Archive for December, 2013

Our Teams

If you are a ‘Stros fan like Commentary you most definitely want to forget about 2013. We lost 111 games including the last 15. The only head-to-head series we won were against the Angels and White Sox. We won on opening night and escaped a perfect game on the second night. I really can’t say that it is going to be much better at The Yard in 2014.

Name the ‘Stros player that broke up Yu Darvish’s perfecto with two outs in the bottom of the ninth back in April?

Back in August and early September we were all thinking that today we would be all hyped up and getting ready for the NFL playoffs. Some were even thinking that we would be enjoying a bye week off. Instead we’re looking for a coach, a QB, and a number one draft pick. It was a horrible season. This was not supposed to happen.

The Rockets so far appear to be playing like a playoff contender. With our luck they will make the playoffs and excite the fans then exit in the first round. Oh, the pain of being an H-Town pro sports fan these days.

The 2014 election will get in gear next week. I am thinking that the race for Harris County DA in the Dem Primary has to be the most important. We need to make sure we elect a candidate that we can support in the fall if you know what I mean. I have not seen any yard signs.

Marwin Gonzalez of course busted up the Darvish bid for perfection.

I forgot. We still don’t have a TV deal.

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On HCC Again

The Chron E-Board made a pretty good statement yesterday on an investigation over at the Houston Community College (HCC). They are following up on an article by Ericka Mellon. I am thinking that the Chron is not going to let up on this. That is a good thing. With new trustees coming in, HCC is not likely to sweep this under the rug. Here is the E-Board take:

Once again, a cloud of suspicion hangs over a trustee of the Houston Community College System.

In the past, individual members of the HCC board have been tarnished by ethical improprieties.

We had hoped those troubles were behind us as the college assumes a pivotal position in training the skilled work force that makes our regional economy hum. Now, we’re not so sure.

This time, questions are being raised about the role trustee Carroll Robinson may have played helping a personal friend try to secure a $1.4 million contract with Jacobs Project Management, a major HCC contractor. Robinson’s friend is Laolu Davies-Yemitan, whose firm is Five Woods. Five Woods’ specialty, according to its website, is real estate consulting and facilities work such as landscaping and cleaning; Jacobs was proposing that Five Woods would conduct community outreach for a $1.4 million fee. Ultimately, Five Woods was not retained (“HCC probe: Did trustee steer work to friend?,” Page A1, Dec. 22).

In last Sunday’s story, education writer Ericka Mellon reported that the proposed subcontractor drew questions from Michelle Morris, an attorney HCC retained to monitor procurement.

In a lengthy e-mail to the college Morris voiced several concerns noted by a team of HCC employees working with Jacobs on the $425 million bond issue approved by HCC voters last November. Among them:
A large dollar amount ($1.4 million) would have been carved out for Five Woods. “No one had ever heard of the company,” Morris wrote, “and Jacobs has not ever used this firm before.”

When pressed about the proposal of Five Woods, “the Jacobs representatives revealed that the Five Woods representative was ‘sent’ to them by Trustee [Carroll] Robinson,” Morris wrote.

Morris described the response to her questions about Jacobs’ selection as “a nervous one,” and added, “they outright told me that they are in a ‘precarious position’ (their words not mine).”

Under HCC board ethics rules, trustees are specifically prohibited from suggesting subcontractors to vendors. Robinson denies any involvement in the process that led Jacobs to propose hiring Five Woods and his close friend Davies-Yemitan, and told Mellon, “I don’t appreciate anybody dragging my good name through the mud.” Davies-Yemitan said he never asked Robinson to speak with Jacobs on his behalf.

We have a larger concern. Our community needs HCC to succeed, and it cannot if the conduct of Board members drags HCC’s good name through the mud.

HCC has retained the Gardere Law Firm to do an investigation. We expect the full results of that investigation will be released to the public, hopefully with statements taken under oath.For $1.4 million, taxpayers deserve a better explanation than the cursory claim that the proposed

choice was based on merit in an effort to employ minority-owned small businesses, as Jacobs has stated.

Houston has many outstanding minority-owned communications firms, some of whom Jacobs has previously used. Why was Five Woods proposed by Jacobs?

We believe investigators should ask Jacobs to detail all the minority chambers of commerce it has contacted for referrals, all the minority-owned firms interviewed and the basis for the selection of an unknown landscaping firm over all others for this work and at this price. That is the kind of data we will want to see to be convinced that “merit,” not cronyism, was involved here.

