Archive for December, 2018

Commentary has to admit that helping get Carol Alvarado elected to the Texas State Senate, District 6 was the highlight of my year. It doesn’t get any better than that – does it?

She was a tremendous, terrific and excellent campaigner and candidate. The best ever in my book. I definitely enjoyed the campaign.

I saw this tweet yesterday:

Annise Parker Retweeted

Matthew Dowd‏Verified account@matthewjdowd 3h3 hours ago


If Democrats were smart in 2020 in their primaries, they should avoid an ideological purity test, and embrace an integrity, leadership, and common sense contest.

I have said before that I won’t support a candidate older than Commentary and all candidates should agree that the ticket will include a person of color and a woman. Two women on the Dem ticket wouldn’t be a deal breaker in my book.

I don’t agree with my pal Orlando Sanchez about the following, but I also don’t think you ought to douse him with water. Check this this out from Channel 2 news this past Friday:

HOUSTON – Someone poured water on Harris County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez on Friday while he was holding a news conference, urging state officials to take over the Houston Independent School District.

Sanchez called the news conference at the Northwest Mall, where he asked the Texas Education Agency to appoint a board of managers to right what he called “the failing, dysfunctional” school district. 

Sigh! Can anyone tell me what TEA taking over HISD looks like? I didn’t think so.

I wonder if Orlando is considering running for H-Town Mayor again. If he is, this issue isn’t going to get it done.

Today is Orlando’s last day as County Treasurer.

There has been a little bit of buzz in Commentary’s ‘hood the past few days because our green bins have not been picked up by the City of H-Town. Friday was pickup day and they are still out there. Now check this from today’s Chron:

Recycling day came and went. But it wasn’t until four days later that an automated truck from the Solid Waste Management Department drove through Sarah Winkler’s Alief neighborhood to empty the green bins, which in the meantime had blocked parking and fueled frustrations.

Such delays have become Winkler’s new normal. “This is the third cycle in a row that it was picked up late,” she said. “It’s not acceptable.”

Hundreds of hours of equipment downtime a week at Solid Waste Management Department are leading to recycling delays throughout Houston said the department’s director, Harry Hayes. Often, there are not enough drivers for all of the trucks. Other times, the need for maintenance forces aging trucks to remain idle until one of the mechanics, who are also shorthanded, can make repairs.

The department then has to reallocate the remaining trucks to make sure all the garbage routes are covered, often diverting recycling resources.

The article also references H-Town Council Member Dwight Boykins’ proposed garbage fee:

“If they’re going to charge, it’s going to have to get a lot better,” Winkler said. “I don’t want to pay for service this bad.”

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Labor-shortage-and-aging-trucks-lead-to-recycling-13499066.php.

The folks who run City Hall don’t need my advice. They need to be careful to not act as if this is the new norm. Green bins sitting out there for days isn’t cool.

Royko sent me this on my take Friday on Donald Trump’s shutdown:

What mess? Praise the Lord! Dems let he EPA shut down, HUD is closed, the Dept of Education is closed, etc.

And in the infamous words of “Queen” Sheila – “Shut it down, shut it down, shut it down, Now!” for the southern border.

I hope Trump ups the ante. If the anti-USA security Dems don’t agree to the $5 Billion for the Border Wall today, I hope Trump increases the demand $1 Billion per day, up to the $25 Billion that the Dems had seemingly previously agreed to if the President had rolled-over for the bad DACA reward deal.

If the government can stay closed for two years, the 2020 election will be about flushing the do-nothing, pro-crime and disease riddled illegal alien enabler Dems, and re-electing Trump for 4 more years. Think about allowing Trump to name 3 more Supreme Court justices.

I thought Trump was going to be proud of the shutdown and whatever happened to Mexico paying for the wall?

I love the way this White House takes a dump in the Oval Office, rolls around in it, and then fellas like Royko blame Dems because it stinks to high heaven. Got it?

Hey, have a safe New Year’s Eve!


