Category Archives: 2014 Categories

Mayor Parker Announces FAFSA Day

Let me tell you, growing up poor yet with the knowledge that college was not an option but a necessity, was a challenge. Not because the schoolwork would be hard, but because all of the applications would certainly want to make one give up–especially the financial aid apps. Here in Houston, Mayor Annise Parker announced a bit of a solution for kids who need extra help with all of those forms.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker invites Houston area parents and students to participate in “Houston FAFSA Day” events scheduled for February 20, 2014, with additional workshops to continue through March.  The citywide events are designed to assist students and parents with the completion of applications for federal and state college financial assistance.  Hosted by five area school districts and numerous community organizations, the sessions will focus on the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Texas Application for Student Financial Aid (TASFA).

Research shows that students who complete government financial aid applications are more likely to pursue college studies.  While Houston ranks as the fourth largest city in the country, its student financial aid application completion rate is very low.

“The City of Houston is proud to join community partners in this effort to help students obtain the financial assistance they need to go to college,” said Mayor Parker.  “Our goal is simple—to increase the financial aid application completion rate so that our students gain access to and complete college.  A college education is essential for our students as members of Houston’s future workforce.”

“Houston FAFSA Day” sponsors include Alief ISD, Galveston ISD, Houston ISD, Spring ISD and Spring Branch ISD.  Community partners include the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives, Center for Houston’s Future, Chinese Community Center, College Community Career, Houston A+ Challenge, Memorial Assistance Ministries, Project GRAD and United Way of Greater Houston.

The “Houston FAFSA Day” websiteoffers helpful tips and resources for students and parents as well as opportunities for prospective community partners and volunteers.  While “Houston FAFSA Day” will take place on February 20, additional financial aid application workshops are scheduled.  A complete list of event dates and sites can be accessed on the website.

For information about the Mayor’s Office of Education Initiatives, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, visit www.houstontx.gov/education.

www.HoustonFAFSAday.org

Thanks to Mayor Annise Parker and all of those partnering with her to get this done.

Sunday Cafecito ~ TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance still has a dozen or so Republican responses to the SOTU it needs to get through as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff takes a look at campaign finance reports for Harris County legislative and countywide candidates.

Horwitz at Texpatriate laments the loss of Algebra II as a High school graduation requirement.

In light of some of the more ridiculous back-and-forth between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott and their campaigns — not to mention James O’Keefe and his clandestine, altered video — PDiddie at Brains and Eggs asks: “Is it insensitive to say that Abbott is ‘running’ for governor?”

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to scream in horror over the Republican war on women. All Republican candidates for Lieutenant Governor are FOR keeping a brain dead woman with a severely abnormal fetus on life support against her family’s wishes.

This week, McBlogger has some advice for the Davis Campaign, the press and all the Democratic activists who are eager for a win this year.

Neil at All People Have Value wrote about the slate of Green Party candidates running in Texas in 2014. All People Have Value is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Nonsequiteuse scoffs at the notion that Texas may turn into California.

Texas Redistricting updates us on the proposed fixes to the Voting Rights Act and other election law news.

John Coby names Randy Weber the frontrunner to replace Steve Stockman as the craziest Congressman from Southeast Texas.

Texas Clean Air Matters reports on the longrunning legal battle between Texas and the EPA over clean air regulations.

The Lunch Tray alerts us to potential changes to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Randy Bear examines the reasoning behind various LGBT groups’ non-endorsement of Wendy Davis in the Democratic primary for Governor.

Greg Wythe has the data to analyze the actual impact of Texas’ voter ID law in Harris County.

BOR asks why the Texas Medical Association supports candidates who oppose their own stated positions, and gets a non-responsive answer from them.

Wendy Supports What?

wendyI won’t lie (and neither will my Facebook page), I wasn’t very happy with the announcement that Senator Wendy Davis supports “open carry” of handguns. In my opinion, it opens up a whole can of worms, including questions about whether she would support “campus carry” and other non-priorities. If she desires to be pulled into those other debates, then she’ll get bogged down in that, instead of real issues. I continue to have faith that her campaign team will remain committed to issues that actually matter.

So, then I came to this conclusion:  It’s been too long since I voted for or supported a candidate who was supportive 100% of the “Democratic Platform According to DosCentavos.” If anything, one of my close associates reacted to my feelings:  “C’mon where is she from? Fort Worth. They probably still have gunfights at the Stockyards.” And then I remembered that once I was also a Democrat who demanded ideological purity or commitment proven through Democratic Primary participation, until I started meeting former Republicans who switched to and worked for the better Party. You know, people who are like Senator Davis.

And then I began to rationalize like a good little Democrat:  Well, at least she’s not calling South Texas a “third world” country; she’s not calling for the militarization of South Texas and the hunting of Mexican Americans; she’s not proposing cutting school funding; she’s not making immigrants and Latinos a campaign piñata during a right-wing primary; and she’s not proposing keeping millions of poor Texans (mostly of color) uninsured. No, we all know that Greg Abbott is running on all of these things, as are the rest in his right-wing party.

