Tag Archives: Adrian Garcia

Commissioners Go With Internal Astroworld Investigation

Some have mixed feelings and others don’t know how to feel about it, but I think it was a bad move by county commissioners to keep things internal when it comes to investigating what occurred at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival.

County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s vision for an investigation was about outcomes to make events safer. Given HPD and its chief’s press conferences soon after the tragedy, I don’t have confidence in their investigation being of any use to what needs to happen regarding event safety.

As far as Commissioner Garcia’s fear of lawsuits, well, they’re coming. They are already happening. And they will do a deep dive into things and they will be quite public in pushing out their version of the details. Hell, their intent is to win.

An independent investigator would delve deeper into the county’s and the Sports Authority’s affairs regarding events, perhaps getting ahead of the lawsuits. An independent eye would also not have political worries of investigating the people who are really in charge, including political appointees, who make the decisions (or as they call it “oversight”) regarding event safety and management. Grieder at the Chron seems to be thinking this way.

Anyway, there have been a few BS moves that placed the Democratic majority in a bad light and this is one of them. Not good during an election year.

Judge Lesley Briones Announces for Harris Commish Pct 4

With the ink pretty much dry on the recently approved redrawing of Harris County Commissioner precincts, Judge Lesley Briones announced that she would be resigning her position as Judge of County Civil Court at Law #4 to seek the Democratic nomination for the newly approved Precinct 4 Commissioner’s seat in 2022.

Currently, right-winger and consistent anti-progress vote Jack Cagle is in the seat, but the redesigned precinct has been made an opportunity for Democrats as a majority-minority district. Cagle could always move to the safe Republican precinct #3 and run against Tom Ramsey in 2024.

Stated Briones:

Together, we can build a county government that keeps our families safe, protects our homes from flooding, expands access to health care, treats everyone fairly, and creates good jobs that help our families thrive.

I have been represented by the current Precinct 4 commissioner for the last ten years. In that time, Harris County has changed – and now is the time for new leadership that will get better results for our community.

Briones has been endorsed by the Commissioners in Precinct 1 and 2, Democrats Rodney Ellis and Adrian Garcia, respectively. One will recall that the current Democratic majority, including County Judge Lina Hidalgo, appointed Briones to her current position after a freak resignation caused a vacancy. Briones handily defeated a Dem opponent and went on to win her race in 2020. Now, Briones is looking toward another seat in Harris County government.

Regarding Briones:

Lesley Briones is a former judge, non-profit leader, attorney, and public school teacher. A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Lesley practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP, served as General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer of the Laura & John Arnold Foundation, and most recently served as the judge of Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 4. Lesley and her husband Adán are the proud parents of three young daughters.

I have high praise for Briones as a campaigner having met her on the trail. Anyone who is willing to campaign for votes by actually talking to people gets praise from me. (The powers that be didn’t pick a good one for Pct 3 in 2020.) I’ve been drawn into Pct 4 and my hopes are for a strong, energetic, people-oriented campaign because that is how Democrats win.

Good luck to former Judge Briones. I look forward to seeing her campaign and issues develop as we get closer to the Primary.

Christopher Hollins Named Interim County Clerk

Late last night, I got the message that the Harris County Commissioner’s Court appointed local lawyer and Texas Democratic Party Finance Chair Christopher Hollins to serve as interim Harris County Clerk.

The court voted 3-2 along party lines to approve Hollins. Five public speakers urged court members to choose Teneshia Hudspeth, Trautman’s chief deputy. County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said Hollins’ pledge to serve only on an interim basis factored in their decision.

So, it will be up to the Party’s precinct chairs to select someone to be the nominee on the November 2020 ballot. Let the games begin.

Hollins, though, seems like candidate material. He served the Obama administration’s Office of Presidential Personnel as a legal intern before embarking on his career. No doubt, he has some Democratic bonafides considering his current position in the Party.

After navigating the local Party website, I finally found out how to find my precinct chair. Unfortunately, they want all my information before telling me who publicly signed up to run for the office (or got appointed later). Anyway, if you want to lobby your precinct chair, I guess this is how you can start.

