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Archive for August, 2010

Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously gave the A-Okay to a voting plan presented by the County Clerk yesterday. Check out the Chron story on the matter.

It appears to be a good plan with the paper ballots as back-ups.  The key to this working is educating the public on what to expect and more importantly educating the election judges.  A dumbarse election judge can certainly screw up the day for a lot of voters.  The judges have to know what to expect and how to handle things correctly, fairly, and politely.  Stay tuned!

Folks are starting to provide their takes and theories about the fire that destroyed the voting gizmos.  I think I’ll just wait until the Fire Marshall has something to say before I open my pie hole on this.

Albert Pujols didn’t do us any damage last night – whew!  Pujols was drafted in the 13th Round of the 1999 MLB Amateur Player Draft if you can believe that.  Who was the first player drafted in 1999?

It looks like six candidates are in the race for HISD School Board Trustee, District VIII. 

Josh Hamilton of course and now with the Rangers was the first player taken in the 1999 Draft, but he was taken by the then Devil Rays who are now the Rays.  Other first round draftee notables that year included Barry Zito, Josh Beckett, and Brett Myers.

What can you say about J.A. Happ’s two-hit shutout last night in a 3-0 game that lasted just two hours?  What can you say about Numero 45 and his dinky bloop double down the line that scored a run?  What can you say about putting a damper on San Luis’ play-off run?

 

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Early Voting begins in 48 days and here in Harris County we don’t have a voting machine that functions.  The Harris County Commissioners Court will meet today in an emergency session to hear the County Clerk’s plan for making sure we have a smooth election.

The County Clerk has already said that we need to push to get folks to vote early because we will probably not have as many machines as we have had in the past.  Maybe the county needs to set aside some funds to do some sort of awareness campaign on this.

This could be a blessing in disguise of sorts in that we’ll be talking more about how the election will be conducted and more folks will end up going to vote.  On the other hand, going to vote might be portrayed as being a hassle and folks will stay home.  Stay tuned!

In today’s Chron Sports section, there is a blurb about Albert Pujols of San Luis and Joey Votto of the Reds chasing the Triple Crown which hasn’t been won since 1967.  The Triple Crown of course is a batter winning the batting average, dinger, and RBI titles in one year.  Who won it in 1967 and what were his numbers?

My Dad (Tony Campos) was one of the Trailblazers honored Saturday morning by the Harris County Democratic Party.  It looked like a packed house and it was a pretty cool event.  My Dad definitely enjoyed the morning.  He even enjoyed folks coming up to him and asking for an autograph.

The Angelika Theater in Downtown H-Town abruptly closed yesterday.  They are out of business.  That is pretty sad.  I liked going to catch some flicks there.  I wonder why they shut down.

Carl Yastrzemski of course of the Red Sox in 1967 was the last MLBer to win the Triple Crown.  He batted .326, had 44 dingers, and 121 RBIs.  The Red Sox went to the World Serious that year but lost to San Luis in seven games.

Commentary checked out the Emmys last night and I had never heard of most of the nominees or the shows.  What do I know?

I’m not going to say anything about Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa showing up at the Beck-Palin rally in D.C. this past weekend.  They gave Pujols an award for community service.

The ‘Stros are home for three with San Luis starting tonight then they go back on the road.  They went 6-4 on their just completed road trip and J.A. Happ is on the mound tonight.

 

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Commentary woke up this morning and turned on the TV set only to find that the Harris County Clerk’s Office warehouse that stores all of the election voting gizmos was on fire.  It looks like a lot of the machines may have been destroyed.  Talk about bad timing.

I think leaders from both political parties – elected officials and party officers – ought to step forward and engage in a civil discussion on how best to assist the County Clerk to make sure we have enough equipment to conduct the upcoming election.  I hope the party activists refrain from trying to take advantage of this unfortunate situation.  The last thing we need is to play partisan politics on an issue as important as this. 

Let’s find the resources.  Heck, even if it means we have to go back to paper ballots or sticking our thumbs on a purple ink pad.  How about working together on this?

