Archive for August, 2012

First of all let me say that Commentary is generally opposed to putting limits on campaign contributions.  We have them for Prez and Congress.  We don’t for Super PACs.  We have them for H-Town Mayor and City Council.  We don’t for Harris County Judge and County Commissioners.  We don’t for state offices or the state legislature.  We have blackout periods for the City and State.  We don’t for the Congress and County.  We have vendor-contract-agenda blackout periods at the City.

I have always thought if an elected official was corruptible, he/she would be corrupt for a dime, a trip, a ticket, a dinner, or a few Gs.  There are a whole lot of elected officials that will take thousands of dollars in campaign contributions and still vote against a campaign donor’s issue.  That being said, it looks like HISD Trustees are on their way to adopting a campaign contribution policy of sorts that basically says that if you want to do business with HISD, you better not give more than $500 to a Trustee in a calendar year. 

With all the bad press that certain HISD Trustees have received in the past year and a half on campaign contributions and vendor relationships, the proposed policy is a positive step.

Check out Ericka Mellon’s story here on the proposed policy.

Here is from the Chron today:

Trustees would have to abstain from voting on deals involving vendors who had contributed more than $500 to their campaigns the prior year. They also would have to disclose and abstain if they have a close relationship with a vendor.


Houston political consultant Marc Campos said he expects vendors will donate less money to HISD candidates.

"I think it’s a positive step unless somebody can figure out how to game the system," he said.

Campos suggested that the donation rule also apply to political action committees that include vendors, and he questioned whether it would cover unions. The draft policy did not specifically mention unions.

For instance, if a vendor contributes thousands to a PAC, then the PAC turns around and contributes a few thousand to a Trustee, is the proposed policy being violated?  Same thing for a downtown law firm doing bond business with HISD that may give a few thousand to the HBEC PAC, that then turns around and hands out a campaign check to a Trustee.  Let me say that I’m certainly not picking on labor unions but they could also be doing business with HISD.  Same thing goes for a non-profit doing business with HISD.

This is certainly a work in progress and the kinks are going to have to be worked out.  Vendors, donors, consultants, Trustees, candidates, and the media are going to have to figure it out and not be afraid to ask questions and share info.  One thing is for sure, it looks like there will be less money to conduct campaigns unless of course you self-fund.

Today’s Chron Sports section front page is about the lousiest teams in MLB history including the last place 1962 Mets that went 40-120.  How many games did they finish out of first that year?

The Rockets want to buy the Dynamo.

Check it out here.

The ‘Stros owner had some things to say to Chron.com yesterday:

“We want the fans to stick with us. We’ll do a lot of events for the fans the rest of the year and do a lot of events starting next year to keep that nucleus of 10,000 season tickets.”

(Jim) Crane said he believes “sophisticated baseball fans” are in tune with the team’s plan to rebuild through the farm system and “work some free agents in there” as the minor league talent progresses to the point that the big league team can contend.

“If you look at the facts, the farm system has one of the best records now,” he said. “We’ve made a nice turn there. We want to bring up a few guys up (in September) and see if they can play, and we’ll get focused on next year pretty quick. We’re hustling. We want to win some more ballgames and get some more (fans) out.”

Crane also said the Astros have submitted their redesigned uniforms to MLB for approval. He said the design includes “traditional” elements from past Astros uniforms and “incorporates them in a very modest way. They’re very classy.”

He also said the Astros are soliciting fans’ opinions on the future of Tal’s Hill in center field and that fans have said “they don’t see a lot of sense in having that 436(-foot fence) in center. We’re looking at a design that would incorporate some other things out there. We could use that space for a lot of different things.”

According to this “sophisticated fan,” it looks like Tal’s Hill will be bulldozed and they’ll stick some high priced Outfield Diamond Level seats out there – just wait!

The last place 1962 Mets finished 60 ½ games behind the Giants of course.

The D-Backs are in town this weekend with Blue and Gold Star Lids being handed out tonight and Bagwell Bobbleheads tomorrow.


