Tag Archives: Texas

Race For Precinct 4 Is Almost Over, But…

The Precinct 4 race for County Commissioner continues its negative track as Leslie Briones responded to Ben Chou with her own attack ad, which called out Chou’s self-crediting statement as the inventor of drive-thru voting. In addition, Briones offered up some receipts regarding Chou’s alleged acceptance of money from folks who work for Harris County vendors. Also, Briones pointed out that Chou and his supporters created a fake organization that violated all sorts of campaign finance rules. Though the receipts didn’t really resonate with me since they were small, personal donations to Chou, the rest of the ad did because everything else Briones states is true.

Unfortunately, a doctored photo of Chou on the headline of the ad is what has caused the race to go rather ugly, with charges of racism against Briones. Briones has apologized and gotten rid of the designer of the photo and ad, but Chou continues his attack against the Latina candidate, while not accepting the apology. As if either community isn’t under real attacks by forces who will effect racist and bigoted public policy if we don’t win this seat in November.

If Chou and his supporters were offended by the doctored photo, Chou’s use of an unflattering, grainy, black and white photo of Briones, a highly successful, professional Latina leader, may be equally offensive to some. It is to me as our Latina sisters are under relentless attack. But it’s part of the business as one campaign tries to paint the other as sinister and bad in order to convince voters to decide for whom to vote by way of artwork, instead of actual words. I mean, have you seen the imagery the Republicans create as they tear each other apart?

In this case, both campaigns are guilty of going negative. And both campaigns are guilty of trying “gotcha” politics as the election winds down because it may be that close of an election. Ultimately, it’s about who one believes and who presents a better story of themselves to convince whatever voters are still undecided. And, yes, doctored and grainy, unflattering photos are something that Democrats should avoid. Both campaigns are guilty of this. Above all, we seem to be bad at it.

I voted for Lesley Briones because she has a track-record as an executive, educator, attorney, and as a member of the judiciary. She has given of herself to her community and the community at-large. She is proven in all facets of leadership, whether as a decision-maker or as a paper-pusher. Above all, she makes herself accessible and is responsive. These are qualities we need on the Commissioner’s Court and Lesley is the only candidate who offers these qualities.

Vote on Tuesday!

Abbott’s Antics Lose MX Rail Line to NM

Greg Abbott has done it again with his border antics. After “sticking it to Biden” by jamming up trucks at the border which were delivering goods to the US with additional and failed inspections, Mexico has decided to re-route a rail line that would have benefited Texas to New Mexico.

A friend who is an ex-pat in CDMX alerted me to this during the weekend. Within a couple of days, other news outlets got ahold of the news and even Beto O’Rourke told his supporters about Abbott’s failure.

“We’re now not going to use Texas,” Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier said at a conference Thursday in Mexico City, referring to a planned rail and ports expansion known as the T-MEC Corridor to connect the Pacific port of Mazatlan to the Canadian city of Winnipeg. “We can’t leave all the eggs in one basket and be hostages to someone who wants to use trade as a political tool.”

Clouthier’s message was clear: Mexico is angry about the chaos at the border caused by Abbott’s surprise order a few weeks back to force commercial trucks coming from Mexico to undergo additional inspections. While Texas officials didn’t uncover any contraband or undocumented migrants, they created hours-long delays that left fresh produce to rot and caused havoc with supply chains. 

Some economists question whether this project will actually happen, but it’s a pretty loud declaration by the AMLO government that it is not happy with its trading partner’s leadership. Others question why New Mexico since there isn’t a lot of trade that occurs compared to trade with Texas, but, why not? It’s not a bad idea to expand trade capabilities that will also ease bottlenecks that may be caused by an idiotic Texas governor whenever he gets a bug up his hind side.

Whatever happens in the future, this is about pointing out Greg Abbott’s continued failed leadership, especially at the border. Whether it is blaming migrants for the problems caused by his government, or destroying border economies in the name of border security, Greg Abbott never takes responsibility and neither do Republicans. South Texas is in play because Democrats ignore it despite border businesses being pawns for Abbott and Republicans.

In other words, keep saying it and maybe it’ll stick.

Beto’s Right. Where’s Biden post-Title 42 Plan?

