Category Archives: Thoughts on Viernes

Thoughts on Viernes…07062012

Spaghetti With Cindy Vara-Leija

We have a well-qualified, highly experienced candidate for Constable, Pct 1 in Cindy Vara-Leija, no doubt. Pct. 1 deserves a Constable who is ready to hit the ground the running and is ready to serve constituents from Day 1. And that’s Cindy Vara-Leija.

We all have another chance to help Cindy Vara-Leija get a little closer to victory on Saturday, July 7 from 11am to 3pm at a Spaghetti Fundraiser being held in her honor at La Gala at 1600 Aldine Bender. At $10 a plate, you’ll get good food, but you will also be helping Pct. 1 get the best candidate for Constable elected. So, give Cindy Vara-Leija your support!

Jamaal Smith Takes on For-Profit Colleges

As part of Kuff’s ongoing guest posters, Jamaal Smith, candidate for State Representative District 137, takes on the proliferation of for-profit colleges and career schools in SW Houston. And yes, there are a bunch of them. For many in SW Houston, these brick-n-mortar schools are a source of hope (and a little financial aid) that turn into a nightmare. So, they must be watched. But as Smith mentions, access to quality public higher education must become more of a priority, which he vows to begin work on once elected.

Now, I’ve had the public university experience and the experience of a for-profit completely online graduate program. At the same time, I was a proactive consumer who sought out a program in which I could gain the most, without going too deeply into debt. With most of these brick-n-mortar places, the experience of having a salesman hovering over you and shoving papers in front of your face to sign should give anyone reason to suspect something bad.

Anyway, it’s a good read from my favorite candidate for HD-137.

Lots of LEUV Coming Your Way

Looks like a new voter engagement group is cropping up and they are ready to launch at their first forum and fundraiser on July 11. I’ll have some more in-depth stuff on Latinos. Engaged. Voting. United. next week, including some interviews with organizers and supporters. Stay connected with them  on Facebook and the Tweeter.

MAS MUSICA:  The Mavericks – Born To Be Blue


Thoughts on Viernes…06292012

The Tejano Monument at the Texas Capitol

Vacation Over…

Well, not much of a vacation, but still, Austin was good to me and I had an enjoyable week.

Austin Districting

The people of Austin mean it when they say they want single member districts. They showed up at City Council yesterday with boxes filled with 30,000 signatures requesting that their 10-1 districting plan be on the November ballot. Unfortunately, the powers that are anointed are pushing an 8-2-1 deal. According to some, this plan would allow the anointers to anoint whom they want, plus keep a majority on the Council. So much for “Democratic” and “democratic”; or even progressive and liberal, right? After all the debate, as many as three referendum items on districting might end up on the ballot.

Y la gente? What about the people’s voice? Anyway, DC and Somos Tejanos will continue to follow this story.

Latinos for Erica Lee

Well, although I helped with some of the organizing behind the event, I was not able to attend–this one. But word is that it was a success. Kudos to Fidencio and Dr. Rey for putting together a great cause. I know there is more to come from these guys, and I’m looking forward to supporting their efforts.

El Pedo Atorado

A thought came to mind and one of my sisters asked it as she watched Romney’s response to the ACA decision:  “Why does Mitt look like he has a pedo atorado?” Translated:  A stuck fart. While Obama was relaxed at the podium, Mitt Romney made the Capitol background look like a tenement with the scowl he was making.

Anyway, I think my response should have been: He always looks like he has a pedo atorado.

OK folks, some window shopping at the San Marcos Outlets and then I hit the road back to the HQ. Have a good weekend. Austin–it was real, it was weird, a few glitches along the way, but otherwise, it was nice.

