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Archive for August, 2015

Local for Now

The Chron has a story today on the HERO campaign issue. Here is a line from the article:

Both camps warned that the eyes of the nation are on Houston.

Nah! I don’t think we are their yet. The only national run we have received is the talk about the sermon subpoenas at the first GOP debate.

Here is the entire article that is behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HERO-campaigns-brace-for-expensive-hard-fought-6447795.php?cmpid=btfpm.

It could be about missing out on the Super Bowl versus bathrooms and sermon subpoenas.

If the Hotze fella is put out in front for the anti HERO forces, it could be a route for the HERO forces. He is way too polarizing if you ask me.

How many wins did the ‘Stros have last season?

This past weekend I heard about the ‘Stros, the race for mayor, the race for city council, the Uber stuff in San Antonio, the HERO, the Trump, Hillary, Bernie Sanders, the new bus routes, the 100 degree days, and literacy. I didn’t hear anything about the H-Town City Council term limits proposal.

Last season we won 70 games of course. Our record today is 64-54 with 44 games remaining – 22 at home and 22 on the road. We lead the Angels by 3 ½ and the Rangers by 4. We play the Angels 6 more times and the Rangers 7. We also have 3 games to play with the Yankees who lead the AL East and 3 games with the Dodgers who lead the NL West.

Marisol and I were treated to a couple of #ColbyJacks yesterday along with a Jose Altuve walk-off win. You can’t beat that and I like our chances.

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On Campaigns

The pro HERO forces have a campaign and I guess it is called Houston Unites. They had their kickoff press conference a few days ago. They are trying to create some enthusiasm.

Commentary is waiting to see when the pro term limits proposal folks will have their kickoff press conference. Who will lead the effort? Who will be part of their coalition? Will they have enthusiasm?

Here is what Kuffer had to say about the term limits proposal:

As I said before, I don’t consider this an improvement on the current system and I don’t intend to vote Yes.

That is a problem if you ask me.

H-Town voted to enact term limits way back in 1991 – 24 years ago – or 12 city elections ago.

The Tigers visit The Yard this weekend. Their skipper is Brad Ausmus. During the 2005 playoffs, who was Ausmus’ backup at catcher – you’ll never guess this one.

Politico says today that Rick Perry will be the first candidate for president to drop out. I won’t argue with that.

Here is from Tags on what is also happening at The Yard this weekend:

The Astros will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their 2005 National League pennant-winning team as part of Legends Weekend, in which several players from the club’s past, including many from the ’05 team, will return to Minute Maid Park.

Among those scheduled to appear throughout the weekend are Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Brandon Backe, Lance Berkman, Jose Cruz, Glenn Davis, Larry Dierker, Morgan Ensberg, Adam Everett, Bob Knepper, Jason Lane, Roy Oswalt, J.R. Richard, Bob Watson, Jimmy Wynn, Eric Yelding and Gerald Young, plus Phil Garner, who was the manager of the 2005 team.

Raul Chavez of course was the backup catcher to Brad Ausmus during the 2005 playoffs and only got into one game – the 18 inning NLDS Game 4 win against The ATL.

The 10-game homie begins tonight with our lead down to a game and a half and 2005 NLCS t-shirts are being given away tonight but why do they have the San Luis logo on them? Oh, well!

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Their Terms

How can one argue about this? This tweet:

Bill King ‏@BillKingForHou 5h5 hours ago
Mid-West SN mtg. We need to decentralize the City and give discretion to neighborhoods to manage their affairs. BK

Last season’s base hit leader Jose Altuve has 130 base hits this season and is tied for 13th in MLB. Name the player who leads in base hits this season?

Everybody knows Commentary’s position on City of H-Town term limits. I oppose term limits. If we are going to change them, we need to put together a serious grass roots, business community supported campaign. We have not done that.

Yesterday, City Council put forward a term limit ballot measure for this November. Here is from the Chron’s Katherine Driessen:

Under a measure approved Wednesday by the City Council, Houston elected officials could serve a maximum of two four-year terms instead of the current limit of three two-year terms, starting in 2016.