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As long as the GOP allows the mug of Arizona Tea Party Governor Jan Brewer to keep showing up on the tube hating on The DREAMERs, the more likely Latino voters will overwhelmingly vote the Dem side this November.  Here is the latest on keeping hate alive!  It is from a Reuters piece on HuffPo:

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer, in yet another clash with the White House, issued an order on Wednesday barring undocumented immigrants who qualify for temporary legal status in the United States from receiving any state or local public benefits.
The action was a response to relaxed deportation rules issued by the Obama administration on Wednesday.
Brewer, whose state has been at the center of the country’s immigration debate, issued an executive order denying state or local benefits to immigrants applying under the new federal immigration rules. The order would bar them from obtaining an Arizona driver’s license or a state-issued identification card.

Here is the entire piece.

Keep hating, lady!  

SBOE, District 6 candidate Traci Jensen and Commentary attended the Cypress – Tomball Democrats meeting last night out on Grant Road off of Jones Road.  43 Dems were in attendance – wow!  I’ve said it before!  That’s where the local Dem Party ought to be chasing Dem voters.  Dems out there are hungry!

Speaking of, GOP Sen. Marco Rubio came to H-Town yesterday to crack on The President.  Here is an interesting bit from Chron.com on his visit:

Aside from noting that he is the son of Cuban immigrants, Rubio did not address the nation’s immigration controversy.

Well what do you know?  The GOP’s Latino Poster Boy doesn’t even have the guts to mention this while in H-Town on the day The DREAMERs got some relief!  Cluck, cluck, cluck!

Here is the rest of Chron.com on Rubio.

Another perfect game was tossed yesterday – the third of the season – the 23rd in MLB history.  How many NL Central teams have tossed perfect games?

Dougie asked the most interesting question yesterday at The Mayor’s press availability after the City Council meeting.

The second most interesting question was from a reporter who asked The Mayor if her lunch had ever been stolen from the office refrigerator. 

The Chron’s Chris Moran has a piece today on the bonds, bonds, and more bonds H-Town, HCC, and HISD voters will consider this year.   Here is a taste:

"I think the voters are going to most likely turn down all bond referendums on the November ballot," Councilman Mike Sullivan said. "There is very little sentiment for more tax dollars to be spent right now on virtually anything. You can look at the Cruz campaign and the way that that election turned out, and there’s a message there. People are fed up. People are tired of excessive spending."

Well, if only Tea Baggers show up to vote the bonds are toast.    I’m thinking a whole lot more people will be showing up to vote.

Here is Chris Moran’s piece.

Go on ahead and take your pick of words to describe Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera – arsehole, f__ing idiot, or dumbarse for testing positive for performance enhancement substances.  They are in a battle with the Dodger and D-Backs for the NL West title and he put himself above his team and teammates. 

Here is from MLB.com:

Cabrera, 28, was batting .346, 13 points behind league-leader Andrew McCutchen of Pittsburgh.

With 501 plate appearances, Cabrera is one shy of automatically qualifying for the NL batting title. However, he would win the title if were to still have the league’s highest average after the mathematical addition of one at-bat.

To explain, Cabrera is 159-for-459, good for a batting average of .3456 when carried to a fourth decimal. If Cabrera were theoretically given one more at-bat, 159-for-460 comes to an average of .3464. Both figures round out to .346. If no one has hit for a higher average, Cabrera would be the NL batting champion.

His suspension is for 50 games and the Giants have 45 games remaining.  He could still play this season if the Giants make the playoffs and advance beyond five playoff games. 

The Reds of course are the only team from the NL Central to ever toss a perfect game when Reds hurler Tom Browning went perfection over the Dodgers in 1988.

FYI:  James Coney Island is offering 89 cent Coneys today at all of their locations!

The only good thing I can say is Jose Altuve is hitting .305.  The Chron ‘Stros beat writer says today that pitcher Lucas Harrell deserves Team MVP consideration along with Altuve.  Heck, they would be the only ones to get votes as we have now lost 80 games.  We would now have to go 42-1 the rest of the season to avoid our fourth straight losing season – not gonna happen!


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Commentary has said before that it was never about voter fraud at the polls.  I’m talking about the BS GOP promoting their voter I.D. bills.  It has always been about making it harder for Latinos and others to cast votes.  It has been about putting up barriers at the polls.  Burkablog points out today a Washington Post article about a review of voter fraud in the U.S. of A.  Here is from the Post piece:

The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.

Here is the entire Post article.