Update:  Houston Event ~ A Pardon for Ramsey

Irma Muniz , wife of Ramsey Muniz, Chicano Civil Rights Leader of the 60’s who ran for Governor of Texas in the 70’s under La Raza Unida Party needs your HELP.On Saturday, June 30, 2012, from 10am-12 noon, Ms. Muniz and other Community Leaders will speak at the :

Tejano Center for Community Concerns (Auditorium)
2950 Broadway, Houston, Tx. 77584

Meet Mrs. Irma Muniz and Dr. Raul Garcia, Lamar University

Hear the Stories of this Civil Rights Leader who was part of the Chicano Movement of the 60’s, Ran for Governor in Texas under the Raza Unida Party; How he was arrested and convicted; and the Need to Sign a Petition for His Pardon by the US President… Testimonials from Past Civil Rights Leaders who started MAYO, Raza Unida… Food & drinks served at noon… free admission..

Thoughts on Viernes…06222012

The City Budget

Looks like the City of Houston budget went off without a hitch, but there was this portion of the meeting that went long. You know, the part where Helena Brown’s budget amendments were shot down? Brown wanted to privatize EMS and other services. Yeah…anyway. Some good amendments were passed and for the time it took to get everything done, there didn’t seem to be much drama. I guess that’s a good thing.

And did you see how Mike Sullivan wanted to exempt the community trails and parks of Kingwood from the Rebuild Houston stuff? Ummm…no! He was shot down by Council, too; although, I do disagree with my own CM Laster’s vote in support of this amendment. Kingwood’s parks and trails are NOT city-owned; if anything, you need a little “K” sticker on your car in order to use them (or an ID saying you live in the ‘Wood), so as far as I’m concerned, we they should pay our their fair share.

PeckBlog has the whole list of amendments and results.


I guess we better begin discussing the HISD Bond. Now that I live in HISD, I actually have a say in it, so I guess I’m wondering if I will be going from my suburban anti-bond attitude (priorities were screwed up at Humble ISD), back to a pro-bond attitude in the big city. Bottom line:  We’ve got $2 billion in bonds to either support or not.

The bond entails the rebuilding or renovating of many school buildings, especially high schools, which is probably a good thing. Some of these buildings are long past overcrowded, or just plain outdated. And let’s face it, a lot of the elementary schools that have been built with previous bond money will fill-up the new high schools in a few years.

Senator Mario Gallegos says he doesn’t support the bond, but something this big, well, I think we need a better explanation as to what parts? Obviously, it is up for discussion, so we all need to listen before we go vote in November.

RIP – Leonel Pulido

Leonel Pulido, accordionst for Roberto Pulido y Los Clasicos, passed away this week. Pulido was a pioneer in the movement which added accordion as a main element to orquesta Tejana bands in the genre. His style was recognizable and helped put Los Clasicos on the map as one of our legendary musical groups. He was 67.

Why Doesn’t Tech Just Forfeit?

All of my excitement about the Texas State-Texas Tech game may fly out the window, now that Tech wants to cancel the game. Apparently, they don’t like that ESPN wants to air the game on the Longhorn Network and Tech is crying about it.

Screw Texas Tech! Forfeit the game if you don’t like it! Don’t just pick up your marbles and go home. What a bunch of crybabies!

Y’all have a great weekend! I’ll be blogging from the weird City of Austin next week, so, we’ll see if I blog weirdly.

Thought on Viernes…06152012

Breaking News:  Immunity, Work Permits for Young Immigrants

Yes, that means DREAMers, according to the description in the wire reports.

Under the administration plan, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16 and are younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years with no limits on how many times it can be renewed. The officials who described the plan spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss it in advance of the official announcement.

The policy will not lead toward citizenship but will remove the threat of deportation and grant the ability to work legally, leaving eligible immigrants able to remain in the United States for extended periods.

And my thoughts? It is definitely a start, it allows DREAMers to work, and it will give hope to others who wait in the wings for CIR. Yeah, this does not end the fight for CIR. Full citizenship must be the ultimate outcome.

I think this will occupy the rest of my thoughts today, so, I’m done for today.

Have a great weekend!

