Run-Off is Done; Dem Slate is Set

donkickIt was the kind of run-off that mostly had good candidates. I picked my favorites and went 3 – 5, and other races, I didn’t even pick. Still, come the time to click [REFRESH], there was a little excitement.

Big congrats to Ed Gonzalez who will be the Democratic nominee for Harris County Sheriff. I’ve known Ed for a while and I’ve always given him my support. I think he’d make a great sheriff; actually, I think he’d be great in any position to which he sets his mind.

In the 61st District Court, Fredericka Phillips had a great election day and squeezed out a 200+ vote victory over Julie Countiss, who had a strong mail ballot showing. This was the most exciting race of the night as we awaited the results and saw an exchange of leads.

Constable Chris Diaz of Pct. 2 had a decisive victory in his race earning over 72% of the vote. Congrats, Constable.

I’d like to give a huge tip of my sombrero to Tanya Makany-Rivera, candidate for JP Pct. 1. She was outspent by a lot and took on some heavies in the local establishment, but she never gave up until the last vote was cast. She’s good people and I hope to see her on the ballot again in the future. Congrats to Eric William Carter who won the race. I met him during the race and he’s personable and friendly, which are a couple of qualities needed on the people’s court. Good luck to him.

To my friend Rabeea Collier–You ran great race for the 11th District Court! I met Rabeea back in 2008 when the Hillary-Obama race was at its hottest–during Senate District Convention. She fought hard for her Obama delegates, while I fought hard for the Hillary delegates. It was quite fun. She’s another candidate I hope to see on the ballot in the future. Congrats to Kristen Hawkins who will carry the Donkey flag toward November. She’ll be a great candidate.

And congrats to all the Dems from the top to the bottom of the ballot.

Run-Off Day – May 24, 2016

Today is run-off day, and as is usually the case during low-turn-out elections, polling locations will be consolidated around Harris County. So, you better check with Harris County before you go to your usual election day polling location. While you’re at it, get a copy of your sample ballot.

Of course, there is the Stace Run-Off Slate to consider:

My choices:

SBOE6:  Jasmine Jenkins

District Judge, 11th District:  Rabeea Collier

District Judge, 61st District:  Fredericka Phillips

District Judge, 215 District:  JoAnn Storey

Sheriff:  Ed Gonzalez

The NIMBY, but I would if I could vote for them Slate:

JP1:  Tanya Makany-Rivera

Constable Pct 2:  Christopher Diaz

Constable Pct 3:  Michel Pappillion

 

 

RIP ~ Emilio Navaira

emilioThe passing of Grammy-winning performer Emilio Navaira has sent shockwaves through the industry–affecting fellow musicians and fans alike. At 53 and riding a wave a success after what many consider a second chance after a horrific tour bus crash in Houston sent him to the brink of death, it would seem Navaira had many years to go in his storied career.

Late Monday night, tweets and Facebook posts from friends, family, and fans announcing Emilio’s death took over news feeds, as well as YouTubes of videos and songs he made famous. Some were songs from his 90s heyday with Emilio and Grupo Rio, and for others, like me, who followed him since the mid 80s, it was tunes from his stint with David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, where he launched his career in his early 20s.

As popular as he was in Texas and the US, Emilio was filling seats in Mexico in the last weeks of his life, and he was expected in Texas this weekend. His most recent album released in 2015 was one of duets, Juntos, with Tejano figures, including vocalists with whom he used to compete for business, such as Ram Herrera, Jay Perez, Ricky Muñoz (Intocable), Michael Salgado, Max Baca (Texmaniacs), Bobby Pulido, Marcos Orozco, Ricardo Castillon, and his old boss David Lee Garza. The CD also includes a re-do of his monster hit, Juntos, with his sons Emilio and Diego, and daughter Emely. In a MYSA.com article, Michael Morales , a long-time producer for Emilio, stated a new album was in the works, but no news as to completion.

