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Archive for October, 2015

Voting On Texans

Harris County has sent out around 38,000 or so mail ballots. I heard a couple of days ago that only 8,000 or so ballots had been mailed back. I don’t know what that says about turnout but I don’t expect a major increase this year. We will know something Monday when Early Voting in Person begins.

The Cubbies are in the NLCS against the Mets. The last time the Cubbies were in the postseason was in 2008 – how did they do in 2008?

Last night the Independence Heights Greater Houston Baptist Minister Alliance invited candidates to address voters at a gathering. The event took place at Booker T. Washington High. I would say around 75 or so Independence Heights voters attended. Karla Cisneros spoke and afterwards folks took photos with her and one voter went up to Karla and said she was “the real McCoy.” That works.

FYI: One of Karla’s daughters is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High.

This past summer, Karla Cisneros was the guest speaker at the Summer Reading Challenge Celebration in the Independence Heights. “Lifting Through Literacy” is a collaboration of the Independence Heights Greater Houston Baptist Minister Alliance, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, and HISD.

Some folks just love their NFL football – period. At the next Texans home game, owner Bob McNair could wade into tailgate land and get high fived and patted on the back by the faithful despite a 1-4 losing record and giving $10,000 to the HERO opponents. That is just the way folks worship their professional football here in these and other parts. You know the drill.

Here is more from today’s Chron:

McNair, in a statement released Thursday, noted Houston’s diversity and said he believes it is a city that “works to ensure that everyone is treated respectfully and fairly,” but raised objections to the ordinance.

“I strongly believe that everyone who lives or works in or visits Houston should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect,” McNair said. “Because of the way the HERO ordinance is written, it has begun to separate rather than unite our community. This problem can be solved by defeating the current bill in November, thoughtfully rewriting it and then resubmitting it to the voters.”

City Council member Ellen Cohen, a prominent supporter of the law, said that given McNair’s history of giving to conservative causes and candidates, this donation came as “no surprise.”

“He’s one man who happens to own a sports team but the organizations involved in attracting business and conventions support the ordinance,” Cohen said. “The Houston convention center and visitors bureau, GHP, the Houston sports authority – just to name a few – have come out in favor of the equal rights ordinance.”

My Council Member is right about the fella giving to conservative causes and candidates, but he has sprinkled some dough on a few Dems including the Mayor and former Mayor Bill White along with some local Dem legislators.

The H-Town Mayoral candidates will square off tonight and tomorrow evening on TV on Channels 2 and 11.

In 2008, the Cubbies were swept in the NLDS by the Dodgers of course.

Tal’s Hill is staying alive. I am OK with that. Nobody’s has ever gotten hurt on the hill.

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Super Bowl Talking Point

If I would have proclaimed before the season started that we would win three playoff games, you would have thought I had lost it.

Only two ‘Stros played more than 150 regular season games this year. Name the two?

Here is from the Chron on the Bob McNair donation:

“The HERO supporters have tried to scare people into believing that we would lose the Super Bowl,” (Anti-HERO leader Jared) Woodfill said. “Obviously, if there were any truth behind that, Bob McNair wouldn’t’ be donating to the folks that are opposed to the ordinance.”

Jared does have a point.

Some key business leaders have told us that we risk losing the Super Bowl if the HERO goes down the drain. I guess they forgot to tell the fella who lobbied his fellow owners to get us the big game.

I guess you can say if we lose the HERO (and we will probably will not), we won’t lose the Super Bowl.

I wonder if the General has a take on the McNair contribution.

Here is a bit from Kuffer today on the H-Town City Council District H race:

Karla Cisneros got the Chron endorsement, while Abel Davila is the Hotze candidate. Roland Chavez and Jason Cisneroz got the rest of the endorsements, with Chavez having the edge. I’m a little surprised Karla Cisneros didn’t go better in that department, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. She’s easily winning the yard sign battle in my neighborhood, with Chavez a distant second. She’s also the only candidate to actually door-knock me this cycle, though I’ve seen her and Chavez and Cisneroz at various events throughout the summer.

This season Jose Altuve played in 154 games and Evan Gattis got into 153 games of course.

Well this was an exhilarating 2015 ‘Stros baseball season. I am certainly not disappointed this morning. Am I looking forward to next season? Not yet. I still want the savor this one.

I got four foul balls. I saw a no-no. I saw a couple of playoff games. I saw the crowds return. Wow!

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Game 5

Will somebody please keep Governor Abbott away from twitter tonight?

