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Archive for December, 2013

Good Morning H-Town!

This is the first time since March of 2012 that I am not thinking about an upcoming election. I think that is probably a good thing. Now I have time to do a little Christmas shopping, catch up on my reading, do a few crossword puzzles, and watch those cheesy made for TV Christmas movies on the Hallmark and Lifetime channels.

MLB Hall of Fame great Rickey Henderson played for nine different teams – name them?

The Chronicle’s lead story today is about the low number of women on the H-Town City Council. I don’t know what to say other than it would have been nice to have this story run a week or so ago, Oh, well. Here it is:

The Houston City Council will have its fewest women in 15 years this January, which political observers called a troublesome regression for one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.

Just two women will remain on the 16-member council. And for the first time in about 25 years, a minority woman will not hold a seat.

“It’s more a step back rather than a step forward for the city of Houston,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “Women represent slightly over 50 percent of population but will account for less than a fifth of the City Council.”

There are currently four women on the council. Except for 1999, when there were also just two, the council has had at least three females in each of the last 25 years. It peaked at eight in 2005, according to data compiled by Rice University political scientist Bob Stein. Also, from 1989 until 1999, there were at least three women on council.

Political analysts say the makeup, likely a result of chance, is not an optimal mix.

City Council member Ellen Cohen said it would serve the city well to have a better balance. Cohen and Brenda Stardig, who unseated incumbent Helena Brown in the run off, will be the only females.

“When we have a blending of people, it serves us well,” Cohen said. “We want City Council to look like the city of Houston. Right now, with two women, it doesn’t look like the city of Houston.”

Still, she said she is not concerned that her voice won’t be heard. She hopes more qualified women will be inspired to run in the future.

“It’s symbolic, but the fact is it’s significant symbolism,” Cohen said.

Stein said a persistent finding in social science research shows that a higher proportion of women on governing bodies means less gridlock and more efficiency. He said some believe this is a genetic trait in women and also because women have different experiences than men.

Effect on Parker

Stein said this election season saw a diverse group of candidates in the mix, including women, but the turnout was extremely low. He predicted it would be a challenging year for Mayor Annise Parker, who is heading into her final term with her sights on statewide office. In part, this will be because women may be more sympathetic to some of her issues, such as discrimination.

Rice University’s Jones said because Parker will be at the helm of city government, the policy impact will not be dramatic, but that the new council makeup could draw attention to the under-representation of women in governing bodies.

He said these election results were due to bad luck and he does not believe there is any broader anti-woman trends in Houston, noting several races where women were contenders. He also pointed out this low representation of women could persist because incumbents have such an advantage in future elections.

Sue Lovell, who served on council for six years from 2005 to 2011, including the first time there was a majority of women, said the council worked very well during her tenure, even though members had different views and backgrounds.

“It was the first time in history the city had a majority of women. It was very collaborative and effective,” Lovell said. “The city was proud that we had reached that point.”

She said the dynamics on council could change with the new uneven proportion of men and women.
“In some way it will diminish the voices of the women in the city,” she said. “We need to consider what you want your council to look like. You want everyone to be represented.”

Future leaders

This may spark a call for qualified women to consider politics in the future, she said.

“I think you should take into your decision-making, do you want to be reflective of the city?” Lovell said.

Cindy Clifford, who runs a Houston-based public relations company, said she plans to start a group to empower promising women in Houston to consider public office and donate to female candidates. She said women have a harder time raising money and asking for things for themselves. She said she hopes to inspire confidence in promising female leaders.

“It’s important for women to have a seat at the table,” she said. “Women see things differently; there will be a different dialogue and discussion.”

Congrats go to Robert Gallegos for his District I victory. I hope he does a good job.

Team Graci Garces worked very hard but just were not able to get enough of our supporters to the polls on Election Day.

In District I some women had a great opportunity to support an outstanding woman but instead supported the fella. I will be the first to call out any of these that in the future bemoan the lack of female elected officials.

