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Archive for the ‘Houston Independent School District’ Category

The Chron E-Board started rolling out their candidate endorsements today.  The HCC Board of Trustee candidates are first up including Commentary’s client Adriana Tamez for HCC District 3.  Check this:

District 3: To finish the remaining two years of an unexpired term, we recommend Adriana Tamez. The Denver Harbor native combines intimate familiarity with the southeast Houston district and strong credentials as an education professional. We believe her presence would be a particular help in changing the board tone and direction.

Way to go, Adriana!

Check out all the Chron E-Board HCC endorsements here.

Name the only numero 53 jersey to be retired in MLB?

Tea Party Sen. Ted Cruz is getting blasted big time by his GOP colleagues.  Check this from Politico from a closed door meeting of GOP senators yesterday:

“It was very evident to everyone in the room that Cruz doesn’t have a strategy – he never had a strategy, and could never answer a question about what the end-game was,” said one senator who attended the meeting. “I just wish the 35 House members that have bought the snake oil that was sold could witness what was witnessed today at lunch.”

And:

“He kept trying to change the subject because he never could answer the question,” the senator said. “It’s pretty evident it’s never been about a strategy – it’s been about him. That’s unfortunate. I think he’s done our country a major disservice. I think he’s done Republicans a major disservice.”

Here is the entire Politico piece on the Cruz-out-of-control.

Don Drysdale of course had his numero 53 retired by the Dodgers.

The Tribe are out of the playoffs and nothing of importance to report from The Yard.

 

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I saw this tweet last night that kind of cracked me up during the Harris County Tejano Democrats (HCTD) endorsement meeting:

John C. Gorczynski ‏@JCGorczynski11h

I move the Harris County Tejano Democrats endorse @JJWatt for King of Htown.

It was an outstanding night last night for some of Commentary’s folks.  HISD Trustee Anna Eastman picked up the HCTD endorsement with the help of a lot of folks out in the crowd wearing her yellow stickers.  Anna’s eighth grader was there helping convince Tejano Dems to support her mom.

Graci Garces won out over two of her opponents and a motion to duel endorse.  Graci did it on one ballot – nice.   Graci had widespread support last night.

We managed to stop an endorsement in the HCC Trustee 3 race.

Folks pretty much got along last night although there was a bizarre moment when a Ben Mendez supporter got up and made a motion along the lines of “Sheriff Adrian Garcia nominates Ben Mendez.”  The sheriff was nowhere in sight – huh!

The Mayor was able to withstand a challenge from Ben Hall last night, quite handily may I add.

The Yankees have the record with most World Serious grand salamis with eight.  Name at least five of the Yankees?

In today’s Chron Lisa Falkenberg has a few questions about the details of Early to Rise.  Of course you have to have a subscription to read the Falkenberg take.  Here is a part:

Reasonable people, many of whom strongly back early education, are wary of a program about which they know little.

"While I appreciate the effort to increase access to high quality preschool," Houston Independent School District board president Anna Eastman told me, "when was the last time a self-appointed group of people said ‘we’re going to collect a tax and spend money on something that’s not clearly defined?’ "

If you ask me Early to Rise has done a terrible job of rolling out Early to Rise.

Here was a tweet that Commentary saw from my good pal Sue Davis a couple of days ago:

Sue Davis ‏@suedavis197414 Aug

Ben Hall whining about negative campaigning=laughable. Can’t stand the heat, get out of Oz. Click your heels 3 times, go home to Piney Point

Ouch!

If the local Dem Party wants to be useful, they ought to head over to Pasadena and help the Latino folks from a redistricting grab.  Check out the today’s Chron E-Board take:

After former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay‘s fall from grace, we thought that Texas politicians would know better than pursue mid-decade redistricting. Not so in Pasadena, where Mayor Johnny Isbell is trying to change Pasadena’s city council districts.

Isbell proposed last month to replace two of Pasadena’s single-member districts with two at-large seats. The Bond/Charter Review Committee recommended against moving forward with the changes, at least for the upcoming election. But the proposal alone is distressing enough. Historically, replacing districts with at-large seats has been used to discriminatory ends, and such moves are often blocked by the Department of Justice. Only a few months ago, that would have been the case here. Not anymore. For decades, the Voting Rights Act has been a useful speed bump in Texas. Due to our history of discrimination, any alteration to voting laws or processes had to be approved by the Department of Justice. When the Supreme Court struck down the part of the VRA that based preclearance requirements on past discrimination, it busted open a hole in that wall, and Texas politicians have wasted no time to climb through.

