Tag Archives: houston city council

Did You Know We Had Elections?

Yes, but most of us couldn’t vote in them. Even here in Houston.

Houston Dems were definitely engaged in trying to get the vote out in very Republican Houston City Council District G for Piper Madland. Unfortunately, she earned just under 30% against recent GOP loser for DA Mary Nan Huffman, who got just under 54% running against four opponents. Since my district is just across Westheimer from District G, I did drive by plenty of signs and polling locations with lots of signs. It was a good try for Dems in what is one of those hard-to-win districts in Houston.

In Austin, immigration attorney Jose “Chito” Vela bested six other opponents in his race for Austin City Council District 4 in a special election to replace Greg Casar who resigned to run for Congress-TX35 in the Primary. Vela earned around 60% of the 3600+ voters who showed up with a nod from Casar and Labor, not to mention a healthy bank account. Kudos to my FB friend Monica Guzman for giving it a good run and coming in 2nd. Vela will serve his constituents well.

The endorsement contests for the Harris County Democratic Primary are going full force if anyone is paying attention. The clubs sure are! If you want to keep track of the endorsements and/or who is running for what in the Dem Primary, check out Erik Manning’s spreadsheet. It really is the best source of info out there.

Don’t know if I’ll do my usual “Stace Slate” of endorsements. If I do, just remember, no money was exchanged for said endorsements and no memberships were required to be purchased. It’s just one Chicano voter (with the help of his hermanas) deciding for whom to vote. If you can’t trust 3 Chican@s whom have voted in every Democratic Primary since they were each 18, who can you trust?

Federal Assistance Funds Leave Out Undocumented Families

The effects of the pandemic continue to be exacerbated by racist policies created by Trump and the Republicans. One example is the local rental assistance program approved by Houston City Council.

The City of Houston Rental Assistance Program leaves out tax-paying undocumented families. Since the $15 million infusion into this program is based on funds from federal stimulus money, undocumented families are specifically targeted for disqualification. No doubt, much more is needed as thousands of families will be left homeless without the program. And, no doubt, undocumented families are among those left jobless by employers who take advantage of their status in the first place.

Austin, which usually disappoints in attempting to be an example of a liberal city in Texas, approved city funds for their rental assistance program. Somewhere along the line, city and county governments must stop emulating the federal government and help everyone.

We know the Grand Orange Wizard and his klan are behind this, but one would figure there would have been more of a fight about this in Washington, DC. And I think I just caught myself expecting too much, again.

Local advocacy group, FIEL Houston, responded:

We in Houston are petitioning the City of Houston to show true leadership and begin addressing the needs of the immigrant community during this pandemic. We thoroughly believe that it should not just be left up to the non profits or community organizations to take care of our own.

Another example? Colleges and Universities received a lot of federal stimulus money ($6 Billion) to assist students in need (among other expenses); and, undocumented and DACA students are also specifically left out, yet, are suffering through this pandemic like every other college student. These are tuition-paying students! 

California, being the closest thing to a beacon of hope in this day and age, has committed to assisting thousands of undocumented and DACA students in need using state funding. Arizona State University is seeking private funding to provide assistance to their undocumented students; however, no mention of state funds, but they are an anti-immigrant, republican state. Texas is an anti-immigrant republican state, as well, so, there is no expectation of leadership or action, although, some nonprofit groups are putting in some effort. But it’s not enough. Let’s be honest:  Disqualifying undocumented students has nothing to do with “the budget.” It has everything to do with bigotry and putting more money into the pockets of the wealthy.

And another?  Of course, we’ve already heard of undocumented taxpaying folks being left out of the $1200 stimulus check release. Even Americans who fell in love and married undocumented people are not receiving checks! Again, it has nothing to do with the budget if corporations are making out with millions of dollars even though they are not small businesses and when even dead people are receiving checks.

The bottom line:  Trump’s grand plan is working. He’s leaving out communities, while targeting them with wasteful anti-immigrant boondoggles (like black-colored border walls) and handing out money to military contractors and corporations. In the process, he manages to blow Blue Angel-exhaust up everyone’s hind side in a show of faux patriotism. So, people get to experience that whole “all is well with the world” feeling for 2 seconds.

All of us benefit from undocumented workers and their families, especially in this City. I think people are just asking for a little bit more effort in helping this group of people for no other reason than to be human. Now, wouldn’t that be patriotic?




2019 Houston Mayor, Council Races Shaping Up

Big thanks to Erik Manning of the Sharpstown Dems for keeping a list of incumbents and candidates up-to-date as many of us start thinking about the local election to be held in November.

The Mayoral race will be cause for a lot of ad buys and excitement on the ground–most of the money will be in this race. The open seat in District B has a growing list of prospects. The open seat being vacated by term-limited Ellen Cohen in District C will also be cause for a lot of activity and money flying around. District F’s right-winger Steve Le will hopefully get a good challenge by at least one of the candidates in what is usually a low turnout race–I really need a new council member. District J, some call it the newest Latino council district (out of 3 only 1 is brown), has a chance to actually a elect a brown person, although, the voting population is diverse and any candidate will be required to play well with all of the communities.

