Apply For The Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund, June 23-24

Thanks to State Rep. Christina Morales for the reminder regarding the Harris County COVID-19 Relief Fund application process:

The Harris County COVID-19 relief fund opens for eligible, low-income Harris County Residents, including those excluded by the CARES Act or immigrant households, and people who may receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance but cannot afford to wait for months.

Apply Online at www.harriscountyrelief.org from Tuesday, June 23 at 6AM through Wednesday, June 24 at 10PM.

Apply by Phone: Friendly operators will help applicants during the process by recording their answers and submitting the application.

June 23: Open 6AM – 2PM CT
June 24: Open 2PM – 10PM CT

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGES BELOW

Judge Hidalgo Signs New Face Mask Order

DC Says “¡Ponte la pinche máscara!”

From Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo;

BREAKING: In light of the governor’s guidance I’ve signed an order requiring businesses to require #facecoverings for workers & customers. We’ve recently seen disturbing #COVID19 trends and we must act swiftly to keep folks safe. We’ll use every tool available in this fight.

I wouldn’t call it guidance from the governor as much as winning a guessing game as to what the governor would allow. “Thanks to Bexar County Judge Wolff for calling Abbott’s bluff” would be a better way to describe it. Unlike the Judge, I don’t have to be nice about it.

Anyway, mask up and physically distance yourself from people (and stay away from crowds). And, remember, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Mask, No Service!”

More from ABC13:

The new order goes into effect on Monday, June 22 and the Disaster Declaration expires on June 30, Hidalgo said. Businesses will be fined $1,000, but individuals will not be fined.

“This will only work if everyone does their part,” Hidalgo said. “The intent is not to have police on every street corner.”

Masks do not need to be worn while eating, exercising outside, driving, pumping gas or inside buildings that require screening like banks.

Mayor Sylvester Turner also said it’s important for customers to feel safe so they’ll venture out of their homes and visit businesses, helping many stay open and afloat.

“It’s a health care crisis, y’all,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “For people who want to start moving around, including the fall, how we handle the summer will be critical.”

DACA – It’s A Small Win

No doubt, there was a sigh of relief after the 5-4 SCOTUS decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was announced. Many of my friends are less worried.

For the meantime, Trump and his minions have been told that they will have to find another way to make a declaration on DACA’s legality that would lead to its end.

As SCOTUS stated:

“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. “The wisdom” of those decisions “is none of our concern.” Chenery II, 332 U. S., at 207. We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner. The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew.”

This may only further delay its demise, although, any new Trump effort to end DACA will once again be met by a challenge in the courts. This decision certainly adds to the political pressure against Trump and Republicans to do something about the entire issue (immigration and deportation reform and not just DACA), but also places pressure on Democrats who tend to get squeamish on any of these issues within the realm of immigration reform during election time.

For now, it’s still election season. As local group FIEL’s ED Cesar Espinosa stated:  “We are ecstatic that the supreme court sided on the right side of history and allowed for the DACA program to be in place for the meantime. We hope that in this interim time we are able to petition congress to come up with a permanent solution not only for DACA recipients but the immigrant community at large.”

And as various DREAMers stated at a press conference held today at FIEL, “It’s a small win,” and it is time to vote. It is time to study the candidates, find who is really on the side of DREAMers and immigrants, and vote them into office. It’s time to get beyond executive orders and actually do something.

This is not to say it’s all about politics. Much like the drive toward police reform, it’s about saving people’s lives. If politicians aren’t in it to work for the betterment of the people. then it’s just another popularity contest. Here’s a chance to do something.

There will be more on this, for sure. For now, it’s a good day.

Democratic State Reps Call Out Acevedo on HPD Audit

Eight Houston-area Democratic State Representatives have called out Houston PD Chief Art Acevedo and HPD on the lack of transparency and accountability regarding a taxpayer-funded audit of the department after its botched raid on Harding Street.   (CLICK  TO  ENLARGE)

Thanks to these leaders for speaking up for accountability on this particular instance of cops-gone-wrong.

Of course, this isn’t the only instance for which the community needs information. The name Nicolas Chavez immediately comes to mind as months have passed without any results of investigation. The online video isn’t enough, Chief! Perhaps this audit on procedures and practices would give a little light as to what could lead officers to kill others in all other instances in which has occurred.

 

 

 

Texas Progressive Alliance Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with those demanding justice for George Floyd and Javier Ambler as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff details the state of police reform in Houston and Harris County, with a coda about HISD.

DosCentavos had a series on the possible re-hiring of Chauna Thompson. The effort failed.

SocraticGadfly offers up a twofer on third party national politics. First, in the wake of a previous post about Libertarian presidential nominee Jo Jorgensen, he snarks on the party wanting to be “more dramatic and noteworthy.” Second, he has some Minneapolis-related questions about Cam Gordon, one of the speakers set for Greens’ national convention.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Craig Mills says he should not know the names of George Floyd and so many other black men who are known to him because they were killed by police.

Space City Weather revisits the question of COVID-19 and the Texas weather.

Abby Springs and Wesley Storey explain how Texas laws fail to hold police accountable.

G. Elliott Morris walks you through the Economist’s election model.

Dan Solomon confirms that the official policy of the state of Texas is that avoiding coronavirus is your own responsibility.

Abbott: Follow The Rules I Didn’t Impose!

UPDATE 4PM:  Well that had to be the most useless press conference ever. Abbott and his minions basically assured Texans that there are enough hospital beds for all the COVID19 patients and that the re-opening will continue.

When asked regarding a letter by Dallas County Judge Jenkins who requested more power to enforce mask use and other rules, an offended Greg Abbott blamed Jenkins for wanting to “jail” non-mask wearers and that he should go after bars and restaurants who violate Abbott’s re-opening capacity rules. Abbott has mentioned that TABC is supposed to be doing this, too, so, who’s in charge?