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Last Friday of the Year

Christina Morales filed yesterday for the #TXHD145SpecialElection.

Filing ends next Thursday.

Yesterday, I went to a reception for Christina at a venue close to the soccer stadium. Two days after Christmas, I expected 20 or so folks would be a good crowd. Nope. About 100 folks showed up. I was certainly impressed.

Here is the frontpage headline in the hard copy of today’s Chron:

GOP to Dems: It’s your mess now

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Donald Trump wanted it and now he owns it.

Now Trump wants to close the border unless he gets his wall. Let him.

On the last Friday of the year, that’s all I have to say.

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Blah, blah, blah

If you are an H-Town resident and normally get your garbage picked up on Thursdays, because of this holiday week, your garbage will get picked up tomorrow. Got it?

Blah, blah, blah.

From the no llores por mí Harris County department. It is not the fault of Democratic Party voters, folks!

Commentary is talking about a frontpage story in today’s Chron about the Dem takeover in five days of the local judiciary. There is a bit of moaning in the piece by a soon to be former GOP judge. Here is the article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-s-courts-prepare-for-total-judicial-13491575.php.

GOP judges didn’t mind riding the hate train voters when they were winning. Now that more Dems are showing up at the polls, blah, blah, blah.

On the national front, voters bought into Mexico paying for a wall when Mexico kept saying nope. Now we have a partial shutdown because Dems won’t pay for a wall and some GOPers are blaming Dems. Nope, nope, nope!

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Quick Christmas

The #TXSD6Special was held and won on December 11. The oath of office was on December 21 at the State Capitol. My Christmas season started on December 22 – sort of. Christmas this year was fast and quick. I didn’t get to watch a single Hallmark movie. Oh, well.

Highlights of the last two days included getting a cool Astros jacket and a Beatles wall calendar from my nephew Dave and great-nephew Jackson, a framed photo of Tal’s Hill from Al and Julie, a purple tie from the Senator, hanging out at Yolanda’s on Christmas Eve, going by Al and Julie’s, and being with my family yesterday in #TXSD6 Baytown.

Here is an interesting fact from the #TXSD6Special from 15 days ago. In 2016, the HD 145 portion of the general election total vote in SD 6 was 18%. 15 days ago, it jumped to 23%. Interesting don’t you think?

It is back to work today. Commentary will be involved in the #TXHD145Special. I will be working on #TeamChristinaMorales. The election is on Tuesday, January 29 with Early Voting in Person starting on Monday, January 14. Got it?

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Eve

On this Christmas Eve, the Chron has a story on the local GOP. Here is how the article starts:

Drubbed. Shellacked. Whooped. Walloped. Routed.

However you want to describe November’s midterm election, it was disastrous for Harris County Republicans. They were swept from the remaining countywide posts they held — the other shoe to drop after Democrats booted the Republican sheriff and district attorney two years ago — and lost all 55 judicial seats on the ballot. For the first time in decades, Democrats will hold a majority of Commissioners Court.

The path forward for the local GOP is unclear. The party’s statewide slate went undefeated yet rebuked by Harris County voters, raising questions about whether its pitch to rural voters alienated urban ones. In the state’s most populous county, and his home base, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz got just 41 percent of the vote.

Harris County Republican Party Chairman Paul Simpson, however, is optimistic. He said several local Republicans would have won, chief among them County Judge Ed Emmett, if straight-ticket voting had been eliminated before the election. Republicans in the Texas Legislature decided to retire the straight-ticket option after 2018, which traditionally benefited their party, but proved disastrous for the GOP in urban counties this cycle.

“Pendulums will swing back,” Simpson said. “I’m confident in the near future, we’ll be back.”

Scholars and Emmett, the county executive for 11 years before his upset loss, offered a less rosy assessment — that of a party catering to a largely white, graying base that is failing to adapt to changing demographics and awaiting the return of a “normal” electorate that has ceased to exist. November 2018 should be a wake-up call, they say, but they wonder if the local Republican Party is listening.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Harris-County-Republicans-grapple-with-changing-13487934.php.

