Tag Archives: houston

Festival Chicano Friday: Little Joe, Latin Breed, and Isabel Marie

Friday was another big night for La Onda Chicana. Thanks to Festival Chicano organizer, Daniel Bustamante, this one was one for the history books.

The evening began with a reminder from Bustamante:  Tejano is not dead. As much as the gringos in the business or the gringos at the rodeo want to tell us, it’s just not true. Thousands attending a weekend series of concerts ought to tell everyone this. Is it a struggle? Of course! But one only has to watch the musicians on stage to show that they love what they do. And the crowd loves them for it.

The most poignant reminder of the struggle was when Bustamante brought out the producer/promoter for 13 year-old Isabel Marie–one of the newest additions to the Tejano music industry. Abraham Quintanilla came out and offered a few words and also reminded us of that awful day 21 years ago. But that through all that has affected his family he continues to seek out and offer new talent shows his determination. Tejano isn’t dead.

isabelmarieIsabel Marie took the stage first and offered up a set of cumbias, rancheras, and even wowed us with her rendition of Selena’s No Me Queda Mas. At 13, she has a pretty powerful voice. As a stage performer, she is poised, but at 13, she also shows off that awkward stage a teen goes through. (If a crowd applauded me, I’d be a little geek’d out, so it’s understandable.) Still, she showed range, emotion, and the ability to keep a crowd engaged for an entire show. Great job, Isabel Marie. Keep at it!

adalbertoThe Legendary Latin Breed was up next with Adalberto Gallegos at the helm. Hundreds of years of experience took the stage–even Adalberto was a member at age 19 in 1976. Kicking off with 1988’s Latin Breed Medley, they continued on to Yo Lo Comprendo, Todos Dicen, and even ventured one of Adalberto’s solo hits from 1990, Tristes Recuerdos and a hit that I once owned on a 45 rpm record (kids, look that up), El Cisne. Adalberto wowed us with If You Need Me, too. All of this backed up by a precision-based horn section and the bass action of Stanley Revillas and guitaristics of Steve Velasquez.

littlejoeThe crowd loved every performance, but there was no doubt that they were waiting for The King of the Brown Sound–Little Joe. Another band of highly experienced, highly disciplined musicians, La Familia took off in fine form with a medley of Little Joe’s best ballads–Rebelde, Recuerdas Querido Amigo, and Por Un Amor. Then came Redneck Mes’kin Boy and Mi Nena. Then came some blues music with Lonely, Lonely Nights, which Little Joe delivered impressively, backed up by amazing horn and guitar action. Bass master Mike Torres, III delivered on cumbia El Alacran and percussionist Sam Jones on My Girl. The night continued with hit after hit, including Cartas Marcadas, and the big finish with Las Nubes and Borrachera. Of course, the encore brought folks back to their seats and then to their feet with a sing-a-long of Jose Alfredo’s classic, Ella.

In between, Little Joe reminded the crowd of thousands to register to vote–Mi Familia Vota will be there all three nights. Of course, he also gave ol’ Trump a tongue lashing, including, “Vamos a darle en la madre a Trump!” which basically is the equivalent of, “Let’s knock him the f*** out!” Great crowd response to that. Finally, Little Joe’s white duds were in honor of El Leon de la Sierra, Alfonso Ramos, who passed away this last week.

chicharronesNo doubt, by the end of a La Familia gig, one is tired but oh so happy. And after three performances by everything from new talent to two bands that have been around for five decades, one can take a Saturday morning to re-energize with some chicharrones con huevos and then return to Miller Outdoor Theater in the evening for David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, Ram Herrera and The Outlaw Band, and Little Miss Dynamite Shelly Lares.

