Tag Archives: 2015

The 84th Lege is Over!

Well, this time around, I didn’t get to blog much about Lege happenings. My compadres in the blogosphere did a lot of good writing and that was good enough for me.

The main bills I kept an eye on were targeted ones, like legalized racial profiling (sanctuary cities), a ban on in-state tuition for undocs, and, because I have family members who work in higher education, guns on college campuses. If Abbott signs the campus carry bill despite the amendment which allows University and college presidents to designate gun-free zones, then I’ll have gone two out of three. Not that that’s a good thing, considering the danger of allowing concealed guns on campus.

There were other victories that came in the form of dead bills–bills that either didn’t make the cut or were chubbed by Democrats, especially anti-LGBT bills. Of course, some of our favorite reps and senators passed bills that affected or impacted their respective districts. I’m sure the press releases will start trickling in.

One huge pile of waste is the almost one billion dollars that will go to Greg Abbott’s brand of border security through the use of an overburdened DPS. It’s already been proven a waste, but in order for gringo Republicans to feel the warm and fuzzies, I guess this needs to be done, right? It certainly doesn’t make Texas safer.

So, while this session is over, I’m sure we’re in for more during the 85th, including a whole new fight over sanctuary cities and in-state tuition, and anything else the bigots come up with in the name of “sovereignty” and “border security.”

Anyway, Happy Sine Die!

VOTE ALIEF PROUD; VOTE YES ON BOND; Info on Alief ISD Position 4

As I mentioned previously, I support the Alief ISD Bond. It is long overdue, much needed, and the investment will reap returns for students and families. Read more about the bond here, then vote early.

Alief ISD Position 4

There is also a special election for Position #4 of the Board of Trustees. On the ballot are:  Celia Morgan, Gigi Myung, Dedre Jefferson, and Natasha Butler.

Morgan is a former Alief ISD teacher; Myung works with a local automotive retailer; Jefferson, according to the internet, has worked for Alief ISD as an educator; and Butler describes herself as a single working mom on her website and has been involved in the Bond committee and PTOs.

Morgan published her response to AFL/CIO questionnaire and to Alief TSTA.

UPDATE:  Richard Shaw of AFL-CIO informed me that Natasha Butler earned their endorsement.

I haven’t decided whom to support, so, I’ll be doing some more research and getting back to you.  I will say that the sample ballot PDF took a long time to load which is why I barely found out about this particular election.

Click on image below to find your early voting location.

Help Out Some Kids to go to Prom and To Dress For Success

My good friend Jose Manuel Diaz has been busy raising funds to helps some young men go to prom in some nice duds. These same duds will also help them to dress for success, providing them some nice clothes for interviews, college events, etc.  I’ll let him explain.

Help make a deserving 2015 graduate’s prom dream come true! Not only that, but let’s help prepare them for the future! When prom time comes around, many think of helping the young ladies and get them ready for their prom, but for a moment, I’d like to shine a light on the other side, and help out the young men at the MiddleCollege High School at HCC Gulfton. These wonderful young men, despite all their struggles are about to graduate. What better way to send them out in the world by showing them that we have faith in them, believe in them and want them to succeed? We are raising funds, not to rent them a tuxedo, but to buy each one of them a quality suit that will not only benefit them in looking great for prom, but will help them dress for success in the future. Every young man needs a proper suit for interviews, etc. , and for $50 per student we can make that happen. I’m not asking for you to give that full amount, anything helps, even just a dollar will make a difference. Let’s set these 20 young men up for success. Let’s let them know that we care about them, and know they are our future.

Jose is about 1/2-way there and you, my friends, can help him get closer to his goal. You can make a donation at:  http://www.gofundme.com/r2jwuhc

Middle College at Gulfton helps kids who don’t really feel comfortable in a traditional high school setting. This alternative ensures kids not only succeed in school, but can also earn credits to HCC. The school’s principal, Diana del Pilar, is a good friend, too.

Great cause!

Another Great Candidate Brunch in Kingwood

I’m the Emcee while Kevin McManis, Prez of KAD awaits my turn-over of the mic.

For another year, I had the honor of emceeing the Kingwood Area Democrats Spring Brunch and Candidate Meet-n-Greet. It’s probably the only time you’ll catch this lowly blogger at a country club, but I must say, the staff at Kingwood Country Club did a great job–great bacon!

Dems in the northern reaches of the county had the opportunity to shake hands with and listen to candidates for everything from Houston Mayor to Humble ISD trustee, and even a couple of 2016 candidates.

