Archive for December, 2017

Explain Value, Please

The ‘Stros signed reliever Joe Smith, yes Joe Smith yesterday, who played for Cleveland and the Jays this past season. Smith was first drafted in the 3rd round in 2006. Name the team who drafted him?

Here is the Mike Morris Chron story on the latest on the recycling contract for the City of H-Town: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Controller-balks-at-city-recycling-contract-12425746.php.

The Mayor says his proposed pick offers the best value for the City. That’s fine and dandy but what does value mean?   Just explain for some folks, what the heck is value? Shouldn’t be hard to do.

The following is not a shocking development because she’s a state leader on this issue and folks know it. Here is what State Rep. Carol Alvarado put out yesterday:

 Dear Friends,

This past legislative session, anti-women politicians in the Texas Legislature once again passed laws that target women and teens, people of color, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants — all communities that rely on Planned Parenthood health centers. Planned Parenthood just released a list of Champs and Chumps in the Texas Legislature and I am honored to have been named a champion for women rights. 

Here is from Planned Parenthood:

Rep. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston)

Rep. Alvarado has fought for reproductive health and rights throughout her tenure in the Texas Legislature. During floor debate on SB 8, Rep. Alvarado had some choice words for the extreme anti-woman legislators behind an alarmingly invasive abortion complications reporting amendment, highlighting that similar regulatory attention is never paid to health care for men.

She is just doing her job.

Here is a part of a Texas Observer story with the headlines:

No Texas Senator Has Called for the Resignation of Two Colleagues Accused of Sexual Misconduct

The reticence of many to respond strongly against these allegations is likely in part because more senators hold secrets of their own, a political scientist said.

This week, the Observer reached out to all 31 state senators as well as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who didn’t respond, about the allegations. Of the 15 senators who responded, including Miles and Uresti, all broadly denounced sexual harassment, variously noting that it is “unacceptable,” “a serious and sensitive issue” and “will not be tolerated in the Texas Senate.” However, none called on Miles or Uresti to resign. Seven senators — four Democrats and three Republicans — said the allegations needed to be investigated or reviewed by the Senate. (Read the full responses here.)

Here is the Observer story: https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-legislature-sexual-harassment-resign-silence-uresti-miles/.

Duh? Commentary is going to kind of repeat what I said three days ago. Some of the State Senators have 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, …..?

She completes me. Rather she completes my Dad’s Christmas tree. My good buddy Laura dropped by yesterday with a ‘Stros World Series Championship Christmas tree ornament. Very cool!

The Mets of course drafted Joe Smith in the 3rd round in 2006.

From the ‘Stros:

The Houston Astros have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with free agent right-handed pitcher Joe Smith. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. Smith, 33, combined to go 3-0 with one save and a 3.33 ERA (20ER/54IP) in 59 games with the Blue Jays and Indians in 2017. He racked up 71 strikeouts in his 54.0 innings, allowing just a .229 opponent batting average. He also made four postseason appearances for the Indians in the ALDS, tossing 2.1 scoreless frames. In seven career postseason appearances, Smith has allowed just one hit and no runs (5 IP). Smith is a veteran of 11 Major League seasons, having spent time with the Mets (2007-08), Indians (2009-13, 2017), Angels (2014-16), Cubs (2016) and Blue Jays (2017). He’s made 698 career relief appearances, posting a 2.97 ERA (206ER/624.2IP). With the addition of Smith, the Astros now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.


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Good Morning, Dems!

Our Skipper says Ken Giles will continue to be our closer next season. Giles had 34 saves this past season, tied for 8th in the bigs. Name the closer with the most saves this past season in MLB?

My friend Kier tweeted this:

Keir Murray‏@houtopia 18m18 minutes ago


As point of info, Donald Trump won Alabama by 28 points in 2016. He won Texas by 9.

So far it is the best post-Alabama election tweet.

Good morning, Dems! How are you feeling?

