Category Archives: DC Ojo

Gregg Barrios Interviews James Franco

Yes, my friend Gregg Barrios, the playwright, interviewed THAT James Franco. Apparently, Franco just published a book of poetry. Gregg explains it best.

YOU KNOW WHO James Franco is. He is a household name, an award-winning actor, the sexiest person on the planet. But that was then. The 34-year-old Franco has been turning a new page in his life, walking down roads not previously taken as a teacher, a poet, and a writer.

His collection of short fiction, Palo Alto (2010), was praised by writers as diverse as Amy Hempel and Gary Shteyngart. Now he has published his first chapbook of poetry, as well:Strongest of the Litter (2012). The award-winning poet Frank Bidart (who advised Franco on the arrangement of the poems) calls Litter “a superb, touching debut.”

Go read the interview at the Los Angeles Review of Books. And congrats to Gregg on a major coup of an interview!

TONIGHT at 6PM: LatinoTalk TV’s Election Recap

Tonight, November 12, 2012 at 6pm. LatinoTalkTV Show! Election Recap! Join us LIVE & Call in to participate. Watch online or on television:

  • Comcast 17
  • AT&T U-verse 99
  • TVMax 95
  • Sudden Link 99
  • Phonoscope 75

DosCentavos will be there, too!

VR Groups: Recently Registered Voters Turned Away

From Common Cause:

Common Cause, Mi Familia Vota and Others Take Steps to Ensure No Voter is Turned Away 

Houston – Some voters who registered close to the state’s Oct. 9 registration deadline are being turned away from the polls instead of being allowed to cast their ballots, a coalition of grassroots organizations said today.  The groups, which include the League of Young Voters, Common Cause, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Advancement Project, immediately notified the appropriate County officials  to resolve the issue and will continue to share any reports from the field or 866-Our-Vote hotline.

Voters at several locations reported being turned away from the polls at Early Vote locations on Monday and Tuesday of this week because their registration card had an effective date of November 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th. According to state law, those voters are eligible to vote during the Early Vote period and not just on Election Day which is November 6th.

“It’s is important that the voice of every eligible voter is heard and that they are not turned away from voting. Any registered voter turned away on Monday or Tuesday needs to understand that they can vote and they can vote early,” said Maureen Haver, Election Protection Coordinator at Common Cause. “Any voter having trouble casting their ballots during early votingor on Election Day should call the voter protection hotline at 1 -866 – OUR-VOTE or 1- 888 – VE-Y-VOTA.”

The groups said the issue with newly registered voters can be easily resolved if election judges and poll workers accept valid registration certificates and update it to the rolls or call the county to verify new registrations.  Verification can also be done online.

Coalition members said they would continue to work with the County to ensure that all poll workers and election judges are aware of the proper procedure in addressing eligible voters who have not been updated to the voter rolls prepared for the Early Vote period.

“The County is aware of this issue, but we will continue to monitor for any voters being turned away from early voting,” said Christina Sanders, state director of The Texas League of Young Votes Education Fund. “We will also continue to assure every registered voter that they can indeed cast their ballots even if the effective date on their registration card is after the Early Vote period which ends on November 2.”

A DC First: DC Reviewed 4 of 5 Latin Grammy Nominees

The Latin Grammys announced their nominees today, including my favorite category, Best Tejano Album. In a Dos Centavos first, I’m proud to announce that I reviewed 4 of the 5 nominated albums. Either my reviews are being read by some important people, or my ear for music is pretty good. Here they are:

Best Tejano Album (Linked to DC Review)

Algo Esta Pasando – Joe Posada [Baby Dude Records]

The Voice Of Authority – Jay Pérez [Tejas Records]

Back On Track – Los Hermanos Farias [Ro Records]

Sunset Run – Los Desperadoz [Tejas Records]

Mas Amigos – Avizo [Powerhouse Records]

Big congrats to the nominees. They are all among my favorite artists.

