Raj Salhotra Announces Bid for Houston City Council At-Large 1

During the election and holiday season, I saw this young leader, Raj Salhotra, working rooms and talking to voters and activists about his intention to run for Houston City Council At-Large 1. To say he’s impressive is an understatement. On Monday, he made his announcement through social media:

Today I am excited to announce my candidacy for Houston City Council At-Large Position 1. Houston is an incredible city because of its diversity, its can-do spirit, and its opportunity. I love Houston because it made my immigrant family’s American Dream possible. However, as a teacher, I saw students and their parents who shared my family’s aspirations yet were trapped in poverty because of policy failures. I am running for Houston City Council to build One Houston where every community, family, and child— regardless of zip code—can reach their dreams. I cannot do this alone, so I am asking for your help to join me in building this movement. There are three ways you can help:

1. If you are interested in knocking on doors, phone banking, hosting events, or attending meetings, please visit www.rajforhouston.com/volunteer to join us.

2. If you can contribute financially, please visit www.rajforhouston.com/contribute. Every dollar counts, and I very much appreciate all of your support.

3. Please follow our campaign on Facebook by liking our page Raj For Houston. We will post updates there and would love to hear from you about your vision for Houston.

Thank you for your support, and I know that together we can build a Houston that ensures all of us can reach our dreams.

Visit his website and social media to keep up with Raj Salhotra. He’ll be meeting you soon, for sure.

 

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Thoughts on HD145

Well, I’ve been asked what I think of the Special Election for Texas HouseDistrict 145 and my favorite answer to them has been, “I live in HD137!”

Still, when one of the candidates is a long-time friend for whom one has put up signs, passed out push cards, and helped raise money, it’s hard to stay quiet.

That said, there are eight in the running for HD145, the seat once held by newly elected Texas Senator Carol Alvarado (congrats to her, by the way). The most familiar name to me is Melissa Noriega, who temporarily filled the HD145 seat when she was called up to serve in the seat while the officeholder was called to war. She also served three terms on the Houston City Council having effectively earned citywide support, which shows her campaign abilities. In both positions, Noriega served well and was among the most responsive members of the Council during that time. I did my part to get out the vote during my time in the ‘burbs for Melissa Noriega, so, needless to say, I am rooting for her in this race.

Read more about Melissa Noriega. She has served her community in education, nonprofits, and community groups. Always responsive and always ready to listen to constituents–what I believe are the two most important qualifications of a state representative.

As far as the other candidates are concerned, I know De La Garza ran previously for the seat and Del Toro ran with a lot of heart for Pasadena City Council recently. The others, I guess I don’t run in their circles, but I have friends that are supporting one of the others.

I do want to hear more about all of the candidates’ positions as the 86th Lege Session is about to begin and already plenty of bills have been filed. Other than De La Garza and the right-winger, I haven’t seen much in the form of policy pronouncements:  Where do they stand on HISD and education finance? Public schools or charter/privatization? Where do they stand on SB4? Where do they stand on criminal justice reform? Where do they stand on voting rights? Where do they stand on billions wasted on border militarization? You know stuff on which we have been attacked in recent times.

I prefer to see a campaign of issues rather than a popularity contest. But maybe that’s just me. Anyway, some asked where I stood, so, I responded.

Best of luck to the candidates. I know I have friends working in two of the campaigns, at least. Early voting starts January 14th. Election Day is January 29th.

Harris County Commissioners Court: First Meeting of 2019

County Judge Lina Hidalgo reminds us that Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 10AM is the first County Commissioner’s Meeting of 2019. And there is lots to discuss and debate:

Looking forward to an historic day tomorrow for Harris County. Tomorrow is the first Commissioners Court meeting of the year. Flood mitigation, $15 minimum wage for county employees and voting centers are some of the issues up for debate. You may watch in person at 1001 Preston St Houston TX 77002, or online at http://www.harriscountytx.gov/Gov…/Court-Agenda/Court-Videos

Once again, that’s Tuesday, January 8 at 10AM.

For a copy of the agenda, click here.

We may have a Democratic majority on the Court, but accountability still matters. Pay attention!

