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Archive for the ‘Houston City elections’ Category

NBC announced last week that it was going to put out a four hour mini-series called “Hillary” starring Diane Lane as the former First Lady and Secretary of State.  The series will cover 1998 to the present.  Diane Lane is a good choice.  She was just Superman’s Earth mom in “Man of Steel”.  She was “Unfaithful” to Richard Gere.  She’s done the “Lonesome Dove” poke with Robert Duvall.  She owned “Secretariat”.  Oh yeah – she’s married to the fella that played “W” – Josh Brolin.

The “Today Show” this morning rattled off some suggested names to play President Clinton including John Travolta, Bill Pullman, and Woody Harrelson.  I don’t know about that.

Last Friday Commentary mentioned the Dodgers winning 1965 World Serious over the Twins.  Name the 1965 World Serious MVP?

From Robert Miller’s take today:

Under current Texas statewide election dynamics, it is good to be a Republican candidate from either DFW or Houston.

Location, location, location!  Robert has an interesting analysis on GOPers chances of getting on the statewide GOP ticket.  It is where you come from.

Check this from Robert.

don’t think Robert will be doing a take on Dems chances by geography since there isn’t any data if you know what I mean.

Grace Gummer is now on “The Newsroom” as reporter Hallie Shea covering the Romney campaign along with Jim Harper.  Ok, Ok, you should know that Gummer is Meryl Streep’s kid.   Got it!

The woes continue.  Here is from the Chron this past weekend:

“It’s not good,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “At this stage of the season, you would think that guys would get better. That has not happened and we are in a complete funk as far as the bullpen (goes) and trying to find someone down there other than (closer Jose) Veras to come in and give us quality innings, and it’s just not happening right now.”

And:

One of the Astros’ main goals entering a challenging 2013 season was to win the games they were supposed to. That has rarely happened. With a shaky bullpen continually leaking runs, the Astros were again reminded what happens when they do things on the cheap.

Well at least we get to see the Red Sox next week and maybe Big Papi will smash the dugout phone.

At the end of the season we may get to watch Mariano Rivera pitch his last regular game of the season.

Even though he had a high pitch count yesterday Jarred Cosart showed he can get out of jams. 

 

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Don’t forget to join the Graci Garces Campaign “Tapas on the Patio – A District I Women’s Event”, this evening, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Batanga Houston (908 Congress @ Travis)!

It wasn’t a good day for the front office at The Yard yesterday.  Local media ran stories of the ‘Stros no longer supporting the Astros Wives Gala that benefits the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC).   The ‘Stros attempted to ‘splain they were focusing their philanthropic efforts on at-risk youth.    I get that they want to go elsewhere but they didn’t take into account the popularity of the Gala among ‘Stros fans.  They didn’t because all the experienced front office hands have been run off.

The blunders also included having the ‘Stros Senior VP for Marketing talk to Culture Map but dodging Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Chron.  Jesus Ortiz is a freaking member of the Baseball Writers of America, a former ‘Stros full time beat writer, and he wrote a freaking book on the 2005 World Serious season! 

Here is the Jesus Ortiz story.

Here is part of what the team put out yesterday after 5 pm from the Chron:

• This was not an Astros Event or Astros Foundation event and the former wives charity that hosted it is now essentially no longer in operation as no current Astros Wives belong.

• The event was managed by a paid consultant who received a % of funds from the charitable proceeds. It was not managed by the Astros or the Astros charity.

• The % of funds raised by the gala that were spent on expenses and fees were very high – ranging from 40% to over 59% of gross proceeds spent on party expenses and fees over the past 3 years. That means in recent years, the Women’s Center actually received only a little more than half, or in one year less than half, of what was raised for the Center.

• Best charitable practice assumes donors can expect 70% or more to go to the charity – this is not in keeping with that standard. With such high fees and expenses, the gala was not in keeping with best charitable practices, nor was it aligned with our team charity’s new strategic focus on at risk youth.

Here is all of the response.

The ‘Stros said the Gala donation ratio wasn’t good.  Last year they raised $450,000.  It had expenses of $200,000 and $250,000 went to HAWC.  Well then cut costs or come up with a less expensive event.    Did they even consider fixing it?

Check this from the Jesus Ortiz:

“While we were in the process of deciding on our new strategic focus, the Astros Foundation also reviewed details of the Wives Gala and its budgeting, culled from recent publicly available tax returns,” said Meg Vaillancourt, the team’s senior VP of Community Relations. “We learned that in recent years, in our opinion, it appeared far too much of the funds raised by the gala seemed to go towards expenses, rather than to the charity.

“As a best charitable practice, it is common to expect some 70 percent — or more whenever possible — of funds raised should go towards the charitable purpose people intended in supporting the event. In the case of the Gala, in recent years, it appears that a little more than half — and at least in one recent year, less than half – of the funds raised actually went to the Women’s Center.”