UHD Students Get Ready to Walk to Vote – Nov. 1

From UH-Downtown’s Student Government President Ivan Sanchez:

Houston, TX – In response to student voter turn-out at an all time low, students of the University of Houston-Downtown resolve to empower themselves to get out and vote. UH-D students vow to unite to play a critical role in the November elections as we pledge to walk to vote on November 1st. UH-D students are not your typical student, we are the parents, we are the part time/full time working professionals that go the extra mile to get our education – and we will lead by example our community in demonstrating our philosophy of being politically active.

Who:  University of Houston-Downtown Students & supporters
What: Students will walk to vote and exercise their voice
When:  November 1, 2012
Rally: 1pm-2pm
Walk to vote:  2:00pm
Where:  University of Houston Downtown South Deck to 1001 Preston, 77002 (3 blocks away from UHD)
Guests:  Mayor Annise Parker, UHD President Flores and Council Member Ed Gonzalez=========================================

In 1971 the United States of America ratified the 26th Amendment to the Constitution granting the right to vote to 18-20-year-olds. The 26th Amendment was the fastest to be ratified in U.S. history. Traditionally, young people comprise the smallest voting bloc. As a result, many young people feel as if their voices will never be heard. Some even question whether their vote even matters.

Indisputably, students at the University of Houston—Downtown would gladly beg to differ. Since the beginning of the Fall 2012 semester various student organizations have passionately competed with one another in an effort to see who could register the most voters. To date, we have registered over 1,000 students who will now be eligible to vote in the November elections. In honor of this, the Student Government Association has orchestrated an event to encourage our students to vote and inspire them to let their voices be heard. Join us on November 1st on the UHD’s South Deck from 1:00pm to 2:00pm as we celebrate our achievements and exercise our constitutional right to vote.

=========================================

The event will proceed as follows:

1:00-1:15 – UHD Greek Steps
1:15-1:25 – UHD Cheerleaders Performance
1:25-1:30 – UHD ROTC Presentation of Colors
1:30-1:35 – UHD President William V. Flores Speaks
1:35-1:40 – Council Member Ed Gonzalez Speaks
1:40-1:55 – Houston Mayor Annise Parker Speaks
1:55-2:00 – UHD SGA President Ivan Sanchez Speaks
2:00 -We march to the Harris County Administration BLDG at 1001 Preston to vote.
=========================================

Caravan for Peace to Confront Gun Dealer

As DC has reported to you all, the Caravan for Peace and Justice, an effort to stop the failed “war on drugs,” will be arriving in Houston tonight. Click here to get the latest itinerary. On Monday, before heading out to other parts on the way to DC, they will confront a local gun dealer linked to drug traffickers. Here’s the press release:

Caravan for Peace, Mexican Victims of Drug War to Dismantle Military-Style Assault Weapon and Transform into Symbol of Peace at Heart of Historic Mexican Neighborhood.

Bearing pictures of their dead relatives, families, exiled Juarez residents, relatives of the more than 60,000 killed in drug war will also go to Carter’s Country, Houston Arms Dealer Linked to Gun Sales to Drug traffickers, and Confront Them with the Human Toll of Drug War and the Urgent Need to Regulate These Weapons

Houston, Texas –On Monday, August 27th, members of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity will join Houston-based and other US residents, to gather in the heart of the historic Mexican neighborhood in Houston to publicly dismantle a military-style assault weapon purchased Saturday and bury it in cement in a public action calling attention to the human devastation caused by this kind of weapon. Caravan members and their supporters will also demand that President Obama enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons and other measures to stop the illegal sale of weapons, which have been linked to the deaths of thousands of Mexicans killed in the drug war.

Participants in the solemn act will dismantle an assault weapon like those sought by drug cartels and easily purchased from gun dealers and private citizens. They will then transform it into a symbol of peace, in an act harkening back to the turning of swords into plowshares. Families bearing large and small pictures of loved ones lost in Mexico’s drug war will later join Mexican exiles in confronting the Carter’s Country gun dealership with images and testimonies of the effects of these military assault weapons on families living on both sides of the border.