Candidates in attendance included:  Mayor – Sylvester Turner and Marty McVey; Council At Large 1 – Lane Lewis and Chris Oliver; Council At-Large 4 – Laurie Robinson, Larry Blackmon, and Amanda Edwards; Council At-Large 5 – Durrel Douglas and Philippe Nassif. For Humble ISD Pos. 7 – Nancy Morrison and Robert Scarfo; and Pos. 6 – Dr. Johnny O’Connor. For 2016, Judge Mike Engelhart who is seeking re-election; Steven Kirkland who will run for the 334th; and Joe Stephens, a Galena Park trustee running for JP Pct. 3.

Obviously, not all candidates showed, but as I told the crowd about the importance of Kingwood area Democratic votes to candidates’ bottom line at the end of election night, I also stated that decisions are made by those who show up. Like any group, voters enjoy retail politics and want to get to know their candidates. That said, the club does invite all candidates to visit KAD at their regular meetings since we’ve got seven months to go.

Some Highlights:

State Rep. Turner spoke a little bit about his work in the Texas Legislature, while also highlighting his years of leadership in various committees. Beyond his political work, he has also built businesses, such as a law practice and a title company. He gives credit to his hard-working employees for allowing him the time to serve in Austin. Marty McVey also highlighted his business experiences and how he would be able to bring that to the horseshoe to address issues like transportation and infrastructure.

Lane Lewis put on his Democratic Chairman hat to give a short update on the Party’s happenings. Needless to say, the Party is busy! Wearing his candidate hat, though, he concentrated some of his remarks on drainage as the evening before the rains caused his elderly parents’ home to flood.=Lewis stated that Houston needs someone who will advocate for the people on Council. He also hit on other issues regarding transportation and infrastructure. In fact, those seemed to be the issues of the day. Chris Oliver stated he wanted to bring his policy-making and budget-making experience on the HCC Board of Trustees to Council. He stated his experience in this regard would easily transfer to the tough decisions that need to be made on Council.

Larry Blackmon highlighted his experience as a teacher and in life. That he wanted to bring the peoples’ voice to Council. One issue he brought up was the need for Council to award contracts to the best bids, rather than the lowest bid as a means of ensuring a longer-lasting infrastructure. Laurie Robinson launched an impressive speech in which she spoke about her experiences about being called to action after Katrina. She led the way in finding housing for 16,000 folks who were at the Dome, and that when Ike hit, she was among those ensuring water and ice stations were available throughout the city. She also touched on her DC experience with helping write the Medicare prescription plan law. Finally, touching on her project management experience, Robinson feels she can utilize that experience to solve the city’s challenges. Amanda Edwards touched on her experiences in law school, New Orleans, and her return to Houston to a life of public service. A public finance lawyer, she stated she already helps to build cities and infrastructure and that that experience is needed on Council.

Philippe Nassif touched on his experience working in the nonprofit world, at the White House, and in the community. After stating that City Council needed a community organizer, his opponent Durrel Douglas agreed, and then provided his own experience with various community groups, such as TOP. While Nassif touched on his diverse background, Douglas offered his idea of a municipal ID for the undocumented to ensure people can come out of the shadows–at least locally. Both are running energetic campaigns with the hopes of unseating a over-funded right-wing incumbent Jack Christie.

I wish I could write more on all the candidates’ statements, but I was busy emceeing and not live-blogging or live-tweeting–or even taking notes. Still, I can’t say these candidates made my November decision any easier. I urge all to start paying attention now and not a few weeks before the election. So, stay connected to DC for the latest.

Check out the photos of the event here.

Thanks to the Kingwood Area Democrats for inviting me back. KAD will always be my second family and the Dem club which started up my local political involvement. Best of luck in 2015-2016.

Kingwood Area Democrats

 

DC Reviews: Jaime y Los Chamacos ~ Born To Be Bad

Jaime de Anda y Los Chamacos have released their latest album in years, Born To Be Bad, and, let me tell you, they haven’t lost their touch. Under the direction of Grammy winning producer Gilbert Velasquez and his brand new VMB Music Group label, Los Chamacos have offered up a strong collection of tracks, including some classic Chamacos tunes.

The first single, Todo Para Mi, is a very danceable ranchera with the noticeable participation of Velasquez on guitar. With a smooth beat in which one can either hold their partner close or take on a bunch of vueltas, this tune is definitely a favorite of mine. But, the album leads off with another great ranchera, Alma Enamorado, which is classic Chamacos.

Cuando Me Oigas Cantar is a hard-driving ranchera that leaves you no choice but to zapatear featuring Chente Barrera and Jaime de Anda as a duet. Little Joe Hernandez is also featured on Morena, Morenita in what is sure to be a memorable hit. And if that wasn’t enough, RGV legend Rene Joslin (also dad of Roel, Chamacos bajo player) appears on the classic Al Pie De Este Arbol.

Los Chamacos also take us down memory lane with a cumbia instrumental, as well as a remake of the classic medley, Mi Musica Favorita. While the original “Favorita” touched a bit on some of their favorite tunes made famous by legends, this new one adds lyrics and music to each tune–something they had done live for years. Of course, who can forget Ex-Novia? It’s on there, too with some great harmonies.