While many of us celebrate the demise of the Trump-era, yet Biden-continued, Title 42, there is no plan to address the needs of those being released by DHS after their asylum process has begun. And Beto O’Rourke is calling out the Biden administration for the lack of a plan.

The small towns on the border where the Border Patrol detention centers process migrants will be getting the brunt of the effects of this lack of a plan. While there are nonprofits and humanitarian groups which do most of the work, they will not have the resources to fully respond.

All that said, there is a lot more to the border than Title 42.

Greg Abbott’s policies of militarizing the border with the National Guard; his deputation and corrupt behavior of local cops and courts to terrorize migrants with arrests and trumped up charges while imprisoning them in state-run prisons; the dangerous chases on state roads by the Border Patrol, DPS, and local cops that continually cause deadly accidents; are a lot more dangerous than humans fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries.

What bad policies and lack of them at all levels have created is a front for human trafficking, more violence, and government corruption in our own country. Meanwhile, Congress and the Biden administration (and previous administrations) continually fail to create workable solutions to the asylum process and immigration, generally.

Instead, politicians and pundits get mad on camera at higher food prices because of Abbott’s inspections at the border as the cost of all this while at the same time defending and funding war policies and oil companies profiting from higher gas prices because of those war policies.

I’m just saying there is a lot to this border issue and even the whining seems to be coming piecemeal.

Abbott Calls For Volunteer Migrants to Self-Deport From Texas

Another Abbott border boondoggle? Or is it a show of bigotry and idiocy? Probably both.

Greg Abbott called a press show to announce a new program to bus migrants to Washington, DC to drop them off at Joe Biden’s (and America’s) front yard so that he can deal with them.

What sounded like a pretty bigoted shit-show worsened when reality set in.

The governor’s office clarified that the program is completely voluntary for migrants and would happen only after they had been processed and released by the Department of Homeland Security. And in addition to buses, Abbott also ordered the state to charter flights to transport migrants to the nation’s capital. The migrants would have to show documentation that they had already been processed by DHS. Many immigration advocates have noted that providing transportation services for asylum-seekers to reach their final destination is something the state should invest in.

Abbott’s announcement led to immediate criticism from both his left and his right. Immigration rights groups said his rhetoric was still dangerous.

No doubt, when I thought about it, I thought it a great idea. These are recently released migrants, not migrants caught by Abbott’s border initiative, which includes local Sheriff’s offices. Because one way or another, migrants must be released by the yokels and the smokies to DHS/Border Patrol for processing. DHS then releases them from border area facilities to the towns in which they are located. A free ride to parts east where there is a need for exploitable and cheap labor would be a big help all-around, right?

Still, the underlying reasons are obvious and the whole program is a dangerous one.

Small border towns have been having a freak-out as the Trump/Biden Title 42 rule, which blames migrants for COVID and not Abbott’s unmasking and unvax’ing of Texas, is on the verge of ending in the next few weeks; thus, a surge is expected at the border and from DHS releases of processed migrants. So, it’s obvious this is part of a “response” from Abbott.

Fortunately, both the left and the right are calling it an empty gesture.

State Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso, vice chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus denounced Abbott’s announcement as a political stunt.

“Instead of using our tax dollars to drive economic growth and build infrastructure, Governor Abbott is funding political stunts at the expense of Texas families and our troops.”

Let’s get serious, though. The Biden administration has had every opportunity to continue making changes by executive order to our Nation’s asylum process and the overall immigration process. Lawsuits from the right, be damned! Meanwhile, Congress and Justice continues lollygagging with another failed prosecution attempt of Trump, instead of pushing immigration legislation, even in piecemeal fashion.

What some call a immigration crisis, or worse, an “invasion,” is caused by migrant’s home countries run by dictators and drug kingpins who on the daily threaten innocent people. They are left with no choice but to leave their home countries for land considered safer. So, it is not an immigration crisis as much as it is US foreign policy that bolsters right-wing and corrupt government in Latin America. Ultimately, it all becomes a human rights crisis when migrants go hunted by people like Greg Abbott and Biden’s corrupt border patrol for profit.

Wholesale change is needed, but no one wants to do anything substantive. So, this kind of crisis at the border will continue while borders are open for other lighter skinned folks from other violence-torn countries on the other side of the world.

