Tag Archives: City of Houston

Houston Votes on SB4 Lawsuit Today

Over 200 members of the community showed up at City Hall yesterday to deliver public comments regarding this week’s City Council Agenda Item #16, a resolution supporting the City of Houston joining the lawsuit against Greg Abbott and the State of Texas which questions the constitutionality of Senate Bill 4–the “show me your papers” law.

According to the Chron, sparks did fly when CM Greg Travis, a known “NO” on the issue, took offense when several members of the Texas House testified that SB4 is hateful and evil. Travis used the usual conservative rhetoric of “rule of law” as the reason for SB4, rather than racist and evil reasons. State Rep. Gene Wu shot back, reminding the room that he’s heard rhetoric, such as “dirty mexican,” “wetback,” “drug dealers,” being used by those who voted for the bill and those who support those who voted for the bill.

Needless to say, the message was delivered that the City of Houston must join the lawsuit against what is basically a legalized racial profiling law. Right-wingers will say that questioning any given brown person’s citizenship is just “optional,” but opening the door to it is a danger in itself. If these conservatives refuse to get beyond the discriminatory nature of SB4, one would think that their conservative anti-spending side would creep out of them to vote FOR the lawsuit to avoid costly litigation that will come. The message they send is that they just don’t care and don’t mind targeting entire groups of people–citizen and not.

Anyway, you can still make some last-minute calls to your district and at-large council members. Tell them to vote FOR today’s Agenda Item #16–the resolution to support the City joining the lawsuit against Senate Bill 4.

District A Brenda Stardig 832-393-3010
District B Jerry Davis 832-393-3009
District C Ellen Cohen 832-393-3004
District D Dwight Boykins 832-393-3001
District E Dave Martin 832-393-3008
District F Steve Le 832-393-3002
District G Greg Travis 832-393-3007
District H Karla Cisneros 832-393-3003
District I Robert Gallegos 832-393-3011
District J Mike Laster 832-393-3015
District K Larry Green 832-393-3016

At-Large 1 Mike Knox 832-393-3014
At-Large 2 David Robinson 832-393-3013
At-Large 3 Michael Kubosh 832-393-3005
At-Large 4 Amanda Edwards 832-393-3012
At-Large 5 Jack Christie 832-393-3017 (* Still Abstaining?)

Of course, if Kuff is correct, it could also get tagged by an opponent which would delay the vote until next week. Delaying a resolution? Now, that would be a waste of time and resources and a show of how evil and hateful opponents really are.

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FIEL: Time’s Up, Mayor Turner, Sue Texas Over SB4

Immigrant rights group, FIEL, held a press conference this morning to remind Mayor Sylvester Turner that the end of the legislative session has come and that it is time for Houston to join other cities in filing a lawsuit against Greg Abbott and the State of Texas over its new racial profiling law, SB4. Turner has stated he would begin to look at SB4 after the legislative session.

KPRC reported on today’s action. FIEL has provided video of the press conference.

“Our community and many of its leaders have been very patient and have continued to have trust in Mayor Turner. We are less than 100 days from SB4 being implemented. We do not need more promises of a welcoming Houston. We need the mayor and City Council to take action to protect Houston immigrant families,” said Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL.

Mayor Turner has since responded with a press statement.

Now that the Legislative session is over, the city is in the process of reviewing and analyzing all bills that passed the House and Senate, including Senate Bill 4. The city, of course, will adhere to all laws that are deemed constitutional and consistent with the rulings of the Supreme Court.  SB4 does not take effect until September 1, 2017. In the meantime, the city of Houston will do its analysis.

Mayor Sylvester Turner

On Wednesday, May 31, the City Council will hold a public session and SB4 opponents are expected to appear to ask the Mayor and City Council for legal action against the State of Texas.

The last-day-of-session antics of Republican State Rep. Matt Rinaldi (Irving) in which he stated he had called ICE on Texas Latinos who were protesting SB4 at the State Capitol prove the intent of bigoted racial profiling laws created by Republicans. These laws do nothing for public safety; if anything, they have a negative effect on safety and the economy. But everyone involved already knows this. Let’s call it what it is–state-supported racism.

City leaders have a duty to protect its residents from these kind of laws, and the only recourse left (other than the 2018 and 2019 elections) is the courts. Frankly, if the City of Houston can pay for lobbyists to push for pension reform, then it can pay for lawyers to ensure its residents are protected from SB4.

Or, maybe the Mayor is just waiting for the governor’s signature on pension reform. And for the ink to dry.

Will Houston Sue Texas for SB4?

traveladvisoryAt a community forum in which Mayor Sylvester Turner, Chief Art Acevedo and others participated, it seemed the City’s priorities did not include any concrete decisions regarding SB4. At least, not until later.

Turner said that his administration would evaluate the bill after the legislative session ends May 29.