Mayor Turner Announces Resource Fairs in his March on Crime

turnerMayor Sylvester Turner has the right idea.  The best way to combat crime is to provide resources to low income, high crime areas. Mayor Turner announced the development of resources fairs that will provide these areas with access to job training, resume writing assistance, social services agencies, among other needed services, especially to those trying to turn their lives around after some lapses in judgment. Recidivism is a major challenge in our community that could be overcome by just opening minds and opportunities for an often stigmatized group of people. Here’s more info:

Turnaround Houston will offer access to job training, resume writing, tattoo removal, social service agencies, educational institutions, counseling and intervention to help hard to employ Houstonians turn their lives around.

“There are Houstonians who have difficulty securing employment due to a variety of reasons which may include a lack of education, prior criminal history, poverty, mental health issues and a lack of positive influences,” said Mayor Turner. “There is a part of our city that is in dire need of assistance and it’s our responsibility to ensure that they are plugged into vital resources and become a part of our city’s success. With the launch of Turnaround Houston, we want to eliminate the barriers to employment by offering a roadmap to a brighter future.”

As a part of this initiative, Houstonians who are hard to employ should also know that if they connect with the resources that are available, they can turn their lives around. There are thousands of success stories in the city, one such example is Angel Ponce who works in theMayor‘s Office of People with Disabilities. Ponce was previously involved with a gang and suffered a life altering accident which finally pushed him on the right track.

“I used to have tattoos on my face, I didn’t care what I looked like and I didn’t have a future. I had known about the services available to me at the City of Houston through the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, but I didn’t take advantage of them until I suffered a spinal injury which caused me to re-assess my life. I am now a productive part of society helping former gang members and those with disabilities such as my own. This wouldn’t have been possible without the City’s resources,” said Ponce.

Each Turnaround Houston resource fair will include workshops on resume creation and interview tips. Participants can also learn how to start their own businesses and hear the success stories of Houstonians who have received a second chance.

The first resource fair will take place Saturday, March 26, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center, 9413 Cullen Blvd, Houston, TX 77033 and is sponsored by Houston First and the Port of Houston Authority.  The dates for the additional fairs will be announced at a later time.

Turnaround Houston resource partners- Include:

  • The Office of Business Opportunity
  • Mental Health Services –Health Department
  • Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office
  • The City of Houston’s Re-entry program
  • Workforce Solutions/Neighborhood Centers
  • SER Jobs for Progress
  • Houston Area Urban League
  • Dress for Success
  • Career Gear
  • Franklin Beauty School
  • Summer Jobs Program-City of Houston

To see a full list of employers, resource partners and to register log on to www.turnaroundhouston.org.


Chron Endorses Wu in HD-137

And DosCentavos agrees wholeheartedly with the Chron.

District 137: Gene Wu

When the federal government announced that it would start resettling Syrian refugees in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott looked at the fleeing families and saw a dangerous threat. State Rep. Gene Wu saw his next constituents. His southwest Houston district of Gulfton and Sharpstown might as well be the Ellis Island of Houston, serving as home to the waves of immigrants that come to our nation in search of freedom and safety. Burmese, Afghani, Iraqi, Syrian, Lebanese, Libyans – Wu can tick off the timeline of new arrivals over the past several years. He knows who they are and knows he’ll be there to help. In the Legislature, he worked to pass an important bill that protected children who were victims of human trafficking, directing them to Child Protective Services instead of jail. And as a former Harris County prosecutor, he’s an important figure in the criminal justice debates in Austin.

I have nothing but respect for my State Rep. Gene Wu. He has represented us well and deserves another term–several more, if he wants them–in Austin. Along with his hard work, he has a great and responsive staff that is always available to help constituents when needed. The political reality for Democrats in Austin is bleak at times, so, we need Gene Wu there to not only get results for us, but to stand up for what is right.

Early voting begins on February 16 and goes on until February 26. Democratic Primary Day is March 1.

2016: Brandon Dudley for Tax Assessor-Collector

dudley.jpgAnother friend of mine, Brandon Dudley, has also filed for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector. I’ve known Brandon since his 2010 run for a judicial post here in Harris County, and I appreciate his work on the Wendy Davis campaign in 2014.

