Category Archives: Thoughts on Viernes

Thoughts on Viernes…04202012

Why All the Fuss?

One line that caught my attention about City Council’s boo-hooing regarding the Hobby proposal was that they hadn’t been told in advance. Well, before the boo-hooing, I was told that the idea of Hobby becoming a second international airport for Houston was actually written into the Airport master plan back in 2002 (or ’03), so, a new idea it is not. I like the idea, though.

Latino Dems Hope to Re-Intro DREAM Act

And that’s the original DREAM Act, and not the nightmarish, no-citizenship-for-you!, version that Marco Rubio has been talking about.

Let’s face it, with a right-wing, anti-immigrant Republican majority in the House, DREAM faces an uphill battle. On the Senate side, reaching 60 votes would likewise be a challenge. Submitting the act for consideration, as the article states, will provide a forum for discussion right before the big election, though. And we all know how the Republicans like to discuss anything having to do with Latinos. They’ll either be completely against it, or they’ll start talking about the worth of a DREAMer–good enough to take a bullet, not good enough to earn citizenship.

Still, Cal Jillson’s comments ring true, and that is something Democrats and President Obama will surely face, but what is the alternative? And what about the chances of CIR? Of course, this is something DosCentavos has been saying since the “first year of the first term” came to an end.

Are You Going to Convention?

I’ll be working on some family activities this weekend, so I will not get to participate in my new SD convention. I will be attending the State Convention, but only as a blogger and observer…and attendee of any hospitality suites.

If you do go, have fun!

My 420 Funny

Back during my college days, about a few years into it, I was hanging out with a buddy of mine who enjoyed that wacky weed. Trying to stay “clean” in case I grew up to be an anti-drug D.A., he thought differently than I did about the wacky weed and he asked me a question that made sense:  “How can you fight against something if you don’t know what it’s like?”

So much for that.

MUSIC BREAK:  Los Texmaniacs f/ Max Baca, Michael Guerra, Speedy Villanueva, and Chente Barrera

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Thoughts on Viernes…04132012

My Top 3 Alternative State of the City Statements

The State of the City is:

(3) Expensive! ($90 a head to watch the Mayor deliver her remarks, but free from my EZ chair (not as fun))

(2) Nutty! (The Helena Brown term continues to make Mike Sullivan seem left of DosCentavos.)

(1) Fed, but with permission. (Charitable meals for the homeless…with papers.)

But, Seriously…

Apparently, the State of the City seems good, according to the Mayor. With any disagreements I may have had along the way, I pretty much agree. I also agree that pension reform is going to be quite the challenge, whether dealing with employees or the Texas Legislature. It should be an interesting year.

From a Houston Citizen point of view, I can say that the view of things is quite different from my perch in Sharpstown than from my previous one in Kingwood.    So, I’m looking forward to becoming more of an involved observer of local stuff.

Welcome, LULAC Women!

The LULAC Women’s Conference is being held this weekend here in Houston. I should have applied for a press pass–oh well. Democratic strategist Maria Cardona will be keynote on Saturday which should be interesting. Here’s the agenda. If you attend, have fun!

Kaleidoscope Charter MS Rolled Into Jane Long

I wasn’t able to attend the HISD Board Meeting yesterday, but the school board voted to close three schools, while rolling the charter I had posted about yesterday into Jane Long Middle School as a separate program. I was proud of my friend Juliet Stipeche for standing up for Kaleidoscope, while a majority voted against them and their children.

Much like the City’s decision on charitable meals was cause for increased organizing, this has touched off what will become a sustained effort to organize folks in the SW Houston area. In this case, we are dealing with the future of Houston and Texas.

Musica Break:  The Mavericks 1st Reunion Gig

Thoughts on Viernes…04062012

Random Thought…

I find it funny when politicians and political consultants don’t take blogs seriously…that’s at least until one of them says something bad about them, or against one of their policies, or…

Anyway…

A 7th Anniversary Changes…

Well, it’s April and it’s DosCentavos’ 7th Anniversary month. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for seven years, but it’s been a good seven years. I’ll be adding a few features, especially one which begins next week, which should be informative and fun. So, stay connected!

