Category Archives: Local Politica

It’s Dem Primary Election Day 2022!

OK, folks! If you didn’t vote early, today is the day to VOTE so you can pick your choices for the November ballot! Print out your sample ballot here. Find a polling location here. Remember you can vote at any polling location in Harris County. Take a photo ID, your sample ballot, (AND A MASK), because there are too many names to remember.

Also, the 2022 Stace Slate is available for printing. (For those races not on my ballot, here are my choices for those.) There are a lot of slates out there–some are pretty dangerous anti-Democratic ones, too. I think mine are the best.

All that said, I’m glad it’s over today. As Dem primaries go, this one didn’t have too many explosive happenings. Sure, County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s Dem opponents came off as Republican-Lite in their attacks. And the dude wanting to unseat County Commissioner Pct 2 Adrian Garcia came off as the typical angry dude, but that may have been his target audience.

In the Pct 4 Commish race, Leslie Briones and Ben Chou and the rest ran races about who was the best for the job. I was hoping to have seen a response to Chou’s pothole vid-ad using one of those pothole patching trucks that are the rave, though. In open seat races, it’s all about introducing ones self and stating ones case. Not too much controversy.

But in the judicial races, particularly the Criminal Courts, there was talk of opponents to incumbent judges being recruited by the local DA, using bond reform and crime as a scare tactic. Of course, it doesn’t help when people who bond out are committing crimes once back on the streets, thanks to bail bondsmen discounting the cost of bail bonds instead of keeping the cost at 10%. It never fails that those who rake in the cash from the criminal justice system are the least blamed or reformed by the system. And the ignorance among the voters continues and is exploited by bad people, especially republicans. It was hard to figure out who was whom on the Dem side, but if you voted for all or most of the incumbent judges in the criminal courts, then you came out pretty good. Let’s hope that this is the result tonight.

The best thing about the end of the primary is the end of republinut ads. From blaming migrants escaping poverty and violence for their suburban kid’s fentanyl and other drug addictions, to labeling a right-wing zealot former justice as “woke” when she’s pretty sleepy, to some pendejo riding daddy’s 4-wheeler from the huntin’ ranch at the border wall, to a threat by a nut-job running for Congress against people protesting police violence, to demeaning and violent right-wing statements flashing on screen, the republinuts took fear-mongering to new levels.

Republinuts have always been about fear-mongering; unfortunately, Dems not of color have been in denial about this for decades. (My guess is they were defending their nice, yet racist, neighbors and relatives.) Dems who vote in the republican primary for the “better” nut-job are the worse. And look at where all of us are now. On top of being constantly attacked, it’s the policies that are taking effect that are hurting people. It’s weak Democrats who use the same scare tactics who weaken the Democratic message.

Anyway, the state of Texas keeps digging itself into a bigoted hole that will be harder to dig out of. We have good candidates in Beto O’Rourke, Mike Collier, Rochelle Garza and others to offer a real alternative. Despite the failures of Greg Abbott, County Judge Lina Hidalgo and a Democratic majority on Commissioner’s Court have led us through a pandemic while keeping their promises of transparency and open-government–the two things that scare republicans the most. We have a good team for the most part. But we need to VOTE to keep them.

So, get out there, make your voice heard. And don’t fall for the republican bullshit.

The Other Side of the Stace Slate

My voting experience went pretty flawlessly at Tracy Gee on Day 1 of the Primary. The TDL was scanned, my information appeared, and I was given excellent instructions before heading to my station to vote. And I wasn’t even asked to remove my mask to prove my identity.

All in all, I think there were 89 candidates that I picked, though, some were unopposed. But those contested races did add up to a few minutes of clicking through the ballot and ensuring I clicked the right person. A few minutes. Not bad at all if you go prepared.

Now, some have asked who I’m picking in other races. Hell, I don’t live in those districts! But some are my friends and I know they appreciate the support. Others probably despise me for making picks, so, con mas ganas I’ll make a pick! More than anything, just vote…in the Democratic Primary! Find your sample ballot and your polling location.

So, here is The Other Side of the Stace Slate:

Congress, District 38 – Diana Martinez Alexander

SBOE, District 4 – Larry McKinzie

State Senator, District 17 – Titus Benton

State Senator, District 15 – Molly Cook

State Rep, District 131 – Alma Allen

State Rep. District 132 – Chase West

State Rep., District 142 – Candis Houston

State Rep, District 147 – Reagan Flowers

County Commissioner, Pct 2 – Adrian Garcia

JP, Pct 1 – 2 – Victor Lombraña (Sonia Lopez is also a good choice.)

JP, Pct 2 – 2 – Dolores Lozano

The Stace Slate featuring those for whom I could vote is right here.

