Archive for December, 2010

This is what the H-Town Mayor said yesterday:

"If we believe the will of the voters, and we here certainly do, then I heard loud and clear that they want the city to rebuild Houston through this drainage fee proposal and they want the red light cameras to go away."

Paul Bettencourt wants a judge to undo what the voters decided on Prop 1 back on November 2.  FYI:  Commentary worked for Prop 1. 
Check out the Chron story.

Hey, he had plenty of time to make his case before the election and he didn’t.  Just like the red light camera makers had plenty of time to make their case but they didn’t. 

That’s why we have elections.  We get to make our case.  We get to talk to the voters.

Everything he says in his lawsuit should have been said during the election if you ask me.

When you don’t get your way, and when you lose fair and square, you don’t get to run to the courthouse to change the outcome.  I guess Bettencourt didn’t hear it loud and clear.

Hang in there Mayor!

Who is the only Cleveland Indian to ever hit four dingers in a game?

I’m not going to say anything about the Yao Ming experiment in H-Town.

I’m not going to say anything about the Texans’ Head Coach other than to say if we bring somebody else in, that doesn’t mean we get in the playoffs next season.  I don’t know if you can blame the Head Coach for those last second losses.

Right fielder Rocky Colavito of course hit four dingers in B’More on June 10, 1959.

Check out Alyson’s Footnotes for latest changes at The Yard.


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Chris Bell responded yesterday to Ross Ramsey’s Texas Tribune piece on the demise of the Texas Democratic Party.  Ramsey questioned why the donors would keep investing in the Democratic Party.  Bell says to keep investing in the Democratic Party.   Check out what Chris says.  I don’t have a problem with what Chris says as long as the Democratic Party gets a new set of investment advisors.  If the Party keeps using the same bunch of advisors, you may as well throw your money down the toilet drain.

My pal Gary Blankinship, president of the Houston Police Officers’ Union, tried to come to the rescue of the H-Town Mayor and responded to Rick Casey’s column in Sunday’s Chronicle in a letter-to-the-editor today.  Here is part of what Gary said:

“The truth is, Mayor Parker and her team deserve credit for their nonpartisan professionalism in attempting to clean up any number of problems left by the previous administration.”

Gary for sure missed the whole Port Commission reappointment episode over at City Hall where partisanship ran amuck.  Gary also took some shots at the Former Mayor.  Here is Gary’s letter:

In the mayor’s defense

Regarding Rick Casey’s “The symbol of Parker’s problems” (Page B1, Sunday), it was disappointing to see City Council members stoop to petty, anonymous quotes attacking the mayor’s chief of staff, Waynette Chan, when Houston is facing so many sobering challenges.

The truth is, Mayor Parker and her team deserve credit for their nonpartisan professionalism in attempting to clean up any number of problems left by the previous administration.

To give you an idea, our organization has been in contract negotiations with the city since March 2010. This contract should have been finalized months ago, however, the Department of Finance — whose head was appointed by the previous mayor – had no clue what the true base rate of compensation is for HPD officers. Even though the Houston Police Department‘s finance people had detailed information, the city’s finance group wouldn’t allow HPD to be part of the process.

Fortunately, Parker grasped the reckless implications of this problem; since her engagement, negotiations are back on track. Thanks to Mayor Parker and her senior staff, in fact, I feel reasonably certain that the city and police force will soon have a deal that balances public safety and the city’s fiscal responsibilities.

Furthermore, I doubt previous Mayor Bill White consulted often with council members – as one of Casey’s anonymous sources suggests. If so, I feel certain such meetings were as unproductive as those the Houston Police Officers’ Union had with the former mayor.

Recall this is the same mayor who used symbolic property-tax cuts, one of several empty and ill-advised ploys that helped drive the city off into the financial ditch it is in today.

This is the same ditch Mayor Parker and her staff need help from the council, city employees and the public to get all of us out of today.

They are doing a good job, and they deserve more help and less anonymous backbiting.

Gary Blankinship, president, Houston Police Officers’ Union

Who is the only MLB pitcher to throw an Opening Day no-no?

Commentary has to hand it to Tessa Goth Rudolphy’s Christmas card again this year.  Tessa always does a take on an album cover.  She’s done The Carpenters, The Beatles, Dylan, and others.   This year she does a take on Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – cool.  Way to go, Tessa! 