 

DC’s Top 10 of 2018

I haven’t had that busy a year on DC. No doubt, the state of politics concerns me when Republicans are still as nasty as they want to be, and Democrats, well, they only push back when a win is in sight, otherwise, they might lose a right-wing vote. Call for abolishing ICE or calling for Democrats to fight harder on, say, deportation and incarceration of brown folks, and they get skittish. Calls for “civility” are quite offensive when Democrats won’t fight and the policies offered by right-wingers are simply uncivil and not worthy of debate. If we want to win, increase turn-out, and make meaningful change it will take more than knocking on doors, but also promoting and defending a meaningful platform that fights for people, rather than one which rides a stripe down the middle of the road painted yellow on issues like immigration. At this point, 2020 is about trust and it must be earned.

Needless to say, I still had some posts that generated some good traffic, so, here are my Top 10 for 2018.

  1. The 2018 Dem Primary Stace Slate
  2. Beto’s South Texas Problem Isn’t A Problem
  3. Trump Planning Baby Jail for Houston
  4. Los Texmaniacs Cruzando Borders
  5. Runoffs, Victories, and Tear Jerkers
  6. RIP:  Jimmy Gonzalez
  7. HISD Tactics: Reminders of the Good Ol’ Days
  8. Lina Hidalgo Responds to Emmett’s State of the County
  9. Demsplaining the DACA Sell-Out
  10. LULAC Supports Trump’s Wall

I don’t know how active a blogger I’ll be since some folks take all the fun out of it by flinging insults at those of us who are called “far left,” while calling for “civility” with the most uncivil among us–Republicans and their apologists. But that doesn’t mean I’m done. There’s a lot to write about politics and Chicano culture and I’ll still be doing it, or else, the pendejos who get easily offended will take over. So, stay tuned. Year 14 of DosCentavos begins in a few days!

The Tejas Progressive Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates last week’s wins and looks to build on them as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff has some fun with the Harris County Republican Party and its ridiculous whining about straight ticket voting.

SocraticGadfly had a three-part election wrap. First, he looked at general hot takes, trends and issues from races. Second, he observed that conservative writers at centrist political mags were getting out the long knives for Beto, maybe in fear of a 2020 presidential run. Third, noting successful Democratic Socialist of America campaigns, he wondered if they would stay true to ideals once in office, and other issues, above all, the use of the word “socialist.”

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

Colin Strother makes the case for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Therese Odell vents about the Saturday Night Live/Dan Crenshaw situation.

Sanford Nowlin reports on how progressives hope to build on 2018.

Paradise in Hell interprets the Presidential appointment-making process.

Grits for Breakfast looks at the 2018 results through a criminal justice reform lens.

Dan Gordon cuts through the anti-Semitic crap.

Democrats Sweep Harris County!

Most countywide Democratic candidates in Harris County knew they looked good after the early voting tally was released. But it was the race for Harris County Judge that had many on the edge of their seats until Lina Hidalgo was suddenly leading 11-year incumbent Ed Emmett by 6,000 votes. Things got a little more comfortable a little later, then, Hidalgo became the first Latina to be elected to the County’s executive post.

No doubt there were Democrats who were supporting the Republican, given that Hidalgo didn’t enjoy the extra percentage margin that some of the other Democrats enjoyed. Some of our Latino statewides were going through something similar for some reason.

Congrats to Lina Hidalgo. She came out strong when she announced her run, whether the issue was flood control and response, County services, bail and justice reform, or even immigration. So strong that she was left with no opposition in the Primary. Bottom line:  Hidalgo held progressive policy positions on these issues, while Emmett did not. So, Democratic naysayers, please stop insulting voters’ intelligence and that of the County Judge-elect. We know which political party is on the side of the people, especially locally.

The Harris County Commissioner’s Court now has a Democratic majority as former County Sheriff Adrian Garcia defeated incumbent Jack Morman by around 1800 votes. The outcome wasn’t final until the very end as Garcia was able to overcome a gerrymandering play that changed Precinct 2 to a Republican-opportunity district. A good and disciplined ground  campaign defeated Morman’s negativity and attacks-based campaign.

For those naysayers, a reminder that a Democratic majority at County will actually address the issues that are important to the people. We need action, not just a pat on the head during a hurricane to make us feel warm and fuzzy.

