Archive for September, 2015

Defending the Record

Commentary has been to most of the H-Town mayoral candidate forums. Last night I went to a church over on South Gessner past Bellfort to check out the latest forum. So I kind of know how the candidates are handling themselves. As mail ballots are being cast and as we get closer to Early Voting in Person, some candidates are having to defend their records more than others.

Marty McVey doesn’t really have a record so he doesn’t have to defend. Chris Bell really hasn’t had to defend his record. Council Member Steve Costello has had to defend Rebuild Houston. Ben Hall has had to defend his record and positions since being City Attorney. Bill King hasn’t had to defend his record as mayor of Kemah but he has had to defend his columns and issue positions. State Rep. Sylvester Turner has had the longest record of service but he has only had to defend attacks from Hall.

Adrian Garcia has made his record of service the centerpiece of his campaign and is now taking some heat for his record as Sheriff. Yesterday, a forum was held at the Wortham Center during the lunch hour and Adrian’s record was criticized by some of his opponents. Here is a part of what the Chron reported:

After taking heat for his management of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Adrian Garcia ducked out of a Houston mayoral debate a half-hour early Tuesday, before moderators opened the floor for candidates to ask each other questions.

Garcia said he had to leave for a prior commitment, even after one of the moderators noted that appointment – an interview with the Chronicle’s editorial board – was scheduled to begin nearly an hour and a half later.

In departing early, Garcia avoided a debate format that has proved tricky for him in recent weeks, as his competitors have taken aim at his record in the sheriff’s office.

Even so, four of the five candidates on stage with Garcia used their rebuttals during a preceding round to criticize the former sheriff’s management skills.

“The sheriff’s office wasn’t working when Adrian was there,” businessman Bill King said, citing the decrease in the department’s rape clearance rate under Garcia’s tenure.

City Councilman Stephen Costello, former Congressman Chris Bell and former City Attorney Ben Hall subsequently chimed in, calling attention to Garcia’s use of an outside consultant during his tenure, as well as a mentally ill inmate left for weeks in a filthy cell in 2013.

“Adrian has to explain how it is that he had a sheriff’s department that could have a mentally challenged person living in a cell for weeks without getting remedial care,” Hall said. “I think that speaks to his management skill and he does have to answer for that.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Garcia-leaves-mayoral-forum-early-avoiding-6538412.php?cmpid=btfpm.

This was tweeted during the forum:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott 21h21 hours ago
Second Q to Garcia, on disappointment about leaving sheriff’s post. Garcia declines to criticize Hickman: “It will be his record to defend.”

Well, he didn’t stick around to defend his own record. There are a few forums and debates remaining so stay tuned.

Name the MLB pitcher who has pitched the most innings this season?

The Kentucky clerk said she met with the Pope for 15 minutes last week. What the heck did they talk about for 15 minutes?

Clayton Kershaw of course leads MLB with 229 innings pitched this season.

I don’t know what to say about our loss last night. We only have four games left. There is not much else I can say.

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I don’t think we ought to welcome “Houstonians for the Future,” a Specific-Purpose Committee set up to support Steve Costello for mayor according to the paperwork filed with the H-Town City Secretary on September 14. The committee’s address is located at the offices of Cobb Fendley. It doesn’t take a rocket science major to figure out what is going on here.

Some folks are thinking that some of Costello’s big contributors have maxed out and are now using the Specific-Purpose Committee to donate more cashola to help him out. That’s too bad. It is kind of dissing the process and the rules and circumventing the whole campaign finance set-up.

I hope this doesn’t set a precedent for future H-Town city elections. We don’t need wild-west types of campaigns – do we? We will find out what is going on when the campaign contribution and expenditure reports are filed next week. I am thinking this is a very bad move for H-Town.

On September 26, 2006, the ‘Stros beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh 7-4 to go 79-78 after 157 games. How many games were we out after 157 games back in 2006?

I was one of many who was skeptical when the ‘Stros skipper put Chris Carter back in the starting line-up. I was also one of many who has been proven dead wrong. I am ok with that.