Emilio leaves a catalog of huge hits, but simply going over various shared Facebook posts, it is obvious he also leaves a lot of memories. Even for me. I was recalling the mega-dances in the 90s, like the TMA Caravan of Stars at Palmer Auditorium in Austin, or a huge concert at the Alamodome, or dances in which people packed in like sardines at Cocktails in Austin. It was a an active time in La Onda. The last Emilio performance I attended was in 2013 at a Tejano Music Festival in Humble and it was a strong one.

 

Que En Paz Descanse, Emilio.

Services by Castle Ridge Mortuary, San Antonio:

Sunday, May 22 – Visitation for Fans 10AM to 5PM at Freeman Coliseum, SATX.

Sunday, May 22 – Rosary, 4PM at Freeman Coliseum (Fans Welcome)

Monday, May 23 – Funeral Mass, 1PM at San Fernando Cathedral

Texas Progressive Alliance Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like for everyone to be able to pee in peace as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff is encouraged by a surge in voter registration from people who can’t wait to vote against Donald Trump.

Libby Shaw at a Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick roast at Daily Kos received a fair share of push back when she suggested GOP primary voters defaulted to Trump because most get it that they’ve been conned by the GOP establishment. They lost because they serve billionaires. Voters finally figured it out.

SocraticGadfly looks at the Texas Supreme Court’s school finance ruling and says Texas GOP voters have reaped what they have sown.

The difference between murder and manslaughter is “I didn’t mean to”, observes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value sees a lot of value in everyday life. You should as well. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Dos Centavos expresses outrage about the administration’s latest immigrant raids, and hopes that Bernie Sanders delegates to state conventions will hold fast — and hold the Clinton delegation’s feet to the fire — on deportation issues.

======================

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

Lone Star Ma highlights the 10th of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Reduce inequality within and among countries.”

Space City Weather salutes the Addicks and Barker reservoirs for their stalwart flood mitigation.

The Great God Pan Is Dead updates us on the Rokudenashiko case.

Phyllis Randolph Frye explains what the law really says about bathrooms.

John Nova Lomax questions Houston ISD’s school renamings.

BOR frets that the combination of Zika virus and anti-abortion laws could have a large and negative effect on public health in Texas.

Cody Pogue would like us all to get over our bathroom issues already.

Early Voting: May 16 – May 20

donkey-fightWell, it’s that time, again. Democrats didn’t finish the job of setting the slate for the November ballot, so, it’s time for us to return to our polling locations and finish the job.

On the ballot are one statewide post, several judicial posts, an SBOE post, some JP jobs, and most importantly, ensuring Ed Gonzalez is our Democratic nominee for Harris County Sheriff.

Early voting begins today, May 16 and goes on until May 20, 7am to 7pm, and you may vote at any early voting location. Run-off election day is Tuesday, May 24. Find a early voting location here.

My choices:

SBOE6:  Jasmine Jenkins

District Judge, 11th District:  Rabeea Collier

District Judge, 61st District:  Fredericka Phillips

District Judge, 215 District:  JoAnn Storey

Sheriff:  Ed Gonzalez

The NIMBY, but I would if I could vote for them:

JP1:  Tanya Makany-Rivera

Constable Pct 2:  Christopher Diaz

Constable Pct 3:  Michel Pappillion

 

A State Rep Working On Real Issues

With today’s news that Dan Patrick is more interested in potties and sending back billions in federal education dollars to DC, it’s time to remind folks that there are folks representing us in Austin that are actually serving their constituents.

Last weekend, I attended State Rep. Gene Wu’s (HD137) town hall. Having lived in the district for a few years, I had yet to attend one, but since this one would have much to do with moving toward a set of legislative priorities, I thought I’d better go.

Upon arrival, I found a pretty diverse crowd that looked just like Houston. “De todo un poco,” or, a little of everything. And Wu didn’t make the meeting all about him, though I wouldn’t blame him since he’s up for re-election. In fact, he showcased some local experts on issues, such as education, health care, and public safety.