“We’re not here in the United States to contest the Second Amendment. The Caravan for Peace is here because our loved ones have been shot and kidnapped, displaced and murdered with military assault weapons sold in U.S. stores and gun shows,” said Javier Sicilia, the poet turned activist and Caravan leader after his son, Juan Francisco, was killed last year. “Assault weapons sold by U.S. gun dealers like those here in Houston are responsible for thousands of drug war deaths in Mexico, and in doing so, these gun dealers make a mockery of the Second Amendment. Together, you here in the United States, and we in Mexico, can help end this madness,” Sicilia concluded.

Where: 333 South Jensen Dr., Houston (map) (event at 11am) and the Caravan will then drive to Carter’s Country, 2120 S. Shaver St., Pasadena (map) following the press conference

When: Monday, August 27, 11:00 a.m.

Media should contact Contact: John Lindsay-Poland, Fellowship of Reconciliation: (510) 282-8983
Roberto Lovato, Presente.org: (213) 820-8424 for information related to the Caravan for Peace

Anyone may join the action online, too.

A petition demanding President Obama stop the flow of arms into our communities: http://act.presente.org/sign/caravana/?source=presente_website

And for more information.

Petition against gun smuggling: http://act.presente.org/sign/caravana/?source=presente_website

or text PEACE to 225568

For more information: http://www.caravanforpeace.org/

About the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity:www.movimientoporlapaz.mx

Facebook: facebook.com/caravan4Peace
Twitter: @CaravanaUSA (twitter.com/caravanaUSA)
Flickr: www.Flickr.com/photos/caravan4peace

Mail: caravanapresspass@movimientoporlapaz.mx

Diaz Still Wins After Recount

Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by the news that Chris Diaz still leads after a recount requested by his opponent–even adding an additional vote in Diaz’s favor.

The 17-vote margin is unofficial, Democratic Party chairman Lane Lewis said, adding the party plans to finalize the tallies on Saturday.

I attended the last CEC meeting in which Diaz’s 16-vote victory was actually canvassed, unfortunately, it seems his opponent, Zerick Guinn, and his supporters. With the County Clerk’s error that had Guinn substantially ahead, I guess folks had questions.

At the CEC canvassing, several of our Democratic members of the ballot board stated that once the discrepancy was corrected on election night, they were very sure the final results were accurate. So, given that, I didn’t expect a recount of an electronic vote to change much in the results. I think we can continue to agree with the ineptness of the County Clerk’s office, but as far as this race is concerned, I’m hoping we can move forward.

Caravan For Peace On The Way

Have you heard of the Caravan for Peace? If so, great. If not, here’s why you should get involved and support it in every way that you can.

A Trans-border Caravan for Peace and Justice with the Poet and Peace Leader Javier Sicilia

More than 60,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico in the last few years. 10,000  people have been disappeared and over 160,000 displaced. Global Exchange and Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) led by Javier Sicilia have made “End the Drug  War- No More Violence” campaign a priority in 2012. Starting in August, a high profile caravan will cross the US starting in San Diego/Los Angeles, heading east along the US-Mexico border and then up to Chicago, New York and DC.

Sicilia’s son, Juan Francisco was murdered along with six friends on a fateful night in March of  2011. He has since become an inspirational voice for peace, justice and reform– drawing huge  crowds throughout Mexico. He comes north this summer with a call for change in the bi-national  policies that have inflamed a six-year Drug War, super-empowered organized crime, corrupted  Mexico’s vulnerable democracy, claimed lives and devastated human rights on both sides of the border.

2012 offers a uniquely fertile moment to internationalize the struggle for peace in Mexico. Latin American elite opinion is shifting rapidly on the question of ending drug prohibition. This call for reform has not yet echoed in the United States. The Caravan represents an unprecedented effort by Mexican civil society to impact U.S. thinking and policy.

