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Archive for February, 2013

Some folks have taken the time to comment on the SD6 Special over the past few weeks.  Kuffer has said a little.  Heck, I think Kuffer used to be a part of SD6 so he knows the district.  Big Jolly has had takes and he also knows some of the players and the district.  Same thing goes for Dos Centavos who has put out a few takes on the race. 

Yesterday I saw an out of town take that kind of just humored me because they didn’t know what they were talking about.  They don’t know the district and the players.  They wouldn’t know a Mason Park from a Roseland Park.   They wouldn’t know an Aldine from a Magnolia. They wouldn’t know a Munger from a Freddy.  Try coming down here and spend some time in the communities and get a sense of what folks are thinking because they are certainly not thinking what out of town folks are thinking.

The out of towners are completely unaware of the dynamics of the race yet they go on and pass judgment.  So I read their take and just move on.

Some say the 1998 ‘Stros were one of our best teams ever.  Name the 1998 Opening Day line-up?

Sen. Dan Patrick has a bill that deals with more restrictions and it prompted this from Burkablog:

It is not my intention to debate the merits of this bill. My interest in it comes from a different direction. My question is this: Have the Republicans forgotten that there was an election last November? This bill is a dagger to the heart—of Patrick’s own party. It is anathema to one of the constituencies that is a crucial part of the Democratic coalition that won the election: college-educated women. Has Senator Patrick forgotten the name of Todd Akin? Of Robert Mourdock? Of Sandra Fluke?

This bill is a case study of why Republicans are losing national elections. They do not have a clue about the nature of the coalition that defeated them. If one reflects on what the Legislature has done over the past four years, beginning with 2009, the main thrust of its efforts has not been to improve the lives of ordinary Texans. It has been to harm and harass the constituencies that threaten them. Hence the Legislature has passed Voter I.D. legislation, gerrymandered redistricting maps, restrictions on the conduct of elections, huge cuts in public education, a dismembered women’s health program, the burden of all of which fall on the constituencies that make up the Democratic coalition. The irony is that Republicans are doing their part to turn Texas blue.

Let them keep shooting themselves in the foot if you ask me.

B-G-O, Derek Bell, Baggy, Sean Berry, Moises Alou, Richard Hidalgo, Rick Gutierrez, Brad Ausmus, and Shane Reynolds of course were the 1998 Opening Day starters.

That is all I have from The Yard.

 

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Early Voting in the SD6 Special is history and here is what we have.

8,780 have cast ballots as compared to 16,511 in Round 1 – that’s 53.2%.

5,526 Voted Early in Person as compared to 5,369 in Round 1.

There is really no point in debating how many voters will participate this Saturday.

In 1962 when MLB first came to H-Town, who was the lead-off batter for the Colt 45s on Opening Day?

The Chron has a story on the SD6 special.  Here is a part:

"Substantively," said Rice University political science professor Robert Stein, "the two candidates, with minor exceptions, are in lockstep … Carol is a new-breed Latina. Sylvia is old school."

The story quotes a couple of Republicans. Check this:

"Rep. Alvarado is an effective leader in the Legislature, and will represent the true interests of her state Senate seat,"  (State Sen. Larry) Taylor said in an email.

Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill disagreed, dismissing both candidates as "very liberal voices" who would promote the "Obama strategy."

I guess Jared didn’t get the memo.

I guess Sen. Taylor didn’t get the memo.

I guess Jared didn’t get the memo.

I guess Sen. Taylor didn’t get the memo.

I guess Jared didn’t get the memo.

I guess Sen. Taylor didn’t get the memo.

I’m glad somebody remembers this:

"I hate to say that’s politics," said (Renee) Cross (associate director of the University of Houston’s Hobby Center for Public Policy), alluding to attack ads that have appeared in recent weeks. "From what I can see, the Garcia campaign came out with negative ads before the special elections. Now, Alvarado is countering before the runoff. It is nasty. I guess that’s not surprising."

Here is the entire story.