The 2022 Stace Slate – Dem Primary

It’s time for another Stace Slate and it’s a big one as is our ballot in the Democratic Primary. My picks are based on observation, issues, and information found along the way, mostly thanks to Charles Kuffner and the Erik Manning spreadsheet. Sometimes, all it takes is a candidate to ask nicely for support. (Note: The ones that asked nicely this year don’t even have opponents in the Primary, so, there’s a lesson for challengers and incumbents alike.) It never fails that half the candidates are happy with my picks and the other half not so much. Hopefully, we can all unite for November.

DosCentavos is not a PAC, no memberships are needed, no ads are required to be purchased as with some other sites, and there’s no club vote. It’s mostly just me, as well as some discussion with friends and siblings regarding what we think about certain candidates. When it comes time to vote, many friends and relatives ask me my thoughts, or for a list of candidates for whom to vote. So, the Stace Slate is a tradition that is in its 17th year.

Also, there won’t be minions at polling locations passing out cards. So, print it out and take it with you!

Early voting begins on February 14th and continues through February 25th. Then, Primary Day is March 1. Find your sample ballot and early voting location here.

So, here is the 2022 Dem Primary Stace Slate:

Governor – Beto O’Rourke

Lt. Governor – Mike Collier

Attorney General – Rochelle Garza (Jaworski and Merritt are also strong candidates)

State Comptroller – Angel Luis Vera

Land Commissioner – Jinny Suh

Ag Commissioner – Susan Hays

Judge 183rd – Chuck Silverman (I)

Judge 184th – Abigail Anastasio (I)

Judge 185th – Jason Luong (I)

Judge 189th – Lema May Barazi

Judge 208th – Greg Glass (I)

Judge 228th – Frank Aguilar (I)

Judge 230th – Chris Morton (I)

Judge 245th – Tristan Longino (I)

Judge 248th – Hilary Unger (I)

Judge 263rd – Amy Martin (I)

Judge 270th – Dedra Davis (I)

Judge 280th – Damiane Curvey

Judge 312th – Paul Calzada

Judge 313th – Natalia Oakes (I)

Judge 315th – Leah Shapiro (I)

Judge 482nd – Sherlene Cruz

Judge County Civil #4 – Tresea Treviño

Judge County Criminal #2 – Jannell Robles

Judge County Criminal #3 – Staci Biggar

Judge County Criminal #5 – David Fleisher (I)

Judge County Criminal #6 – Selina Alaniz (It’s not often when I get to vote for a fellow South Texan who has found success in the big city, like so many of us.)

Judge County Criminal #7 – Andrew Wright (I)

Judge County Criminal #8 – Franklin Bynum (I)

Judge County Criminal #10 – Juanita Jackson

Judge County Criminal #14 – David Singer (I)

Judge Probate #2 – Michael Newman (I)

County Judge – Lina Hidalgo (I)

District Clerk – Marilyn Burgess (I)

County Treasurer – Dylan Osborne (I)

County Commish Pct 4 – Lesley Briones

JP Pct 5 – 2 – Eman Afshar

14th Court Place 2 – Cheri Thomas

14th Court Place 9 – William Demond

Other races not on my ballot…Tuesday.

Chris Hollins is Running for Mayor

It just got interesting!

After an announcement by State Senator John Whitmire that he was running for Mayor while running for re-election, it seemed like the 2023 mayoral race would have less oxygen without any other major candidates.

Chris Hollins, the former interim County Clerk who led the county through some innovative reforms in how elections are run, announced yesterday that he, too, would run for Mayor. He’s definitely a breath of fresh air in what would be a race where most of the hopefuls have been around local politics for a long time.

Hollins, a Texas Democratic Party official who temporarily served as Harris County clerk in 2020, rose to prominence two years ago by championing efforts intended to make it easier for people to vote during the pandemic, including 24-hour drive-thru voting and a bid to send applications for mail-in ballots to more than 2 million registered voters in Harris County.

Hollins, the son of a former police officer, states that his focus would be public safety.

“Our community at large cannot thrive unless we’re safe and, just as important, we feel safe in our city,” Hollins said. “So whether that means addressing issues of crime, flooding, housing or the pandemic, Houstonians have to be able to trust that our mayor is committed to protecting residents and to fostering a safe community.”

With only a week before the start of early voting for the 2022 primary, this certainly puts a focus on Whitmire, who has recently promised to run one race at a time. I also agree with Kuff that pressure will be placed on anyone else who wants to run for Mayor and start raising money. There are other names we’ve heard and activity we’re seeing from a few others who sure are acting like future mayoral candidates. Frankly, they hadn’t interested me as much as Hollins.

Just a reminder that we still need to give our attention to 2022.

Stay tuned, for sure.

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.

Another Week in COVID-19

A friend pointed me to a pretty good podcast on how Omicron is counterintuitive. Check it out here. It talks about where we are and about where we may be heading. There may be some hope in a world of “WTF is going on?!?”. Still, we must mask-up and not just be vax’d and boosted.