The council voted 12-5 in favor of sending the switch to voters, with Councilmen Richard Nguyen, Mike Laster, Steve Costello, Michael Kubosh and C.O. Bradford voting no, several saying it was the wrong time to seek the change.

The change, if passed, would take effect for officials elected this fall. Current freshman council members could pick up two four-year terms and those serving their second terms would be permitted one four-year term. Elected officials already in their third terms, such as Mayor Annise Parker, would not be eligible for any more time in office.

And:

The council generally has supported lengthening terms, but there has been disagreement about whether such a change should go into effect immediately or in 2020, when no current office holder could benefit.

Mayor Annise Parker said the 2020 proposal would be more favorable to voters, but supports the general principle of lengthening terms regardless of the start date. At the council meeting, Parker paused several beats and exhaled deeply before casting the first “yes” vote to send the 2016 proposal to voters.

And:

Parker warned that without a robust campaign, the issue was unlikely to gain traction with voters. She has committed her time to supporting the equal rights ordinance, which, by court order, also will be on the ballot under a repeal measure.

University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray said that without a popular city leader pushing the change without standing to benefit personally, it is likely to fail at the ballot.

“It’s difficult enough to get something like that passed,” Murray said. “Unless you get an outside group that would not have a direct stake, it’s just an overwhelming task.”

Rice University political scientist Mark Jones called it the wrong time to take the issue to voters. The presence of the city’s equal rights ordinance on the ballot, along with an open mayoral race already are taking up much of voters’ attention, Jones said.

The decision to support the 2016 proposal over the 2020 one inevitably will invite criticism, he said. A recent KHOU/News 88.7 poll found that just 25 percent of likely voters surveyed supported the change to two four-year terms.

“The hole was already deep, and they dug it a little bit deeper,” Jones said. “If your goal is at some point to modify term limits, you are doing that cause a great disservice by placing it on the ballot now. If it loses by a landslide, you run the risk that for the next decade opponents can say they rejected it. You can’t keep going back to the well.”
Around the dais Wednesday, council members supporting the 2016 proposal attempted to head off criticism that the switch is self-serving.

Councilman Jerry Davis, who authored the 2016 amendment, said voters can always oust a council member. For those council members already serving their districts well, he said, the lengthened terms will allow for more time spent on policy rather than campaigns.

Here is the entire Driessen article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/City-Council-adds-term-limits-to-busy-November-6441001.php.

Make no mistake. This is a City Council driven initiative. We should fully expect those that voted for the measure and who stand to benefit to go out and raise money for this campaign and spend their own campaign funds.

And we had this tweet yesterday:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott 10h10 hours ago
.@BenHall2015 gets applause here at Heights-Area Chamber event for line warning against #HERO because of transgender bathroom provision

Nelson Cruz of the Mariners leads MLB with 140 base hits of course.

We won yesterday and now have a two game lead with 47 games left to play. Tomorrow we start a 10 game homie. We host the Tigers for 3, the Rays for 4, then the Dodgers for 3. The Sunday Dodger game on August 23 will be carried nationally on TBS.

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On Terms

The Chron E-Board wants the H-Town City Council to hold off on putting the term limits proposal on this year’s ballot. The E-Board take has not been posted online. The E-Board says that the HERO issue will be “sucking up all the oxygen in the room” so hold off. I agree.

This is probably a good reason for voting against two four-year H-Town City Council terms. Check this Bill King tweet.

Bill King ‏@BillKingForHou 1h1 hour ago
Bill King retweeted MyFoxHouston
The thought of a 4 year term for a lame duck Mayor is something I cannot support. #NEHouMayoralForum

Bill put out his position last night at the latest mayoral candidate forum on Homestead Road. First time I heard this line of thinking. Nice point from Bill if you ask me considering the strong mayor form of government we have.

And:

MyFoxHouston‏@MyFoxHouston 2h2 hours ago
I don’t think the current term system has served the city very well. – Bill King #NEHouMayoralForum

Bill was the only major candidate at last night’s forum to oppose the proposed two four-year terms.

Nice job, Bill!

The postseason ticket prices were released yesterday. Guess the price for the cheapest ticket out at The Yard for a World Serious game?

