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Archive for the ‘Harris County voter turnout and analysis’ Category

If some local leaders have their way Harris County voters may have the opportunity to vote on an initiative this November to add a penny to their property taxes and put it into early childhood education programs.  This kind of sounds like what San Antonio voters approved last year.  The Chron has a front page story in the hard copy and only available to subscribers online.  Check out a piece:

Harris County voters could be asked to approve a tax increase later this year to improve and expand early childhood programs, if a coalition of business and civic leaders can get its initiative on the November ballot.

The recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a group whose membership includes former Houston first lady Andrea White, is circulating a petition calling for the placement of an item on the next election ballot that would increase the county property tax rate by 1 cent, generating about $25 million a year to train teachers and buy school supplies for child-care centers serving children up to age 5.

"All the recent brain science development has indicated that early childhood education is absolutely pivotal," said Jonathan Day, a member of the corporation’s board and a former Houston city attorney. "The business community and academics, everybody’s of the single mind that, if there is a single point of investment for leverage to improve children’s education, it’s at early childhood."

The initiative stems from a recommendation made in an April report commissioned by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Collaborative for Children. It is similar to one launched by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, which ended in voters last year approving a modest sales tax hike to build new pre-kindergarten centers.

Of course the group has to get around 78,000 petition signatures.  That’s a lot of signatures.

County Commissioner Steve Radack has come out in opposition to the effort.  Check this from the Chron:

"I think people already pay too much money in school taxes and the fact of the matter is this is just a back door to try to get the county to get more money shipped over into education," Radack said.

This initiative has a long way to go.  They have to get the signatures.  They have to get the signatures approved.  Then they have to educate the voters.

I tried to follow the San Antonio effort last year.  The SA effort was their mayor’s initiative and baby.  He campaigned extensively for it.  Our mayor is in a battle for reelection so the local effort would have to find a well respected and well known local leader or leaders to sell the measure.  Good luck and stay tuned!

The Brewers are in town for three.  How many MVP Awards do the Brewers hold?

I guess what goes around comes around.  I’m talking about a proposed Astrodome initiative.  Tomorrow the County Sports Corporation will unveil the latest Dome proposals and will lay out one of their own.  It will be interesting if an initiative makes it to the November ballot.

Some folks may want us to support bonds to save the Dome.

Some folks may want us to support a penny property tax increase to save our kids.

Some folks will oppose both.

Rollie Fingers won the AL MVP Award in 1981, Robin Yount won the AL MVP Award in 1982 and 1989, and Ryan Broid won the NL MVP Award in 2011 of course.

Jason Castro is making a strong case to make the AL All Star team.   Let’s see how we do against Brewers.

 

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State Board of Education (SBOE), District 6 candidates participated in a forum last night in Alief but the folks in attendance didn’t get to learn about what the Texas Freedom Network put out yesterday.  Here is a part:

At least nine candidates — all Republicans (including SBOE 6 candidate Donna Bahorich)  — in the November 6 elections for the Texas State Board of Education appear to have a pretty dim view of the role and importance of public schools. Responding to a survey sponsored by several religious-right groups in Texas, the nine candidates said they disagree that “it is the government’s responsibility to be sure children are properly educated.” Eight (including Bahorich) of those nine candidates said they “strongly disagree” with that statement.

Here are some of Bahorich’s responses from the Texas Eagle Forum website:

It is the government’s responsibility to be sure children are properly educated?

Bahorich: Strongly Disagree.

Biology textbooks which do not teach both the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution should be rejected by the Board?

Bahorich: Strongly Agree.

I support the History and Social Studies curriculum standards approved by the State Board of Education in 2010.

Bahorich:  Strongly Agree.

I support displaying the Ten Commandments in public school buildings.

Bahorich:  Strongly agree.

You can check out the Texas Freedom Network piece here.

At 20 years, 11 months, and 21 days, this pitcher was the youngest to ever toss a complete game shutout game in a World Serious.  Name the pitcher.

Here is what the County put out yesterday evening:

As of this evening we have approved 84,203 applications and sent out 80,562 ballots.  We have received 44,153 voted ballots returned.

26,729 have been generated by the GOP and 22,623 by Dems.

Through Day 2 of Early Voting in Person in Harris County, 98,671 folks had participated as compared to 82,612 after Day 2 in 2008.  Ripley has 1020 after Day 2 as compared to 756 in 2008.  Franz 2380 – 2554.  IBEW 2526 – 1760.  Bush 1822 – 1046.  Northeast 2445 – 2745.

Commentary was out in West Harris County and saw some long lines at Franz and Nottingham.  Stay tuned!

I’ll hand it to the Chron for putting online all the letters that disagree with their Romney endorsement. 

Check them out here.

On October 6, 1966 in Game 2 of the World Serious, Jim Palmer of B’More of course shutout the Dodgers 6-0 at Dodger Stadium to become the youngest pitcher ever to throw a World Serious complete game shutout.

Here is part from a ‘Stros press release yesterday:

Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane and Houston Mayor Annise Parker led a groundbreaking ceremony for the Astros Community Leaders program this morning at Diez Park in Houston. Through its corporate partnerships, the Community Leaders program will ultimately contribute $18.0 million to the City of Houston over the next five years for youth baseball and softball programs at no cost to the city’s taxpayers.

The ceremony was hosted by Houston Parks and Recreation Director Joe Turner, who has worked with Crane and Mayor Parker to help establish the Community Leaders program. Astros President and CEO George Postolos and popular former Astros players Jose Cruz and Jimmy Wynn also took part in the ceremony along with city council members James Rodriguez, Wanda Adams and Ed Gonzalez. Jose Sanchez, who heads the East End Little League program which plays at Diez Park, spoke passionately about what the Community Leaders program will mean to his community.  Several children from the East End Little League were at the ceremony along with Darrell Miller, Major League Baseball’s Vice President of Youth and Facility Development.