The best part about Alabama U.S. Senator-Elect Doug Jones’ victory speech last night was when he thanked the African American and Latino voters for being a key to his victory. Memo to other Dems: That’s the way to say thanks. We very much appreciate those types of acknowledgments. Way to go, Sen.-Elect Jones! Si se puede!

Donald Trump isn’t going to fix his ways. Look what he tweeted about NY U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday. He paid the price last night because he is toxic. Dems should be feeling good about 2018. Let’s keep it up.

Trump around the necks of GOP candidates is a problem for them.

Our Dem nominee for Harris County Judge sent this out yesterday:

Dear Friend, 

I am proud to announce that I am the Democratic nominee for Harris County Judge. Our County, and our nation, deserve better leadership, and 2018 is the year to achieve it. 

Thank you for supporting us. As always, I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the issues that are most important to you so we can advocate for The People after turning Texas Blue and completing the progressive sweep in Harris County. 

You can see our campaign’s full statement on becoming the nominee below. 

Your next Harris County Judge, 

Lina Hidalgo 

PS. Consider making a contribution to help us win this historic election!

Along with this press release:

HOUSTON- Criminal justice and healthcare advocate Lina Hidalgo will run unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Harris County Judge. The deadline to file to run for office in 2018 closed yesterday at 6pm. 

“I am honored to lead an outstanding slate of local Democratic candidates for election to county offices,” said Hidalgo. “Our campaign looks forward to working with Democrats all across Harris County and across this great state to complete the progressive sweep in Harris County and Turn Texas Blue.” 

The Hidalgo campaign will stress the leading issue on the minds of the people of Harris County: flooding and infrastructure.

“The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board is right–the 2018 election in Harris County will be about flood control. The current County Judge and Republican County Commissioners have failed in their duties to keep us safe. They must be voted out of office. I am running for County Judge because we need an advocate at the head of the Commissioners Court who will lead with foresight on flood control and emergency management, health care, criminal justice reform, affordable housing, transportation and other key issues. As new Harris County leadership, we will stand up for our community as we rebuild our county and ensure it is a model for the nation: equitable, sustainable, and resilient.” 

Hidalgo has emphasized since announcing a few months ago that the people of Harris County must have a seat at the table and a meaningful voice in helping to equitably rebuild our county. To do that, she believes, we must have transparency and accountability at the Commissioners Court. 

“Before we go to the voters with a bond proposal we need to account for misprioritization of bond funds in the past. In 2007 Commissioners Court did not include funding for flood control in the county bond election. In the 2015 county bond election, after Allison and Ike, flood control was nowhere near the number one priority.”

I sure am hoping she is getting embraced by Dems here in Harris County. She did after all step forward on this when nobody else would.

Alex Colomé of the Rays of course had 47 saves this past season.

Some of my family and friends are getting ‘Stros World Series gear in twelve days.

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The Filers

Giancarlo Stanton is now a Yankee. In his 8 year career he has 267 dingers. How many career dingers does he have against the ‘Stros?

Welp! This from former Dem candidate for Harris County Judge, Mike Nichols:


After much thought, I’ve made a heartfelt decision not to run for public office.

At the age of 65, soon to be 66, I’ve determined that it was not in my best physical, emotional, spiritual, or financial interest to begin a new career in politics.

I recognize the need for change and the importance of new leadership in Harris County, and I will actively support the Democratic ticket and do whatever I can to ensure its success.

The decision to remove myself from the arena was a difficult one for me because I do feel responsible to those of you who have offered me your time, your knowledge, ideas, and input, as well as your financial support – and to my community, the Democratic Party, and our democratic system of government. The thoughtful process approaching this final decision also confirmed my wish to have the energy and time for my wife, my children, my grandchildren, my siblings, and my friends. I know you will understand.

I have been touched and am greatly appreciative of the generosity of so many of you that quickly and without hesitation contributed to my campaign. All of those contributions will be returned as soon as possible. All of the vendors and consultants will be paid in full by my personal funds. Thank all of you for your encouragement and support.