Kudos should go to Penny Shaw who turned Precinct 4 into a more palatable challenge against Republicans. Penny worked hard from Day 1 and deserves Democrats’ thanks for running.

Along with new faces in black robes on the bench and new administrators like Diane Trautman as County Clerk, Marilyn Burgress as District Clerk, and Dylan Osborne as County Treasurer, Harris County has two new Congresswomen in Sylvia Garcia and Lizzie Fletcher.

While Garcia’s road to victory was a little easier and more about ensuring turnout to bolster the bottom line, Fletcher’s team ran a strong field campaign to earn every vote to take out the Republican incumbent. Attacked often on immigration and Nancy Pelosi, Fletcher kept a disciplined message on health care and took it to the finish line.

No doubt, the Beto effect helped turn counties blue or bluer, but in races that were in tough to win districts, it was the field campaigns that put them over the top.

Other surprises included victorious finishes in HD132 (Gina Calanni) and HD135 (Jon Rosenthal) out in the ‘burbs. Adam Milasincic came up 80 votes short in HD138 (Spring Branch) which tells me that district can be taken in 2020. Adam didn’t run away from right-wing attacks on immigration and held his own against an entrenched Republican. Out in Pasadena’s HD144, State Rep. Mary Ann Perez won re-election in huge fashion due to another excellent field campaign.

Update from Milasincic campaign: Unofficial totals show us behind by 137 votes out of 48,000+ counted so far. We have learned that provisional and some mail ballots remain under review.

While Beto was the lead Democrat in the bunch, closer to the bottom of the ballot was Richard Cantu who soundly defeated his opponent by posting Beto-like percentages. So, I don’t know why some losers are complaining about being close to the bottom of the ballot. Richard did great!

It is pretty embarrassing that some would simply blame straight ticket voting. You know, people actually think about Party AND policy when they go into the booth. Most of us actually went back to check our selections since Stanart’s relic voting machines were switching Beto to Cruz, according to reports. To insult our intelligence after losing, well, folks doing that need to hunker down.

Congrats to the Party, the campaign pros, the volunteers, and the voters! Harris County is blue!

TODAY IS ELECTION DAY!

Well, you’ve gotten the calls, the texts, and knocks on your door from campaign pros, volunteers, and even your family and friends who give a shit. If you were not among the 855,000+ Harris Countians who voted early, well, today is your last chance to do your duty.

#NoExcuses #JustVote and #VoteDemocratic

If you’re around the state of Texas, you can easily find your polling location here.

If you’re in Harris County, you can go here to find a sample ballot and YOUR specific polling location.

RECOMMENDATIONS

I won’t waste your time and tell you to read some “non-partisan” guide to help you decide.

I will tell you that only the Democratic candidates support health care for all, educational opportunities for all, an economy that creates well-paying jobs and better job security, and a path toward a better immigration system that benefits the country–without racism, without military intervention, and with compassion.

So, get to it. VOTE!

 

Getting Ahead of the Blame

Today, 11/2/18, is the last day of Early Voting in Texas, and, thus far, over 755,000 have voted in-person and by mail in Harris County. Voting is 7am to 7pm at any early voting location in Harris County.

There have been quite a few articles and even more comments from folks who have laid this election on Latinos. Well, according to Hector de Leon, the numbers guru at the local elections office, the number of Spanish-surnamed voters is up 253% compared to 2014 midterm levels. Or, almost as many as voted in 2016, with one day of early voting left to go. And then there’s still Tuesday. He added that while 27% of Latinos are of Citizen Voting Age Population, and 22% of the voter rolls are Spanish-surnamed, thus far, 17% of those who voted are Spanish surnamed. So, there is that. Patterns of increased participation are being seen throughout South Texas, too.

Which way they’re clicking, is somewhat up in the air, although one can make educated guesses based on geography, voting patterns, etc. One thing is for sure, among those who have already voted, many are first time voters or those who just don’t vote as often. So, it’s true, people think this is a very important election. Whatever the outcome, the uptick in democracy–even with all types of problems and voter suppression–is a good thing.