Kris Banks tweeted this yesterday after my take on the Big Puma doing radio ads against the HERO:

Kris Banks ‏@KrisBanks 23h23 hours ago
Lance Berkman lives in Piney Point (not Houston). He can’t even vote on #HERO (h/t @MarcCommentary)

In 2006, after 157 games, the ‘Stros were a game and a half behind San Luis of course.

Well, we are a game and a half back with five remaining. We also have a half game lead over the Angels for the second Wild Card slot. Another late night but at least it ended with a 3-2 win.

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The Big Puma cut a spot against the HERO. Here is the spot and the background on the Big Puma’s opposition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&v=o3oSDzZxdyg.

Here is from an online story and a tweet:

(Lance) Berkman’s appearance (on the ad) has garnered criticism from many, including former Minnesota Vikings kicker Chris Kluwe.

Chris Kluwe
✔ @ChrisWarcraft
Lance Berkman needs to take a moment and reflect on some basic human traits like “empathy” and “critical thinking.” http://www.outsports.com/2015/9/25/9398997/lance-berkman-houston-equal-rights-hero?utm_campaign=outsports&utm_content=article%3Atop&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

BTW: I don’t even think the Big Puma is an H-Town voter.

2,153,585 went to see the ‘Stros at The Yard this season. What is our attendance record for a season?

The Chron E-Board put out a duelie yesterday in the race for H-Town Controller – Bill Frazer and Chris Brown. At the end of the endorsement, they took a parting shot at former HCC Trustee and former Council Member and Controller candidate Carroll Robinson. Here is the shot:

However, voters should avoid Carroll Robinson, a former city councilman and former Houston Community College trustee. When he served on the HCC board, Robinson was accused of redirecting a contract to an unqualified friend. In his current campaign, Robinson advocates for casino gambling – a policy far outside the purview of the controller’s office. And when he met with the editorial board, Robinson hinted at Ted Cruz-style obstructionism if elected by refusing to sign city checks.

Here is the entire endorsement take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/article/For-City-Controller-6530658.php.

I am not surprised at the duelie. They endorsed Council Member Brenda Stardig today. I am not surprised.

The 2004 ‘Stros of course set the attendance record with 3,087,872 folks showing up.

Well, the team sort of handled business this weekend. If the playoffs were to start today, we would be in. The problem is they don’t start today. They start in eight days. We are in Seattle for the next three. The Angels host the A’s and the Rangers host the Tigers.

I wonder if I will ever get to see Tal’s Hill again.

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Do or Die Weekend

Only three of the major H-Town mayoral candidates attended last night’s forum sponsored by the Northside Precinct Judges. A number of other civic and service organizations participated. Some folks were not happy that the other four candidates were no-shows. I get that.

I will say that all of the candidates have been pretty good about making these forums and there have been a bunch – well over 30 at last count.

Name the AL team with the least amount of road wins?

I am thinking the Adrian Garcia campaign is not happy with the front page City/State section story on how he handled the Sheriff’s Office. Here is how the story starts:

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office cleared dramatically fewer rape cases under Adrian Garcia compared to his predecessor, a finding opponents are trying to use to undercut the mayoral candidate’s experience as a leader.

Considered by many a front-runner to replace term-limited Annise Parker, Garcia has taken heat from other candidates for the percent of reported burglary, robbery or rape cases that led to an arrest, charge or other resolution – called the clearance rate – under his watch.

Here is what Adrian said:

“No one gave me a memo we were going to be stepping into the Great Recession, and we had a hiring freeze. But I didn’t stop at trying to not only solve the cases we were getting, but I worked to keep cases from coming in. My commitment to putting officers on the street, in spite of the hiring freeze, looking for ways to redeploy deputies out of the jail and put them out on the street and lower the crime rate. So, tough decisions I had to make as a sheriff, tough circumstances – remember, the population exploded in the unincorporated areas of the county.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Mayoral-rivals-blast-Garcia-for-drop-in-HCSO-rape-6527996.php?cmpid=btfpm.

It looks like it is going to be tough to spin their way out of this one. This isn’t going away.

The U.S. House Speaker is quitting. I am not shedding any tears.

A couple or so folks were grousing over the Chron E-Board endorsement in H-Town City Council District H. I am wondering how many of the grousers have actually seen Karla Cisneros engage with District H voters? You get the picture.

