Tag Archives: 2013

Analyzing the Jail Bond Vote and 287(g) Is Still Here

Kuff has numbers on the jail bond vote.

I found it quite interesting that predominantly Latino districts, like H and I, voted against the jail bond–53% and 54%, respectively. Even the Latino vote went against it by 1,000 votes, if you go by those numbers.

I voted against the jail bond because I wanted to stick to my principles–I’m not in favor of Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s insistence on keeping the flawed Latino round-up program, 287(g). He uses this program to boast thousands of apprehensions, a large percentage of which were for low-level offenses, according to performance reports from ICE. Of course, this comes at a cost of about $50 million.

Yesterday, I got a few angry text messages asking me if I knew the Sheriff was asking the Commish court to reauthorize the agreement with ICE. My question to them:  Did you vote for the jail bond? Obviously, I wasn’t surprised since the Sheriff has been quite the defender of this flawed program. And it’s a waste of tax money.

Data being collected under a new state law shows Harris County spent nearly $50 million from October 2011 to September 2013 to house immigrants here illegally being held at the request of federal authorities – more inmates by far than any other county jail in the state.

During that time period, the county reported housing 30,306 immigrants with ICE detainers at a total cost of $49.64 million.

On Tuesday, the court accepted an annual federal reimbursement of just $1.8 million for the cost of housing incarcerated illegal aliens in the jail. The county must absorb the rest.

The Sheriff’s office says that ICE detainers have fallen since 2009 and that they are only going after “big fish”–serious criminal. Well, since that’s how the policy was written, it’s nice that almost 20 years later, they’re more focused, right?

I must say, though, that I like Horwitz’s perspective at Texpatriate.


How Will I Vote In At-Large 3?

Those of us on the liberal side of things are finding ourselves a bit bewildered at the thought of having to choose between Kubosh and Morales for At-Large 3.

Already, I’ve been a part of some Facebook and e-mail discussions about which is the lesser of two evils. Frankly, I don’t know. Some say Kubosh because he may not be as right-wing as Morales. Others say Morales because they don’t expect him to be as hardcore an attacker on the Annise Parker administration, and perhaps, he’d be easier to beat in two years.

Well, I’ve never been much of a fan of either, although I guess I was on the same side as Kubosh on the red-light camera thing, but not for the same reasons. Morales, on the other hand, has said some pretty harsh things about immigrants (compared them to Al Qaeda in 2005), but some say he’s softened–whatever that means. I usually don’t forgive that type of thing, especially if it’s all about earning a Tea Party vote.

In my usual tongue in cheek fashion, I have suggested promoting an “undervote” campaign:  Show up, vote in the other races and skip this one. Make the undervote so high they would be rendered irrelevant. Sure, I’m just grasping here, but it’s something with which to make some sort of statement.

The bottom line is that both need to be held under a hot light and questioned about issues toward which progressives gravitate. Let’s not give either the chance to skate by just for any simplistic reason. Perhaps I’m asking too much of my fellow lib-labs. At this point, I choose to ask some pretty tough questions of both candidates.

Parker Gets Nod From El Prez

Mayor Annise Parker closed out her endorsement announcements today with a biggie–President Barack Obama. President Obama recently named Mayor Parker to his task force on climate change resiliency and adaptation. Today, he had this to say about our Mayor:

“Under Mayor Annise Parker’s leadership, Houstonians have come together to lift their city out of the recession and today, Houston is at the forefront of moving America’s economy forward,” said President Obama.

“Mayor Parker understands that her most important job is to make Houston an even better place to live, work and raise a family. That’s why she has advanced innovative programs that are helping to create middle-class jobs, sustain small businesses, build stronger, safer neighborhoods and help prepare our kids for the future,” continued the President. “I’m proud to support Mayor Annise Parker.”

Remember, on Tuesday, November 5th, you vote at your neighborhood polling location. Find yours by clicking here. And if you need help deciding, check out my DC endorsements here.

Podcast #2: Houston Politics with Rey and Stace

…or it could be Stace and Rey. We’ll have to do a coin-flip to see who gets top billing, but the good news is that we finally did our 2nd “weekly” podcast on Houston Politics…27 days later.

We have a podcast page here and our latest episode can be found here.

In the mix are discussions on the Wage Theft Ordinance, the latest attacks on Mayor Annise Parker, the big upcoming announcement coming from Wendy Davis and what is to come from 2014 Democrats, and a lot more. We even include some chisme and reports on events.

And to coincide with some of the stuff we mention during the Mayoral race segment, here’s the latest ad from Mayor Annise Parker.

SEIU Endorses Mayor Annise Parker

My favorite union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has endorsed Houston Mayor Annise Parker for re-election. SEIU’s membership consists of service workers, such as janitors, housekeepers, and food service workers, and is one of the fastest growing unions in America. This is a valuable endorsement for the Mayor because SEIU is known for getting out the vote, especially the Latino and African American vote.

“We are one of the most diverse cities in the nation and that makes us stronger. Mayor Parker understands this, that’s why she’s fought to build a city economy that works for everyone. When my fellow janitors and I went on strike last summer, her leadership helped bring about a resolution that is helping to build a path out poverty for thousands of Houston’s families, including my own,” said Houston janitor and SEIU Texas member Yesenia Romero.

In her first two terms, Mayor Parker advanced her mission to make Houston a great place to raise a family by supporting janitors’ efforts to raise wages, creating fair standards for employees who provide city services and holding irresponsible businesses accountable.

“I am proud to stand with Houston’s janitors, housekeeping and food service workers as we join together to make our city a better place to live for all Houstonians,” said Mayor Parker. “Working families helped lift Houston out of the recession – and together, we’re continuing to build a future for Houston’s children with more good jobs, safer neighborhoods and stronger schools. Thank you, SEIU, for your endorsement and support.”

