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Archive for January 9th, 2017

Pasadena

This is huge folks. This is a big deal. Commentary is talking about a federal judge coming down hard on the City of Pasadena. Folks, this is going on right next door. This in the year 2017. This should not be happening anywhere in these parts. Discrimination!  Violating voting rights!  This is unacceptable!

The folks in Pasadena are more than just our neighbors. They are our fellow Harris County residents who deserve justice and voting rights protection. We just can’t sit idly by as this unfolds.

H-Town and Harris County Latino leaders need to step up and reach out to the folks in Pasadena.

So too does the local Dem Party.  Here is from Saturday’s Chron:

A federal judge in Houston dealt a major blow Friday to the city of Pasadena in a closely watched voting rights case, ruling that officials deliberately diluted the clout of Hispanic voters by revising the system for electing City Council members.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered Pasadena to revert to its previous use of single-member districts for the upcoming May elections and ruled the city would need preclearance from the Department of Justice for any future changes.

“In Pasadena, Texas, Latino voters … do not have the same right to vote as their Anglo neighbors,” Rosenthal concluded in the 113-page decision released late Friday.

And:

“It is a great win,” said Michael Li, senior redistricting counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. “This case shows that there is something you can do, at least if you have the facts, lawyers and resources.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on behalf of a group of Latino voters, who said city leaders deliberately tried to quell the growing Hispanic vote by changing from eight to six single-member districts and adding two at-large positions elected citywide.

During a seven-day trial presented directly to Rosenthal without a jury, witnesses testified there are vast disparities in incomes and living conditions in the blue-collar city on the Houston Ship Channel.

The northern portion of the city, where the majority of Hispanics live, has poor drainage, broken sidewalks and streets in disrepair. The southern part of Pasadena, which is majority white, has better infrastructure and more improvement projects, witnesses said.

Rosenthal cited witness testimony in her opinion, noting that both Texas and Pasadena had histories of exclusionary practices and that discriminatory attitudes toward Latinos still endured among Pasadena residents.

In recent years, the political balance in Pasadena had begun to shift, the judge wrote. But just as Latino voters were poised to elect a majority of single-district representatives to the City Council, longtime Mayor Johnny Isbell and his backers proposed changes to the election system, the judge said.

“In short, Pasadena’s elections are racially polarized,” Rosenthal wrote. “The City’s 2013 racially polarized vote in favor of the 6–2 redistricting map and plan and the Council’s 2014 vote to approve the change were narrowly decided. The effect was to dilute Latino voting strength. That effect was foreseeable and foreseen.”

Here is the story on the ruling: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Pasadena-deliberately-diluted-Hispanic-vote-10841460.php.

More from Pasadena in yesterday’s Chron:

As a young man in Pasadena, Richard Kennedy recalls white-hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan handing out fliers on street corners.

“You would stop at the red light, and they would come out wearing sheets and pass out literature,” said Kennedy, a retired maintenance supervisor, who lived down the street from a Klan campaigning spot in the 1970s.

He got in the habit of rolling up his driver’s side window and hunching down in his seat when the white supremacists were out. Near the center of town on Red Bluff Road, a Klan bookstore sat in plain sight.

Today, Pasadena, a blue-collar town in the shadow of refineries and chemical plants along the Houston Ship Channel, is a different place. Almost two-thirds of Pasadena residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, up from less than one-third in 1990 when whites dominates both population and politics.

But the city is still roiled by racial politics, becoming the epicenter of a bitter, years long fight over voting rights that pitted establishment whites against the now majority Hispanic population who argued in court that their lack of political power at the ballot box effectively prevented them from getting basic services such as good streets and sidewalks.

In a landmark ruling Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal agreed that a redistricting scheme led by longtime Mayor Johnny Isbell intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and Latino residents by stunting their ability to elect their preferred candidates to City Council. Rosenthal’s decision places Pasadena back under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, meaning the city can no longer make changes to its electoral rules without approval from the federal government.

Here is the entire Chron story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Pasadena-still-roiled-by-racial-politics-10842851.php.

I wonder what the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is thinking this morning.

Fifteen years ago today, the ‘Stros signed this player for $8 mil a year for three years, plus a club option of $9 mil for the fourth year with a $3 mil buyout clause, in other words, a $27 mil deal.   We ended up trading him away after the second year of this contract. Who am I talking about?

Hollywood is fighting back and they trotted out their best last night. Meryl Streep killed it for sure in front of millions on live TV.

Donald Trump responded with a lie of course. Who in the heck believes that one of the greatest actors of all time is “overrated”? Another lie that even his closest advisers know is a lie.

Then Trump continued to lie by once again saying he did not mock a disabled reporter that even his closest supporters know is a lie.

Check out this tweet from yesterday:

Raw StoryVerified account ‏@RawStory 3h3 hours ago

‘There’s no reason’: Reince Priebus claims background checks on Trump’s cabinet are a waste of time http://ow.ly/n6TO307NfQ8

These guys don’t want thorough background checks on the Cabinet nominees. They just want to rush them through. Let them. Then when we find out stuff, we can use it against GOP senators.

From the Chron E-Board this past Saturday:

(Thumbs down) And speaking of ethics, along comes newly elected state District Judge Herb Ritchie. A couple of days before donning his robe in the 337th criminal district court, he sends out a letter soliciting funds. “… if you are willing and able to help me with a contribution at this time, it would be much appreciated.” Local lawyer and blogger Mark Bennett reports that eight days before the election Ritchie filed a report showing he “had no campaign debt.”

R.G. was having some fun with Jenna Bush Hager covering the red carpet for NBC last night. Here are tweets from R.G.:

rgratcliffe ‏@rgratcliffe 13m13 minutes ago

Jena Bush doing Golden Globe red carpet interviews.

rgratcliffe ‏@rgratcliffe 13m13 minutes ago

She’s waiting for the after parties.

Jenna caught some social media heat last night.   While interviewing Pharrell, she referred to “Hidden Figures” as “Hidden Fences”. You know, the combining of two flicks about African Americans is insensitive to some.

This morning Jenna apologized and said it was a mistake.

Natalie Morales said “Transgender” instead of “Transparency” during the Jeffrey Tambor interview.

Al Roker couldn’t think of “Braveheart” while interviewing Mel Gibson.

Commentary is a fan of Jenna Bush Hager’s work on “Today.”  Last night was her first red carpet assignment so mistakes will be made.

Billy Wagner of course received the $27 mil contract back on January 9, 2002.

The Texans are 16 point dogs versus the Patriots. So we have a week worth of praying.

I don’t have anything from The Yard today.

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