The ‘Stros are at the bottom in the AL with only 29 road wins of course.

It is a do or die weekend at The Yard. We have run out of time. Only nine games left.

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The Chron E-Board made their endorsement in the H-Town City Council District H race. Here it is:

Editorial: For District H

Karla Cisneros will work for smartdevelopment in changing neighborhoods.

Copyright 2015: Houston Chronicle
Published 7:01 pm, Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Houston is a city of great diversity, but also economic disparity and segregation, and all these challenges come into full play in District H. The L-shaped district covers the booming single-family neighborhoods of Near Northside and Woodland Heights, and the townhouse rows of the East End. It also covers economically troubled areas north of the 610 loop and industrial developments along Buffalo Bayou toward the Port of Houston. The population is 71 percent Hispanic and nearly half lack a high school diploma, yet the blocks along Navigation Boulevard were recently praised by the insistently hip Vice Media as the scene of Houston’s musical golden age.

These conflicting images paint a picture of a district in transition, and it needs a city council member who is dedicated to harnessing growth to help old neighborhoods. Karla Cisneros is the woman for the job.

Cisneros, who will be 61 on Election Day, works as a teacher but resigned to run for office. She also served on the HISD board of education from 2000 to 2006, including a term as board president. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Architecture from Rice University.

Cisneros told the editorial board that she thought the city’s pensions were unsustainable, but that City Hall needed to honor its promises to employees. She also said that she supported the Houston equal rights ordinance.

However, perhaps more than any other candidate we’ve met during this cycle, Cisneros targeted economic disparity as the key problem facing Houston. This is the sort of thinking that you often hear from policy experts like Rice University’s Dr. Stephen Klineberg, but not nearly enough from our elected officials. “We’re increasingly becoming a city of haves and have-nots,” Cisneros told the editorial board. “The city has a role, and I don’t think they’ve played it very well in supporting the success of children, our families and our neighborhoods.”

While her goals are idealistic, Cisneros’ policy solutions are strictly down-to-earth. She points to community involvement and communication at all levels to help encourage smart development that fits with neighborhoods. She also points to public-private partnerships as a way for new growth to help improve lives of long-time residents.

“Protect what’s important and help people transition into this more-dense, more-urban city that Houston has become,” she said.

Cisneros already has a record of using smart development to help neighborhoods. She led a grassroots effort in Woodland Heights to improve Travis Elementary, including building one of the first SPARK parks. That project helped make the school into the heart of the neighborhood.
Cisneros applies this policy of creating neighborhood cores to Metro, as well.

“One of the opportunities that I see in District H are the 12 Metro [rail] stations that are new,” she told the editorial board. “The stations themselves are nice, but they’re not connected to the neighborhoods around them.”

Cisneros pointed to 380 agreements as a way to transform the stations into transit nodes and encourage economic development.

“We need to be smart about our development and preparing for the future.”

That smart vote would be for Cisneros.

Voters should avoid Abel Davila, a former Houston Community College board member. In the internal investigation known as the Veselka Report, Davila was specifically fingered for violating board policies and his fiduciary duties.


Name the ‘Stro pitcher who has given up the most dingers this season?

Here is another story from the Chron’s Rebecca Elliott on the race for mayor: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Mayor-s-race-only-now-heading-to-TV-6525207.php?t=8ead44254c438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium.

Commentary is never afraid to say I didn’t know that when I learn something new. Yesterday, I was watching the Pope at the White House and the military band played the Vatican’s national anthem. I didn’t know they had their own anthem tune.

We have fallen big time. Realistically, it is all about fighting for that second wild card slot and maybe a trip to Yankee Stadium.

Collin McHugh of course has given up 18 dingers to opposing players this season.

We have a needed day off. We are 3 back. Keep hope alive!

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“It’s déjà vu all over again!”

Yogi Berra was one of my favorite ballplayers of all time. Yogi is the greatest to wear the number 8. ‘Stros fans are lucky that he spent a few seasons coaching here.

I am not much of an autograph collector, but I do have two of Yogi’s on my wall.

Yogi played his first MLB game on September 22, 1946. He left us on September 22, 2015.

