Category Archives: Houston Dems ’12

Joaquin Martinez Announces for Senate District 6

Joaquin Martinez, Democrat for SD-6

As the deadline for filing comes to a close, a post by a Facebook friend caught my attention. Joaquin Martinez, a community advocate who has spent the last decade working for Neighborhood Centers, Inc., announced he would be seeking the position of State Senator for District 6. Here’s his post.

For those who may not know, the filing date for the Senate District 6 race is Thursday, December 27th. I plan on filing for candidacy for this race. I need community support and backing in order to reach some of these goals. I am setting a stage for “new,” motivated and engaged individuals that want to be a part of the conversations that affect us all.

In addition to being a father, I strive to fulfill my role as productive citizen. I understand that it is important that we find a balance in family, finances and service in our community. We work to provide paths to success for our children through education, hoping to enhance their lives with opportunities our parents did not have.

We hope to one day own homes and build a community that is a true “home” where safety and health are values upheld for function and principle. If we attain these dreams, we must realize our successes were supplemented by the guidance, love, and support of our mentors and role models; we should look to find ways to give back in the same manner they have.

I am running for office with faith that I can find common ground with current leaders through new conversations about how we can build communities from the ground up. Over the years, I have come to realize that my responsibility as a parent and community leader is to not only inform families about our civic process, but to also connect families with this process. I have had numerous discussions with individuals that are eager to take part in this social responsibility, but no one has been around to cultivate and mentor these potential leaders.

The people of Texas Senate District 6 are in a pivotal position to empower themselves in this city and this county once we have grassroots leadership willing to take on this responsibility. I want to be a part of this new conversation. I am asking those that want to become more knowledgeable with this process (while becoming more engaged) to support me during this race. If you are interested in getting involved, then please contact me at your earliest convenience. You can start by liking my page, Joaquin Martinez.

On his Campaign facebook page was this bio.

Joaquin Martinez, father to Joaquin Edward Martinez, is a native Houstonian and has been a silent community leader in the East End. Joaquin has worked for one of Houston’s oldest and largest non-profits, Neighborhood Centers, for over 10 years within the Community Based Initiatives department. Joaquin’s continued perseverance and personal values have allowed him to continue his education at the University of Houston – Downtown as he pursues a B.A. in Political Science.

Joaquin’s previous role as a Youth Manager has been to build youth programs in the East End, Sunnyside, Independence Heights, Pasadena and La Porte communities in order to build upon the skills of the youth in these communities. Joaquin also took on the role of Program Coordinator in the Pasadena and La Porte communities, where civic engagement and education were fundamental in creating an community environment. Joaquin has seen many youths become successful; he continually challenges parents to remain involved their children’s lives. Joaquin also worked as Staff under Council Member John Castillo, in which he visited several civic club meetings and was committed to assure that community member’s needs were met.

Joaquin Martinez has a strong commitment to public service. Joaquin has been a little league coach for both East End Little League and Dixie Little League for over 6 years and continues to provide a leadership role as the Vice President of the Board with Dixie Little League. Joaquin has also been active at Mason Park as a coach for the Magnolia Park Sharks for 2 years. Joaquin shall continue his involvement because he believes that these activities are not only important to the mental, physical, and social development of his child, but also to the children in his community. As a father, Joaquin has continued to be engaged in his son’s education by taking on a leadership role with the Parent Teacher Organization board. Joaquin recognizes that community involvement and genuine conversations are fundamental to the growth and development of a vibrant community.

Joaquin has attended Blessed Sacrament Church for over 20 years were he is also a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #7230. Joaquin is also member of Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity and graduate of the National Hispanic Professional Organization were he has cultivated his leadership and service values that has given him a conviction to serve his community in a leadership role.

From what I’ve seen of Joaquin, he’s an energetic community leader who can build a grassroots base on a strong foundation. Will the fast run-up to the January 26 election date be a challenge against some well-financed candidates? Obviously, but it is good to see a “new” leader put his name out there for consideration.