 

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!

Little Joe Headlines Houston GOTV Event

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Around 200 East End voters and activists attended a Get Out The Vote Rally at the East End Events Center on Saturday afternoon. Headlining was the legendary Little Joe y La Familia, with Dallam County Band opening the event with some toe-tapping country tunes.

Little Joe has endorsed Lupe Valdez for Texas Governor and was part of this event which also showed off Sylvia Garcia for Congress, Lina Hidalgo for County Judge, and Adrian Garcia for County Commissioner, Pct. 2. But beyond the political speeches, it was good mix of multi-generational fun and celebration of cultura–all a great combo when it comes to Latino GOTV.

There was no doubt as to the progressive nature of the event–the Harris County Democratic Party was among the driving forces behind the event, so Party Chair Lillie Schechter deserves kudos for this. But it was the candidates and their stories which energized the crowd. Whether it was farm worker kid Lupe Valdez going through the ranks to become Dallas County Sheriff or Lina Hidalgo’s trek from a drug-torn Colombia to the United States and a life of public service, the crowd was energized by all of the candidates.

Little Joe Hernandez, the King of the Brown Sound, also spoke on the importance of this election, giving a rousing endorsement of Valdez while also declaring victory after viewing Valdez’s debate performance against Greg Abbott. “I had never been prouder of a candidate for representing us and fighting for us. As Dolores and Cesar said, “Si, Se Puede!”

Valdez spoke regarding the uphill battle, as Abbott is running anti-Latino ads on TV paid for by wealthy friends who then get appointed to choice positions in the government. “This campaign will be fought, not bought,” has become theme for all Democrats. Valdez added that she’s fought uphill battles all her life–in life, in the military, and in politics. “One more battle is nothing!”

Lina Hidalgo reiterated her theme that she’ll show up to work as County Judge every day, and not just when it floods, noting that the people of Harris County need a proactive leader that gets ahead of problems, rather than waiting for problems to arise.

Adrian Garcia, vying to upend an entrenched Republican who has cut various program that benefited families and the community stated that his opponent and the current administration play off the same sheet of music and that new leadership is needed. He also pointed to the campaign of Penny Shaw, running in Pct. 4, as a need for change and a new majority in Harris County.

Leading the charge was State Senator Sylvia Garcia, who for all intents and purposes, will become the next Congresswoman of the 29th District. Still, she hasn’t stopped getting out the vote for Democrats. “Vote Straight Democrat and we’ll elect the right people–all of them,” she stated. It should also be said that she arrived after an afternoon of blockwalking in the East End.

Also at the event were judicial candidates Raul Rodriguez and Alex Salgado; Richard Cantu for Harris County Dept. of Education Trustee; Carol Alvarado for HD145 and SD6; among other elected officials.

Hopefully, this is the first of many GOTV events targeting Latinos.

 

Little Joe Endorses Lupe Valdez for Texas Governor

The King of the Brown Sound, Little Joe Hernandez, has endorsed Lupe Valdez for Texas Governor. In fact, he proudly supports his prima. In a video released (above) by the campaign, Hernandez explains his reasons, the one resonating the most, “This race will be fought, not bought,” an obvious hit at the price tag hanging from Greg Abbott.

Little Joe y La Familia is performing today at a rally in support of Lupe Valdez, Sylvia Garcia for Congress, Lina Hidalgo for County Judge, and Adrian Garcia for County Commissioner, Pct. 2 at 2:30PM at the East End Event Center on Dahlia Street. 

I’ll tell the Latino community this:  There are a few Dem insiders still stewing over Valdez’s Dem primary win, and there are apologists for the right who simply won’t support her or donate to her campaign while giving to others. And there are others raising and sending money to candidates in other states. It’s up to us to spread the word about Lupe Valdez. Es Nuestra and she’ll fight for all communities.

Looking Forward To The 2018 Dem Primary

Well, looks like all the excitement (and panic) over the race for Congressional District 29 has subsided as current and former officeholders who contemplated running for the seat decided to either run for re-election to their respective seats, or, go in a different direction.