In the last available IRS filings, the Astros Wives Organization had $432,000 in contributions in 2011 and distributed $220,000 to the Houston Area Women’s Center. That’s 50.9 percent to charity. Most of the other money was used to fund the banquet and silent auction, which were held at Minute Maid Park and included fees paid to the Astros.

Vaillancourt came to the Astros this year from the Red Sox Foundation. By comparison, the Red Sox Foundation had $9.2 million in contributions in 2011 and distributed $4.4 million in grants. That’s 47.9 percent to charity.

Ouch!  Maybe they should have been more cooperative with Jesus Ortiz.

Heck, they’ve been moving players in and out of The Yard at warp speed that it is kind of hard to grab a player and ask him if he has a wife.  Heck most of them are probably afraid to unpack their suitcase for fear of getting released, sent to Triple A, or traded.  Oh, well.

The Chron’s Randy Harvey says this:

Two fan blogs, The Crawfish Boxes and Astros County, announced they were going dark for a day, maybe longer in the case of Crawfish Boxes, in protest.

Timothy de Block of The Crawfish Boxes said the site might return with fewer writers.

"… several of our writers have expressed a disinterest in covering this team for the moment," he said.

The Astros have a general manager. They have a manager. They need a crisis manager.

What they need to do is start winning.  That cures a lot of stuff in baseball.

Who is the last Hall of Fame great to catch a no-no?

The Graci Garces Campaign didn’t invent the photo that was sent to us.  Some of our supporters saw it and didn’t like it.  Now the Mendez campaign is denying putting it out there but folks aren’t buying the denial.  They could have denied it last week but they didn’t.  Here is the Houston Press piece on it:

Houston City Council District I candidate Graci Garces is calling for opponent Ben Mendez’s apology after Mendez — or someone with his campaign — allegedly e-mail blasted a photo of….um, Garces enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

"I was appalled that Ben Mendez and his campaign would distribute a photo of me that is intended to bully, harass, and discriminate," Garces explained in her statement.

She continued: "The Mendez campaign crossed the line of decency and should be held accountable."

Hair Balls has to admit: we’re a little confused by the whole thing. We’re not sure what the Mendez hoped to gain by distributing the photo, or if it was just someone’s idea of a joke. What’s the message of this photo? That Garces is not a size 2, and therefore is a freak of nature whose very existence must be documented and shared with the rest of the world?

We think Garces and her supporters — some of whom have written their own open letter demanding an apology — are raising too much of a stink over this, but that’s politics. What bothers us most of all is the way Mendez’s campaign is(n’t) dealing with this.

We asked Mendez’s campaign manager, Joaquin Martinez, about the photo Monday, and he claimed that this was the first he’s heard of it. Strike one, dude. If it really was the first he’s heard of something that one of his opponents is now turning into a campaign issue, then he needs to be let go and replaced by a more effective manager, like perhaps an orangutan, or a block of wood. There is no reason Martinez shouldn’t have had some canned statement at the ready.

Martinez said he’d get back to us, and of course he did not. Nor has Mendez returned our calls. But sometime between our brief conversation Monday afternoon and this morning, the contact number on the campaign’s website changed. Strike two, dude. That’s just freakin’ stupid.

And here’s strike three: the new number’s voicemail doesn’t identify the campaign, or name any associated individual. It doesn’t even state the actual phone number — what it does is state the phone number as if it’s an actual number, as in, "You have reached two-billion-eight-hundred nineteen million…"

We’re guessing this is what happened at Team Mendez Monday night.

Martinez: Hey, Ben, some jack-off reporter asked about that photo. What should I tell him?

Mendez: (thinking long and hard before a luminescent bulb clicks on over his head) By Jove, I’ve got it! Don’t call him back — just change the number on our campaign site. And make sure it has a really fucking stupid outgoing message!

Martinez: Sir, how did you get to be so smart?

Mendez: By never eating, my son. By never eating.

Update: Martinez just sent us a response, which states, "Ben Mendez is running a positive, energized, grass-roots campaign based on the needs and concerns of the citizens of District I, and at no time indulges in or condones negative campaign tactics. In the face of competition, we’re aware that campaigns sometimes present items in attempts to get traction in the news….[Mendez's] campaign staff and volunteers will continue to work hard to energize and engage the citizens [of] District I in discussions about ways to improve the overall quality of life in the community."

The late Hall of Fame great Gary Carter was behind the plate when Charlie Lea of the Expos put a no-no on the Giants in 1981 of course.

We suffered another loss last night.  Maybe the new owner should have considered having the team as the designated charity. Heck, he probably would have gotten a better response if he had decided to cancel the season instead of the Gala. 

