Archive for July 16th, 2014

The campaign money reports were released yesterday. I know this may not be popular with Dems but I kind of find it hard to argue with the following from the Chron:

“The real story is the cash-on-hand gap between the two candidates,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “(AG Greg) Abbott, even if he were to not raise another dime during the second half of 2014, would still have enough money to run a very competitive campaign in the fall, whereas (Sen. Wendy) Davis does not have enough money to run a high level campaign during the month of October.” Fundraising efforts continue heading into the November election.

I hope Team Davis can raise a ton of money over the next couple of months or we could well be drowning in GOP ads this fall.

The MLB All Star Game was played last night. 20 years ago the ‘Stros sent five players to the game – named them?

The Chron E-Board weighed in again on the Equal Rights Ordinance. They don’t think it ought to be on the ballot. I get that but it is what it is. There is after all a process to collect and gather signatures. Here is their take.

If you want to see the problems with government by referenda, take a look at California. The once-golden coast has been rendered practically ungovernable by a state constitution that reduces policy to a popularity contest. Politicians end up restrained by contradictory agenda passed at the ballot box. There’s a reason why our nation’s Founding Fathers actively rejected a direct democracy and instead formed a republic, in which elected representatives could cool a populist fervor. But opponents of Houston’s nondiscrimination ordinance have turned their heated feelings into 50,000 signatures, which they have submitted to City Hall to force a referendum vote on the otherwise generic ordinance.

This movement falls into the exact trap that James Madison warned against in his famous Federalist No. 10. In that founding document, Madison outlines the need for a republic that protects minorities against the tyranny of majority rule. The rights of people to use public accommodations without facing discrimination should not be subject to oft-changing political winds.

Support for that ordinance aside, the need for citizen referenda on specific policies in a city with two-year election cycles is highly questionable. A bit of patience could find City Hall with a totally new slate of elected officials, ready to act, without opening the door to California-style chaos.

There are also further questions hanging in the air about the legitimacy of those 50,000 signatures. While foes of the nondiscrimination ordinance claim that 30,000 of those signatures are verified, it isn’t clear whether they meet the specific standard necessary to get a referendum item on the November ballot. Following the requirements of our city charter, nondiscrimination opponents need signatures from 17,269 people registered to vote within the city of Houston at the time of signing.

Proponents of the Early to Rise education referendum last year saw more than 150,000 signatures in support nearly cut in half, whittled down to 80,505. That movement had several months to act, a broad support base and could pull from voters across the whole county. Opponents of the nondiscrimination ordinance did not have those advantages in their 30-day drive to collect signatures.

Many of the mega-churches that held rallies in opposition to the nondiscrimination ordinance sit near the edge of city limits. One has to wonder just how many attendees actually hail from the city of Houston and not some other jurisdiction in our Houstonia sprawl. There are also reports of nondiscrimination foes improperly soliciting signatures from people not registered to vote in the city. LGBT activist and historian Cristan Williams released a recording on the website transadvocate.com that seems to catch one of these foes in the act.

At first glance, 50,000 signatures is an impressive number, but the manner in which they were collected puts that number into doubt. City Hall is double-checking the information submitted, and LGBT groups plan on independently running their own verifications. We hope they run the signatures through a fine-toothed comb. Houston should not be a place that snatches away dignity because of a mistake.

The AL will have home field advantage in the World Serious this October. I am OK with that. It beats rotating every other year like they used to. It also beats having it go to the teams with the best record which usually favors the teams with the largest payrolls.

In 1994 the ‘Stros sent Baggy, B-G-O, Ken Caminiti, Doug Drabek, and John Hudek of course to the All Star game.

A “way to go” goes to Jose Altuve for his sacrifice fly RBI and his nice fielding play last night!

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