SEIU joins over a dozen other worker’s unions in supporting Mayor Parker.

Kuff Interviews District I Candidates

I’ve got to hand it to Kuff. He always comes through for the voters by interviewing the major candidates for races. The District I race has been one of the busiest, and it’s even been the topic of discussion in my and Rey’s first podcast. Here are the links to Kuff’s interviews of District I candidates that DosCentavos has been following.

Ben Mendez

Robert Gallegos

Graci Garces

There are a lot of substantive questions and enough variety in the answers for those voters who have yet to decide for whom to vote. If you want to know who supports the Mayor, or who does or doesn’t support Meet and Confer for the Firefighters Pension, or who has a better understanding of the district and its needs, you will find this information here. Give it a listen.

Event: 34th Annual Festival Chicano Line-Up Announced [HOUSTON]

We all know that every month is Hispanic Heritage Month, and Houston is the place to be October 3 – 5, for the 34th Annual Festival Chicano. The line-ups have been announced for the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances at Miller Outdoor Theater.

Concert organizer Daniel Bustamante has done it again. Here’s the line-up:


David Lee Garza y Los Musicales

Sunny Ozuna & The Sunliner Band

Shelly Lares


Little Joe y La Familia

Elida y Avante

Zenteno Spirit


Jay Perez

David Marez

Tortilla Factory featuring Charro Negro

Every night is a huge night, whether you want to listen to the new vocalist fronting Los Musicales (Juaquin Cura), Little Joe’s tried and true “Las Nubes,” or the return of the African-American Onda Chicana vocalist Bobby Butler “El Charro Negro” with the Tortilla Factory. The rest of the bands are pretty damn good, too.

So, start making plans for this truly Mexican American music and cultural festival. There is no other event like it in Houston.

This is a ticketed event for the covered seating area. Free tickets are available (4 per person over age 16 while they last) at the Miller Outdoor Theatre box office the day of the performance between the hours of 10:30am-1pm. If tickets remain at 1pm, the box office will re-open one hour before show time to distribute the remaining tickets. As always, open seating on the hill.

UH-Clear Lake: Empowering Latinos Symposium

Looks like UHCL wins the prize for best Diez y Seis event in 2013 with their Empowering Latinos Symposium to be held on Monday, September 16.

An author and a filmmaker share their inspiring messages during the “Empowering Latinos Symposium” scheduled for Sept. 16 at University of Houston-Clear Lake, an event hosted by the university’s Office of Intercultural and International Student Services in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. The symposium will be held in the Bayou Building, Garden Room, 2700 Bay Area Blvd., Houston, 77058.

From 1 – 3 p.m., University of Texas at Arlington Professor of Political Science Jose Angel Gutierrez will discuss Chicano leader Cesar Chavez and the challenges faced by Chavez and other farm worker organizers in the 1960s and 1970s. Gutierrez is a social activist and key figure in founding the Mexican American Unity Council and the Raza Unida Party.

Filmmaker Juan Valadez will present his new film at 4 p.m. “Prejudice and Pride” delves into the complexities of the Chicano movement. Valadez, born into a family of migrant workers in El Paso, Texas, has produced and directed nationally broadcast documentaries for 16 years. Following the film, Gutierrez and Valadez will discuss the movie and take questions from the audience.

I wonder if a Texas State alum can sneak in?


Some Action in District I

Leave it to a college paper to scoop the bloggers on this , but it is definitely worth a read. Many of my fellow bloggers, me included, posted fundraising totals from candidates, including those in the running for District I. I had noticed a few individual snarks on Facebook toward some of the candidate totals, but nothing newsworthy or in a press release from other candidates. The college paper, The Venture, found something.

“As you can see from the finance reports, Mr. Mendez has a number of overvalued in-kind donations, lots of self-funding and he only has $12,000 cash on-hand. To that end, alarm bells are ringing throughout District I because it appears he burned through the cash he allegedly raised. The hard working men and women of District I don’t spend money like that,” said Robert Gallegos who is one of the candidates running against Mendez in District I.

Mendez’s campaign manager, Joaquin Martinez, did not provide a response for this story before deadline.

Looks like a well-worded direct hit by Gallegos on that one, stating that fundraising will not make the difference, rather, experience in the district will–a theme on which he is running.

I agree that fundraising doesn’t win races (but it helps); it’s how you effectively deploy all of your resources–field, mail, visibility, volunteers, and especially rapid response. I can’t say what the Gallegos team was thinking, but it seems to me they saw a a soft spot and took a stab at it. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done it, since I really like finding soft spots, too.

But like any race, there is always some return-fire and the Ben Mendez Campaign took a different approach with a big announcement today filled with Union endorsements.

  • International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)
  • The American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Local Union 988

And a pretty VIPish quote:

City Council District needs someone that is not afraid to stand up for the needs of the community. Ben Mendez is that person. His experience, dedication, and knowledge make him the best candidate.” Gayle Fallon, President, Houston Federation of Teachers.

With less than 100 days out, we can expect to see plenty more volleys, direct hits, near misses, and outright bad shots. And this is just one district!





Thousands Attend Tejano MusicFest

While some of my friends were getting some all-new Dem training this weekend, I was proud to be among thousands at the Humble Civic Arena for the first Tejano MusicFest–around 5,000 or so. Thousands attended to be entertained by musical greats, such as Fito Olivares, Jay Perez, Emilio Navaira, and home-town heroes La Mafia. Frankly, I needed some culture in my life and the MusicFest was the shot in the arm I needed.

Continue reading