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Archive for May, 2019

Unless the Governor vetoes a bill, the City of H-Town is fixing to have to sell off some water rights. Since the Astros didn’t play last night, I am going to do a water rights question instead of the MLB. Here goes. Name the movie that came out in the 1970s that got nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Pic, Actor, Actress and Director, but only won 1, that had a plot of sorts involving water rights?

Channel 13’s Ted Oberg tweeted this along with a photo of the Firefighter cadets being sworn in yesterday:

Houston Fire Department swears 66 cadets in this afternoon one day after Prop B declared unconstitutional. Congratulations to them. Stay safe! However, it was done in secret. No notice to reporters. Photo sent at 6:15. Cadets were focus of a lot of bad news. They deserved better.

They never should have been pawns in the first place in the Prop B fight.

What is up with the press not being notified? Were family invited?

For some on the bright side, that’s 66 new members for Local 341. Just saying.

On my take on the Chron E-Board’s hilarious editorial yesterday, it is a shame that an editorial board is quick to dismiss the will of the voters. Think about that. Fake election results? What a shame? Chron readers deserve better.

“Chinatown” of course, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway had a water rights plot of sorts. BTW: Robert Towne won their only Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. “Godfather Part II” won Best Pic that year.

While I am on the subject, Art Carney took home the Best Actor Oscar for “Harry and Tonto” over roles like Nicholson’s, Al Pacino in “Godfather Part II” and Dustin Hoffman in “Lenny”. I wasn’t sold on that. I was OK with Ellyn Burstyn winning Best Actress for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and Francis Ford Coppola for picking up the Best Director Oscar for “Godfather II.”

We now have an eight game lead and are in Fenway for three against the Red Socks, err Sox.

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Some things never change. The GOP in #TXLege continues to hate and suppress minority voter turnout.

Name the MLB division leader with the biggest lead?

Honestly. That was my first reaction. I burst out in laughter when I read the Chron’s E-Board take on the latest on Prop B.

Here is this:

Firefighters should accept the ruling and return to the bargaining table, this time with newfound leverage: Prop B was proof that the voters of Houston want their firefighters to be better paid.

And this:

But no one can deny that the people have spoken. And despite firefighters’ loss in court this week, the popular will of Houston voters provides powerful incentive for Turner, who is up for re-election, to negotiate generously with firefighters this time around.

Wow! Let me say this again. The H-Town Mayor doesn’t become Mayor without the help of the Houston Firefighters. They obviously couldn’t work things out and that’s why the Firefighters went the Prop B route. 60% of the H-Town voters or 288,000 or so voted for Prop B despite the Mayor vigorously campaigning against. It didn’t look like he was that interested in implementing the will of the voters over the past six months. Yes, six months.

The Chron E-Board is funny. The current situation is toxic. They have tried sitting down.

It’s toxic. Get it?

Here is the entire hilarious E-Board take:
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Let-Prop-B-die-Here-s-how-Houston-firefighters-13848401.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral.

From Steve Houston:

What some failed to realize about the pay raises, the mayor decided to impose the same requirements on firefighters as police in terms of implementing Prop B (before it was declared unconstitutional in court). So positions that require a college degree with police, required one with HFD in order to get a rank-based raise. In a last minute move to save a great deal of money, it was also required that an engineer/operator have the same minimum 12 years and a fire equivalent of a master certificate to obtain that part of the raise, of course invoking more howling from the fire union and it’s supporters. As a result of imposing these type of requirements, the ultimate cost of the raise was reduced a great deal and the bulk of it went to the most senior firefighters-most of whom are wise enough to stay away from social media while drunk posting unlike their junior peers.

Now that the district judge has ruled Prop B unconstitutional, both parties should go back to negotiating as the appellate process can last years, the mayor has already thrown HFD a bone with a 9.5% offer, almost certainly tied to agreeing to drop the appeal. The mayor needs to formalize the offer and the union negotiators need to make a counter offer in line with the economic realities the city faces. If this happens fast enough, the city budget can absorb a sizable portion of the raise in the upcoming fiscal year without layoffs or demotions. If the 2020 budget starting July 1 doesn’t provide for a raise, the options will quickly shrink until the following year. Isn’t getting 13 or 14% with no layoffs, no demotions, and promoting the fire cadets worth such a substantial sum?

