Archive for November, 2017

Crowning Achievement

On July 20, 2011, Jose Altuve made his MLB at The Yard starting at second base versus the Nationals. Name our starting second baseman on July 19, 2011?

I got mine. Do you have yours?

Commentary is talking about Crowning Achievement, the magazine that came in yesterday’s Chron on the ‘Stros. It has great articles and great photos. I read it all.

Kuffer has a take today on the upcoming HISD and HCC runoff. He got one a little wrong. Here is his take:

Here’s the schedule and locations. Note that while the early vote period covers a week, from Wednesday, November 29 through Tuesday, December 5, there are only six days to vote, as there is no voting on Sunday the 3rd. Runoff Day itself is Saturday, December 9, which may be a bit complicated in my neck of the woods as that is also the date for Lights in the Heights. Won’t be the first time I’ll spend the better part of that evening refreshing the harrisvotes.com webpage on my laptop.

Anyway. For the most part, the regular early voting locations in HISD I and III and HCC 9 will be open, along with the Harris County Administration Building downtown and the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center on West Gray, because that’s where Heights people like to vote. If you’re not in one of those districts you’re off the hook thanks to there being no city races on the ballot. For the same reason, we can expect turnout to be pretty light. I can throw one number at you: In the 2005 runoff for HISD I, when there was an At Large Council race but not a Mayor’s race, Natasha Kamrani defeated Anne Flores Santiago with 3,026 total votes being cast. I’d draw the over/under line at that level, with fewer votes in HISD III and maybe about the same in HCC 9. Make your plan to vote if you’re in one of these districts, the EV period will begin and end before you know it.

On the Early Voting locations, in the runoff the Bingo Lodge in the Heights isn’t being used. It was booked for other events. Just letting voters know.

According to one of the Dem candidates for Harris County Judge, Hunker Down is speaking tonight to the Meyerland Dems. What is up with that? Dem County Judge candidate Lina Hidalgo put this out on Saturday:

This Monday at 7, Ed Emmett has been invited to speak to the Meyerland Area Democrats. There will be open question time. Here are a few questions we have for him and encourage others to consider:

Why wasn’t flood control the most well funded-important item-on the 2015 county bond election?

Why did you spend more time fighting to waste taxpayer dollars on the Astrodome than you did prioritizing flood control projects, even though voters shot renovation plans down twice?

If you are re-elected, are you going to serve the full term or are you going to resign so Republicans on Commissioners Court can replace you with a younger Republican?

Why do you oppose property tax relief for homeowners?

Why do you want to raise the sales tax-the most regressive tax-on Harris County residents?

Do you support Equal Pay for Equal Work?

Do you support Donald Trump?

Why do you raise money for Ted Cruz?

Why are you spending taxpayers money opposing cash bail reform in Harris County? Do Republicans hate poor people?

Why didn’t you encourage the court to discuss the legal implications to join the lawsuit against SB4 instead of tabling the conversation? How can you expect the Immigrant Community to back you or believe you when you won’t swiftly take that kind of action?

Republican Ed Emmett’s leadership has fallen short. The Trump election showed us we must stand up for our principals, at all levels of government, before it is too late. It’s time for us, as Democrats to challenge him.

I like the Trump and Sen. Cruz questions. There needs to be a SB 4 question. On Hunker Down not serving a full term, I heard that from a major Dem player this past weekend. Of course, he has to win next year.


On a related note, see the following tweet:

CNN Breaking News‏Verified account @cnnbrk 5m5 minutes ago

The only facility in the world to host the Olympics, Super Bowl and Final Four has been reduced to rubble. The Georgia Dome, former home of the Atlanta Falcons was imploded today http://cnn.it/2z3vH1K

They didn’t have a problem doing away with their dome.

The Chron has a story on the Trump and Sheriff bumper sticker down the road in Fort Bend County. A sign of the times these days.

It is November 20 and 99.1 FM already has the Christmas tunes and so does SiriusXM Channel 4.

Angel Sanchez of course started second base for the ‘Stros on July 19, 2011.

The ‘Stros continue to rack up awards. Here is from Alyson Footer:

HOUSTON — The World Series champion Astros’ season ended more than two weeks ago, and there has barely been a moment to take a breath.

First, there was the World Series parade and rally at city hall. Next up was a week-long announcement of several prestigious awards, including the naming of Jose Altuve as the American League’s Most Valuable Player.

The grand finale of awards season culminated on Friday with the big reveal of this year’s Esurance MLB Awards. The Astros swept through myriad categories as the most nominated team in baseball. They also won the most awards, topping all 29 other clubs with seven.