Here is what Burkablog says:

Fraud by impersonation is a myth, perpetuated by Republicans to justify Voter I.D. laws that suppress turnout. You’ll never convince me otherwise. It’s one of the worst things that has happened to American democracy.

Here is all of Burkablog.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, GOP!  Sooner or later (hopefully sooner) the Latino vote is going to take a hunk out of your arse.  Hopefully it will happen this year in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Yesterday Commentary mentioned the five seasons (1994-1999) the ‘Stros wore the Blue and Gold Star uniforms.  How many winning seasons did the ‘Stros have wearing the Blue and Gold Star uniforms?

I lifted this from Politico that lifted it from the Boston Globe today:

Both (Rupert) Murdoch and (NY Mayor Michael) Bloomberg said they were mystified that Romney hasn’t done more to reach out to Latino voters by outlining plans to ease immigration

“Give them a path to citizenship,” Murdoch said. “They pay taxes. They are hard-working people. Why Mitt Romney doesn’t do it, I have no idea because they are naturally Republicans.”

Bloomberg added: “The Republicans walking away from the Latino community is about as dumb a strategy as any political party has ever adopted. "

You can say that again and again!

Meanwhile the process for DREAMERs begins today!  Si se puede!

My pal Gary Polland in his latest Texas Conservative Review opposes the HISD bonds.  Well at least the HISD Bonds Campaign won’t have to spend a ton of money buying ads in Gary’s campaign special edition mailer.  Here is part of what Gary says:

Congratulations to Greg Meyers, the only school board member with enough common sense to agree HISD should earn the voters trust first before asking for the whole enchilada. Voters should take a look at this stinker and vote NO, so HISD can have a reality check and do their planning in stages. Remember, it is always good to learn to walk before one runs.

Gary also lets us know what is going on behind the scenes at the local Dem Party.  Here is what he says:

This hasn’t made the local media yet, but former Democratic Chair Gerald Birnberg has made a complaint designed to remove Democratic "accidental" District Attorney candidate Lloyd Oliver from the ballot. This is an interesting development.

TCR wonders, do the D’s intend to remove and replace with a handpicked star who they think could take advantage of the nasty GOP primary battle between incumbent Pat Lykos and successful primary challenger Mike Anderson? Do the Democrats think that they can convince enough swing and Lykos loyalists to vote their way, and win a tight battle? Maybe it’s time for the Anderson group to smoke the peace pipe with District Attorney Lykos and her supporters.

I sure am glad Gary is around to let me know what the local Dem Party is up to.

Former H-Town CM Peter Brown addressed City Council yesterday to complain about the City-County-METRO GMPs deal that was cut the other day.  However, former CM Brown wouldn’t call it a deal – got it!

Julianna Margulies from “The Good Wife” is one of Commentary’s favorite TV actresses.  I’m adding Emily Mortimer from “The Newsroom” to the list. 

All five of the Blue and Gold Star uniform seasons were winning seasons of course (66-49 in ’94, 76-68 in ’95, 82-80 in ’96, 84-78 in ’97, 102-60 in ’98, and 97-65 in ’99).

The GM sent us an email yesterday thanking us for hanging in there and ‘splaining why we’re doing lousy and how we are going to get better.  He didn’t need to ‘splain why we’re not winning – no hitting, no pitching, lousy base running, missing the cutoff man, lousy fielding, mental mistakes, and lousy ballplayers).  I’d much rather get an email from him this morning ‘splaining how in the heck we scored 10 runs last night that included a pair of three run dingers.


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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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For a fella that has talked about running for Mayor, yesterday’s front page Chron story with a headline saying “Controller and the con man” certainly didn’t help.  It is a very politically damaging story if you ask me.  Here is how the article it starts off:

City Controller Ron Green, Houston’s top elected money manager and self-described watchdog, is seeking leniency for a five-time convicted felon and contractor who masterminded an elaborate real estate and forgery scam targeting the city’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

You really need to check out the story here.

Here is more on the “con man” buddy of the Controller.

Wow!    Running for Mayor?  I don’t think so.  Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if someone ran against him for Controller.  The Chron story certainly puts the Controller in a very vulnerable position.  Stay tuned!

Three U.S. of A. cities have hosted the Summer Olympics and have won World Seriouses.  Name the three?