State Reps Armando Walle (140) and Carol Alvarado (145) have decided to run for re-election. Both have served for multiple terms and are considered leaders at the Capitol who will be needed to take on an expected right-wing onslaught of bigoted bills. Of course, both may also be thinking of the free-shot at running for SD-6 without the need to resign if/when Sylvia Garcia is elected to Congress, which we’ll know after the Dem Primary since the district usually goes Democratic in November.

Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia has also decided to go in a different direction and challenge right-winger Jack Morman for County Commish Pct. 2, which covers East Harris County. As much as Adrian Garcia and I have debated on some issues, I’ve always been a fan of his. I think he can run hardest toward November, as well as excite the electorate to vote down-ballot.

Harris Democrats have been updating a page containing folks running for judicial positions. There are a few candidates in contested races that I’m supporting, including Rabeea Collier for the 113th District Court; Fred Cook for the 189th District Court; and Raul Rodriguez for County Criminal Court #13.

I’ve known Rabeea for over a decade, which is most of her legal career. We both organized in the Kingwood/Humble area as activists trying to increase the Democratic bottom line. As an activist, she has worked hard to turn Harris County blue. As an attorney, she zealously represents her clients. She has put in the sweat equity over the years and deserves to be our nominee.

Fred Cook first ran for judge in 2008 in a very contested race in which Judge Steven Kirkland was the victor. I supported Fred back then and we both supported Kirkland afterwards. When I heard he was running again, I felt it was about time.

Raul Rodriguez has run for positions at different times, while also putting in time volunteering in various activities. I mean, whenever I go to something in the community, Raul (and wife Pati) are there! Raul deserves to be our nominee in November. He’s experienced and has a sincere connection to the community.

There will be more to come as more candidates file, especially the statewides. I’m hoping Sheriff Lupe Valdez of Dallas files for Governor, otherwise, I won’t be left with any good choices and I may just skip the race entirely (or hold my nose in November). And I really hope Little Brown Trust Fund Baby gets a challenge for Land Commish.

Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  And within an hour of this post, this just in:

DC (Finally) Reacts To Tuesday

By the time I clicked [REFRESH] a little after 7PM on Tuesday night, I knew most of my picks were going down in flames. Here are my reactions to a few races a few days after sifting through the ashes–in no particular order.

LatinoVoteJuliet Stipeche-HISD8:  It was pretty upsetting to see her down by 10% the whole night. What was the reason? Her unique name versus a familiar “Hispanic-sounding” name? Her opponent endorsed by anti-Equality bigots? The fact that there were almost 5,000 (29%) undervotes? And what caused the undervote? Interest in smacking down HERO? Interest in voting for Adrian Garcia and pushing [CAST BALLOT]? Or are people fed up with HISD and any incumbent was a target? Or as Campos mentioned, was Juliet’s opponent not taken as seriously as she should have been? One thing is for sure, Stipeche had a good team and partnerships with other campaigns to GOTV. Perhaps all of these reasons are the reason for such a defeat in one way or another. A loss is still a loss, but I expect Stipeche to stay in the game, giving back to her community as she always has, and fighting for the people. What’s next for HISD? I don’t know, I reside in Alief ISD.

Adrian Garcia-Mayor:  Garcia started out criticized by most Dems for leaving his post as one of the top Dems in the County. Funny, these are the same people who’d get mad at me for challenging him on 287g and other immigration issues because “we need to re-elect him and then we can work on ‘your’ issues.”  So, I threw caution to the wind and decided to support Adrian–a progressive-to-moderate Latino who I thought had the most potential to be a mayoral “first” during the next decade. (I don’t see many other Latin@s with that potential locally, yet.)