Talk about playing into Guv Dude’s hand, the state’s major newspapers (Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio) have called out Dude on debating the Former H-Town Mayor.  They’ve sent letters to the two candidates saying they are going to hold debates even if Dude doesn’t show up.  Two newspapers that I checked on this morning (Austin and Houston) even have editorials calling out Dude.  They also call out Dude for not going before the E-Boards.

I don’t know about this.   First of all, Dude’s going to make it look like this was some sort of orchestrated effort by the “media elite” to dictate how this election is going to be conducted.  All this does is fire up Dude’s base and they are already fired up.  All this also does is allow Dude to say that he’d rather meet with the voters rather than spend his time with members of the “media elite.” Guess what – he wins on that one with his base.

The way it was rolled out also gives Dude the opportunity to whine that this was coordinated between the newspapers and the Former Mayor’s campaign.    This is the type of diversion Dude is looking for.  It probably would have been better if the newspapers had individually sent letters inviting the candidates to their own debate and putting out an editorial on different days.  But hey, you know – THEY NEVER ASK ME! 

The ‘Stros visit Citi Field for three with the Mets this weekend.  In 1986, the Mets beat the ‘Stros in the NLCS 4 games to 2.  Two MLBers who played key roles during that series are now in the Hall of Fame.  Who are they?

Commentary’s Dad – Tony Campos – will get some sort of honor tomorrow morning at a local Dem party function for being a trailblazer – cool.

Nolan Ryan and Gary Carter of course are in the Hall of Fame and played in the 1986 NLCS.

Roy O. has a full page ad in today’s Chron Sports section thanking us and Drayton – yawn.

What am I supposed to say about the ‘Stros sweeping a four game series with the Phillies?  Are they playing good baseball or what?  Too bad we only have 35 games left.

 

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Commentary didn’t make it to last night’s meeting on the WalMart project.  What’s the point!  H-Town decided a long time ago that we didn’t need or want zoning so WalMarts happen – period.  It was only a matter of time.

I wonder what else is in store for Commentary’s ‘hood?

I dropped by the League of Women Voters reception last night honoring the H-Town Mayor and the women on the H-Town City Council.  The LWV did a nice job.  The event was held at the home of Mayor Bob and Elyse Lanier.  Mayor Bob was telling me that he’s going to drop by his 70th high school reunion this year.  He went to Baytown Lee and he said that around 60 or so of his fellow classmates will be attending – wow!

This former MLBer had over 2,000 hits, a .284 career batting average, over 1,000 RBIs, 94 triples, and 391 doubles.  He also went to two All Star Games and won two Silver Slugger Awards.   He also played for 13 seasons as a ‘Stro.  Who am I talking about?

The last thing Commentary expected was for the ‘Stros to roll into Philly and take the first three games.  Last night catcher Humberto Quintero picked-off another Phillie base runner.  This time Q’s victim was Ben Francisco who was kind of caught napping off of third base.  I’m thinking that the Phillies’ coaches will talk to the team today about base running.  Oh yeah, J.A. Happ prevailed over Roy Halladay in a 3-2 win.

Jose Cruuuuuuuuuzz of course will be inducted tonight into the Houston Hall of Fame tonight at the City of Houston’s Birthday Party.  H-Town CM James Rodriguez will introduce Cheo this evening.

At noon today CNN will be replaced by the ‘Stros versus Phillies as we go for a sweep!

 

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You heard it from Commentary first.  Yesterday, the Keep Houston Safe folks sent up all star hot shot GOP lawyer Andy Taylor to advise the H-Town City Council that putting the anti red light camera item on the ballot would not stand up in court.  He got my attention when he said the action would probably violate the Voting Rights Act because holding an election to amend the city charter to ban red light cameras would “dilute the minority vote”.    I’m trying to figure this one out.

(First of all, I wonder where Andy Taylor is on the Voter I.D. issue.)

