Category Archives: LatinoVote ’10

Rep. Walle Responds to Divisive Anti-Immigrant Legislation

State Rep. Armando Walle (D-140) released this statement in response to anti-immigrant legislation submitted today by Republican Debbie Riddle:

“I am deeply disappointed that my colleague Rep. Riddle has filed bills that fly in the face of the American values of fairness and equal opportunity.

I am a child of immigrants, and in my own life I have seen the power of education as a path to success.  One of Rep. Riddle’s bills, House Bill 22, would require schools to compile and report information on the immigration status of their students, as well as data on students enrolled in bilingual education or special language programs.  In Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court ruled that immigration status should have no bearing on a child’s access to public education.  Our public schools are already under-resourced.  Why use precious education dollars to drag teachers and administrators into the role of unpaid immigration agents?

If Texas is to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to promote programs like bilingual education that will give our students an advantage in an increasingly globalized workforce.  Bills like HB 22 will end up harming our economy and workforce competitiveness, which is an unfortunate and misguided approach.

Some of the other anti-immigrant bills filed today would penalize municipal and county governments for not doing the job of the federal government.  Time and again, local and state governments that try to pass their own immigration policies face costly litigation.  This is because immigration policy is expressly delegated to the federal government, and any attempts for states to regulate immigration waste both time and taxpayer dollars.

From the projected $25 billion budget shortfall to redistricting, we are facing many challenges in the upcoming legislative session.  I am committed to addressing the needs of our state in a constructive way that does not put everyone from law enforcement to school teachers in the role of an unpaid immigration agent.  Tackling the budget deficit requires practical, workable solutions, and adding costly layers of bureaucracy is a step in the wrong direction.”

I’m sure this is the first of many reactions from Democrats who are ready to work on the real challenges facing Texas.

Riddle’s Racist Tirade Begins…

Thanks to Victor for the heads up on Riddle’s legislative racist rant, which began today.  Riddle has filed the following anti-immigrant, anti-Latino legislation:

Read the bills here:

HB 17 Author: Riddle
Last Action: 11/08/2010 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the creation of the offense of criminal trespass by an illegal alien and to certain procedures for arresting illegal aliens for committing that criminal offense.
HB 18 Author: Riddle
Last Action: 11/08/2010 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the enforcement by certain governmental entities of laws governing immigration.
HB 19 Author: Riddle
Last Action: 11/08/2010 H Filed
Caption: Relating to the penalty for operation of a motor vehicle without a license.
HB 21 Author: Riddle
Last Action: 11/08/2010 H Filed
Caption: Relating to reporting by state agencies on the financial effect of providing services to illegal immigrants.
HB 22 Author: Riddle
Last Action: 11/08/2010 H Filed
Caption: Relating to information regarding the citizenship and immigration status of public school students.

As I have been saying:  How the Democratic Party responds and defends against such legislation will matter to Texas Latino voters.

Latino Decisions vs AP Polling

The Chron and all the press people are running with a story that has Latinos basically supporting Republicans on November 2nd, but a professional polling organization called Latino Decisions has called it differently.

While the Chron tell us:

While exit polling showed a majority of Hispanics voted Democratic, 39 percent voted for Perry’s re-election.

In heavily Democratic and Hispanic South Texas, Perry captured 48 percent of the vote. Perry got no less than 20 percent of the vote in South Texas counties and took 40 percent of the Cameron County vote.

How does “no less than 20%” and “40%” of one county equate to Latino support  for Republicans?

Frankly, as the Republatinos attempt to sell us some lies about the Latino vote in Texas, let’s trust a Latino polling group which gives us a little bit of reality.

The Latino Decisions polling showed larger margins than exit polling conducted by the TV networks. For example, the support from Latinos for Reid and Boxer was 68 percent and 65 percent, respectively, in the network polls. The sample size wasn’t large enough to report figures for Colorado.

Segura said the network exit polling often fail to capture enough data from an ethnic or racial subgroup to draw accurate conclusions.

Latino Decisions also provided for bilingual polling, rather than just English-Only.