Anyway, Texas government lacks leadership, but has an abundance of power-hungry zealots, and that is nothing new.


So, Greg Abbott is supposed to speak sometime today (6/16/2020) on the increase in COVID19 positives and hospitalizations.

Harris County continues to lead the state with the most confirmed cases with 17,282 cases, 10,029 active, 6,969 recovered and 284 deaths as of Tuesday morning.

and

Harris County has surpassed the hospitalization peak initially seen on April 11 at 610 patients.

As of Sunday, Harris County now has 696 patients severely suffering from coronavirus.

A doctor with Memorial Hermann says they’ve seen a 30% jump in hospitalizations since the end of May.

Telemundo also reported that one testing center at the Mexican Consulate had a 20% infection rate of the 600 tested. And United Memorial Medical Center reported that 90% of new patients are Hispanic.

But, yesterday, after forcing Texas to Phase 3 re-opening last week, Abbott blamed any increase on young people who aren’t taking Coronavirus seriously.

“They are not wearing face masks, they’re not sanitizing their hands, they’re not maintaining social distancing,” he added. “And as a result, they are contracting COVID-19 at a record pace in the state of Texas.”

I fixed his quote, though:

“How dare you young’ns get sick after going to all the businesses that I re-opened and by refusing to wear masks that I didn’t require you to wear!”

Abbott is concerned, but not alarmed, at the increase in positives and hospitalizations. So, he’ll keep the re-openings going and he won’t enforce any rules regarding masks, looking away while pretending that adults will adult.  All this from the comfort of his own taxpayer-paid cocoon. Now, that’s leadership!

Is it true that mask-wearing is lacking? That distance is not being practiced? Of course. We’ve been saying this the whole damn time. But people take their cues from the leaders that satisfy their wants and needs. Whether it’s racist policies or some semblance of faux rugged individualism, you can count on Republicans to shovel it and blame others for the consequences.

Let’s see what he says today.

 

 

 

QEPD – Macario Ramirez of Casa Ramirez

Macario Ramirez with Pancho Claus

Our family was saddened to hear about the passing of Macario Ramirez, Co-Owner of Casa Ramirez Folk Gallery. As was announced by his wife, Chrissie Dickerson Ramirez:

It is with deep sadness that I inform you that my Husband, Macario Ramirez, owner of Casa Ramirez at 241 W 19th, died peacefully at home Wednesday, June 10, of a rapidly progressing heart condition.

Through the support of our wonderful employees, family and friends, the mission and operation of Casa Ramirez will continue. Funeral arrangements are still pending and the business may be closed for a short period of mourning. A public memorial is planned for a later date. Thank you for your continued love.

My family has always enjoyed shopping and enjoying cultural events at Casa Ramirez, including Tres Reyes, Dia de los Muertos, poetry and lit readings, and more. And the conversation with Mr. Ramirez was always one filled with history and culture–a real learning experience with every visit.

He will be missed by the community. As Chrissie states, Casa Ramirez will continue. The Chron has more.

Photo Credit:  Tacho Medellin, DosCentavos.net

 

Silvestre Martinez – Coronavirus: A Pretty Good PSA and Tune

A new COVID-19 tune and video dropped on Sunday by Silvestre Martinez titled Coronavirus. In case you’re wondering, it’s about Coronavirus.

The catchy tune in which Martinez does all the vocals and instruments takes us through origins and CDC guidelines in its own funny way.

Martinez is asking folks to buy the single at this website, but I think it’s good enough for government campaigns targeted at Spanish-speaking folks, so, local leaders should get in touch with him, too. Check it out by clicking the pic below:

Texas Progressive Alliance Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with those demanding justice for George Floyd as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff analyzed two more polls showing a tight Presidential race in Texas.

SocraticGadfly notes how Ted Rall is becoming a self-writing parody of himself.

DosCentavos writes about where the conversation on police reform needs to begin based on the #8CantWait campaign.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Christoph Spieler shares two lessons for transit agencies during times of crisis.

Paradise in Hell warns his Trump-supporting friends and colleagues that the day is coming when they will have to choose between their president and their country.

Therese Odell is always on top of the news and how politics and current events relate to the TV industry.

The Texas Signal reports on the Travis County DA primary runoff and how it relates to the wider criminal justice reform debate.

Via Out in SA, Equality Texas vows to do better at every level of their organization to help dismantle systems of oppression against Black Americans.

Christopher Hooks covered the Black Lives Matter rally in Vidor.

Latino Victory Fund Endorses Natali Hurtado for HD126

The Latino Victory Fund, a national progressive organization working to grow Latino political power and representation across the United States has endorsed, among several Texans, Natali Hurtado, the Democratic candidate for Texas House District 126.

Hurtado is in her second run for the suburban district located in north and northwest Harris County. HD126 is considered a “red to blue” opportunity district with Hurtado having earned 46% of the vote in 2018. Once elected, she would be the first Latina to represent this district.

Hurtado’s experience in public policy and local politics is vast, having worked the campaign circuit for various candidates. She began her career in public policy as a congressional intern moving on up to serving as a district director for a Texas State Representative. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Executive Director of SW Houston’s International Management District in the Hawes Hill consulting firm working with district leaders to develop and improve their community.

Hurtado’s campaign issues include ensuring adequate funding for public education, access to health care, and community safety, among other issues of importance to her district.

Other candidates endorsed by Latino Victory fund include:  Joanna Cattanach, House District 108; Eric Holguin, House District 32; Jennifer Ramos, House District 119; Ana-Maria Ramos, House District 102; Lorenzo Sanchez, House District 67; and Carlos Gallinar, mayor, El Paso.