Contact information:

Phone (832) 278-2186


Website (Up and Running))

Inbox: SD6 Election Timeline

The Harris County Democratic Party Chair Lane Lewis sent out a timeline of what to expect for the SD6 Special Election, now that Perry actually set a date.

Candidates for this special election must file the Application for a Place on the Ballot (Special Election to Fill a Vacancy) with the Secretary of State by 5:00 pm on December 26, 2012. Early voting runs form Wednesday, January 9, 2013 to Tuesday, January 22, 2013.


December 2012

  • December 14, 2012 – First day to apply for Ballot by Mail
  • December 26, 2012, 5:00pm – Last day to file for a place on the Ballot
  • December 27, 2012 – Last day to register to vote
  • December 31, 2012 – 30-day campaign finance report due (tentative)

January 2013

  • January 9, 2013 – First day of Early Voting
  • January 15, 2013 – Semiannual finance report due
  • January 18, 2013 – Last day to apply for Ballot by Mail (Received, not Postmarked)
  • January 18, 2013 – 8-day campaign finance report due (tentative)
  • January 22, 2013 – Last day of Early Voting
  • January 26, 2013 – Election Day

One interesting tidbit.

HCDP will not be taking a position on any Democratic Candidate nor will it be providing any favorable resources to one candidate over another.  All paid staff of Harris County Democratic Party is prohibited from making any public endorsements, financial contributions, or expressing public favoritism for any particular Democratic candidate.

That’s a good reminder.

Obviously, if you’re thinking about running make sure you look at the residency requirements and other qualifications. And if you do decide to run, make sure you file your Texas Ethics Commission campaign treasurer’s appointment and complete your reports. These are the kinds of things bloggers like to look at.

Governor Calls for January 26 Special Election in SD6

Gov. Rick Perry has finally set a date for the SD-6 Special Election.

Gov. Rick Perry today set Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, as the special election date to fill the Texas State Senate District 6 seat formerly held by the late Sen. Mario Gallegos.

Candidates for this special election must file applications with the Secretary of State no later than 5:00 p.m. on Dec. 27, 2012. The early voting period runs from Wednesday, January 9 to Tuesday, January 22.

The winner will serve a four year term beginning in 2013.

View the governor’s proclamation setting the special election for this vacancy.

Will there be a run-off? And when? Well, let’s get through this first round, first.

UPDATE:  Sylvia Garcia Responds

“Governor Perry’s decision to call the special election for Senate District 6 is bittersweet. Our campaign and our supporters are thrilled that the election date has been set. We are knocking on nearly 10,000 doors per week, identifying thousands of supporters, and working hard to earn the votes of working families in this district.

But make no mistake, this session will begin with an empty seat for Senate District 6 at a time when we will see battles over our children’s education, expanding Medicaid to bring quality healthcare to our families, and fighting for good jobs in the Houston area. Governor Perry’s delay in his decision means our communities will have no voice in Austin for nearly 10 percent of the 2013 session.

That is why it is so important that we elect a Senator with the courage and integrity to fight for schools, fight for our health care, fight for our jobs, and to stand up to Rick Perry. That is why I am running for the Texas Senate, and it is why I believe we will win.”

Some will argue that “nothing happens” during the early part of the session, but isn’t that a part of the problem? Let’s remember that the session only lasts 140 days and it is Latinos, the poor, women, the elderly and others that need to be defended from Rick Perry and his right-wing.

Update:  Carol Alvarado’s Reaction (Facebook)

I am pleased Governor Perry has called a prompt election on January 26th to succeed Senator Mario Gallegos. In just a few weeks, the Texas Legislature will convene with serious issues facing our state – restoring funding to our public schools, creating good jobs and economic opportunity, making college affordable, and protecting our senior citizens. The people of Senate District 6 need and deserve representation on these and all issues, and a January 26th election will give them a Senator sooner rather than later.


Rick Noriega Seems Out of SD6 Race

Kuff broke the news this weekend, highlighting a letter sent by former State Rep. Rick Noriega to the SEIU screening board. Ultimately, he said:

The time is not right to take on this race, and the fundraising needed, for the Noriega family. We are dedicated to public service, and tell you this with much regret–this seat is a true opportunity for leadership, one with which great things could be accomplished.