I wish he would have explained the diluting the minority vote aspect of his argument.  I know it was kind of a feeble attempt to appeal to the minority members of the H-Town City Council, but it would have been interesting to hear his reasoning.

First of all, the anti red light camera ballot item doesn’t automatically add a bunch of non minority voters to the rolls.   You don’t automatically get registered to vote if you happen to be nonregistered voter and got a ticket generated by a camera.

I think the only community that would really get all worked up and made sure they turned out to vote against the cameras are the folks that got the camera generated tickets and I think they are folks of different colors.

That Kubosh fella that helped organized the petition drive threw a zinger at Andy Taylor when he wondered out loud about “Republicans worried about the minority vote being diluted.”  Ouch!

Commentary spent yesterday afternoon watching the H-Town City Council debate whether or not to put the anti red light camera proposed ordinance before the voters, despite the fact that over 25,000 signatures were verified.  CM Clutterbuck did her best to circumvent the signature process on technicalities.  In the end the vote was 11 to 1 to put it on the ballot.

Regardless of where you are on the issue (Commentary thinks the cameras are A-Okay and make sense), it is hard to tell 20,000 plus folks that signed the petitions that you can’t have an election. 

Of course, I was told that it didn’t help that only GOP consultants were at the City Council meeting advising the Keep Houston Safe folks and sending up a hot shot GOP lawyer to speak to a body with nine Dems and six GOPers.  GOPer Clutterbuck ended up being their only vote.
Check out the Chron story on yesterday’s action.

What do I know about baseball anyway?  A couple of days ago I said the ‘Stros wouldn’t have to face Roy O. this week.  In last night’s extra inning game, Ryan Howard of the Phillies got the old heave ho in the 15th inning and the Phillies found themselves without position players to replace Howard so they stuck Roy O. in left field.

How many World Seriouses have the Phillies won?

Add Juliet Stipeche and Judith Cruz to the list of those that have filed to run for HISD Trustee Position, District VIII.  Now there are three candidates.

The Phillies won the 1980 World Serious and the 2008 World Serious of course for a total of two.

Last night’s game lasted five hours and twenty minutes as Roy O. got up to bat once and grounded out to end the game as the ‘Stros won 4-2 in 16.  Not bad at all as we go up against Roy Halladay tonight and J.A. Happ goes for us!

 

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Guv Dude ain’t agreeing to debate right now and now the Back to Basics PAC is calling him a coward.

Guv Dude has decided he is not going to fill out certain dreaded questionnaires – take that!

Guv Dude has decided to skip E-Board interviews.

What is he thinking?

Well!  Rasmussen said yesterday that Dude is polling ahead of the Former H-Town Mayor by 8 points.

I guess Dude thinks that he can get away with what we think are expected during campaigns. 

The Chron’s Sports Columnist has his take on the Astrodome and here’s some of what he said:

No politician has the guts to say it ought to be torn down, and no one seems to have a reasonable plan to save it. Through the years, we’ve heard it was going to be a hotel or a mall or a museum.  So it sits there rotting away, and as the days pass, there’s less and less chance there’s anything worth saving.

And…

If you’re going to fix it up, don’t think small. If you’re going to do nothing, then have the guts to tear it down.

And…

Let’s work together and come up with a consensus and see if there’s a way to save it.  If it can’t be done, let’s be honest about that, too. If Yankee Stadium and Tiger Stadium can go, then the Astrodome can go, too.
Check out the entire column.  
It looks like he’s been checking in with Commentary.

This former MLBer is in the Hall of Fame.  He was selected in Round Two of the 1978 MLB amateur Player Draft out of Aberdeen High in Maryland.  He ended up with a .271 career batting average, 431 dingers, and 1,695 RBIs.  Who am I talking about?

You can now catch Tiger on match.com.

Peter Schwethelm is the first to file for the HISD Trustee Position for District VIII.  Here is what the Chron says he said:  "I have a passion for public education and for my hometown."