So, no, I’ll take the side of those who want to provide facts, not make up stories for political gain.

Now, that we have the facts, the Democratic Party must go where the opportunity is, rather than make up opportunities as they go. Or worse, allow the Republatinos to steal a (national) success story from us.

Latino Lessons for Texas Democrats, President Obama

As I stated in an earlier post, Latinos remain strong Democratic, but President Obama gets a “Work on it,” in the same exit polling.

Forty-nine percent of Hispanic voters said they approved of Obama’s handling of immigration, and 40 percent disapproved, according to the polling by Latino Decisions, which surveyed 3,200 voters in eight key states.

“This is not a resounding endorsement and reflects frustration in the Latino community,” said Gary Segura, a senior researcher with Latino Decisions and Stanford University professor. “The president’s path to reelection with Latinos requires some work and investment of time.”

So, yes, Latinos still approve of the President at a rate of 68%, but that has considerably decreased, and it looks like his lack of a push on comprehensive immigration reform (as well as the economy) is the culprit.

“We think there’s a message in there for other Democrats, including the president,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, an immigration reform advocacy group that sponsored the survey with National Council of La Raza and Service Employees International Union, among others.

“Our view is that if you sit on your hands on immigration, you lose. If lean into it, you win,” Sharry added.

The Texas Legislative session in 2011 is going to be a Republican-led attack on Latinos–citizen and not. How Democrats respond to the attacks will definitely be of interest to the Latino electorate.

And Harry Reid can help that by pushing–at the very least–the DREAM Act during this lame duck session.

Latinos Remain Solid Democrats

Although turnout numbers in Texas will show there were increases in turnout in a few Rio Grande Valley counties, the vast majority of Latino-heavy areas were weak. What ever you blame it on, and I like what Bob Moser had to say about this, it is safe to say that Latinos remain solidly Democrat.

A poll sponsored NCLR, SEIU, and and America’s Voice found that 80% of Texas Latinos voted for Bill White, while only 19% voted for Rick Perry. In Nevada, Harry Reid earned 90% of the Latino vote. In California, Gov.-Elect Brown and Senator Boxer each earned 86%.

Of course the Republicans in attempting to show their “colored-folk”-friendly side, point to the elections of a Latina in New Mexico as Governor and Rubio in Florida. Cuban-Americans who are historically Republican voted solidly for Rubio (78%); however, non-Cuban Latinos (a demographic which is rapidly growing in FLA) only gave Rubio 40%.  As a whole, Latinos voted 62% for Rubio, but there was an obvious split when they decided 51-48 for Republican Scott in the Gubernatorial race.

The Tea-Baggin’ Republatina in New Mexico only received 38%, more than likely because of the name. My guess is if Denish had run in defense of Latinos (a la Reid), the Teabagger would have been outed as an anti-immigrant nut not worthy of Latino support.  (Update:  In Nevada, Latinos gave Harry Reid’s kid 86% of their vote, staying away from the Republatino who said he didn’t worry about his kids getting profiled because they “didn’t look Hispanic.”)

Ultimately, Latinos mattered in many of these races; unfortunately, the enthusiasm gap was tough to overcome in Texas.  Again, it would seem like Democrats have much to accomplish in adding to Latino turn-out.  As I specified in an earlier post, the 2011 Texas Legislative Session will be an attack on Latinos. How Democrats respond will matter to Latinos because it is obvious that the Republicans are solidly anti-Latino.

San Marcos Elects Daniel Guerrero as Mayor

Another bright spot from last night was my friend Daniel Guerrero being voted in as Mayor of the City of San Marcos, TX. Winning by 41 votes, Daniel is now the youngest person (33) to serve as Mayor of this fast-growing city.

Of course, me and Daniel go way back to our SWT/Texas State days. As I was finishing up a couple of years of student activism, Daniel was part of the next wave of student leaders who aptly represented students. His work with the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists organization was something special and a life of experience, which included overcoming some life challenges, grew into a continual life of service. Daniel now serves as the Executive Director of the San Marcos Educational Foundation, and had previously served on the San Marcos City Council and as Mayor Pro-Tem.

