Category Archives: LatinoVote ’10

DMN’s God-Awful Guessing on New American Kids

My friend Vince Leibowitz at Capitol Annex does a great job of pointing out the biases put out by the mainstream media regarding the number of immigrant children in our public schools, in this case, the Dallas Morning News. What Vince (and many of us in the cause) call “flawed,” the mainstream media is attempting to portray as fact.

While the Morning News admits this number is toward the top end of the spectrum, it is nonetheless what every other news organization, including UPI, is taking away from the story.

The problem? The numbers and the costs the Morning News touts at the outset of its article seem nowhere near accurate.

Of course, this article is about Texas bigot Leo Berman’s Texas House bill which would require immigrant children to be counted for his own racist purposes, or in this case, putting an actual price tag on the heads of these children. DMN provides a bit of analysis on Plyer v. Texas, which decided that these kids are entitled to a public education, but that’s not enough for Berman (or the Dallas Morning News).

As Vince mentions, the State Comptroller’s office under Carol Strayhorn reported some obvious facts. What’s disturbing in the DMNs analysis is the fact the the “high-end” numbers are those of a “think tank” tied to white supremacists, FAIR, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The lowest estimate, by the comptroller’s office, was 125,000 students for the 2000-01 school year. The highest was 225,000 for 2003-04, by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an anti-illegal-immigrant group that has issued several reports about the strain that it says immigrants place on the public education system.

Who is going to have the best numbers? The state of Texas, or some out-of-state group known for inflating and distorting (and some same making up as they go) stats regarding Latinos and immigrants.

Vince provides us with some good analysis.

However, the number of undocumented students the Morning News uses as its “high end estimate” seems to be ridiculous and have been concocted using a method that evidently no other group studying the problem has used–whether or not a child enrolled in school has a social security number.

The dead giveaway should be that the Texas Comptroller’s Office did not use this to come up with their population estimates in 2006.

The Comptroller’s Office–while notoriously hellishly political with revenue estimates–isn’t typically as political with reports like this, and that office based its population estimate off of a Pew Hispanic Center study done a year or so prior to the release of the 2006 report. Pew derives its numbers from U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Labor statistics.

The Dallas Morning News does a disservice to the people of Texas by giving groups like FAIR any mention, given their notoriety and obvious bias against Latinos and immigrants.

What the DMN seems to forget is that we are talking about children who have either grown up in the US and Texas or have arrived here for a better chance at a life, and who under our state constitution have a right to a free, public education.

Although Leo Berman gets some sort of excitement from attacking children, our political leaders (and our mainstream media) must say that the needs of the children come first, and that race-targeting bills will not be tolerated.

Hutchison Locks the Doors?

(Photos courtesy of S. Mintz)

Reports from the Mickey Leland Federal Building are that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison’s staff high-tailed it out, avoiding a meeting with local DREAM Activists and Texas DREAM hunger strikers who simply wanted to ask the Senator to support the DREAM Act.

The hunger strikers did leave the Senator a note.

And a copy of the S. 3992.

The hard-working staff of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee did open their doors; in fact, they were still earning their government salaries. Go figure!

Call Sen. Hutchison’s office to find out why their doors were closed to taxpaying citizens at 1-866-996-5161.

Our friends at NewsTaco have the latest language on the DREAM Act, thanks to UH-Law professor Michael Olivas.

Community Actions for the DREAM Act This Week





**Community Action**

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Familia, Neighbors, Students, Faculty, Community:
UT-San Antonio Hunger Strikers and Houston area Students are having a
to continue to urge Senator Hutchison to support the DREAM Act in the upcoming lame duck session.
Other statewide actions are planned.
Everyone is welcome!
Meet outside the Mickey Leland Federal Building (housing Sen. Hutchison’s Office)

1919 Smith Street, Houston, TX 77002

Wednesday, December 1st

Arrive @ 2:45 pm

(For more information on this action, email Jannell Robles at or call 832-816-1620.)