Those willing to bet on a new mayor next year are the same kind that have kept HFD from obtaining raises for years, doubling down on the courts seems foolish as well. But if either side shows the continued animosity toward a compromise, it will definitely hurt their cause. Bury the hatchets gentlemen or watch the legal bills soar with no end in sight.

I was watching #TXLege yesterday and there was debate on a bill on restoring the Battleship Texas. They are proposing to take it to dry dock and reskin it. State Rep. Briscoe Cain had to tack on an amendment to make sure they return it to the San Jacinto Battleground which happens to sit in HD 144, State Rep. Mary Ann Perez’s district and Sen. Carol Alvarado’s SD 6. It says something that they had to have an amendment to make sure it isn’t put somewhere else when it is repaired.

I wonder how many House members have even been to the San Jacinto Battleground. It ought to be mandatory, that if you are a member of #TXLege, you have to go visit the San Jacinto Battleground.

The Astros of course have a 7 ½ game lead in the AL West over the second place Mariners, the biggest division lead in MLB this morning.

Eight in a row. We have the day off. We are at Fenway this weekend.

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The Astros lead MLB with a .283 team batting average followed by San Luis. What is San Luis’ team batting average?

Commentary doesn’t know if there is an end in sight. I am talking about the mess and madness at H-Town City Hall. Houston Firefighters say that a bunch of Firefighters didn’t get pay raises. The following lines from the Chron article today pretty much sums up where we are today and here it is:

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, said the lack of raises for some “reinforce the image that Turner is looking for every way possible to stick it to the firefighters.” The latest news builds on other examples, Jones said, such as Turner’s refusal to hire fire cadets while hiring police cadets.

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Hundreds-of-Houston-firefighters-did-not-receive-13845041.php.

I was watching the H-Town City Council Meeting Public Session on the flat screen yesterday. Some residents from Austin Street in Midtown showed up to complain about a proposed bike lane. Here is their deal. They live in townhomes that only have street parking. If you stick a bike lane on their street, you are eliminating half of their parking. Does the City take that into consideration when they are putting in bike lanes?

My good friend Anna Eastman has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron and here is how it starts:

Thursday night I routinely checked my email only to discover that the Houston ISD Board of Trustees had voted to end the Teach For America contract. Wait, what? Yes, HISD had effectively ended a relationship that started in 1991.

Over those 28 years, 2,000 Teach For America corps members and alumni have worked in and around Houston ISD. According to the latest alumni data, 70 percent of Teach For America-Houston alums work in education or in jobs directly affecting low-income communities. Nearly 300 of these former corps members are currently building their careers in HISD. Those alumni include 11 principals, 10 assistant principals and, ironically, two trustees.

I’ve posted my dismay over the vote on Facebook and received long trails of comments voicing everything from confusion to outrage about the HISD board’s vote. During the years that I served on HISD’s board, the district was viewed as a bold leader in evidence-based education reforms. But this vote is only the latest blow in what appears to be an effort to dismantle every education reform the district has ever put in place.

Here is the entire Op-Ed: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/HISD-s-board-is-taking-apart-every-effort-at-13845474.php.

I have to hand it to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for saying why she wouldn’t participate in a campaign town hall with Fox News. She says Fox is a vehicle for racists and liars. She is right.

If Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, or Elizabeth Warren looked a lot younger than they did ten years ago like former VP Joe Biden, they would have gotten the business and run out of the business. Just saying. The treat women differently thing.

I saw this tweet yesterday:

Evan liked

Max Berger
@maxberger

Joe Biden is a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton was in 2016. He has all of her weaknesses and none of her strengths. He has a worse record than she did. We shouldn’t make the same mistake in 2020 we made in 2016.

Just saying.

Tim Conway of “The Carol Burnet Show” fame is no longer with us. Conway first came to my attention as Ensign Parker of “McHale’s Navy” on ABC, in black and white.

Commentary usually doesn’t comment on the lists the Chron puts online like the go to Mexican restaurants. Here is their latest:

Cuchara, Superica, Last Concert Café, El Patio, El Real, El Tiempo, Goode Co. Taqueria, Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina, Irma’s Original, Irma’s Southwest, Molina’s Cantina, Pappasito’s Cantina, Picos, and Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen.