In fact, Noriega went a bit further and challenged the currently interested to run positive campaigns.

The constituents need to expect more–the debate truly needed about education, health care, infrastructure, revenue, economic development and jobs has not been on display.

Senate District 6 needs leadership, not a bitter battle for a plum elected office. You, as leaders, need to challenge the candidates to rise above self-interest and put forth plans that create real change, real opportunity in SD6.


Back to fundraising, the bottom line is that it’s just too difficult to run against two well-funded opponents, no matter the name recognition. As far as the issues are concerned, it’s been my experience that in these types of races, the records and stances aren’t much different. So, the folks making the money are the oppo-research pros looking for the most negative things about an individual, rather than small things that would probably result in bigger gain. This stuff might make it to a negative mail piece (or push-card) or two, but will it resonate? Will it tamp down any enthusiasm remaining from the 2012 races?

Ultimately, this race is all about the field–who knocks on more doors, who makes more phone calls, and who drags more people to the polls. Of course, the personal negativity could reach voters in this manner, as well. Consequently, that may increase the minutes spent with a prospective voter when one is trying to reach as many as possible.

Anyway, Noriega’s announcement gives those in the running a clearer shot to the win. Of course, Rick Perry is still sitting on SD-6, and at least Sylvia Garcia has been calling on Perry to set a date.

Garcia to Perry: Call This Election

Sylvia Garcia, the former county commish running for Texas Senate District-6 has asked Gov. Rick Perry to call a special election as soon as possible. Perry has yet to respond or say anything about SD-6, so, Sylvia Garcia is engaging the people of Senate District 6 by asking them to sign a petition to show Perry that the people want a State Senator sooner and not at his political leisure.

“The legislature will start on January 8th and Senate District 6 needs a strong voice in Austin to restore public education funding and fight for healthcare for our seniors and our children. Unless Governor Perry calls the election right away we could be without a state senator in Austin for two months after the session has started,” said Garcia.

Representative Jessica Farrar pointed out that the 7 state representatives that are in Senate District 6 are left with out a leader in the Senate to work with on bringing their legislative issues forward from the house. “We need a Senator on January 8th, I am asking all of my constituents to sign, please go to Sylvia Garcia’s website and sign the petition,” said Farrar.

Garcia continues to campaign and the endorsements continue to roll-in, including influential neighborhood organizing group, Texas Organizing Project. Hundreds attended the grand opening of her campaign HQ on Saturday, and already over 100 have signed the petition demanding the Governor call a special election.

The energy is definitely out there. The people want an election and they deserve it. Like any political office, it belongs to the people.

Immigration Policy Center: 287(g) Flawed and Obsolete

The Immigration Policy Center released a report on the dreaded 287(g) program  which allows local law enforcement to act like federal immigration agents. They basically call it what DosCentavos has been calling it since its inception:  Flawed. And today, IPC stated that the practices used in running the program are obsolete. This should send a message to law enforcement agencies, such as Harris County Sheriff’s Department.

Here are a few highlights of the report:

287(g) Agreements Have Resulted in Widespread Racial Profiling

A report by Justice Strategies found that 87% of the jurisdictions with 287(g) agreements had a rate of Latino population growth higher than the national average.

287(g) Agreements Drain Local Coffers

Aside from training deputized officers on the enforcement of federal immigration law, ICE does not pay for any costs associated with implementation of the program, including overtime and financial liability arising from civil rights violations.

287(g) Partnerships Net Few Violent Criminals

[When DosCentavos debated HCSO’s communications guy back in 2010 on 287(g) at a Young Dems meeting, he wasn’t able to give any real figures as to detentions of violent criminals; instead, they have boasted big numbers on all detentions. An ICE report and other reports stated that the majority of immigrants detained using 287(g) were low-grade offenders whose crimes usually do not net a deportation. This report mentions a UNC report which gives a similar outcome in North Carolina.]