H.D. Chambers, chief at Alief ISD, presented on the realities about public education in the area, and especially on the lawsuit filed by numerous Texas school districts regarding education finance. (The lawsuit was decided today by the Texas Supreme Court and, let’s just say, the kids, the people, and the schools lost). The lawsuit was mainly about having the courts decide how enough resources would be provided to meet expectations that we place on our schools. The Court decided that the state met minimum constitutional standards of funding.

Anyway, he reminded us that there are 5 million students in K-12, but that there are 3.5 million children age 0-3, who by 4 should be getting into Pre-K. Of course, Pre-K support from the state is non-existent. This poses a major threat to the future of Texas, which includes a startling statistic:  If a child cannot read by 3rd grade, there is a 35% chance that the child will dropout of school.

Freddy Warner from the Memorial Hermann system spoke regarding health care from a major system standpoint. He stated that health care and education are among the top funding priorities in the Texas legislature and that in the coming session, they may be crowding each other out. Considering Texas was just bailed out by the Obama administration regarding Medicaid, one would think that Medicaid expansion would be a priority. Warner stated that there is zero chance it would be addressed as health care doesn’t seem to be a priority for most in Austin. He did mention that Memorial Hermann does provide $1.4 billion in charity care.

A startling statistic he provided is that we shouldn’t be surprised if there is a budget shortfall in 2017. While the State Comptroller based a budget on $65 per barrel oil, we’re currently at $40 ($46 today) per barrel. It just doesn’t look good for our next budget.

Now, take Dan Patrick’s potty boycott of $10 billion of our federal money that we’ve paid into the system into consideration. Now, open a bottle of booze and start worrying.

Next up was Januari Leo of Legacy Health, which is a federally qualified health center. The majority of people seen by them are uninsured who cannot afford the emergency room or private clinics. They weren’t helped when Harris Health changed their qualification threshold, thus cutting 19,000 patients from their services.

With uncompensated care growing, and Obama bailing out Texas Medicaid, if a politician for state or local office (Republicans) promised you a cut in property taxes, it is not going to happen. Texas needs to pay its bills. How that is accomplished when we take losses in oil revenue, dismal tax collections and other budgetary nightmares into consideration, well, go ahead and open a second bottle of booze.

The public safety presentations by Assistant County Attorney Vinson and Lt. Conn from HPD centered on some of the things their agencies are working on. The County Attorney’s office is mostly working on ridding the district of nuisance businesses–massage parlors and after-hours clubs. They attract crime, drugs, etc. HPD’s Midwest division helps businesses develop surveys of the areas they serve as to type of crimes and how to protect themselves. They have programs to work at Lee HS with at-risk youth.

Overall, a very interesting meeting that has prepared me for the 2017 session. While State Rep. Wu will definitely have a list of priorities based on open communications with constituents, he’ll have to deal with some of the odd-ball and bigoted priorities being presented by Dan Patrick and his potty buddies.

Ultimately, elections matter. We have a run-off coming up and early voting begins on May 16. You best start practicing for November.

Thanks to Rep. Wu’s staff for putting on an informative meeting and for that open door.

 

Obama To Launch Immigration Raids

MEXICO-US-MIGRATION-PROTEST

That’s right. The Obama administration is about to launch raids on undocumented Central Americans because 2.5 million deportees have not been enough.

U.S. immigration officials are planning a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children found to have entered the country illegally, according to sources and an internal document seen by Reuters.

The operation would likely be the largest deportation sweep targeting immigrant families by the administration of President Barack Obama this year after a similar drive over two days in January that focused on Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.

After calling to step-up deportations of Central American children in 2014, Hillary Clinton has somehow seen the light (the political light) and changed course on the issue. Democrat Bernie Sanders has been consistently for a halt to mass deportations.