Kuff has a good post on what may have happened to Adrian. One “cause” may have been a lack of (or slow) reaction to when the white Dem candidate and the right-winger who made the run-off went on the attack about the jail conditions and jail budget issues, which were mostly inherited by Garcia. I asked myself, “How can we expect a major culture change in a law enforcement agency that is over a century old led by any one Democrat (with no help from a Republican commissioner’s court) for a few years?” At least, that would have been my defense for the purpose of not losing Dem loyalists and moderates, since he needed more of those to make a run-off. Garcia was still a cop at heart, but he made some impressive gains in less than two terms. But he left, so, that left him open to attacks from Dems who weren’t happy he left, I guess. I’d like to think that if he had stayed in the post, the Dem loyalists would have been defending him for a third term. Maybe? Or would he have been primaried? I’m not afraid to say that this part showed a lot of hypocrisy by Dems all because they wanted their guy to win. Sure, you might say I’m a hypocrite for overlooking my differences with Garcia, but at least I embrace my hypocrisy and still criticize those I support (like Adrian), when needed. Ah, politics! 

Run-Off:  I’ll support Sylvester Turner, as Adrian Garcia has.

Controller:  Chris Brown must win. No-brainer.

At-Large 1:  There are a lot of upset people because their guy didn’t make the run-off. Well, you can’t run on a sweet resume and wealthy connections alone. You actually have to be personable, talk to people, and make connections with regular people. That’s why I liked Lane Lewis, because he’s been doing that for a while and it would have been a good quality to have on Council. Hell, it’s hard not to support someone who “likes” FB pics of your mom or asks about “Flo,” right? Instead of the DosCentavos nod, perhaps the #FriendsOfFlo nod would have helped more. (Of course, this is just my perspective.) Keep on truckin’, Lane!

In other thoughts, a few more elections and Griff may make it to Council!

Run-Off:  [Blank] Anti-Hero BS bothers the hell out of me.

At-Large 2:  David Robinson had too many opponents and is left challenged by a right-wing, anti-Equality, anti-Civil Rights preacher. Obviously, we need to keep Robinson.

At-Large 3:  Nice try, Doug Peterson. Thanks for stepping up and giving us a choice.

At-Large 4:  Amanda Edwards made the run-off against anti-immigrant, anti-Latino Latino Ol’ Roy. Amanda must win the run-off!

At-Large 5:  Philippe Nassif ran a good campaign. He’s got more potential in his pinky finger than most office holders have in their entire bodies, so, keep an eye open for this guy. This is another run-off that I’m leaving BLANK. The whole anti-HERO BS just bothers the hell out of me.

HERO: I’ve had conversations with a few people. There’s talk that Mayor Parker will bring it up before she leaves office–and during the run-off campaign. That has a lot of people upset who want to make sure pro-Equality candidates aren’t caught in the undertow of hatred and ignorance in a run-off that will surely bring out the bigots if HERO is still an issue. There’s talk of adding other protections to HERO to make it more palatable to the haters. Well, in that case, add protections for gun nuts and “persecuted” christians. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know I’m not a fan of voting on civil rights protections. They should just exist–even after a fight in the courts. One thing is for sure, there is a hate-slate for the haters that must be defeated on December 12.

District F:  I hope my CM Richard Nguyen isn’t in trouble. The results between two anti-Equality candidates and Nguyen scare the heck out of me. Nguyen needs to be re-elected.

District H:  Jason Cisneroz must win this one. More than the issue of Latino representation, this is also about ensuring constituents are well-served from day 1, and Jason has that edge.

District I:  Congrats to Robert Gallegos. He ran a great race, and stayed classy against an unclassy opposition.

Ramiro Fonseca-HISD3:  Ramiro has so much potential and is sincere in what he does. Perhaps getting out of a district and trying citywide is better for him? Maybe I just want the chance to cast a ballot for him.

Final thought:  When we look at the numbers, a couple of things will be true:  Latinos still aren’t taking their responsibility to vote seriously, and, those that are voting aren’t friendly to Equality issues, even though our community’s history is steeped in the Civil Rights era. All of this has got to change. What’s the answer? I found a recent Noam Chomsky quote that put things in perspective:

“The only thing that’s gonna ever bring about any meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated popular movements which don’t pay attention to the election cycle.”

