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Archive for October, 2016

8 Days a Week

We have eight days to go and here in Harris County we have a 26% voter turnout through yesterday. Not bad.

Texas is no longer a toss-up state according to realclearpolitics.com. Hey, it was fun while it lasted.

Alan Ashby will no longer be calling ‘Stros games. As a ‘Stro, Ashby caught three no-nos. Name the three pitchers who threw the no-nos?

About 10,000 or so voters are eligible to decide the Heights wet/dry issue. There are two pro/con op-eds in today’s Chron. I know this isn’t scientific, but it looks like the Keep Heights Dry side has more signs in yards.

If you are a Dem here in Harris County, you have to feel good about a couple of stories in today’s Chron. There is one on the rise of straight ticket voting and one on more Muslims voting Dem this year.

This email stuff isn’t going to move the needle. Sorry. The FBI director is getting what he deserves. He knew what he was stepping into.

It looks like more Latinos are voting in Harris County and that is without a lot of paid media ads. In 2012, 7,014 voted early at Ripley. Through yesterday, 6,190 had voted at Ripley. Just saying.

Alan Ashby caught no-nos tossed by Ken Forsch, Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott of course.

Nothing else from The Yard today.

 

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DA in Trouble

Through yesterday, Harris County has a 16.8% voter turnout rate. Just saying.

Here is the Chron story on Mrs. Gallegos: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Olga-Gallegos-Mexican-American-politician-who-10418817.php.

Today is October 28, 2016 and realclearpolitics.com still has Texas as a toss-up state.

Commentary is thinking that the incumbent GOP Harris County DA Devon Anderson is in trouble in her reelection bid. Why else would she pull the “lesbian” card on Kim Ogg? Here is from the Chron:

Thursday afternoon also saw the release of an open letter to Anderson from well-known attorney Randy Schaffer about a comment she made earlier this month about Ogg’s sexual orientation in an interview with conservative podcaster Vlad Davidiuk.

The comment came after Anderson was asked about criticism she has received from fellow Republicans for her actions in a well-publicized case involving Planned Parenthood. Those charges were eventually dismissed.

“We filed over 116,000 cases last year. That’s about how many we file every year. They have a problem with me on one, maybe two cases,” she said. “When they get a liberal, pro-choice, lesbian district attorney, I wonder how many cases they’ll have a problems with, with her?”

In his open letter, Schaffer wrote that Anderson’s decision to “play the sexual preference card” demonstrates that she is not qualified to be district attorney.

“How can the community have confidence that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office does not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference when you suggest that a lesbian is less qualified to be the district attorney?” he wrote. “If your opponent were African-American or Jewish, would you have referred to her race and religion?”

The letter asks if Anderson believes prosecutors or judges who are gays or lesbians are not qualified for public service.

“You insulted every gay prosecutor and member of your staff, not to mention our courthouse community, when you suggested that a person is less qualified for public office because of sexual preference,” he said.

When the interview surfaced last week, Anderson said the “feigned outrage” was not newsworthy.

“I was making a point about how conservative, pro-life, Republicans would feel about how Kim Ogg might address the approximately 116,000 cases this office handles on an annual basis,” she said. “I have described myself as being conservative and pro-life. The description is factual. I said she was a liberal, pro-choice, lesbian. She has proudly described herself as such in the past.”

Ogg called the statement homophobic.

“It is not surprising that a district attorney who jails rape victims would resort to homophobic attacks on me and my family in the closing days before voting begins,” Ogg said. “It is further evidence of her poor judgment.”

Maybe the DA’s campaign team think they can score anti-Lesbian points in places like Baytown, Pasadena, Crosby – you get the picture. I think most folks are more interested in your political party affiliation. To the ticket splitters, I really don’t think that sexual orientation matters, regardless of your Harris County address.

Here is the entire story on the DA’s race: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/DA-s-race-heats-up-with-allegations-of-misleading-10418584.php.

To me, this is a no-brainer. I am talking about voting yes on HISD Proposition One. The local commercial property owners think voting no on the proposition is a bad idea. Check this from the Chron:

A local trade association for commercial property owners has come out in favor of a controversial vote that would send millions of local tax dollars to the state to be distributed among poorer school districts.