My pal Bill King has a piece today in the Chron on The DREAM Act and immigration.  It has a lot of good facts.  Check it out. 

Cleveland’s Bob Feller of course no hit the White Sox by a 1-0 score at Old Comiskey Park on Opening Day, April 16, 1940.  Bob Feller was also on the last Cleveland Indians team to win the World Serious way back in 1948.  Bob Feller left us yesterday.

I’m not going to say anything about a bunch of fees being raised over at the City of H-Town yesterday other than to say I wonder if the Council Members that put out their electronic newsletters will list and include them in the coming days or weeks.  Stay tuned!

Commentary went to The Yard last night to check out the sales and I picked up a never used fitted mesh batting practice lid for $10 from the early brick red days.  There were also a number of blue and gold jackets and jerseys from the late Dome days.  There were also a bunch of Moises Alou and Adam Everett baseball bats.  You should have been there!

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Around this time ten years ago, Aaron Pena was contemplating a run for Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.  Yesterday, State Representative Aaron Pena switched political parties.

I first met Aaron back in the late 90s at a media training seminar I conducted for potential political candidates.  He was with a group of young Latinos and Latinas that were recruited for possible public service.  Yesterday Aaron was rubbing shoulders and getting the high fives from Guv Dude, the Lite Guv, and the GOP Texas House Speaker.

Aaron and I actually had constructive conversations about the future of the Texas Democratic Party that started back in 2000 at the Democratic National Convention that was held in Los Angeles.  A personal family tragedy in 2001 ended his bid for Chair.

This is what Aaron said yesterday:

“I came to realize that this was my home for the remainder of my life.  I spent 40 years as a Democrat. Well, I’ve got 30 years as a Republican ahead of me, if I live that long.”

So much for the constructive conversations we once had about the Texas Democratic Party.

Who was the Skipper of the 1997 World Serious Champs?

The fella that started Facebook just won Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2010.  The Tea Party came in second.

If the Democratic Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives has any more defections, they are going to have to call themselves the House Democratic Focus Group.

Jim Leyland of course guided the Florida Marlins to the 1997 World Serious Championship over the Tribe in seven games.  Jim Leyland is celebrating his 66th BD today.

Leave it up to the still Democratic Party controlled Congress to dole out some more last minute earmarks.   I guess they are grabbing all they can on their way out of the store.

If you want to do some gift shopping today you might want to drop by the Team Store at The Yard today from 12 noon to 8 p.m.  Prices will be discounted on MLB memorabilia, team gear, jackets, and other cool stuff.   Check it out!


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The Chron’s Lisa Falkenberg has a column today on straight ticket and split ticket voting.  Check it out.  A whole bunch of voters enjoy going the straight ticket route.  Maybe they like the convenience involved.  Maybe they are die hard partisans.  Nobody makes them do it or puts a gun to their head.  If you don’t like it, go on ahead and spend 20 minutes spinning the wheel or just go in a vote for a handful or races and then say adios baby.  Just don’t limit our options – please.

I was checking out the GOP U.S. House Speaker-to-Be Sunday night on “60 Minutes” and the fella loves to shed a tear and cry.   If Nancy Pelosi had cried a tenth of the time that Boehner has cried she would have been labeled as not up for the job or emotionally unfit for the job or something like that.

I sure would hate to sit by Boehner watching the end of “Titanic” or “Old Yeller” or “Steel Magnolias.”  The GOP has gone from The Hammer to The Weeper.

On June 28, 2007 B-G-O, err Craig Biggio got his 3,000 hit against the Rockies at The Yard.  Which Rockies pitcher gave up the 3,000 base hit?

I was checking our Ross Ramsey’s piece in the Texas Tribune yesterday titled “Another Losing Season for Texas Democrats” – ouch! Check it out.   It is a sad and somewhat humorous piece that kind of depicts the Lone Star State Dem Party as on the brink of irrelevancy. 

Ross Ramsey’s best line is his last line:  It’s no wonder the Republicans in Texas are breaking into factions: They need the competition.


Aaron Cook of course gave up B-G-O’s 3,000th base hit.   Craig Biggio is celebrating his 45th BD today.  Happy Birthday B-G-O!

What can I say about last night’s game?  I’m glad I wasn’t at Reliant.

Well it looks like the ‘Stros will face Roy Halladay, Roy O., and Cliff Lee in the first three games of 2011 so I guess that’s something of importance from The Yard. 