Last night’s mayoral candidate forum put on by Rep. Senfronia Thompson went three hours long. A lot of ground was covered. I don’t know about having the minor candidates participate though.

If we make the World Serious, the cheapest tickets will be in the upper deck for $125 of course.

We lost again. We still have our one game lead. We wrap up the roadie this afternoon, then come home for ten.

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More on Endorsements

Remember when I put out this yesterday:

District H candidate Roland Chavez received the Houston GLBT Caucus endorsement.

Here is a question from the Houston GLBT Questionnaire:

Should you receive an endorsement from an organization or person who is recognized as being anti-LGBT, what will be your response?

Chavez took $500 from the Kubosh family. District H candidate Jason Cisneroz called out Chavez on accepting the $500.

Chavez said he will return the donation. Maybe Chavez thought accepting the bucks wasn’t an “endorsement.”

I really don’t think Chavez made the connection like Jason did which ought to tell you something about political astuteness.

Here is a question from the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats questionnaire:

Should you receive the endorsement of an individual or organizations that has publicly opposed LGBT equality, how would your campaign address it?

Stonewall Young Dems last night held Roland Chavez accountable. The “integrity” word was mentioned. It looked like some folks were trying to protect the GLBT Saturday endorsement of Chavez but it didn’t work.

This NL team has made 20 World Serious appearances – most in the NL, name the club?

I guess Stonewall Young Dems endorsed Steve Costello. I had to leave. Here is rom CEWDEM:

I received the following communication during the night regarding the endorsement process of a Democratic Party sanctioned club. Interesting questions, if factual, are raised here. I was not at the meeting and all I know is my personal experience and knowledge of the President, James Lee, to all.who I have always found to be of the highest character and ethical standards.. Maybe he cold answer the questions or someone associated with the group would care to. I know in some organizations, the President has absolutely nothing to do with endorsements and it is turned over to a committee or an individual to handle, so maybe that person or members of the committee would like to speak to these questions. From first hand knowledge I know how difficult the entire process is and how hard the dedicated volunteers who take it on work. As an answer, I would think that to be credible, any appearance of lack of fairness negates the hard work of the body. In many years of activity I have always found folks involved in this have enough self pride as to appear to be fair I also can only say that many folks say Municipal elections are non-partisan – if so, we sure have fought long and hard to make sure as Democrats we have a Democratic Mayor and at least for the last six years with Annise Parker we had someone who sang it from the rooftop and governed as nothing but a Democrat. Anyhow, just throwing this out for people to think about. Think about it.

Here is what CEWDEM received:

Carl:

Thank you very much for your continuing efforts to grow the populist message and cause in these parts. I was hoping you could help me out with a couple of questions. How is it that a Democratic group, Stonewall Young Democrats, can issue and endorsement for Mayor to an avowed Republican, Stephen Costello? I thought Democrats were supposed to support Democrats as I know no Republican group would ever endorse, let alone invite, a Democrat to one of their political endorsements. If I am not mistaken, even after Annise Parker and Ronald Green were elected, neither werwere allowed to speak before the Grand Poobah of the Republican Party, the Harris County Pachyderm Club. Just wondering. This character might be a nice guy and a friend to someone, but he takes great pride in announcing he is a member of the Harris County GOP Finance Council plus, his campaign consultant is a former aide to Joe Roach and Bruce Tatro not to mention acting as general consultant to the horrible pig castrating, now Senator from Iowa, Jonni Ernst. Again, I wonder what rationale can be used for Democrats to support someone like Stephen Costello?

I suppose I should not be surprised in this action from a group whose Secretary is working for one of the candidates for office and participated on the screening panel. I was told that she excused herself for the particular race, but had custody of questionnaires filled out by candidates which outlined their strategy for their campaigns which in itself brings up a question of integrity, not to mention I was told that she was strategizing while votes by the body were taking place.

Just a couple of questionable activities that put a dark cloud over a Democratic group. Don’t know if you have any answers or if you would be willing to venture a personal opinion.

Commentary has an answer. Rather than question the Stonewall Young Dems, why don’t you ask the Rep. Sylvester Turner and other campaigns how they let this one get away.