The local chapter of the Building Owners & Managers Association warned this week that rejecting the so-called recapture measure could saddle some of the city’s premier commercial properties with higher tax bills and make them less competitive. BOMA’s local head says there are simply too many unknowns.

“It’s a huge concern for commercial real estate,” chapter CEO Tammy Betancourt said.

And:

On Nov. 8, voters will be asked to authorize the coming recapture payment. But Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has called on voters to reject the measure in hope lawmakers will make meaningful changes to the school funding system during next year’s legislative session.

That’s a gamble Betancourt does not want to take. If the recapture is turned down, the most valuable properties within HISD’s boundaries would be reassigned to another, as-yet-undetermined district for property tax purposes. Depending on the rates in the recipient district, owners could see their already soaring tax bills rise even more.

That could affect scores of high-profile properties, including downtown’s Houston Center, Pennzoil Place and Chase Tower. Betancourt said some owners could face an unfair competitive advantage if they are paying a different tax rate than their neighbor.

“It puts the whole market into question,” she said.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/real-estate/article/Commercial-property-group-supports-recapture-vote-10415824.php.

They are the ones that are going to take a financial hit.  Like I said, a no-brainer.

Commentary sure hopes Sen. Ted Cruz gets a primary opponent and get his arse kicked.   He doesn’t care about the country or his state. He only cares about himself. His latest take on the Supreme Court is all about him.

There will be no MLB question today.

Congrats to Jose Altuve for being named Sporting News MLB Player of the Year. MLB players are the voters for this award. Nice.

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Mrs. Gallegos Voted

Here is the obituary for former HISD Trustee Olga Gallegos. It is interesting to note that the obit points out that Mrs. Gallegos voted by mail. Here:

Olga Ramirez Gallegos 1926-2016

Olga Ramirez Gallegos, born August 4, 1926 in Houston, TX, went to be with the Lord on October 24, 2016 at the age of 90 after a short battle with lung cancer.

Olga worked at the Pentagon during World War II. During the 1970’s, Olga moved to Brownsville, TX with her husband who served as Fire Chief. She formed the first Firefighter’s Ladies Auxiliary in Brownsville. Upon her return to Houston in 1980, Olga served as an Administrative Aide to State Representatives Ben Reyes, Al Luna and Roman Martinez. She also served on the HISD School Board for 16 years (1987-2003) having served in numerous positions on the board, including that of president in 1998. Olga was also a past member of the Houston Community College Board of Trustees. She received numerous recognitions and awards for her community activities including the Fiestas Patrias Mexican-American Award and the Metro 2000 La Familia Award.

Olga was an active member of the Harris County Democratic Party and served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in New York City and an alternate delegate with the Texas Challenging Delegation to the 1968 convention in Chicago. She was the first Hispanic Precinct Judge in Precinct 64 in Magnolia Park neighborhood in Houston. She would want everyone to know that she voted by mail ballot for the upcoming General Election. She was a member of the American Legion Post 472 Ladies Auxiliary. Olga was a devoted wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and aunt to many Houston Firefighters. She was “Mom” to many of her children’s and grandchildren’s friends and always gave them advice or told them stories about how things were in the early days. Olga will be remembered as an exemplary Hispanic role model, a source of strength and inspiration to others.

And:

Visitation will be held at Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home, on Friday, October 28, 2016 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. with the Rosary to be recited at 7 p.m. Funeral services will also be at Forest Park Lawndale Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 10 a.m. with burial to follow at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to a reception afterwards at American Legion Post 472, 7599 Ave. C.

Here is the entire obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/houstonchronicle/obituary.aspx?n=olga-gallegos&pid=182152253&fhid=10997.

A new poll in Texas has Secretary Hillary Clinton down 3 points in Texas. Here is from a story in Politico:

“There’s an outside chance,” said one veteran Texas Republican operative, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play. Clinton would need to show more seriousness about the state to truly compete, this operative said, and even then it would be a long-shot. “But it’s not impossible…The Clinton team would have to come and spend a million and a half, two million a week on television to have a one-in-four, one-in-three shot of doing it.” 