For those of us who would be targeted for racial profiling by local cops (it’s not just immigrants, but brown people in general), the lack of prioritization on challenging SB4 and defending from Republican targeting of Latinos has left a community wondering if it matters to elected leaders.

From Turner, the response to SB4 all along has been the same:

“I want you to know that Houston will be a welcoming, just and compassionate city that will work to protect all people from discrimination.”

Acevedo who had previously said that his department would not be a local INS, changed his commentary, though:

Acevedo made clear that police will be required to fill out a report and detail why they felt it necessary to ask someone’s immigration status.

“If you stop somebody for jaywalking and the only reason you’re asking because they don’t speak English,” Acevedo said, “that will be profiling, and we will not tolerate it.”

So, it is pretty obvious that, much like Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, HPD intends to follow the law. But there is no indication of whether Houston will join other smaller cities and the City of Austin in suing the State of Texas to challenge the law’s constitutionality. Certainly, I don’t expect the right-wing-heavy commissioners court at the County level to do anything, and certainly, Judge Ed Emmett has remained quiet. Frankly, the City’s lawyers should already be studying the law in anticipation of a decision to sue BEFORE it goes in effect on September 1.

In my opinion, nothing says “welcoming city” like a city suing the state government because of a racist law that targets at least 50% of the population. Certainly, it would show the city’s leaders are fighting for people, and not just using “diversity” as a means to increase tourism and business profits.

No doubt, Mayor Turner is awaiting the fate of the pension bill, which is the city leadership’s top priority. But as much as our city’s coffers should be a priority, so should its inhabitants. Immigrant or not, brown or not, we all pay taxes and shouldn’t live in fear of our own law enforcement. And if city coffers are the priority, certainly, Mayor Turner and the City Council should also consider the feasibility of SB4’s enactment and its effect on HPD’s budget, considering that being a Local INS will cost a lot more–in monetary term and in terms of crime-reporting, as the Chief has already specified.

Obviously, let’s stay tuned.

 

 

The Stace Run-Off Slate 2015

LatinoVoteMayor:  Sylvester Turner ~ Rep. Turner is the only candidate with a realistic plan to keep Houston moving forward. He not only recognizes the diversity of Houston, but wants to move the city toward equality for all, especially regarding equality in socioeconomic status. When it comes to roads, Rep. Turner wants to ensure they are paid for, rather than drown the City in debt. The City faces some challenges in the future and it will take someone like Rep. Turner to stand up to gloom-n-doom ideas like his opponent’s, and, instead, stand up for the needs of the City. Vote Sylvester Turner for Mayor.

Controller:  Chris Brown ~ Chris Brown has the institutional knowledge–twelve years of working in city finances–that taxpayers need. He’s a professional in the field and offers years of experience in producing effective governmental audits. Chris Brown will be a practical, forward-thinking City Controller. Houston needs a Controller who will ensure that our City Council members are presented with options, rather than a financial map to nowhere. I’m voting Chris Brown for City Controller.

At-Large 2:  David Robinson. Robinson had a great first term. He leads and brings people together. Vote Robinson!

At-Large 4:  Amanda Edwards ~ Edwards is a forward-thinking woman who offers some much needed energy to the Council table. I’m voting Edwards.

District H:  Jason Cisneroz ~ Did you see Jason’s performance on Viva Houston? Jason is the young, articulate, energetic, Latino candidate District H needs to ensure its needs are addressed. Vote Jason!

District J:  Mike Laster ~ Mike’s the incumbent. He’s done a great job–and he served as my Council Member for a couple of years before I moved to District F. Vote Laster!

District F:  Richard Nguyen ~ Let’s get Richard re-elected. He has served our neighborhoods well, even the small part on “this” side of the beltway. Richard represents everyone in the district, and that’s why I like residing in F. Vote Nguyen!

Click here for Early Voting Locations

December 2 – December 5: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

December 6: 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

December 7 – December 8: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m

 

 

City of Houston Races Are Set!

city-of-houston5PM Monday came around and the final filings were released by the City of Houston for the 2015 races. Looks like there will be contests in most races, some will be decided on November 3, others in the December run-offs.

Council Races on my radar (click here for full lists):

District F (home):  Kendall Baker, Steve Le, and incumbent Richard Nguyen. From the looks of it, Baker and Le are pro-discrimination, while Nguyen is a HERO supporter and has served my new district well.

District H:  Jason Cisneroz, Roland Chavez, Karla Cisneros, and Abel Davila. Jason is a friend of mine, I’ve made no secret of that.

District I:  Robert Gallegos (incumbent) and Herlinda Garcia. If this is the same Garcia who ran for HCC on the fake-Black Dave Wilson anti-Gay ticket, then, we know where she stands. Gallegos, on the other hand, hit the ground running once elected and has done a great job for the district that I almost landed at when moving.