The Chron E-Board endorsed the HISD bonds yesterday – sorta.  Here is the Chron E-Board headline: We support the HISD bond, but with strings attached.

The E-Board wants the following strings attached:

But to win the public’s trust and votes in November, HISD’s board and superintendent face immediate challenges. There’s work to do:

The school board’s ethics policy needs to be much stricter. Relative to other big-city school boards (like, say, Dallas’), HISD’s rules regarding conflicts of interest, campaign donations from contractors and procurement procedures are shockingly loosey-goosey. The most scandalous thing about recent scandals wasn’t that board members broke the rules by, say, helping a best friend’s pursuit of juicy HISD contracts, or by taking trips bankrolled by an HISD vendor. It’s that such behavior wasn’t clearly against the rules already. Before we send $1.9 billion HISD’s way, we need to know that the money won’t be siphoned into sweetheart deals.

HISD needs to show that it’s learned from problems with its last bond issue. Contractors who did clearly shoddy work for the district shouldn’t be able to win new contracts. Renovations need to take place in a reasonable time frame. (Many funded by the 2007 bond still aren’t finished.) And the district clearly needs a long-term construction plan: Some of the improvements paid for by the 2007 bond may have to be torn out for this latest round of work. Such waste shouldn’t happen again. Our schools should be built to last.

Commentary can pretty much guarantee that these two strings will not be attached so it is going to be interesting to see if the E-Board will come back and snatch back their endorsement in a couple of months or so.

Here is the entire E-Board take.

In her Chron story Friday about putting the $1.89 bil worth of HISD school bonds on the ballot this November, Ericka Mellon wrote this:

Houston voters will get to decide in November whether to approve the largest school bond package in recent Texas history after HISD trustees endorsed the plan on an 8-1 vote Thursday night.

I was watching the proceedings on live TV Thursday night and that’s really not what happened.  Three HISD Trustees really didn’t come out and say they “endorsed” the plan, instead they said they would vote to allow the voters to decide on the bonds.  Hey, but who’s splitting hairs?  That’s all I’m going to say about that!

San Luis, Los Angeles, and The ATL of course have hosted the Summer Olympic Games and won World Seriouses.

There was a contingent of organized labor folks at The Yard yesterday including the Working Man Hero who was on the field before the game and introduced to the 19,000 and change that saw the ‘Stros lose a game they should have won.  What else is new!


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We’ve all heard the term “hardball politics.”  Today’s front page Chron story describes “hardball politics” in detail and locally.  Allen Watson is an engineer with Cobb, Fendley & Associates.  He’s also a City of H-Town appointee to METRO – nominated by The Mayor.   Last week Watson and the four other City METRO appointees voted to approve November ballot language on the General Mobility Payments (GMPs) that if supported by METRO service area voters, will provide more funds to the City of H-Town and three other local burgs and less money to the County and other smaller burgs. 

The County retaliated earlier this week and pulled a road design contract for Cobb, Fendley from the Commissioners’ Court agenda.  County Commissioner Steve Radack had the item pulled from the agenda and made no bones about why:

“If somebody that wants to work for Harris County goes out and figures out a way to deprive Harris County’s unincorporated area out of tens of millions of dollars in Metro funding, I really don’t think they need to be doing business with the county."

What’s refreshing is that Commissioner Radack is upfront and honest.   Often time political retaliation of this sort is not talked about publicly, explained off as a technical matter, or downright lied about.  Commissioner Radack is being brutally candid.

What is going to be interesting if this escalates, after all, Watson was presumably representing the City and looking after the City’s best interest.   The H-Town Mayor isn’t one to back down so it would not surprise me or disappoint me if she fired back at some point in the near future.  Stay tuned!

Here is the Chron article.

Of the nine ‘Stros that started on Opening Day against the Rockies, how many will definitely not have the opportunity to get into the game tonight against the Brewers?

HISD and HCC decided to have bonds put on the ballot this November.  If you include the City of H-Town, that’s $2.725 bil worth of bonds on the ballot – yikes!  That’s a lot to ask some voters to swallow.

The Chron E-Board still reads Commentary and listens to CMs James Rodriguez and Stephen Costello because they came out and opposed the closed door City Council meeting sessions proposal that the City was considering then shelved.  Here is from the Chron E-Board’s take:

But back to the "behind closed doors" question. We’re leery of such things, with a few exceptions, because our business as a newspaper is making information available to the public – voters and taxpayers.