Another Reason Why I’ll Stay Out of Referendum Attempt

Like I said yesterday, I had my own reasons for being against the charitable meals ordinance that was passed by a majority of City Council. And I also said I could not and would not support any attempt at working with teabaggers to have a referendum on the ordinance in November. And here’s reason #1–Helena Brown. When I hear supposed progressives talk about working with bigots on this one referendum, it sickens me. These are the same people passing around an anti-Latino petition to have a racial profiling referendum on the 2012 ballot. I sure as hell don’t want to bolster their efforts. Think about it, gente.

I Don’t Appreciate A Sermon-by-Phone

I got a robocall yesterday from my friend Judge Steven Kirkland’s opponent. Actually, the first 25 seconds (it seemed like minutes) was a sermon from a preacher, then a happy easter from Kirkland’s opponent.

What? I’m Latino, so I must be religious? Or worse, bigoted against the LGBT community? Spare me the sermons. We have a good judge on the bench in Judge Steven Kirkland. We need to keep him!

The Hobby [Proposed] Expansion

I think it’s a good idea. When I lived in Kingwood, maybe I wouldn’t have cared, but now that I’m in the city and will probably use Hobby more for my flights, I like the idea of having another international terminal. Houston is as international as city as they come. Plus, I like the job prospects for the Hobby area, as mentioned by CM James Rodriguez. I think it should be considered…big time.

Voter Registration–Settled?

There was a story about the lawsuit Democrats were forced to file against Harris County because the Republicans were being obstructionist. Same old story, right?

Well, there are questions that still need to be answered. Like, when you register voters with an English-language application, the new voters are giving a detachable receipt as proof of their registration. If they register in any other language, including Spanish, there is no receipt to be had. What’s the deal with that?

Thoughts on Viernes…03302012 (The Leaving Kingwood Edition)

I’m Outta Here!

I figured, why wait for April 2, I’ll use ToV to make my announcement:

I’m gone from Kingwood!

According to my voter registration record, I am now a Houstonian who will vote in CD-7, SD-13, HD-137, County Commish #3, and Houston District J, among other political subdivisions (although the County hasn’t updated the subdivisions on the site for the new VR cards, yet, but I’ve seen the re-map and I’m in these subdivisions).

After several years of threatening to move, the opportunity presented itself and I’ve sort of been sneaking my belongings out of the Livable Forest and into my humble abode in SW Houston. Trying to move while working a few projects has been tough, but it’s all worth it, right? Right?

I am sad that I am leaving my home of the last 10 years. I’ve made some wonderful friends for life, especially my family at Kingwood Area Democrats. Working campaigns in Kingwood and the area has given me some amazing experience at taking on the true red menace (Republicans). I’ve had the privilege of helping good, progressive Democrats like Charles Hixon for Commissioner, Joe Montemayor and Charlotte Coffelt for HD127, Wil Williams for City Council, and Gary Binderim for Congress, candidates who trusted me with message and ideas and allowed me to learn from mistakes and how to be bold when taking on Republicans. Some outside of the ‘burbs may have thought of these campaigns as futile, but we thought about them as very necessary. Funny how things change, though:  Ted Poe now represents some of those who thought of my campaigns as futile. Just sayin’…

SW Houston does have plenty of opportunities that I look forward to working, especially with good people like Mike Espinoza, Fidencio Leija and his team, and others. And I know that Greg Wythe, the most Latino non-Latino on the planet, is ready to welcome me with open arms, although I’m sure he doesn’t believe I’ve actually moved to his barrio. Maybe he’ll move up to Kingwood? Nah! It’s not Latino enough with me gone, right?

As far as DosCentavos.net is concerned, it’s going to get better! I’ve been planning a few changes, but the move got in the way of launching anything. So, now the work begins on the DC. Thankfully, I’ll be in the city limits, making it easier to attend all sorts of events and happenings. So, if you see me in the city, make sure you welcome me!

Oh well, I guess I won’t get to hear those words uttered whenever I attend an event in Houston:  “Thanks for coming all the way from Kingwood.” It really never was THAT far.

Stay connected!

