement. In other words, how exactly would it work? Given that it’s mandatory, folks should have equality of options and not just the usual placement made by a political appointee.

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed some placement assistance when I was a teen in need of work. In my little town of 8,000 in South Texas, one of my dearest friends’ dads was the local city manager. So, when I put in my application for a job through JTPA (look it up), my friend advised her dad to pick me. She knew of my love of government at an early age and work ethic, so, her dad trusted the recommendation. Working for $3.35 an hour in the City’s finance department and sometimes being shared with the Planning Department was a great experience. Unfortunately, when a small-town kid moves to the big college and wants to work in big government,  the lack of opportunity because of forces out of ones control was quite the shock. Which is why options are important so that one doesn’t have to go through friends and connections.

So, yeah, no doubt being of service is important, but specifics are very important. And ensuring equality of opportunity is even more important. And without that kind of specificity (and bad memories of getting passed up by brats), it was just too hard to embrace Beto’s idea.

Thoughts on Viernes…01052018

No Surprise…No Tejano

After the HoustonRodeo got me to shine my Justin Ropers and attend last year because they brought super group Siggno to the NRG, I am now back in boycott mode because there is NO TEJANO in 2018. I mean, just me personally. I was anticipating something good for the “tejano” day that I trek’d on over to Bryan’s Catalena Hatters to check out the “LBJ”-ish open road-ish custom hats. Thankfully, it was closed and I didn’t go broke. Still, #VaqueroGoals remain for the future as hats go. As much as the rodeo tries, Tejano isn’t dying. Stay tuned!

Steve Brown for CD22 Speaks Out on DACA

As the DACA-fix talk revs up again, I’ve been looking around the internets at local Congressional races to see who is speaking up, especially in the Dem primaries. No doubt, I wasn’t surprised when my friend Steve Brown who is in the Dem Primary to take on CD22’s right-wing incumbent spoke out.

Over 5000 people in Congressional District 22 are eligible for DACA, and the district would lose $150 million in annual GDP should they get deported.

Where is Pete Olson’s leadership in protecting these families?

Instead, the republican Congress is only committed to protecting certain taxpayers. They have proven this by ensuring that the wealthy get wealthier and the poor not only stay poor but are barred access to America’s Promise, a promise that must extend to immigrants and Dreamers.

CD22 is not an easy district for a Democrat. For years, Dems who ran for this post would run to the right on anything immigration related, but still failed miserably. Steve Brown is definitely my kind of candidate and I hope he ends up the Dems’ nominee. Send him a few bucks, too!

Tejano Music in the News

One of my fave local bands is set to release a new album in mid-February. La Fiebre‘s Fiesta on Freddie Records is highly anticipated with single, La Fiesta, already earning some popularity.

Joe Posada, through Q Productions, is working on a concert DVD to be released soon. His most recent production, Zapatos En La Mano, is a DC-favorite and the review of the CD earned a lot of traffic. Get yours from JoePosada.com today.

Be Alguien!!!

So, some folks are trying to get some recognition for a bridge with graffiti. I’m still fighting for Chicano studies and the usual history books to get it right about brown people. So, good luck with your endeavor.

So, Who’s Running in Harris County? (DEMS)

I thought about doing a few long posts about different races and then got hit by an annoying head cold that I hope to kick by the weekend.

Needless to say, I didn’t want to leave you all hanging. The least I could do was create a spreadsheet (.pdf) for you all to peruse with names of who’s running and for what position.

Those in bold are my favorites at the moment. If you haven’t been chosen, work on it. You still have time. Some weren’t picked because they’re unopposed, though. This is the approved list from the Secretary of State, but not in ballot order.

2018 Dems

Click on the link and check out the list. I’ll add some links as we get to 2018. For now, just be informed that we have a pretty lengthy ballot and some contested races to pick the Democrats we need on the ballot.

 

 

DREAMer Reform Delayed? My Confidence Wanes

If Democrats weren’t able to pass any kind of relief for DREAMers in 2010 with a legislative majority, did you really expect Republicans to do anything? According to a Politico article, the groundwork has been laid for a January vote, though.

The problem? They can’t do anything until Trump adds his sadistic ideas to the plan, like the wall, more migra, and other mean-spirited things that Kelly and others at DHS may come up with under the heading, “border security.”

So, cynical me thinks this is how things will go:

  • A pretty crappy DREAM Act will be created–enforcement heavy, relief for fewer than ever. (Remember when Dems were fighting for 11 million people and willing to give them everything?)
  • Dems will say no to such an unclean DREAM Act (right?). There will be shock at how Republicans are just bad and mean. (Some of us are desensitized to it, actually, at least those of us who are undeportable.)
  • Then the Dems will have it as an issue for them to campaign on, and run away from in those hard-to-win districts, in 2018.
  • By then, the March deadline to resolve this has passed and even more young people are out of DACA status and under threat of removal. (Let’s not forget that right now 122 DREAMers per day are losing their DACA status).

I’m just guessing, of course.

I’ll leave it to the DREAMers to tell me if they want what results from the negotiation in the end. It’s a gun to their heads, but not necessarily a gun to either party’s. I say this because even the new Dems being elected during special elections are acting kind of shifty on most issues, and not just this one, as if bipartisanship even exists anymore.

Maybe the Dems should up the ante and ask for a path to something for 11,000,000 once Trump starts adding his crap to the bill. It’s a negotiation, right? Hell, put up a fight. For the whole lot of us, it’s the fight that earns a politician respect.

As I mentioned previously, Democrats love the issue for the campaign trail. It’s great at conventions and the use of the issue can be left to those officeholders and candidates who can get the most use out of it–or the least use if it may cost them re-election.

The problem with that is that, once elected, the Democrats don’t even put up a fight. And those that want to fight are scoffed at by leadership (Pelosi and Schumer) who have other priorities, such as keeping things like the DREAM Act a campaign issue. In other words, even if the Dems gain a majority in both chambers again, my confidence in them doing something on this and the entire issue is still weak.

Perhaps they worry about Republicans taking credit for the issue while they are the majority. Hell, I wouldn’t worry. All the “bipartisan” talk has been just talk for Republicans. Dems give them too much credit. And for the vast majority of them, it will always be talk. They’re bigoted. They’re hateful. And their quiet “moderates” who fail to fight back are just as guilty of allowing the hate and bigotry. So, why not fight back when we’re down?

Seven DREAMers and allies protested at Schumer’s office last week. They all ended up in jail. And most are still in jail and soon at risk of deportation. They’re willing to put their lives on the line. No one seems to care, though. I’m pretty sure Democrats will blame them for fighting back and messing with their negotiations. Ain’t it always the way?

Yes, I’m cynical.

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.