Of all government entities, the city of Houston should understand the importance of full access to information. It suffers from a glaring lack of such access when it comes to full details about the police and fire pensions that city taxpayers fund. That is both costly and wrong.

Changing that situation – letting the sunshine in – will require better cooperation during the coming legislative session to change state laws that allow the unions’ secrecy.

Let’s get that important business out from behind closed doors and into full council view before we consider whether to conduct other city business with doors closed.

Here is their entire take.

Speaking of letting the sunshine in, I wonder if the Chron E-Board would film their E-Board candidate interviews and put them on their website so voters could check them out.

The Harris County Clerk also read Commentary and does some ‘splaining in a Chron Op-Ed today. 

Check it out.

CEWDEM has put out various takes from the partisans who are against an Elections Administrator.  I don’t have a problem with that.  Of course, we’re never going to get anywhere as long as we have this discussion wearing partisan lids if you know what I mean.

Six Opening Day starting lineup ‘Stros of course won’t see action tonight against the Brewers:  Jordan Schafer (CF) is on the DL, J.D. Martinez (LF) was shipped to Oklahoma City last night, Numero 45 (1B) is a Fish, Chris Johnson (3B) is a D-Back, Jason Castro (C) is on the DL, and Wandy (P) is a Pirate.   The other three Opening Day starters – Altuve (2B), Brian Bogusevic (RF), and Marwin Gonzalez (SS) – are available for tonight’s weekend series opener with the Brewers. 

Here is what the new owner told the Chron yesterday:

“It’s been extremely painful the last three nights.  We’re just looking for a spark to get over the edge here. It’s been tough, very tough, for everybody.  Once we made that decision and Jeff (GM Luhnow) started moving some of the talent we might start sliding back a little bit. But we weren’t hoping it would be this bad.”

Shut up!  There’s no crying in baseball!

Jeff Bagwell throws out the first pitch tonight plus they are handing out Blue and Gold jerseys.  On Sunday they are handing out umbrellas.  I wonder when they are going to hand out little white flags.  No Mas!


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Tonight the HISD Board Trustees will consider putting a $1.89 bil bond proposal on the ballot.  According to the Chron last night, a few Trustees are still considering how they will vote.  In a Chron Op-Ed today, some elected and non-elected officials representing Latino  constituencies (Cong. Gene Green, State Sen. Mario Gallegos, State Reps.. Ana Hernandez Luna, and Armando Walle, and former County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia) expressed their concerns.  Here is a part:

The revised bond proposal being considered today, conceived as an improvement from the original HISD proposal, has the same issues of shortchanging high-need/high-growth areas.


However, questions remain unanswered on how decisions were made in creating this bond proposal, and they must be answered before we can support this referendum. Ultimately, HISD voters can hold the bond proposal and the district accountable for how it meets the duties of fairness and giving our children the highest opportunities to succeed.

Here is the entire Op-Ed.

The Chron’s Ericka Mellon has a scorecard of sorts on the Trustees:

If you’re counting votes, here’s what the trustees have told me.

*Expected yes votes: Harvin Moore said last week he was in favor of the bond. Larry Marshall said Monday he was a strong supporter. (Paula) Harris agreed.

*Uncommitted, with some more easily swayed than others:

Rhonda Skillern-Jones said last week she was leaning toward voting yes but said Wednesday that she’s still not sold. (Mike) Lunceford repeated that he’s unsure but planned to meet with (Supt. Terry) Grier Thursday morning.

Manuel Rodriguez Jr. said Wednesday that he wants to support the bond and let voters decide but he’s worried about the distribution of funds. Asked for specifics, he said, “It’s just too much to get into.”

Juliet Stipeche has been among the most vocal critics, particularly concerned that her alma mater, the High School for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, is not included and upset that revisions to Grier’s initial plan downsized some schools in her east-side district.

Greg Meyers, the lone HISD trustee to vote against the 2007 bond plan, expressed concerns last week, asking for more detail. He’s not prone to support a tax increase.

Anna Eastman said Monday that she falls in the “concerned” camp.

Here is Ericka’s entire take.