After the e-mail from attorney Morris, Carroll Robinson promptly proposed a change in HCC policy to terminate contracts with vendors if allegations of impropriety are proven true.

We believe Robinson’s idea would have merit if it were better targeted. How about this: Robinson pledging publicly to resign his own position if the investigation concludes he violated the Board’s ethics rules.

Now that’s an ethics policy.

Stay tuned for sure.

In 1972 this Hall of Fame great became the youngest player ever elected to the MLB Hall of Fame – name him?

The MLB Hall of Fame voting is underway. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I don’t know what you can say about the Texans and their 2-14 record. Nobody saw it coming.

On “Today” this morning Meredith Viera who turned 60 today called in to wish Matt Lauer a happy birthday who turned 56 today. Jane Pauley’s twins who turned 30 today wheeled out a cake for Matt – cool.

Sandy Koufax of course at age 36 was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972. Koufax is celebrating his 78th birthday today.

I don’t have anything from The Yard.

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And Justice for All

I got a nice holiday robo call from The Dean yesterday. He left me his phone number and address in case I needed something. Thanks, Dean! Oh yeah, I forgot, The Dean has a primary opponent.

The Chron has a front page story about the Mayor looking to move forward with a new police and municipal courthouse project all in one location. That’s probably a good thing. I have never figured out why HPD Headquarters is in a skyscraper in Downtown H-Town. The 61 Riesner site is kind of run down. The Chron does not get into where the new complex would be located. I am thinking maybe just east or north of Downtown.

Who led the MLB in stolen bases this past season?

Kuffer mentions today that developers are looking to put new apartments and maybe a grocery store and maybe a movie house on I-10 and Studemont right across from the Kroger. Great! That’s all we need – more freaking traffic congestion at an intersection with a lot of freaking congestion. I don’t see how this can be considered a good thing.

MariGirl gave me Dynamo, Texans, ‘Stros, and Rockets gear – plus a “Big Bang Theory” calendar – cool.

New Yankee Jacoby Ellbury of course had 52 stolen bases last year as a Red Sox of course.

There is absolutely nothing from The Yard today.

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Not Today

Commentary is closed today for the Christmas Holidays and will return on Friday.

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On Christmas

The Campos family gathers in Baytown on Christmas Day. We open our gifts and eat a bunch of tamales on Christmas Day. Some folks of course open their gifts on Christmas Eve. Everybody has their own traditions.

Commentary had a nice dinner last night with MariGirl. She will be starting a new political gig at the beginning of the New Year so stay tuned.

As of today, over 123 million folks live in states (plus the District of Columbia) that allow same sex marriage. That’s up from zero at the beginning of 2003. Trending! Winning!

What MLB club had the highest attendance this past season?

Former HISD Superintendent Abe Saavedra is now the interim superintendent of the South San Antonio ISD.

Yesterday Commentary went with Dr. Adriana Tamez to the HCC Board of Trustees meeting to canvass the votes. I ran into Dave Wilson and said hello.

The Dodgers of course had 3,743,527 fans attend their games.

Their still isn’t anything from The Yard and I don’t have very much else to say except Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Eve Eve

Commentary is thinking that Houston Community College (HCC) Trustee Carroll Robinson wasn’t too happy to be the lead story in yesterday’s Chron on being the subject of an HCC internal investigation. Here is how the Chron story by Ericka Mellon starts out:

Houston Community College has hired a law firm to investigate an accusation that trustee Carroll Robinson tried to steer part of a multimillion dollar construction contract to a company owned by a close friend, according to HCC records and interviews.

HCC, one of the largest community colleges in the nation, has been plagued in recent years by concerns that board members improperly meddled in contracts. The latest issue comes after the board tightened its ethics rules and voters entrusted the college last year with a $425 million bond issue for construction projects.

The company that HCC hired to oversee its bond program, Jacobs Project Management, proposed paying a little-known firm called Five Woods as a subcontractor to handle public outreach. Five Woods – owned by Robinson’s friend, Laolu Davies-Yemitan – could have earned up to $1.4 million over several years, according to Davies-Yemitan and HCC records.

But the plan drew concerns from Michelle Morris, an attorney the college had retained to monitor procurement.