Three women will now sit at the council table. Three from the GLBT community will sit at the council table. Two Latinos will sit at the council table. Four African Americans will now sit at the council table.

Congrats go to my client Adriana Tamez for her outstanding victory. She will do a great job. Team Tamez worked their arses off. Way to go!

Dave Wilson sent a last minute attack letter against Adriana.

We didn’t even hit 4% turnout this past Saturday. More folks voted early than on Election Day.

It looks like Dave Wilson won’t have very many allies over at HCC. That is the way it goes.

Rickey Henderson played for the Angels, A’s, Dodgers, Jays, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Red Sox, and Yankees of course.

The only thing from The Yard this past weekend was a birthday shout out to B-G-O.

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On Pam

My good friend Pam Gardner was featured last night on NBC Nightly News on breast cancer. You need to check it out here: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/3032619/#53815607. You have to wait for the story to pop up.

Here is what Kuffer says about tomorrow:

I’d make David Robinson, Michael Kubosh, Helena Brown, and Dwight Boykins the favorites, with District I too close to call.

I try not to make predictions.

The Chron ran a story on the District I race. Not much breaking news.

The Chron also ran a story on the HCC runoffs and the incumbents in Districts 1 and 3 could not be reached for comment. I guess they are not talking to the Chron because they were not endorsed by the E-Board.

Yesterday I got A Robinson mailer and robo call, a Capo mailer, a squealer mailer, and a Morales mailer and robo call.

Who has the lower career ERA – Tom Glavine or Greg Maddux?

I kind of have to agree a little with what the Chron E-Board put out today. Here are parts:

Even here in Harris County, which has become dark purple swing territory, the Democratic Party failed to run candidates for almost half of the Republican-held criminal district court seats. Whatever your party allegiance, this should be a distressing sign of underwhelming civic engagement.

And:

The right campaign, even if it loses, can lay the foundation for the next generation of politicians. How many of the Republican Party’s leaders got their start on Sen. Barry Goldwater’s failed presidential bid? How many young Republicans are still inspired by Goldwater’s campaign speeches? He may have lost 44 states, but he planted the seed for decades of victories. It is a lesson that Texas Democrats need to learn – it may be expensive, but in their hearts they know it’s right.

Greg Maddux has a 3.16 ERA to Tom Glavine’s 3.54 of course.

The Rockets are now the lead negotiator on the TV deal.

Go vote tomorrow!

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On the At-Larges

Commentary voted the other day and I didn’t skip any races including the At-Large race that has two GOPers so I voted for a GOPer and it didn’t feel good but I still had to do it. I am not going to announce my selection but I did tell a few close associates.

Joe Torre is headed to the Hall of Fame. Name the five teams Torre has managed?

Everybody in the State of Texas knows that the UT Head Coach is resigning except the UT Head Coach. Would somebody please send him a text?

The runoff election is in two days.

The Astrodome is once again in the newspaper today. This time it is about giving it a historic designation or something like that. Last month folks said they didn’t want to spend any money to fix it up so that means put a Miley Cyrus on it.

Joe Torres was the skipper of the Mets, Braves, San Luis, Yankees, and Dodgers of course.

I was at The Yard last night for a Christmas Party.

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In the Books

Early Voting in Person is history. To date 20,026 voted in person or have mailed in ballots. That is a 2.1% turnout.

Commentary was one of the 47 that voted at Holy Name yesterday.

Tony LaRussa is headed to the Hall of Fame. His MLB playing career lasted about 130 games or so. What position did he mostly play?

I am not in the business of making election predictions but I can say that the turnouts at Palm Center and Sunnyside probably help CM Burks and the West Gray turnout probably helps David Robinson.

HISD is now considering doing away with offensive school mascots. Good for them.

Does anyone think the Purple Pups is offensive?

Commentary attended an inaugural gathering of sorts of Democrats interested in education policy. It has held at the home of HISD Trustee Anna Eastman and was attended by a few elected officials and former elected officials.

Tony LaRussa of course mostly played second base during his brief MLB playing career.