This newfound lack of federal oversight allows local politicians to implement maps that threaten to discriminate against minority voters. The current individual districts in Pasadena allow large, compact and politically cohesive minority populations to elect the representatives of their choice. Replacing these districts with at-large seats could dilute minority voting power, submerging the voting-bloc in a sea of majority voters.

As our Founding Fathers wrote in the Federalist Papers, our republic cannot function if the full spectrum of our nation’s diverse interests do not have representation in government. Decades of discrimination kept vast segments of society away from the table, and only now do we start to see representation rising to the ideals our nation was founded upon. That progress is brought to a halt when cities such as Pasadena make it more difficult for a growing Hispanic population to take part in the democratic process.

Even with the removal of direct barriers to voter registration, historic discrimination in education, housing, employment and health services hinders minority ability to participate effectively in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Pasadena’s city government makes this point painfully clear – Hispanics comprise a majority of the voting-age population, and a majority of a voting-age population in six of the eight city council districts, but have yet to turn that into electoral success.

Anyone who cares about functioning government should be troubled by such a disconnect between population and representation.

Tony Lazzeri (1936), Gil McDougald (1951), Mickey Mantle (1953), Yogi Berra (1956), Moose Skowron (1956), Bobby Richardson (1960), Joe Pepitone (1964), and Tino Martinez (1998) are the eight Yankees of course with World Serious grand salamis.

We would have to go 24-18 the rest of the way to avoid another 100 loss season.

FOLLOW MARC ON TWITTER
@MarcCommentary

 

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This is totally unscientific but I’m thinking if you still pick up the local fish wrap on your driveway in the mornings you are probably a little older and thus more likely to vote in local elections.  If that is the case then the Ben Hall for Mayor Campaign has got to like the headline that reads “Hall’s campaign gathering steam”, that’s on the front page of the Chron this morning.  The Mayor’s folks are probably a little steamed.

Look!  They never ask me but I’ll put in my three cents anyway.  A couple of days ago the Ben Hall Campaign sent a letter to The Mayor’s Campaign asking for six debates between now and the election.  The Hall Campaign made the letter public. The Mayor’s folks agreed to one debate and that debate would include all the candidates.

Let me digress a bit.  Commentary doesn’t want to hear the other candidates in a debate and I’m thinking most folks don’t either.  I’m betting The Mayor’s Campaign didn’t do a whole lot of opposition research on the other folks like they did on Hall so don’t throw in that the other candidates have to participate.  Plus they haven’t staffed up and they haven’t plunked down a couple of mil of their own dough into the race.

Look, there will probably be more than one debate and they are not going to involve the other candidates.  If I was The Mayor’s folks I would have responded to the Hall letter by saying they would be glad to negotiate with Hall through a third party on the ground rules for future debates and request that negotiation be kept private until an agreement had been reached.  That way you keep the back and forth out of the media and don’t let Hall have free media.  You don’t want to have to play defense on holding debates.  Oh, well!

Name the MLB club with the team record for hitters striking out 1,000 times in a season the earliest?

Here is from Chron.con on the short version of the Hall “steam” piece:

Houston mayoral challenger Ben Hall has asked incumbent Annise Parker to face off in six debates this fall, but Parker says one will suffice.

Hall wants three showdowns after Labor Day on Sept. 2 but before the start of early voting, and another three leading up to Election Day on Nov. 5, so the candidates can “share our contrasting ideas and vision for the future of this great city.”

“Too much is at stake for us not to share our plans for Houston with her citizens,” Hall wrote in a letter to Parker.

Parker has agreed to just one debate, said campaign spokeswoman Sue Davis, to include all mayoral candidates and all media. The event would be scheduled after the Aug. 26 candidate filing deadline, Davis said.

“All year long, Mayor Parker speaks daily about city issues to civic clubs, neighborhood groups and other organizations, holds tele-town halls and online chats and is available to the media,” Davis said.

Kuffer has a take on HISD and HCC campaign reports here.

FYI:  HISD folks file in person at the Board Service Office at HISD Headquarters on 18th Street.  To get challenger reports I put in the request and they will email them over.

The ‘Stros of course hit the 1,000 whiff mark last night in 107 games breaking the D’Back record of reaching 1,000 strikeouts in 109 games – drats!

The $13 million team is now 36-71 and we make our first trip ever to Target tonight.

 

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If some local leaders have their way Harris County voters may have the opportunity to vote on an initiative this November to add a penny to their property taxes and put it into early childhood education programs.  This kind of sounds like what San Antonio voters approved last year.  The Chron has a front page story in the hard copy and only available to subscribers online.  Check out a piece:

Harris County voters could be asked to approve a tax increase later this year to improve and expand early childhood programs, if a coalition of business and civic leaders can get its initiative on the November ballot.

The recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a group whose membership includes former Houston first lady Andrea White, is circulating a petition calling for the placement of an item on the next election ballot that would increase the county property tax rate by 1 cent, generating about $25 million a year to train teachers and buy school supplies for child-care centers serving children up to age 5.

"All the recent brain science development has indicated that early childhood education is absolutely pivotal," said Jonathan Day, a member of the corporation’s board and a former Houston city attorney. "The business community and academics, everybody’s of the single mind that, if there is a single point of investment for leverage to improve children’s education, it’s at early childhood."

The initiative stems from a recommendation made in an April report commissioned by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Collaborative for Children. It is similar to one launched by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, which ended in voters last year approving a modest sales tax hike to build new pre-kindergarten centers.

Of course the group has to get around 78,000 petition signatures.  That’s a lot of signatures.

County Commissioner Steve Radack has come out in opposition to the effort.  Check this from the Chron:

"I think people already pay too much money in school taxes and the fact of the matter is this is just a back door to try to get the county to get more money shipped over into education," Radack said.

This initiative has a long way to go.  They have to get the signatures.  They have to get the signatures approved.  Then they have to educate the voters.

I tried to follow the San Antonio effort last year.  The SA effort was their mayor’s initiative and baby.  He campaigned extensively for it.  Our mayor is in a battle for reelection so the local effort would have to find a well respected and well known local leader or leaders to sell the measure.  Good luck and stay tuned!

The Brewers are in town for three.  How many MVP Awards do the Brewers hold?

I guess what goes around comes around.  I’m talking about a proposed Astrodome initiative.  Tomorrow the County Sports Corporation will unveil the latest Dome proposals and will lay out one of their own.  It will be interesting if an initiative makes it to the November ballot.

Some folks may want us to support bonds to save the Dome.

Some folks may want us to support a penny property tax increase to save our kids.

Some folks will oppose both.

Rollie Fingers won the AL MVP Award in 1981, Robin Yount won the AL MVP Award in 1982 and 1989, and Ryan Broid won the NL MVP Award in 2011 of course.

Jason Castro is making a strong case to make the AL All Star team.   Let’s see how we do against Brewers.

 

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Burkablog put out his Best and Worst Legislators.  Where’s The Dean?  Check it out:

BEST:


Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen)

Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth)

Sen. Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock)

Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)

Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen)

Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D- San Antonio)

Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie)

Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio)

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (D-San Antonio)

Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands)

WORST:

 

Rep. Lon Burnam (D-Fort Worth)

Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas)

Comptroller Susan Combs (R-Austin)

Rep. Naomi Gonzalez (D-El Paso)

Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)

Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville)

Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston)

Rep. Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City)

Rep. Van Taylor (R-Plano)

BULL OF THE BRAZOS:


Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston)

Why not the Lite Guv on the Worst List?

Aside from Floyd Bannister (1976) and Phil Nevin (1992), name the three other number one draft choices that have played for the ‘Stros?

It looks like Wayne Dolcefino put on a wire and got the Fort Bend Mechanical fella to spill his guts sorta on the HISD mess. The fella says he’s been spreading some cash to three Board Trustees – yikes!  Dolcefino is working for the folks that are suing HISD.  If the fella claims he forked over $150,000 in cash, expect the FBI to be all over this one.  This is getting uglier. Here is Ericka Mellon’s piece in its entirety: 

A local construction company owner claimed in a newly recorded conversation that he has paid HISD board member Larry Marshall up to $150,000 – some of it in cash – to buy influence in the school district, according to court documents filed Wednesday.

David "Pete" Medford, who runs Fort Bend Mechanical, alleged that over the last five years he has given Marshall envelopes of money and recently accompanied some cash with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, the court filing said. Medford said the payments were separate from the tens of thousands he has donated to Marshall’s campaigns.

Excerpts of a transcript of Medford’s comments, which appear to contradict his earlier sworn deposition statements, accompanied a court filing opposing Marshall’s effort to halt an ongoing civil lawsuit that accuses him, Medford, the Houston Independent School District and others of a bribery and kickback scheme. Marshall’s attorneys have asked that the civil case be deferred pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.

The Houston Chronicle has reported previously that Medford paid for Marshall’s trip to the Super Bowl in Florida in 2009 and that Marshall failed to disclose a $25,000 campaign donation from Medford that year. In addition, court records indicate Medford and other HISD vendors have hired Marshall’s longtime business associate, Joyce Moss-Clay, as a consultant, and she then paid Marshall a cut of her earnings.