Conchita La Viuda Alegre, the tune about a happy widow, is another classic that Los Chamacos bring to life. Estrella Blanca is a classy bolero that brings out the acordeon and bajo sexto, along with some harmonies that make this a powerful tune. All-in-all, fans will enjoy this production.

I’ll have to say this:  Gilbert Velasquez has taken a classic Tejano Conjunto that had already made their mark and brought out a much bolder sound from them. That’s why I like indie labels, because this one in particular doesn’t do things in cookie-cutter fashion, in my opinion. Congrats to Jaime y Los Chamacos on this amazing production.

Los Chamacos are:  Jaime de Anda- Acordeon, Vocals; Eduardo Ordoñez- Bass and Vocals; Roel Joslin- Bajo Sexto; Ruben Mendoza- Drums, and Gilbert Fierros- Percussion.

Senator Garcia Votes Against State Budget Proposal; It Fails to Address Needs

This just in to the inbox:

AUSTIN – Today, Senator Sylvia Garcia voted against the Senate’s State Budget proposal. The Senate Budget failed to address billions of dollars in identified needs such as:  education,  facilities, healthcare, pre-k, and transportation.

“Texas should not be conducting corporate tax giveaways at the expense of kids and families – it should be providing the services that taxpayers have paid for, such as schools and highways. We made a promise to invest in Texas schools after the 2011 cuts, but instead we face a looming school finance lawsuit,” Senator Garcia stated.

“We were elected to wisely invest Texans’ hard-earned money and grow the Texas dream, but this budget does neither. When the state underfunds schools and roads, it penalizes the hardworking taxpayers that rely on the state to meet these fundamental needs. The budget fails to adequately fund healthcare, pre-k, and other priorities of working families in Texas.”

“In an unprecedented move, Department of Public Safety’s budget is nearly tripled to $811 million in an alleged response to border security threats in South Texas. Meanwhile, crime rates are increasing across Houston and other areas of the state. I cannot honestly tell my constituents that we’re representing their best interests by putting $811 million into policing the border, when they feel unsafe in their own communities hundreds of miles away.”

April 18: Kingwood Area Dems To Host Annual Candidate Brunch; DC to MC

As reported by the Kingwood Observer.

The Kingwood Area Democrats (KAD) are pleased to announce that they are set to host their annual Candidate Meet-n-Greet & Brunch on Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m., at the Kingwood Country Club.

The event serves as KAD’s annual fundraiser which covers the cost of organizing and engaging voters and activists in the Kingwood-Atascocita-Humble area.

Emceed by Houston political blogger Stace Medellín ofDosCentavos.net, the morning’s featured speaker will be 2014 candidate for Texas Comptroller Mike Collier.

The event is an opportunity to meet and hear from 2015 candidates for Houston mayor, city controller and city council, as well as elected officials.

For a $40 contribution, attendees will enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast. This, along with a morning of political fellowship with Democratic neighbors, will make for an energizing event as the 2015 city of Houston campaigns take shape.

“Kingwood voters are vital to any electoral victory,” stated KAD president, Kevin McManis, “So, we invite city of Houston candidates to meet and speak to a group of committed voters who take their duty to vote and engage voters very seriously.”

Attendees may purchase tickets or make a contribution at http://tinyurl.com/kadbrunch2015. Or for more information, contact Tony Morales at 832-593-3914.

Kingwood Country Club is located at 1700 Lake Kingwood Trail in Kingwood. For more information on KAD, visit   http://www.KingwoodAreaDemocrats.org.

Yes, Hillary Clinton has announced, but we’ve still got 2015 elections to work and enjoy. I’m looking forward to emceeing the event because it’ll be one of my first chances to listen to the candidates who want my vote. To be clear, DosCentavos has not made any endorsements in Mayoral, Controller, and At-Large races, so, I will be fair to all candidates who attend. Those who don’t attend, well, that’s another story.

Register to attend. The $40 will be worth it–I PROMISE!

DC Reviews: David Lee Garza y Los Musicales ~ 2715

dlgnewDavid Lee Garza y Los Musicales recently released their 27th album in the year 2015, hence, the name of the album. Released on David Lee’s DLG Records, the album introduces new vocalist, Cezar Martinez, to David Lee Garza’s vast fan base.

The album also features guest vocalist and legend, the iron-throated Jessy Serrata. Also featured is Christian/Tejano vocalist Jorge David Marroquin.

Garza is known for launching the solo careers of numerous vocalists, including Ram Herrera, Emilio Navaira, Jay Perez, Marcos Orozco, and others, which is actually something of which he is proud. In an interview last year, Garza stated that he is always in search of a new vocalist, but not necessarily one with the legacy sound that put Los Musicales on the map. And Martinez is a vocalist with his own unique voice and able to deliver the tunes chosen for the album.