He has served my own State Senator Rodney Ellis for a decade as Chief of Staff and General Counsel, and his work in criminal justice reform is very impressive.

Here’s more on Brandon:

Brandon’s commitment to public service began at an early age, working in programs for at-risk youth while attending the University of Texas at Austin. Brandon worked as a juvenile counselor after earning his degree, and went on to the Graduate School for Social Work at UT-Austin to further develop his administrative skills in the field of public service. After graduate school Brandon came to Houston to create and direct outreach, crime prevention, and community economic development programs for at-risk youth.

These experiences inspired Brandon to attend the University of Houston Law Center, where he twice received the Public Interest Fellowship Award. This also led him to pursue legal and policy advocacy work in the areas of criminal justice reform, economic fairness and voting rights.

After graduating from UH Law School and being licensed to practice, Brandon worked for the Innocence Project, which works to secure the freedom for those wrongfully convicted and advance criminal justice reforms. He later served as managing consultant for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition’s Harris County Project to advance “smart on crime” reforms to improve public safety, increase fairness and justice, and save taxpayer dollars.

Read more on Brandon here and his platform is here.

I’m running because the right to vote is an essential component of our democracy, and ensuring that freedom is protected for all eligible voters is key to holding our government accountable.

But right now too many citizens’ freedom to make their voices heard in Harris County is under attack by intentional barriers making it harder to vote, tactics that wrongfully deny eligible voters their freedom to vote, and antiquated voting systems that are prone to mistakes, cause long lines, and increase taxpayer costs.

I’m running because the people of Harris County deserve a Tax Assessor that’s standing up for all us, not working against us.  A Tax Assessor that will fight for a fair and equal tax system and protect our freedom to vote, so we can have the Harris County we deserve.

We deserve better schools for our children, an economy that works for all of us, fair and equal justice, and a Harris County that treats all people equally and fairly.

But we have to stand up for it. We have to fight for it.  And we have to vote for it.

Stay informed, folks!

2016: Ann Harris Bennett for Tax Assessor-Collector

annbennettI’m glad to see that our family friend Ann Harris Bennett has filed to seek the Democratic nomination for Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar in 2016.

“I am honored to announce my candidacy for Harris County Tax Assessor Collector & Voter Registrar on the March 2016 Democratic Primary ballot.  I am dedicated to serving all citizens of Harris County with the integrity, transparency, and efficiency they deserve from this office.  My focus is to make the necessary changes to upgrade the office and bring it into the 21st century.  I intend to serve the people free of political cronyism and dysfunction.”

Bennett has been a strong candidate over three countywide races, but in 2012, she came less than 2400 votes short against Mike Sullivan in the race for Tax Assessor-Collector, despite being largely outspent by the well-funded Republican. That’s .2%, folks.

No doubt, Bennett has built up some name recognition and strong connections with Democrats, as well as voters, in general.

Here is her press release announcing her 2016 run. You can follow her on Facebook, or on her website.



CafeCollege: A Great Community Resource

I had the chance to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for CafeCollege Houston–a brand new resource for the community to assist school kids and adults with college-going services.

After San Antonio, under then-Mayor Julian Castro, developed something similar, Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez came up with the idea and brought it to Mayor Annise Parker this past summer. Within a few months, along with funding provided by Gonzalez’s budget, a partnership was created between The City, Houston Public Libraries, and ProjectGRAD. Soon after, a location was set-up at Near-Northside’s Carnegie Library.

The Mayor Pro-Tem gave me a quick pre-show tour and I must say it’s an impressive location that will get anyone excited about college.

Café College Houston is a “one-stop-shop” for teens and adults to receive help in finding the right college, SAT & ACT preparation, college admissions assistance, career guidance, and help applying for financial aid. Whether attending college to get a degree or work on a certificate for a professional trade, Café College Houston will have experts offering support through each step. No one is too young or too old to get started.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez believes that “Café College Houston will transform the way that our communities learn about educational and career opportunities. I’m proud to launch this initiative in District H and to bring this important resource to our children and families. Folks from across our great city will be able to apply to college, search for financial aid, get career guidance, and prepare for acceptance exams — all under one roof. Café College Houston will empower our citizens and allow every Houstonian to achieve their dreams.”