And this tweet:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ retweeted
Yogi Berra Museum ‏@Yogi_Museum Sep 12
Yogi caught both games of doubleheaders 117 times. That’s right, 117. #Yankees @UnbelievableFts


“It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

How many seasons did Yogi wear the number 8 as a ‘Stros coach?

H-Town City Council District I candidate Herlinda Garcia sent out a mailer yesterday that said the incumbent supported “An Ordinance that allows a man to enter a woman’s bathroom.” Oh, brother.

The Chron E-Board today endorsed At-Large 3 Council Member Michael Kubosh. I am not surprised. Here is from the endorsement:

In this race, Kubosh faces two serious challengers. Doug Peterson, 64, served as press agent for the astronaut corps at the Johnson Space Center and John LaRue, 30, is a local attorney who practices family law. Peterson, who lives in Clear Lake, makes a compelling argument about the need for an at-large councilman who can represent suburban issues, but that isn’t reason enough to boot an incumbent.

Two years ago Kubosh earned our endorsement in the runoff election. We wrote at the time that we don’t always agree with his positions, but his passion for city issues and compassion for the poor is undeniable. That still holds true today. Vote Kubosh for At-Large 3.

Here is the entire E-Board Kubosh endorsement: http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/The-Chronicle-endorses-Michael-Kubosh-for-Houston-6522892.php.

Yogi Berra wore the number 8 for the ‘Stros from 1985-1989 of course.

We lost 4-3 last night and left 11 men on base. Very ugly. We are now two back with 10 to go.

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Eric is right. Bill pretty much rewrote the book on this. Check this tweet:

Eric Berger ‏@chronsciguy 8m8 minutes ago
I don’t have a stake in the Houston mayoral race, but 10 years ago @BillKingForHou sure nailed it on hurricanes. http://extras.chron.com/banners/j/jessesawards/2006/documents/jesses_explanatory/febexplanatory.htm

Commentary said this yesterday:

Remember when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was one of the leaders of the pack and now he is below one percent. Scott who?

Walker said this in his exit speech yesterday:

“Today, I believe that I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field in this race so that a positive conservative message can rise to the top. I encourage other Republican presidential candidates to consider doing the same so the voters can focus on a limited number of candidates who can offer a positive conservative alternative to the current front-runner.”

Before Trump entered the race, guys like Walker were pretty extreme when it came to immigration reform. Heck, Walker even shifted from a good position to a lousy position. All Trump did was kick it up a notch or three. Guys like Walker set the table for Trump. Don’t blame Trump, blame yourself.

Evan Gattis leads the team with 85 RBIs. Name the ‘Stro with second highest number of RBIs?

Jeb Bush is in H-Town and spoke to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Bush has also shifted his position on immigration reform. Protesters greeted Jeb yesterday and they said this:

“Jeb Bush has straddled both sides on the immigration issue – depending on his audience – and at times remained silent and exchanged ‘high-fives’ with those attacking immigrants.”

They are right.

Wrangler is 69 today. Happy Birthday Larry Dierker.

Happy Birthday to Carlos Correa. He is 21 today and in just 88 games is batting .279 with 19 dingers and 56 RBIs.

Jose Altuve is second on the team with 59 RBIs of course.

We are a game back with 11 to go. What a race. It is another Chick-fil-A day thanks to the Gattis dinger last night.

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The Chron E-Board has started to roll out their recommendations for H-Town races. Here are bits:

On the HERO: We appreciate the need for debate, even though we strongly believe that Houston needs an equal rights ordinance. What we don’t need is a nasty, cynical campaign playing on voters’ fear and ignorance. This great city is bigger than that.

The equal rights ordinance is Proposition One on the November ballot. We urge Houstonians to vote YES.

In At-Large, Pos. 1: When government is broken, who do you hire to fix it? For the Harris County Housing Authority, the answer was Tom McCasland. Plenty of candidates can tout their ideas for repairing Houston’s problems, but only McCasland has a record of working within government to cut fat, root out corruption and balance budgets. In the race to replace a term-limited Steven Costello for the City Council At-Large 1 seat, voters should send McCasland to City Hall so he can put his skills to work.

In At-Large, Pos. 2: We endorsed (David) Robinson two years ago as the guy who can see the proverbial big picture, and he’s lived up to that charge during his first term in office. Voters should give Robinson a second term.