Trump’s potential effect on Hispanic turnout is at the heart of Republican worries. Polls show the GOP nominee has repelled Latino voters nationally, and they make up an increasingly large share of the Texas voting population. Results from the first two days of in-person early voting suggest there have been turnout surges in populous, Democratic-leaning areas like Austin’s Travis County and also in the Dallas/Fort Worth area — places with sizable Hispanic populations.

Here is the entire story: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/trump-clinton-texas-red-state-230368.

We are still a toss-up state.

More folks voted yesterday in person here in Harris County. All I can say is that it appears that there is an enthusiasm factor out there. Is it going to be a record breaker? I don’t know.

There is no MLB question today.

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The Share

Happy Birthday to one of my best friends State Rep. Carol Alvarado!

Happy Birthday to Secretary Hillary Clinton!

After Day 2, let me point out the share of the vote from a few Early Voting locations here in Harris County.

In 2012, Champion Forest Baptist Church was a 5.5% share of the total Harris County early vote total. After Day 2 yesterday, they are at 3.8%.

Kingwood, 3.8% in 2012, 2.6% after yesterday.

Bear Creek, 3.2% in 2012, 2.4% after yesterday.

Tomball, 2.6% in 2012, 2.3% after yesterday.

Northeast, 2.3% in 2012, 1.8% after yesterday.

Kashmere, 1.7%in 2012, 1.2% after yesterday.

Sunnyside, 2.4% in 2012, 2.2% after yesterday.

Ripley, 1% in 2012, 1.4% after yesterday.

HCC Southeast, 1.4% in 2012, 1.3% after yesterday.

Hardy, 1.4% in 2012, 1.3% after yesterday.

Holy Name, 1% in 2012, Moody, 1.5% after yesterday.

West Gray, 5.1% in 2012, 4.5% after yesterday.

I think I saw some number yesterday that showed Latinos accounted for 16% of the total Early Vote in Person vote after the first day here in Harris County. That is a pretty good number for Dems if you ask me.

Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber had a 18-9 won-loss record this past regular season. What was his won-loss record when he won the AL Cy Young Award back in 2014?

The Chron E-Board wrote again about opposing HISD Proposition One. Here is a part of the take that concerns me:

Critics of our position are right that a “no” vote is a gamble. But a stand against recapture could have a lasting legal impact that we believe is worth the risk. It could finally force state lawmakers to confront and fix a school funding mechanism that doesn’t actually do what it’s billed to do.

I don’t know about that.  That is a risk based on a shaky assumption. Do you really expect the legislature to bail out HISD or for that matter the school children of Texas?   When was the last time they did that?

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Saving-HISD-10339151.php.

Corey Kluber was 18-9 in 2014 of course.

Cleveland needs to win 3 out of the next six and the Cubbies needs to win four out of the next six. Advantage Cleveland.

Again, nothing from The Yard today!

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Enthusiasm Factor?

Former HISD Trustee Olga Gallegos left us yesterday. She was a longtime dedicated public servant. She will be missed.

According to RealClearPolitics.com., Texas is still a toss-up state.

Here are comparisons of Early Voting Day 1 for 2012 and 2016.

West Gray: 2556 and 3158.

Champions Forest: 2657 and 2311.

Kingwood: 1619 and 1741.

Bear Creek: 1636 and 1593.

Tomball: 1475 and 1563.

Acres Homes: 1275 and 1398.

Palm Center: 886 and 1185.

Sunnyside: 1137 and 1524.

Ripley: 460 and 1120.

Moody (Holy Name): 506 and 1100.

HCC Southeast: 659 and 971.

It is only Day 1 so you can make your own analysis. The doubling of voters at Ripley and Moody is interesting. Looks like they were ready to vote. That is what I would call an enthusiasm factor. We have not seen that with Latino voters like ever.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

Burkablog’s R.G. Ratcliffe has a take today on the vote in Texas:

Throughout this election, I’ve been skeptical that Hillary Clinton could carry Texas, even as polls suggested the gap in support between her and Donald Trump is closing. But there is a wild card that might make it possible: There are 532,000 more registered Hispanic surname voters this year than in 2012.

And:

Trump has been playing to the worst fears of white voters around the county by demanding the construction of a wall along the border with Mexico and decrying Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” and “bad hombres” with the caveat that “some, I assume, are good people.” The problem with that rhetoric in Texas is that many of the new registered Hispanic voters here likely are the U.S. born children of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the late 1980s and early 1990s. When Trump talks the way he has, he is talking about their mothers and their fathers.