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The Chron’s Columnist put out a piece yesterday on the H-Town Mayor’s operation and it isn’t pretty.  This time Chief of Staff Waynette Chan is singled out – ouch!  Check out the piece.

Here is the part of the piece that I found the most interesting:

The trouble boiled over two weeks ago when Mayor Annise Parker went to the mat over an appointment to the Houston Port Authority board, and lost. Both those who voted with the mayor and those who voted against her described the fight as unnecessary, nasty and disrespectful of council members.

My take is that early on Port Commissioner Janiece Longoria had the votes for reappointment.  At that point, the other candidate just should have stepped aside.  Instead a decision was made to turn votes around.  That strategy backfired and so now folks are piling on.  It didn’t have to get to this if you ask me.

“The Today Show” announced this morning the six finalists for “Time” person(s) of 2010.  They are:  The Chilean miners, the Wiki-leaks fella, the CEO of Apple, the Karzaid fella from Afghanistan, the founder of Facebook, and the Tea Party.  The person(s) will be announced Wednesday morning.  I’m putting my money on the Tea Party.

This former MLBer was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, he was the NL Cy Young Award Winner in 1971, and he won 20 or more games seven different seasons.  Who am I talking about?

The red light camera makers are in federal court saying that the November 2 election results don’t count and the red light cameras should stay up until 2014 as the contract says.  Oh yeah!  If the election didn’t matter, why did they plunk down close to $1.5 mil to promote Prop 3?

The place to be tonight in H-Town is Reliant for Monday Night Football.  Commentary won’t be there. 

Ferguson Jenkins of course ended up his pitching career at 284 wins and 226 losses.  Ferguson Jenkins is celebrating his 68th BD today.

If you can’t beat them, join them says State Rep. Alan Ritter the Quitter who is now a GOPer.

Commentary was out doing a little shopping and stopped by one of the bookstores and saw a ‘Stros 2011 calendar for sale.  It had months for The Big Puma, Roy O., and Pedro Feliz.  I don’t know about that.

I also saw a book on the greatest MLBers of all time with a mention of Jeff Bagwell, but his bio was of someone else.  I also don’t know about that.

My pal Drayton still owns the ‘Stros and that’s all I have from The Yard.


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I guess it is not too early to start talking about the Harris County vote in 2012.  UH’s Dr. Murray has a piece out talking about what might be in 2012. 
Check it out.  Here are a few snippets:

What does this mean for 2012?  If the national political climate is as bad for Democrats two years from now as it was in November 2008, they will do better on average in Harris County, but most party candidates would still trail, albeit by 3 or 4 percentage points, not 10 or 12.

There is also this.

With President Obama on the ticket, we can expect a very significant jump in African American voting in Harris County.  The bigger unknown is what happens in the Hispanic community, which is twice as large in population as the African American population, but cast only one-half as many votes in 2008 and 2010.  More on that later.

Of course, the folks that are paying the most attention to 2012 right now are the folks that won countywide in 2008.  Before they buy into the local Dem Party plan for 2012, I hope they ask the right questions like:  How is the Dem Party going to engage the Latino voter?   Of course if the same folks are in charge, I don’t see much happening with the Latino vote. 

In MLB, all eyes are on free agent pitcher Cliff Lee and where he will ending up playing next season.  Cliff Lee was a fourth round pick in the 2000 MLB Draft.  Who was the first overall pick in 2000?

You can go to the Chron or the Houston Press to get the latest on the court battle over the red light cameras here in H-Town.  It looks like the makers of the red light cameras aren’t giving up.  Remember, these guys are from Arizona.  They don’t give a rat’s arse about the vote on November 2.  They don’t care if the voters get upset at the H-Town Mayor and City Council if the cameras stay up.  They put in most of the money to save the cameras during recent Prop 3 campaign.  So this is clearly about money for them.  Stay tuned!

All Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of course and now with the Red Sox was the first player taken in the 2000 MLB Amateur Player Draft.

We signed another pitcher to vie for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.  Oops, I forgot to mention that you can also check out Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and the Red Sox at The Yard on Wednesday/Thursday, March 30-31, 2011 for two exhibition games right before the ‘Stros head to Philly to start the regular season. 


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The Chron’s Lisa Falkenberg has some choice words today for Hutch for turning her back on The DREAMERS.  Way to go Lisa!

“Hutchison is a lost cause and her lack of integrity on this issue makes Gov. Rick Perry look like a great humanitarian.”