The report from the University of North Carolina found that 287(g) agreements in the state were primarily used to target offenders who posed no threat to public safety or individuals with no criminal record. For example, 33% of individuals detained through the 287(g) program were charged with traffic violations, a figure that rose to 41% in Alamance County and 57% in Gaston County.

287(g) Agreements Threaten Community Safety and Hinder Community Policing

  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the nation’s premier law enforcement association, has stated that “local police agencies depend on the cooperation of immigrants, legal and illegal, in solving all sorts of crimes and in the maintenance of public order. Without assurances that they will not be subject to an immigration investigation and possible deportation, many immigrants with critical information would not come forward, even when heinous crimes are committed against them or their families.”
  • The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), a group of police chiefs from the 64 largest police departments in the United States and Canada, similarly has written: “without assurances that contact with the police would not result in purely civil immigration enforcement action, the hard won trust, communication and cooperation from the immigrant community would disappear.”

287(g) Agreements Lack Sufficient Federal Oversight

  • Although federal law mandates that 287(g) officers be subject to the direction and supervision of federal officials, numerous investigations have found federal oversight to be insufficient and lax. A March 2010 report by the DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that ICE and its local law enforcement partners had not complied with the terms of their 287(g) agreements; that the standards by which deputized officers are evaluated contradicted the stated objectives of the 287(g) program; that the program was poorly supervised by ICE; and that additional oversight was necessary.
  • A January 2009 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that ICE has failed to articulate the 287(g) program’s objectives or how local partners are to use their 287(g) authority. While ICE officials have stated that the purpose of the program is to address serious crime, such as narcotics smuggling, ICE has never documented this objective or provided statistics to validate it. As a result, local police have used their 287(g) authority to detain immigrants for traffic violations and other minor crimes.

287(g) Agreements are Obsolete

  • With the Secure Communities program in effect in virtually all U.S. jurisdictions, many have argued that 287(g) agreements no longer serve any plausible law enforcement benefit. Under the Secure Communities program, fingerprints of all state and local arrestees are routed to ICE officials, who can themselves determine whether to initiate removal proceedings. While Secure Communities also jeopardizes community policing and public safety, and fails to solve the problem of racial profiling by state and local police, all immigration enforcement decisions under Secure Communities are made by federal authorities.
  • In its budget justification for fiscal 2013, DHS sought $17 million less in funding for the 287(g) program, and said that in light of the expansion of Secure Communities, “it will no longer be necessary to maintain the more costly and less effective 287(g) program.”

The local sheriff has testified in favor of re-funding 287(g), but the bottom line is that another bad program (Secure Communities) has the same goals. Still flawed, though, it doesn’t make sense to fund two flawed programs. At the very least, 287(g) needs to be ended, especially as moves are made toward a sensible immigration policy in Washington.

Garcia Earns Labor Nod in SD-6

Sylvia Garcia, candidate in the still-not-yet-called-by-Gov. Perry SD-6 Special Election has earned a couple of key organizational endorsements–AFL-CIO and Area 5 Democrats.

“Sylvia Garcia has been a strong supporter of working families’ issues from her days with the City of Houston to Commissioners Court.  She has the experience and knowledge to represent the people of District 6 and will address critical needs like education and healthcare.  Sylvia will be an outstanding Senator for the State of Texas,” said Richard Shaw, Harris County AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer.

Area 5 Dems are a good group of activists and volunteers in SE Harris County who put boots on the ground for campaigns. The Labor nod comes with a lot of influence. I would put both of these in the “major” category, as endorsements go.

Perry needs to get on the ball and call a special election. He didn’t waste time naming cronies to a couple of empty posts recently. Is he thinking that the people of SD6 lacking a vote during the legislative session is not an emergency?

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!

How Did Latinos in Harris County Fare?

Back in August, I provided a line-up of Dem Latinos on the Harris County ballot. How did they do? Obviously, a few were unopposed, others had minimal opposition, and the rest were in tight races (judicial candidates).In fact, 13 of these Dems had opposition. Overall, 13 wins, 3 losses, and one of the losses got a majority of votes in Harris County in a multi-county race. Results for those in contested races are in bold.