The Astros won the following categories: Best Major Leaguer (Altuve), Best Manager (A.J. Hinch), Best Executive (general manager Jeff Luhnow), Best Major Leaguer, Postseason (Altuve and Justin Verlander tied), Best Postseason Moment (Alex Bregman’s walk-off hit in Game 5 of the World Series) and Best Fan Catch.

Also, a panel of MLB experts named the Astros as one of three winners of the Best Moment category. The Astros’ sweep of the Mets in their first home games after Hurricane Harvey, and Hinch’s uplifting speech to the crowd, earned them honors in that category.


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There are 30 votes that are cast for the AL MVP Award. Two baseball writers from each of the 15 AL team markets. Jose Altuve received 27 first place votes yesterday. Where were the other three votes from?

Not me. Commentary is talking about Dem Party folks who are recruiting other Dem Party folks to run for positions in Harris County. Commentary is not part of that effort – sorry.   I have one race I am currently working on and of course my very good friend State Rep. Carol Alvarado put out a statement a couple of days ago that speaks for itself.

Sure, I have said recently that Dems ought to field candidates for a bunch of offices. I have said this just in case a Dem tsunami hits in 2018. Realistically, I’d be happy if Dems picked up a couple of legislative seats, a countywide or two, and all the judgeships. Am I involved in the development of a strategy on this – absolutely not. I have not been invited to any meetings. Haven’t in a long while, a very long while.

Sure, I have said that Hunker Down needs to be banged around a bit. He knew better than to duck on SB 4. Has he said anything on DACA? Supporting DACA should be a no brainer.

I hear and read what other folks hear and read on the internet and on twitter. I am not part of any of the deals that may or may not be going on. I have had maybe a couple or more folks mention to me to why not get so and so to run for certain positions and I reply that is not my concern. I just hear that other folks are working on this.

Just wanted to be clear on this.

From Bill King:

Reform TIRZs, Don’t Repeal Property Tax Cap

My former colleagues at the Houston Chronicle editorial board opined this week that the City’s property tax cap should be repealed and that the tax increment reinvestment zones (TIRZs) need to be reformed.  [Click here to read.]  They are wrong on the first count but right on the second one.  

To begin, let’s get some facts straight that were mangled in the editorial.  

First, the City does not have a revenue cap; it has a property tax cap.  Property taxes make up about 25% of the City’s total revenue.  That is the only source of revenue that is limited under the City charter amendment that was approved by voters in 2004.  The other 75% of revenue is not restricted.   There is a cap on all revenues in the charter that was also approved by the voters in 2004, but because the property tax cap got more votes, the City only enforces the property tax cap.  

Repeal advocates insist on mischaracterizing the limitation as a “revenue” cap to mislead the public into believing that the City’s ability to raise any form of revenue is impaired by the restriction.  But since the charter amendment was enacted, City revenues have increased by a whopping $2 billion (67%), including the enactment of the drainage fee, which was the largest single tax increase in the City’s history.

Second, the increase in taxes is not “constrained by an arbitrary algorithm.”  The limit is the lesser of population growth and inflation or 4.5%.  Limiting Council’s ability to increase property taxes to population growth and inflation is a reasonable limitation and should be a rough estimate of the need to increase taxes.  If the City’s population and inflation were growing by more than 4.5%, I would have to agree that the limitation is arbitrary.  But because the City’s population has been growing at a very slow pace and inflation has been low since 2004, the 4.5% limitation normally does not come into play.

Third, and most importantly, the property tax cap repeal advocates always omit that the charter amendment begins with this clause: “The City Council shall not, without voter approval . . .”  In other words, in any year that the Mayor and Council believe that the City needs more tax revenue than the limitation allows, all they need to do is ask for the voters’ approval.  If they feel handcuffed by the charter amendment it can only be because they believe they cannot make a credible case to the taxpayers to pay more.  

My former colleagues are right about the detrimental effect the TIRZs are having on the City’s finances.  Last year, the TIRZs collected $132 million in property taxes, nearly 14% of the City’s total property taxes.  That is more money than the drainage fee brought in last year.  

They are also correct that the taxes collected by the TIRZs are excluded from the property tax cap.  As a result, TIRZ tax receipts have soared.  Last year the property taxes collected by all TIRZs increased 13%.  The receipts for the six richest TIRZs went up by an astonishing 27%!

Of course, the City has devised a number of clever ways to claw back more and more of this revenue over time and subvert the voters’ intention as expressed in the cap.  Each TIRZ pays the City an administrative fee and most make other contributions toward “shared” expenses.  But there is no question that if the City had all of this revenue back, it would go a long way toward solving its long-term structural deficit.