What hasn’t been lost is the legacy sound of Los Musicales. Te Compraron Con Dinero kicks off this ranchera-based album con ganas, but it is the first single, Traigan Mas Botellas, that sounds like something out of an 80s edition album–and that’s a good thing. Las Cosas Que Tiene La Vida, with its smooth latin intro, transitions into another danceable ranchera that will keep boots on the floor.

My favorite tune, thus far, is one I recall hearing on a Guti Ramirez album back in the 90s–La Apasionada. Con Dinero No comes a close second with its harmonies and musical change ups. Se Te Olvido, Secreto de Amor, and Sufre Sin Llorar round out Martinez’s debut, with the latter showing off some chops on the jazz organ.

Jessy Serrata, on his second project with David Lee, delivers on En El Jardin Del Amor. Marroquin joins the production on a beautiful Christian bolero tune, Si No Hablas Con Dios.

While Martinez gives us a strong performance and shows a lot of confidence with highs and lyric delivery, the main ingredient to Los Musicales has always been Los Musicales. They’re among the best musicians in the industry and have never disappointed on a production.

So, it’s about time everyone added another to their Tejano collection, and David Lee Garza’s 2715 needs to be at the top of the shopping list.

Is He or Isn’t He? The Saga Continues…

adrianWell, there’s nothing official yet, but Schleifer at the Chron cites “sources” as saying that Sheriff Adrian Garcia will announce for Houston Mayor in another month.

Garcia has sent signals over the past six months that he would join the crowded race to replace Mayor Annise Parker, emptying his mostly non-transferable political bank account, commissioning a poll and this past weekend attending a labor-organized policy forum intended for potential candidates for municipal office.

I’m sort of with Kuff on this in that it really is sounding like a broken record; not Garcia’s record player, but everyone elses. But, what if it’s really true?

I’m sure the Democratic freak-outs will continue over the Sheriff’s imminent resignation, leaving the Republican county commissioner’s court to appoint a right-winger to the post. I’m sure none of us wants a right-winger as Sheriff who will roll back any advances Garcia has pushed forward. And for those who have a beef with the Sheriff over his deportation record given his support of 287g and Secure Communities, I’m pretty sure we’ll be debating immigrant tent jails and pink striped jail uniforms soon with a Republican in office. Still, nothing is forever, and if Garcia wants to move on to another position, that’s his right. Who knows? He may become your favorite candidate for Mayor if and once he rolls out his plan for Houston.

I will add that recently, Sheriff Garcia came out against SB185–the legalized racial profiling bill that was debated on Monday. Of all the unofficial and official candidates, Garcia is the only one who has offered a take on a bill that would affect the City of Houston quite negatively.

That said, until I get a embargoed press release from his team, he’s still Houston Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

PDiddie has some questions for the Sheriff.

 

 

 

Garcia, Others Chosen by Obama for Executive Action PR

adrianJulian Aguilar at the Trib reports that a group of Texans have been chosen by President Barack Obama to serve as the PR team to promote his executive action. Sheriff Adrian Garcia, HUD Secretary Julian Castro, construction guy Stan Marek, and Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez were on a call with Obama and his Hispanic appointee Cecilia Muñoz. Pretty soon, the next phase of DACA and the new program DAPA will have their roll-outs, as well as new deportation measures.

A bit of a reminder, Muñoz has done much of the defense of the President’s delays on immigration reform and the defense of his deportation policies. One time, she went so far as calling the 2 million, mostly non-criminal, deportees “collateral damage.”

Of course, the local Sheriff is best known for his defense of the Obama-managed deportation programs like 287(g) and Secure Communities. He had this to say:

Garcia, the Harris County sheriff, said the president’s change would actually promote law and order in his county because people would be more willing to cooperate with law enforcement efforts to fight crime.

“When there are questions and concerns that local law enforcement may become more concerned with a person’s immigration status rather than information that they have regarding cartels, human traffickers or other individuals that are interested in causing harm in our communities, like domestic or international terrorism, it impedes public safety,” he said.

Well, it sounds like the Sheriff has come around, right? Well, an article in Free Press Houston gives some analysis as to where Garcia has been and where he might be nowadays.

The President’s change includes a re-vamped deportation program which supposedly deports the worst of the worse; however, that was the intent as written of the original program. So, it is still a program that will be under the microscope, especially at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, whether Garcia is at the helm or not.

Given that there is still an imminent announcement of a Mayoral candidacy, Garcia resigning and leaving the post to a right-wing Republican who more than likely will not agree with the President’s executive action will surely put Garcia in a position to defend the President’s executive action during the Mayoral campaign. Certainly, it will also frame the position of a possible Republican appointed Sheriff for 2016.