I have never been to the Goode Co. pair or Sylvia’s.

I would add Dona Maria (breakfast and lunch hangout for Latino politicos), El Jardin (Latino politico event venue), Gringo’s, La Mexicana (best fideo), Merida, Spanish Flower (best menudo), and Teotihuacan.

San Luis of course is batting .263, number two to our .283.

We’ll take it. Commentary is talking about the ridiculous inside the park #SpringerDinger. Justin Verlander takes the mound tonight at Comerica.

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The Raid

At 27-15, we have the best record in MLB. What was our record after 42 games last season?

There is a Chron front page story today on the botched raid or the Harding Street Massacre here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Evidence-left-behind-after-botched-Pecan-Park-13842488.php.

It would be laughable, but it isn’t because two people died. You get the feeling that those in charge are trying to figure out how to ‘splain this one off and not take responsibility. I don’t see how you can put a good face on this one. They will try though, if we let them.

Commentary is not going to say much about Dems and so-called frontrunners in the race for president. Let’s wait until the debates.

Commentary’s pal Chris Bell is thinking about running for U.S. Senator. Kuffer and another story on Chris think that Chris’ support for Bill King in the 2015 H-Town mayoral runoff will hurt Chris among Democratic Party primary voters.

Here is Kuffer’s take on Chris: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=90707&cpage=1.

I don’t think so. We have the potential to have a robust presidential primary in 2020 so turnout could be healthy for other races.  Whoever can raise money in a U.S. Senate race and put together a statewide campaign will prevail. Maybe a few insiders will hold it against Chris for endorsing Bill. I am thinking Houston Firefighters won’t.

Right now, the Dem Primary for Texas U.S. Senator is wide open. That is probably a good thing.

Steve Houston sent me this on the Census 2020 Contract over at H-Town City Hall:

The amount of funding and representation tied to an accurate count cannot be over emphasized but some want to politicize the process over perceived personal gains or the false belief that it will only help their opposing political party. The same jokers opposing the modest expense are the kind that fall all over themselves to hand over money to private interests in the form of corporate welfare that provides limited returns at best.

Houston also sent this over on Prop B:

“I find it interesting that they now appear to be trying to play the victim here,” Lancton said. “Never one time did we ask a council member to return fire PAC political money.”

Engaging in political battles with the fire union may indeed cost a few votes from their knee jerk supporters, few firefighters themselves live inside the city limits, but the exchange demonstrates the fire union’s willingness to get what they want by any means necessary and their expectations tied to their support. Insiders call the union leader “Media Marty” after the way he spins everything in his favor no matter what the reality is, he clearly lied which only CM Robinson sharing the texts would show.

The ongoing narrative in this blog is that Prop B can’t be altered, over ridden, or otherwise absent a public vote changed flies in the face of the fire union’s successful argument in court that their (also voter approved) collective bargaining agreement could indeed change the initiative. That is the very basis for the recent mediation and ongoing negotiations between the city and the union, if Prop B could not be changed outside another vote there’d be no need to bargain.

The exchange also provides substantial proof that the fire union tried to engage in a “pay for play” situation expecting specific votes in return for their financial support, not the usual understanding that a donation would give greater access to a politician as they take campaign contributions from a variety of competing interests. Had the contribution been directly tied to the vote, the union leader could easily be indicted instead of just shown for what he is.

Commentary said before that I was asked a year or so ago who my favorite Astro was, and I responded that my most entertaining Astro was Alex Bregman. You also have to love that he has taken the time to learn to speak Spanish- cool.

Last season, after 42 games, we were 26-16 of course.

They are playing like we expect them to play, considering what we pay for tickets and a Saint Arnold at The Yard this season.

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MVP Season

When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be, will be,
The future’s not ours, to see, yeah
Que Sera, Que Sera, Que Sera
When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my lover what will Ibe
Will I be lonesome day after day
Here’s what he said to me
Que Sera, Sera, yeah
Whatever will be, will be, will be

Doris Day is no longer with us.

Name the MLB club with the best run differential and name the MLB club with the worse run differential?