Café College Houston is an innovative public-private partnership between the City of Houston, Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Gonzalez, the Houston Public Library, Project GRAD Houston, Houston Municipal Courts, and the City of San Antonio. Café College was first implemented in San Antonio and is one of two statewide pilot programs for the Texas College Access Network.



The Stace Slate – 2015

Here’s for whom I’m  voting:

Mayor………………………..Adrian Garcia

City Council At Large 1…..Lane Lewis

City Council At Large 2….David Robinson

City Council At Large 3….Doug Peterson

City Council At Large 4….Amanda Edwards

City Council At Large 5….Philippe Nassif

City Council District F…..Richard Nguyen

City Controller…………….Chris Brown

City of Houston Proposition 1……………….YES!

City of Houston Proposition 2……………….YES

Harris County Proposition 1, 2, 3, and 4………………….FOR

Alief ISD Position 1……….Lily Truong

Texas Prop 1- AGAINST

Texas Prop 2- FOR

Texas Prop 3- AGAINST

Texas Prop 4- AGAINST

Texas Prop 5- AGAINST

Texas Prop 6- AGAINST

Texas Prop 7- AGAINST

I Can’t Vote in These Races, But I Encourage You To Vote For:

Houston City Council District H…….Jason Cisneroz

Houston City Council District I……..Robert Gallegos

Houston City Council District J……..Mike Laster

Houston ISD District VIII……………..Juliet Stipeche

Houston ISD District III……………….Ramiro Fonseca

Aldine ISD Position 1…………………..Tony Diaz

HCC District III…………………………..Adriana Tamez

HCC District VIII…………………………Eva Loredo

Retired Cop is Voting for Prop 1 (Video)

Great to see CM Ed Gonzalez “on tape” supporting HERO (Proposition 1). Check it out. DosCentavos supports Prop. 1, too.

Make Your Donation To the Walk for Mental Health Awareness-Houston

A little bird tells me that the 5th Annual Houston Walk for Mental Health Awareness is already 68% (and counting) of the way to meeting its goal of $25,000. Make your donation today–or sign up to participate and raise money!

Kudos to my friend C. Patrick McIlvain for making this event and fundraiser a Houston tradition.



Fifth Annual- The Walk for Mental Health Awareness – Houston
Theme: “It’s A Family Affair”

City Hall Illumination- 10-08-15

Luncheon- 10-09-15
The 5th Walk & Mental Health EXPO- 10-10-15   

Saturday, October 10th, 2015
On-Site registration 6:30AM.
The Walk will start at 8AM by Mayor Annise Parker;
With understudy Mrs. Conroe Texas America 2016, Esmeralda Friedman in case Mayor Annise Parker is unable to attended.


Stude Park
1031 Stude Park
Houston, Texas 77007

Event Details:

This is a family fun event! You can walk and even optionally bring your dog to the walk so lace up your sneakers and grab your leash, this is also a dog friendly event! All doggies on leash with collar have free access to our “Pup  Tent” (sponsored by Bayou City Veterinary Hospital), humans MUST be accompanied by a doggie to gain entrance.  The Walk also features a wonderful Mental Health Expo with exciting exhibits, resource booths to help you find the right people to help in your family journey and of course refreshments, family entertainment and so much more!

For all the up to the minute event details, check us out on Facebook if you have not “Liked” us, please, do take a moment while there and do that. 

CityVoter Best Charity Contest – Vote Neighborhood Centers

Houston.CityVoter.com has an online contest where visitors to the site pick “Houston’s A-List,” including the category of Best Local Charity.

There are a lot of good ones listed, but one of the most impactful organizations is Neighborhood Centers. So, join me, and vote for Neighborhood Centers!

Note:  You’ll have to sign up to the site, but it’s easy! Voting ends May 31st.