Warmest regards,

Mike Nichols

What a turn of events. No back-up plan I guess. It is time for Dems to get behind the only remaining county judge candidate Lina Hidalgo. Hunker Down doesn’t deserve a free pass.

There are now seven Dems running for CD 29 and here they are: Dominique Garcia, Roel Garcia, State Sen. Sylvia Garcia, Tahir Javed, Hector Morales, Augustine Reyes (Ben’s son), and Pedro Valencia.

Can Sylvia win without a runoff? I hear Javed may be a self-funder and you never know about self-funders. Keep an eye on this one.

State Rep. Armando Walle drew an opponent in the primary. A fella named Matthew Mendez is running against him in HD 140.

My old buddy Justice of Peace Armando Rodriguez decided not to run for reelection. Heck, he was first elected like in 1974. His daughter Angela Rodriguez will be running for the JP, Pct. 6 slot. HISD Trustee Diana Davila filed in that seat but I heard her application was rejected because she didn’t have enough petition signatures.

Seven Dems are running in CD 7.

The Dean has a couple of primary opponents. The Dean will have to spend some of his money now. Don’t feel sorry for The Dean. He’s got the dough.

Demetria Smith who is running as a Dem for governor also ran for H-Town Mayor a couple of years ago.

I have no idea what Alabama will do today but did you know that actress Courtney Cox was born and raised in Birmingham, that Olympian gold medalist and Coog great Carl Lewis was born in Alabama, that former Aggies and Coog coach Kevin Sumlin was born there too, that Lakewood’s Victoria Osteen was born in Huntsville, Alabama and that Magic Mike’s Channing Tatum was also born in Alabama. Now you know.

Giancarlo Stanton has two career dingers against the ‘Stros of course.

The team is still pondering moves at the winter meetings.


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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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Thirty-seven years ago today, John Lennon was murdered. Imagine!

Commentary said this yesterday:

Commentary is thinking last night’s Daily Beast story is not going away – just saying.

I was right.

Kuffer has more than his two cents worth here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=83724

Kuffer is calling for both to resign. Annie’s List called for both to resign yesterday.

This isn’t going away. You just know it isn’t.

Don’t forget to vote in the HISD and HCC runoff races tomorrow and don’t forget what the Chron E-Board said last week:

At a time when the future of the entire (HIS)district has been brought into question, voters should pick someone with the skills to analyze and articulate the policies that can save HISD – and the ability to implement them as solutions. That candidate is Gretchen Himsl. 

Just like his dad. Andrew White is using the same logo/font that his dad used back in the old days. That is cool. This is the most interesting part of the Trib story on White’s announcement:

More than 100 people attended White’s announcement, which was originally set to be held at the elementary school bearing his father’s name but moved to an office building lobby due to rain. The crowd included state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, who helped introduce White.

Afterward, Coleman told The Texas Tribune that he was supporting White’s candidacy because he has “has the right interests and right policies” — including on public education — and because Coleman believes White can win in November. Coleman, who is black, also explained his endorsement of White by noting, “We don’t want people to believe that the Democratic Party is against the white males — and we’re not.”

Here is the entire story: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/12/07/andrew-white-son-late-gov-mark-white-announces-gubernatorial-bid/.

I respect Garnet on this.

Here is from Bill King:

City’s Sales Taxes Boom to End the Year

The Texas Comptroller reported yesterday that the City’s sales tax receipts for December (which reflect October sales) skyrocketed by 17.6%  over last December.  This is the third largest monthly year-over-year increase since I started keeping track in 2008.

It is always dangerous to attribute stark changes in economic data like this to any particular cause, but it seems likely that this increase was driven by Harvey repair purchases.  Anecdotally, my local Home Depot was packed every time I went in for weeks after the storm.  There was also probably some boost from three of the World Series games being played here at the end of October.

The December receipts helped the City finish in positive territory for the calendar year, up 1.4% or about $8 million.  However, sales tax collections are still well off their 2015 all-time high ($659 million vs. $638 million).