Secretary Hillary Clinton stuck it to Sen. Bernie Sanders on gun control last night. Sen. Sanders helped out Sec. Clinton on her emails. Now who do you want leading the Dem ticket against the GOP?

When the ‘Stros played their first ever playoff series in 1980 against the Phillies, how many then future Hall of Famers saw playing action?

I think I have told this story before. Years ago, someone I respect was part of a government contract and getting taxpayer funds. The Chron wrote a story about the contract and listed the folks getting taxpayer funds including the total amounts. The person I respect didn’t like getting written up in the Chron. I told the person the solution to that is don’t be a part of the contract and you won’t get written up.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner is getting lead front page coverage today on his local government contracts and he is getting hit by Chris Bell and Ben Hall. Here is the story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Turner-s-work-for-public-agencies-comes-under-fire-6569425.php.

You get the gig and you risk getting the publicity. It is fair game. Let the voters decide.

The Chron put out the story today on the H-Town City Council District H race. Here is the part on Karla Cisneros:

Karla Cisneros, another longtime resident of Woodland Heights, is an elementary teacher and former school board member whose primary aim as a City Council member is improving the quality of life for children and families. She took leave from work to run for office.

Cisneros, 61, grew up in a Navy family, and her parents retired in San Antonio. She moved to Houston for graduate school at Rice University, where she studied architecture. Cisneros became a grass-roots activist for neighborhood schools while raising three children with her husband in Woodland Heights. She said the Heights at the time she put down roots in 1985 was a place families left once their kids reached kindergarten age because they lacked confidence in the schools.

She championed SPARK Parks, a program that converts school playgrounds to neighborhood parks. After organizing a dinosaur-themed playground at Travis Elementary, which she called “the gold standard,” Cisneros became assistant director of the program and helped the city plan 20 more park conversions.

She served on the Houston Independent School District Board of Education for six years. During one year as board president, she led the hiring effort for Abelardo Saavedra, HISD’s first Latino superintendent.

That experience, she believes, prepared her for city leadership, reviewing and voting on billion-dollar budgets, dealing with major policy issues and navigating tough personnel decisions.

Cisneros, a new grandmother, has taught elementary school on both sides of Interstate 45, which opened her eyes to inequities for children based on where they live. She taught for three years at Harvard Elementary, where home values rank among the highest in the city, and for three at Northline, a depressed economic neighborhood of primarily Hispanic residents, where she recalled seeing stray dogs wander onto the campus but animal control never responded to requests to remove them.

Cisneros said that scenario is unimaginable on the pricier side of I-45: “If that had happened at Harvard Elementary, I cannot imagine that they would not come.”

Her approach would be to seek equity in infrastructure investment, improve public safety and create “smart, transit-oriented development” that connects the rail stations more cohesively into their communities, with wider sidewalks and good lighting.

Here is the entire Chron piece on the District H race: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/4-vie-for-Council-District-H-post-6568426.php.

In the 1980 NLCS, then future Hall of Fame greats Steve Carlton (Phillies), Joe Morgan (‘Stros), Nolan Ryan (‘Stros), and Mike Schmidt (Phillies) saw playing action of course.

It is OK for H-Town to stop everything this evening and watch the ‘Stros on Fox Sports. Our guys can do it. We’ve won six out of ten against the Royals this season including Game 1 in KC last Thursday. Let’s do it in Game 5 of the ALDS!

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Still Contending

Commentary refuses to get down over the Royals’ come from behind win. Commentary won’t be one of those who are comparing yesterday’s loss to those of H-Town’s past. Commentary won’t be releasing negative energy. I prefer to look forward to our 19 game winner Collin McHugh taking the mound in Game 5 of the ALDS in prime time tomorrow evening. We are still among the eight teams that are still contending. I wouldn’t bet against us.

When was the only time we won a League Division Series Game 5 on the road?

This past Sunday we arrived at The Yard two and a half hours before game time and had to park by the Chron building for ten bucks. Figuring that the courthouse complex would be open yesterday and finding parking would be difficult and expensive, I decided to drive to Moody Park, leave my car in the lot, and hop on the rail line.

This is from the Adrian Garcia Campaign website on the issues:

I have found that, all too often, government looks to increases in fees or taxes to provide these services for Houstonians. This is a mistake. I will not entertain any such ideas until we have demonstrated to the taxpayers that City Hall is running as efficiently as possible.

I am thinking more on this later. He said it.

This story went national. The Governor needs to hire folks who know that baseball is a nine inning game. This isn’t softball. Here is the story:

Here’s a new “oops” moment for a Texas governor: prematurely celebrating a Houston Astros playoff victory.