Figuring out the mess or madness at H-Town City Hall is hard and it is hard on everyone. The Firefighters got paychecks Friday and that’s all I can say about it. This is from this weekend’s Chron:

The city of Houston on Friday issued lump-sum paychecks to more than 3,900 firefighters, a move Mayor Sylvester Turner said reflects the implementation, retroactive to Jan. 1, of Proposition B, the measure granting firefighters the same pay as police of corresponding rank and experience.

Marty Lancton, president of the Houston fire union, said that contrary to the mayor’s “Orwellian claims,” the paychecks did not fully equalize base and incentive pay between fire and police, as laid out in Proposition B. Lancton said the city “badly botched” implementation of the measure.

The back pay, worth $27.4 million, comes a week after Turner and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association ended court-ordered mediation without an agreement to phase in the raises over several years.

And this:

Controller Chris Brown said earlier this week that he wants to independently verify that Prop B costs $79 million annually, but the mayor also has not provided Brown’s office with certain incentive pay data.

Here is the entire Chron article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/City-issues-back-pay-to-firefighters-union-says-13836473.php.

This is on the City of H-Town’s website on the City Controller:

What is the function of the City Controller?

The City Controller serves as the City’s Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for ensuring that the assets of the City are properly accounted for and expended in a manner consistent with applicable laws, policies, plans and procedures. 

Maybe Commentary is just a simpleton, but they just doled out $27.4 mil, I kind of am hoping that the City Controller knows why and how the $27.4 mil was distributed.

U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Kamala Harris put this out recently:

When I met Doug, the man who would become my husband, I also met a man who was a divorced father of two children, Cole and Ella, named after John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald. As a child of divorce, I knew how hard it could be when your parents start to date other people. And I was determined not to insert myself in their lives until Doug and I had established we were in this for the long haul. Children need consistency; I didn’t want to insert myself into their lives as a temporary fixture because I didn’t want to disappoint them. There’s nothing worse than disappointing a child.

So, we took it slow, and Doug and I put a lot of thought into when and how I would first meet the kids. And that meant waiting. As we waited, anticipation grew. When the day finally came, I had butterflies in my stomach. The plan was to go to a seafood hut off the Pacific Coast Highway called the Reel Inn, a favorite of the kids.

On my way to meet Doug, I picked up a tin of cookies and tied a ribbon in a bow around them. I took a few deep breaths. I was excited, and I was nervous. I rehearsed what I would say. Would the kids think the cookies were really nice or really weird? Was the ribbon too much? (The ribbon was probably a little extra, but over the years Cole and Ella have spared me by not telling me that.)

Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming. They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults. I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in.

To know Cole and Ella is to know that their mother Kerstin is an incredible mother. Kerstin and I hit it off ourselves and are dear friends. She and I became a duo of cheerleaders in the bleachers at Ella’s swim meets and basketball games, often to Ella’s embarrassment. We sometimes joke that our modern family is almost a little too functional.

A few years later when Doug and I got married, Cole, Ella, and I agreed that we didn’t like the term “stepmom.” Instead they came up with the name “Momala.”

Here is the entire piece: https://www.elle.com/culture/career-politics/a27422434/kamala-harris-stepmom-mothers-day/.

Aww!

The Astros have played one fourth of their season and #SpringerDinger is having an MVP season. His five for five performance yesterday which included two #SpringerDingers was jaw dropping in front of a SRO crowd at The Yard. His 15 #SpringerDingers are second most in MLB, his 37 RBIs are tied for second best, his 51 base hits are tied for fourth best in MLB and his .321 batting average is in the top 15. Of course, we still have a lot of baseball left.

You had to have enjoyed yesterday’s action at The Yard, unless you were a Rangers fans. First, a shout out to the fan Saturday who on the back of his Astros jersey had RANGERSTITLES where the name goes and 0 where the number goes – classic. There were two #SpringerDingers and two by Alex Bregman and Corbin Martin made his MLB debut as our pitcher. Corbin is from the Cy-Fair area so he is one of ours. He went to Cy Ranch and A&M and was our second-round draft choice in 2017. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, gave up 3 hits, gave up 2 earned runs and struck out 9 hitters. Plus, it was Mother’s Day and his Mom and Grand Mother were there. We won 15-5, swept the Rangers and lead the Silver Boot 6 games to 4.

