Category Archives: 2018

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges you to get out and vote in the Democratic primary as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff puts the most recent Trump approval numbers for Texas into some context.

SocraticGadfly offers his take on the latest stupidity by former Morning News columnist Rod Dreher.

Stace says let the people vote! This, after DC insider outsiders creep into local races.

Neil at All People Have Value took note of a citizen-improved sign in a Houston neighborhood.

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

Transgriot and Ashton Woods presents their lists of endorsed candidates.

Rice University Magazine honors the “crazy uncle” of the MOB, John “Grungy” Gladu.

Space City Weather explains why there are so many thunderstorms in the spring.

Tim McSweeny and Dan Brooks provide an update on the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony that was hit hard by Harvey.

The TSTA Blog calls out State Senators who underfund public education then deny having done so when it is pointed out.

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Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is thankful Adam Rippon is here to distract us from everything else as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff questions the assumption that Republicans have the advantage for November in Harris County.

It is understandable that the tragic events at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School would dominate the current news cycle. As we continue to mourn with them AND stand with them in calls for action, it’s also important to keep up with developments in our community as well. Texas Leftist shares news about the brave students of Houston’s Austin High School, who protested the ICE detention of an undocumented classmate, just months shy of his graduation. Is it truly the priority of our Federal Law Enforcement to persecute high school students who have done nothing wrong?? #FreeDennis

SocraticGadfly has some First Amendment and other questions about the Mueller indictments.

Stace is still sad that the local rodeo doesn’t have any Tejano Music on GoTejano day. But San Antonio is having one awesome music fest in March with the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair Weekend. Because without Tex-Mex culture, politics is pretty boring.

Neil at All People Have Value said school shootings are an intended result of America’s gun culture rather than an aberration. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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

Brene Brown speaks truth to bullshit on gun reform. (Not from this week, but it was getting shared a lot this week and is certainly on point, so.)

Jason Pittman and Anita Ledbetter explain how Trump’s tariffs on solar panels will affect Texans.

Juanita passes along a couple of primary recommendations.

Texas expat Elise Hu prepares for the Year of the Dog.

The Lunch Tray highlights a class difference in how parents treat junk food for their kids.

Paul Battaglio, Doug Goodman, and Meghna Sabharwal voice concerns about how nonprofits are handling sexual harassment allegations.

SATX: TMA Fan Fair 2018 Mar. 15-18

From the inbox:

TEJANO MUSIC AWARDS FAN FAIR 2018

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

Four Days of  FREE Non-Stop Tejano Music

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

Performances by  Michael Salgado, Jay Perez, Los Palominos, Hometown Boys, Stefani Montiel, Tony Guerrero y La Sombra, Los Garcias Bros,  DJ Kane, Isabel Marie, Dezigual, La Tropa F, Lucky Joe, Erick y Su Grupo Massore, Eddie Gonzalez, Augustine Ramirez, David Farias, and many more to be Announced

SAN ANTONIO, TX (02-15-2018) – 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 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 and many more.

San Antonio, the “Tejano Music Capital of the World”, will host the 38th Annual Tejano Music Awards Show in the 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

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.

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 – David Fleischer
  • Judge, County Criminal Ct #7 – Andrew Wright
  • Judge, County Crminal Ct #11 – Sedrick T. Walker
  • 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 – Jim Kovach
  • 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. Garcia
  • SD17 – Fran Watson
  • HD27 – Ron Reynolds
  • HD126 – Natali Hurtado
  • HD134 – Allison Lami Sawyer
  • HD138 – Adam Milasincic
  • HD146 – Shawn Thierry
  • County Commissioner Pct 2 – Adrian Garcia
  • County Commissioner Pct 4 – Penny Shaw

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Thoughts on Viernes…01262018

The Dem Primary

No doubt, the whole DACA/DREAM thing has sorta gotten me off-track. Sure, the national Dems are annoying the heck out of me, but there are local races and local candidates that I really want to end up on the November ballot. Having lunch with one judicial candidate this week, and hanging out with a countywide candidate, has reminded me of the importance of the Democratic Primary.

As I’ve stated, I don’t know if I’m doing a Stace Slate this year, but I do have a list of candidates whom I really like that I think should get all the support. How do I best sell them on here? A blog post can get boring after a few biographical sentences. So, how about some podcasts?

So, starting next week, I’ll attempt some interviews as only I can do them:  Asking good questions and just having good conversations. For 30 minutes. Live! I don’t know how many of these I’ll do, but I already have a few favorite candidates whom I want to interview. So, stay tuned!

The Trump Plan

As an immigration lawyer friend of mine stated, “It’s a trap!” As a DREAMer associate of mine stated, “We will not sell out our families!”

Since El Cheeto was making his demand, the Democrats should have made some specific demands, too. Like the original 11 million. Remember them? I mean, if they’re “fixing” the process for 1.8 million, it shouldn’t be much different for everyone else, right? And it’s a form of negotiation, instead of just saying no, right? I mean, these are the arguments being made for the “victory” that was CHIP, right?