One of the challenges in bringing any of this revenue back to the City is that the TIRZs have been on a debt binge in recent years.  They currently owe around half a billion dollars.  So, much of their revenue is committed to repaying that debt.  Of course, voters had no say in the creation of this debt, notwithstanding that property taxes will be used to repay it.  

There are certainly some good projects that are undertaken by the TIRZs.  But increasingly they are grasping for projects on which to spend their largess; witness the idiotic $200 million bus lane project in Uptown.

Of course, our benevolent State Legislature has its finger in all of this.  All of the TIRZs were created by state statute.  So, the State will have to be involved in any restructuring.  Given numerous conflicts of interests between our local delegation and the TIRZs and their first cousins, the management districts, good luck with that.

Two baseball writers from the Kansas City market and one from the Toronto market gave Altuve second place votes of course.

MLB.com’s Alyson Footer is fed up with media types asking Altuve about his height. I agree.

Some are already making comparisons about which player is the most beloved ‘Stro of all time.   Altuve, Hall of Fame great Craig Biggio, or Hall of Fame great Jeff Bagwell. That is kind of silly. I mean, have the Yankees chosen Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Joe Dimaggio, or Derek Jeter?

Biggio and Bagwell are Hall of Fame greats. Altuve has a World Serious title. They are all beloved.

But it is Ok to name Altuve H-Town’s Sexiest Man Alive.

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It is green bin day today!

The AL MVP Award will be announced today and let’s hope the Baseball Writers do the right thing and select Jose Altuve. We all know that Hall of Fame great Jeff Bagwell has been the only ‘Stros’ MVP winner when he won the NL MVP Award in 1994. Who was the AL MVP winner that year – 1994?

Did you actually think I was going to put out a sexiest man alive award or list for the 29th Congressional District? I wouldn’t even know how to go about putting together that kind of list.

I mention it because Blake Shelton was named People Magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Year yesterday and some folks got riled up on the internet. I know Blake Shelton because he’s that fella on “The Voice” that I have never watched. He’s been on the “Today” show a few times. I think I have maybe seen him on the Grammys show. He goes out with Gwen Stefan and I have to tell you I wouldn’t know a Blake Shelton or Gwen Stefani tune even if you spotted me a few verses and bars.

So, he’s on every week on NBC on “The Voice” and nobody says squat, but name him People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and folks go bonkers. Do you even know who was last year’s Sexiest Man Alive? Who handed the speedo over to Shelton yesterday?

Ok, back to the 29th Congressional District. Can’t think of one so how about the sexiest man alive in the Harris County Democratic Party and one for the Harris County Republican Party? This all kind of silly.

This came out yesterday:

Statement from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on the retirement of Congressman Gene Green from the United States Congress: 


“The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce thanks Congressman Gene Green for his more than 26 years of service. In his more than two and a half decades of service in the United States Congress, Congressman Green has proven to be a champion of health issues, energy policy, education, a stronger labor force and so much more. He – along with outgoing Congressman Ted Poe – have served the people of the Greater Houston region with honor, distinction, and a selflessness not often found in today’s political environment. 

As Congressman Green finishes out his last term, the conversation has already begun about who will be elected to succeed him. When the Texas Legislature established the 29th Congressional District, they did so with the intent of sending a Latino to Congress. It is absolutely critical that, unlike prior elections important to our community, we will be able to come together to elect a congressperson who is truly representative of our community. In today’s political and business climate, the Hispanic community simply has too much at stake to not elect a representative who will fight for the interests of our families, our businesses, our city, and the future of our community.  

Many qualified candidates will – and already have – announced their intent to run for this seat. The Chamber does not endorse candidates, but looks forward to working closely with whoever becomes the elected representative. In the interim, the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will continue to engage voters via our media platforms, which boast an audience reach of more than 3.3 million people. As the Leader of Houston’s New Majority, it is the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s hope that each candidate understands who they are running to represent because, put simply, the future of our community will depend on their leadership in the United States House of Representatives.” 


Dr. Laura Murillo

The State GOP is getting some advice from their consultant on 2018. Here is from the Chron:

AUSTIN — After months of assurances from top Republicans that they still hold a firm grip on Texas voters, a top campaign adviser to Gov. Greg Abbott is warning that recent Virginia elections should be a “wakeup call” to the Texas GOP.

In a private memo to Abbott’s aides, senior political adviser Dave Carney cautions that despite the fact that Texas is solid red in recent statewide voting patterns, suburban voters could pose significant problems for Republicans in next year’s mid-term elections.