This year saw many extraordinary events that affected sales taxes.  We had a Super Bowl, a Final Four, a World Series, a 500-year flood and its aftermath and a tepid oil recovery.  All these make it difficult to draw too many conclusions from this year’s sales tax data.  But the overarching theme seems to be that we are mostly trading sideways, which is, of course, similar to oil market.  Notwithstanding our local chamber of commerce boosters’ boast about we have diversified our economy, I suspect that, for better or worse, our fortunes are still inextricably tied to the energy industry.

Of course, there are other factors.  The City continues to bleed off growth to its suburban neighbors (more on that soon) and on-line sales are relentlessly chipping away at sales tax collections.   But if there is any conclusion to be drawn from the recent sales tax data, mine would be that we had better hope the OPEC deal holds and that the oil markets remain steady.

There is no MLB question today.


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Tora! Tora! Tora!

That was the name of a flick that came out in 1970 about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941. In terms of telling the story about the attack, I don’t think there has been a better flick.   December 7, 1941, always remember.

The following is the headline of Erica Grieder’s column in today’s Chron:

Congress should protect Dreamers – but now is not the time

So misguided, cruel, f__ked up, heartless, stupid headline – so when is the right time? How about a few years ago!

Here is the column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/grieder/article/Congress-should-protect-Dreamers-but-not-this-12411594.php.

This happened yesterday from Burkablog:

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez announced her candidacy for governor on Wednesday morning at Texas Democratic Party headquarters in Austin, promising a new direction for the state. Valdez is the highest-profile Democrat to join the race.

“For far too long, hardworking Texans have been left behind, kept out, and, frankly, attacked for who they are, where they come from, and who they love,” Valdez said at the press conference announcing her candidacy. “Texans and Texas businesses are begging for a return of common sense.”

During her brief announcement speech, Valdez telegraphed a few of the issues she plans to run on, including more pragmatic government, immigration, and LGBT rights (Valdez is openly gay). In her announcement, she made special mention of the Dreamers—the nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to America when they were children. The Trump administration has announced that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which protected Dreamers from deportation, will end in March 2018. “For the Dreamers, if this isn’t their country, they don’t have a country,” Valdez declared.

Here is all from Burkablog: https://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/lupe-valdez-hopes-make-leap-dallas-county-sheriff-governor/.

It is kind of hard to say if her campaign will generate buzz or excitement with Dem activists across the state. Convince me.  I guess we will have to stay tuned!

Former Gov. Mark White’s son, Andrew, will announce today.   I am kind of interested to hear what he has to say.

Commentary is thinking last night’s Daily Beast story is not going away – just saying.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

From Tags:

HOUSTON — Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Wednesday that Dallas Keuchel pitched with discomfort in his left foot during the postseason and was diagnosed with a mild foot sprain in his exit physical, but he denied an ESPN report that the left-hander suffered from plantar fasciitis during the final two months of the season.

Keuchel was spotted wearing a walking boot on his left foot while leaving a restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif., Saturday. When asked on a video posted by TMZ Sports how he injured the foot, Keuchel said while leaving the restaurant that he “slipped and fell, man … in the parade” before getting into the passenger seat of a car and driving away.

“All I know it was a minor left foot sprain, diagnosed during his exit physical,” Luhnow said prior his appearance on the team’s weekly radio show, Astroline. “I do know he had some discomfort, as a lot of our guys did, which is normal for a team in October.”

Here is all of Tags: http://m.astros.mlb.com/news/article/263034800/astros-jeff-luhnow-talks-dallas-keuchel-more/.

Just be honest with the fans, please.

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Not My Fight

Now that the ‘Stros have won a World Series, name the seven MLB clubs without a World Series trophy?