So, an issue like “open carry” is not going to make a ballot decision for me since it can still be stopped at the legislative level. And depending on what comes out of the Lege, it can be vetoed, weakened, or even, if possible, filibustered by the next Wendy in the Senate, whomever he or she may be. This is a democracy and the people must participate no matter the party of the elected official, to ensure that the highest priorities are met. And that’s why it’s even more important that people vote. If my mom can do it from her pre-op room before surgery today, then anyone can do it.

Also, some say she’s pandering, or that she’s the mastermind of some political ploy. Honestly, I don’t think so. I really do believe it when she says she supports “open carry.” I’m just glad our next Lt. Governor, Leticia Van De Putte, was equally honest that she did not support “open carry.”

My friend Cody Pogue has his view, and as he hopes of Democrats, Wendy Davis has not lost my vote. We know the damage Greg Abbott, Rick Perry, and the Republicans have inflicted on Texas while lining their and their friend’s pockets. I still believe in Wendy Davis much like I believe in the power of my vote and democratic participation.

Texpatriate gives his view, too.

Catching Up With Dem Primary Endorsements

Well, we are now almost two weeks away from the beginning of Early Voting for the Democratic Primary, so, it’s time for the rest of you to start paying attention. Endorsements don’t necessarily win elections, but if you are a member of a certain organization that endorses, chances are you might want to support someone endorsed by said organization. My buddy Charles Kuffner at OffTheKuff.com is compiling a list of endorsements and information about candidates.

And the good folks at Democracy for Houston just released their expansive list of nods.

dfh1

 

dfh2

 

Stay tuned for more Democratic Primary news!

Thoughts on Viernes….01312014

Texas Media Loses It?

Apparently, members of the Texas media aren’t too happy that they weren’t allowed into a “local” Democratic Party fundraiser in Austin which featured State Senator Wendy Davis as the speaker. I’ve been to plenty of fundraisers in my long involvement in stuff and I’ve never seen media at one. Sure, it’s Wendy Davis, but she’ll be making plenty of appearances from here on out. As a blogger, I didn’t mind the Texas Tribune featuring the video feed on their site. It’s not as if the Texas media asked a lot of questions of Greg Abbott after he and his supporters unleashed some pretty nasty, sexist, and even misogynistic commentary about Wendy Davis. All Senator Davis was doing at this speech was giving her side of the story and a defense. Why does the media want to ask questions, now?

Anyway, as I mentioned in this week’s podcast with Rey Guerra, I think the Texas media is looking for a fresh story since the career of Rick Perry is basically done and no one seems to care about that pot supportin’ guv.

In case the media still missed it, here’s the youtube.

Texpatriate expands on it. And McBlogger nails it.

Repubican Amensty Princibals*

*I spelled it as it would appear on a Tea Party protest sign.

Anyway, did you catch Boehner’s principles on immigration reform? Even after 2,000,000 Obama deportations, the GOP seems to think it’s not enough. They won’t be happy until 50,000,000 Latinos are deported–“no matter if their citizens.” But it seems what made Ted Cruz’s tanga pop is the term, “no special pathway” to citizenship. Why? Because that would mean they’d get to “the back of the line” and still be able to become citizens…eventually…maybe. But even the distant possibility of citizenship is driving the far right crazy.

And while some of my friends who have been willing to accept anything less than citizenship, the bottom line is that the principles call for no “deportation relief.” If anything, “zero tolerance” of unauthorized migration is clearly specified in the blueprint. But they do dangle a carrot for DREAMers, which includes a path to citizenship. Of course, nothing happens without, wait for it, “triggers.”

As most of the pro-migrant groups are saying, “it’s not an actual bill.” But it is pretty obvious that the Republicans have moved backwards from an already awful Senate Bill 744. That said, right-wingers led by Ted Cruz are already saying NO to anything. Middle of the roaders are saying, “not this year.” And Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are saying, “special path to citizenship or nothing.”

It’ll make for great campaign rhetoric, especially in the race for Lt.Governor here in Texas and other Republican primary races. And Democrats will once again have a direction in which to point fingers in November. But it seems that that will be about it. No idea if it actually means votes for either side.

Music Break – Los Lonely Boys – Live at B&N on the Release of Revelation

Thoughts on Viernes…01242014

The Big Freeze

I was lucky that I didn’t have to hit the freeways today; the thing is, dangerous roads or not, there’ve been some loco drivers these last couple of wet days. People seem to be in too much of a hurry–or maybe they’re just running late? Anyway, stay safe out there. Some folks may laugh at us, but we don’t live in a 24-hour-a-day frozen hell, either. So, cut us some freakin’ slack, Norteños!

Tweet of the Week – Mayor Julian Castro

Tu dile, Julian! Dan Patrick and his buddies running in the Tea Party have been going ape-shit against Latinos and immigrants lately in the run-up to the Republican Primary and Mayor Castro called him out, to which Patrick responded with a challenge of a debate on immigration.