“It would be easy for us to say Texas is not Virginia. It would be easy for us to say the Democrats in Texas aren’t that well organized,” wrote Carney, a New Hampshire-based political consultant who has served as an adviser to Rick Perry and Abbott and was the White House political director for George H.W. Bush.

“That would be a huge mistake.”

A copy of the memo was obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Here is the entire Chron article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Abbott-advisor-Va-Dem-wins-should-wakeup-call-12357522.php.

A few things here. I don’t see anything in the article where the consultant says the Texas GOP ought to moderate on some of their issues and positions, so I guess it is still Ok to go after State Rep. Sarah Davis. He is not telling them to back off of the bathroom bill or even to distance themselves from Trump. He is just telling them to prepare for more Dems to show up next year and maybe get more GOPers to vote.

I don’t know what the Dem leadership has in store, but I do hope they at least field candidates in all positions for starters. It is going to be difficult for Dems to fumble on this one since a lot of it is out of their control.

Frank Thomas of course with the White Sox won the 1994 AL MVP Award. The Big Hurt and Baggy were both born on May 27, 1968 but you already knew that.

This is good news from the Chron:

ORLANDO, Fla. — In the two weeks since the Astros won their first World Series championship, requests to see the trophy have been “off the charts,” team president of business operations Reid Ryan said Wednesday.


Anyone from the Astros’ corporate partners to local churches and rotary clubs to radio and television stations have sought the company of the Commissioner’s Trophy. So, like other recent winners of the Fall Classic have done, the Astros are planning a trophy tour to begin during this offseason and extend into the regular season when the team’s on the road.

More details about the tour will likely be announced next month, according to Ryan.

“Fans want to see it. The outlying communities want to see it – San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi, Beaumont, places like that,” Ryan said. “We want to make sure we get out and get to take it to those communities as well because they’re all part of our fan base.”


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The 29th Again

Our Skipper didn’t win AL Manager of the Year Award yesterday. He was third in the voting. When was the last time a ‘Stros skipper won the Manager of the Year Award?

Just so you know, State Rep. Carol Alvarado sent this out yesterday:

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank Congressman Gene Green, his wife Helen and their family for their service and commitment to the people of the 29th Congressional District for the past 24 years.  I had the privilege of working for him and more importantly took tremendous pride in having him as a friend and mentor.

Over the past 24 hours, I have been humbled by the encouragement I have received from countless friends and supporters to seek the Democratic Party nomination for the 29th Congressional District.  I am fully prepared to fight for all the people of the 29th Congressional District on issues like DACA, immigration reform and protecting our DREAMERS.  As well as championing women’s reproductive health, the Affordable Care Act and access to health care.  In addition, attainable higher education, and the creation of good paying jobs.

I will continue to visit with key stakeholders in our community and will be making an announcement on my candidacy in the coming days.  


Political Ad paid by Carol Alvarado Campaign, Yolanda Alvarado, Treasurer.

Rebecca Elliott of the Chron has this write-up today on the 29th.

Gene Green’s retirement opens the door for Harris County to send its first Latino representative to Congress, a milestone that has been a long time coming in a region that is more than 40 percent Hispanic.

In fact, Green’s 29th Congressional District was drawn in 1991 to reflect the area’s Hispanic population but never has elected a Latino representative.

Interest in succeeding the longtime Democrat already is fierce.

State Sen. Sylvia Garcia and state Rep. Armando Walle threw their hats in the ring Tuesday to represent the district that covers much of eastern Houston and part of Pasadena.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado is considering running, and former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has asked the county party for filing paperwork.

“I hope that whoever is running realizes this is a very, very, very important opportunity for the Latino community to get not only descriptive representation, but also substantive representation,” University of Houston political scientist Jeronimo Cortina said. “What we don’t know yet is how the primary is going to be dealt with. It could be ugly, but it also could be very amicable.”

Cortina’s colleague Brandon Rottinghaus echoed that sentiment.

“The seat’s going to be won by a Latino one way or another,” he said, adding, “It is kind of a black eye for the city and the county that the number of elected Latinos is fairly low compared to other places to where there are a similar number of voting age Latinos.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Green-s-retirement-could-lead-to-Houston-s-first-12357701.php.

Everyone knows that Commentary was heavily involved in the drawing of the 29th when it was first created way, way back in 1991. This is what we have always wanted. So now it is going to happen one way or another. This will be a very lively campaign. This the way it is supposed to happen, right?

The race could also have implications on other Democratic Party primary races, especially the countywide races because of the expected and possibly dramatic increase in Latino voter turnout.