I guess the H-Town Mayor read the Chron’s neighborhood section about the new Walmart that is coming to Commentary’s hood.  She’s calling for a special meeting with the impacted community at the George R. Brown Convention Center tomorrow evening.  Judging from the number of anti-Walmart signs around the ‘hood, I don’t know if the George R. Brown is going to be big enough.  Maybe the Mayor ought to call Pam-In-Charge and see if The Yard is available.

Cal Ripken, Jr. of course of the Orioles who wore the number eight also played in a record 2,632 consecutive games.  Cal is celebrating his 50th birthday today!

‘Stros catcher Humberto Quintero made a beautiful pick-off of Jason Werth at second base last night that fooled the cameras and JD and Brownie.  Commentary wasn’t fooled as I caught it at the top corner of the TV screen.  On an intentional walk to Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz, Werth who was on second base stepped a few feet off of the bag and didn’t see Q whip it to second for the out. Werth looked kind of silly trying to get back.  It was a nice heads up play that was a key to last night’s 3-2 victory.  It was also a nice outing for Brett Myers.    It was definitely an entertaining game last night!

 

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CEDWDEM sent out a Chron piece over this past weekend about a “watchdog” fella accusing Lone Star State legislators from the H-Town area and San Antonio of double dipping or collecting state per diem and paying for housing expenses up in Austin out of their campaign funds to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars over the past few years. Check out the story.   Commentary makes it a point not to get into it with these “watchdog” folks.  The law says they can go around and check stuff out and make a complaint if they are so inclined.  There are also some “watchdogs” up in the Conroe area that look over online campaign and expenditure reports (C&Es) and file complaints.

You can go through a whole lot of C&Es and always find errors.  Some folks are sloppy.  Some folks are careless.  Some folks don’t know the rules or the law. Some folks just plain cheat.

Commentary doesn’t see the point in going to battle with the “watchdogs”.  All that will accomplish is Commentary’s clients getting the old once over by the “watchdogs” and having to deal with a complaint where we reported a $50 donation was from a DBA because that is what an employee told us when we called when in fact it was a small corporation.  I’ll just take a pass on taking on the C&E “watchdog” nation.

The ‘Stros visit Philly for four this week.  The only time the ‘Stros and Phillies ever met in the post season was in 1980 when the Phillies beat us three games to two.  Four MLBers that played in that five game series are now in the Hall of FameWho are they?

There is a piece in the Heights Neighborhood section of the Chron about the Walmart that is coming to our ‘hood.  Apparently some folks don’t like that the H-Town Mayor and her office are dealing directly with the developers.  Here is what one fella opposed to the deal has to say:

Nick Urbano, an organizer of Responsible Urban Development for Houston, a nonprofit group residents opposed to the project have formed, said he is disappointed in the Parker administration.

"This isn’t what the mayor ran on," Urbano said. "This isn’t what I voted for. This is important stuff to taxpayers. They’re negotiating with taxpayer monies. We have a right to know."

Ouch!  Check out the piece.

Mike Schmidt, Joe Morgan, Steve Carlton, and Nolan Ryan of course are in the Hall of Fame.  Pete Rose isn’t.

It looks like the H-Town City council is going to vote to put the anti red light camera issue on the ballot.  It is on this week’s council agenda.  Keep Houston Safe is the PAC in charge of fighting it.  I checked out their C&E and it looks like it is driven by a bunch of GOP consultants.  I don’t know about that.

It turns out we won’t get to see Lou Pinella’s last game as the skipper of the Cubs.  He checked out yesterday.

Since Roy O. pitched yesterday, we won’t have to face him this week.  It still would be nice Myers and Happ did A-Okay against their former team this week.

 

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Have you ever dreamed of being in a campaign TV ad?  Well, this Sunday in Austin you get your chance.  The Former H-Town Mayor’s campaign will be shooting a spot and the subject is Hurricane Rita and evacuees.  If you don’t feel like going door to door, or stuffing envelopes, or putting out yard signs, or making phone calls, but still want to help out the campaign, show up. Check out the Chron blurb on the ad.