Are You Ready for the Democratic Run-Offs?

Well, the vote counts are in, despite the whining of the Trumpy, Abbott-appointed Secretary of State and republinuts who probably started all the whining, and we can see who will be facing off in the run-off in a couple of months. This is what we see, so far, locally.

US Rep, District 38 – Diana Martinez Alexander, Duncan Klussman

Lt. Governor – Mike Collier, Michelle Beckley

Attorney General – Rochelle Mercedes Garza, Joe Jaworski

State Comptroller – Angel Luis Vera, Janet Dudding

Land Commissioner – Sandragrace Martinez, Jay Kleberg

SBOE – 4 – Staci Childs, Coretta Mallett-Fontenot

State Rep, 147 – Danielle Keys Bess, Jolanda Jones

Judge, 185th District – Jason Luong, Andrea Beall

Judge, 208th District – Beverly Armstrong, Kimberly McTorry

Family Judge, 312th District – Clinton “Chip” Wells, Teresa Waldrop

Judge, County Civil Court #4 – Treasea Trevino, MK Singh

County Commissioner, Pct. 4 – Lesley Briones, Ben Chou

Justice of the Peace, Pct 1-2 – Sonia Lopez, Steve Duble

Those in italics are not on my ballot, but maybe they are on yours. Either way, all of us will have a busy run-off ballot. Those in bold are folks I’m voting for and/or rooting for. Those races I haven’t picked, well, I haven’t learned anything about them, yet.

Outside of Harris County, eyes will be looking toward South Texas where there will be some interesting run-offs, including CD28 where Jessica Cisneros gets one more chance to unseat the old, searched-thru furniture that is Henry Cuellar. Kuff has a good round-up on all of the run-offs in Texas.

Kuff also expands on the coverage of the printer/paper ballot issues at Harris County. I agree that more voter education and election worker training is needed to ensure people don’t scuff their paper ballots while voting. Hell, even I held my paper ballot sheets gently and from a corner while voting on the machine because I worried about it folding or whatever. Ultimately, less that one percent of ballots were damaged, but counting them just added to the delays in results because Longoria and her staff are trying to ensure actual vote security.

What we really need less of is voter suppression from the Lege with laws like SB1, whose mail ballot issues caused even more delays for election staff. And maybe local news media that treats this story in an educative manner (Miya Shay), rather than in a sensational manner (the other reporters).

Dem Primary Part 1 is Done, On To Part 2

Looks like County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s strategy of ignoring her opponent (and the naysayers who put up the opponent) worked quite well. After the mail and early votes were tabulated, Hidalgo had amassed a healthy lead with almost 70% of the vote which continued all night. I didn’t have a doubt she could win, but my worry was about her taking hits from awful Republican ads and how that could affect the Dem vote. It didn’t. Those that put up an opponent against Hidalgo better watch out in a couple of years when their seats come up. And those who fought to keep her in office did a great job in the field, where it really counts.

My Commish Precinct 4 seems to be headed to a run-off between Leslie Briones and Ben Chou. In an open seat race with seven in the running, that’s to be expected. Briones edged out Chou 35-23 in early numbers in our recently redrawn district and that margin remains. What used to be a precinct that took up most of the west side is now a lot more sprawling. I think we’ll find that Briones did well enough on the west side to be the top vote-getter, but I’m pretty sure it’ll be quite the competition to earn the votes of those who voted for the five other candidates. I’m sticking with Briones.

One race that caught my interest was a 10-county race for the 14th Court of Appeals between Cheri Thomas who ran in 2020 and Kyle Carter, a current district judge with a good stack of campaign cash. Thomas, who is the DC-supported candidate, had an 18,000 vote lead after the mail and early votes were announced and her lead continued to get healthier as the first election day votes were announced. Thomas held good leads in Fort Bend and Harris Counties, which still had many votes to be counted. By this morning, Thomas’ lead of around 20,000 votes was holding as more votes in Harris County were counted.

More than a few court benches will be changing occupants one way or another as a good bunch of Dem incumbents are being taken out by challengers. Hopefully, those new Dem candidates will work hard for the party’s bottom line in November and not just ride whatever wave is caused by the strong candidates at the top of the ticket, like Judge Hidalgo and Beto O’Rourke.

