Archive for March 31st, 2014

MariGirl and I went to check out the ‘Stros and Veracruz at The Yard Saturday evening and the paid attendance was 11,549. Maybe that’s how many paid but not all showed up. It looks like the price of beer and grub went up. $9 for a cup of St. Arnold. I guess that is what happens when you don’t get a TV deal done. I sure hope their wins this season also increase.

A couple of firsts at The Yard Saturday evening. The PA announcing was in English and Spanish to accommodate our guests from Veracruz. During the game the English announcer must have forgot to hit the mute button and we heard “who that hell” – oops. The team acknowledged the oops in a tweet a few minutes later.

A little over 10,000 paid for yesterday’s game but again not all showed up. The team did a lousy job of promoting this series if you ask me. That is too bad since we have a huge population with Mexican roots in the H-Town area.

The DREAMERS are now cracking on the local Dem Party. Here is a letter they put out late last week regarding deportations:

Every time a member of our community is deported from Texas, the Democratic Party alienates the immigrant community.

Here in Texas, where President Obama’s deportation policies have done the most damage in tearing families apart, the Harris County Democratic party has been silent. That’s why I’m here with over 50 Dreamers to tell their County Chair Lane Lewis, enough is enough. If Democrats are serious about winning in Texas, they can’t stay silent as families are destroyed by deportations.

Let’s make sure he knows we mean business:

Sign the petition: Tell Lane Lewis to stand on the side of immigrant families and demand that President Obama use his executive authority to provide relief to the community, or risk committing political suicide in upcoming elections.

The legacy of Democratic Party in Texas is at stake. Will they fight back against the President’s deportation machine that terrorizes the immigrant community, or will they stand on the sidelines as Texas families are torn apart?

Greisa Martinez, Organizer, United We Dream

It would be wise for the local Dem Party leaders to pay attention and work with the DREAMERS. In Commentary’s opinion the DREAMERS are the force that is keeping immigration reform alive. If the DREAMERS keep this up on through Election Day and Dems continue to ignore the engagement of Latino voters, it will have an impact on turnout. Stay tuned!

What is the all-time Opening Record for the ‘Stros?

We all know that water is a huge issue in the Lone Star State so it really should not come as a surprise that State Rep. Carol Alvarado gets in on the policy action. Rep. Alvarado was given another assignment late last week. Check this from the Texas House Speaker:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced Friday his appointments to four water-related committees, signaling the issue’s continued importance to the House’s work.

The appointees will work to ensure that efforts to improve the state’s water supply are properly and effectively implemented. They will also help the full House prepare to address water matters in the next legislative session, which begins in January 2015.

“Water remains a top priority for the Texas House because it remains critical to the Texas economy and our quality of life,” said Straus, R-San Antonio. “These Members will play an important role in building consensus around smart, responsible water solutions.”

And here is the one with Rep. Alvarado:

Environmental Flows Advisory Group: Reps. Allan Ritter of Nederland (Co-Chair), Doug Miller of New Braunfels and Carol Alvarado of Houston. The advisory group studies the policy implications of balancing demands on the state’s water supply with the need for adequate environmental flows for riparian lands, bays and estuaries.

Rep. Alvarado’s leadership at work.

The Chron E-Board gave the City of H-Town a spanking of sorts on Downtown subsidies. Check it out:

Houstonians are expected to live within their means, so it is galling when City Hall spends our tax dollars on its own pet projects.

The latest: Now, when our roads are in such disrepair, the city wants to use up to $75 million of our tax dollars to subsidize construction of downtown housing that’s likely to be occupied by people who make more money than most other city residents (“Sky-high view, no commute calling many downtown,” Page A1, March 20).

Public improvements such as Metro rail and buses, sports and entertainment venues and Discovery Green already provide great incentives for developers to build apartments and condos and for people to move downtown. So do booming employment at downtown businesses and new office towers under construction. Not only is the city’s Downtown Living Initiative unnecessary, this use of property tax dollars to subsidize housing reminds us of a housing lottery rigged by planners. The prize is precious tax dollars.

Quality housing is expensive next to the city’s second-biggest hub of employment: the Texas Medical Center. People who find it expensive to live near the Medical Center could well ask, why shouldn’t they get a subsidy? So, too, could some neighborhoods dealing with declining school enrollment because families with children are not moving in. Should city government use tax dollars to entice upscale housing in those areas?

City planners are leading us down a slippery slope. Why? They say that until more people move downtown, additional retail businesses will be slow to open. Subsidizing apartment construction is an inefficient way to get stores to move downtown. And what’s the response to questions from dozens of lower-income neighborhoods when residents ask why the city can’t promote more and higher quality retail – or even just a full-service grocery store – closer to where they live?

Oh, but the city planners explain: Tax dollars will come from rising downtown property values. That type of argument, if applied consistently to all neighborhoods, will balkanize Houston and create more disparity in services. We will damage our sense of community if City Hall adopts the governing principle that each neighborhood’s taxes should be spent in its own area. Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones raise enough questions on their own.

In any case, according to the Downtown District’s website, “Downtown Houston is booming.” So why subsidize it?

In determining whether to vote for this program, City Council members should ask their constituents one simple question: Do you want your tax dollars to be spent fixing roads (or another citywide need) or subsidizing downtown apartments? The proposed downtown subsidy program may be an urban planner’s dream. But it’s a taxpayer’s nightmare.

We will see what happens next on this. Maybe it will come up as an issue in the next campaign for H-Town Mayor.

The ‘Stros are 24-28 on Opening Day of course.

Are you ready for Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, and Jacoby Ellsbury?

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