We lead MLB with a plus 69 run differential and the Marlins are dead last with a minus 91 run differential of course.

We have a 6 ½ game lead in our division. The good news I guess is all the other teams in our division are playing under .500 ball. The bad news is that of the six teams that we play in interleague games, four are playing above .500.

We are at Comerica for three starting this evening and then at Fenway this weekend

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Albert Pujols now has 2,000 career RBIs. What are the most RBIs he has had in a season? For double points, how many postseason career RBIs does he have?

Somehow, the following from the Chron does not surprise me. Most stuff the HISD School Board does these days does not surprise me. During Teacher Appreciation Week no less.  Here is from the Chron:

Houston ISD trustees voted Thursday to end the district’s contract with Teach For America, an organization that places high-performing college graduates from non-traditional teaching backgrounds in classrooms.

In recent years, about 35 Teach For America corps members joined the district annually, committing to a two-year program. Corps members are HISD employees and earn salaries paid by the district, though they cost HISD an additional $3,000 to $5,000 in fees related to recruitment and support.

Board members voted 4-4 on a motion to continue the contract, with a majority vote needed to support its renewal. Trustees approved the contract in 2018 by a 4-3 vote, but the outcome swung this year with Board President Diana Dávila flipping from “yes” to “no” on Thursday.

Opponents of renewing Teach For America’s contract noted corps members are less likely to remain in the district long-term than educators certified through more traditional methods. Some trustees also quibbled with the fees paid to Teach For America at a time when educators across the district are receiving modest salary increases.

“TFA is an organization that is problematic,” HISD Trustee Elizabeth Santos said. “It deprofessionalizes teaching, increases turnover and undermines union organization. We should not subsidize TFA with extra dollars. They should not have special privileges over alternative certification paths.”

Dávila, who had voted each of the past three years to renew the district’s contract with Teach For America, did not speak about her vote or respond to a request for comment Thursday. Ahead of last year’s vote, Dávila said Teach For America corps members “are making a difference” and “we need to not let these partnerships end.”

Trustees Sergio Lira and Jolanda Jones also voted against renewal.

And this:

Trustees Wanda Adams, Sue Deigaard, Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca and Rhonda Skillern-Jones voted to renew the contract, while Trustee Anne Sung abstained.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HISD-trustees-vote-against-renewing-district-13834070.php.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. What is up with the abstention? She probably has a good reason for abstaining. Then again, she probably does not. Pitiful.

Here is what my good friend Anna Eastman tweeted last night on the HISD vote:

Horrible news.

And this:

And where was the TEA conservator tonight? NO! . . . you can’t hire a superintendent, but, YES!, you can cancel the TFA contract????? SMH, Houston and Texas.

Then Anna posted this on her Facebook this morning:

Last night I made an emotional post about the HISD board voting down the Teach for America contract. I’m still upset this morning, surprised and not surprised. At its height in HISD TFA corps members comprised about 10% of new teachers (this is only new hires, not second year or all of the other great corps members who are veteran teachers or principals or serving in some other capacity in the district) and for the past three years they’ve comprised about 4% of new hires. I’ve felt it was a shame that the numbers had been reduced to the level they had, but I believe strongly that principals should get to make these choices for their campuses. Heck, they even pay the fee to TFA out of their own budgets. It’s a myth that corps members take jobs from veterans. They take jobs that other teachers won’t take. The only instance in HISD where that could be assumed was at the onset of Apollo 20, even though it was not exactly that, rather there were too many brand new corps members placed at at least one of the schools without a strong bench of veterans for balance. Houston is full of educators who came here as TFA corps members who’ve been coming to Houston since 1991. I’m glad children in other systems will still benefit from having a TFA CM as their teacher.

I hope HISD will reconsider this move, but I’m worried that with votes like last night, no commitment to teacher salaries from the board and all of the other factors that have created an adverse working environment, folks – regardless of their path to teaching – will quit choosing HISD altogether. I read yesterday that 38K kids leave HISD for charters and 28K leave for private.

To be totally transparent, I started serving on the regional board for Teach for America after I got off the HISD board. I chose to do that because I believe TFA is one tool out of many we have to improve Houston schoolchildren’s educational experience.