From the piece:

Here’s what you wear: older, ragged clothing, preferably in colors of blue, gray, black or dull olive green. You can bring knapsacks, backpacks and "any old, battered luggage," as long as it’s not brand new or colorful.

I hope they don’t make folks sit in a car for eight hours or so.

I wonder if they have speaking parts.

I wonder if Guv Dude is going to shoot a commercial shooting a coyote. 

Commentary goofed yesterday.  The filing deadline to run for the position of HISD Trustee, District 8 is Monday, August 30.  Let’s see who decides to get in.

Nobody was talking about The Rocket last night at The Yard.  Heck, there is not even a mention of The Rocket on the ‘Stros website. 

When The Rocket was a ‘Stro from 2004-2006, he wore the Number 22.  Who wore the Number 22 in 1999 for 34 games and switched numbers the following year?

Dante is celebrating his birthday today!  Happy Birthday to Dante!

Commentary’s Dad will be celebrating a birthday tomorrow.  Happy Birthday tomorrow Dad!

The Big Puma of course wore the Number 22 in 1999 for 34 games then he switched to the Number 17 the next season.

We have us a pretty good team these days if you ask me.  Hunter Pence, Angel Sanchez, and Chris Johnson have hot bats.  Our pitching is doing a good job.  I think we can tweak it some during the off season and contend.   What can you say about Numero 45’s three run dinger last night?   As of last night, 30 million fans and counting have attended ‘Stros regular season games – cool.  I’ve done my part.  Way to go Pam-In-Charge and her crew as the team hits the road for ten.

 

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The H-Town Latino Political Community spoke in different tongues today regarding filling the HISD District VIII Trustee position.  The Hispanic Chamber wanted an immediate appointment.  A dozen Latino local elected officials wanted an election.  LULAC wanted the appointment of Judith Cruz.  The HISD Board opted to go with an election.  A few Latino leaders addressed the board today and threw around the old stand-by phrase – “patron politics.”  Filing deadline is Monday. 

I saw a copy of the letter from the Latino elected officials.  The letter said “the Board should follow Diana Davila’s suggestion for calling a special election.” I like Diana but she’s the last person we ought to listen to on this since her resignation caused us to go through this process in the first place.

It is definitely interesting.   Of the seven votes that wanted to put the Term Limits Review Commission’s recommendation before the voters, three were Dems (Mayor Parker, CMs Adams and Johnson), and four were GOPers (CMs Stardig, Sullivan, Hoang, and Pennington).  Of the seven votes that voted against putting the recommendation on the ballot, five were Dems (CMs Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Lovell, Noriega, and Bradford) and two were GOPers (CMs Clutterbuck and Costello).    The recommendation included scrapping the current three two-year terms and replacing with two four-year terms with a kind of phase in that would have allowed for first termers possibly serving ten years, second termers possibly serving eight years, and third termers not getting jack.

I kind of think that I raised some points during this process that had an impact in yesterday’s decision like the lack of grassroots support for making term limits changes.  Where is the campaign to convince voters?  How is it going to impact the other stuff like Renew Houston?

Of course, I fully expect all the other political consultants and political fundraisers that do City of H-Town political campaigns to send me a case of St. Arnold Amber, a nice bottle of red wine, or a gift certificate to a nice restaurant near Commentary’s ‘hood for saving their city campaign gigs that they get every other year.  If it wasn’t for my contributions during this process, their city gigs would only come around once every four years.

“Stros third baseman Chris Johnson’s bat has cooled down the past three games.  He’s now hitting .346.  He was drafted by the ‘Stros in the fourth round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Player Draft.  What two current MLBers that were drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft have started in MLB All-Star Games?

The anti red light camera folks think they have enough signatures to get their item on the ballot here in H-Town.  In today’s Chron, one of the columnists has a piece on the upcoming campaign.  Check it out.   It’s about money, money, money!