Texas this year, according to the Secretary of State’s office, has a record 15 million registered voters, an increase of 1.7 million over 2012. Hispanic surname voters account for 30 percent of that increase. In Harris County, the number of Hispanic voters has increased by more than 91,000 in the past eight years; 69,000 in Bexar County; and 46,000 in Dallas County. Statewide, there are 3.5 million registered Hispanic surname voters this year, 23 percent of the total number of registered voters in Texas.

The odds remain low for Clinton to carry Texas. If she does, Republicans can blame Trump, and Democrats can praise the strength of a new Hispanic voting bloc.

Here is all of R.G.’s take: http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/texas-sees-surge-latino-voters/.

Like I have been saying, this election is in large part about Latinos.

Just look at this from the Tribune:

A leading Hispanic Republican in Texas says he has decided to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Lionel Sosa, a veteran ad maker from San Antonio, told The Texas Tribune on Monday he will cast his ballot for Clinton to send a “clear statement” against Republican nominee Donald Trump’s candidacy. 

“I want to make sure that I do everything I can to see that Trump doesn’t get elected,” said Sosa, who has worked for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. “I’m doing this because I don’t think he’s a good representative of the Republican Party. It’s not the Republican Party I know.” 

Here is the entire Trib article: https://www.texastribune.org/2016/10/24/top-hispanic-republican-texas-will-vote-clinton/.

Come home? I have heard that before. Here is from Politico:

Mike Pence is pushing a new message for the final two weeks of the campaign, and it’s aimed squarely at Republicans wavering on support for Donald Trump: “It’s time to come home.” And:

“It’s time to come home and elect Donald Trump as the next president of the United States,” Pence said. “It’s time to come home and re-elect Republican majorities in the United States House and the United States Senate. … It’s time to come home and come together and do everything in our power to make sure that Hillary Clinton is never elected president of the United States of America.”

Here is all of the Pence piece: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/mike-pence-republicans-home-trump-230259.

Sound familiar? Here is from George McGovern’s acceptance speech at the 1972 Democratic National Convention:

From secrecy and deception in high places; come home, America. 

From military spending so wasteful that it weakens our nation; come home, America. 

From the entrenchment of special privileges in tax favoritism; from the waste of idle lands to the joy of useful labor; from the prejudice based on race and sex; from the loneliness of the aging poor and the despair of  the neglected sick — come home, America. 

Come home to the affirmation that we have a dream. Come home to the conviction that we can move our country forward. 

Come home to the belief that we can seek a newer world, and let us be joyful in that homecoming, for this “is your land, this land is my land — from California to New York island, from the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters — this land was made for you and me.”

The World Serious starts tonight and nothing again from The Yard.

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Toss-Up

RealClearPolitics.com has Texas as a toss-up state this morning. How about that? Last night, Channel 11 reported on the latest Texas poll which has Secretary Hillary Clinton 3 points down. Now it is getting interesting here locally. Now aren’t you proud to be a toss-up?

The HISD Proposition One measure made it to my Next Door page yesterday. Check this:

Scott Hochberg, former state representative of southwest Houston from 1993-2013, who served as a member of the House Committee on Public Education his entire 20 years in the Legislature:

“Voting no is like giving away your garage to avoid paying property taxes on your house.

That’s why no district in the state has ever chosen the option of having property removed instead of sending a check. It’s a bad deal. The argument for voting no is that it will ‘send a message’ to the legislature that it needs to fix the school funding system, and the legislature will obey.

Maybe, but I served 20 years in the Texas Legislature working on these issues, and I don’t buy it. It’s not a bet I would make, much less risk HISD taxpayers’ money on.

First, HISD overestimates its influence on the Legislature. It’s just one of more than 1,000 school districts, most of which are far poorer in property per student than HISD. True, it’s the largest, but even so it represents fewer than 5 percent of the students in the state. It’s a large fish, but in a much larger pond. Districts with more political influence have been paying recapture for years, and that hasn’t forced a major change.”

Nobody knows school finance in Houston or for that matter in Texas better than Scott. When he was in the legislature he was the Dem’s go-to guy on public education issues so listen to what he says. Plus, my HISD trustee Anna Eastman also says to vote yes on Proposition One and she knows her you know what.