Amicable, ugly, pretty, gorgeous, dainty, hardly. Let’s see.

Then I got this forwarded to me yesterday from Kathryn:

Dear Kathryn,

I want you to be among the first to know that I am exploring a run for Harris County Judge. I filed the paperwork today that allows me to begin raising funds for the Democratic primary.

I will make a decision within 30 days. The primary election is March 6, 2018 and the general election is November 6, 2018.

This is a big step not only for me, but for my family. It would be my highest honor to have you join us on this journey.

Many, if not most of our friends, neighbors and colleagues know very little about county government – how it spends its billions of tax dollars or how it addresses a long list of problems such as flood prevention, traffic, transit, road conditions, crime, health care, mental health care and criminal justice reform.

It’s actually harder than you think to find out what’s going on in county government.

Certainly, Hurricane Harvey has raised a number of very serious questions, with more being asked every day. Has our county been proactive when it comes to flood prevention? If not, why wasn’t it at least reactive when it had the chance after the Tax Day Flood and Memorial Day Flood?

Even before Harvey, I got a closer look than most at county government through my work with the Houston Food Bank, the Houston Long Range Financial Management Task Force, Planned Parenthood and the Houston Parks Board. I was not impressed.

I watched the neighborhood in which I raised my four children fill with muddy water from the release from Addicks Dam. I watched the 20-minute bimonthly County Commission meetings move into private sessions. I watched the incumbent Harris County Judge – who boasts of his expertise in transportation policy – fail to develop a comprehensive transportation strategy, or a strategy to develop a countywide park system or to improve the quality of our air and water. 

As I watched all of this, I knew we needed a change. That’s why, over the next 30 days, I’m going to continue talking with leaders, policy experts, voters and donors. 

And I’m going to keep asking questions about why so much of our county government appears to be underwater.

I’ve learned many valuable lessons in my three decades of experience as a leader in large business and nonprofit organizations. Problems fester if you don’t address them. Saying, “It’s not my job” is not a reliable strategy. And there is no accountability without financial transparency and comprehensive ethics rules.

If I can help our county do a better job, and if I can put together a winning campaign, then I’m in. If not, I’ll continue to work from the outside to bring change. The status quo is not good enough.

I would be honored to have your support, answer your questions and receive your advice and wisdom. 

Thank you!

Warmest regards,

Mike Nichols

I don’t think I know the fella. He took a shot or two at Hunker Down. During the primary, he has to hit Hunker Down a whole lot harder.

Larry Dierker of course won NL Manager of the Year in 1998.

Commentary is thinking A.J. Hinch is A—Okay with a World Serious 2017 ring.

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November Surprise

How many individual ‘Stros had 2017 postseason dingers and how many total postseason dingers did ‘Stros players have?

Well that was kind of a stunner.   The November surprise so to speak. Commentary is talking about Cong. Gene Green’s decision to retire.

Check these tweets:

Abby Livingston‏Verified account @TexasTribAbby

Lots of names of potential contenders considering running for Green’s seat: state Sen. Sylvia Garcia, state Reps. Carol Alvarado and Ana Hernandez and attorney Beto Cardenas

Texas delegation fact: No freshman woman has been elected to Congress for a full term since Granger in 1996. With five open seats and three competitive Dem primaries – is this the year?

Rep. Gene Green’s pollster, @ZacMcCrary, said he could easily imagine the number of Democrat candidates running for Green’s seat amount to be in the double-digits.

From the Chron:

“I have been fortunate to have never lost an election since 1972 and I am confident that I still have the support of my constituents and would be successful if I ran for another term in Congress,” Green said in a statement. “However, I have decided that I will not be filing for re-election in 2018. I think that it is time for me to be more involved in the lives of our children and grandchildren. I have had to miss so many of their activities and after 26 years in Congress it is time to devote more time to my most important job of being a husband, father and grandfather.”

Green, who turned 70 last month, is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Look, it hasn’t even been 24 hours, so it would be silly to start handicapping the race. Reminder, we haven’t had a full-blown Latina/Latino Dem primary of this size and magnitude in Harris County, like never. Let’s let the dust settle first. There will be a lot said in the coming weeks and months for sure.

It is called party purity. Gov. Greg Abbott want to take down State Rep. Sarah Davis in the GOP primary just because she won’t be his lapdog. She had a good F-You response yesterday here:

 “I have always voted my uniquely independent district, and when it comes to campaign season I have always stood on my own, which is why I outperformed Republicans up and down the ballot in the last mid-term election. Republican voters in (House District) 134 will not be told for whom to vote, and will not nominate a candidate who will be so easily defeated in the fall because they are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the extremist fringe group, Empower Texans.”