Expect some usual common sense from Mayor Castro and the usual pendejadas from Patrick. I don’t think it will lend much to the overall debate in DC, but it will solidify the Texas Republican Party line on anti-Latino hate, and, thus, put to bed any significant attempts at Latino outreach. (Not that any was really expected given the Republican planks on public education, higher education, health care, economy/jobs, etc.)

Music Break ~ Flaco Jimenez/Max Baca – Me Voy Lejos (Legends and Legacies)

 

 

Stace and Rey Are Back!

Houston Politics with Stace and Rey is back! What is that? It’s a podcast featuring myself and local smart guy and activist, Dr. Rey Guerra. We had a few shows toward the end of 2013, but after I fought off a bad case of laryngitis, we are back and ready to talk…a lot!

So, to get back into practice, we recorded this episode last Thursday.

We cover the latest on immigration reform, the City Council election, and Wendy Davis and the Democrats. I also mention how Lt. Governor candidates are making immigration the issue on which to attack Latinos, and Kuff provides some proof today, so, it is fitting that we talked about this.

If you need to copy and paste, here’s the URL:

http://houstonpolitics.buzzsprout.com/15824/144501-houston-politics-we-re-back

The plan is to bring in a VIP on our next episode to discuss Women’s Health, the Affordable Care Act, and probably more on the sexist nature of the Greg Abbott campaign toward Wendy Davis and all women. Stay tuned!

 

Perez, Lopez Hit The Ground Running

There are a couple of races that this blogger will keep an eye on and both are in the ‘burbs. Educator Amy Perez is running for Texas House District 150 with the intent to end the political career of Debbie Riddle, while Luis Lopez is running for the open seat for Texas House District 132.

Amy Perez, a highly recognized educator, has assembled quite a campaign team for her race for HD 150 and has earned some media attention during the last couple of weeks, including in the paper that probably lands on Debbie Riddle’s yard. She has begun to make the rounds all over District 150 and is getting even more attention on Facebook.

Equally active is the candidate for HD-132, Luis Lopez, who has quickly amassed over 700 “likes” on Facebook, outdoing three of the Tea Party candidates, and on the heels of another. The accountant from Katy has also assembled a campaign team which has hit the ground running and has been making the rounds.

Both teams are running impressive grassroots campaigns and need all the help they can get from inside and outside of the district. Debbie Riddle is quickly wearing out her welcome in her district as she continues to attack poor children and public education, while HD-132 provides an opportunity for change as an open seat. As the suburbs become more diverse, there is a need for representatives who recognize that diversity and will be representative of that diversity, especially on issues of education, public safety, and economic development.

Follow their campaigns on Facebook for the latest. Best of luck to Amy and Luis.

Sunday Cafecito~ TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance has no knowledge of any bridge lane closures as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published interviews with State Sen. John Whitmire and his challenger in SD15, Damian LaCroix.

Horwitz at Texpatriate investigated dueling claims of establishment endorsements in the Harris County GOP Chairman race. You know, to see how the other half lives.

Eye On Williamson on the Texas GOP. They want to make sure that the American people don’t get the idea that the government can actually do things to help them, If The Government Helps the People They Lose.

The Republican civil war first came to Texas, and then made it all the way to Houston this past week. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs thinks that as long as they don’t start shooting at each other, we’ll all have fun watching them self-destruct.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wonders why Louis Gohmert and the people who voted for him hate women so much.

Letters from Texas thinks we need more Coonrippys in our state.

With the recent cold snap in Houston & Texas, Neil at All People Have Value said that what is cold in one place is not so cold another place. Context and circumstance make a difference. All People Have Value is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Greg reviews some Clinton-era Democratic Party history.

Scott Braddock reports on “The Building Careers: Construction Workforce Luncheon”, a recent summit aimed at getting school kids educated in the trades needed to work in construction.

Hair Balls gives five reasons why Ted Cruz should maintain his Canadian-ness.

Jason Stanford carefully explains the difference between Chris Kluwe and Phil Robertson.

Texas Clean Air Matters discusses demand response and how that helps Texas avoid rolling blackouts.

Juanita pens a letter to Chris Christie.

The Lunch Tray updates us on Gatorade’s “war on water”.

Texas Watch invites you to a special interests party for the Texas Supreme Court.

Texans for Public Justice charts the huge increase in campaign contributions made by charter schools.

HoustonRodeo Announces Tejano Music Schedule

notejano

Maybe if we give the sheet music for David Lee, Latin Breed and others to REO Speedwagon?  #oldschool

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted about Tejano Music alternatives during No Tejano Day.

Click here for some Background.

I caught a Facebook debate about the subject and one person was stating the genre was “dead.” My friend Jose Manuel Diaz explained,  “…for a dead genre of music to bring thousands to Humble specifically for that music, I think nullifies the argument that it is dead.”