The Statement from Secretary Napolitano:

Release Date: June 15, 2012

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact:             202-282-8010      

La Secretaria Napolitano Anuncia Proceso De Acción Diferida Para Jóvenes Que Sean De Baja Prioridad Para La Aplicación De La Ley

WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano today announced that effective immediately, certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria will be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings. Those who demonstrate that they meet the criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and will be eligible to apply for work authorization.

“Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a firm and sensible manner,” said Secretary Napolitano. “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case. Nor are they designed to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language.Discretion, which is used in so many other areas, is especially justified here.”

DHS continues to focus its enforcement resources on the removal of individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, felons, and repeat immigration law offenders. Today’s action further enhances the Department’s ability to focus on these priority removals.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case by case basis:

  1. Came to the United States under the age of sixteen;
  2. Have continuously resided in the United States for a least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;
  3. Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  4. Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;
  5. Are not above the age of thirty.

Only those individuals who can prove through verifiable documentation that they meet these criteria will be eligible for deferred action. Individuals will not be eligible if they are not currently in the United States and cannot prove that they have been physically present in the United States for a period of not less than 5 years immediately preceding today’s date. Deferred action requests are decided on a case-by-case basis. DHS cannot provide any assurance that all such requests will be granted. The use of prosecutorial discretion confers no substantive right, immigration status, or pathway to citizenship. Only the Congress, acting through its legislative authority, can confer these rights.

While this guidance takes effect immediately, USCIS and ICE expect to begin implementation of the application processes within sixty days. In the meantime, individuals seeking more information on the new policy should visit USCIS’s website (at, ICE’s website (at, or DHS’s website (at Beginning Monday, individuals can also call USCIS’ hotline at             1-800-375-5283       or ICE’s hotline at             1-888-351-4024       during business hours with questions or to request more information on the forthcoming process.

For individuals who are in removal proceedings and have already been identified as meeting the eligibility criteria and have been offered an exercise of discretion as part of ICE’s ongoing case-by-case review, ICE will immediately begin to offer them deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal.

For more information on the Administration policy reforms to date, please see this fact sheet.


This page was last reviewed/modified on June 15, 2012.

Thoughts on Viernes…06012012

Birthday Week!

That’s right, #41 I will celebrate for a week, instead of just one day. Why? Why the hell not?

Today, if you want an option, instead of getting me a gift next week, you can make a contribution to my friend Jamaal Smith for HD-137 since today is his birthday. Then, Saturday, I will be at the Accordion Kings and Queens Festival at Miller Outdoor Theatre where they will feature one of my fave groups, Los Texmaniacs. Next Wednesday, and another gift option for you, I’ll celebrate my b-day by supporting Cindy Vara-Leija at her fundraiser. Give her my gift!

Then, next Thursday, come on over and support my friend  Julia Maldonado, candidate for 14th Court of Appeals as the TDP convention gets kicked-off. Yes, another option in which I will forgo your b-day gift to ensure Julia has some gas money to travel all 10 counties and get out the vote.

And speaking of the TDP Convention, will be out in full-force, so expect some interviews, live-blogging, photos, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It will be an exciting time to pump some energy in to 2012.

Short Thoughts…

With the busy weekend, that’s my only thought of the day. Sure, there are some things that have shown up on e-mail or a blog here and there that I’d love to comment on, especially for CD-7, but I’ll let the campaigns fight it out. I know who’s getting my vote in this one.

Thoughts on Viernes…05252012

Houston Latinos on TV?

I’ve always said that Latinos must be the storytellers of our history. Too often, we want to rely on mainstream media to give us two minutes of their own interpretation and then we complain when they fall way too short. Well, when I heard a friend of mine was working on a TV show, I got excited. Last night, in front of a live audience at Paco Joe’s on the Gulf Freeway, auditions were held for a co-host of this new show and, let me tell you, Houston has some talent. The auditions continue next Thursday evening at Paco Joe’s, so come on out and support the creation of this new show. More details soon.