And, most of all, Latinos cannot be blamed for not showing up. But Im’ sure we will be. Did the candidates fight hard enough for the Latino vote? Well, that’s to be seen, especially down-ballot candidates beyond Beto and el Mentiroso Ted. I’d like to think that there will be a 65-35 split in favor of Beto. There may be another 5% for el Mentiroso if people voted based on surname or bought into the “fake Mexican” Beto narrative. Needless to say, it’s all about GOTV if one wants to overcome the idiocy.

The ad game could have been much better, too, for Democrats. Republicans have been relentless with their MS-13 and caravan narrative. Trump is even threatening to shoot brown folks trying to gain asylum after escaping violence and poverty in their own countries–if any of them throw rocks. What’s next? mass graves in abandoned fracking fields on the border? (I’m serious! What do you think happens when people are killed en masse?) Although Beto had a great response on immigration, others on TV have basically played the willfull ignorance game, or can’t afford a response. Most Latinos cannot vote in CD7, but we sure as hell can see those racist Culberson ads (and the lack of a response to them.)

Whatever the result of the Latino vote, chances are White men still went with El Mentiroso, et al. Where are the white women at? Ay veremos. But if they still love Trump and hate brown/black people, or they’re willing to overlook abuse of brown people and the apologists who look away, I don’t expect much change in this demographic. (Yet, Latinos get blamed, right?)

Keep voting, Gente. Vote for the Democrats.

 

 

 

The Tejas Round-Up (TPA)

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges everyone who has voted to work to get more people to the polls as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff looks at the potential ticket-splitters in this year’s election.

SocraticGadfly does some number-crunching on the early voting surge and offers a quick hot take on what it might mean for the Cruz-O’Rourke Senate race.

Stace at Dos Centavos reports on the weekend’s voting and cultural activities in the Northside and The Heights.

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

Sanford Nowlin reminds us that some Christians do support progressive ideas and politics.

The TSTA Blog begs teachers to support public education at the ballot box.

Rick Casey votes No on a license plate honoring Confederate soldiers.

YesNoBlog suggests we pay attention to the security of our GPS systems.

Paradise in Hell ranks Donald Trump’s favorite dictators.

Out in SA warns of a threat to San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance.

A Weekend of Voting and Cultura

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It was a pretty active weekend of voting and culture this past weekend.

Early Voting Sabado was huge and I got to experience a part of it by spending some time at Moody Park with the hard-working folks of Tacos and Vote and then headed out to MECA’s  and Casa Ramirez’s Dia de los Muertos festivities to get a dose of culture.

My friend Dr. Reynaldo Guerra and his crew put together their Tacos and Vote GOTV effort at three early voting locations. Open to all, the festivities included a Taco truck, mariachis, a jump house for kids, and plenty of fun at Moody, Bayland, and close to Ripley House. All of this after blockwalking the surrounding neighborhoods. It was good seeing Adrian Garcia, Democrat for County Commissioner Pct 2 working the crowd at Moody. From the looks of it, Moody had a good turnout on Saturday and reports from the other locations stated their events were a success.

Afterwards, it was off to MECA to enjoy some culture while celebrating and honoring  those who have departed this life. From the looks of it, a diverse group of thousands enjoyed all sorts of food, music, ofrendas, and the Retablos31 exhibit throughout Saturday and Sunday.

I caught an excellent performance by Mas Pulpo–Vladimir Castellanos on guitar and Roberto Rodriguez on the squeezebox. They took us through some classic Tex-Mex standards that all enjoyed, but their show-ending Volver Volver was cause for a sing-along.

After a taco at Teotihuacan on Airline, it was off to Casa Ramirez, the folk and culture bookstore on 19th Street in the Heights. They held their annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration and March. The ceremony was opened by Danza Azteca, which provided Aztec ritual, history, and dance before hundreds of attendees joined a march to Casa Ramirez. Attendees enjoyed tamales, polvorones, and live music by Bossa II, while visiting the ofrendas offered by families honoring deceased loved ones. It was definitely a family affair enjoyed by all. And emotional, too.

I don’t care what the high-priced consultants tell you, politics and culture go together; especially if we’re adding some resistance to it. Brown folks have a target on their back and it is through cultural celebrations and political resistance with which victory can be achieved.