Rick Perry stopped paying his campaign staff. I wonder what the over-under is on when he will fold.

The Giants have played in the World Serious 20 times of course.

We are in San Fran for two and hold a one game lead. It is gut check time if you ask me.

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GLBT and Sylvester

We lost Frank Gifford yesterday. For those of you that are too young to know about Frank Gifford, back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s he rocked as an NFL star and “Monday Night Football” announcer. He was a good guy.

Adrian Garcia received the recommendation from the GLBT screening committee but it was shot down big time. Check this tweet:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott Aug 8
Motion to affirm recommendation to endorse Garcia failed overwhelmingly. By my count, only ~12 @HGLBTCaucus members voted in favor #houvote

Ouch! Then this later on:

Adrian Garcia retweeted
Sandra ‏@smpuente Aug 8
Congrats to .@AdrianGarciaHTX for the #HoustonGLBTCaucus recommendation for endorsement. #MayorGarcia #AG2015 #OneHouston #integrity >

Yeah, good luck.

Then this from the Chron on the GLBT endorsement of Turner:

“I want to win the HERO ordinance,” longtime caucus member Kevin Hoffman said to a packed hall in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union building, in northwest Houston. “We need every single vote. If we (GLBT) don’t endorse Sylvester Turner, who can bring the African American vote and coalition with us, we are going to fail.”

At Saturday’s GLBT meeting, Kevin’s line of thinking was brought up a time or two during the mayoral debate.

I don’t know about that. I don’t think African American voters are waiting on Rep. Turner to tell them how to vote on the HERO or waiting to see if the GLBT endorses Rep. Turner. This line of thinking would suggest that the rejection of the Adrian Garcia recommendation means the Latino vote is now headed into the anti-HERO direction. It really doesn’t work that way. So I don’t expect the HERO campaign and the Turner campaign to be working hand in hand.

We are in San Francisco for two tomorrow and Wednesday. The Giants have eight World Serious titles. How many have they won on the West Coast and how many did they win in New York?

District H candidate Roland Chavez received the Houston GLBT Caucus endorsement.

Here is a question from the Houston GLBT Questionnaire:

Should you receive an endorsement from an organization or person who is recognized as being anti-LGBT, what will be your response?

Chavez took $500 from the Kubosh family. District H candidate Jason Cisneroz called out Chavez for accepting the $500.

Chavez said he will return the donation. Maybe Chavez thought accepting the bucks wasn’t an “endorsement.”

I really don’t think Chavez made the connection like Jason did which ought to tell you something about political astuteness.

I know this isn’t a city problem. Commentary lives in a ‘hood where there always is rebuilding and remodeling of cribs. You see the fellas hanging up the frames with their air gun hammers blasting away. Sometimes a nail will go astray, but do they retrieve it if it goes out on the street? Nope! Within the past six month the low air pressure in the tire icon has lit up a couple of times. I take my car to the garage, and sure enough they pull a nail out of the Michelin and I am out $14. If I know major home construction is happening on a certain street, I avoid the area and take a different route.

The Giants have won three World Serious titles in San Francisco (2010, 2012, and 2014) and won five in New York (1905, 1921, 1922, 1933, and 1954) of course.

Our lead is now down to a half game and we have lost three straight. Right now we don’t look like a team that is playoff worthy.

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This has to be a record. I am talking about the number of mayoral candidate forums being held this year. I think we have hit close to a dozen already and it is still the first week in August. Last night we hit the Montie Beach crowd. I will have to check my schedule to see who is next.

How many dingers does the 20-year old Carlos Correa have?

I wonder what the over-under is for how long the GLBT Caucus meeting will run tomorrow? 3 to 4 hours maybe?

Here is what Nancy Sims had to say about the HERO:

On January 7th of this year, my blog post was about HERO being a driving issue of the 2015 City Elections. Click here to review and remember.

I would love to tell you that I’m a futurist or have psychic abilities but an issue that generates this level of passion will always remain present. Just remember that the Roe v. Wade decision was made 42 years ago and still dominates elections. On HERO, people are passionate about Equal Rights on one side of the issue and bathrooms on the other.