Carlos Beltran is retiring. Here is what GM Jeff Luhnow said yesterday:

“He was worth every penny for us,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Monday at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando, site of the annual GM meetings. “The fact that we were able to have him finish his career with the Houston Astros meant a lot to us. It meant a lot to our players. It meant a lot to our city.

“He obviously had a historic run in 2004. To be able to come back and help us win a championship – and he helped us win in a lot of ways. Even though his numbers were not what they were (in 2016), he contributed in a lot of ways that were not really seen by our fans. … He really was a player-coach for us this year, and he contributed in ways that lead me to believe there’s no way we win the championship without him this year.”  

I agree. I hope he is at The Yard when the team gets their World Serious rings next season. Now that would be cool!

8 ‘Stros had a total of 27 postseason dingers of course.

Our 1979 ‘Stros had a total of 49 dingers for the entire season.

I am still celebrating the title.

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The Trophy

Which three MLB players hit the most dingers during this past postseason?

I sent out and tweeted a photo of my nephew Dave with the World Serious 2017 Championship trophy this past Friday. Dave works for Telemundo and GM Jeff Luhnow visited the station and brought along the trophy. Cool!

Jim Crane, the owner, took the trophy to a gala at the MFA the other night and it was accidentally knocked over and suffered some minor dings. Luckily some museum staff were on hand and performed minor surgery and fixed it up.

Commentary loves the idea of the trophy being hauled over the H-Town region, so folks can take a photo with it. I will patiently wait for my opportunity. I also think everyone who has supported the ‘Stros through the years should get a photo with the trophy, especially those who showed up at The Yard during the three consecutive 100 plus loss seasons.

From the Chron E-Board this past Saturday:

(Thumbs down) Texans owner Bob McNair could have atoned for his sins (“we can’t have the inmates running the prison.”) with one move: signing blackballed quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a replacement for the injured Deshaun Watson. That would have been a bold move, one that would have brought the team a player in the mold of the one carried off the field with a knee injury. What we get instead is Josh Johnson, who hasn’t completed a pass in the NFL in six years, and this cryptic explanation from coach Bill O’Brien: “Colin Kaepernick’s a good football player. Hasn’t played football in a while.”

And this:

(Thumbs twiddled) One reasonable take away from this week’s election: The only thing keeping Democrats viable is Donald Trump. It certainly isn’t the party’s narrative. It has none. Our state’s Dems were either hubristic or delusional at a Texas Tribune panel discussion Sunday in Austin. Former San Antonio mayor and HUD Secretary Julián Castro suggested he might mount a run for the White House in 2020. One problem: He likely can’t win in his home state. Meanwhile, Wendy Davis didn’t rule out challenging Greg Abbott one more time. Another problem: Her last campaign was one of the most poorly run in Texas history.

Hey, but she gets a movie made about her. It was reported that Sandra Bullock has sort of agreed to play former State Sen. Wendy Davis in a flick about her filibuster called “Let Her Speak.” Interesting. I wonder if they make the flick will they let part of it be shot at the Capitol.

Filing deadline is four weeks from today.  I amwaiting for local and state Dems to show me their cards, err candidates.

It is November 13 and the Hallmark Channel is running Christmas flicks.

Let’s see, Jose Altuve had 7 postseason dingers, #SpringerDinger 6, Carlos Correa 5, and Alex Bregman, Aaron Judge of the Yankees, and Justin Turner of the Dodgers had 4 each of course.

Someone asked me on Friday if I was still celebrating our first ever World Serious Championship. I replied, “heck yes!” I am going to keep celebrating. What? You want me to be focused on the Texans?



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The Teams

It is a tale of two teams.

Everyone knows that Commentary is a huge ‘Stros fan and supporter. I have been a season ticket holder since the Dome days. Yeah, yeah, I have criticized some of their moves, and the constant raising of ticket and beer prices, but I have still been with them because at least they have been straight with me on stuff. This year they rewarded us with a World Serious title – finally.

Drayton was a good guy and so is the new owner, Jim Crane.

The Texans, well that is another matter. Their owner is a big Donald Trump supporter. He’s upset the local African American political leadership community with his “inmates” take.  Some other African American national political leaders have taken well deserved swipes at him on his latest remarks, and now the Texans are front and center on the Colin Kaepernick deal.

The Texans are playing their fans. The ‘Stros never played their fans and were always up front on what they were trying to do. You can’t say that about the Texans. I have said it before. They think they are smarter than us, but they aren’t.