HISD-8 Runoff is Tuesday – VOTE JULIET

After all the back and forth, debates, and even truths about candidates (here and here), it’s time to decide who shall be Houston ISD Trustee~8  in the voting booth on Tuesday.

Juliet Kathy Stipeche is highly qualified:  An attorney and small business owner, as well as an activist on civil rights issues from DREAM Act to Voter Rights to LGBT causes. Juliet is the only candidate who has gone above and beyond to fight for the people–exactly the kind of school board member we need.

Juliet Kathy Stipeche knows District 8:  Born and raised in the East End by hard-working immigrant parents, Juliet has personally seen the challenges faced by children in the district and she has advocated for those children. It takes a leader who recognizes the root causes of the challenges faced by District 8, and Juliet is the only candidate who does, and is willing to do the heavy lifting and decision-making to create solutions to those challenges.

Juliet Kathy Stipeche is tireless:  Whenever given a task or job, she has never quit; if anything, she has made it a priority. Put her on the school board and there is no doubt in my mind that she will never quit or put the needs of the students on the back-burner in favor of popular notions or politics.

And as someone who has gotten to know her, I can tell you that through all of her successes, there’s nothing she wants to do more than help create the next generation of successful Houstonians who, like her, will give back to the community.

So, on Tuesday, VOTE JULIET KATHY STIPECHE for HISD Trustee~8.

Should Dems Get Rid of VRA?

Victor Landa at NewsTaco has an interesting post regarding a recent blog post which asks the question:  Should Dems Get Rid of the Voting Rights Act?

It gets into the subject of racial politics and posits that racial gerrymandering is hurting white Democrats.

Landa’s response?

But we can see what’s really going on here. No somos pen…sativos.

Give the rest of Landa’s post a read.

Are You Willing to Boycott Texas?

Actually, this question is for Latino elected officials at all levels in Texas.

Texas is in a financial crisis and while the Republicans are more than willing to attack Latinos given the legislation that has already been filed, thus far, it is safe to say that Texas can easily be considered terra pericolosa for anyone of color.

In Arizona, Congressman Raul Grijalva was among the first elected officials to call for a boycott of his own state of Arizona after SB1070 was signed into law. Who shall be our Raul Grijalva?

A report by some folks at the Center for American Progress report the devastating effects of the boycott on Arizona.

Our extensive research estimates that the actual lost lodging revenue from these cancellations is at least three times that amount: $45 million. That estimate provides a basis for calculating other losses in visitor spending. Analyzing average food and beverage, entertainment, in-town transportation, and retail sales brings the combined loss of estimated conference attendee spending up to a startling $141 million.

Texas doesn’t need to be losing money right now. It needs to be investing in education, higher education, and other critical services. But if Republicans have their way, whether our own elected officials join in or not, the effect will be felt. And not just in hotel and food revenues. Texas is known for its live music scene–we have some pretty good talent, no matter the genre. They will certainly get hit, too.

The Republican-led legislature needs to tread lightly and responsibly. These kinds of actions (anti-Latino legislation) are downright dangerous in so many ways.  While the Republicans want to cut services so they can dole out tax breaks to their corporate buddies, the bottom line is that a huge loss of revenue to the state will even endanger those gifts.

This, on top of any litigation that is thrown at the State of Texas to fight the legislation?

There was an article some have been talking about recently about finding our “Latino/a leader.” Well, here is a possible opportunity to stand out. Hopefully, that person won’t be tainted by big business interests and influential check-writers. But that’s for another post.

Pro-Voter Package Filed by Sen. Ellis

Thank you Senator Rodney Ellis.  Now, it’s up to us to push it, call our legislators, and get it done. Although the Republicans, including my own HD-127 rep. are hell-bent on targeting Latino voters with a Voter ID bill, this package will definitely be the alternative.

Senate Bill 210 designates every statewide election day as a state holiday, including primary election day.

Senate Bill 211 allows eligible residents to register for voting during the early voting period at polling locations as long as the eligible resident provides certain documentation.

Senate Bill 212 creates criminal penalties for certain deceptive or disenfranchising practices regarding an election.