One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of run-offs to keep us busy for the next couple of months, including Lt. Governor and Attorney General, which I expect to be spirited. I expect the local run-offs for Commissioner and some court seats to provide much of the energy.

Where there will not be run-off is the race for Precinct 2 Commish in which Adrian Garcia reclaimed the Dem nod for re-election in explosive fashion. As I stated yesterday, it would seem that his opponent’s angry white guy strategy probably won over some of the target audience, but Garcia actually ran a good campaign that reached all voters by selling his actual accomplishments. He probably carried other candidates to victory in the process. Congrats to the Commish.

State Senator and Houston Mayoral candidate John Whitmire will continue to be both, though Molly Cook did put herself on the map for anything, but specifically for what will be a crowded SD15 if Whitmire moves to a downtown office in 2023.

One outcome I did not like at all was that of the County Treasurer’s race in which incumbent Dylan Osborne was defeated. As I said after some good judges were taken out in the 2020 primary, when someone wants to play the odds, or play the latest in scare tactics, and the voters feel like it, they were surely oust you without much effort. That seemed to happen a lot in this primary.

In other areas of the state, it was Greg Casar rolling over several opponents in a Congressional District 35 that runs from San Antonio to Austin. In CD28, Jessica Cisneros was giving FBI-searched incumbent Henry Cuellar an excellent run. As the votes from Bexar, Zapata, and Starr Counties were finally counted, Cuellar came out in the lead. By this morning, Cuellar was just under the 50% mark, so we may have a run-off in this one pending any additional ballots coming in, and thanks to a third candidate who got a little less than 5%.

We’ll have more on local run-offs as the numbers continue coming in in Harris County. There is one race for County Civil Court #4 which still has 2nd place to be decided for the run-off. Rooting for Treasea Trevino in that one.

That’s all I got. Happy Wednesday! Also, thanks to the folks at Harris Elections for their work. Problems will happen as things get perfected, but a dumb tweet from a Trumpy Secretary of State will always cause even more problems.

Kuff has more.

UPDATE:

Another race likely headed for a run-off is the race for the Dem nomination for Congress District 38, where Dem activist Diana Martinez Alexander has the lead against her opponent. Fingers crossed.

The Weather Changes; COVID-19 Remains

As one more weather change hits us today, after a few that have kept our coat closets confused, this is a reminder the COVID-19 is still among us.

Yes, as the Texas Trib Coronavirus tracker tells us, cases in schools have dropped dramatically, as have hospitalizations. Unfortunately, the City of Laredo is going through a fourth surge and deaths have reached 82,000 statewide. Also, thanks to Greg Abbott and Republican spread of misinformation, Texas is still less than 60% fully vaccinated, with nine million Texans walking around unvax’d.

Meanwhile, Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration to end the mask mandate on airplanes, thus making them flying death tubes again. All in the name of “freedumb” with no regard for the lives of other Texans.

The CDC, though, does not fall far behind as the warnings are going out that they may change mask guidance as they try to take credit for the numbers decreasing. 49 out of 50 states have weakened their mask requirements and states like California are now moving toward an endemic response to COVID-19, admitting that COVID-19 is here to stay.

A disease reaches the endemic stage when the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds.

Unfortunately, there are no plans on how to keep the immunosuppressed safe. It’s all about money and keeping whiny, uncaring people unmasked and/or unvax’d, and happy.

Arctic Front Expected This Week

Looks like Texas is expecting a bit of a cold snap this week as an Arctic front makes its way down here starting on Wednesday evening. It’s time to be prepared, especially with the 4Ps: Pets, Plants, Pipes, and People.

As local meteorologist, Jeff Lindner, tells us:

Arctic cold front will arrive Wednesday evening. Very cold conditions expected Thursday-Saturday with lows in the mid 20’s possible for many areas. Wind chills likely 10’s on Thursday.

At this time any winter precipitation is expected to remain N and W of SETX although it could be close Thursday AM around the College Station area. While this will NOT be a repeat of last February, take time Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare the 4 P’s for the cold. Stay tuned for forecasts changes.