It was great meeting some of the VIP Judges who participated in the auditions, including the guys from ESPN Deportes and one of the founders of the local GLBT LULAC and all-around awesome guy Edward Sanchez. A new friend made was Chelsea Coffey, a local image consultant, fellow blogger, and the Executive Director of Mia’s Closet.

Mia’s Closet provides new and gently used clothing to Houston area girls in dire need of clothing, emotional support, and constructive planning for the future. Our events are designed to give them a boost in self-esteem and an opportunity to think about their personal futures via Mia’s Closet Boutique Shopping Days.

Last Day of Early Voting…Make it Count!

Today is the last day of early voting. It’s been a quiet Democratic Primary for lots of reasons, especially the fact that our usual early March vote turned into a later May vote (with a run-off in July). So, find an early voting location–any early voting location–and cast your vote TODAY.

And if you need help choosing a candidate, check out my slate.

Dewhurst and Cruz – Anti-Immigrant Zealots, Both of ’em!

Looks like Cruz started it with his my dad is an immigrant so “I hate non-Cuban immigrants” ad, and now Dewhurst is pegging him as supporting “amnesty.” Nothing new, right? Hate is hate and it mostly comes from the Republican Party.

The GOP might have a shot a some Latino votes if they just kept the anti-Latino vitriol out. But if they want to rile up their basest base voters, then, it’s a must to hate on Latinos. Oh, well, right?

The Dome

When you have a beautiful stadium and facilities like Reliant and an old relic of the past right next door, it just doesn’t seem to match. At some point the Dome was an architectural marvel–the 8th wonder and all that.  But the question about raising taxes to spend 1/2 a billion dollars to make the dome “livable” for no one in particular needs to be answered with another question:  Do we need it?

I like the idea of the plaza, frankly.

Public Comment for Family Unity

Reform Immigration For America is asking for public comment on a proposal by the Obama Administration.

This rule change could prevent parents from missing a decade of their children’s lives, and spouses from facing years without the support of their partners. Now, we need your help to move this proposal forward.

Leave a public comment now to support the change in the rules that would help keep families together.

In order for this change to go into effect, we need major public support from activists like you, standing up for families separated by the 3 and 10-year bars. We will deliver your messages of support for the change to Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Taking a few minutes to write your comment today could make a difference for thousands of families.

Enjoy the long Memorial Day weekend. Remember the fallen and appreciate the rights we have–even when some try to limit them.

Thoughts on Viernes…05182012

DREAM Activists Hold Rally at UHD

Over 150 activists ascended upon the University of Houston-Downtown on Thursday to demand the passing of the DREAM Act. Supported by UHD President William Flores and elected officials, such as State Rep. Armando Walle, and other community activists, the rally included comments by prospective beneficiaries of the Act.

Kudos to our friends at FIEL for organizing the rally and sending a strong message, especially as we go through the motions of early voting.

What Is Up With El Prez?

Just as I was getting excited over the action by FIEL and other activists on Thursday, word came that President Obama has nominated Gary Blankinship to serve as Marshal for the Southern District of Texas. Blankinship was the head of the local cops union who was quite vocal against Mayor Bill White’s position against cops becoming immigration officers. To see a bunch of Dems supporting this appointment is very disappointing, to say the least.

Tacos & Votes – Saturday!

Don’t forget about Tacos and Votes this Saturday at Noon at Bayland Park. We can complain about public policy and political appointments, but if you don’t vote, not only do you not matter, but you lose your license to complain. Everybody’s a taxpayer, but when a few decide who our leaders should be, you get lost in the shuffle. VOTE, and get a Taco while you’re at it.

Chicanos for Cargas

After reading the “e-mail war” between supporters of James Cargas and his opponent, I figured I would chime in. I’ve known Jim for over eight years–good organizer, loyal Democrat, and sharp as a tack on Democratic issues and policy. You would think that, in Houston, most Dems would be, right? But let me tell you when I figured out that Jim was the best candidate.