Simply put, Daniel is San Marcos and has earned this position with a lot of heart and a great support network. San Marcos will become a better city because of his commitment and diligence.

Way to go, Daniel! Our little network of Texas State alums is beaming with pride on this day.

DC Reacts to Black-n-Blue Tuesday

Well, as the GOP spins their wins stating that all of this was a vote against Obama and Democratic policies, I’m not willing to go that far; in fact, I’m not even that willing to “blame it on the wave.” A look at initial turnout numbers will show  you where the votes were.

Suburban– HD-126:  44.5%, HD-127:  48%, HD-129:  48%, HD-130:  49%

Inner-Belt– HD-137:  31%, HD-139:  34%, HD-140: 25%, HD-143: 26%, HD-145: 29%

Democratic voters did not come out. Why? And has anyone bothered to ask them? Is it the economy? Is it Obama? Is it just plain indifference? Is it a lack of defense from Republican attacks toward Latinos?

Here are some of my reactions to different aspects of last night.

HISD-8:  Congrats to my friend Juliet Kathy Stipeche on making the run-off.  The most alarming result of this race was the 39% undervote. Even more alarming is the fact that, although 37% of voters in District 8 turned out yesterday, the percentages are likely to drop big time for the run-off. At least now the choice becomes simpler:  A leader who will work with all stakeholders to achieve results, or someone who will only answer to those who want to corporatize our public school system.

The Texas House:  Some good Democratic leaders got the boot last night, especially in South Texas. And with a huge majority, a vastly Republican Texas House is now responsible for figuring out the $20 Billion shortfall, for figuring out public education funding, and all the other challenges that they have driven us into.  Instead, though, I am sure they will waste no time in filing racist legislation, such as Voter ID, getting rid of the Texas DREAM Act, and let’s not forget Debbie Riddle’s racist Arizona-type law.  The only thing that may be able to stop them are 12 Democratic votes in the Texas Senate.  We’ve got some defense work ahead, folks.

Latinos Are Wild About Harry:  Perhaps Harry Reid should change his name to Harry Ruiz, since Latinos in Nevada are a big reason he will continue as the Senate’s leader. Of course, Crazy Sharron did her part by hating on Latinos as much as she did and Latinos responded.  As I keep mentioning, when attacked, one defends. And it really helps when a candidate defends, too, instead of taking the “conservative” line and losing (cough! Chet! cough!).  Democrats can learn something from the Harry Ruiz Formula.

Texas Statewides:  I don’t think I’ve seen such an impressive Democratic statewide slate as the one we offered. Obviously, Democratic energy was just not happening, and while Bill White was traversing quite white East and West Texas small towns for a few votes, counties in South Texas were not given that same amount of energy. Obviously, Texas is a lot of ground to cover, but we had numbers to make up on the Democratic side. When I see counties like Zavala, Dimmit, and Maverick hover between 25 and 30 percent turnout, it’s easy to tell.  Then you see other counties like Zapata, Starr, Frio, and La Salle going at between 16 to 21%, then you just get mad.

Word of advice for anyone thinking about doing a 2012 run:  Start traveling some of these counties in 2011–they’ve got some great festivals at which to shake babies and kiss hands. But before you do…get a message that resonates. Something tells me the 2011 Legislative Session will provide plenty of opportunities to form that message.

Countywides – Yes, I’m heartbroken, and yes, I’m not a happy camper that Democrats lost every single race. I’m particularly heartbroken that good Democrats with incumbent records lost–my good friend Loren Jackson being one of them, another good friend, Judge Dion Ramos, being another. The good thing is that they remain a part of our talent base. As I told someone last night, this is but a sink-hole from which we must climb out, and we will.

A Summing Up – Last night within the numerous e-mail conversations I was having with Dem operatives, one said that “we must re-build the party.”  I didn’t respond there, choosing to respond here.  Before you rebuild, you must find the flaws (the bad ideas, the bad messaging, and the bad consultants) and the purge them.