The ‘Stros didn’t make any moves yesterday.

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The Voters Day 6

Commentary has been busy with the 2013 elections so I have not really paid attention to 2014 other than to check out the latest filings. I will say this. We can’t be a blue county unless we contend for all positions including the ones that could go either way. Does the Party even have a recruitment committee? Oh, well.

I did notice that Justice of the Peace Armando Rodriguez drew an opponent. It looks like it is Diana Davila, the former HISD Trustee. Judge Rodriguez is one of the longest serving elected officials in Harris County. This one ought to be interesting. Stay tuned!

Bobby Cox is headed to the Hall of Fame. Cox played in the MLB for two seasons in the 1960s. What position did he mostly play?

The District A runoff has put Mendenhall at 1,152 voters. Don’t ask me who that helps out.

In the HCC District 1 runoff only 99 at Holy Name and 72 at Hardy – interesting. You have to think that has an impact.

Mail ballots lead early vote in person 8,150 to 7,357.

We are at 1.6% turnout.

I got a Zeph Capo mailer and robo call yesterday.

I am sure some folks aren’t going to like that the President shook hands with Raul Castro. Hey, it was at a funeral!

Bobby Cox played third base of course.

Nothing new from The Yard.

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The Voters Day 5

Day 5 of early voting is in the books. 11,657 have cast their vote – that’s a 1.2% turnout.

Yesterday only 511 voted early in person – brrrrr.

Three voted in Clear Lake, four at Ripley, one in Alief, six at Holy Name, and two at Hardy.

Through five days the District A runoff has Mendenhall at the top with 915.

West Gray is at 745.

The District D runoff has Sunnyside at 531 and Palm Center at 512.

The District I runoff has HCC at 456.

Holy Name is at 75 and Hardy is at 60.

How many games did Chad Qualls pitch in during the 2005 World Serious?

I have to say it was a classy move for Coach Kubiak to buy a full page ad in yesterday’s Chron Sports Section and thank everybody.

Today is the filing deadline for running for office in 2014.

This past weekend I got the GLBT mailer, a Roy Morales for At-Large 3 mailer, a Paul Kubosh for At-Large 3 mailer, and an Andrew Burks for At-Large 2 mailer. I also got robo calls from Morales and Zeph Capo.

Chad Qualls pitched in Games 1, 2, and 3 of course of the 2005 World Serious.

Qualls is a ‘Stro again.

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The Voters Day 2

There was a goof in my take yesterday. I said Clear Lake and Kingwood had a combined 40 folks voting when it really was 77. They put out wrong numbers then corrected – sorry.

Day 2 was pretty much like Day 1.

Mendenhall led the way with 227.

Palm Center and Sunnyside had 286 combined. That is probably good news for CM Andrew Burks and the result of the District D runoff.

Clear Lake and Kingwood had a combined 80 folks voting.

West Gray had 133. HCC had 108.

Holy Name only had 18.

Hardy had 14.

The mail ballots doubled with 2,601.

The turnout now is .7%

Stay tuned and go vote.

Among the active MLB players currently signed to a team, who is third in the career hits category?

I got a Zeph Capo mailer yesterday.

I was watching a lot of the Nelson Mandela coverage on CNN last night. Then I switched to the “Sound of Music.” Then to the last few minutes of the Texans – pitiful. We need a quarterback.

Lisa Falkenberg has another outstanding column today but too bad you have to be a subscriber or own a hard copy to read it. She really puts a deserved spanking on a local judge. Nice job.

I just learned today that the Chron’s Tony Freemantle is from South Africa. You need to check out his column today on Nelson Mandela.

Ichiro Suzuki of course has 2,742 hits and is behind Derek Jeter with 3,316 and A-Roid with 2,939.

I’m still waiting for good news from The Yard.

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The Voters

Day 1 of Early Voting in Person is in the books and here is what is happening.

1,344 showed up plus 1,310 mailed in ballots. That is 2,654 total. That is close to 3/10ths of 1%. Go democracy!