Senate Bill 213 allows eligible residents to register for voting on election day at polling locations as long as the eligible resident provides certain documentation.

Senate Bill 214 allows registered voters to vote by mail during the early voting period.

Senate Bill 215 and Senate Bill 216 prevent eligible voters from being taken off the voter registration rolls due to administrative or clerical error.

“I truly believe that government is most effective when citizens participate in the process because having the power to choose one’s representatives in the voting booth is at the heart of a free society. I filed the Voter Empowerment Package to urge the state to implement policies that empower eligible voters to make their voice heard at the polls. It is imperative to our democracy that voters know that this state not only encourages them to vote, but will also protect their right to do so,” said Senator Ellis.

I’m glad we have some bills to support, although I expect us to be playing defense a lot of the session, too.

Appointing a Hispanic Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Representation

UPDATE @ 11AM:  Longoria was reappointed to the Port Commission by a vote of 9 to 6 according to Tweets coming out of City Hall. I stand by my comments, of course.

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”
John F. Kennedy


The debate over the Port of Houston board appointment continued at City Hall on Tuesday as members of the community had the opportunity to speak in support of the nominees:  Union leader Dean Corgey and Republican funder and appointee Janiece Longoria.

Some in the establishment Hispanic community make the argument that by simply re-appointing Longoria, the Hispanic community is represented. Far from it. I recall national organization LULAC promoting the nominations of Torturer Al Gonzales for AG and Miguel Estrada for a federal judicial appointment.

Gonzales called the Geneva Convention “quaint,” and Estrada did not support the doctrine of judicial review, which groups like LULAC have used effectively to bring changes to discriminatory laws. Ultimately, they wanted the brown face (or the Spanish surname) as if it was some sort of prize. If anything, I argue Gonzales set us back as a country, and thankfully, Democrats beat back the Estrada appointment, even when LULAC was crying “racism” (a low point for LULAC, in my opinion).

As someone who was born into part of the  civil rights movement in South Texas and as the son of a Union man, I learned who was for me and who was against me regarding policy, especially among Mexican Americans and Latinos. And, frankly, I don’t find the Hispanic nominee in this case all that supportive of my beliefs given her political appointments from Rick Perry and the checks she’s written to him in return. Although I would expect the conservatives on Council to support her, I would not expect it from Latinos who call themselves Democrats.

Local establishment Latinos need to cut the BS about wanting representation in numbers and demand representation in policy. We are under attack and the one they are supporting just helped elect someone in the political party that threatens the Latino community–the Party of Debbie Riddle.

Now, beyond the partisan and racial politics, there is the question of what interests are supported on the Port board.  It is safe to say that working men and women–the very people who even work at the port–are not represented. And let’s face it, the demographic of those who work at the port looks like Houston. Dean Corgey, as a Union leader and and someone who made his living on ships, is the right choice.

Here’s Corgey’s Bio:

Dean Corgey is vice president of the Seafarers International Union’s Gulf Coast Region.

A lifelong resident of Houston, Corgey began his career with the SIU in 1973 after graduating from the entry training program for merchant mariners at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md.

He later sailed as a chief engineer for G&H Towing Company and continued his vocational education at Piney Point, where he earned a chief engineer/limited ocean Coast Guard License.

Corgey came ashore in 1979 and worked in Houston as an organizer for the SIU. He subsequently worked as a patrolman and, in 1986, became the SIU’s Houston port agent. He became an assistant vice president in 1988 and vice president of the Gulf Coast Region in 1990.

Corgey also serves as a vice president of the Texas AFL-CIO; as secretary-treasurer of the West Gulf Ports Council of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department; and on the executive board of the Harris County AFL-CIO. He also served two terms on the Coast Guard’s Towing Safety Advisory Committee. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Area Maritime Security Committee for the Port of Houston/Galveston and as chairman of the City of Houston Ethics Committee. He is a member of the board of directors for the Houston Maritime Association.

Corgey is married to Theresa Mangiameli Corgey. They have two sons and are active members of First Baptist Church.