Three-time Beach Volleyball Olympic Gold Medalist Misty May-Treanor’s hubby Matt Treanor wears the Dodger Blue as their back-up catcher. Name the only time Matt Treanor has seen post season action?

HCC Trustees will also vote today on putting $425 mil worth of bonds on the ballot.  The bonds are being opposed by Alief ISD.  Check this from the Chron:

The proposed allocation for westside construction does not sit well with some groups in Alief, which was annexed by HCC’s taxing district four years ago.

The Alief ISD board of trustees and the Alief Super Neighborhood Council passed resolutions opposing the bond proposal, saying HCC has failed to complete projects promised under the annexation agreement. The groups said the $10 million allocated for the Alief campus in the bond proposal is insufficient.

Here is the Chron story on the HCC bonds.

FYI:  Four years ago Commentary was one of the consultants working on the HCC annexation of Alief ISD.

Two members of the H-Town City Council (Oliver Pennington and Mike Sullivan) look like they will oppose the $410 mil city bond proposal according to the Chron.

Check out the story here.

What about CM Helena Brown?

Speaking of, CM Brown got some E-Board run yesterday.

Check it out here.

Matt Treanor of course was the back-up catcher for the Rangers in 2010 and saw action in the ALDC, ALCS, and World Serious of course.  If you ask me I think it is pretty cool to be able to say that your wife works in a bikini.

Another one run loss last night that we should have won in front of 16 thousand and change.


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Hunker Down still reads Commentary because here is what he says in the Chron about an Election Administrator:

"I’m not saying we need to go to what they do, but if there are improvements we can make, I think we ought to consider making those improvements.  If there is an error, then at least you have somebody who is a professional election administrator. Nobody reads into it that this is an elected person that’s partisan one way or the other."

Here is what the County Clerk said in reply:

(Stan) Stanart said neither (Chair Lane) Lewis’ nor (Judge) Emmett’s proposal was in the county’s best interest, and accused "those people who are trying to tear down our election processes" of being politically motivated.

Here is the entire Chron piece.

I wonder why local Dem Party leaders won’t come out and support an Election Administrator? 

Last night, former ‘Stro Chris Johnson (now with the D-Backs) had two dingers and five RBIs against the Pirates.  How many dingers does Johnson have in 8 games as a D-Back and how many did he have in 92 games as a ‘Stro?

Tomorrow, HISD will vote to put a whopping $1.89 bil of bonds on the ballot.  Most of the bonds go to high schools – $1,362,436,000 – yikes!   Three elementary schools, two middle schools, and five K-8s also get bond money.

The HISD Board of Trustees also has a proposed resolution on tomorrow’s agenda.  Here is one of the whereasses:

WHEREAS, “Common Decency” and “Respect” are critical elements in the district’s Beliefs and Visions; and

Blah, blah, blah…..And:

NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Houston Independent School District and the Board of Education calls for common decency and respectful behavior in all HISD school settings and work locations and for a renewed commitment to making sure every student and adult respects and accepts all people.

I’m guessing Trustee Manuel Rodriguez will abstain on this vote.

Out next year will be a movie called “Chavez” about the great Cesar Chavez.  Michael Pena of “Crash”, “World Trade Center”, and “Tower Heist” will play Chavez.  America Ferrera will play Helen Chavez – Cesar’s wife.  Rosario Dawson will play Dolores Huerta. I’m betting Dolores doesn’t have a problem with Rosario playing her.

Barry Bonds was asked if he deserves to be voted into the Hall of Fame and here is how he responded:

“You have to vote on baseball the way baseball needs to be voted on.  If you vote on your assumptions or what you believe or what you think might have been going on there, that’s your problem. You’re at fault. It has nothing to do with what your opinion is. Period. If that’s the case, you better go way, way back and start thinking about your opinions. If that’s how you feel life should be run, I would say then you run your Hall of Fame the way you want to run your Hall of Fame. That’s what I think. That’s my personal opinion. If you want to do the Hall of Fame the way the Hall of Fame is supposed to be done, then you make the right decision on that. If you don’t, that’s on you. To stamp something on your assumptions, it doesn’t work for me."

It is not exactly on the level of “The Princess Bride’s” Vizzini trading wits about the poisoned goblet with the Dread Pirate Roberts:

“But it’s so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of you: are you the sort of man who would put the poison into his own goblet or his enemy’s? Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.”