 

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While folks are waiting for the SD6 Special players to exit the stage, H-Town city and school board races are getting geared up. 

Commentary will soon be getting our political page up so do not hesitate to forward your info. 

To be honest with you, I really have not had time to pay attention to the buzz.  Here is what I have so far.  

District A’s Helena Brown will face Brenda Stardig and others.

Nothing much will be going on in District B or C.

District D is open and Dwight Boykins and others are running.

Nothing much will be going on District E and I don’t know about F.

Nothing much will be going on in G or H.

Commentary will be helping Graci Garces in I.

Nothing much will be going on in J or K.

Everyone knows that Baggy leads the ‘Stros in career dingers with 449 followed by the Big Puma with 326.  Name the player that is third on the list?

I have not heard of At-Large 1 Costello, At-Large 2 Burks, At-large 4 Bradford, or At-Large 5 Christie drawing opponents.   

In the open At-Large 3 seat, I hear one of the Kubosh brothers is interested as well as for State Rep. Al Edwards.

Over at HISD, of those running for reelection, I have not heard of any drawing opposition.

I keep hearing that Trustee Larry Marshall might not run since he’s tired of reading about himself in the Chron.

I’ll try to find out what is going on over at HCC since they have just appointed two trustees that will have to decide if they will be running this November.

Oh, I forgot.  We have a Mayor’s race if Ben Hall really decides to staff up or consult up.

Feel free to help Commentary fill in the blanks.

B-G-O is third on the list of career dingers as a ‘Stro with 291 of course.

There is no truth to the rumor that Brownie is on the trading block.

 

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Here is what the County put out yesterday evening:

As of this evening we have approved 85,901 applications and sent out 82,202 ballots.  We have received 47,912 voted ballots returned.

26,810 have been generated by the GOP and 22,689 by Dems.

After Day 3 of Early Voting in Person in Harris County we stand at 150,722.  In 2008 after Day 3 we were at 126,394.  Holy guacamole!

I’m just thinking that no one will show up to the polls on November 6.

The top six World Serious career RBI leaders are Yankees.  Name them?

SBOE District 6 candidate Traci Jensen will square off against her opponent tonight at an American Association of University Women – West Harris County Branch Forum at Revere Middle School on Briar Forest at 7 pm so try to drop by.

“Party Kroger” will open tomorrow down the street from Commentary. 

The Chron has a story today about the HD 134 race between Ann Johnson and Sarah Davis.  In the article, Rice political scientist Mark Jones says Dem Johnson faces an “uphill battle.”  Oh yeah!  Then how come Davis is running TV ads accusing Johnson of supporting Obamacare?

Here is the entire Chron article on the race.

Colin Powell endorsed The President this morning.  I’m feeling a little better about the race these days.

Yankees Mickey Mantle (40), Yogi Berra (39), Lou Gehrig (35), Babe Ruth (33), Joe DiMaggio (30), and Bill Skowron (29) of course are the top six career World Serious RBI leaders.

The Tigers were favorites heading into the World Serious in part because of their pitching ace Justin Verlander.   Oh yeah!  San Fran’s Pablo Sandoval and his three dingers last night produced four RBIs.

Nothing is happening at The Yard these days.

 

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At our meeting with the ‘Stros front office Sunday, I kind of called out the GM for “misrespecting” the fans by trading away the veteran players this year and leaving us with a bunch of nobodies.  I told him that pro sports franchises think they are smarter than the fans when in fact often they are not.  I told him that fans were responding by not showing up at The Yard.  I also told him that some of us would appreciate it if they were just honest and just tell us that in order for the team to get better, we’re going to have to get lousy first.  He responded in baseball jargon and sound bites and with a kind of “trust us, we know what we’re doing” attitude.  Oh yeah, well you have 104 losses to date.

Here is another pro sports fella that thinks he’s smarter than us.  The NFL Commissioner probably thought it was OK to use replacement refs and that nobody would notice.  One of the lead stories this morning is the blown call on the last play of last night’s Packers-Seahawks game.  You got folks that aren’t fans talking about the blown call.  This story got more time this morning on “Today” than the race for Prez.  The NFL Commissioner is looking like a complete dumbarse today.   Hey, he’s smarter than us though.

As of yesterday in Harris County, 50,038 had requested mail ballots with 21,465 GOP generated and 16,278 Dem generated.

Name the two former ‘Stros pitchers that each started six post season games for the ‘Stros?  (One of the two will probably surprise you.)

I try not to get into things I don’t know much about like the shooting of the fella in a wheelchair by an HPD officer.  I’m just glad that we have a police chief that isn’t afraid to request the FBI to come in and investigate.

Traci Jensen will participate in another educator event this evening.

