Archive for December 11th, 2017

Our Christmas Tree

The Gretchen Himsl for HISD Trustee District 1 campaign was not successful this past Saturday. Congrats to our opponent Elizabeth Santos.

Gretchen was a great candidate, is very smart, and knows public policy. It just didn’t work out.

I have to say this and without malice. Our opponent made a big deal about not accepting HISD vendor contributions during the campaign. I found it humorous that a wannabee HISD vendor was campaigning for her at a Heights polling place on Election Day. Oh, well.

The ‘Stros say they have to bolster the bullpen this offseason. Name the pitcher who played the most games for the ‘Stros this past season?

Commentary doesn’t like to do the media’s job. They are better at it than me. I do have a couple of questions about this that Kuffer has put out today. Here is Kuffer:

So now that names have been named, now what?

Dec 11th, 2017

by Charles Kuffner.

Maybe some hearings? I don’t know.

Texas leaders called for a review of sexual harassment policies at the state Legislature following a Texas Tribune story detailing how current procedures offered little protection for victims and describing a wide range of harassment at the Capitol. The Texas House approved changes to its policy last week. The Senate, where Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst to lead a review of the chamber’s policy, has yet to hold any public hearings on the matter.

“These are serious allegations that have been denied by the senators,” Patrick said in a statement responding to the calls for resignation Thursday, adding that he had asked Kolkhorst to “determine if there are additional steps we should take.”

“I know she has been meeting with senators and staffers over the past several weeks and I expect that she will post a hearing notice soon to be sure that we are doing all we can to make sure every staff member and every elected official is protected from sexual harassment and all other inappropriate behavior,” Patrick said.

Earlier today, state Sen. José Rodríguez, chairman of the chamber’s Democratic caucus, said the behavior alleged in the Daily Beast article is “unacceptable” in any situation, but especially so for an elected official.

“Any person in a position of power who engages in such deplorable conduct should be fired or removed,” he said in a statement before Annie’s List announced their call for resignation.

State Senator Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, said in a statement that she finds the recent stories in the media “very alarming.”

“It’s a sad state of affairs when people feel their only option is talking to the press,” she said.

Rodríguez and Garcia both called for independent investigations of sexual misconduct at the Capitol. The Texas Tribune previously reported that those in charge of investigating and resolving sexual harassment complaints have little to no authority over lawmakers. Garcia said she is also calling for a hotline to report abuse.

“As this discussion continues at both the national and state levels, I applaud those who have come forward and encourage more women to continue shedding light on the culture of many of our industries and institutions, including the legislature, so we can create a culture shift where these incidents can be fully investigated, and hopefully, prevented,” Rodríguez said.

See here for the background. Since this story was published, Sen. Kolkhorst has agreed to hold a public hearing, on December 14. Details are here. According to Equality Texas, testimony is by invitation only, but the hearing is open. What if anything will come out of this is unclear, but it’s something.

I want to add that since that Daily Beast story was published, two friends of mine have posted on Facebook about their experiences with Sen. Miles. One reported that Miles “grabbed me and kissed me on the mouth”, the other said “I was “hugged” so closely, for so long and so…ummm….thoroughly (??) that I joked with one of my colleagues upon recounting the incident that I might ought to take a pregnancy test”. I’m not naming them because I didn’t ask them if I could name them here, but as I said they’re both friends of mine. I have no doubt that there are plenty of others with similar stories. This isn’t going away, and no number of complaints about anonymous allegations or “powerful enemies” will change the fact that there are real women out there with real stories to tell. What are we going to do about that? You know what I think. We need to know what our leaders think.

Duh? The two Dems (Garcia and Rodriguez)  mentioned have both led sizable taxpayer funded operations. What policies did they have in place when they were in charge and how did they handle complaints if there were any? Pretty simple questions if you ask Commentary, but guess what, …..?

I don’t know why anyone would support Hunker Down for reelection. Check this from Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg from yesterday:

One of the most gripping moments in Part 1 of the Chronicle’s series examining Houston’s epic flooding during Hurricane Harvey comes when Aaron Byrd, a federal research engineer, pulls up Google Earth in the hours after officials began releasing water from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wanted to know which homes would flood so emergency crews could be notified. Byrd looked at the map and felt like falling out of his chair.

“It showed row after row of homes in the flood pools, thousands of them,” Chronicle investigative reporter Susan Carroll writes. She describes how Byrd looked at the sprawling subdivisions of two-story homes at the bottom of the spillway, and how he turned to a fellow researcher and asked:

“How did they get permission to build there?”

And this:

Years ago, I remember debating the logic of the Grand Parkway with Emmett. He argued we needed the costly, controversial and environmentally problematic third concentric traffic ring around Houston because people wanted to move out there and they needed a road. I don’t remember if Exxon’s behemoth campus came up or not, but certainly that was a factor as well.

I argued that the parkway didn’t just accommodate growth; it created it – all the while gobbling up precious flood-mitigating prairie land. Environmental lawyer Jim Blackburn says the project is about leaders caring more about the folks yet to come than the ones already here.

Since Harvey, I’ve been wanting to ask Emmett about the parkway again. I did last week, and his take hadn’t changed much. He pointed out that the parkway he supported decades ago as a lawmaker was never supposed to be the big honking highway it has become as a state project.

But he maintained that the Grand Parkway “was a desperately needed facility,” and that officials and planners can’t ignore suburban growth fueled by families, many simply seeking quality schools for their children.

Here is all of Lisa’s column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/After-Harvey-we-must-challenge-the-city-s-12418984.php.

Really? Hunker Down has been part of the problem. He has to be retired for sure. This is a no brainer. No ifs, ands, or buts please. Let’s focus on the two Dems who are running.

Today is filing deadline for the political party primaries. There are always surprises on the last day of filing so stay tuned!

Yesterday, I went and bought a Christmas tree for my Dad’s house. I had it there by noon. My niece Rachel and Dante came over to help decorate the tree. My sister Sylvia helped and so did my niece Cristina and her hubby Alex. The lights on the tree went up first. I took out an Astros ornament and led off with the decorating. We had some other ‘Stros and baseball ornaments that went up then Rachel had an idea that the tree should be Astros theme and we went to the craft shop and bought some blue and orange ribbon mesh and voila, we have a very glorious tree with Astros, baseball, family, country ornaments and yes one Beatles ornament. It could easily fit right in at Union Station.   It just came together just like that. I will post it later on twitter.  Rachel is real creative at this kind of stuff.

Luke Gregerson of course led the relief corps by getting into 65 games this past season. Gregerson signed with San Luis yesterday.

Scott Boras is Dallas Keuchel’s new agent so expect to be paying $15 for a Saint Arnold by 2019.

Christmas Day is two weeks from today.



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