There won’t be a vote on what to do with the Astrodome this November.  

CJ has 5 dingers in eight games as a D-Back and had 8 dingers in 92 games as a ‘Stro of course as a change of scenery helped him out. 

Only 14,000 and change showed up last night in a game we should have won.


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The Texas Tribune is requesting three years of income tax returns from our State Legislators.  That’s very interesting.

Check the story here.

I can’t tell if this is where things are going in politics these days.  I don’t know how I feel about this.  I know I enjoy the skewering of Mitt Romney on not releasing his returns.  This very well may be where we are heading.  Let’s see how hard the Trib presses our legislators. Stay tuned!

Without peeking, name the only MLB Division with three teams that have 60 or more wins this season?

The Lite Guv and the Lone Star State Dem Party got deservedly kicked around by Burkablog yesterday.  Here is a taste:

On the Lite Guv:

I think he’s done in Texas. His loss to Cruz is magnified by the fact that Dewhurst collapsed in the closing days of both the primary and the runoff. He failed in his effort to win without a runoff and actually went backward in the closing days of the primary. He took a 144,000 vote lead from the primary into the runoff and got blown away.

Here is all of it.

On State Dems:

The Democratic party in this state is on life support. It is not a factor in state politics.


For all practical purposes, there is no Democratic party in the state with the capacity to engage in and win elections.


As far as I can tell, the strategy of the Democratic party is to hope that Republicans continue to move farther and farther to the right until they become so extreme that the independents will take a look at the Democrats. It’s not a bad bet.

For more misery reading go here.

Here is what I want to know.  How come the Dem Party never responds to criticism like this?  Are they oblivious to what folks are saying?  This is very puzzling!

The NL Central has three teams with 60 or more victories:  Reds (66), Pirates (62), and San Luis (60).  The ‘Stros have 36 which explains the 13,000 and change that showed up last night.


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To all that are still fighting the good fight against Tea Bagger GOP Voter ID laws/voter suppression and for redistricting proposals that truly reflect our growing diversity, 47 years ago today President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.   Among Republican U.S. Senators, the vote to enact the VRA was 30 for, 2 against.  Among House Republicans, the Act  passed 112-24.

Before I get started, Commentary said the following two and a half weeks ago (July 20):

The talking heads will once again debate tighter gun laws but nothing will happen and then we will move on to other things.  It will then happen again and as they say, coming to a theater (temple) near you.

Coming soon to a Temple near you or ditto today! 

METRO, The Port, HISD, City, and County all get a mention today.

JFK once said:  We cannot negotiate with those who say, ‘What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.’”

I’m kind of thinking that JFK might have been also talking about the County and small cities in their dealing with the City and METRO on the future of the GMPs.  I’m also thinking that the H-Town Mayor and the City’s METRO appointees tried to cut a deal that satisfied all parties and the County folks just wanted it all.

Check out the Saturday story in the Chron about the GMPs and the November ballot language here.

Here is from the Chron story:

"It deprives the unincorporated area of Harris County the funds necessary to continue to build the infrastructure necessary for all the people who don’t want to live in the city of Houston," said Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack. "It’s disgusting. The growth is in the unincorporated area."


The proposal passed Friday would treat Houston, Harris County and the other 11 small cities in similar fashion, giving each 25 percent of the sales taxes collected within their boundaries. Humble, Katy and Missouri City would continue to receive a disproportionately larger share, Metro Chairman Gilbert Garcia said, in part, because they sit on the distant edges of Metro’s service area.

The proposal also would require another referendum by 2021.

Should voters reject the proposal, Metro would be entitled to keep all of the sales tax revenues. Garcia, however, said the mobility projects are important and said Metro would work with its member governments to continue funding them.

Afterward, representatives of the county and smaller cities were incensed, saying the move would shift millions to Houston, where the bulk of local sales taxes are collected.  Harris County Judge Ed Emmett estimated that, if the change took effect now, $84 million the county and small cities would have collected over the next three years would go to Houston instead.

Going into this deal the County and small cities maybe forgot to count votes.  The County folks and small cities should have worked something out since they didn’t have the votes to bully and run over H-Town and METRO.

You have to wonder why anyone would now oppose the ballot proposal.  If it passes, the County and small cities get some money.  If it fails, they get some money but probably not as much if the proposal passes – got it!