Having just started it’s first leg, the Caravan will make its way through the Southwestern US and all the way to Washington, DC, ending on September 12. It will spend a day and a half in Houston, August 26 and 27.

Learn more about the Caravan here and support this cause.

DC Reviews: Ram Herrera ~ En El Amor

Tejano crooner Ram Herrera returns with a new production, En El Amor. A product of AMMX Records, owned by Gary Hobbs, En El Amor highlights Herrera’s unique voice while changing up the musical sound a bit. Still, it is an excellent 10-song production by “The Outlaw.”

Herrera’s career spans decades, having fronted David Lee Garza y Los Musicales before going on to a highly successful solo career. The singer of “Rosas Para Una Rosa” and “Amor Querido,” still has the chops and it comes out in this newest production.

A mix of rancheras, cumbias, and ballads, the production starts off strong with Como Olvidarme de Ti, and ode to the end of a relationship. And from then on, it just gets better. Te Entrego Lo Mejor is another ranchera that will keep you toe-tapping. Que Sepan Todos, with its sax solo, reminds one of Herrera’s early days with Montana Band; while Fallaste Corazon will show Ram-fans that he is has stayed true to his style. Herrera adds an acordeon-heavy tune with El Mas Feliz, which is a great dance floor tune.

Herrera’s voice is great for ballads, and he doesn’t miss with A Donde Vas. The other ballad on the production, though, is the closer, Didn’t Anybody Tell Him, which is somber one about the worst that can happen during drunk-driving.

Herrera and his band are known for some smooth cumbias, and the first one out of the gate is the title track, with some great lyrics. Si Tuviera Tu Amor and Si Te Quedas o Te Vas keep the beat going.

All-in-all, it’s a strong production; although the slight change in sound forced me to give it a few runs on the MP3 player before I fully appreciated it. Perhaps I prefer some harder drumming, but ultimately, Herrera delivers what his fans want–his powerful voice.

Get your copy today!

Inbox: Community Emergency Response Team Training for Spanish Speakers

From the Inbox to You:

The City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods Office of International Communities announces a series of Spanish language Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training sessions for individual residents, social service providers and community leaders.

Presented in collaboration with the City’s Office of Emergency Management and Harris County Citizens Corps, the training will consist of eight training modules led by experts covering a full range of disaster preparedness topics.  The final session will feature a mock drill, giving participants the opportunity to apply the knowledge and practice the skills they acquired through the training.

All participants who complete the eight-week training will receive a City of Houston and Harris County first aid training certificate, a CERT program identification card and an emergency response manual.

The training sessions will be held on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m.to 12:00 p.m., at the Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star, Houston 77074, as follows:

  • July 21 — Module 1:  General Disaster Preparedness
  • July 28 — Module 2:  Fire Safety & Suppression
  • August 4 — Module 3:  Basic Medical Operations – Part 1
  • August 18 — Module 4:  Basic Medical Operations – Part 2
  • September 15 — Module 5:  Light Search & Rescue
  • September 22 — Module 6/7: Incident Command System/Disaster Psychology
  • September 29 — Module 8:  Terrorism Awareness
  • October 6 –Mock Search and Rescue Drill

The July 21 opening session will provide participants with an overview of disaster and emergency preparedness.  The session will feature presentations by Marni Rosen, City of Houston CERT Coordinator, Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security; Captain Homero Ponce-Lopez, HFD (retired); Captain Juan Guerrero, HFD; Any Villanueva, Volunteer Coordinator, Hispanic CERT Team; and Carlos Robles, Meteorologist, Univision 45.

Enrollment is limited. Interested persons are encouraged to register in advance.  Walk-ins may be accepted, based on availability of participant slots.  To enroll contact Benito Juarez, Office of International Communities, at 713.778.6503 or Benito.Juarez@houstontx.gov.

For more information about the Department of Neighborhoods, visit www.houstontx.gov/neighborhoods.  To learn more about the City of Houston Office of Emergency Management, visit www.houstonoem.net.