That’s about all I have for now. As I look into the impact Latinos made in other states, we can find more food for thought, perhaps even tools and spare parts for the “re-building.”

They Never Missed An Election

Today is election day. Today’s when you can make your voice heard. And here’s the best part:  Win or lose, voting is your license to speak up beyond election day.

Growing up, my parents instilled in the three Medellin kids the importance and value of voting. And not just voting, but participating–in issues, campaigns, or by just plain speaking up when we saw something not right occurring.

I still remember how meticulous my parents were. A couple of weeks in advance, they would cut out the “sample ballot” in the Sentinela.  Tacho and Flora would discuss the pros and cons about a candidate or a proposition, most times even bringing us into the conversation. Most times, Mom and Pop agreed, other times, there would be love-filled, yet heated discussions, like the one about whether they should vote for Jesse Jackson or not. (Mom went with Jesse.)

The thing is, it wasn’t just about being told it was important to vote. It was about the actions they took that showed us the importance.  From everything from letting a candidate put up a 4 x 8 in our corner lot, to attending political rallies, to showing off a few bumper stickers, to telling their friends to go vote,  to even gathering after 7PM to watch the tabulations outside of the county courthouse, and the huge chalkboard on which they reported the vote.

What influenced me more to become an avid voter was watching my parents walk out of the polling location as they would take a deep breath and put a smile on their faces with the feeling that they indeed controlled their own destiny and that they indeed had this powerful force that was much more than just a right. The first time I voted, I knew exactly how they felt.

Now that I am in my 21st year of voting, I can say I walk out of a polling location with the same deep breath and smile. My vote means something, whether my choices win or lose.

And so does yours.


A Message from Juliet Kathy Stipeche for HISD – 8

Dear Friends,

I can’t believe that tomorrow’s Election Day! If you haven’t voted, please do so!  Also, please encourage all of your friends and family to vote for me as your next HISD Trustee for District 8. I am the very last race on the longest ballot in U.S. history. Since this is a non-partisan race, if you vote straight ticket, you won’t be voting for me. So please, make it all the way to the bottom of the ballot, and vote for JULIET KATHY STIPECHE!

I want to serve as a strong advocate for the students and community. We truly need an educational renaissance at HISD, and I will work hard to ensure that every child has a chance to succeed!

If you have some free time tomorrow evening, please join us at the Home Plate Bar & Grill, 1800 Texas Avenue, Houston, Texas at 7:00 p.m. for our election party!

See you there, and thank you so much for your support and vote!

Juliet Kathy Stipeche
for Houston ISD Trustee – District 8
Juliet is proud to have been endorsed by:

Houston Federation of Teachers

The Mexican American Sheriff’s Organization

Harris County Young Democrats (dual)

Harris County Tejano Democrats

Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC

Houston Organization of Spanish Speaking Officers

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

Precinct Two Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia

Senator Mario Gallegos

Representative Carol Alvarado

Representative Ana Hernandez

Representative Garnet Coleman

Representative Armando Walle

HISD Board Trustee, District 3 Manuel Rodriguez, Jr.

City of Jacinto City Mayor Christopher Diaz

HCC Trustee Mary Ann Perez

HCC Trustee Eva Loredo

What Is It With Republicans And Fake Photos?

It happened again. First the Teabagger group King Street faked up some protester photos for their voter suppression video, now, Pasadena state rep. Ken Legler’s friends used a fake photo of people in worker garb to portray them as Pasadena residents.

The photo used in the direct mail piece by some front group can be found at istockphoto, apparently taken by some dude from Denmark. So, it is safe to say that along with outsourcing jobs, he also outsourced the photo.

The Democrat in the running for HD-144, Rick Molina, had this to say:

“It’s bad enough Ken Legler is directly responsible for outsourcing jobs to China,” noted Rick Molina, Legler’s challenger for House District 144.  “But to have actors posing as our families reinforces that it is Legler who is nothing but a front for the same corporate interests who outsource jobs and disregard worker safety.”

“But knowing his record as most Pasadenans now do, I can see why local families aren’t willing to stand by his side,” Molina added.