I am not surprised at all with their three recommendations. Are you?

I am kind of concerned about the pro-HERO outreach effort in certain communities. Are you?

I wonder if you need a Chron subscription to get a recommendation.

We have 12 games left. How many base hits does Jose Altuve need to reach 200 this season?

Check this tweet:

Ericka Mellon ‏@e_mellon 17m17 minutes ago
The Houston Federation of Teachers is holding a news conference at 10 a.m. to call for more scrutiny of #HISD contracts and bond spending.

Are you ready for this? Last time I checked, there are H-Town mayoral forums today, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Remember when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was one of the leaders of the pack and now he is below one percent. Scott who?

If he wants to catch up, he needs to offend a religion or a significant segment of our population.

Heck, maybe he can criticize the Pope.

How about this tweet:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ ‏@brianmctaggart 19m19 minutes ago
It’s UH night at Minute Maid Park. Act accordingly. @UHCougarFB @CoachTomHerman

Jose Altuve has 182 base hits and needs 18 to reach 200 of course.

The team is a game and a half back and the Angels are in for three. We are in the hunt.

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Rat’s Arse

From the who gives a rat’s arse department, the Chron has a piece on Battleground Texas, yes Battleground Texas. I guess they are still around. Who gives a rat’s arse anyway?

If you give a rat’s arse, here it is: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas-take/article/Battleground-Texas-looks-for-a-facelift-6512122.php.

The Chron E-Board today takes on H-Town district council members and their million dollar service funds. I really don’t think the district council members give a rat’s arse about the E-Board take. I kind of have mix feelings about the fund. I wonder how my council member is spending her million.

Here is the E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Budgeting-priorities-6512499.php.

Plenty has been said about Milo the past 20 hours. When Milo first started calling games for the ‘Stros in 1985, who was our skipper?

HERO received support yesterday. Here is from the Chron: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/GHP-hospitality-groups-say-HERO-repeal-would-6512516.php.

Here is the last line from the HERO article:

“It’s going to be a close election,” (Pro-HERO Campaign Manager Richard) Carlbom said. “The community is divided on this.”

The word is the H-Town Mayor wants City Council to look at an ordinance banning texting while driving. I am OK with this. How about banning cell phones in school zones?

Bob Lillis of course was our skipper back in 1985.

We choked on the 10 game roadie. Now we face the most important homie of the season. Are you going?

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His Budget

If you have attended any of the H-Town Mayoral forums, you have heard Adrian Garcia boast about running the Sheriff’s Office under budget and saving taxpayer funds. Chris Bell called him out yesterday on his budget. Here is from a Rebecca Elliott Chron piece this morning:

Bell also accused Garcia of improperly claiming that the sheriff’s office was at or under budget for four consecutive years during his tenure.

“His numbers are a complete fabrication,” Bell said, alleging that the county’s former top lawman was over budget for four of the six years he was in office.

The dispute boils down to whether one compares the sheriff’s office’s actual spending to the county’s initial adopted budget or its adjusted one, updated later in the year. Bell’s campaign is relying on the adopted budget, while Garcia uses the adjusted spending plan.

For example, in fiscal year 2014, the sheriff’s office spent nearly $400 million – some $9 million more than the adopted budget, but about $7 million less than the adjusted budget.

Garcia’s statement did not address Bell’s budget criticism.

Here is the entire Elliott article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Mayoral-candidates-take-aim-at-Garcia-6509872.php.

If you look at the numbers, Bell is right on target. That’s why the Garcia camp did not refute the criticism. Oh, well.

Two ‘Stros players have played 138 games this season – the most for a ‘Stro. One is Jose Altuve. Name the other?

At yesterday’s mayoral forum at India House, candidates were asked what they want to see in a new HISD Superintendent. Marty McVey wants to see “the most qualified Hispanic in the country.” Ben Hall said the “next superintendent must not be corrupt.” Adrian Garcia wants a superintendent who “knows how to engage the community – Grier didn’t.”

There will be more forums today in the race for mayor and District H.

Evan Gattis of course has also played in 138 games this season.

I wish the team would let me know if they are still interested in playing well into October. We are a game and a half out with 16 to go.

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