Harris County is one of the most diverse counties in the universe. We celebrate and advance our diversity. The Trump led GOP promotes racism and hate. That’s not going to be accepted in Harris County -period. Pendulum my arse!

From Next Door yesterday on the Yale Street Pharmacy:

Had the worst service today ordering breakfast for my visiting mother and neighbor. We waited 20 minutes for our eggs and mine never came for another 10 minutes. My two guests were almost finished before my plate arrived. There was no apology or offer to comp to make up for the poor service. I made my displeasure known without being rude. I will never go back.

The H-Town Mayor and The Dean were there for breakfast the day before. I wonder how their eggs fared. (The Mayor called it the #YaleStreetGrill).

Speaking of The Dean, at last Friday’s Oath of Office ceremony for Senator Carol Alvarado, I ran onto The Dean behind the Senate Chamber before and he was struggling to keep his britches up. The Dean didn’t have a belt. I asked him what size he wore, and it turns out we wear the same belt size. I loaned him my belt. Hey, I didn’t have a speaking role. Luckily it wasn’t a major issue for me missing my belt.

Commentary is just about done with Christmas shopping, but I do have to go with my Dad to an appointment today with a cardiologist. On Christmas Eve?

My niece and her family are in Park City, Utah today so I won’t be driving to Sugar Land this evening for Christmas Eve dinner. I am Ok with that.

Be safe this Christmas Eve!

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Senator Carol Alvarado

Sorry for the delay. I was in Austin.

After a year of campaigning with one of my best friends, this day finally arrived.

Carol Alvarado is now the Texas State Senator from District 6.

A lot of folks showed up today in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol to watch the ceremony.

The Dean was the Master of Ceremonies.

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis administered the oath of office.

Senator Alvarado gave remarks that were from her heart. Nice.

Family, friends, supporters, colleagues and other elected officials were there.

Her office is on the third floor of the Capitol.

It has certainly been a heck of a year.

Congratulations to State Senator Carol Alvarado!

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We had a great turnout last night for State Senator-Elect Carol Alvarado’s reception at the Post Oak Hotel. She will be sworn-in tomorrow at the State Capitol.

15,339 voters participated in the #TXSD6SpecialElection. Senator-Elect Alvarado avoided a runoff by 55 votes.

Care to guess how many voters will participate in the #TXHD145SpecialElection?

So far, there are three candidates in the race.

Commentary has had email issues the past coupe of days. It has been extremely frustrating and unproductive. Drives me cwazy for sure.

Michael Brantly will wear the 23 for the Astros next season.

That is all I have for now.

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Marisol and Tommaso

Commentary forgot to mention that I was invited to the wedding of Marisol Valero and Tommaso Bassi this past Sunday. It was a very lovely affair and I am glad they included me.

The ceremony and luncheon were held at Brenner’s on the Bayou. The ceremony was also on Facetime for family in Italy and Mexico. It was conducted in English and Spanish. Got it?

Marisol also announced that a little one was on the way.

Now it is on to happily ever after! Congrats to Marisol and Tommaso!

It is not news that Kuffer doesn’t think much of Bill King becoming H-Town Mayor. Here is what Kuffer says about the proposed Houston Metro paln:

All the details, which as Metro Chair Patman notes can and will change as the community dialogue continues, can be found at MetroNext.org. A press release with a link to Patman’s “State of Metro” presentation last week is here. I will of course be keeping an eye on this, and I definitely plan to interview Patman about the referendum once we get a little farther into the year. And let’s be clear, even if I didn’t have other reasons to dislike Bill King, I don’t want him to ever have any power over Metro. If we want to have any shot at having decent transit in this city, he’s the last person we want as Mayor.

Here is all of today’s Kuffer: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=89000.

On transit, H-Town has done a pretty poor job. Thank goodness for those traffic apps that help you avoid congestion. I could go on and on about lousy transit in H-Town, like not having enough parking spaces at the Metro Rail line stops. At one on the Northside, folks have to park a few blocks away from the station. We can do better, can’t we?