A few weeks into Omicron, it seems Greg Abbott finally panicked enough to beg the Biden administration for help. He still doesn’t want Texans and Texas schoolkids wearing masks, and, though vax’d and boosted himself, doesn’t want to require it for anyone else. But he demands more tests and monoclonal antibodies for his unvax’d and unmasked fans. C’mon, Abbott, Marco Rubio is calling you “irrational“!

Of course, he is also suing Biden because he says he is the state’s national guard leader (Remember Jade Helm!) and doesn’t think they should be vax’d if they don’t want to be. This is the same “leader” who has overseen recent suicides of his soldiers who are tired of being at the Texas border wasting time and taxpayer money. Some leader.

But Biden isn’t in the clear despite his press conference, either. ICE facilities have failed to give their migrant guests vaccine boosters to protect them from Omicron. We know that Omicron spreads easily and in close quarters like an immigrant prison, well, everyone is endangered. One would hope that Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez will be asked by Senators about this, since he’s been re-nominated for ICE Director after the Senate failed to act on his original nomination. Or will it be the Senate’s original questions on human warehousing and hunting and profits? Good luck, Sheriff.

Well, we’re still on fire here in Texas. COVID-19 continues its spread, infections continue to rise, and hospitalizations of the unvaccinated continue. Anecdotally, folks still seem to be acting as if invincible as I see them unmasked (and hacking up a lung) at the store. The good thing is that the holidays are over and there are less mass events among Democrats again. At least, I’m not seeing any selfies at events.

Stay masked. Stay vax’d and boosted. And stay away from large gatherings.

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.

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.

Judge Lina Hidalgo Files for Re-Election

As I mentioned in my Thoughts on Viernes, HCDP has a running album of folks who have filed for the 2022 Primary. I mentioned that I prefer seeing candidates in the order of filing, rather than alpha-order, because I want to see who has their stuff together, who is dawdling, and who makes a grand entrance.

Well, County Judge Lina Hidalgo took a nice-sized group of supporters with her for her filing, exhibiting the grassroots support with which she began and that put her in office a few years ago. I don’t expect much to change as she has been able to strengthen that grassroots support by accomplishing much as the County’s top executive; especially during the pandemic.

DosCentavos will proudly support Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo for re-election. I supported her when she tossed her hat in the ring back in 2016 and never doubted she could take down a long-time incumbent. She has led well.

That said, as Kuff tells us, Judge Hidalgo has a couple of opponents. One is a perennial candidate and the other is a minion employee of a local wannabe kingmaker and bachelor party coordinator. The candidate also happens to be on the county education board. Anyway, I’m sure Kuff will be asking all the right questions in his interviews of all the candidates. As the candidate financial reports come out, we will find out who is funding the opposition and also who is feeding from that trough.

Back At Yellow Despite Omicron Threat

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has placed us back at threat level YELLOW as the COVID-19 positivity rate is less than 5% and hospitalizations are down-trending. The definition of YELLOW is:

Level 3 signifies a moderate and controlled  level of COVID-19 in Harris County, meaning a further demonstrated reduction transmission and the local healthcare system is well within capacity. Unvaccinated residents should remain vigilant, but can resume contact with others and resume leaving home. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask and physical distance. Fully vaccinated individuals may resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations and including local business and workplace guidance. 

ReadyHarris.com (Emphasis mine)

Yet, today, President Biden in trying to calm fears about the Omicron variant was also telling us to continue masking, practice social distancing, and keep clean just in case COVID-19 is in our mist, er, midst. That’s exactly my plan: To continue being proactive as if we are still in a pandemic and staying within my circle of trust, which is basically four people whose activities and precautions I know.

As Kuff reminds us, the local traffic is telling us that people are going back to work at their workplaces rather than being productive at home. The holiday season also means that stores will also be full of people. Workplaces and shopping establishments do not seem to be pushing masking and distancing , but I’m guessing it’s 50-50 when left up to the individual. The smart individuals are the ones that continue masking at the office (and everywhere else) despite workplace and supervisor/coworker attitudes toward these policies.

So, the suggestions behind “Code Yellow” aren’t something I’m trusting because I don’t want to get sick–even if I am boosted by Moderna. They keep telling us to follow the science, but people with comorbidities need to follow the realities that COVID-19 can hit them harder than what the skinny, healthier, well-insured folks on TV tell us. Hell, breakthroughs are still not being adequately reported and Texas and Greg Abbott suck at reporting anything, anyway.

The scientists are studying Omicron and the vaccine’s effectiveness against it. I say we stay masked up and distanced. The unmasked and unvax’d pendejos will surely still be out there helping the spread.

Also, get vaccinated. If vaccinated, get boosted.