Better deal?

The latest court filing alleges a more lucrative deal for Marshall – as well as a deeper pay-to-play culture in the nation’s seventh-largest school district.

"I have no comments on any comments that Mr. Medford has made," Marshall said Wednesday.

Medford also says in the transcript excerpts that he has paid HISD trustees Greg Meyers and Paula Harris, giving them campaign donations that they didn’t reveal on their disclosure reports. Both denied the claim.

Medford said Marshall did not request specific amounts of money, but Medford would tell the trustee, for instance, that he had a birthday gift for him, and the exchange would take place.

"You know, he comes in my office, we shut the door, and I give him an envelope," Medford said, according to a transcript filed in court Wednesday. "He never never says how much of anything, but if you don’t … if you don’t know where that line is, Wayne, you never … nothing ever gets done."

The conversation, the filing indicates, was between Medford and Wayne Dolcefino, who works as a consultant after leaving his job as a Houston television reporter. Dolcefino has been assisting Gil Ramirez Sr., whose son, Gil Ramirez Jr., filed the civil lawsuit against Marshall, HISD, Medford, Moss-Clay and another company, RHJ-JOC.

Dolcefino confirmed Wednesday that he recorded Medford at the company office. He said he took notes but wasn’t sure if Medford saw his audio recorder.

‘Not telling the truth’

Medford, in emails to the Chronicle on Wednesday night, did not deny it was his voice on the recording. But he suggested, without explaining how, that Dolcefino’s representation of their conversation was incorrect.

"He is not telling the truth about our conversations," Medford said. "I can say from what I have read so far that it is more fiction than truth." He did not respond to an email asking specifically if he stood by the statements in the recording. The audio recording was transcribed by a court reporter at the request of attorneys for Ramirez Jr. Excerpts of the transcript were filed in court late Wednesday.

Medford’s comments in the transcript excerpts appear to contradict statements he made under oath during a deposition last year when asked whether he had ever "made a transfer of money, goods, or anything of value to an HISD trustee?"

"Just through campaign contributions," Medford responded.

In his more recent conversation with Dolcefino, Medford said the attorney who deposed him "didn’t get to the truth the first time. … He just couldn’t get any straight answers out of me. They’re so stupid. They don’t even know what questions to ask," according to the transcript.

Marshall, who turns 81 next week, also has denied in his sworn deposition that he received any "payment, emolument, or other thing of value" from Medford besides the Super Bowl trip and consulting fees from Moss-Clay.

Medford and HISD construction officials have been at odds over several of his company’s school renovation projects, and in late May he filed a lawsuit against the district. The suit alleges that HISD owes Fort Bend Mechanical $9.8 million. HISD has denied the claim.

Don’t be surprised if some heavy local criminal defense attorneys arrive on the scene.  Stay tuned!

I’m thinking the folks at Battleground Texas aren’t too pleased to see FEMA shut the door on West, Texas and in the process make The President look real bad and untrue to his word. I hope The President’s folks get FEMA to do a 180.  The President is getting a ton of bad press in the Lone Star State today. The headline in today’s hard copy of the Chron reads “We stand with you and we will not forget”….The President.  This doesn’t look good.

I think I’ll get one of these T-shirts.  Here is from the Chron:

Former Texans Connor Barwin and Eric Winston are among the 10 players who have lent their names and jersey numbers to a new line of clothing which is being sold by the NFL Players Association in honor of LGBT Pride Month.

Barwin, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in March, has long voiced his support for gay rights. Winston, who spent six seasons with the Texans, is a free agent after playing for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012.

The numbered shirts, which are also available with the names of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe and free-agent linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, are being sold for $24.99, with proceeds going to Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization that fights homophobia in sports.

Mike Ivie (1970 by Padres), Dave Roberts (1972 by Padres), and Darin Erstad (1995 by Angels) of course spent part of their careers in a ‘Stro uniform.

I stayed up last night thinking that we were going to lose another close one by the score of one zip then we scored six runs in the top of the ninth.  Now we have us a one game winning streak.  How about that! 

 

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Commentary doesn’t have a problem with Mrs. Mumford being cast in the lead role in the upcoming bio epic “Rodham.”  I do find it puzzling that a movie will be made about her life during the seventies.  One would think that her life in the nineties and beyond would be more eventful.  I guess Hollywood knows better.  I wonder who will play Rodham’s beau.  Why not Mr. Mumford?