On the cable franchise fees fight up in Austin, here is this from the Chron:

The Texas House on Thursday approved legislation that would limit fees telecommunication and cable companies pay cities to use their rights of way, likely opening up a new spending gap of at least $12 million two days after Mayor Sylvester Turner laid out his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Senate Bill 1152, authored by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, passed the House on a 92-50 vote on the third and final reading Thursday. The legislation, which had received Senate approval early last month, heads back to the upper chamber, where lawmakers will decide whether to approve the House version.

The measure would eliminate what cable companies and some lawmakers say is an outdated double tax levied on companies that transmit cable and phone services over the same lines. The bill would eliminate the lesser of the two charges, starting next January.

Opponents say the bill amounts to a gift for large telecom firms, which would not be required to pass the savings on to consumers because the state is barred from regulating cable rates. Turner had urged lawmakers to oppose the measure, saying it would deliver a financial hit to Houston.

I wonder if anyone thought about amending the bill to phase in the limitation of the fee over a three and a half year period? My cable franchise fee on my monthly bill is around $11. I wonder if I will see a reduction?

In 2006, Albert Pujols had 137 RBIs of course, his best RBI season and he has 54 postseason career RBIs.

Retractable roofs at stadiums are not waterproof. I was at the grand opening of NRG back in 2002 and it was raining and the rainwaters were flowing in with the roof closed. Last night at The Yard, folks had to use their umbrellas during the downpour with the roof closed. The game went on though.

Take your umbrellas again tonight.

What about that Josh Reddick snag? Nice!

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Silly Debate

Who is the oldest player on the Astros roster?

Commentary is opposed to term limits in principle for our elected officials. After watching six GOP members of the H-Town City Council discuss a census outreach contract yesterday, I have to reconsider. Commentary was watching the H-Town City Council meeting yesterday. First, check this from the Chron:

A divided city council on Wednesday approved a $650,000 contract aimed at boosting the number of Houston residents who participate in the 2020 census, a measure that generated partisan debate in which some council members worried the outreach would have a liberal bent.

Under the contract, Lopez Negrete Communications — a firm specializing in Hispanic marketing — will conduct outreach intended to improve response rates in the 2020 national survey. Council members passed the deal on an 11-6 vote, with most of the council’s conservative cohort voting against it.

The hour-long debate centered around allegations from a handful of council members who said subcontracting companies or partnering organizations may conduct census outreach in a way that is slanted toward Democrats or liberals.

Here is the entire Chron read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Council-OKs-census-outreach-contract-after-debate-13830431.php?src=hp_totn.

It was certainly excruciating watching the six. The six Council Members have no idea what a lot of us think about a census count. Clueless is too kind. Silly debate is too kind. Commentary is thinking if the contract was awarded to “Jones Smith” Communications, there would be no problem, no discussion.

So called liberals or Democrats want everyone counted, unlike the GOP, who promotes the citizenship question, so Latinos won’t be counted. This contract will help count those that are hardest to count. What is so hard to understand?

This should not be a red state versus a blue state issue. The census helps determine funding on infrastructure, education, health care and the social safety net.

Collecting accurate data is important to our public health and business future. The public health community uses data to develop strategies on combatting disease. The business community uses data to plan growth, make investments, locate business developments, and create jobs.

Excruciating.

Justin Verlander of course is the oldest Astro on the roster, he’s 36.

Jose Altuve is batting .236. What’s up with that?

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There is only one pitcher in MLB history to toss two no-nos in interleague play. Name the pitcher, please?

Two Latina Houston Firefighters addressed the H-Town City Council yesterday at the Public Session. Subject matter, you guessed it, Prop B. One happened to be the first Latina Houston Firefighter ever who joined the department in 1993. The other was younger and had received her layoff notice last week. Both were very articulate and professional. They held their ground. Commentary is pretty sure the Houston Professional Firefighters are going to send a copy of the two speaking to every Latino and Latina leader in H-Town. Why wouldn’t they?

It is already out there. The GOP leadership proposing an increase in the sales tax will be used against every GOP candidate running for the state legislature in 2020. Thank you kindly!

I don’t have much to say about the GOPers in the Texas State Senate moving to preserve Johnny Reb statues.