Specifically, the raids and deportations target the same people Clinton wanted to originally capture and deport to violent homelands that these kids and mothers were escaping.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has now told field offices nationwide to launch a 30-day “surge” of arrests focused on mothers and children who have already been told to leave the United States, the document seen by Reuters said. The operation would also cover minors who have entered the country without a guardian and since turned 18 years of age, the document said. Two sources confirmed the details of the plan.

I can’t for the life of me think of any good reason for Obama to do this, other than to solidify a legacy of horror. Yeah, I said it. Millions deported, hundreds of thousands warehoused in private prisons around the country, which even recently have been in the news for sexual and physical abuse of children. It is ridiculous that this occurs while local politicians use human trafficking as a “get tough” issue. With more children and mothers being picked up and jailed, should we expect more horror stories of abuse?

As voters who support Clinton show some odd excitement because they seem to think some Republicans will support Clinton over Trump, and it’s been in the news that Clinton has committed to selling her political wares to these Republicans, the timing of these raids makes me question pretty much everything–more than usual. Because we know how Obama’s deportation programs brought in GOPers to effect immigration reform, right? Or how Democrats moving to the right on immigration since 2006 have attracted so many crossover votes and big wins, right?

Thank goodness Bernie Sanders will remain in the race until the convention. Bottom line, his supporters need to be visible and vocal at the convention, especially on immigration and deportation reform. I would hope Clinton joins in on saving the immigration reform plank from those who feel they can attract Republicans in November.

 

 

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the Leicester City football club for its amazing underdog Premier League championship as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff ponders career options for Ted Cruz.

SocraticGadfly takes a snarky look at possible Hillary Clinton Cabinet nominees.

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos learned that Rick Perry is looking for a job. She thinks Ted Cruz should be looking too. In another line of work. A Tale of Two Texas Republican Losers.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is shocked to hear that a Texas cemetery refuses to serve Hispanics. Surely, they are happy Trump is the nominee of their party.

It was a disgraceful Cinco de Mayo for Drumpf, as he made a fool of himself with a taco bowl and a Hispander. PDiddie at Brains and Eggs hoped he used the coupon for free breakfast tacos on the 6th, because he certainly seemed drunk on the 5th.

As the Sanders campaign moves towards the Democratic convention in July, Neil at All People Have Value found a freedom loving Texan supporting Bernie. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

================

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

The Great God Pan Is Dead tells a NSFW story about art, obscenity, and the jailing of Rokudenashiko for making a kayak in the shape of a vagina.

Houston Tomorrow is looking for its next Executive Director.

John Royal calls out Baylor for its out of control sexual assault problems with its football team.

Make West Texas Great Again documents (and complains about) the rise of the “suburbatarians” in rural parts of the state.

Andrea Grimes invites out-of-staters who cheer the idea of Texas seceding to come here and help us do the work needed to turn our state around.

Progress Texas rounds up the best “Ted Cruz drops out” reactions from Twitter. (WARNING: You will never be able to un-see the image at the top of this post. Click over at your own peril.)

Raise Your Hand Texas hopes you thanked a teacher last week.

TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progessive Alliance notes that Festivus poles can be repurposed for May Day celebrations as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at new polling evidence showing a shift in partisan preference towards the Democrats in Harris County.

Socratic Gadfly moves outside of politics to ask if recent injuries may give Timmeh, Manu (and Pops?) a Los Spurs retirement gift..

Libby Shaw contributing to Daily Kos insists that Texas Republican leadership and its obsession with public bathrooms while it ignores crucially important health and environmental challenges is a literal threat to our lives. Houston: Hurricanes, Frequent Flooding and now Zika too?

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows that Republicans run the Child Protection Services, but still. Blaming the victim in domestic abuse cases? Still?

The passing of the legendary Texas sports reporter and editor Blackie Sherrod was noted by PDiddie at Brains and Eggs.