I am not going to spend a lot of time defending Bill King. He’s pretty good at doing that himself. Here is what he tweeted yesterday:

Bill King‏@BillKingHouston 19h19 hours ago


What is the significance of 1/1/2020? That is the day we start the process of dissolving the Uptown TIRZ!

Nothing wrong with having confidence.

It looks like Prop B is coming. Here is from the Chron:

In a statement Tuesday, the police union echoed warnings by Turner that the charter amendment would force hundreds of layoffs if the city is required to implement it.

“While the HPOU feels for the fire employees who may be laid off and the reduction of service to the public, we have done everything in our power to stop the catastrophic effects of Prop B,” the union’s statement reads. “Fire union leaders have said the Mayor is only bluffing and layoffs are a scare tactic. We shall see.”

Asked what he would tell union members if the city lays off hundreds of firefighters, Lancton cast blame on Turner’s administration for being “vindictive and retaliatory,” saying city council and the mayor “will be held accountable for whatever actions they take.”

“We remain committed to sitting here and talking with anybody, any time, any place,” Lancton said, repeating his calls for Turner to return to the bargaining table, where Lancton hopes the two sides can work out a contract that would phase in pay parity, instead of requiring it be implemented in full.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Judge-dissolves-TRO-blocking-implementation-of-13475185.php.

Want to know what the wild card is on this? Public reaction. Trust me.

No MLB or Astros talk today.


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A Week Until Christmas

The Astros are signing Michael Brantley. How many times has he been an All Star?

In the #TXHD145Special, Melissa Noriega is in. This is on her twitter handle:

Candidate for State Rep Dist. 145

From the oppo research department, #TXHD145Special candidate Christina Morales is the President/CEO/Funeral Director of Morales Funeral Home. Don’t even think about asking her about skeletons in her closet. Got it?

On a related note, today, Harris County Commissioners Court will canvass the results of the #TXSD6Special.

It is a week before Christmas and I really don’t have much to say. I did start my Christmas shopping yesterday including going online where I was promised delivery by Christmas Eve. I am keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

We all know that Christmas cards are a dying breed of sorts. I have received six this year. One from a MUD law firm, one from a political consultant, one from Garcia-Gamboa, one from my best friend, one from my nephew/godson, and one from former H-Town Mayor Bill and Andrea White. The one from the White’s is the first without their kids featured – just the two of them – aww.

Christmas cards with a request for donations don’t count as Christmas cards in my book – sorry.

In Baytown, a gallon of gas is $1.79. Good for the pocketbook, but bad for the H-Town economy, I guess.

How about this tweet:

Bill Kelly liked

Brian McTaggart‏Verified account@brianmctaggart 2h2 hours ago


How do you like this lineup?

CF Springer

3B Bregman

2B Altuve

SS Correa

LF Brantley

1B Gurriel

RF Reddick

DH White

C Chirinos

Michael Brantley has been selected to three AL All Star teams of course.

Plus the guy doesn’t strike out much.

Nice news from The Yard, don’t you think?


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Bryce Harper is a top free agent waiting to be signed. How many times has he had 100 or more RBIs in a season?

There is a lot going on the week before Christmas. I need to start doing my Christmas shopping.  Lot of politics this week.

State Senator-Elect Caro Alvarado will be sworn-in at the State Capitol this Friday at 11 am.

From the Chron E-Board this past Saturday:

[Thumbs up] Houstonians won’t have to wait any longer to get full representation in the state Senate — Carol Alvarado won the District 6 special election without needing a runoff, saving everyone a good deal of time and money. But the 2018 midterms aren’t quite over. Now begins the race to fill Alvarado’s former seat in the state House.

[Thumbs down] That state Senate race had the lowest turnout for a special election since at least 1996, with an unofficial count of 15,084 voters.