Houston City Council voted yesterday to put the Ordinance on the ballot, forced to do so by a Court decision, for a public vote. No candidate and few individuals will be able to escape the election without engaging in at least one conversation on the topic. The issue may drive a higher turnout than we have seen in recent city elections.

Where does this leave the candidates for Mayor? Bell, Costello, Garcia, McVey, and Turner support the Ordinance. Ben Hall is avidly opposed to the Ordinance. Bill King has developed a thoughtful white paper on his opinion on the subject. Click here to review.

This election will evolve into another example of social issues driving democracy. But will it fix the potholes or balance the city budget? Let’s remember to keep asking these questions amidst the emotional debate.

The sermon subpoenas got some run last night during the debate.

The debate also clogged up my twitter.

I will say that from what I got to watch, I was highly entertained, but not informed.

Carlos Correa now has 14 dingers and he turns 21 on September 22 of course.

Yesterday evening I made a couple of screenings, a candidate forum, I checked out part of the debate, then the analysis, then the ‘Stros who went into extra innings and finally got a road win. We are 2 ½ up.

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Getting It

We are now two games ahead. A year ago today, how many games were we behind?

Getting it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t.

I get it why some folks put the skewer on Bill King yesterday over the HERO.

I also get why some folks don’t give Bill any credit for speaking out on and driving some of the key issues in the 2015 H-Town mayoral campaign.

I get how the HERO is now front and center in this year’s election and Commentary is now following @Houston_Unites.

I get how immigrant rights groups like FIEL Houston and Fe y Justicia Worker Center are a very concerned about the ICE raid on a Heights tortilla factory a couple of days ago.

I don’t get how nobody else seems to give a rats’ arse about the ICE raid. Hey, maybe they think the tortilla factory is harboring ISIS folks or those folks are of the second or third class category. Hey, but we love our quesadillas.

This is probably a good idea. This tweet from yesterday:

Janice Evans ‏@Jevansdavis 20h20 hours ago Houston, TX
MYR says does not intend to be the public face of #HERO campaign. Will be active, help raise $s but has a lot of other things to get done.

I hope the HERO campaign goes out and recruits some local celeb type leaders to be the faces of the effort so stay tuned?

A year ago today we were 47-67 and 22 ½ games out.

Even though we were swept in Arlington, we are 60-49 and will play the next four in Oakland. Go Astros!

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Taking a Shot

Name the MLB team with the least amount of stolen bases.

I don’t think the Mayor likes the lawyer for the anti-HERO folks. She took a shot at his hair color yesterday. I guess he dyes his hair. I was watching the H-Town City Council meeting yesterday and I heard it then these tweets followed:

Doug Miller ‏@DougMillerKHOU 5h5 hours ago
Mayor @AnniseParker to Andy Taylor, lawyer for anti #HERO pastors: “I like the new hair color, by the way.”

Sorry, I had to laugh. Cheap shot? Probably. Just a preview of things to come. Then another tweet from Dougie:

Doug Miller ‏@DougMillerKHOU 5h5 hours ago
Angry CM Martin apologizes to #HERO opponent lawyer for mayor’s remark about his hair color.

Then this is from Dougie’s story yesterday:

Taylor argued that the ordinance isn’t actually in effect because a petition drive has basically suspended it before it’s put to voters. The mayor said that the council’s upcoming vote to reaffirm the ordinance will nullify Taylor’s argument.

“Our belief is that he is incorrect, as we believe he is in many things,” Parker said.

Taylor’s opinion, spelled out before an open council meeting, triggered a testy debate among the mayor and council members. At one point, the mayor made a snarky remark implying Taylor had dyed his hair. A council member offered Taylor a public apology for the mayor’s behavior.

The gloves are off for sure! Of course, fellas who work at City Hall who also try to hide the gray might expect a compliment or two from the Mayor.

Here is all of Dougie’s piece: http://www.khou.com/story/news/2015/08/04/ballot-language-questioned-in-equal-rights-ordinance/31135841/.

Honestly though, I don’t think these kind of shots help the cause. It just gives the other side a talking point or two.