With Houston up four runs and six outs away Monday from finishing off Kansas City, the office of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted congratulations to the Astros for advancing to the AL Championship Series. The Royals then rallied in the eighth inning and forced a decisive Game 5 with a 9-6 victory.

The tweet has since been deleted.

Abbott, who is an avid Twitter user, responded to the gaffe by telling Astros fans to unfollow his office and stick to his personal Twitter account. He tweeted: “No predictions. Just support.”

Abbott spokesman John Wittman said the deleted tweet was sent by a staffer and declined further comment.

In 2004, the ‘Stros beat The ATL at their crib 12-3 in Game 5 of the NLDS of course.

I wonder if the #ColbyJack off of the right field fowl pole yesterday gets us a free chicken sandwich today.

Don’t worry about yesterday. Like I said when the playoffs started, I feel good about our chances.

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It is Columbus Day, Monday, October 12 and we are still playing ‘Stros baseball! Who would have thought!

How about this tweet:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ ‏@brianmctaggart 7m7 minutes ago
The Astros have clinched a postseason series win at home just once in franchise history, the 2005 NLDS, capped by Chris Burke’s home run.

Name the starting pitcher for the ‘Stros in that 18 inning thriller?

The polls just got a bit more interesting.

Here is the KHOU-TV mayoral poll story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/politics/2015/10/11/turner-leads-garcia-dropping-king-rising-in-race-for-houston-mayor/73799260/.

Here is from the story:

Sylvester Turner remains the front-runner, but Adrian Garcia has lost his once firm grip on second place and Bill King rises into the top tier of contenders in the race for Houston mayor.

That’s the headline from the latest poll conducted for KHOU 11 News and Houston Public Media, TV-8 and News 88.7, a survey indicating Garcia and King are now fighting it out for a chance to face Turner in a runoff.

Turner heads the pack of mayoral candidates at 19%, maintaining the lead he commanded in the same poll last May. No other candidate in this poll stands in double-digits.

Garcia and King tie for second-place, both supported by 9% of surveyed voters.

And:

“I would say that Bill King is a slight — if not strong — favorite to get into the runoff,” said Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU political analyst who conducted the poll. “And I think Garcia is fighting now to stay in the runoff.”

Here is from the Chron: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Turner-leading-in-Houston-mayoral-poll-6565476.php.

On the Chase Utley slide Saturday night, Hall of Fame great Craig Biggio said it was a “hard, clean slide.” He ought to know. It is what it is.

Brandon Backe of course was the starting pitcher for the ‘Stros against The ATL in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS.

Parking was a you know what yesterday two and a half hours before the game. No telling what it will be like today.

The atmosphere at The Yard yesterday was all electric and orange. Folks were on their feet for most of the game. It was Keuchel’s Korner everywhere. This time it was Carlos Gomez, Chris Carter, and Jason Castro getting the job done at the plate. The Yard was rocking for sure.

The gates open at 10 am. That’s early, but heck, the game starts at noon. Let’s be the first team to advance to the Championship Series!

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Back to back polls came out the past couple of days. The first one had Rep. Sylvester Turner and Adrian Garcia at 19% each, and Bill King and Chris Bell at 10% each. This poll was wrapped up two weeks ago.

The next poll had Rep. Turner at 24% and Bill at 18% and Adrian at 14%. This poll was wrapped up three days ago.

Are there any other polls out there? You need to check out what Kuffer says about the polls here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=70186.

So now Bill can expect tweets like the following that came out this morning:

Steve Costello ‏@s_costello 49m49 minutes ago
.@BillKingForHou has flipped on local control, now he’s flipping on the value of more police on our streets. #houmayor #HouVote

Steve Costello ‏@s_costello 53m53 minutes ago
.@BillKingForHou is playing politics rather than firmly committing to policies aimed at bettering our community. #houmayor #HouVote

When was the last time the ‘Stros won a League Division Series Game 1 on the road?

Congratulations to the 40 or so folks who made it out to Ripley House last night to participate in the H-Town City Council District H forum.

The ‘Stros sent this out yesterday:

The Astros head back to Minute Maid Park on Sunday, October 11th for game 3 of the ALDS with first pitch at 3:00PM (all gates open at 11:30am). If game 4 is needed it will be played at Minute Maid Park on Monday, October 12th at 12:00pm.

All fans are encouraged to wear Orange on Sunday!

If we do have a Game 4 on Monday and now I hope we don’t, it is a federal holiday. Some kids have school and some don’t.