From Kuffer:

We should expect Sen.-elect Carol Alvarado to submit her resignation this week, once the election results in SD06 are certified. My guess is that Greg Abbott will schedule both elections for the same day, probably in mid to late January. Assuming the need for runoffs, the new members in HDs 79 and 145 will be seated by early March or so. For the record, since I know you’re wondering, Hillary Clinton won HD79 68.0% to 26.5%, and won by 66.8% to 28.7% in HD145. Wendy Davis carried HD79 by 58.5% to 39.3%, and HD145 by 57.2% to 40.8%. I can imagine a Republican making it to a runoff in those districts, but winning would be very unlikely. And before anyone mentions SD19, Hillary Clinton carried it 53.4% to 41.9%, while Wendy Davis actually lost it, 49.1% to 49.0%. These districts are much bluer than SD19. (Beto won HD145 by a 70.9% to 28.3% clip; I don’t have the data for El Paso.)

Here is Kuffer’s take: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=88967

Commentary doesn’t have much to add on the #TXHD145Special.


I have something to say about the following from Kuffer:

There was a time when I had respect for King’s fiscal conservatism. I didn’t agree with him, but he had a plan that he clearly articulated and seemed to believe in, and he repeated it often enough to make you think it might work. Then he supported Prop B, which demonstrated how little he actually meant any of it. But it was a bright shiny opportunity for him, so he took it. Gotta have something to run on now that pension reform has been done, I guess. On the plus side, the presence of Tony Buzbee means he has a chance to not be the worst candidate in the race.

Here is Kuffer again: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=88948.

So, the Chron E-Board says this today:

The crystal ball in Times Square is still weeks away from its annual New Year’s Eve descent, but it’s already starting to feel like 2019 at Houston’s City Hall.

With his formal filing of campaign paperwork, Bill King has unofficially kicked off municipal election season. King, the former mayor of Kemah, barely lost to Sylvester Turner in the 2015 election and is setting up voters for a rematch. He’s joined by millionaire lawyer Tony Buzbee in challenging Turner.

While he didn’t win, King’s campaign — and his specific focus on pension reform — helped shape the agenda for the eventual winner. Now, thanks to Turner’s advocacy and political acumen in Austin, our public pensions are on a path to fiscal responsibility.

Here is all of the E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Houston-s-2019-election-season-unofficially-13470882.php.

If Bill does make this race, I suspect he will again drive a big part of the discussion during this election. Say what you want about Bill and Prop B, but he did end up on the side of 60% of the voters. It was considerably higher among African American and Latino voters. Commentary always respects the voters and they pretty much made it clear that they want out Firefighters taken care of.  Commentary will say it again.  The voters, Bill King and Kuffer didn’t create the Prop B mess.  Like it or not.

A ton of H-Town City Hall pundits underestimated Bill three years ago. I wonder how serious these same pundits will take Bill this time?

From the Chron this past weekend on HISD:

Some local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, have expressed dismay at the idea of the state’s Republican-leaning government taking control of HISD, where all nine elected school board members are Democrats. School board members also have argued HISD does not need state takeover, pointing to successful efforts to reduce the number of “improvement required” schools and navigate significant budget cuts.

And this:

One of the Houston area’s longer-serving elected Republicans, Harris County Treasurer and two-time mayoral candidate Orlando Sanchez, also called Friday for state intervention in HISD. Sanchez implored state legislators and the Texas Education Agency to take responsibility for HISD, urging them to replace the district’s school board and devote more resources to low-performing campuses.

Here is the entire Chron take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-leaders-dismayed-by-HISD-board-vote-13468000.php.

I like my pal, soon-to-be former Harris County Treasurer Orlando, but this is the first time I have ever heard him give a take on HISD.

On a related note, I heard and laughed this past weekend that some folks were going to make a push in the upcoming legislative session for the creation of 4 at-large seats to the HISD Board. All that will do is add 4 more Dems to the Board. Oh, well.

This past season Bryce Harper had 100 RBIs of course – first time he’s had triple digit RBIs in a season.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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