District J:  Mike Laster, Manuel Barrera, and James Bigham. Before I moved to F, I supported Laster for his second term. He’s represented the district well and is a HERO supporter.

At-Large 5:  There are five candidates, but the only one worth watching is Philippe Nassif.

At-Large 1:  With eight candidates, only two have interested me:  Lane Lewis and Tom McCasland. Of course, I’ve known Lewis for a while and have supported him in the past.

At-Large 2:  Incumbent David Robinson remains the only candidate of the five who filed that is interesting and serving constituents well.

At-Large 4:  Seven filed for this seat; however, the two that I have met and remain the most interesting and qualified are Amanda Edwards and Laurie Robinson.

At-Large 3:   Doug Peterson is the only candidate I’ve really met from my Democratic activism. Some might want anyone but Kubosh, but Peterson is getting the Dem nods.

City Controller:  This one has six candidates, but the only one I’ve given my attention is Chris Brown.

What is unfortunate is that while many of my favorite candidates have an actual interest in serving and addressing multiple issues, their opponents seem to be more interested in being bigots, or making this a bathroom election. Houstonians need to learn about the candidates, about the real issues, and vote accordingly.

Well, those are my thoughts for now. I’ll work on something for the Mayoral race soon.

Chron did a little breakdown of the races.

Catching Up on a Lunes

First Day of School

juiceboxGood luck to all involved in educating kids. If you’re a college student, take responsibility for your academics, take advantage of all kinds of student services (especially tutoring!), and don’t expect any hand-holding. Teachers, please enjoy your after-school juice box (see pic). All, be safe on the streets.

Local Campaigns

Now that it seems the club endorsements are about done, I’m looking forward to the actual campaigns, including the pro-HERO campaign. If you want to catch up on some of the local races, check out Kuff’s interviews with District F’s Richard NguyenDistrict H’s Jason Cisneroz, At Large 3’s Doug Peterson and  Texas Leftist’s questionnaire of At Large 5’s Philippe Nassif.

Protesting Children

Just when Hillary double-downed on Central American kids last week, we’ve got some anti-kid activity at a local HISD Arabic magnet school on the first day of school. See what I did there?

Monday Music ~ Ram Herrera – Los Años (Mucho Mas Que Amor-2015)

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

 

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!

At-Large 5: Philippe Nassif and Durrel Douglas

As Kuff mentioned last week, there’ve been some changes in the race for At-Large 5, with one prospect bowing out and two candidates coming in to challenge the incumbent, Jack Christie. I wrote a short piece about Durrel Douglas, whom I’ve known for a few years; however, it was a short time after that I found out that Philippe Nassif, who had been running for At-Large 1, had made the jump into At-Large 5.

nassifI met Nassif within the last year and there’s no doubt he has a lot of energy and great ideas on which to run for AL5. I had the pleasure of meeting with him recently and found out a lot about him, including his Lebanese and Mexican background.  His experience working with Mayor Annise Parker, the Obama Campaign, and the White House, as well as with a global nonprofit, gives him a well-rounded background on which to base his campaign.

Durrel Douglas

Here’s what I wrote about Durrel last week.

durrelI’m glad to see Durrel Douglas announce for At-Large 5 against Jack Christie. He’s been a good organizer and activist and will have a lot to say during the campaign.  Douglas, an immigration reform supporter, has already proposed enacting a municipal ID as a means of making Houston more welcoming and safer. I’m looking forward to Durrel elevating the political conversation in this town. It is way overdue.

There’s no doubt that both Nassif and Douglas will provide some energy to the race that the incumbent hasn’t ever had. While the incumbent has an endless supply of cash, I’m hoping voters seek new leadership from the unboring, energetic, and responsive. And in this race, voters have a couple of choices.

Stay tuned.

Catching Up on Local Political Stuff

Cops Endorse

I haven’t been a fan of HPOU ever since they supported racial profiling of Latinos for immigration purposes. You see, some of us good liberals never forget. I always hope that some of my favorite candidates vie for the nod then throw it back in their faces. Of course, I’m always disappointed. Earlier this week, some activists protested at HPOU requesting that they not back the current racial profiling law that is being debated in Austin (SB185). The protesters pretty much got the same message as before from the cops.

Sheriff Adrian Garcia continues to be the only prospect for 2015 to take a stand against SB185, which would directly affect HPD and the City of Houston.

Durrel Douglas for AL5

I’m glad to see Durrel Douglas announce for At-Large 5 against Jack Christie. He’s been a good organizer and activist and will have a lot to say during the campaign.  Douglas, an immigration reform supporter, has already proposed enacting a municipal ID as a means of making Houston more welcoming and safer. I’m looking forward to Durrel elevating the political conversation in this town. It is way overdue.

Make sure you attend Durrel Douglas’ kick-off.

Who Will Run on Fighting Corruption?

Because I got sick of it 10 years ago when airport concessions were being debated.