With all the talk about money being contributed in the SD6 Special, it turns out that Andrea – a children books author – and former H-Town Mayor Bill White – also our Democratic nominee for Governor in 2010 and a former Chair of the Texas Democratic Party – are Carol’s largest individual donors in this race – add it up.

Third baseman Bob Aspromonte of course was lead-off batter for the Colt 45s on Opening Day in 1962.

I don’t have anything from Spring Training this morning.

 

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Day 6 of Early Voting in the SD6 Special is history and here is what we have.

7,318 have cast ballots as compared to 16,511 in Round 1 – that’s 44.32%.

4,327 have Voted Early in Person as compared to 5,369 in Round 1 – that’s 80.6%.

Here is what I said yesterday:

Including today there are two days left to Vote Early.   I don’t think 1,853 voters will show up today or tomorrow to match the EV total if Round 1.

It looks like I might be wrong as 811 showed up yesterday and this being the last day of EV in Person.  We probably will surpass Round 1.

Things kind of quieted down at the EV locations yesterday as the trash talking about Carol Alvarado subsided. 

The campaign contribution and expenditure reports were posted online yesterday – oh, my!

The Chron Sports Section has a piece about Delino DeShields, Jr. who is in the farm system.  His dad played in the bigs for 13 seasons.  In 1990, Delino DeShields was runner-up for NL Rookie of the Year.  Name the player that won it?

Hunker Down supports expanding Medicaid to the Lone Star State.  Good for him!

Check out the Chron article here.

More and more Republicans are seeing the light on this issue. 

Speaking of seeing the light, Lisa Falkenberg’s column today is about a couple or three Republican leaders in the Texas Legislature thinking about supporting tax increases to fix our road and schools.  Of course, you can’t read it today unless you are a subscriber. 

Sometimes you just can’t walk away from good sound public policy.

David Justice of The ATL of course was the runaway winner of the 1990 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

The Big Tuna dropped by  Spring Training today to chat with the new skipper – cool!

 

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Day 5 of Early Voting in the SD6 Special is history and here is what we have.

6,476 have cast ballots as compared to 16,511 in Round 1 – that’s 39.22%.

3,516 have Voted Early in Person as compared to 5,369 in Round 1 – that’s 65.5%.

Including today there are two days left to Vote Early.   I don’t think 1,853 voters will show up today or tomorrow to match the EV in Person total if Round 1.

At one of the EV locations yesterday, there were four fellas from the other side talking trash about Carol Alvarado.  Only 96 voters showed up at that location and one would think that those 96 folks had already made up their mind who to vote for.  Why do you need four fellas to talk trash anyway?  One of the tactics coming out of the other camp is talking trash about Carol.  They do it in phone calls and with their door to door crew.

The other side also tried to make a silly claim that Carol supported vouchers.   Stay tuned!

Former MLBer Vince Coleman is at Spring Training teaching the ‘Stros how to steal bases.  The prolific base stealer ended up with 752 career stolen bases – sixth on the all time list.  How many times did he steal 100 plus bases in a season?

Speaking of vouchers, Peggy Fikac of the Express News – Chron, says vouchers are kind of DOA.

Check it out here.

Seth McFarland did Ok last night as the host.  The song about actresses baring it was a little edgy.  Barbra Streisand was on.  I don’t know about the “Goldfinger” tune.  I thought the John Wilkes Booth joke was offensive to the Lincoln family.  I can’t figure out why they got the First Lady to announce the Best Picture Award.  That Nate Silver fella correctly predicted “Argo.”

I am seriously behind on movie watching.

Vince Coleman stole 100 plus bases in a season three times of course:  1985 (110), 1986 (107) and 1987 (109).

Spring Training continues and Bud Norris made his debut yesterday. 

 

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Day 2 of Early Voting in the SD6 Special is history and here is what we have.

3,019 have cast ballots as compared to 16,511 in Round 1 – that’s 18.3%.

1,046 have Voted Early in Person as compared to 5,369 in Round 1 – that’s 19.5%.

Including today there are five days left to Vote Early.   Maybe the better weather will get voters to the polls this weekend. 

The contribution and expenditure reports are due today so you better stay tuned!