When a debate ensued regarding an HCDP resolution to support comprehensive immigration reform and not local cops enforcing immigration, it was James Cargas who responded in support, smacking down a local Dem celebrity who had railed against it as unnecessary. It was eloquent, it was practical, and it made sense. None of the other candidates have been anything near coherent on the issue of immigration. Knowing that Culberson will make Latinos and immigration an issue to rile up his right-wing base, it is really a no-brainer to have James Cargas on the November ballot as a true counter to the wing-nut on the ballot–on all issues, especially immigration reform.

Without reservation, The Medellin Family supports James Cargas.

Full Disclosure:  Jim hired me to consult and manage him for a couple of months, and not at some astronomical consulting fee. He paid me because a big chunk of my life was invested in someone in whom I believe. Ultimately, he got the Familia discount. As far as my Dem creds, I haven’t missed a Dem Primary-ever! I’m a Chicano (South Texas variety with an unapologetic La Raza Unida Party streak). Not that any of this should matter. I’ll give more reasons for supporting James Cargas next week.

In closing…VOTE!

Thoughts on Viernes…05112012

Big Weekend

Congrats to all those who will be walking across the stage to receive that piece of paper that says, “This isn’t your actual diploma, but if we find you’ve paid all your bills, then you’ll get it later. This is all for show–get over it.”  A big congrats to my friend, the soon-to-be-declared by Rice U., Dr. Blake Ellis on this crowning academic achievement.

ACLU Calls for a Migra Probe

Thank you, ACLU! For the longest time there have been complaints about the Border Patrol along the Texas Border, but it seems to have escalated during these years of stepped up enforcement. And the ACLU wants these allegations of harrassment and abuse by the Migra investigated. We’re not just talking about the unneeded “routine” and annoying stops, we’re talking some serious stuff.

In Brownsville, at least four people with legitimate travel status complained of being detained at length, threatened, and in some cases intimidated into “confessing” – falsely – that they or family members were not citizens.

Allegations in the El Paso-New Mexico area include a traumatizing interrogation and pat-down of a woman who had traveled from Chihuahua, Mexico, to speak with investigators about an alleged sexual assault by a CBP officer. The woman was so shaken by her treatment at the Ysleta-Zaragoza port of entry, she said, that she dropped the case.

Border crossers in California and Arizona reported being subjected to obscenities, racial slurs and physical abuse that required medical treatment.

The complainants told of hours-long detention, in some cases while being handcuffed without food, water or the opportunity to use the restroom. They said they were eventually told they could be on their way.

DHS has little to no oversight of their own, which is surprising considering their own reports on Secure Communities and 287(g) tell us they are failed programs–numbers-wise. I guess they don’t want to really self-report on allegations of abuse, but just about the waste?

NDLON Hopes Obama Evolves on Immigration, Too

President Obama hasn’t hidden the fact that he is for comprehensive immigration reform or even the DREAM Act. But he has been in charge during this time of stepped-up enforcement which has led to waste (287 g) and abuse (DHS), yet has separated families and impacted our local economies. So, yeah, I sure hope he “evolves” in his enforcement position because CIR/DREAM is also a civil and human rights issue. But unlike his evolution toward supporting marriage equality, he needs to evolve toward changing actual policy in this regard.

I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that President Obama doesn’t want the states making policy for immigration, but doesn’t mind the states discriminating against marriage equality. But that’s for another post.

And on that note, have a good weekend! Stay dry. Go Blockwalk in between rainstorms, and make phone calls while inside from the rain.

Thoughts on Viernes…Cinco De Mayo ’12 Edition

Happy Meow’r, Anyone?

Best Cinco Event Award Goes To…

It’s not everyday one sees a pet adoption event with a holiday ring to it. What holiday? Well, Cinco de Meow.

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, Houston’s BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions will reduce cat adoption prices to $5 from Friday, May 4 to Tuesday, May 15. This “Cinco de Meow” event allows Houstonians to adopt a new feline friend for a fraction of what it normally costs to adopt from BARC, with all the benefits of a full-price adoption.

