Archive for June 30th, 2016


The Chron E-Board today didn’t take too kindly to the changing of the campaign contributions ordinance over at H-Town City Hall yesterday. I was watching the Mayor yesterday when a reporter asked him about the changes. Here is from the Chron’s Rebecca Elliott:

The revisions, which go into effect Friday, are meant to clarify rules left unclear after the court struck down the city’s fundraising blackout last year and voters extended terms to four years from two years.

Rather than collecting a maximum of $5,000 from individuals and $10,000 from political action committees per two-year election cycle, candidates will be allowed to raise that much during the first two years of their term, and then do so again during the second two years. The contribution cycle would reset if the candidate were forced into a runoff.

The new rules also permit council and controller candidates to repay themselves tens of thousands of dollars more for personal loans they make to their campaigns.

Mayor Sylvester Turner reiterated during a news conference Wednesday that the changes are intended to reconcile the old two-year fundraising cycle with the current four-year cycle, though some viewed the modifications as a boon to incumbents and wealthy candidates.

“That was just an attempt to try to just mirror what has been the case and simply just adapt it to a four-year term,” Turner said.

Here is all of Rebecca’s article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Council-approves-changes-to-campaign-finance-law-8332740.php.

Here is what the Mayor couldn’t sell though. There are now two fundraising cycles during a four-year term. However, there is still only one election to pay for – got it. I don’t know who had input on the changes. Maybe they should have gotten more political campaign folks involved.

Here is from the E-Board:

Anytime politicians start changing the rules about campaign contributions, voters need to pay attention.

That’s why we got suspicious when we heard Houston’s mayor and City Council planned to amend the ordinance regulating campaign funds in local elections. If you thought the longer term limits adopted by Houston voters last year would reduce the influence of money in municipal politics, think again.

Under some common-sense rules adopted more than 20 years ago, candidates for city office could collect no more than $5,000 from any individual campaign contributor during each election cycle. Political action committees could contribute a maximum of $10,000.


In a cynical act of self-preservation, Houston’s mayor and City Council Wednesday adopted new campaign finance rules that essentially double the maximum contributions they can collect from each individual donor and political action committee before any election. Even though voters decided to let them stay in office four years between elections, our city’s elected leadership bestowed upon themselves the right to squeeze donors for campaign checks every two years.

They also boosted the amount of contributors’ money some candidates can funnel to themselves to repay loans to their own campaigns, raising the district councilmember limit to $50,000, a tenfold increase from the current $5,000. Candidates for city controller and at-large council seats will be able to repay $75,000, five times the current $15,000.


If Congress had pulled a stunt like this, it could’ve been called “The Incumbent Protection Act of 2016.”

Two councilmembers – Jack Christie and Amanda Edwards – did the right thing by voting against these changes. But it’s surprising and discouraging this matter sailed through a City Council vote without a peep of discussion.

What Houston’s mayor and City Council have done sends the wrong signal at a time when voters are already deeply scornful about the amount of money flushing through our political system. And it can only worsen the corrosive perception that our elected officials are up for sale.

Here is the  entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Campaign-finances-8333028.php.

Ouch!   Oh, well!

This is my last question about the August of 1999 Chron Sports Section’s All Time ‘Stros Team. Name their five All Time Starting Pitchers?

Commentary thinks Secretary Hillary Clinton is one of the most qualified folks ever to run for president. Commentary also thinks President Bill Clinton is one of the most brilliant political figures of the last 30 years or so. But sometimes even the most brilliant make bonehead moves. Check this headline and bits from a Politico story today:

Democrats groan after Bill Clinton meets Loretta Lynch Attorney General Loretta Lynch described her Monday meeting with Bill Clinton aboard a private plane as “primarily social,” but even Democrats are struggling to stomach the optics of the attorney general’s meeting with the former president while his wife is under federal investigation.

Lynch said she and Clinton talked only of grandchildren, golf, and their respective travels, but the fact that the two spoke privately at all was enough to rekindle concerns about a possible conflict of interest.


Lynch had just arrived in Phoenix for a community policing event when Bill Clinton, who was on his way out of the airport, found out the two were in the same place and asked to visit with her. Lynch told reporters Wednesday in Los Angeles that she and the former president did not discuss the ongoing investigation into his wife.

David Axelrod, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, tweeted that he took Lynch and the former president “at their word” that the Justice Department’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s email server did not come up, “but foolish to create such optics.”

Here is the entire story: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/bill-clinton-loretta-lynch-224972.

Ouch! Isn’t there someone traveling with the President who should have stepped forward to say, “Mr. President, that’s not a good move.” They just handed the GOP and conspiracy theorists from Fox News a bit more ammo if you ask me.

Do you think the following knocks Sen. Tim Kaine off of Hillary’s Veep list? It certainly does not help. Here is from a Politico story:

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine took advantage of the state’s lax gift laws to receive an $18,000 Caribbean vacation, $5,500 in clothes and a trip to watch George Mason University play in the NCAA basketball Final Four during his years as lieutenant governor and governor, according to disclosures he filed. 

Now a leading contender to be Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Kaine reported more than $160,000 in gifts from 2001 to 2009, mostly for travel to and from political events and conferences, according to disclosures compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. The givers included political supporters, a drug company that soon after bought a facility in Virginia, and Dominion, the state’s biggest provider of electricity.

While legal under Virginia’s unusually permissive ethics rules, the gifts could become attack-ad fodder after similar presents led to corruption charges for Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose conviction the Supreme Court overturned Monday. Republicans could also use the records to portray Kaine as part of the self-dealing establishment in a cycle animated by hostility toward the political class.

Kaine’s staff and other defenders are quick to note that his gifts did not contain any suggestion of a quid pro quo trade for official favors — a major difference from the McDonnell case, and the key difference between an act of friendship and an act of corruption. And Kaine’s long career in Virginia politics, capped by a stint as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, contained no allegations of corruption.

Here is the entire story: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/06/tim-kaine-virginia-veep-mcdonnell-clinton-224888.

Ouch! That’s a lot of freebies if you ask me. Like I said, not going to help.

The Mayor announced yesterday that more drop-off locations for glass recycling are on the way. Here is the deal. Folks have to get off of their arses, save their glass, load up the vehicle, drive a mile or two or three to a location, and then unload. That takes effort and a lot of folks don’t have the time to make the effort. We will see, though.

The ‘Stros All Time Starting Pitchers named by the Chron Sports Section in 1999 were Larry Dierker, Joe Niekro, J.R. Richard, Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott of course.

18-8 was our record in June. Check this tweet:

Brian McTaggart ‏@brianmctaggart 14h14 hours ago

Astros’ 18 win this month are their most in June since 1989

42-37. 9 games out. In the Wild Card hunt. A 10 game homie that starts tomorrow. What else can you ask for?

How about baseball at The Yard on the Fourth of July? You got it!

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