Category Archives: Texas Dems 2010

Just Go, Man…

Well, by now you’ve heard of the Democratic County Chair from SA who attacked our friends in the GLBT Community. I won’t bother rehashing his commentary which started it all since it is THAT offensive, but when I first heard of it, all I could say was, “Pinche Mexicano, ¿Que se cree?”

Given the opportunity to explain himself, perhaps apologize, or just quit, he was defiant and even decided to sling some more pendejez.

“They have infiltrated the Bexar County party much like termites infiltrate your house, and they’re trying to destroy what has been around a long time,” he said.

You know, not too long ago another Democrat by the name of Dolph Briscoe (et, al) was slinging stuff like this against Chicanos in South Texas. No, not many stood up to defend us, and it hurt, and we learned from it (and so did the Democratic Party). You don’t kick a group targeted by the right wing around. You defend it, embrace it, and with a lot of work, you can win elections together.

There is no time for pendejadas within the Democratic Party at any level. I agree with Senator Van de Putte when she says:

Make no mistake – the divisiveness you have caused is no simple family squabble, which we Democrats often have, and even at times relish. Rather, your behavior has caused irreparable harm, from which it is already too late for any future attempt at atonement on your part to repair.

If we wanted hateful Republican commentary within our political party, well, we’d become Republicans.

Houston Electeds Declare Support for DREAM Act

Councilman Ed Gonzalez Calls on Congress to Pass DREAM Act

A large group of Houston elected officials, union activists, community activists and DREAMers came together on the steps of City Hall to call on Congress to pass the DREAM Act. One Republican they hope will get the message is Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison who has been under attack from Tea Party interests and has turned against the DREAM Act.

Houston City Councilman Ed Gonzalez stated that the DREAM Act is important for the future of Houston and Texas. “These students are the cream of the crop,” said Gonzalez in defense of these students whose cause has been called by Republicans a “back-door amnesty.”

State Rep. Armando Walle explained how American these students really are. “They were raised here, they have learned American history,” adding that from an economic standpoint, Texas stands to gain from their talents.

Others who came to show their support included former Congressman Chris Bell, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, State Rep. Ana Hernandez Luna, Mi Familia Vota’s Mike Espinoza, the HFT’s Zeph Capo, Houston ISD Trustee Anna Eastman, and various representatives of local unions, including SEIU.

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.

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.

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.

The Longoria Affair: A Soldier’s Civil Rights Story and Discussion at LSC-Kingwood will be at the screening of The Longoria Affair on Monday night at Lone Star College-Kingwood. In invite all my friends to attend, learn a bit about the Mexican American Civil Rights movement’s roots, and learn some real Texas history.

A soldier’s fight during War World II did not prepare his family for the civil rights battle that ensued after his death. Pvt. Felíx Longoría’sstory, now known as “The Longoría Affair” will be shared for free with Lone Star College-Kingwood students, faculty staff and the community Monday, Nov. 15.

John J. Valadez, producer of “The Longoría Affair” will show the audience how Longoría’s death gave life to the Mexican-Americans’ fight for civil rights in Texas. The documentary will be shown at 6:30 p.m. in the college’s Student Fine Arts Theatre.

“‘The Longoría Affair’ is a compelling story of the struggle for Mexican-American civil rights during War World II. As a resident of Three Rivers in Texas, draftee Pvt. Felíx Longoría served his country patriotically. Sadly, the soldier’s supreme sacrifice to America culminated more than half a year into his tour of duty in the Philippines when he was shot by an enemy sniper in 1944,” said Raúl Reyes, history professor.

Posthumously, Longoría became a national victim of racial bigotry when according to the PBS documentary, “the funeral home in his hometown refused [to host the soldier’s wake] and turned away his widow for fear that the whites might not like it.”

Longoría’s story angered many in the Mexican-American community and caught the attention of Dr. Héctor García, president and founder of the American GI Forum (World War II Mexican-American veterans). Garcia advocated on behalf of the widow and sent at least 17 telegrams to politicians and radio personalities such as Drew Pearson and Walter Winchell.

“The radio personalities aired Garcia’s impassioned telegram which reflected that the denial of burial services was a direct contradiction of the principals that this American soldier made in sacrificing his life for his country and for the same people who denied him his last funeral rites, which is deserving of any American hero regardless of origin,” Reyes said.

The ensuing fight for civil rights paid off when Senator Lyndon B. Johnson arranged for a full military honors and burial for Longoría in the Arlington National Cemetery in 1949.

“The Longoría Affair” will be shown as part of LSC-Kingwood’s International Education Week Nov. 15-18 and in belated recognition of Veterans Day. For more information on the event, contact Raúl Reyes at 281-312-1594 or email him at For more information on “The Longoría Affair” click here.

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.