Category Archives: DC Ojo

Join Houston Janitors at Mass for Justice

From the Inbox:

Dear Friend,

First of all, we would like to thank you for your constant support for Houston’s janitors.  It is people like you that give us strength to continue fighting for a better future for all of Houston. Saturday’s Children’s Day of Action was a great success you helped make happen.  The Houston Chronicle highlights the event.

As you may know, hundreds of Houston janitors walked off the job and initiated a city-wide strike last week.   Many leaders have pledged support and momentum has swung in favor of the workers. Friday, the strike grew from 9 to 18 buildings. Hundreds more are expected to join later this week as the strike escalates.  We will continue the strike until business owners and contracting companies agree to pay us a fair wage.

Just like you, our brothers and sisters from all over the world are standing with Houston janitors.  Members in Hong Kong, Australia, England, Poland and France urged J.P. Morgan Chase, Hines, Crescent-Barclays, and ISS in their respective countries to do right by Houston’s janitors.  Colombia and UNI Americaswrote letters in support of Houston’s janitors to the Greater Houston Partnership, while members in Brazil wrote a support letter to Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker.

But we can’t stop there.  On behalf of Houstonian janitors and Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Fiorenza We would like to invite you to come to a very special Mass at theCO-CATHEDRAL OF THE SACRED HEART on Thursday July 19th at 7:30pm. The Mass was organized to celebrate the link between faith, work, and justice and to call on business leaders to support the good jobs our communities desperately need.

In order to restore the middle class in Houston, we must stay connected.  Please text OurHouston to 787-753 to receive the latest updates on Houstonian Janitors.

Kind Regards,

Houston Janitors


Thursday, July 19th- 7:00 pm


Kuff Still Has Guests

Well, I thought I saw a couple more cool people on OffTheKuff, so, make sure you give them a read:

First, there’s an excellent post from someone I consider an “hermanita,” Christina Gorczynski from the League of Women Voters Houston on engaging youth voters and how one can get involved.

If you want to engage young people, the first step is meeting them where they are. Volunteer for a youth-based organization. Step out of the political field to coach youth sports, participate in a mentoring program, judge a high school debate contest, sponsor a scout troop or teach a class at your place of worship. Invite them to make civic life part of their life. Better yet, come volunteer for the League of Women Voters to visit high schools with me.

Check out the rest of the post for links to really cool informational stuff.

The next post is from a sometimes-3rd Centavo contributor, Dr. Rey Guerra. A post on where Latinos have been and were Latinos might be going, Guerra hits on some positive local points, as well as some of the stuff Latinos have been pushing back on. His closing hits it on the head, though.

It’s been said that the Latino community in Houston today has more energy and more momentum than it’s had in over 30 years; since the days of Ben Reyes, Leonel Castillo, and the murder of Joe Campos Torres.

What’s been most impressive to me is that energy and momentum exhibited by today’s Latino community isn’t necessarily in coalescing around a candidate or a specific issue. It seems to be happening organically, out of a sense that is at times anger, at times hope, and at other times a need for simple fairness.

Lately, Rey and I have been disagreeing on some candidate choices, and then with others we are hard-core supporters. So, I’ll give a little mention to someone he doesn’t mention in his post, HD-137 candidate Jamaal Smith, who is in a run-off at the moment. Jamaal has a strong record of working with the Latino community, especially with his experience working for the late Joe Moreno in pushing positive legislation. During his work with the Democratic Party, he was always calling on Latino leaders for advice, and was spot-on whenever he advocated on issues impacting Latinos. So, I’m voting for the responsive and experienced Jamaal Smith.

LEUV Launches on Wednesday

Houston, Texas – A new voter engagement group targeting Latino voters will launch its efforts on Wednesday, July 11. Created by a group of community leaders and professionals, “Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting.” (LEUV) is committed to developing and supporting candidates while championing community issues with an ultimate goal of increasing voter participation and achieving effective Latino representation.

The July 11 event is open to all. Community leaders, organizations, candidates and elected officials are encouraged to attend.

“We are long overdue for a Latino engagement group that not only supports candidates, but helps candidates develop into champions of the Latino community,” said business and community leader Greg Compean, adding, “I am proud to support LEUV in their mission to increase Latino voter participation and representation in Harris County.”

Compean is a founding contributor to LEUV, said organizer Fidencio Leija, Jr, “When an accomplished community leader and major player in the political community, such as Mr. Compean, shows his support from Day 1, it means we are on the right path,” adding, “LEUV wants to be more than just a rubber stamp of a candidate, but serve as a means to develop candidates to ensure their accountability to the Latino community.”