Adrian Garcia Raises $1.5M in 56 Days

adrianpicThe Adrian Garcia for Mayor campaign reports raising $1.5 million in the 56 days it had to raise funds before the first reporting deadline. Giving credit to grassroots energy and a base of loyal supporters, Garcia states that voters are attracted to his fiscally responsible management practices during his terms as Sheriff.

Garcia:  “Our message that we reformed the Sheriff’s Office, saved the taxpayers millions of dollars, and kept people and families safe is resonating with voters across Houston.  We will bring that same fiscally responsible approach and smart management practices to tackle the tough issues at City Hall.  The broad base of support we have already built puts us well on the way to victory in November.”

Local pundits had stated that for Garcia to look viable he would need to report raising at least $500k during this period, shortened because he was still on the job as Sheriff. Pundits also stated he would need to raise $2 million or more to run a viable campaign thru the first round. What this blogger noticed upon Garcia’s launch was a burst of energy and excitement from supporters that I hadn’t seen in a local campaign, especially from people who aren’t always involved in the political process. From Garcia, I expect a pretty different campaign than what we have seen from others in the recent past.

That said, for perspective, Garcia’s fundraising abilities seem to be pretty awesome if one considers the first Annise Parker campaign in 2009 raised about $800,000 in a period of five months. Garcia’s campaign calls it unprecedented in Harris County. I’m not surprised that he could do it given the energy that is backing him up, but I think I did let out a “¡Hijole!” when I read the press release. Or something like that.

Garcia’s campaign is quick to point out that he basically started from zero in the fundraising department and that he did not transfer any money from his Sheriff’s campaign account. As the Garcia campaign stated:

“We have always believed that Texas Ethics Commission rules and the City of Houston’s campaign finance laws were clear that it is inappropriate to raise money into an account for a different office with the intent to transfer those funds into a city campaign account.  We saw this recently in San Antonio when Leticia Van De Putte ultimately decided not to transfer funds from her lieutenant governor’s campaign account into her mayoral campaign account.”

As some will recall, Garcia opponent, Sylvester Turner went on a fundraising frenzy during his re-election campaign for State Representative and it is known that he will be transferring as much of the million dollars in his legislative account into his mayoral campaign account as possible. It is what it is, I guess.

Obviously, I’m looking forward to the actual report, but I am told that in-kind contributions to Garcia were minimal considering that we’re talking seven figures in total contributions. So, we await the press releases and finance reports from everyone else in the race. I can’t say I’m a fan of money races in politics, but, as they say, “money isn’t everything in a campaign, but it helps.”

Adrian Garcia Campaign Announces Grassroots Organizing Experience

The Adrian Garcia for Houston Mayor campaign announced a pretty awesome opportunity to earn some organizing experience–and it’s paid.

Adrian Garcia is a product of Houston, and is personally committed to empowering Houstonians to own a piece of his campaign for Mayor. Typically, campaign internships are unpaid, which tends to severely limit the diversity of the applicant pool. The Adrian Garcia for Mayor campaign is committed to cultivating the next generation of Houston grassroots organizers by offering those accepted a monthly stipend of $500.

Over the course of the eight week program, Fellows will:

  • learn and implement modern grassroots organizing best practices
  • learn requisite technical skills for grassroots organizing
  • empower volunteer leaders to organize their neighborhoods together

With comprehensive training and support from Deputy Field Directors, Fellows will empower and train volunteer leaders to organize their neighborhood’s voter contact and volunteer recruitment activities.

Requirements:

  • A minimum of 20 hours a week
  • 20 hours a week must include nights and weekends

You should apply if:

  • You thrive in a fast-paced environment, surrounded by people from various and diverse communities
  • You are a natural leader, with strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • You are both a self-starter and upbeat team member

We’d be especially interested in your application if:

  • You are bilingual
  • You have knocked doors or made phone calls for a campaign before

Empowering and developing volunteers within our organization is a cornerstone of our campaign. Fellows will be tasked with providing volunteers the tools and resources they need to organize their neighborhoods.

I can vouch for your future bosses, which includes one of the architects of Annise Parker’s historic 2009 victory. So, if you want to be a part of the Adrian Garcia campaign, apply.