Here is from Rodger Sherman of the Ringer:

Kaepernick is bringing a lawsuit against the NFL claiming that franchises have colluded in not signing him. While that could be tough to prove in court, it’s easy to show just how hypocritical teams have been for arguing that their rationale revolves around “football reasons.”

It will be hard for Colin Kaepernick to win his collusion lawsuit against the NFL. Even if he proves that certain NFL teams chose not to sign him due explicitly to his political beliefs, that’s still not enough to prove collusion. He’ll also have to present evidence that multiple teams jointly agreed to avoid signing him, and the burden of proof is high.

If I were Kaepernick’s lawyer, I wouldn’t bother chasing evidence of conversations that may have never taken place. (I would be a bad lawyer.) Instead, I’d have the court wheel out its TV and VHS player (I presume that all courtrooms continue to use VHS players), and I’d say “Exhibit A, your honor.” Then I would pop in a video that shows every snap taken by Texans quarterback Tom Savage this season.

Savage is completing 45.6 percent of his passes and averaging less than 5 yards per attempt, and he has led Houston on one touchdown drive in six quarters. He has as many fumbles (four) as completions of longer than 15 yards. He has been sacked nine times and thrown just 57 passes. And historically, he’s not been any better: He has just one career touchdown pass on 149 attempts. He’s a walking, throwing argument that disproves the claims that Kaepernick’s absence from the NFL stems solely from football reasons.

And this:

What happened: The Texans opened this year with Tom Savage as their starting quarterback, but took only one half to realize how awful he was and bench him in favor of Deshaun Watson. Then Watson played like the best QB in the NFL for six weeks before going down with a season-ending ACL tear, a devastating blow for both the team and the entire NFL. Houston has seemingly settled on Savage as the replacement, in spite of the evidence that he remains the same awful quarterback the team benched in Week 1. As an emergency backup, Houston signed Matt McGloin, who previously played for head coach Bill O’Brien at Penn State, as well as T.J. Yates, who served as the Texans backup for several years, most recently in 2015. On Monday, Houston cut McGloin and signed Josh Johnson, who has not thrown a pass in a regular-season NFL game since 2011.

Should they have signed Kaepernick? More than any other NFL team, the Texans appear to demonstrate the falsehood of the popular argument among Kaepernick’s detractors that many franchises are not signing the quarterback because his skill set doesn’t match that of the teams’ starters.

In Week 1, Savage got sacked six times on just 19 dropbacks behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. When Watson stepped in, O’Brien installed an almost entirely new scheme that took advantage of Watson’s abilities as a runner. The Texans even ran the speed option with Watson, which, uh, they did not with Savage. The Houston squad that was shut out in Savage’s lone half of Week 1 action led the league in scoring over the subsequent seven weeks, showing the ease with which an NFL team can adapt when a player’s dynamic skill set calls for innovation.

Kaepernick would allow Houston to continue running the plays that made it so good with Watson under center. Instead, it’s going back to the decidedly tame Savage offense.

But what really irks me is the signing of Johnson, who served as the 49ers’ third-stringer behind Kaepernick in 2014. O’Brien told reporters Monday that a problem with the idea of bringing in Kaepernick is that he “hasn’t played in a while.” Johnson hasn’t thrown a pass in the league since December 11, 2011, 14 months before Kaepernick played in Super Bowl XLVII. Barack Obama was then serving his first term. My dog wasn’t born yet; last month I noticed that she’s growing white hairs on her face. At that point, Grantland was a year younger than The Ringer is now. O’Brien’s statement about Kap’s lack of recent experience coupled with the Johnson signing is an insult to the collective intelligence of fans everywhere.

Savage, Yates, and Johnson are all worse than Kaepernick by almost any conceivable metric. Savage has thrown just one career touchdown pass; Yates threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns between the 2012 and 2014 seasons; Johnson — who, once again, has not thrown an NFL pass in six years — is theoretically a dual-threat quarterback, but he’s worse than Kaepernick at running and has thrown twice as many career interceptions (10) as touchdowns (five).

The Texans have more than $12 million in salary cap space. At 3–5, they’re within striking distance of first place in the AFC South and the playoff berth that comes with it. They traded their first-round 2018 draft pick to Cleveland to get Watson, so tanking is effectively useless. Houston can either sign Kap or continue sucking without the ability to reap the rewards of their losses. 

Kaepernick would allow Houston to continue running the plays that made it so good with Watson under center. Instead, it’s going back to the decidedly tame Savage offense.