Clear Lake and Kingwood had a combined 40 folks voting.

Palm Center and Sunnyside led the way with 303 combined. That is probably good news for CM Andrew Burks and the result of the District D runoff.

Mendenhall had 203 because of the District A runoff.

West Gray had 139. HCC had 101 because of the District I and HCC runoffs.

Holy Name only had 13.

Hardy had 18 so I don’t know what that means for the HCC District 1 runoff.

Stay tuned and go vote!

‘Stros fans know that Jimmy Wynn’s numero 24 is retired. Name the last ‘Stro to wear the numero 24?

Commentary has to admit that I’m a fan of NBC’s Jenna Bush Hagar. I think she does a good job. Today she said that former First Dog Barney was a “real jerk.”

Commentary is also a fan of the “Sound of Music.” So I’ll have to watch tonight’s live performance on NBC.

Jason Lane of course was the last ‘Stro to wear the numero 24.

No big deals were announced yesterday – yawn!

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Go Vote

Early Voting in Person starts today and the experts are predicting turnout in single digits. I believe that. Some voters from Round 1 don’t even know there is a runoff going on.

The Chron E-Board trotted out their runoff endorsements today.

Jacoby Ellsbury is fixing to be a Yankee. What college did he attend?

Graci Garces’ opponent went negative yesterday with a mailer. I guess he felt he had to go negative.

This is getting comical. I am talking about the county once again trying to figure out what to do with the Dome. I kind of thought the voters sent them a strong message last month. Now the County is going to listen to some folks that want to turn it into a fitness center. You gotta be kidding.

Commentary hasn’t had the time to think about the 2014 elections. I have kind of been busy. You need to go to Kuffer to check out the latest on who is running. Go to: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=57368. I am kind of disappointed that more Dems are not running for some positions locally and statewide. I sure would hate to see The Kinkhole be one of our nominees. What happened to the Dem recruitment efforts? We can’t grow unless we have good folks running. Come on!

Jacoby Ellsbury went to Oregon State of course.

I don’t think it is a big deal to get a player in a trade who batted .263 with 12 dingers and 42 RBIs last season.

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On Adriana Tamez

Most folks know that Adriana Tamez, candidate for Houston Community College District 3 Trustee, is Commentary’s client. I have known Adriana for like a couple of decades or so. I think she is an exceptional candidate. She is bright, articulate and a great communicator. Adriana has been a teacher, a principal, and a regional superintendent under Abe Saavedra over at HISD.

She has picked up just about all of the endorsements from organizations. She has the support of many leaders from across the district and city.

In the first round she led her opponent by over 400 votes – 39% to 34%. So what does Adriana’s opponent do? She attacks Adriana. It sounds like they are desperate.

A couple of mailers have now been sent out blaming all of HISD’s past ills on Adriana. Adriana had an outstanding career at HISD and she is being supported by the most highly respected leaders in the city. It is sad to see her opponent concoct accusations. It is kind of difficult to exploit something when there is nothing to exploit. Sorry!

Yesterday Commentary mentioned the 1960 World Serious that the Pirates won in seven. Name the player that smacked a grand salami in Game 3?

Yesterday the Chron ran a story on unlicensed horse tracks. I found this interesting from the piece:


The two Houston area tracks and the North Texas business all involved Hispanic owners and participants. Experts say horse betting is deeply ingrained in Latino culture.

I didn’t know that was part of our culture.

Now let me get my political calendar set. Early Voting in Person starts tomorrow. The filing deadline for running in 2014 is next Monday. Early Voting in Person ends next Tuesday. Election Day is Saturday, December 14. Got it!

Apparently The Dean has an opponent in the primary. Oh, well!

The Dean got some good run in the Chron today on getting the Rice University PD to open up their records. Of course you have to subscribe or have a hard copy of the Chron to get the scoop.

Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson of course smacked a grand salami in the first inning of Game 3.

Nothing from The Yard except for some online sales on team gear.

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