Commentary is glad to see that there is an investigation. Hope it is thorough. Here is more from the Chron:

“If the behavior that was suggested occurred, it is improper behavior for a board member,” said Bruce Austin, the board’s chairman.

I am thinking Trustee Austin is still smarting over Trustee Robinson meddling in his race – ouch!

More from the Chron:

“There are a lot of people at HCC playing politics,” Robinson said, “and because I don’t play ball with them and I’m very independent and I speak my mind, some people feel that it ought to be their business to knock trustees down a peg.”

Well why don’t you name some names? Who are your foes?

And finally from the Chron:

Morris, in her email about Jacobs, also said she had heard that architects were being told which subcontractors to hire. She did not provide details such as who was making the demands. “Her memo suggests it may only be the tip of the iceberg,” said Austin.

Commentary can pretty much guess who else is involved. I am glad to see the Chron on this so stay tuned?

This MLB Hall of Fame great is in the top five category for career games played, runs scored, walks, and stolen bases. He turns 55 on Christmas Day. Name the player?

This fella sent this over to get posted on the website:

You well know his political career is OVER. So is yours; you keep getting beat time-and-time again!

He is talking about CM James Rodriguez. I don’t know and James doesn’t know what is next in terms of his politics. I do know that some folks wanted him to run in 2014 and James politely declined. I do know that James isn’t one of those that has to stay in office.

Sure I lost the council race a week or so ago but I also won an HCC race over an incumbent. Last month my client HISD Trustee Anna Eastman had a 78% vote total. My obit has been written up before and there have been those that have suggested for years that I’m washed up. Oh, well.

Here is what I don’t get. If I don’t care for someone that puts out takes, I don’t go visit their takes. I may not agree at times with folks like Kuffer or Two Cents but I respect them so I check out what they have to say.

There are a couple of folks that clearly can’t stand Commentary but they keep visiting and sending me their comments. Stop torturing yourself.

Commentary went with My Best Friend to the Texans game yesterday and saw Peyton Manning set a NFL record for most TD passes in a season – 51.

Hall of Fame great Rickey Henderson of course turns 55 on Christmas Day.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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A couple of weeks or so ago a good friend of mine sent me a poll conducted by Public Policy Polling on the H-Town Mayoral contest in 2015. I guess they sent it to me because they wanted me to put it online. The poll was conducted last month, November 20 – 21. I asked for the crosstabs but have yet to receive. I will go on and put out the horserace. Here:

Public Policy Polling

Chris Bell ……………………………………………….. 24%
C.O. Brad Bradford ………………………………….. 12%
Steve Costello…………………………………………. 4%
Adrian Garcia………………………………………….. 11%
Sue Lovell ………………………………………………. 3%
Orlando Sanchez …………………………………….. 9%
Sylvester Turner……………………………………… 15%
Someone else/Not sure ……………………………. 22%

I am sure folks have their favorites for Mayor in 2015 so if you have your own poll, come on down.

It is kind of a light day so what else am I supposed to do?

Commentary won’t be able to make the Alison and Chris Bell party tomorrow evening but I am sure they will have a lot of supporters, err, friends there.

What was Babe Ruth’s real name?

Quack, quack, quack, quacked the Duck fans. The Governor of Louisiana even complained that Miley Cyrus got a pass – huh. I am sorry Governor but twerking isn’t hating.

Let’s see! We voted on extending the light rail in November of 2003 and we are finally getting a line open just over ten years later. Go North/Red Line. I wonder if former Mayor Lee Brown is invited to the festivities tomorrow since it was put on the ballot under his watch.

Here is the last word from CEWDEM to Commentary:

Thank you for telling it like it is about James and Giovanni. How amateurish and yes,”bush league” for a reputable media outlet to try and make something out of a decades long genuine friendship. As for me, James Rodriguez has done his community, young Hispanics and himself proud with his service on City COuncil and I, for one, hope that down the line he will re-enter the fray. As for Gio, what can you say, but a genuine American success story who is himself genuine. I am proud to call both of these men my friends and I just say shame on the Chronicle, their staffer and the paid political hack who attempted to besmirch them. As for the brickbat thrown at you Mr. Campos….you have had far worse said and you are still here….just consider the source.

He said it not me.

Everybody knows that the Babe was born George Herman Ruth, Jr. of course.

I might drop by The Yard today for Christmas shopping.

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