“Hutchison has sold out before. But voting against the nomination of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor didn’t really hurt anybody. This is different.”

Take that!

“Texas’ senior senator seems to have undergone the same form of ideological lobotomy that has so relieved Sen. John McCain of his mavericky attributes.”

And that!

I’m telling you, I don’t think Hutch’s corner men had Hutch thoroughly checked out after the bruising she took from Guv Dude this past March.  I don’t think they asked her “how many fingers am I holding up” or “what day is it?” 

This comes from the area of ‘Stros history:  Who is Mike Rosamond?

My buddy Jay Root today has an AP story about another GOP state legislator double dipping, errr having the state and his campaign pay for the same travel expenses.  The GOP fella says he was too busy and didn’t know he was double dipping.  Oh brother!  I’m thinking the Vegas line will set the over/under fine at around $7,500.  Take the over.  The Ethics Commission can always be counted on to stick it to legislators because they write the ethics laws and are supposed to know better.

Mike Rosamond of course was a Gerry Hunsicker MLB Draft first round pick back in 1999.  I bring it up because the ‘Stros passed on homie Carl Crawford who was picked in Round 2 of the 1999 MLB Draft and yesterday inked a 7-year deal worth $142 mil with the Red Sox.  Hunsicker didn’t look so smart with that move if you ask me.  You can check out Carl Crawford on Friday – Sunday, July 1-3, 2011 when the Red Sox visit The Yard for three.   BTW:  Rosamond never made it to the Bigs and isn’t playing baseball these days.

On Chron.com finally some news from The Yard:

The Astros chose two pitchers in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, taking Rays righthander Aneury Rodriguez in the first round and Yankees righthander and Kingwood High School and Rice alum Lance Pendleton in the second round.

Rodriguez, a Dominican who will turn 23 next week, was primarily a starter in a 2010 season spent mostly at Class AAA Durham. He went 7-5 with a 3.71 ERA in his sixth professional season.

Pendleton started for Class AA Trenton and more for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last year, going 12-5 with a 3.61 ERA. He was a fourth-round pick of the Yankees in 2005.

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Commentary definitely underestimated the hurt Guv Dude put on Hutch this past March.  She is not thinking clearly.   I don’t think she knows she only has two years left in the U.S. Senate. The Texas Tea Party bunch have declared war on her and said their number one goal in the Lone Star State in 2012 is to take her arse down.  She can’t do anything that will change their minds.  The Tea Party bunch have her so freaked out that she won’t do the right thing and cast a yes vote for The DREAM Act today or tomorrow. 

Kuffer has this to say about the recent Port Commission vote:

Ms. (Janiece) Longoria, who was re-appointed by Council against the Mayor’s preferences, is the sole Hispanic on the Commission. The other City of Houston appointee, Kase Lawal, is the sole African-American, and is the other City of Houston appointee. The other four, plus the Chair – four white guys and Elyse Lanier – were appointed by Commissioners Court, the Harris County Mayors & Councils Association, and the city of Pasadena. In other words, the City of Houston is 100% responsible for the diversity on this governing body. Call me crazy, but I don’t see why this should be the case.

Ok, you’re crazy!  Wow, imagine the City of H-Town responsible for 100% of the diversity on the Port Commission.  Tell CM James Rodriguez where to go pick up that badge of honor on behalf of the City!

At the MLB Winter Meetings yesterday, MLB honored four skippers that just hung up their line-up cards:  Bobby Cox (The ATL), Cito Gaston (Blue Jays), Lou Pinella (Cubbies), and Joe Torre (Dodgers but really with the Yankees).   How many are in the Top Ten in career managerial wins?

I really don’t know what to make of a Latino contractor suing an HISD Trustee and HISD for rigging the bidding process on a contract.  
Check out the Chron story.   In reading the piece, it looks like the former superintendent might have something to say on this at a later and more formal date and even do a little payback.  Stay tuned!

Memo to the Chron!  Can you bring down the scoreboard and Dude’s mug on Political page?  It has been over a month now.

Bobby Cox of course is #4 with 2,504 career Ws and Joe Torre of course is #5 with 2,326 career Ws.  Lou Pinella with 1,835 Ws is at #14.  Cito Gaston with 894 Ws doesn’t crack the Top 50.  Gaston though guided the Jays to 2 World Seriouses, Cox guided The ATL to 1, Torre guided the Yankees to 4, and Pinella guided the Reds to 1.