Only two ‘Stros pitchers have started more than 300 games in a ‘Stros uniform:  Name the two?

The Chron E-Board has an informed take on the proposed parking regulations that are being discussed at City Hall.  The E-Board has likes and dislikes about the proposed plan.

You need to check out the piece here.

The Big Jolly fella has a take on the local GOP being ‘tone deaf.”   He went to a meeting and the Jared Woodfill the local party chair spoke.  Here is part of what he says:

Well, let’s take a look at Jared’s priority legislation for this session. After telling the attendees that the reason he was holding town halls every week was to focus on the legislature, here are his priorities:

Move the Texas primary up to the first Tuesday in February.

Support Rep. Toth’s bill to keep the federal government from taking our guns.

Support the pre-born baby pain bill.

Fight the repeal of definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

Fight the proposal to have Texans vote on gambling.

There you go. Those are the issues that we must focus on this session. And he encouraged people to not limit their calls and letters to their own representatives – write and call every representative. What a waste of time and effort but some of the people in attendance supported doing that.

Look, I get it, moving the primary up is a good idea. But a priority? And that wacky bill from Toth? Wow, I never thought I would hear that from a Republican party chair. As for the pre-born pain bill, it is bad policy for legislators to start making up science. We’ve made huge progress against abortion but bills like this turn people away and make them reconsider the “war on women”. And marriage? First off, it has zero chance of passing, so why get riled up about it? Secondly, be careful what you ask for because polling continues to show that the majority of Texans now favor some type of legal acknowledgment of gay marriage/unions. As for gambling, hey, lets continue to restrict freedom, right?

I came home downtrodden and now that I think about it, I feel even worse. Those “priorities” might well get the old white folk out to the polls. But they darn sure aren’t going to attract new, younger voters. Let’s hope the media focuses on Speaker Straus and other Republicans that are focused on serious issues and not what passes for leadership in Harris County.

Check out all of Big Jolly here.

Local Dems better hope that Big Jolly never heads up the local GOP effort.   He is one of the few GOPers that get it.

The Rodeo is front and center again.  Folks are in their western gear.  Once again Commentary will take a pass. 

Sunday night is Oscar Night!

Larry Dierker (320) and Joe Niekro (301) of course are the only ‘Stros to have ever started 300 plus games. 

The first Spring Training game is tomorrow.

 

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Everyone knows that The Dean is Commentary’s good friend. The Dean is The Dean because there are no term limits for state legislators.  Here is from today’s Chron:

State Sen. John Whitmire said he plans to propose a substitute to a bill filed Wednesday that calls for a "total membership change" to the influential Port of Houston Authority commission.

The bill as introduced contains recommendations that the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission approved in November, including a controversial proposal to sweep the seven-member board this September and transfer appointment power from local government to the governor, who would choose five commissioners from a locally compiled list of candidates.

It also would impose 12-year term limits on commissioners.

Whitmire, D-Houston, said his substitute bill also will include 12-year term limits and will force commissioners who had served longer than that in their current roles as of last November to step down in September.

But he said it will leave the current appointment process intact, including having a chairman who is jointly appointed by the city of Houston and Harris County.

"It goes a long ways toward addressing some of the concerns we had when we placed them under Sunset," Whitmire said.

Four current commissioners would lose their jobs under the bill. The term clock for Janiece Longoria, who served as a commissioner for a decade before being appointed chairman last month, would start over.

Whitmire, who has criticized local government agencies for failing to make timely appointments, said his bill also would hand appointments to the governor if the local appointing bodies don’t appoint or reappoint someone within 30 days of an expired term.

Commentary is really not a fan of term limits.  If The Dean’s substitute becomes law, Port Commissioners Burkes, Fonteno, Phelps, and Lawal would be immediate goners.  Lawal has already announced that he’s not interested in being reappointed so it wouldn’t bother him.

All the appointing authorities would still retain their appointing power, so any resistance to this will have to come from Burkes, Fonteno, and Phelps.  Here is the question.  Do the City of H-Town, Harris County, Pasadena, and Port lobbying teams fight The Dean to protect three individuals? 