Commentary had a take Monday on the way Saturday’s election results were posted and here is what Kuffer had to say:

I noticed the same thing in the Pasadena City Council elections. Initially, while the election night returns page was saying that all 296 precincts had reported, it was showing single digit Election Day vote totals in each of the individual Council races. That sure didn’t seem right. On the plus side, the next time I refreshed the page, maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, a fuller set of numbers had been reported. I don’t remember now if there was another update after that – I was paying more attention to the San Antonio Mayor’s race by that time – but because I couldn’t rely on the number of precincts reporting to tell me the state of progress I had to keep checking in to see if anything had changed. After awhile, it was clear that we were done.

This is surely fixable, and it’s the reason why the shakedown cruise was done during a low-turnout May election. I think a running total of vote centers that have reported, along with a table showing which ones and where they are – be sure to include what State Rep District they’re in, with City Council district for races like the one this November – would fit the bill. We could approximate that in the past by seeing how many precincts were yet to report in district races; it was how I felt confident, with a hundred or so precincts still out, that Lina Hidalgo was going to catch up to and pass Ed Emmett in 2018, by noting that nearly all of the outstanding precincts were in heavily Dem districts. Give us something like that now, and all will be well. Candidates, reporters, and other election nerds will thank you.

Here is all of Kuffer: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=90621.

Red Sox Skipper Alex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico, will not go to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue which prompted this tweet from my old buddy Domingo:

Domingo Garcia‏ @Domingotexas 50m50 minutes ago

Tip of the cap to Alex Cora as he is going to forgo the Cold Big Macs to stand in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico. Bien hecho, @ac13alex

Mike Fiers of course tossed a no-no against the Dodgers back in 2015 when he was with the Astros and last night, as a member of the A’s, he tossed one against the Reds. I was there at The Yard when he threw the no-no against the Dodgers and there have been eight interleague no-nos.

We got beat badly last night. Ouch!

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These two MLB clubs have played about 20% of their season and neither has a hitter who has hit a triple. Name the clubs?

Folks don’t ask Commentary. I would have advised not to return the contributions from the Houston Firefighters. I would not have shared the texts from Firefighters honcho Marty Lancton. I would not have gotten into a running battle with Marty and the Firefighters. There are too many of them and not very many of you. Here is from the Chron:

Houston City Councilman David Robinson said he returned $7,500 in campaign contributions from the city’s firefighter union because of ethical concerns.

Robinson was one of two council members who said they received text messages from Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton asking them to return campaign contributions from the union’s political action committee. They said they received those texts after city council last month voted to send 60-day layoff notices to 220 firefighters to help offset the costs of implementing Proposition B, the voter-approved charter amendment that requires the city to pay firefighters the same salaries as police of corresponding rank and seniority. Robinson and Councilmember Martha Castex-Tatum, who said she also was asked to return her donation, voted for the layoff notices.

And this:

Robinson last week shared texts with the Chronicle that he said were sent by Lancton just after the 10-6 council vote approving the layoff notices, and days after some friends of Robinson died in a plane crash in Kerrville.

‘We will pray for you,” the text reads. “We will also never forget. We also think it’s highly appropriate that you return the (union’s) contributions made to you. If you need the address please let me know.”

And this:

Lancton responded forcefully to Robinson’s letter Monday.

“David Robinson has proved to be a clueless clown as a council member,” he said in a statement. “Houston firefighters now regret hoping he would be a good public safety steward. His baseless assumptions in his letter are about (sic) like his work on city council: poor. But the mayor can count on his blind allegiance.”

Here is the entire Chron read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Councilman-returns-campaign-cash-from-fire-union-13823760.php?src=hp_totn.

There should be no clowning around on this. Commentary would have advised the Council Member to ignore the text, not let the Chron know about the text and keep the money. Marty has proven to be one of the City’s most effective political players. Now you get to be labeled a “clueless clown.” On the other hand, it wasn’t a good move for Marty to ask for the contributions to be returned. Just saying.

Cleveland and the Marlins are the only clubs without a triple this season of course.

It was a good game last night. I got there in time to pick up a Hugs for Homers bobble head. Cool.

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Yesterday, Alex Bregman became the 931st MLB hitter to accomplish what?