In 2005, we won Game 1 of the NLDS at The ATL of course, 10-5.

I said yesterday that I felt good about the ALDS and I still do after last night. A SpringerDinger and a ColbyJack.

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On HISD

Commentary really does not have much to say about the Chron E-Board’s endorsement in HISD District III. I will say the incumbent received the endorsement four years ago then had it taken away and now he’s got it again. I will let others chime in.

I am not really surprised that Ann McCoy got the nod in District IV – an open seat. I didn’t think that they would go for former H-Town city council member Jolanda Jones. The E-board said they liked that McCoy was “thoughtful and deliberate.”

The E-Board endorsed incumbent Juliet Stipeche in District VIII. Stipeche told the E-Board that she “views HISD Board culture as toxic.” Well, who are the toxic agents?

The link was not working so you will go have to look up the endorsements on your own.

The Pirates lost to the Cubbies last night in the NL Wild Card game. The Pirates won 98 games this season. What are the most wins in a season ever for a Wild Card team?

Let’s see. Tonight, some folks will head out to TDECU to watch the Coogs or check them out on ESPN2. Some folks will head to NRG to check out the Texans or watch them on Channel 11 or the NFL Network. Some folks will check out the ‘Stros on FS1. And some folks will be at Ripley House checking out the H-Town City Council District H Forum.

I didn’t give a second thought to Jessica Mendoza providing the takes during the ‘Stros game the other night. I didn’t think about it being historic. So when that sports talk peckerwood went off on her on twitter and then got suspended – I don’t have a problem with that.

For those of you that remember, “Moochie”, Kevin Corcoran, is no longer with us. He was in “Old Yeller.” I shed a tear or two watching that movie. He was also in “Swiss Family Robinson.” He was only 66.

If you are on The Roundtable email list, then you probably got a chuckle or two on yesterday’s take on the Big Puma.

The 2001 A’s had 102 wins for the most Ws ever for a Wild Card team.

Did you check Commentary out on Channel 11 yesterday talking about my foul balls from The Yard? Check it out here: http://www.khou.com/story/sports/mlb/astros/2015/10/07/houstons-foul-ball-king-dreams-another-world-series/73550056/.

Hey, it’s the playoffs.

I am feeling good about the ALDS and Sunday’s game is a sellout.

Go Astros!

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Dear Ben Carson. I have actually had a gun pointed at me, was a robbery victim, and threatened to be killed a long, long time ago and I actually started praying the “Act of Contrition” and started to say “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins, because of Your just punishments…” I thought I was a goner and thoughts of getting myself out of that situation raced through my mind – do I try to escape, do I try to overpower the two assailants, or do I just do as they say. I now have a greater awareness when walking through a parking lot at night. So until you go through something like that, why don’t you just shut up – PLEASE!

The ‘Stros in the MLB Playoffs is good for H-Town. A lot of folks were wearing ‘Stros gear at National Night Out events yesterday evening. Over the next few days, folks will be chatting up Jose Altuve, SpringerDinger, ColbyJack, Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel, and OsoBlanco. Hey, we need it and can use it.

What was our record versus the Royals this season?

I am not going to say much about the City of H-Town gizmo that collects the campaign reporting data. One of my client’s report is finally online.

How about this tweet from last night:

Jim Rome ‏@jimrome 10h10 hours ago
Astros looked right at home in the postseason. And the Yankees looked like they wanted no part of the postseason.

Awww! How about this one from the General:

John McClain ‏@McClain_on_NFL 10h10 hours ago
I’ve wondered for 37 years what it’s like 2 have team I cover n title game. Rockets won 2 titles. Astros played in Series. I’ll never know.

Remember when I said this about three weeks ago:

I just noticed this. If you follow the ‘Stros or MLB beat writers on twitter, a few hours before the game they will tweet out the starting line-ups in batting order with the last name of the player and the numerical position: pitcher is 1, catcher is 2, you know, and 9 being the right fielder, but the DH is DH. How come nobody has come around to give the DH a number, like a 10?

I saw a line-up tweet prior to the game yesterday and the DH was given a 0 – zero.

We went 4-2 against the Royals this past season of course.

I think we are in pretty good shape heading into the ALDS.

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I just hope the local National Night Out organizers have some flat screens around this evening.

Kuffer has a good piece on mail ballots today. Here is how he starts:

That’s a grand total of 30,337 mail ballot applications, with 14,799 of them coming from Lane Lewis and Sylvester Turner. The question as always with this sort of thing is how does it compare? Is it a sign that something unusual is happening, or is it more or less what we might expect?