Mario V. Gallegos, Jr. – Texas Senate District 6 – WIN (Special Election to be called for vacancy.)

Armando Walle – Texas House, District 140 – WIN

Ana Hernandez-Luna – Texas House, District 143 – WIN

Mary Ann Perez – Texas House, District 144 – WIN – LaTeaNo Opponent

Carol Alvarado – Texas House, District 145 – WIN

Jessica Farrar – Texas House, District 148 – WIN – LaGreenO Opponent

Julia Maldonado – 14th Court of Appeals, Place 8 – LOST (But earned over 50% of Harris County votes in a 10-county race.)

Michael Gomez – Judge, 129th District – WIN

Josefina Rendon – Judge, 165th District – LOST

Ruben Guerrero – Judge, 174th District – WIN

David L. Mendoza – Judge, 178th District – WIN

Adrian Garcia  – Sheriff – WIN

Jo Ann Delgado – JP Pct 2 – 1 – WIN

Richard Vara – JP Pct 6 – 1 – WIN

Chris Diaz – Constable Pct 2 – WIN

Victor Trevino – Constable Pct 6 – WIN

Silvia Mintz – County School Trustee Pos 4, Pct 3 – LOST

So, it wasn’t a bad day for Democratic Latinos. Bottom line, it’s Democratic Latinos with whom Latinos best identify.

Sidenote:  Of the 5 LaTeaNos on the ballot, 3 received more votes in their races in Harris County, with two opposed, and one opposed by a Libertarian.

Are We Obamatinos Now?

According to Latino Decisions, 75% of Latinos voted for Obama, breaking a previous high-point. In Texas, Latinos are said to have given President Obama 70% support.

3/4 of Latino voters thought Romney didn’t care for Latinos or was hostile toward Latinos. Obama gave Latinos a positive vibe at a 66% rate. Romney’s immigration stances led Latinos to move toward Obama, and his move on Deferred Action gave Latinos more enthusiasm for Obama.

Ultimately, anti-Latino forces have Latinos to blame for Obama’s re-election.

The Latino vote share numbers across key states were even more pronounced, with Latinos exceeding the national average of 75% in most of the battleground states, including a remarkable 87% in Colorado and 80% in Nevada. The 66% of Latinos who voted for Obama in Virginia, 58% in Florida, and 82% in Ohio were also critical to the overall outcome of the race. At the end of the day, we estimate that the Latino vote led to a net margin gain for President Obama of +5.4%, and a +2.3% bump in the national popular vote. Consequently, if Latinos had split their vote evenly (50/50) in this election, President Obama would have lost the national popular vote. For the first time in American history, the Latino electorate has a legitimate claim of being nationally decisive!

So, there!

For President Obama, though, the promise of a 1st term CIR now becomes a priority in term 2. One dislikes thinking this way, but as nice as the numbers looked nationally, Democrats and Republicans really do only have this window of opportunity to get CIR done before the 2014 midterms.  Democrats need to grow a backbone and push CIR and defend wholeheartedly, while Republicans need to get off this Obama-hate and help pass a humane, sensible reform–without hateful racially-tinged debate, and without politically-driven excuses.

And you all do know that this is on top of the rest of the jobs agenda.

To answer the question, no, we are not Obamatinos. But we did vote for the guy we had more confidence in to move an agenda that is good for Latinos, especially if it includes CIR. The Republicans, obviously helped, and not just Romney.

I’m looking forward to a better Texas breakdown, particularly here in Harris County, if at all possible. Texas had some significant wins in South Texas, especially the election of Pete Gallego in CD-23. According to the Texas Democratic Party, Dems gained 7 seats in the Texas House and 3 in our Congressional delegation. So, the ball moved forward with great hopes of reaching the goal line sooner than later.

With a right-winger like Ted Cruz as the GOP poster-Latino, they stand to lose more ground by 2014 (when Cornyn’s seat is up).