On the term limit proposal, Hunker Down said it "certainly doesn’t cause me any heartburn."

Stay tuned!

Name the former ‘Stro pitcher that dinged the most batters all time as a ‘Stro

According to the Chron, HISD might raise our taxes.  Of course we voted ourselves a tax increase when we supported the bonds last November.  Now the administration says more taxes are needed to cover shortfalls.  The Superintendent was pretty good at selling the bonds last fall. He needs to get out in the community and sell the taxes.

Here is the Chron piece on the proposed tax increase.

Early Voting started yesterday and HCC shut down an hour and a half early because a water main break shut off water pressure in the area.

Darryl Kile of course dinged 72 batters as a ‘Stro and that makes DK the all time ‘Stro leader.

The ‘Stros first Spring Training game is this Saturday against the Phillies.

 

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First things first!  Name the former ‘Stro pitcher that has the most all time balks as a

‘Stro?  You’ll never guess!

Yesterday evening the Chron endorsed Carol Alvarado for State Senator, District 6. They made the right call and said some important things.  It is a very nice write-up.  Here is the entire endorsement:

Copyright 2013: Houston Chronicle: 07:34 PM (FEb. 19)

Residents of Texas State Senate District 6, a heavily Hispanic area that winds from the Heights through the east side of Houston and Harris County, are lucky to face a tough choice at the ballot box as they pick a replacement for the late Sen. Mario Gallegos. Runoff candidates Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado are both dedicated public servants with a long history of representing the area.

In terms of political positions, there’s not much difference between them. Both are Democrats who vow to strengthen state education spending and expand Medicaid. They differ chiefly in the way in which they’d go about achieving their goals. Garcia vows to go toe-to-toe against Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans. Alvarado says that she’d continue to do what she’s done as a member of the Republican-controlled Texas House: work with members across the aisle to get legislation passed.

We believe that Alvarado’s approach will serve her district best. In part, that’s pure pragmatism. Given Republicans’ utter dominance of our state’s government, a Democrat who hopes to accomplish anything at all has to play nicely with the GOP. But it’s also the solution to a larger problem. Both Texas and the United States need more politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who can find middle ground and nudge the body politic forward. Alvarado is that kind of legislator.

Residents of the district are familiar with Alvarado and her staff, who are frequent presences at civic club meetings and neighborhood events. That sort of ground-level constituent service might not be notable elsewhere, but it is in places like the east side of Houston, Galena Park and South Houston. Many of the area’s neighborhoods receive too little attention from the elected officials who are supposed to serve them.

Members of the Legislature also are familiar with Alvarado. That’s especially important in this runoff because its winner will have to hit the ground running. She’ll be sworn into the state Senate with only a few days left in which bills can be filed. As a third-term member of the House, Alvarado knows the legislature’s ins and outs and has already established many of the relationships she’ll need to serve her district.

It’s essential that the winner of this office – like all members of the Houston delegation – support the mayor’s efforts to bring local oversight to the firefighters’ pension fund. The pension’s fast-growing costs threaten the city’s financial health. And as a matter of good government, it only makes sense that the city, which foots the bill for the pension, should be able to negotiate directly with the firefighters. Alvarado, who has both the endorsement of the firefighters union and experience in city government, could be important in brokering a deal.

Her diplomatic skills and ability to find common ground make her the right person to represent District 6.

Don’t forget to vote!  Early voting runs today through Feb. 26. The election is Saturday, March 2. To vote in the run-off, it’s not necessary to have voted in the previous election. For poll hours and locations, go to www.harrisvotes.org.

Here is a sampling of reactions from Carol’s supporters:

ROCKSTAR!!!

Congratulations on this superbly written endorsement!  (From a Bexar County State Senator)

Nice!

Woo hoo!

The other side is kind of poo pooing the endorsement even though they wanted it. 

Early Voting in Person starts today and some interesting things are happening.  Stay tuned!

We got Chron!

Jim Deshaies of course leads the ‘Stros all time with 27 balks as a ‘Stro.

The latest from Spring Training is about a ‘Stro rumored to be on the PED user list. 

 

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