On Wednesday, July 11, at 6:30pm at Bam Bou Lounge, 2540 University Blvd., Houston, TX, the community is invited to join Mr. Compean and community leaders in supporting LEUV at a community education forum and fundraiser. Dubbed “Education and Safety Matters to Latinos,” the event will feature short presentations on both subjects by Joe Cardenas, III, former State Director of Texas LULAC and long-time education advocate; Erica S. Lee, candidate for Harris County Board of Education, Pct. 1; and Cindy Vara-Leija, candidate for Harris County Constable, Pct. 1. Those attending will also enjoy the Latino Gallery with a Purpose, opportunities to network with local leaders and professionals, as well as a Live DJ and dancing to close the evening.

With over three decades of experience in law enforcement, Ms. Vara-Leija offers a wealth of information on the topic of community safety, while Ms. Lee, a former teacher and policy professional, is a young and energetic advocate for public education. Mr. Cardenas has been on the front lines lobbying the Texas Legislature for fair and equitable education funding, and will offer his take on the legislative future of Texas Education.

Houston ISD Trustee, Juliet Katherine Stipeche, is equally supportive of LEUV, stating, “The Latino community needs an organization that will offer a new energy to engaging the community and candidates for office,” adding, “I look forward to working with LEUV to better educate the community about improving educational opportunities locally.”

L.E.U.V. is a political action group, which will develop and support candidates while championing community issues with the goal of increasing Latino/a voter participation and achieving effective representation of the Latino community in Harris County. 

For more information, contact:  281-410-LEUV (5388) or latinosengaged [at] for a prompt response.

July 11: Education and Safety Matters Event

Join LEUV in Making History…CONTRIBUTE TODAY!

Political ad paid for by Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting.

The Austin Trip–So Far

Yes, blogging has been a little slow, but Austin has been keeping me busy. Actually, Central Texas, generally.

Central Texas

Monday, my camarada and Houston organizer, Fidencio Leija, invited me to my old stomping grounds in San Marcos to meet his protege’, Nathan. Nathan is a grad student at Texas State (PoliSci, what else?) and is going to head up an effort to register and GOTV Latino students, as well as San Marcos residents. It’s not a project for the faint of heart, actually, but his energy will definitely be contagious. A visit to the elections office, a voter registrar training later, and some good insight from the head of the office, and Nathan is set!


Facebook is a great little tool, sometimes. How else would I have found about Austin’s HABLA platica held this morning at Austin Java. HABLA is Hispanic Advocates Business Leaders of Austin, a local think tank that meets to discuss solutions on various issues impacting the Austin Latino community. Today’s discussion was on the continuing debate over single member districts in Austin.

Advocates in the Latino community are pushing for a 10-1 solution–10 districts (geographic representation), 1 Mayor elected at-large–while some city insiders push for a hybrid solution (8-2-1), kind of like the one we have in Houston. Much of this will come to a head on Thursday as Austin City Council meets to discuss what may/will become a referendum on the November ballot. While Council may present a hybrid solution, 10-1 advocates have been collecting signatures for a 10-1 referendum. Will both appear on the ballot? Will it be either/or? I guess all of this might be answered, or at least discussed, on Thursday. I plan on being there to check things out.

Ultimately, Austinites must demand that they hold the power; not certain special interest groups who anoint candidates ahead of time. That’s what geographic representation is all about.

Somos Tejanos

So, Somos Tejanos is going to change slightly. After a year of constant activity, blogging, and being a one-touch source of information for Tejanos, the evolution continues. I think the boss, Amaury Nora, said it best:

Simply put, the effective public use of social networks to influence policy isn’t something that needs to be proven feasible now, it has shifted into a reality that needs to be improved upon and promoted.

Given that evolution, Somos Tejanos must change to meet the needs of the community. Last year can be viewed as a useful experiment in learning about public policy and social networks, with a finite lifespan. It will not be a dramatic change from our mission, as we’ll be continuing in the work without any pause or interruption.

The adventure definitely continues! Stay connected.

And I even have celeb news:  MACHETE is in the same hotel as I. Danny Trejo is in town shooting the sequel, Machete Kills. As I walked off the parking garage elevator I saw him in the restaurant with his entourage and I just froze. Phone dying, camera up in the room, totally unprepared. I’m carrying my camera with me and my phone charger from now on!

That’s my update during hump day in Austin. It hasn’t been humid, which is a welcome change; but, the sun does feel like it’s going to burn right through me, sometimes. See you soon!

Inbox: Janitors Fired for Defending Their Rights

From Service Employees International Union:

Janitors across Houston have been without a contract for more than a week and they have now been forced to call strikes in multiple buildings due to employer harassment and intimidation. They’re doing what they have to in order to protect their families, and they’re standing up for fair wages for all Houston workers.

But now, eleven janitors who work for New York based cleaning contractor Pritchard were notified today that they would not be allowed to return to work—in apparent violation of federal law. The janitors work at 363 North Belt.