Happy Birthday, Cesar!

Saturday would have been Cesar E. Chavez’s 85th Birthday. What would he be thinking today? As we try to re-elect Barack Obama, yet we experience Trayvon Martin’s murder for all the reasons Obama is hated by the right, he’d probably say we have a lot more work to do. And so, we shall work.

Thoughts on Viernes…Sunday Midnite Edition

Apologies for Lack of Blogging

No, I didn’t take Spring Break off, nor have I lost interest in blogging. I’m working on “my next thing” during these next couple of weeks. Maybe it can coincide with the April celebration of DosCentavos’ 7th Anniversary, but one thing is for sure:  I won’t announce it on April 1st because you just won’t believe it on that day. Anyway, I’m still alive, working on some awesome projects, and getting ready to launch into my next thing.

We Always Respected the Guy, but…

Congressman Al Green showed us what he’s made of this last week when he was among a group of folks arrested for protesting at the Sudanese Embassy in DC.

The arrest “was a small price to pay to save lives, even if it saves one life,” Green said.

The protest was aimed at Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir for preventing aid and food from reaching the Nuba Mountains, the border region between Sudan and breakaway region of South Sudan.

Thank you, Congressman.

Johnny Hernandez Returns to Houston

As I’ve mentioned, the legendary Johnny Hernandez was back in Houston on Friday at Doneraki’s-Gulfgate, and I was able to enjoy a few songs by the legend, backed up by guitarist Vick “Nash” Espinoza. Johnny is promoting the release of his latest CD, Gracias! Por Los Exitos, which I’ll review next week. Johnny hasn’t lost his touch and it was great to meet one of my more famous Facebook friends. I even got a pic with the guy.

March 19th:  State Rep. Carol Alvarado and Me at Meyerland Dems

If you’re not doing anything on Monday evening at around 6:30pm, come on over to Fadi’s in Meyerland to listen to State Rep. Carol Alvarado and myself give our takes on Latinos and voting. This will be an interesting talk, for sure. This will be another stop on the DosCentavos 7th Anniversary Tour, so, come on over and give us a listen!

Thoughts On Viernes…03092012

Chris’ Selena Book

Soon after she was murdered, there were plenty of books and commentary about Selena. From a half-way decent book, to works from folks who hardly knew her music but made her into a sociological study of sorts. And now, it’s her widower’s turn. Chris Perez penned a book, To Selena, With Love, and is out introducing at various bookstores. ABC-13 did this short interview with him. All I can say is, finally! Houston Press had their own conversation with Chris. My favorite line:

Her main thing was “let me bring you into the song”. And with some of these other singers out there, I get the sense that they are barely hanging on to get the songs just right. When you overthink the song while you’re singing it, you tend to neglect the emotion part of it.

And now you have computers and AutoTune, but we didn’t have that back then. She made it sound great on her own. For her to sound as great as she did, its just proof of how much talent she had.

The Legendary Johnny Hernandez Returns to Houston

And that’s next Friday at Doneraki’s, backed up by LJazz. Johnny is in Texas for the Tejano Music Awards Fan Fair in San Antonio and just released a new CD (Gracias, Por Todos Los Exitos) which I will purchase next week and review. I’m also hoping for a quick interview with the legend since he and I have had some great live chats on Facebook about music, politics, history, etc. Here’s one of his new tunes, Gracias:

Young Pros for Jamaal

I attended the Young Professionals fundraiser for HD-137 candidate Jamaal Smith on Thursday night. What a crowd! He’s got a great team backing him up and he’ll run a great race. It was good seeing some great friends I don’t always get to see, including Jamaal. Stay connected for more news!

Thoughts on Viernes…02242012

So Many Shitkickers…

Yeah, it’s that time again. I decided to forgo the cowboy thing, wearing a long-sleeve tee (red, of course), some jeans, and my Justin Chukka boots. Yes, I like to go against the grain. (That reminds me, I need to shine my Justin Ropers and brush my Resistol George Strait black hat.)