Anyway, it’s an awful plan. Let’s see what he says on Tuesday. Perhaps Dems can walk out en masse when the Trump’s pendejadas begin. Ay veremos.

Natalia LaFourcade – Alma Mia

This tune and video reminded me of my Mom participating in sing-alongs at her nursing home whenever the mariachis would show up for a birthday. Brand new! Check it out.

 

 

 

It’s Not Just The Wall That Is Up For Debate

Credit: Lalo Alcaraz

An article by MSNBC talking head Victoria Soto caught my eye. Basically, she states that Democrats should give away the proposed border wall for DACA. Of course, there is no mention of what else Trump and the Republicans want. Added militarization in the form of more border patrol, draconian changes to family reunification (called by Trump “chain migration”), and other changes to the visa lottery, at least. No, Trump doesn’t just want the wall–a monument to stupidity, as called by Luis Gutierrez–he wants blood.

I will agree with Soto that by making the shutdown about CHIP vs DREAMers, it pretty much became about competing ethnicities. While the vast majority of DREAMers are Latino, only 37% of CHIP beneficiaries are Latinos. And let’s face it, ZERO DACA kids are on CHIP (or even Obamacare). But, no, Democrats have wasted no time in Demsplaining it as a victory. Considering that it was funded for the next six years, it’s pretty obvious that Republicans would have supported it in the end. Republicans just found a good hostage on which Dems could pull the trigger.

In other words, a longer shutdown would not have hurt CHIP in the least.

Now, it’s like everything is starting from ZERO on DACA/DREAM. Republicans have control of the DACA/DREAM issue and will allow for some pretty awful amendments, whenever it is they decide to get to it. Along with the amendments will be plenty of time to vilify DREAMers, immigrants, and your run-of-the-mill American Latin@. Probably more racially charged Trump ads about murderers, drug runners and visa overstays as “criminal illegals” will hit our TVs.  Certainly, talking heads and Congress members instilling fear and hate and spreading it around the country. Over the last seventeen years, we’ve been through this process plenty of times as if it is a brand new issue.

No doubt, DREAMers are hard at work trying to convince members of Congress in both parties for a Clean DREAM Act through direct action. Perhaps some changes might be OK, but not wasteful crazy ones like a wall or changes to family reunification some have stated privately. I mean, if there’s going to be a drawn out process, then the DREAMers must get the opportunity to speak, too.

But for Soto and others to simply give away the wall as they have done when we have already been forced into a new process is a bit shortsighted. Firstly, you never want to be the “Latino for the wall.” And for Soto to write this piece as if nothing else is up for debate is a bit disingenuous. Schumer already offered up the wall with a measly $1.6 billion of funding–not even close to the $20 billion Trump wants. Dems can’t even give away the store right if they’re trying to paint some picture of uncooperative Republicans.

So, all that is left is a legislative process that has been promised by someone who doesn’t really keep his promises. I’m glad the DREAMers are still working hard because I don’t know how hard Congress members will push. And it might be a good idea for Democrats and the few “moderates” left on both sides to listen to them during this process. And help stop the madness by standing up to stupidity.

#TrumpShutdown Achieved, Now What?

As much as shutting down the government is an exercise to show Trump’s and Republican Congressional leadership’s ineffectiveness, I wanted to see where Democrats stand, too. And my hope is that the five Democratic Senators who voted to continue debate, thus pushing the stopgap measure forward without DACA or CHIP, isn’t an indication of what is to come for a DACA/DREAM fix.

The latest version of the #DeportationCaucus, Manchin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and now, the new guy, Jones voted to support the stopgap bill last night. Manchin and Donnelly voted against the 2010 DREAM Act, McCaskill has run anti-immigrant re-election campaigns for votes but has supported DREAM Act in the past, Heitkamp has always been iffy on immigration, and Jones is showing fears of not getting re-elected in a few years. Some think a fix would have an easier, more bipartisan, time in the House.

It’s always been said that DREAM or DACA is a bipartisan issue, but when it comes right down to it, Senate Republicans have not come through. Last night, at least four of them did. Is this an indication of something? If it is, we’ll still need every single Democrat to seal the deal.

Obviously a clean DREAM Act is a lot harder to achieve. But as long as Trump and the Republicans’ starting point in negotiations is a wasteful wall and an end to family reunification, The DREAMers (and the Democrats) really don’t have to budge either. We know where the impasse begins. Republicans who want to move forward need to stop their leader’s bigotry and get the job done.

Meanwhile, 122 DACA beneficiaries lose their status everyday, despite the shutdown, Trump’s deporation force is still very much employed, and hate toward immigrants still exists. It’s really in the Republicans’ court to make the country move forward–at least for 800,000 of the 11 million undocumented folks.

A friend of mine called all of this “political theater.” Well, the political theater of immigration will still go merrily along if there is a fix to this. As always, we’ll deal with the theater. But let’s try to finish DACA/DREAM.

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.