The outcry from Dems on the feds checking our phone records is deafening.  Not really!  It is of like “in President Obama we trust.”  If the feds are going to have access to my records they at least ought to help out with paying the internet and phone bill.

I really don’t know what to say about the story in today’s Chron about the HISD criminal investigation other than to say anytime the term “criminal” is used it isn’t a good thing.

Here is the article.

Here is one that you have a fifty percent change of getting right or wrong.  The MLB Amateur Player Draft began in 1965.  Are any Number One Draft Picks in the MLB Hall of Fame?

I received this yesterday from the folks over at the Houston Press:

The 3rd annual Houston Web Awards presented by Houston Press returns. The event will honor the best of the web at House of Dereon Media Center (2204 Crawford St) on Thursday, June 27, 2013 from 7pm – 10pm. Local individuals, organizations and businesses will receive a Web Award for outstanding online and social efforts. Local celebrity presenters will be handing out the awards in categories like best Pinterest, Best Instagram Feed, Tweet of the Year, Best Food Blog and Best use of Facebook by a Business – just to name a few. Followers, fans and Social Media enthusiasts are invited to attend the award ceremony celebration to watch the gurus of the web accept a trophy. Nominate your favorites now!

I checked out the categories and noticed that there wasn’t a Best Politics Blog category this year.  Either they forgot about it, or they are no longer interested, or no one is worthy, or they want me to just hang on to it for another year. 

Commentary and My Best Friend were over at The Yard yesterday evening for the Draft Watch get together.  We got a little swag, hot dogs, ice cream, and a St. Arnold.  The Mark Appel pick was a hit with those in attendance.  The kid was born in H-Town and played little league here.  The team did right by picking him.  It sent a much needed reassuring message to the fan base. 

To date not a single Number One Draft Pick has made it into the Hall of Fame of course but Ken Griffey, Jr. and Chipper Jones will get there in a few years.

The team is in KC this evening for a weekend series.

 

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Let me apologize for something I said yesterday.  Here is what I said:

Yesterday (Tuesday) a supporter of the Ben Mendez for City Council Campaign sent out a mean spirited and classless attack item on Graci Garces. 

It turns out the Mendez supporter was confronted yesterday and he ratted out the candidate and the campaign as the ones responsible for distributing the classless attack item.  This is mean spirited, classless, and narrow minded.  That’s not the way to conduct a political campaign in District I.  What do you expect?

Albert Pujols has a .323 career batting average but is only at a .240 clip this year.  How many times has Pujols batted above .300 in a season?

Some of us have fought hard to help Latino businesses benefit from our politics.  The Latino community has been very supportive of HISD bond initiatives in recent elections.  It looks like our efforts are not going to be appreciated as HISD is set to announce its HISD bond program managers with Latino firms being shut out.  What a shame! 

I don’t agree with those that criticize McDonald’s for giving a shout out to Charles Ramsey.  Here is from MSN.com:

Charles Ramsey is a media star this week after his heroic role in the rescue of three women who spent nearly a decade in captivity in a Cleveland home. He’s given several interviews about the incident, and he talks about McDonald’s in many of them.

He even mentioned McDonald’s in his 911 call to police after responding to Amanda Berry’s cries for help from the house. And the company has taken notice, reaching out to Ramsey on Twitter.

"We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy," the company said. "Way to go Charles Ramsey — we’ll be in touch." The statement was retweeted more than 10,000 times.

With that message, McDonald’s has thrust itself into the widening spotlight around Ramsey, a restaurant dishwasher who rocketed to fame because of the rescue but perhaps more so because of the engaging, moving and often humorous ways he has recounted the event.

McDonald’s has become part of the story, and now it’s being criticized for crossing the line. "Even when you account for what might be noble intentions on the part of McDonald’s, the tweet still doubles as an ad," Seamus McKiernan writes in The Huffington Post. He added that McDonald’s seems to be praising Ramsey as much for his good deed as for mentioning the company repeatedly.

"We should acknowledge that the McDonald’s tweet is inappropriate at best and, at worst, it capitalizes on the sensation of a tragic story," McKiernan wrote.

Charles Ramsey is the real deal and folks that go after McDonald’s need to get a life.

Yesterday Wolf Blitzer and others said they were surprised to hear that two of the Cleveland Castro brothers weren’t charged.   Most of the world including Commentary had already convicted all three.  What do we know?

Albert Pujols has batted over .300 in ten seasons of course.

Commentary was at The Yard last night and saw us take a series from the Angels.  We can go for the sweep this evening – yikes!

 

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