Neil at All People Have Value made a small donation to help with recent flooding in Houston. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

================

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

Robert Rivard considers Julian Castro’s place on Hillary Clinton’s VP short list.

The TSTA Blog cites actual statistics experts on the subject of using statistical methods for teacher evaluation.

Space City Weather puts Houston’s recent flooding into historical perspective.

Paradise in Hell advises Ted Cruz to listen to himself.

Andrea Grimes would like to know who will protect us from the likes of Dennis Hastert and Johnny Manziel.

Offcite gives a tour of Houston’s new clinic for the homeless.

Adam Briggle, father of a transgender son, calls out Denton County Sheriff candidate Tracy Murphree for a transphobic post on Facebook. Murphree then agreed to meet with the Briggle family to talk with them and get a better understanding of the issue, but as Equality Texas reports, he abruptly backed out before their meeting could take place.

Ed Gonzalez Calls on HCSO to Reinstate Inspectors, Diversify Staff

cafeed2Ed Gonzalez, Democratic candidate for Harris County Sheriff, challenged current Sheriff Hickman to reinstate jail inspectors and diversify the staff if any criminal justice reform plan is to succeed.

Here’s the press release from Gonzalez:

Ed Gonzalez, the leading Democratic candidate for Sheriff, called on Sheriff Ron Hickman today to join the county’s push for criminal justice reform by reinstating jail inspectors and replacing his command staff with a more diverse leadership team

Gonzalez applauded yesterday’s action by county commissioners to accept a $2 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation and spend millions more on reforms that include expanding pre-trial diversion programs, implementing a new bail system and improving relationships with minority communities.

“Commissioners are moving in the right direction with their new reform plan, but it won’t be enough until real reform comes to the Sheriff’s office,” said Gonzalez.

“Sheriff Hickman must immediately reinstate the jail inspectors and the investigative unit he dismantled and replace his command staff with a leadership team that is more reflective of the communities served by the sheriff’s office,” said Gonzalez.

Hickman’s first act after being appointed sheriff was to replace the existing diverse command staff with all white men. After intense pressure, Hickman later made some additional appointments, but the command staff is nowhere near reflective of the communities that make up Harris County. Gonzalez expressed concern that, until the sheriff truly diversified his command staff, the county’s new racial and ethnic diversity coordinator would continue to face barriers in rebuilding the trust of minority communities in the criminal justice system.

“If the county’s law enforcement leader fails to recognize the need for real diversity,” said Gonzalez, “what chance will the county’s new criminal justice diversity coordinator have to succeed?”

Gonzalez also expressed serious concerns about the ability of the county’s new jail coordinator to speed up the release of inmates awaiting bail, a key element of the new reform plan, given existing management problems at the jail.

Earlier this month, a suspect awaiting bail on a charge of stealing a guitar was beaten to death by inmates in his holding cell – continuing a pattern of violence, abuse and neglect at the jail that was exposed in a 2015 Houston Chronicle investigation. Hickman’s response was to reduce oversight at the jail, including dismantling the investigative unit that had uncovered some of the worst cases of abuse and neglect.

“For the county’s new reform plan to succeed, we must incease oversight, transparency and accountability at the county jail,” said Gonzalez. “That’s why I’m calling on Sheriff Hickman to live up to the values of this new plan by diversifying his command staff and reinstating the jail inspectors he cut earlier this year.”

Ed Gonzalez is a leading candidate in the May 24 Democratic Party primary runoff election for Harris County Sheriff. He is a veteran Houston Police officer who rose to the rank of Sergeant, led murder investigations and served on the elite hostage negotiating team. He served two terms on the City Council, chairing the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and becoming mayor pro-tem. On the Houston City Council, Gonzalez led efforts at criminal justice reform – including creating the Houston Center for Sobriety, which keeps people who need help out of the criminal justice system and allows police officers to spend more time on patrol, catching criminals.