Janitors need your support now more than ever. Can you take a minute to send an email to the owner of 363 North Belt urging them to tell Pritchard to hire back the janitors who were illegally fired?

Houston is facing a crisis. Over half a million Houstonians are paid less than $10 an hour, meaning that even if they work full-time, they take home less than $1600 a month – and as a result, one in four children in Houston now live in poverty.

Janitors want to change the tide for ordinary people in this city. And no one should be fired for exercising their right to organize and stand up for fair benefits.  Will you stand with them?

Click here to send an email in support of the North Belt janitors.

Are you ready to stand with janitors in the fight for good jobs and a fair economy? Join us tomorrow:

Tuesday, June 12th


Tranquility Park, Houston TX

Thank you,

Houston Janitors

Thursday: Julia Maldonado Fundraiser

There are a lot of Convention activities going on, but what better way to celebrate the start of the TDP confab than to help out one of our great candidates. Julia Maldonado is taking her campaign to all ten (10) counties which are served by the 14th Court of Appeals and she needs your support.

Come on over after you register and meet Julia. She’s pretty awesome!

15 y.o. Anzaldua Wins Big Squeeze Competition

So, I missed the Big Squeeze competition and the Accordion Kings and Queens this past weekend due to my preference of hanging out with the nephew from L.A., but it’s always good to see news about the local event–even if it isn’t in the local paper.

15 year-old Peter Anzaldua of Brownsville beat out three other finalists to win the competition. So, as I always like to tell the old white dudes from the HoustonRodeo, “Tejano music isn’t dying, cabrones!” Here’s a clip of the story:

In addition to taking home the top prize of $1,000 and a Hohner Classic II accordion, after winning the contest Anzaldua got to play a set on the Miller Outdoor Auditorium stage with headliners Flaco Jimenez, Mingo Saldivar and the Texmaniacs.

“That was amazing,” his mother Christi Anzaldua said of seeing her son perform with the Texmaniacs, one of the top Tex-Mex conjunto groups in the country.

Anzaldua, who attends Veterans Memorial High School, said the fact that people were dancing during the contest made it easier to perform well. He beat out three other finalists, Luis Gonzalez of Grand Prairie, Michael Salinas of Dallas and Omar Garza of Mission.

“I was excited,” he said. “It’s better when there’s dancing. People get into the music and it just comes together more.”

There’s a great 10-minute clip of the set on Tejano Progressions’ Facebook page. Check it out.

(Thanks to Armando Salinas for pointing me to the story.)

NALEO Releases Electoral Profile of Texas

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials has released their 2012 Primary Election Profile of the State of Texas. If you like stats, this is your report.

Here are some of the highlights:

TOTAL POPULATION (2010): 25,145,561
LATINO POPULATION (2010): 9,460,921

The report reminds us that, historically, Texas has voted for a Republican Presidential nominee; however, 2008 saw a marked change when John McCain only managed 55%. In this case, Latinos gave nominee Barack Obama 63% of their vote.

Of particular interest to me was the number of Latino voters that are registered. Although there are organizations out there trying to increase the number of registrations, it’s always good to know what you’ve got.

Texas’ Registered Voters (May 2012)

Nearly one of every four Texas registered voters (24%) is Latino.

Latino voter turnout in Texas’ Presidential elections grew from 1.3 million in 2000 to 1.7 million in 2008, an increase of 31%.

Ultimately, these stats tell us that population growth is not our strength as much as registered voters. If 1 in 4 registered voters in Texas is Latino, then we can move an election. Heck, Latinos can effect monumental change.

And if in eight years, we have only managed to increase voting by a few hundred thousand voters, then something is very wrong, but I would venture to say it is well-funded campaigns and their minions (same old consultants) who have little idea of how to energize the Latino electorate. As I’ve said many times, you can’t just translate without making your literature and your positions culturally relevant.

Thanks to NALEO for the report.

Bottom line:  There’s a lot of work to do. The Democratic Primary is just about done and turnout is dismal. November must be in our sights.

Tachito’s First Astros Game

So, I acquired some tickets to the Astros-Cubs game last night, and I invited some good people to join me and my sis at MMP. And, yes, I’ve lived in Houston almost 14 years and this is the first game I’ve attended.  And what a way it was to attend–club seats!

After Altuve’s jonron, I decided that I would root for the home team and let my sister represent my prima from Illinois who’s a Cubbies fan. It was a tight game all night, but after the go-ahead run and Myers’ strong closing, the ‘Stros bagged a 2-1 win. Good stuff!

Anyway, I’ve decided that this is something I need to do more often. MMP is a great place to plan world domination, talk shop, and even solve some global issues. So, if anyone else wants to help me acquire tickets in the future…

And Marc doesn’t need to worry. I won’t be talking political beisbol too often on here. But I can see how easy it is to do.

And thanks to Fidencio (& Votes) and Danita for enjoying the game with us last night.