Available cats range from only a few weeks old to seniors. The adoption fee covers services including spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, City licensing, microchip and much more.  BARC’s adoption package could cost up to $850 if purchased through certain breeders or veterinarians; the BARC adoption fee remains the best value and lowest price in the City of Houston.

For more info, go to their website.

VotoLatino’s Survey

I was just notified that the VotoLatino survey they put out is quite flawed. One has no choice but to answer this question:

13. If you were to vote for a Republican candidate; who of the four would you vote for?

Unless one of the answers to the favorite GOP candidate is “Ninguno de estos pendejos racistas,” then I ain’t answering it. So, I guess I’m disqualified from the sweepstakes. Oh, freakin’ well. 

The Ambulance Fee…

Looks like Houston City Council approved a $13 a mile fee for ambulance rides, which I posted about this week.  So, along with the base fee, the average price for a ride will increase by $71. The main reason is to ensure Medicaid reimbursements are collected–to the tune of $2.7 million. I’d like to figure out the actual math, but I already have a headache.

INBOX: From Congressman Sylvestre Reyes

On Saturday May 5, 2012, the United States Navy will christen and launch the dry cargo/ammunition ship the USNS Cesar Chavez, during a ceremony at the shipyard in San Diego. In their tradition of honoring legendary pioneers and explorers, the Navy’s newest ship recognizes Mexican-American civil rights activist and World War II veteran Cesar Chavez (1927-1993).

“I am extremely pleased that the Navy is honoring an important Hispanic American. Paying tribute to Cesar Chavez both as a sailor and as a civil rights leader is a fitting tribute to his service to our nation.  An advocate for social justice, Cesar Chavez dedicated his life to giving voice to those who couldn’t speak for themselves.  He was a tireless advocate for strong health care and for good-paying jobs so all people could share in the American dream,” noted Congressman Reyes.

Cesar Chavez volunteered for service in the United States Navy at age 17. He later referred to his time in the segregated military as the worst two years of his life, and he carried that experience, along with his childhood spent as the son of a migrant farm worker, with him as he began his lifelong quest to improve rights for farm workers and Mexican Americans. As a leader in the American labor movement, he co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers, and his slogan, “Si, se puede” continues to inspire new generations of activists who seek to better themselves and their communities.

Cinco de Mayo Parade on Sabado

LULAC will hold the 19th Annual Cinco de Mayo Parade this Saturday in Downtown. Starting at 10AM at Minute Maid Park, the parade goes on for a couple of rides and has 100 or so floats. Should be colorful and fun.

Enjoy the Weekend!

Thoughts on Viernes…04272012

As Tacos Go…

There’s a controversy about tacos in town and it has nothing to do with my favorite Mexican restaurant, Teotihuacan (the one on Cavalcade or the one on Airline). I’ll just say this, if they aren’t my mom’s (or mine), then it is difficult to find the best tortillas in town. And if they’re shipped in from Austin, well, that opens up a whole other question, like:  Why not a local tortilleria?

Note:  The editor has not eaten at controversial taco place, but does suggest Teotihuacan.

A Bad Press Release?

Looks like a bad press release caused a ruckus for METRO after it was announced TSA and METRO cops would be making random bag searches. I can’t say I liked the idea. Keeping an eye on people who must use public transportation to get from point A to point B (and sometimes C and D) just doesn’t sit right with me. According to the METRO CEO:

“It’s not done. It’s not our policy. It’s not going to be done,” Greanias said. “There was an error in the press release. It does not reflect any request made to the TSA. It doesn’t reflect anything that actually happened on the ground. This is a misunderstanding we caused.”

That’s a pretty big mistake.

Mayor Unofficially Endorses Hobby Expansion

Or something like that. DosCentavos supports the expansion, too. So, it’s nice to agree with the Mayor on something this week.

Music Break:  Los Texmaniacs w/ Rick Trevino (Live)