Yankee players hold the top seven spots for most games played in a World Serious. Try naming the seven. Hint: they have all left us.

Dem Judge Kyle Carter of th 125th Judicial District will begin airing ads on local Telemundo tomorrow. He is the only candidate or campaign running ads on Telemundo. Good for him!

Folks were talking about this NY Times piece yesterday on Latinos and politics. It is a must read here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/23/us/texas-latino-politicians.html?_r=0.

I said last week that this election is in large part about Latinos, so I expect Latinos to show up and vote as Early Voting in Person begins today.

Yogi Berra (75 World Serious games), Mickey Mantle (65), Elston Howard (54), Gil McDougald (53), Hank Bauer (53), Phil Rizzuto (52), and Joe DiMaggio (51) are MLB’s top seven in World Serious games played.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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Locally

In looking at who is mailing in their ballots in Harris County, Dems might be doing ok this year. A UH poll has good news for Dems. Check this from the Chron:

A new survey released Thursday by the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs shows Democratic challengers for county wide office rising sharply against Republican incumbents.

It also showed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a seven-point lead over Republican Donald Trump, which Hobby research associate and poll author Bob Stein called “the biggest lead I’ve ever seen a Democratic presidential candidate have in the 37 years I’ve been polling in Houston.”

Barack Obama beat Republicans John McCain by 1.6 percent in 2008, and Mitt Romney by less than 1 percent in 2012.

“The big takeaway here is the Democratic surge,” Stein said.

The poll, a telephone survey of 400 registered Harris County voters, showed Democratic challenger Kim Ogg ahead of incumbent Republican Devon Anderson by seven points, 40 percent to 33 percent. A similar survey released by UH in September showed Ogg and Anderson in a virtual tie, 29 to 30 percent.

The new poll has a margin of error of plus- or minus 4.5 percent.

The poll also showed Ed Gonzalez, the Democratic candidate for Harris County sheriff, in a virtual tie with Republican incumbent Ron Hickman. The UH poll last month showed Hickman six points ahead.

Here is the entire article on the UH poll: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/New-UH-poll-bodes-well-for-Harris-County-Democrats-10002268.php.

Commentary is not going to say much about the Dem effort here in Harris County. I will say that I feel pretty good about Latinos turning out to vote here. We will get some inkling on this on Monday.

Who was the second African American to play in MLB – Jackie Robinson was the first? Also name the team that signed him.

I watched Secretary Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump speak at the Al Smith Dinner last night. Trump needs some better writers. He got booed by the crowd. His best line came at the expense of his wife. Hillary had some good ones. I loved the Statue of Liberty line and the zing she put on Rudy Giuliani. Rudy didn’t like it – good.

I will be at this today:

Commentary received one of those evites with this on the cover:

It’s been 40 years since a Democrat took Texas!

This was in the body of the invitation:

Message from Host

40th Anniversary of the 1976 Carter/Mondale VICTORY in Texas. 

Calling all Jimmy Carter Texas staff, volunteers, and supporters. Join us for lunch. 

Several former campaign staffers are planning a reunion of those Texans who worked for Jimmy Carter in his campaigns.  You may recall that during the 1976 bicentennial year, the little known former Georgia governor upset incumbent President Gerald Ford. A big part of his victory was his capture of the 26 electoral votes in Texas. 

We hope that you can join us and our special guest, campaign manager, Chuck Parrish, for a reunion lunch. 

This will be a casual event and give us a chance to renew acquaintances with longtime friends.  It is sad, but true that the last year when we Democrats have won Texas was 1976. 

The event is at a Mexican restaurant in Austin today.

50 or so great Texas Dems who were involved back then will be in attendance. Commentary wasn’t actually on the Carter/Mondale staff. I was the Deputy Director of the Texas Democratic Party’s GOTV effort that worked closely with the Carter/Mondale Texas campaign.

Obviously, just about all of us are 60 plus in years.

Maybe the get together can create some winning karma for Dems in the Lone Star State.

On July 5, 1947, Larry Doby made his MLB debut with Cleveland to become the second African American in MLB of course.

Once again, I don’t have anything from The Yard except for Vera, Chuck and Dave.

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