One word of advice is not to panic buy at the grocery stores. And, considering shelves have been somewhat empty due to pandemic supply chain issues and lack of production, it’s smart to just buy what you need. Armageddon is not expected, weather-wise, so, let’s not cause one at the grocery stores.

I will definitely stay tuned to all sorts of weather forecasts this week.

For those who live outside of Texas, we’ll forgive the laughter. It’s just that we suck at winter here in Texas and our state government sucks even more.

Beto O’Rourke Files for TXGov As 2022 Dem Primary Filing Period Begins

Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke announced his candidacy for Governor of Texas on Monday morning which caused sighs of relief everywhere.

“I’m running to serve the people of Texas, and I want to make sure that we have a governor that serves everyone, helps to bring this state together to do the really big things before us and get past the small, divisive politics and policies of Greg Abbott,” O’Rourke said in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “It is time for change.”

Texas Tribune

Yes, I am among those who are relieved, too. We knew it was coming, but I’m glad he did it early in the filing period. Also, while he’s running to win, it is my hope that his candidacy will drive up participation and excitement, particularly in Democratic strongholds and areas affected by Republican redistricting in which many are losing representation.

Greg Abbott’s response was to parade around his newest minion, Ryan Guillen, a state rep who represents South Texas’s HD31 and who switched to the GOP after being squeezed by right-wingers during redistricting. The Trib calls it a blow to Democrats, but I see it as finally getting rid of an ineffective member who has always been part of the republican’s bigoted culture war. New representation has been needed for a long time. Dems in the Lege stated that Guillen chose to buckle after his district was made tougher for a Dem to win. Pobrecito el chaquetero. Good riddance. And that should be the Dems’ attitude while recruiting a good candidate.

Meanwhile, the Harris County Democratic Party began taking candidate filing applications this last Saturday. The filing deadline is December 13. Hopefully, the party will have a running list of filings on their website soon. They do have some admin work to do while folks file. Of course, there’s also the Erik Manning list of folks with campaign treasurer appointments.

Prospective judicial candidates have been hard at work for months collecting signatures that will allow them to forgo the filing application and become part of the coordinated campaign which pools resources for countywide GOTV. Thus far, I haven’t signed any petitions, but that is because I’m keeping myself safe from unmasked events. Anyway…

Some are expecting surprise announcements as the deadline nears. We shall see what happens.

Here’s the video of Beto O’Rourke’s announcement, while Kuff expands on the story.

Greg Abbott Is Evil…The Next Chapter

It’s all a show, really. Greg Abbott’s death mandates to ban vaccination mandates are all for show. At this point, even with slowed vaccination rates, all Greg Abbott is doing is speaking to what’s left of his base that is yet to get vaccinated. I’m pretty sure most of his actual campaign check-writers are vax’d, since they all enjoy taking advantage of the stupid and right-wing.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday issued another executive order cracking down on COVID-19 vaccine mandates — this time banning any entity in Texas, including private businesses, from requiring vaccinations for employees or customers.

Abbott also called on the Legislature to pass a law with the same effect, promising to rescind the executive order once that happenedThe Legislature is in this year’s third special legislative session, which ends Oct. 19.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced.”

Gee, Greg, you’re talking out of both ends of your body.

I agree with Kuff that it seems like a childish tantrum to whine and moan about President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination order affecting companies with 100+ employees. The reality is that there is no whining when it comes to all the other vaccines children are required to obtain.

While GOP officials are pushing back against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the state has allowed other kinds of vaccine mandates in public schools and universities for years.

Texas public schools require K-12 students to get vaccinated for tetanus; polio; measles, mumps and rubella; hepatitis B; chickenpox; meningitis and hepatitis A. College students are required to receive a meningitis vaccination, too. Health care and veterinary students are required to get additional vaccines for rabies, tetanus-diphtheria and hepatitis B.

For Abbott, this is all a response to Biden winning the election, proving again that he is a failure as a governor. Meanwhile, the State of Texas is only 52% vaccinated against COVID-19, over 68,000 have died under Greg Abbott’s failed leadership, and people are still getting sick and suffering.

This is a reminder that, in Texas, since Day 1, we have been on our own. I’d also add that there’s an election in 2022, but we need an announced viable candidate to get excited about that.