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission came out with its Port review Friday and made some recommendations regarding governance, audits, and procurement policies.  Here is from their report:

Modernize the Commission’s appointment structure by providing for a Governor-appointed member with required business experience, having members elect the Chair instead of a joint appointment by the City of Houston and Harris County, and putting clear parameters around Commissioner terms, including limiting tenure to no more than 12 years.

I have a big problem with having a Governor making an appointment to our board.  I just don’t want the Governor’s Office meddling in our Port business.

I also have a problem with the Texas Legislature telling us that the Port will be better off with Commissioner term limits when the Legislature itself doesn’t have term limits.

I also prefer that the Chair continue to be jointly appointed by Commissioners’ Court and City Council rather than the Sunset recommendation of having Port Commissioners themselves elect their own Chair.  The current method encourages the County and City to work together on Port matters.

I don’t have a problem with most of the other recommendations though.

Here is the Chron story on the report.

And here is the actual report.

It is August 6 and the ‘Stros DO have a pitcher in a top 10 MLB pitching category – total games pitched.  Name the ‘Stro pitcher?

State Rep. Sylvester Turner doesn’t like the HISD bond proposal.  Here is what he put out this past Friday:

“As the bond is presented today and based on my review,  I am neither impressed or persuaded.”


“If schools are designed and built for the academic needs of students today and tomorrow, I am prepared to support the bond and will gladly do so.  If the construction of a school is being proposed to make this bond politically attractive to a community that has been starved of academic programs and adequate facilities, I am neither impressed or persuaded.”

Here is the Chron piece on Rep. Turner’s concerns.

HISD Trustees will meet this Thursday to vote to put the bonds on the ballot.  Let’s see if they will cut a deal with Rep. Turner before then.  Stay tuned!

The City has the following on the City Council Agenda tomorrow/Wednesday.  It looks like the $410 mil bond program will be put on the ballot and some obsolete charter language clean-up will also be submitted.  It looks like the closed session City Council meetings proposal didn’t make it on the agenda.   I’m glad they read Commentary over at City Hall and listened to CMs Rodriguez and Costello.  Here are the agenda items:

11.ORDINANCE ordering an election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, certain propositions for the issuance of Public Improvement Bonds for various purposes; designating the location of each polling place and the hours that the polls shall be open.

12. ORDINANCE ordering a Special Election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, a proposition to update the City Charter by amending Articles I, II, and IX of the Charter to repeal various sections that are obsolete or have been superseded by State and/or Federal Law.

13. ORDINANCE ordering a Special Election to be held on November 6, 2012, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, a proposition to update the City Charter by amending Articles V, VIIa, and VIIb of the Charter to remove obsolete references to party primaries and partisan elections, to address the impact of current election laws and procedures, and to recognize the existence of council districts in initiative, referendum, and recall processes.

This past Saturday the Chron E-Board smacked the County folks in charge of running the local elections.   Here is how they ended up their take:

One doesn’t have to look to illegal immigrants or Breitbart exposés to find people undermining the integrity of our voting system. Just look to our own elected county officials.

Here is the entire E-Board take.

The spanking was well deserved. 

Leave it to Beaver’s to come back with a witty menu item alternative to Chicken-s___t-fil-A here.

Some folks decided to have some fun about Ann Romney’s Olympian horse and a subject I know nothing about – fancy horse riding.  In reading about this I learned the fancy horse riding sport was called “dressage” that I thought rhymed with “message.”  I’m glad I didn’t say it out loud because I learned now that “dressage” rhymes with “massage.”  Of course, the Romney campaign could have scored points with the charro leaning Latinos if they had named the horse “Reflaco” instead of “Rafalca.”  They could have made inroads with baby boomers with just a simple “Mr. Ed.”

‘Stros pitcher Wesley Wright of course is in the top 10 in games pitched this season with 53 appearances. 

The NL East first place Nationals are in town for four.  Head out to The Yard to check out some of their exciting ball players like phenom Bryce Harper, Ryan and Jordan Zimmerman, and Adam LaRoche.  Stephen Strasburg pitched yesterday so we won’t get to see him this week but I’m sure he’ll be around to hand out a few autographs.   Maybe I’ll see you there!


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