Here is all of Kuffer that I encourage you to read: http://offthekuff.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/EV-Applications-Harris-Count-100215.png.

We will find out if this means more folks will be voting. I will say this. More folks vote early in person these days but it has not translated into higher voter turnouts. Mail ballots may just be another convenient way to cast a ballot so stay tuned!

Dallas Keuchel was second in MLB with 232 total innings tossed this season. Who was number one?

The Adrian Garcia campaign had to put out another statement yesterday after another news story about the jail. That is two statements on jail stories in two weeks.

This tweet also came out:

AlanBernstein ‏@AlanBernstein 16m16 minutes ago
“No one has done more than @AdrianGarciaHTX to reform the once corrupt Harris County jail.” – defense Atty George Parnham #houvotes

How about this tweet:

Vernon Loeb ‏@LoebVernon 46m46 minutes ago
A-Rod says Yanks are underdogs. He got that right @jeromesolomon http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/columnists/solomon/article/Like-Hinch-says-Astros-best-is-good-enough-6552553.php?t=72dc2eb637438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium … via @HoustonChron

Here is part of what the Chron’s Ken Hoffman is saying today:

The New York Yankees’ payroll this year is $214 million, one of the highest in the Major Leagues. The Astros’ payroll is $69 million, the next to lowest. The two teams finished only one game apart in the final standings.

The Yankees’ starting pitcher Tuesday will be Masahiro Tanaka. He was paid $22 million this season. He won 12 games.

Dallas Keuchel will be on the mound for the Astros. He made $524,000 this year, barely over the big league’s minimum salary. Keuchel won 20 games and likely will win the Cy Young Award as the American League’s best pitcher.

Clayton Kershaw of course tossed 232 2/3 innings this year to lead MLB – that’s 2/3 better than Keuchel.

We have it in us to win tonight and if we do, we will have Game 3 of the ALDS at around 3 pm this Sunday at The Yard. Go Astros!

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Remember this from the Chron on the GLBT endorsement of State Rep. Sylvester 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.”

This past Friday, my pal Allan Jamail sent out the list of the Pleasantville Voters League endorsed candidates. They endorsed Rep. Sylvester Turner for Mayor and came out against Proposition 1. What coalition?

In certain ‘hoods, Proposition 1 is referred to as the “bathroom ordinance. That tells me the pro Proposition 1 folks are not controlling the conversation in those ’hoods.

I am not going to say much about the Mayor taking on the Big Puma on twitter on the HERO.

We are back in the playoffs. What are the most runs we have ever scored in a playoff game?

I am sure the Adrian Garcia campaign didn’t much like the front page Sunday Chron piece on the jail. That’s not a good record to defend. You need to go check out the piece.

I am sure you saw Kris Banks’ tweet on this:

Kris Banks ‏@KrisBanks 20h20 hours ago Houston, TX
Kris Banks Retweeted Rebecca Elliott
That Adrian Garcia would ask for our vote when this happened under his watch is appalling https://twitter.com/rfelliott/status/650725795602665472

Here is what Chris Bell put out today:

“Mr. Garcia record is one of incompetence and injustice.”

Chris Bell issued a statement on the Houston Chronicle’s new expose into the Harris County Jail under Adrian Garcia’s tenure.

Bell said, “For weeks, we have been pointing out horrifying problems at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office when Adrian Garcia was sheriff. Today we learned that the problems were more systemic and far-reaching than we had ever imagined. Under Sheriff Garcia’s leadership, the Harris County Jail was allowed to operate without oversight, without compassion – almost without any sense of morality whatsoever.”

“It is stunning that Mr. Garcia hoped he could walk away without anyone noticing. He even has the gall to cite his record as the main reason he should be elected mayor. That is no longer an acceptable assertion.”

That is part of his record.

How about this tweet:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ ‏@brianmctaggart 1h1 hour ago
The Astros have tied the Major League record for Interleague wins in a single season with 16.

The ‘Stros beat The ATL 12-3 in Game 5 of the 2004 NLDS of course – the most runs we have ever scored in a playoff game.

How about the 21 runs that we scored this past Friday night? When the season started back on April 6, none of us thought that we would be playing tomorrow night in Yankee Stadium in the Wild Card game. We just wanted to get better. Well, we got a whole lot better. I have full confidence that Dallas Keuchel, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, SpringerDinger and the rest of the team can handle business tomorrow night and bring Game 3 of the ALDS to The Yard this Sunday.

Let’s Go Astros!

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