There are a couple of at-large races that are getting exciting, too. I’ve made my choice in At-Large 1 hoping that Raj Salhotra can work past a couple of perennial candidates and anyone else who signs up to unseat Mike Knox. There are several candidates who will try to unseat Kubosh in At-Large 3, thus far. And it seems like the entire city is running for At-Large 5, which is finally being vacated by term-limited Jack Christie (he seems to have been there forever!). Surely, there will be more signing up for all of the races before the deadline. I have no favorites in the latter two races, though. I don’t care how much money one is raising, it is sincerity, ideas, and a little bit of retail politics which earns my support early. If  one is good, the money will come. So, I’ll be keeping an eye out.

This is just an early look and a reminder that we have a very important election in November. We need to do a lot better than low double-digit turnout. And we need to be smart about our choices–getting through the bullshit that will surely be well-financed by special interests and wealthy candidates. Although the activity of people signing up seems exciting, it’s the work of the candidates that will make it exciting (and for incumbents, their actions).

I’ll have more on the individual races in the future. For now, enjoy finding out more about the candidates! Click here to see the list of candidates.


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.


Houston City Council Votes 10-6 to Join SB4 Lawsuit

Well, unsurprisingly, Houston City Council split on a resolution in support of joining the SB4 lawsuit. The vote was 10 to 6 in favor, with the six against being:  Kubosh, Martin, Travis, Knox, Stardig, and Le.

In breaking news, some of us are now looking for “welcoming” opponents and/or replacements for: Kubosh, Martin, Travis, Knox, Stardig, and Le.

The mayor chose to go the “democratic” route in allowing for discussion on a resolution. The resolution isn’t a permission slip, as much as it is a show of support from Council. Perhaps even a temperature-taking of the City Council for any other litigation against the state that may come up in the near future. I’m of the opinion that we went the democratic route in 2015 and made Mayor Turner the executive to make executive decisions.

OK, so it got done Mayor Turner’s way. I understand the political games politicians feel they must play. Meanwhile, MALDEF and other organizations have already been hard at work defending against Greg Abbott’s overreach and his Republican Party’s hateful nature.

With the coming Texas legislative special session, we can expect more overreach on bathrooms. Will Council need to vote on whether Abbott, Patrick and company need to be sued on this if it passes? As always, I’ll be on the side of human rights. When it’s the right thing to do, you just do it.

I do have a whole bunch of appreciation for CM Gallegos for leading on this, and I appreciate the support given by the others on Council. Kudos to Cesar Espinosa and FIEL and the other groups who were fighting from Day 1.

A hearing is scheduled for June 26 in which a federal judge in San Antonio will hear a preliminary injunction filed by the tiny city of El Cenizo, TX to stop SB4 from taking effect on September 1.


VIDEO: Amanda Edwards for AL4

For your consideration…

Stace and Rey Are Back!

Houston Politics with Stace and Rey is back! What is that? It’s a podcast featuring myself and local smart guy and activist, Dr. Rey Guerra. We had a few shows toward the end of 2013, but after I fought off a bad case of laryngitis, we are back and ready to talk…a lot!

So, to get back into practice, we recorded this episode last Thursday.

We cover the latest on immigration reform, the City Council election, and Wendy Davis and the Democrats. I also mention how Lt. Governor candidates are making immigration the issue on which to attack Latinos, and Kuff provides some proof today, so, it is fitting that we talked about this.

If you need to copy and paste, here’s the URL:


The plan is to bring in a VIP on our next episode to discuss Women’s Health, the Affordable Care Act, and probably more on the sexist nature of the Greg Abbott campaign toward Wendy Davis and all women. Stay tuned!


DC Endorses…

First thing’s first. You will need a photo ID to vote. Early voting starts (PDF of locations) today, October 21 and ends November 1. Election Day is November 5.

Basically, this is just a list of those whose names I will click one of these days. I won’t go all “Chron” on you by writing down my reasons because I always wonder if I will have to un-endorse an endorsed candidate. Seriously, though, I do make these DosCentavos nods without any reservation, unless otherwise noted.

Mayor – Annise Parker

Continue reading

City of Houston Final Filings 2013

The final filings are up! Click on the link and you will find your list of individuals who filed for either Houston Mayor, City Controller, or City Council. The Chron has more if you pay, or this handy chart.

Mayor Annise Parker will need to fend off nine opponents. Hopefully, she can be done in Round 1, although, that doesn’t mean we won’t have a run-off election for other races in December if she is done. Also, City Controller Ronald Green will need to fend off one opponent.

Possible Overtime

District D has twelve candidates vying for outgoing Council Member Wanda Adams’ current seat. There is little doubt that this one will end up in overtime. Although there are some good names on the list, my favorite is Christina Sanders (website).