It looks like the ‘Stros are looking to get a better stick at second base and that’s all I have from The Yard.

Thirty years ago today while sitting in my living room watching Monday Night Football (Patriots at Dolphins), Howard Cosell delivered the devastating news about John Lennon’s death.  I was alone and just sat there stunned flipping the channels and turning the radio dial trying to find out the details.  It was one of those events that I will never forget where I was and how I felt.


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Fallout from the Port Commission vote continues at H-Town City Hall.  Check out the story in today’s Chron.

First of all let me say that my pal CM Anne Clutterbuck, who resigned as Mayor Pro Tem yesterday, was the Mayor’s pick in the first place.  My pal CM Mike Sullivan, who is being booted off as Chair of the Redistricting Committee was the Mayor’s original choice without a whole lot of consultation might I say to Chair the Redistricting Committee.  These are her picks that are now on the outs.  She is the one that tapped these two conservative GOPers for key leadership positions.

According to the Chron, some of the Mayor’s key staff is worried about Clutterbuck running against the Mayor next year.  Here is how Clutterbuck brushed that off:  "I find it unfortunate that questions like that are asked in her own office because they are a distraction from the real work that needs to get done.”

Here is what Sullivan said:  "It’s a precursor of more to come. We have very strong council members who have worked with another administration that was much more diplomatic and much more concerned about council issues than this mayor is. I think that is showing in the vote."


Here’s a head scratcher for sure.  Here is what the Mayor said:  "It’s been a stressful, stressful year for many of us in city government because of the financial situation.  We’ve been cutting the budget continuously throughout the year, and a lot of what we do involves people’s lives and livelihoods, too. It can burn you out."

I don’t know about that.  I hope she’s not talking about herself getting burned out.

Commentary was there when CM James Rodriguez advised the Mayor’s senior staff to pull the plug on their Port Commission choice before things got out of hand.  They didn’t listen.  They should have.

This former MLBer was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 with over 96% of the votes cast from the Baseball Writers.  His #5 was retired by the only team he ever played with.  He won 10 Gold Glove Awards, was selected to the All Star Game 14 times, he won 2 MVPs, he was an NL Rookie of the Year, he won two World Serious rings, he won a World Serious MVP, and he is on the MLB All Century Team.  Who am I talking about?

It would probably be a good idea take a video camera over to City Hall, scoop up a bunch of interviews, and put together a local reality TV show and call it “The Real Politicians of Bagby Street” and have it air on the local access station or shop it around.  Heck, maybe Pam-In-Charge would give it a slot on the ‘Stros new network.  After all, politics is a contact sport.  Stay tuned!

Johnny Bench of course was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1989.  Johnny Bench is celebrating his 63rd BD today.

The DREAMERS will have their press conference this morning (10:30 am) at City Hall.

You can go to the ‘Stros website and catch the latest from the MLB Winter Meetings and see if any deals are coming our way and that’s all I have from The Yard.


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Commentary heard a phrase the other day that got me to thinking.  In referencing politics in the local Latino community, a fella said something about upsetting the Latino “powers that be.”  I really don’t know how that is defined these days.   There isn’t a whole lot of power being turned on when a month ago the local Latino voter turnout was measly at best.   The Latino community is losing a seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court.  We just had an HISD Trustee election that was decided by 44 votes.  A few weeks ago, H-Town CM James Rodriguez led the effort to protect our representation on the Port Commission while some Latino leaders sat on the sidelines.  So when I hear that the Latino “powers that be” are going to blah, blah, blah, I don’t think that it has any bite these days if you ask me.

The DREAMERS will be taking their show to the steps of City Hall tomorrow.

When was the last time The Big Puma was in the ‘Stros line-up?

Speaking of, The Big Puma will now be playing for San Luis.  We get to go up against The Big Puma fifteen times next season.  His first visit wearing the Cardinal red at The Yard is on Tuesday, April 26, 2011.  He’ll get a cool $8 mil next year.  Not bad for a fella hitting .245 when he left us last year.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 of course was the last time The Big Puma was in the line-up wearing the brick red as he went 2 for 2 with 3 walks and 3 runs scored in an 8-1 win over the Cubbies.

My pal Drayton sent me this year’s ‘Sros Christmas tree ornament so I guess that’s something from The Yard. 


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