She’s talking to me. Commentary is talking about Lina Hidalgo who is running for Harris County Judge in the Dem Party Primary. Dos Centavos put out a video of Hidalgo yesterday with a note. Here is from Dos Centavos:

Well, if you’re going to take on Ed Emmett (and Republicans, in general), Lina Hidalgo, Democrat for County Judge, offers up the right attitude and ideas on which to base such a challenge.

As much as it is a message to voters around the County, it is also a message to Democrats who so easily get enamored by so-called “moderates” who still do much for their right-wing-nut-job of a political party. Including staying quiet and raising dollars for them even when laws like SB4 are passed.

Give it a listen!


It is hard to argue with Stace on this one.  She has energy for sure and she is also saying the things a Dem candidate ought to be saying. Right now someone needs to convince me why she should not be the Dem nominee? Because she is young? Because the folks who run the Dem Party don’t think it is her turn? You have to come up with a better reason than that.

I want to hear about SB 4, DACA, and helping the DREAMERs, so convince me.

The Chron has a front page story today on Harris County moving forward on tougher regulations in flood plains here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/County-OKs-stricter-development-rules-aimed-at-12408266.php.

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg has a column today on Hunker Down here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/County-judge-Where-s-the-action-on-Harvey-12408438.php.

Let me state the obvious. Harvey put a big chunk of the county underwater. Not moving forward on tougher regulations would have been criminal. Same thing about insisting that the state use the Rainy Day Fund. It is not exactly a profile in courage to ask for something that most folks in Harris County are demanding.

It is not my fight. Folks should know by now where my focus will be for a while. It is certainly not Harris County Commissioner Precinct 2. I just know what I read in the Chron and on the internet. My take is for now I think this race will be decided by a Dem wave. If there is a wave, there will be a change. If there isn’t, there won’t be a change.

Former sheriff Adrian Garcia is now in the race for Precinct 2 Commissioner. Here is the Chron story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Former-sheriff-Adrian-Garcia-to-challenge-Jack-12408391.php.

Check this line from the article:

He (Garcia) angered local Democratic Party regulars when he launched a primary challenge against longtime U.S. Rep. Gene Green in 2016.

I do find it a bit humorous that some Dem leaders are not happy that Adrian is in the race. They are still mad at Adrian for taking on Cong. Gene Green a couple of years ago. Let’s see if the Precinct 2 Dem Primary voters side with the Dem leaders and hold it against Adrian. Any bets? I didn’t think so.

The Brewers, Mariners, Nationals, Padres, Rangers, Rays and Rockies of course are still looking for their first World Series trophy.

It feels good to wear a sweater, doesn’t it?

Carlos Beltran picked up the Sports Illustrated Hope Award last night for his work on Hurricane Maria recovery.  Congrats!

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Awards City

The new Yankees skipper played twelve years in the bigs and played his last ten career games wearing the brick red for the ‘Stros. What was his batting average in those ten games?

H-Town is Awards City for sure. Rack up another couple with Jose Altuve and J.J. Watt earning the Sports Illustrated Sports Persons of the Year Award. This don’t need no ‘splaining. It is well deserved.

Help Commentary figure this one out. Over the years, I have assisted a number of clients in developing opinion-editorial (Op-Ed) pieces on a host of issues. You kind of have an idea who gets to put their John Hancock on the Op-Ed and work with them. Commentary is not a fan of writing an Op-Ed then going to find someone to slap their John Hancock on it.   The following from the Daily Beast is a little wacky:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office filed court papers to the U.S. District Court of D.C. on Monday opposing the release of Paul Manafort on bail later this month due to “newly discovered  facts [that] cast doubt on Manafort’s willingness to comply with this  Court’s Orders.”

According to Mueller, Manafort ghostwrote an op-ed alongside a “long-time Russian colleague” who is “currently based in Russia and assessed to have ties to a Russian intelligence service.” Manafort worked on the op-ed as late as November 30—nearly a month after he was indicted by Mueller’s team. Mueller called for GPS monitoring and a “fully secured bond of unencumbered real estate.”

