Archive for February 22nd, 2016

CD 29 Forum

Through yesterday, 58% of Harris County early voters are GOPers and 42% are Dems. This isn’t three to one.

Commentary dropped by the CD 29 Candidate Forum this past Saturday morning at Talento Bilingue. It was pretty obvious that Adrian Garcia was in command of the issues that should concern CD 29 voters. He easily won over any undecideds in attendance. If anything, this race is long overdue.   Folks get to have a discussion on key issues and we are learning a whole lot about CD 29.   Check out yesterday’s Mike Morris piece on the forum here:

With early voting already underway in Texas’ primaries, the top Democrats battling for a chance to represent much of industrial eastern Harris County in Congress engaged in a spirited, Spanish-sprinkled Saturday morning debate.

U.S. Rep. Gene Green and former county sheriff Adrian Garcia sparred over a host of issues central to the largely Latino and disadvantaged District 29 at an event hosted at Talento Bilingue de Houston by Texas Organizing Project, SEIU Texas and Mi Familia Vota.

Garcia continued a far more aggressive approach than was typical during his unsuccessful bid for Houston mayor last fall, calling Green insufficiently progressive on gun safety, the environment and economic opportunity, and seeking to link the 23-year incumbent to the district’s poverty and poor educational attainment rates.

Garcia sought to use a recent Green comment that the district is “blue collar” and “never going to be River Oaks” to suggest that the incumbent’s goals for the area aren’t ambitious enough.

“This is an opportunity for leadership, for … someone who believes there can be a greater promise for you, today and tomorrow, never saying, ‘You’ll never be River Oaks; you can cut the lawns, you can wash the dishes, you can serve the food, but you yourself can never be a part of the American dream,’ ” Garcia said. “We need to fight for more opportunities for the families of this district.”

‘We need trade skills’

Green pushed back, touting his role as a co-sponsor on every bill to increase the minimum wage during his time in Congress, among other efforts, and pointing to the numerous events he has held in the district helping people become citizens, get immunizations or learn how to pay for college.

“I grew up in north side, just like Adrian did. Believe me, I worked for a buck and a quarter an hour in the ’60s,” Green said. “We’re not River Oaks, because River Oaks doesn’t need trade skills – we need trade skills in Northside and East End Houston. That’s what Houston Community College and San Jac(into College) do, and I’ve helped them get funding for those.”

From 2000 to 2014, Census data show that, though the share of district residents with a high school degree rose slightly to 59 percent, the share of district residents living in poverty also ticked up to 26 percent, and median household incomes increased but failed to keep up with inflation. Green pointed to rising graduation rates in HISD, particularly among Hispanics, 78 percent of whom graduated in 2014, up from 56 percent seven years before.

Garcia also targeted Green’s environmental record, pointing to his 64 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters. The House average was 43 percent; the Democratic leadership topped 90 percent.

Undocumented aliens

Green said he long has worked to get air monitors installed near plants and refineries. He dismissed the suggestion that he would put company profits before his constituents and touted his endorsements from the union workers employed at plants in the district.

“We have a blue collar district. We have refineries and chemical plants,” he said. “I want to make sure they are produced safely and clean, and I’ll hold their feet to the fire, but I also want to make sure those jobs are available in our community.”

Green sought to distinguish himself from Garcia on immigration, noting his long support for comprehensive immigration reform and his endorsement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ fundraising arm.

“I heard from constituents whose children and families were deported because they were picked up because they didn’t have a driver’s license,” Green said. “That was wrong. That’s why immigration reform is so important, because I see it every day in the job I do.”

One way such infractions could lead to deportation was a jail screening program Garcia vocally supported as Harris County sheriff. Garcia said he pushed federal officials to change the program, which President Barack Obama ultimately did in 2014 to target only serious offenders.

“I was doing my best to keep the community safe,” Garcia said. “There have been many families in this community who have been preyed upon, the victims of violent undocumented individuals.”

Immigration and deportation were part of what drew Maria Villenas to Saturday’s forum. The District 29 resident said she arrived undecided but left leaning toward Garcia.

“He used to be someone who would talk to our kids at the schools, so when he started to support this deportation of families, it made no sense and I needed an explanation, and I think he gave it to me,” she said. “As the sheriff, he really had to look after the public safety, and we do have drug dealers in the area. I understand his point.”

‘New energy’

Sergio Lira also arrived undecided but left leaning toward Garcia.

“He seems to present new energy,” Lira said. “Not to say Gene Green is doing a bad job, that’s not anti-Gene Green, it’s just that we need someone … to represent the community and be a voice for the community with a lot of energy and passion, and I think Gene Green lacks the passion.”

Lira noted that the district was drawn in 1991 to create an opportunity for the area’s Hispanic population to elect a Latino representative. That has never happened, despite the influx of Hispanic residents that has made the district the fifth-most Hispanic congressional district in the country. Political newcomer Dominique Garcia also is seeking the District 29 Democratic nomination; she did not attend the forum.

I kind of even wonder if the incumbent’s supporters agree with him on some of the key issues that were brought up at the forum.

I really don’t want to spend a lot of time on Beyonce and police groups other than to say why don’t the police groups target the NFL? After all, they approve of every single halftime word and punctuation mark uttered at Super Bowl halftime shows?