But what really irks me is the signing of Johnson, who served as the 49ers’ third-stringer behind Kaepernick in 2014. O’Brien told reporters Monday that a problem with the idea of bringing in Kaepernick is that he “hasn’t played in a while.” Johnson hasn’t thrown a pass in the league since December 11, 2011, 14 months before Kaepernick played in Super Bowl XLVII. Barack Obama was then serving his first term. My dog wasn’t born yet; last month I noticed that she’s growing white hairs on her face. At that point, Grantland was a year younger than The Ringer is now. O’Brien’s statement about Kap’s lack of recent experience coupled with the Johnson signing is an insult to the collective intelligence of fans everywhere.

Savage, Yates, and Johnson are all worse than Kaepernick by almost any conceivable metric. Savage has thrown just one career touchdown pass; Yates threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns between the 2012 and 2014 seasons; Johnson — who, once again, has not thrown an NFL pass in six years — is theoretically a dual-threat quarterback, but he’s worse than Kaepernick at running and has thrown twice as many career interceptions (10) as touchdowns (five).

The Texans have more than $12 million in salary cap space. At 3–5, they’re within striking distance of first place in the AFC South and the playoff berth that comes with it. They traded their first-round 2018 draft pick to Cleveland to get Watson, so tanking is effectively useless. Houston can either sign Kap or continue sucking without the ability to reap the rewards of their losses.

This is sad and pitiful. I am a fan of the team, but I sure am glad I have not invested in them like I have with the ‘Stros. These guys don’t respect their fans.  I guess it is hard for a huge Donald Trump supporter to sign a player like Kaepernick.  The owner is choosing politics over the fans.

From Bill King:

Montrose Management District Abruptly Cancels Board Meeting

After business owners planned to attend next Monday’s Montrose Management District board meeting in mass to protest the continued operation of the District in light of the recent Court ruling that it had illegally collected over $6 million in assessments, the District abruptly announced that the meeting had been cancelled.  The meeting was cancelled via email to the District’s mailing list.  There was no mention of the cancellation on its website as of about 8:00 this morning.

I suspect some of the directors may have wanted to get some clarity about potential legal exposure after last week’s ruling before facing another angry crowd of business owners, demanding their money back.  

It is also curious that the attorneys for the District filed a notice of appeal with the Court the next day after its ruling.  Obviously, there was no board meeting to authorize an appeal.  And given the Court’s ruling that the District cannot spend any money from the illegally collected assessments, how are the legal bills for the appeal going to be paid?

It seems likely that the litigation over all this has just begun.  Some who have paid the illegal assessments are considering filing a RICO conspiracy suit to recover their money from those involved levying the illegal assessments since the District does not have anywhere close to the $6 million it has been ordered to repay.  

Standby.  This one should be interesting.

If folks don’t want this management district, why continue? Very puzzling and troubling.

Also this from Bill: 

City’s Sales Taxes Continue to Stagnate

The Texas Comptroller reported yesterday that the City’s sales tax receipts for November (which reflect September sales) were up by 2.3%.  This followed a decline of 3.9% in October.  The October decline was to be anticipated because of Harvey.  However, I had expected to see more of a rebound in November from storm repair purchases.  Perhaps delays from receiving insurance payments have pushed some of those sales out a bit further.  

The City had a bump in sales tax receipts early this year from the Super Bowl, with month-over-month increases in March and April of 6.5% and 5.3%, respectively.  But longer term trend appears to be that precipitous decline when oil prices fell has leveled out. 

The current City budget projects a 1% increase in sales taxes and it is running only slightly behind that through the first four months of the fiscal year.  

Houston continues to  be significantly outperformed by its suburban neighbors.  I have been tracking six cities nearby cities.  Their sales tax receipts were up 9% this month.  I am working on a longer term comparison which I will be sharing with you soon.

If you are interested in looking at sales tax receipts for yourself, you can access that information for any entity in the State [here].

From Royko on Tuesday’s Virginia results:

Regarding VA election. It must be noted that felons were allowed to vote, and there has been an 800,000+ increase in illegal aliens and “Asian” refugees, with an unknown number allowed to vote. Also, northern Virginia is inhabited by Washington bureaucrats which now makes VA a solid blue state.

Ok. It was still a Trump arse kicking.

From the ‘Stros:

Louisville Slugger®, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball announced tonight that Houston Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve has won his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger Award as the top offensive second baseman in the American League, while George Springer wins his first. The Silver Slugger Award is the top offensive award in Major League Baseball, with the top players at each position in each league selected in a vote by MLB coaches and managers.

Do Altuve and Springer even use Louisville Slugger bats these days?

Maybe that should have been today’s MLB question that I skipped.

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