Mediation was a failure and I saw this in the Chron:

HPFFA President Marty Lancton also said the city demanded in negotiations that Prop B be rescinded and declared unconstitutional, a request he adamantly opposed.

I don’t believe the Mayor asked for Prop B to be rescinded. The H-Town voters approved Prop B and only the voters can rescind.

Commentary tweeted this Saturday night as the election results were being posted:

I think we may have run into our first @HarrisVotes election night booboo or nobody voted today in some districts.

@HarrisVotes replied with this:

This is the initial unofficial report. Full results are still pending.

Commentary replied with this:

This is an election night screw up. Admit it, please.

And with this:

So @HarrisVotes is telling me that all three precincts in South Houston were counted and nobody voted?

Here is what the @HarrisVotes website Election Night posting said on the South Houston Mayoral race:

Precincts, Counted 3, Total 3, 100%.

Then this came out Sunday morning:

Harris County Clerk‏ @HarrisVotes 12h12 hours ago

Harris County has successfully conducted its first election utilizing the Countywide polling place program. 113 of 113 voting centers have reported in record time. To view the Final Unofficial results visit http://www.harrisvotes.com

Let me explain since @HarrisVotes wants to act like the GOP and not explain glitches which in this case is presentation.

Commentary is all for the voting centers on Election Day. If my precinct is in the Heights, I can vote on Election Day at the Community Center in Baytown if I am with my Dad. The issue is how the results are reported and presented to the public on Election Night.

When the first Election Day results were posted at 8:19 pm, the Election Day posting said Precincts Reporting 296 of 296 = 100%. In the past that meant all the precincts were counted. Everything is in. It makes it appear that since all the precincts are reporting they have all been counted, like it says when you look at the individual races on the posting. For example, in the South Houston Mayoral race, it said all 3 precincts had been counted but in the Election Day vote column, zero votes had been tallied. That’s the image I posted on my Today’s Take tweet.

If you go to the @HarrisVotes Election Day – Beta page you get a more detailed view of the reported votes. On that page, if you look closely at a tab, it told you how many of the voting centers had reported. There were 111 voting centers, which are the voting precinct locations and many precincts are combined – that’s why we don’t have 296 voting centers.

The Election Day – Beta page was first introduced and used in the December 11 State Senate District 6 Special Election and again for the State House District 145 Special Election and Runoff. In those races, voting centers were not used and they were the only races on the ballot. In those elections, on the Beta page, when you looked at the precinct-by-precinct results, a green check by the precinct indicated all the votes from the precinct were counted and complete. This past Saturday, on the Beta page, every precinct had the green check at the first posting at 8:19 pm even though some of them had not reported or counted a single Election Day vote like in South Houston.

Commentary got a few calls from folks wondering what to make of the way the results were being reported and it took part of the evening for me to figure it out.

@HarrisVotes needs to figure out a way to report and present where most folks can understand. If you can vote at any of the voting centers in the county on Election Day, then you are not going know if a voting precinct has been fully counted until the last voting center has reported. That is a significant departure from the past. So, in a very close district race, you are going to have to wait until all the voting centers in the county have reported for you to know whether you won or lost. Maybe @HarrisVotes can post which voting centers have reported so we can get a sense of what is out there.

@HarrisVotes should have added to their tweet yesterday that they understand there was a bit of confusion on how some were interpreting the posting of the results Saturday evening and they will be working to resolve those for future elections. It would probably be Ok if they ask some of the pros who regularly visit their webpage at 7 pm on Election Night for our thoughts. Just saying.

In a way, @HarrisVotes is lucky they rolled it out for this past election and they can fine tune it so to speak. If they would have rolled it out next March for the party primaries where more meaner folks than Commentary are involved, a sh_tstorm would have ensued on Election Night.

Listen to Commentary on this one. It’s on the house.

On my take on The Botched Raid last week, somebody said it should be called The Harding Street Massacre. Ouch!

Yesterday, Alex Bregman became the 931st MLBer to have three or more career grand salamis of course.

Willie Mays is 88 today. Happy Birthday Say Hey Kid!

Jose Altuve is 29 today. Happy Birthday Tuves!

It was a Mexican sweep this past weekend and the Royals are at The Yard for three.

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