The Mayor Answers Questions From Chron Readers

I missed the Chron’s live-chat featuring Mayor Annise Parker, but I’m glad it’s here for our information and enjoyment. The Mayor has been busy reaching out lately, including making a trip to Kingwood for chats with folks at our Library. Unfortunately, I missed that, too, since I was working the Kingwood Area Democrats Brunch and Candidate Round-Up–quite a success, by the way. Check it out.

31st Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival – San Antonio

From my friend, Juan Tejeda who organizes this huge event in May, the dates are set, the line-ups are amazing, and I need to get down there to enjoy the best in the Conjunto genre.

31st Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio 2012 which will be held from May 15-20 at the Guadalupe Theatre and Rosedale Park. The new winning poster for 2012 will be released in early March. Hope to see you in San Anto in May. Please spread the palabra and the schedule to your friends.

Stay tuned for a post with the entire schedule!

And Stay Tuned for a Big Announcement…

…from Somos Tejanos, the nonprofit out to whom I lend my blog-addiction. All I can say right now is:  SXSW, Music, and Fun. But it’s gonna be good!

MUSICA BREAK – Raul Malo ~ Bad Company

Thoughts on Viernes…02172012

UPDATE:  MALC Signs on to “The Deal.” Si, Pero…NO!

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus appears to have signed on to the deal agreed to something contained in the deal between the Latino Redistricting Task Force (represented by MALDEF and made up of seven organizations including Texas LULAC) and the State of Texas. This is the deal that would affect District 25’s Rep. Lloyd Doggett by forming a district that runs from Austin to San Antonio.

MALC said Congressional District 35 is “constitutionally permissible,” said the caucus’ chairman, state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio.

This deal also keeps a sort of Latino-favorable District 33 in the DFW area. Of course, all this needs to be approved by the Fed panel of judges in SA and some of the other plaintiffs are dead-set against it. Still, this is an interesting development.

Now, for purposes of informing the uninformed opinionated Liberal in all of this, whenever recent articles mention “LULAC,” they are talking about the National office of LULAC and their lawyer Vera, but the LULAC that is part of the task force is Texas LULAC. Texas LULAC and the task force chose the legal minds at MALDEF to lead them through the court process. Now, you know.

UPDATE OTRA VEZ:  OK…not agreeing to the deal but…

The SA E-N has more reaction from MALC.

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus’ chairman rejected the notion that the filing indicated that the group had signed on to the deal that Attorney General Greg Abbott cut with the Latino Redistricting Task Force.

That plan gave Latinos two of the state’s four new districts while maintaining the Legislature’s decision to split Austin  into five congressional districts.

“All MALC has agreed to is that you can constitutionally draw a district as the attorney general did,” said Trey Martinez Fischer. “When we make a deal, it won’t be in a joint filing; we will shout it from the highest mountain.”

The San Antonio federal court tasked with drawing interim redistricting maps for the 2012 election asked the groups involved to file briefs to explain if the court could agree to the Abbott compromise.

“They clearly think there are no barriers to not having (Congressional District 35) the way the state drew it,” said Michael Li, an elections lawyer. “But that’s not to say that MALC doesn’t think you can’t have a (Lloyd) Doggett district.”

Fischer said a MALC briefing Monday will indicate what the organization’s position is.

Well, OK.

The Keystone Pipeline

Looks like the whole debate is hopping up again. It sorta reminds me of the NAFTA debate of the 90s when we were talking environmental concerns, worker justice, etc. Even now, if you go down to South Texas and you go all anti-NAFTA on folks, you’ll get smacked around. Like NAFTA, the Keystone Pipeline is being sold as some sort of mega-source for jobs. And for an energy-city like Houston, you know there are a lot of people that would support it, putting aside environmental concerns, or now, the new “land grab” argument.

This past Tuesday, Reverend Lawson spoke at the Harris County Democratic Party’s Brown Bag Lunch and announced his support of the pipeline because of the jobs argument.  Lo and behold, this other lady in the audience also seemed to like it.

Much like I was against NAFTA for all the right reasons, I’m against the pipeline for the right reasons, too. And just like the whole fracking debate has divided communities while seen as an economic boon in different parts of Texas, it is becoming important to realize the reasons for the differences. Some of these parts of Texas have benefited in one way or another. Unfortunately, short-term economic gratification in the form of jobs (like the private prison boom) always gets in the way of doing what is right. We just need to do a better job of educating folks on the realities.