Corgey will serve the interests of the working people, which is a much needed on the Port board.

If we as Latinos want representation, we need to earn it by voting in numbers and ensuring progressive, forward-thinking Latin@s are appointed to these positions. Otherwise, we’re just grasping at whatever we can get to keep our numbers up, and that can bite us on the hind-side at so many levels.

Our City Council is elected by the people, not the check-writers who want influence, and it seems some of our Council Members must be reminded of that fact. Here’s an opportunity to do the right thing:  Thank Longoria for her 8 years and move on to new leadership on the Port board that is representative of the working people.

Over 200 Attend Screening of Longoria Affair at LSC-Kingwood

Thanks to folks like Professor Raul Reyes and the Student Activities office at Lone Star College-Kingwood, programs like Monday night’s screening of The Longoria Affair are bring offered to suburban communities in North Harris county. And Monday night attracted over 230 students, faculty, and members of the community.

The Longoria Affair, a documentary produced by John Valadez, takes us back to the days of WWII when a Three Rivers, TX soldier by the name of Felix Longoria died in the field of battle. When his widow was making funeral arrangements and requested a wake at the funeral chapel, the funeral home owner did not allow the wake because his white patrons would not like that.

It was this flash point in South Texas history that began a civil rights battle in which South Texas civil rights activist and physician Dr. Hector P. Garcia took on. As the film navigates through the history, which includes the involvement of then-Senator Lyndon Johnson who worked to have Longoria buried at Arlington National Cemetery, one learns but one piece of Mexican American civil rights history, but one that provided what one faculty member at LSC-Kingwood called, “a Rosa Parks moment.”

One part of the film that I found sobering was how Dr. Garcia formed a relationship with LBJ that took almost 20 years to foment some sort of action. From JFK ignoring the fact that the Viva Kennedy clubs were a major reason for winning Texas to constantly sitting on civil rights legislation, it was not until LBJ became President that the Voting Rights Act provided for a real voice for Mexican Americans, as well as Johnson’s  appointment of Latinos to positions of importance in his administration.

If there are some folks locally (Latinos included) who want to learn about the road Texas Latinos have taken to where we are now, then this is a must-see. One may view it on PBS right now. Or you can go to the website and try to work out your own screening including the producer himself, John Valadez.

I met Valadez and one can honestly see that as an independent filmmaker, he has put in some laborious hours of love into this film. The fact that it made it to PBS and he is just finishing up a 40+ city tour in less than two months shows he has achieved much, thus far. And those of us in the activist community must continue to help him spread those pesky truths that our elected officials and a few educators attempt to avoid, and thus repeat the past.

OutSmart Covers HISD-8 Candidate Juliet Stipeche

Brandon Wolf at OutSmart provides us a very good article and interview on candidate for Houston ISD JULIET STIPECHE. Give it a read!

Join the Juliet Stipeche Campaign

Phone Banking – Seven Days a Week
Juliet Stipeche’s campaign office is at 7049 Lawndale in between Wayside and 75th Street.
Phone banking goes on every day between 2 and 8 p.m.
Monday–Friday, 10–6 on Saturday and 1–6 on Sunday.

Houston GLBT Political Caucus – Montrose Block Walking
Sunday, November 14, 2010 • 3 p.m.–5 p.m.
Caucus Headquarters: 1124 West Gray, Houston, Texas 77006

Important Dates:

Early Voting Dates:   November 18–24 (7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., including Saturday and Sunday)

Early Voting Locations:

Austin High School – 1700 Dumble, Houston, TX 77023
Furr High School – 520 Mercury, Houston 77013
Gregory-Lincoln Educational Center — 1101 Taft, Houston, TX 77019
West Gray Adaptive Recreation Center — 1475 West Gray, Houston, TX 77019

Election Day:   Tuesday, November 30

A complete list of polling locations is here (.pdf).

Anyone with an application for ballot by mail can send it to:

Houston ISD Run-Off Election
P.O. Box 924287
Houston, TX 77292

To request an application for ballot by mail, please call 713-556-6121.