Among active MLBers, who has the most career doubles?

Commentary has said before that running for president is an ordeal so I don’t like to pounce on folks when they drop out. I will say that Jeb has no one to blame but himself. He had a front row seat watching his party move to the far right and he did nothing about it. The current GOP is certainly not his dad’s GOP, heck not even his brother’s!

Latinos for Bernie? Commentary thinks Hillary is the clear favorite to win the nomination even though she has some flaws. One of the story lines from the Nevada caucuses was the Latino vote. Hillary or Bernie? The fact that we are even discussing this should be a concern to the Clinton campaign. Here is an LA Times story:

Hillary Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders in Nevada’s caucuses Saturday, but the two campaigns are still battling for bragging rights on one important point: Who won the Latino vote?

The answer involves conflicting data, which partisans on both sides have cherry-picked to support their case.

The issue matters to both sides because the Clinton campaign has consistently argued that her supporters better represent the ethnic and racial diversity of the Democratic Party. The Sanders campaign says that although the Vermont senator started out with a core of white liberal supporters, he has gained ground among minority voters as more get to know him.

There’s no question that Sanders gained significant ground among Latinos, both in the state and nationwide, in recent weeks. But did he actually win a majority of Latinos in Nevada?

Here’s what we know:

Some 80,000 Democrats turned out to vote Saturday at roughly 1,700 precinct-level caucuses around the state.

Since no one actually counts all those voters by ethnicity or race, there are two ways to estimate voting by Latinos — or any other group. Both ways involve significant uncertainty.

One set of numbers comes from the poll of voters entering caucus sites, which Edison Research conducted for the Associated Press and the major television networks. Another approach involves looking at results from precincts that have a high percentage of Latino residents to see who won.

The entrance poll showed Sanders winning Latinos, 53%-45%. The Sanders campaign trumpeted that Saturday night in a news release headlined “Sanders wins Latino vote in Nevada.”

Clinton disputes that. “We don’t believe that the so-called entry polls were particularly accurate,” she said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Look at the precincts,” she said. “Look at where we dominated.”

Indeed, Clinton did win handily in the areas with the largest share of Latino residents, said Nevada political consultant Andres Ramirez. She won Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, by about 10 points.

“When it comes to the core area of diversity in the state, Sanders got trounced,” said Ramirez, who supports Clinton but does not work for her.

Neither approach — entrance polls or examining precincts — yields a definite answer.

The entrance poll has at least two sources of uncertainty. Like any poll, the numbers come with a margin of error. For the full sample, the margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points. But because Latinos made up only about one-fifth of the turnout, the margin of error for them is larger — 7 points.

In other words, if every Latino voter were counted, the margin of error on the poll indicates Clinton’s share would be between 38% and 52% and Sanders between 46% and 60%.

But there’s another, potentially larger, source of uncertainty: Entrance and exit polls aren’t ideally designed to tell us how different demographic groups voted, particularly those who aren’t spread out evenly across the landscape.

The news organizations that pay for the entrance poll conduct them first and foremost to help quickly project which candidate will win. To do that, they need a sample that reflects the overall vote. In Nevada, that meant sending pollsters to 25 caucus sites around the state to ask a random sample of voters to fill out sample ballots.

That approach works reasonably well for what it’s designed to do — help project who won. It also works well after the fact for analyzing how large groups voted — men versus women, for example, or older voters versus younger.

But an entrance or exit poll has much less accuracy for a group like Latinos, who make up a

smaller share of the vote and are concentrated in only certain parts of the state. To accurately measure the Latino vote, a pollster would pick precincts that mirror where Latinos live in order to get a truly representative sample of them. That’s been done in some elections, and the results often differ from the entrance or exit polls designed to sample the overall vote in order to project the winner.

What about analyzing heavily Latino precincts?

A close look at the election returns, such as this analysis by Nate Cohn of the New York Times, shows that Clinton won heavily in neighborhoods with the most Latino residents.

But that doesn’t fully resolve the issue, either, as Cohn noted. Latinos who live in heavily Latino areas might vote differently than Latinos who live elsewhere in the state. Even in heavily Latino precincts, not all voters are Latino. All those issues take on greater weight in a low-turnout election such as a caucus where the voters who actually showed up — about 7% of the state’s total registered voters — may differ significantly from the majority of their neighbors.

Given the uncertainties of the entrance poll, there’s a lot of reason to believe the precinct analysis is more reliable and that Clinton probably got more Latino votes than Sanders, but the best answer came from the Vermont senator, himself.

“Who knows?” he said, when asked about the issue on CNN. “Nationally, it is clear that we are doing better and better with Latino voters.”

Let’s see what happens here in Texas.

Big Papi of course leads all active MLBers with 584 career doubles.

I really don’t think I have seen a ‘Stro so confident. I am talking about Carlos Correa. Here is what he said last week:

“I never doubt myself because I prepare every offseason to have a lot of confidence when I step on the field. My mind is bulletproof, man. Nobody can tell me I’m not going to get better, nobody can tell me I’m not going to do this or that. I’m going to go out there and try to perform and do the best for the team.” 

Wow! I am ready for Opening Day!

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