Speaking of, The Texas Freedom Network will have a special screening of “The Revisionaries” on Friday, October 12 at the Sundance Theater in Downtown H-Town.  This the documentary about our State Board of Education.

Get info here.

In case you are wondering, if the World Serious goes seven, it will end on Thursday, November 1.

Nolan Ryan and Brandon Backe of course each started six post season games for the ‘Stros.

Commentary forgot to mention snagging foul ball numero cinco this past Saturday.  I gave it to a kid.

Oh yeah, did I mention 104 losses, San Luis fans probably outnumbered ‘Stros fans, the lowest turnout in the history of The Yard last night, and that they are smarter than us?    

 

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Commentary read a few articles over the weekend about turmoil within the Mitt Romney campaign.  You know, stuff like not mentioning Afghanistan in his convention speech, Dirty Harry’s convention appearance, botched criticism of the Libya attack, and being OK with parts of Obamacare.  Most of the articles included pointed criticism of the Romney campaign from GOP leaders.   This morning on the “Today Show” a talking head referred to these articles as “prebituaries.”   Better them than us I guess.

This year was the 16th season of interleague in the MLB.  How many times has the AL won the most interleague games and how many times has the NL won the most games?

This past Saturday morning Traci Jensen candidate for State Board of Education, District 6 was the guest at a supporter’s home in Katy where a number of Katy area educators dropped by to meet with Traci.  The event was well attended and they all said they would be supporting Traci and asked for yard signs – cool!

Mail ballots will start arriving in mailboxes next Monday.  Are you ready!

The Chron E-Board has a take on teaching abstinence-plus in our schools.  Here is how it ends up:

We applaud the fast-growing number of Texas schools that teach abstinence-plus. Our kids need that program’s extra protection.

Here is the entire E-Board take.

I wonder when the Chron E-Board is going to start rolling out their candidate endorsements. 

I was at The Yard Friday evening and when the team first took the field to start the game a Mariachi tune blared.  I just kind of thought it was in recognition of Latino Heritage Weekend.  Then they played the same tune when ‘Stros pitcher Edgar Gonzalez came to bat.  Apparently that’s his batting and pitching tune.  That’s pretty cool since most players have classic or heavy metal rock, hip hop, country, or salsa and meringue tunes.  This is the first I have ever heard of Mariachi.  BTW:  The tune was “Son de la Negra” that is on the playlist of every Mariachi group ever put together.  You know it when you hear it.

I’m giving the ‘Stros owner some equal time.  Here is a bit of his Op-Ed from yesterday’s Chron ‘splaining the ugly new signage at The Yard.  The sponsors on the signage are part of the team’s effort to donate money back to H-Town parks.  Of course, the ‘Stros will also keep some of the dough.  Here you go:

And yes, as part of our agreement with these generous sponsors, we created new signage at the park recognizing their contributions to the city. As is fitting and in keeping with sponsorship agreements, the names of these businesses are displayed prominently at Minute Maid Park. It’s my conviction that Astros fans need to know the names of the corporate citizens who are giving so generously to help develop opportunities for Houston’s youth.

I don’t have a problem with the ‘Stros keeping some of the dough and some going to parks.  I still think the signs are ugly. 

Here is the entire Op-Ed.

The AL has won the most interleague games 12 seasons and the NL 4 seasons of course.

We took three out of four from the Phillies and are now 8-7 in September and we didn’t have to watch numero 100 at The Yard!  The team has today off then heads for San Luis for three then returns this weekend for the final homie of the season. 

 

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The City and the County cut a deal yesterday on the General Mobility Payments (GMPs) and everybody lived happily ever after – sorta.

Check out the Chron story on the deal.

The folks that wanted to do away with the GMPs have not reacted yet.  Does it matter?  Will they come out and oppose the deal in November? 

This past weekend the team wore the Blue and Gold star uniforms.  For how many seasons did the team wear the Blue and Gold star uniforms?

The folks that wanted to do away with the ordinance on how to feed the homeless in parts of H-Town turned in their petitions too late to get on the November ballot, according to the City Attorney.  The petition gathering effort was led and funded by the Kubosh fellas.  Sorry Charlie!

Check out the Chron story here.

Here is what one of the Kuboshers said:

"Are we late? Yes. Does council have the ability to do it if they wanted to? Absolutely,"

Hey, rules are rules.  I’m sure they will be at City Council today chastising City Council and trying to guilt trip them into putting this on the ballot.  Best I can tell, not a whole lot of City Council folks think kindly of the Kubosh fellas so I don’t think they will get much sympathy.  Rules are rules! Stay tuned!

The team wore the Blue and Gold star uniforms for six seasons of course – 1994-1999.

The team’s losing ways continued at Wrigley yesterday.  We’re fielding a team of nobodies.  We’re just running out the clock.  They are trying our patience. 

 

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