District I seems to have ended up with the four who have been campaigning: Mendez, Gallegos, Garces, and the Republican. This one has the strong possibility of ending up in a run-off. District I is usually considered a low turnout race, which could bode well for a lone right-wing-fringe candidate; however, this time around there is no incumbent to run against, so, if Mendez, Gallegos, and Garces keep putting a good dose of energy into the race, it could just end up being a run-off amongst two of those three. It’s all about turn-out.

At-Large 2 will have four candidates; however, only the incumbent (Andrew Burks) and challenger David Robinson have drawn some attention. While both of these candidates trend more Democratic, the remaining candidates are more representative of the other side of the spectrum. That said, I would say the possibility of a run-off is only slight, if at all.

At-Large 3 is destined for a run-off with six candidates. One other right-winger announced he was dropping out, leaving Dem-leaning candidates Rogene Calvert, Roland Chavez, and Jenifer Rene Pool against anti-Parker Republican Michael Kubosh, right-winger Roy Morales, and a perennial candidate. Who will end up in overtime? My hope is that two of the three Dems will end up in the run-off. But if it is one of them against one of the right-wingers, then it seems there is definitely some competition for the right-wing spot. Morales probably has the most name ID of the two, but Kubosh has more of an ability to purchase some name ID to add to what he has earned from his anti-Parker, anti-red light camera rhetoric. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to decide between the Dem-leaning candidates.

District A is District A, I guess. Four candidates challenge the incumbent, Helena Brown.

The Other Races

In District J, it looks like I get to keep Mike Laster (unopposed). That’s a good thing. District C’s Ellen Cohen, though, drew one opponent, according to the Chron.

Dave Martin, Ed Gonzalez and Larry Green will win Districts E, H and K, respectively–or at least they didn’t get any opponents.

I sure am glad I have a choice in At-Large 5, now that James Horwitz is in the running (a third candidate signed up,too) against Jack Christie, but the final hour filings have At-Large 4’s Brad Bradford earning himself some competition from former HISD Construction Manager Issa Dadoush. Likewise, At-Large 1’s Stephen Costello will need to fend off Griff Griffin to earn another term.

Update:  Campos points to Dadoush listing a Pasadena address. Apparently, he’s registered to vote in Pasadena’s City Council District H, too, according to Harris County. So, is it Congrats, Chief?

Rounding off the City ballot, District B incumbent Jerry Davis drew three opponents, while District F’s Al Hoang and District G’s Oliver Pennington each drew one opponent.

So, hopefully, all of the updates and corrections have been made at this point. From now on, it’s a sprint to the end of Round 1.

Update:  Kuff has more, as done Texpate.

Another Choice in District D – Christina Sanders

While Texpate and Campos talk about the latest skirmishes in the City Council District D race, word came that another candidate is in the midst–Christina Sanders.

Sanders is the State Director of the Texas League of Young Voters and has been working to empower the youth vote. Here’s a community profile on Christina:

Christina Sanders is one of America’s youngest civic engagement leaders. Christina’s expertise is engaging and training young people to be involved and participate in elections, voting and the public policy. Sanders is a Houston native and received her Bachelors of Political Science and Masters of Public Administration in Public Policy degree from Texas Southern University.

Christina steered the founding of the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund, a state affiliate of the League of Young Voters Education Fund which is a non-partisan organization that seeks to register, educate and turn out young voters across the country. As State Director, Christina Sanders has lead the Texas League to grow to be the largest field-based young civic engagement organization in Texas. Under her leadership, thousands of young Texans were organized to join coalition partners to fight and defeat the proposed   Texas Voter ID Law.

Christina co-authored a manuscript entitled,” From “Block the Vote to Protect the Vote”: Historically Black Student Voting Suppression and Disen-franchisement in Texas”,  published in Volume XIV of the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy; making her one of the country’s youngest experts on Student Voter Disenfranchisement.

Christina’s passion for engaging young people in the American Political systems is also evident in her service as an adjunct professor of Political Science at Texas Southern University. Appointed at age 25, Christina was amongst the youngest Political Science professors teaching at a Texas public four-year university.  To date, she taught nearly a thousand young people about the workings of government and the importance of civic responsibility.

Ms. Sanders has worked in the office of Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis as a District Aide and Policy Analyst. While there, Sanders lead the organizing of clergy, elected officials and community groups in a collective effort that established a  Public Defender’s Office for Harris County, Texas.

Christina’s success in Public Policy is diverse as she served as the Public Policy coordinator for Houston Communities for Safe Indoor Air (HCSIA), where she successfully worked on smoke-free policy change in many Texas cities. She also served in Washington, D.C. as the National Coordinator of Black Youth Vote!, a program of the National coalition on Black Civic Participation.

Christina is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Lawyers’ Committee of Civil rights Under the Law “Young Champion of Justice Award” and the Spirit of Democracy award as recognition of courage and outstanding work in protecting the voting rights of students at Prairie View A&M University. The Houston Defender suggested that through her work she is following in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s footsteps.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about her campaign, issues, etc. No doubt she will be energizing the youth vote during an election in which the youth vote usually goes ignored by other candidates.