Friends of Walmart dropped me a mailer yesterday about how neat their new mega-center is going to be.  They are talking about the one right down the street.  I wonder if any of my buddies are part of Friends of Walmart.

Rays third baseman Evan Longoria and Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum of course were drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft and have started in All Star Games.  If Chris Johnson can keep hitting .346, who knows?

Commentary came out of a slump last night and finally snagged my first foul ball of the season. 

That 14 inning game last night kept me up late.  We should have won it in the 13th.  Let’s see if we can even up the series with the Mets tonight.

 

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REVISED – BREAKING NEWS!

HOUSTON CITY COUNCIL THIS MORNING FAILED TO ADOPT THE TERM LIMITS REVIEW COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION.  THE MOTION FAILED ON A 7-7 VOTE.

MAYOR PARKER, CMS STARDIG, JOHNSON, ADAMS, SULLIVAN, HOANG, AND PENNIGTON VOTED FOR.

CMS CLUTTERBUCK, GONZALEZ, RODRIGUEZ, COSTELLO, LOVELL, NOREIGA, AND BRADFORD VOTED NO.

CM JONES WAS ABSENT.  END OF STORY FOR NOW!

At yesterday’s HISD Forum for potential candidates for the vacant Trustee position in District VIII, the last question asked was “if the Board does not appoint and calls for an election, will you run?”  Here is out they answered.

Judith A. Cruz – “absolutely willing to run a campaign.”

 

Dionicio Vidal “D.V. Sonny” Flores – “would consider running.”

 

Dorothy M. Olmos – “I will run.”

 

Adolfo Santos – “No.”

 

Peter Schwethelm  – “will run and run in 2011.”

 

Juliet K. Stipeche – “will wait until the Board decides.”

 

Nelly E. Garza-White – “will consider.”

 

Ann Ziker – “don’t know but I will consider.”

Here’s the Chron story on the forum.

Cruz was the only candidate to address the gathering in Spanish.

About 100 folks attended including HISD staff, community activists, teacher groups, and a couple or so business leaders.

From the Chron piece:

Trustee Manuel Rodríguez Jr., the other board member to vote for the election, did attend the forum. He said he would support an appointment if there were a consensus in the community.

 

Commentary hasn’t heard of any community consensus and the Board of Trustees will make a decision Thursday (tomorrow).

Happy Birthday to Jake Rodriguez today!

Mets pitcher Johan Santana is from Venezuela.  He pitched 8 innings against the ‘Stros last night.  Johan signed his first professional baseball contract in 1995.  Which MLB team first signed him up?

The Chron’s E=Board weighed in pretty good on the Renew Houston deal. Check it out.

Here’s the tough part from the editorial:

However, before endorsing the plan, we would like to see how much the actual program would cost, and how it would differentiate between properties with a large percentage of green space and trees that absorb runoff, and heavily developed parcels mostly covered by pavement and buildings. Should the low-income owner of a lot in a sparsely developed area pay the same fee as one with the same square footage valued at millions of dollars in upscale neighborhoods inside the Loop? Should public service nonprofits and schools and churches be exempt from the fee?

What will be the mechanism for deciding which street repair and drainage projects get fixed first? Historically, the infrastructure in poorer, minority neighborhoods in Houston has been neglected as more politically connected communities received higher priority. How can voters be assured that will not happen again?

The ‘Stros of course signed Johan Santana in 1995 but lost him in the Rule 5 Draft in 1999 and the rest is history.

The H-Town City Council will take up the Term Limits Review Commission recommendation today.

The anti red light camera folks turned in around 30,000 petition signatures.  So far 14,000 out of 16,000 have been verified.  Stay tuned!

By the way, Johan Santana gets about $20 mil per season but that didn’t stop Hunter Pence from hitting two dingers off him yesterday and four RBIs and that was enough for a 4-3 victory.  Commentary had to endure nine innings of sitting by obnoxious Mets fans last night and I hope that isn’t the case this evening. 

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