Rick Perry didn’t make the first debate cut. Texas Monthly said he’s been sent to the kids table.

Arian Foster, star running back for the Texans, is injured and likely out for half of the season. New Chron sports columnist Brian Smith says today that because of this injury, the Texans will not be going to the playoffs. Oh, well!

The LA Dodgers are at the bottom of MLB of course with only 22 stolen bases.

Jose Altuve leads the AL with 28 stolen bases.

I thought we were going to at least tie it up in the ninth last night. We need to start winning a few more on the road. Well, at least we are still three up.

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In case you missed this yesterday:

Anna Eastman, HISD Trustee, District 1, endorsed Karla Cisneros for Houston City Council, District H.

“I’m supporting Karla because of her record of public service. As an HISD school board member, she was a champion for children. She led, and won the first fights for high ethical standards and transparency,” said Anna Eastman. “Karla knows how critical future generations are to Houston’s well being. She knows how to work a budget and make sound public policy having served as a trustee, and has seen our future leaders up close as a teacher. We need more women in local government, but more importantly, we need women like Karla,” added Eastman.

“I am honored to have the support of Anna Eastman, one of Houston’s strongest leaders and most passionate advocates for children, public education, and social justice,” said Karla Cisneros.

Anna Eastman joins the growing list of community leaders who are supporting Karla Cisneros.

Anna is strong. And so is Karla.

Evan Gattis leads the team with 7 triples. How many triples does the rest of the team have?

Commentary has said it before. I oppose term limits for H-Town City Council and so should you and everybody else. What might be proposed for the November election is destined to fail. We all know the Mayor is working to put together the campaign to save the HERO. Who is working to put together a campaign to change term limits. Here are these tweets from yesterday:

Doug Miller @DougMillerKHOU
KHOU-News 88.7 Poll suggests Mayor @AnniseParker term limits idea is extreme long shot. 50% favor no change, only 25% for 2 four year terms

Annise Parker ‏@AnniseParker 1h1 hour ago
Annise Parker retweeted Doug Miller
I agree, sadly, that shifting to 4 year terms may be doomed. I put it on the agenda at Council request.-A https://twitter.com/dougmillerkhou/status/628318462591508480

Why put something on the ballot that is going down in flames? That doesn’t make sense. Here is from today’s Chron:

Rice University political scientist Bob Stein said the equal rights ordinance could drive turnout in what is usually a low turnout election. But most of the political energy will be spent on the equal rights ordinance, Stein said, making it a bad time to push through an item such as changing term limits.

“I thought (Parker) was absolutely correct when she said this is probably not the time for term limits or revenue cap,” Stein said. “Term limits would need a strong campaign, and I don’t think there’s enough oxygen in the air to go around. It’s going to be all about HERO.”

And:

On term limits, there’s likely to be discussion about changing the effective date of the switch.

(H-Town City Council Member Dave) Martin said he strongly favors four-year terms, saying two-year terms are “one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen in government” because they work against long-term solutions to problems like the city’s pension obligations. Martin, however, is considering putting forward an amendment to make the change take effect immediately, pending discussion with his colleagues. He said he would not support the 2020 proposal, though supporters and political scientists say that is likely to go over much better with voters because no current council members stand to benefit.

“Why wait five years when the dynamics of the city change completely?” Martin said. “There are going to be people that are going to move here over the next couple years. When this thing is implemented in 2020, five years from now, they’re going to go, ‘What was this all about?'”

(CM C.O.) Bradford, (CM Michael) Kubosh and (CM Dwight) Boykins also oppose the term-limits proposal. Boykins said he would like the switch to go into effect in 2016 and would not support the 2020 proposal.

Councilman Ed Gonzalez said he supports the general principle of making the term limits longer but wants to review whether now is the ideal time for such a campaign. (CM Oliver) Pennington, too, was supportive of the idea but said he wanted to look more closely at when to make the switch.

This is kind of not well thought out. It ought to be interesting this afternoon at City Hall.

The rest of the ‘Stros have a total of 5 triples for a grand total of 12 for the team.

Last night’s game was downright ugly. And now our lead is at three.

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