Mueller noted that even if the op-ed were truthful, it would be a violation of a November 8th court order to “not try the case in the press.”

The editorial, Mueller wrote, “clearly was undertaken to influence the public’s opinion of  defendant Manafort, or else there would be no reason to seek its publication.”

“It compounds the problem that the proposed piece is not a dispassionate recitation of the facts,” Mueller continued.

Former Trump campaign advisor Rick Gates and Manafort are facing a host of charges—including money laundering and failure to register as foreign agents. The two had been under home confinement with GPS monitoring since they were charged on October 30th.

Manafort struck an $11 million bail deal just last week. His wife, Kathleen Manafort, would guarantee another $10 million if the former Trump campaign chief fled the country.

Mueller called for GPS monitoring and a “fully secured bond of unencumbered real estate.”

From 2004 to 2010, Manafort worked as an adviser to pro-Putin Ukrainian presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia after becoming a target in the Euromaidan protests. He returned to Ukraine in 2014 to close Yanukovych associate Serhiy Lyovochkin.

Two years later, Manafort—a long-time resident of Trump Tower—became Trump’s campaign manager. Despite backing by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Manafort was replaced after several months in the job by Steve Bannon.

A spokesperson for Manafort declined to comment for this story.

This is crazy. Did they have someone ready to submit it? Who would agree to weigh in?   Maybe they did have someone. Maybe they have a web of folks of sort.

Of course, the GOP leadership probably doesn’t find anything wrong with this fella drafting an Op-Ed.   The First Amendment thing.

Commentary went to Moody Park yesterday to Vote Early. The previous night’s rains and winds apparently knocked down some campaign signs at Moody. I picked up my client’s signs and put them back up and added a couple of more. I left the other side’s alone.

I have no idea what Alabama is going to do next week. I will say that Alabama has produced some good folks. Hall of Fame great Hank Aaron was born in Alabama.

In his last ten career games, Aaron Boone went 0 for 13 and batted .000 with the ‘Stros of course.

Today is the last day to Vote Early in the HISD and HCC runoff races.


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Vote Early

Name the best hitting team in MLB this past season?

Early Voting in Person in the HISD and HCC runoff races continues today and tomorrow and don’t forget what the Chron E-Board said last week:

At a time when the future of the entire (HIS)district has been brought into question, voters should pick someone with the skills to analyze and articulate the policies that can save HISD – and the ability to implement them as solutions. That candidate is Gretchen Himsl.

Vote early, please.

The Chron E-Board said some nice things yesterday about Hunker Down speaking his mind last week and taking on Texas’ GOP Governor and Lt. Governor. Here is how yesterday’s take ended:

Hearing a political leader so bluntly and forcefully criticize the top elected officials in his own party is the kind of candor our system needs. The county judge is dead right. Our state’s elected leaders need to get their priorities straight and quit messing with local government. Something’s out of whack, and it’s not just the county judge’s tax bill.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Out-of-whack-12401014.php.

Sounds like Hunker Down is heading toward the middle hoping to avoid a wave so to speak.

The filing deadline is a week away.

The tax giveaway to the billionaires, the Roy Moore fella, the Donald Trump daily lies, Trump and the Russians, the arrogant and out-of-touch GOP U.S. Senator from Iowa, sticking it to the DREAMERs and other stuff like this doesn’t get me down. It makes me feel better that a Dem wave is coming next November.

Everyone knows Commentary doesn’t talk a lot about college sports. I did watch the college playoff announcement yesterday and I am not bothered by who got in and who didn’t. I am also not going to say anything about rolling out the carpet for newly hired college football coaches. I am also not going to say anything about the fella who is in charge of the Harvey Recovery in Texas spending a kazillion on his college football team’s recovery.

There are 40 college bowl games including the playoff and championship games this season and they start playing in a couple of weeks. Florida leads with hosting 8 games and Texas is second with 7. Going?