Another Tejano Review Coming Soon

I just got word that David Lee Garza y Los Musicales just released a new CD, Y Ahora Aqui. I’ve listened to a couple of songs featuring their new vocalist Ben Ozuna, and I’m liking it. I’ll have a review of it on Monday for all you Tejano music lovers.

Americano Music included in SXSW Line-Up

Looks like SXSW will have a sanctioned event featuring Tejano and Latin Big Band Music at the Pan Americana Fest. From my old neck of the woods, Ricardo Castillon y La Diferenzia will be there, and Ausin’s own legendary Tortilla Factory. Also in the line-up is Houston’s Paul Wall. SomosTejanos.org was there providing a live feed (and video record) of the event, which featured Austin CM Mike Martinez and former Texas Senator Gonzalo Barrientos.

A Live Music Break – David Lee Garza y Los Musicales – Dame Tu Amor (2012)

Thoughts on Viernes…02102012

Grier’s Staying?

Well, when five of the folks who hired the chief of schools are still around, it’s hard to get rid of the dude, right? I’ve already seen some interesting discussion regarding the abstentions. Some aren’t happy, others fear a “no” vote may have made them ineffective, considering a majority exists to back up the chief. I think the question that will go around is:  How would you have voted?

I think there’s a lot more to the vote, not to mention the hushed voices of folks who have been pretty vocal in the past. Still, 5  to 1 to 3 is nowhere near a vote of confidence. It’s just a vote. Then again…

HBAD Endorses The Real Deal

The Houston Black American Democrats endorsed James Cargas for CD-7. Thank you, HBAD, for recognizing an experienced, thoughtful candidate. And thanks to the Tejano Democrats for at least recommending James Cargas to the membership last night. He’ll be back.

Standards for UHD

I think it’s a good thing. Becoming a bit more competitive will help increase the institution’s attractiveness to first year students, increase retention rates gradually, and increase graduation rates. There’s no doubt that open admissions “open opportunities” to folks, but we are in an era in which every education dollar must get an effective return–especially our financial aid dollars.

Bottom line– One-third of university students enter unprepared and not ready for university studies. And these standard changes will hopefully brighten up the spotlight on community colleges as venues to bring recent products of our K-12 system up to college/university speed. There must be a commitment to get them ready for prime time.

Now, if we could only get the funding up to par.

Busy Weekend!

Kingwood Area Dems have their Brunch and Candidate Round-Up on Sabado. I think it’s just about sold-out, but if you’re a candidate and just want to do a drive-by, come on by–bring a checkbook, anyway. ha ha

Thanks to Judges Steven Kirkland, Josefina Rendon, and RK Sandill, as well as judicial candidate Donna Roth for their continued support!

The Celebration of Life Honoring my brother Mike Kelley is Saturday at 4pm. Join us!

Thoughts on Viernes…02032012

I’m Famous…Again

The DosCentavos 7th Anniversary Tour is going well. This weekend, we’re at the Youth of the Union Conference at UH where the sis and I will be speaking on the effects of Voter ID on young voters. Registration is now closed, but a limited number can still enter on-site tomorrow.

The Kingwood Area Dems needed a last minute replacement speaker, and it looks like they enjoyed my remarks on minority, especially Hispanic, voting, outreach, and redistricting. We can’t win without the suburbs, and population trends tell us that those opportunities are growing every day. Did you know that Texas House District 127 has a 31% voting age minority population? The 2020 census will be interesting.

Kingwood Area Democrats Brunch

If you have not yet purchased your tickets for the Kingwood Area Democrats Brunch and Candidate Round-Up, click on the link and do so.   Here’s your chance to support Dem efforts in Northeast Harris County, as well as meet your 2012 candidates. And, if you’re a candidate, you can sponsor, too.

Speaking of Famous…

Thanks to the folks at the site that invited me to do some guest blogging/writing. I’m on the verge of saying YES, but I just need to get through this weekend. I will be in touch!

More later…I think. Enjoy the weekend!