The ‘Stros of course had the best hitting team in MLB this past season leading in batting average – .282, hits – 1,581, doubles – 346, RBIs – 854, runs – 896, slugging – .478, on-base percentage – .346, and on-base percentage plus slugging – .823.

Pretty impressive if you ask me.

Christmas Day is three weeks from today.

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End of the Line

Name the MLB hitter who struck out the most this past season.

BREAKING NEWS:  Michael Flynn is another to fall.  Like he said, lock him up!

Sometimes you have to go to the end of the line to find the story. I am talking about the end of the statement. Here is State Rep. Carol Alvarado’s statement from yesterday:

Dear Friends, 

As a friend and long-time supporter, you and others have helped to make my service as State Representative, District 145, one of the truly outstanding experiences of my life, which is why I want you to be among the first to know that I am announcing my plan to continue this service by running for re-election. 

Over the past two weeks, so many friends, supporters, and family have come to me with great advice on how I can best serve our community.  It has been an honor to hold public office at city council and in the Texas Legislature.   As Chair of a major House committee and successful leader in other legislative positions, I have built relationships that will help me advocate an agenda that benefits all the members of our dynamic community, including protection for our DREAMERs, proper funding for public education, women’s reproductive health, healthcare that is accessible, affordable and attainable higher education, and good-paying jobs for our community in our emerging high-tech economy. 

I have been gratified and honored by your friendship and support.  In the coming weeks and months, I will continue to engage our civic, business and political leadership to build a winning campaign and continue to represent the interests of our community.  I also look forward to following through on the encouragement that many of you have given to me about laying the groundwork for a campaign for a possible vacancy in Senate District 6.


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

Sounds good to me.

Here is from Kuffer today:

Adrian Garcia was known to have at least some interest in CD29 after Rep. Gene Green announced his retirement. I don’t know if that is still the case, but at this point he’s basically the last potential obstacle to Sen. Sylvia Garcia’s election. Rep. Carol Alvarado, who lost in SD06 to Sylvia Garcia following Mario Gallegos’ death, announced that she was filing for re-election in HD145; earlier in the day, Sylvia Garcia announced that Rep. Green had endorsed her to succeed him. I have to assume that Rep. Alvarado, like her fellow might-have-been contender in CD29 Rep. Armando Walle, is looking ahead to the future special election for Sen. Garcia’s seat. By the way, I keep specifying my Garcias in this post because two of Sylvia’s opponents in the primary are also named Garcia. If Adrian does jump in, there would be four of them. That has to be some kind of record.

Here is all of Kuffer: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=83627.

Here is the Chron story from today: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Key-Houston-Democrat-takes-pass-on-Congressional-12395740.php.

Here are a couple of tweets:

Patrick Svitek‏Verified account@PatrickSvitek 7h7 hours ago


Last line in @RepAlvarado145 statement passing on #TX29 run: “I also look forward to following through on the encouragement that many of you have given to me about laying the groundwork for a campaign for a possible vacancy in Senate District 6.” #SD6 #txlege

Texas Election Source‏@TXElects 7h7 hours ago


HD145: Rep. @RepAlvarado145 to seek re-election, passing on open congressional seat but poised to lay groundwork for run at SD6 seat should Sen. @SenatorSylvia win the CD29 race #txlege

That makes Carol the only one to declare her intentions if there is a vacancy. Some missed that.

Steve Houston sent me this:

Not to dissuade your choice further but the spokesperson for Sheriff Lupe Valdez has made it clear that she is not stepping down or running for office. That may change but for all the positive things we’ve heard about her, it’s unlikely she would win the governorship in the near future.

Yeah, what is up with this?

See this tweet from last night. 

Sam Sweeney‏Verified account@SweeneyABC 3h3 hours ago

Traditionally the White House Christmas tree lighting is standing room only. This is what it looked like tonight as President Trump spoke. @SteveRudinABC7

The picture was a ton of empty seats. Not surprising to me. The fella is toxic.

AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge of course led MLB with 208 strikeouts.

It is December 1 and I have nothing from The Yard today.

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