Construction on three parks (Diez Park, Moody Park and Sunnyside) will begin on Thursday.

Here is the entire press release.

That’s all I have from The Yard.

 

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First of all, Commentary was working to Free Hobby on behalf of a client.

The H-Town City Council yesterday overwhelmingly voted to Free Hobby 16-1.  It was an outstanding win for The H-Town Mayor and the City.   The Mayor’s leadership and handling of this issue was right on.  Chairs Melissa Noriega’s and Stephen Costello’s guidance of the four public hearings allowed for all concerned parties to state their case.  And of course, CM James Rodriguez’s (my client) advocacy, playing the role of the whip, and offering strategic advice was essential in getting the deal done.

I also can’t say enough about the team that Southwest Airlines assembled to guide the project through City Hall.

Way to go!

Here is the Chron story.

Here is what CM Rodriguez put out after the vote:

I am honored to have been part of today’s historic vote at City Council approving the expansion project at Hobby Airport that will allow for international flight service. I want to thank my colleagues for supporting this important initiative.

Last year when I was first approached by Southwest Airlines about their proposal to construct a new five-gate international facility at Hobby Airport for service to Mexico, the Caribbean and cities in Central and South America, I advised them to prepare to fully engage the entire community. I want to thank Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board and CEO Gary Kelly, his team, and their employees for answering all of our questions and concerns in the most professional and timely manner.

Hobby Airport is in my council district, District I. I chose to take an active leadership role in this endeavor because it is good for our community, good for my district, and it makes good economic sense. This expansion project will create jobs and business opportunities as well as provide competition and lower airfares to and from Mexico, the Caribbean and cities in Central and South America, allowing our city to benefit from more tourists and business owners travelling to our great city.

Today Houston once again asserted that we are truly a great international city.

Of course one has to wonder if there was payback on the part of United when they put out a statement after the vote saying they were going to pink slip 1,300 of their H-Town employees beginning this fall.  I don’t know about that.

From Channel 13, here is how CM Rodriguez responded to the United announcement:

"It’s just a bit puzzling to me that they would make the announcement right after the council vote.  Southwest hasn’t built the facility yet, they haven’t started international flights. We are looking at 2015. And so to announce that they are not competing yet is probably a bit premature."

I’m thinking that this may be the summer of United payback.  I won’t be surprised this Friday to see during the seventh inning stretch at The Yard United employees snatching their sign off of the center field façade.  Stay tuned!

Among active MLBers, name the top two players with career doubles?

Speaking of, Ty Wiggintonner’s Brother is having a going away party after work today at Sheer Luck’s on West Gray.

CEWDEM endorsed Gene Wu out in HD 137.  CEWDEM has a right to do that and if you don’t like it, delete him or don’t send him your takes.

The Chron E-Board today deservedly lectured Lone Star State Dems today.

Check it out.

Here are morsels from the lecture:

The party watched another worthy aspirant forced into a runoff by an unknown with a familiar political name. This would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

And:

But Democrats seem unable to get their house in order, and some of the best candidates cannot survive their own primaries, let alone the general election.

And:

Texas Democrats need to tend their own garden, not only to help themselves, but the state as a whole. A functioning republic requires competing interests. Without an alternative to Republicans, large portions of the Texas populace will go unrepresented. And without a strong opposition, any political party can slide into complacency and irrelevance, or worse.

Texas deserves better.

You can say that again.

In the Harris County Democratic Party Primary Runoff in Precinct Constable 2, Zerick Guinn goes in as the leader after getting 2,017 (32.53%) in round 1 and Chris Diaz getting 1,018 (16.42%).  An analysis of the early voting showed that of the 3,461 that cast ballots, 38% were African American, 36% were Latino, and 23% Anglo.  There was also a higher than usual percentage of voters without a recent Democratic voting history.  Guess what?  Most of these low propensity voters were Latino that we figured were coming out to support the seven Latino candidates in the race.  It is going to be a huge challenge to get these folks back to the polls in the runoff.  By the way, Guinn is African American.   Guinn is the strong favorite in this runoff.

Dodger Bobby Abreu (562) and Rockies Todd Helton (561) of course lead active MLBers in career doubles.

I have absolutely nothing to say about losing five in a row. 

 

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They could have just paid Commentary a couple of six packs of St. Arnold and I would have told them just to tear the Dome down if you ask me.  Guess what?  They didn’t ask me!

So the folks that are in charge of watching the Astrodome decay paid for another study.  Here is from the Chron:

Many of the consultants’ proposals, detailed in a $500,000 study to which taxpayers contributed $50,000, are similar to those outlined in a preliminary study released two years ago.

You can say that again.  And:

The multipurpose Dome could be used to host concerts of all sizes, as well as football, soccer and hockey games, basketball and tennis tournaments, livestock shows, conventions and other events, ….

We already have venues for the above – duh!   And, from the it ain’t happening now department:

Commissioner Steve Radack said the county’s budget cannot accommodate the annual debt payments that would be required on a $523 million bond issue, and said he does not support the tax increase that would be required to fund it.

"Given the choice of maintaining the status quo or having an ad valorem tax increase by Harris County government, I believe we should remain in the status quo," Radack said. "I will not support putting this bond election before the voters. This initiative should be delayed."

Here is the entire Chron story.

So what was the whole point of this exercise?

When was the last time an MLBer stole 100 plus bases in a season?

Roll Call:  CORRECTION:  Yesterday I meant I received a Grady Castleberry for Precinct 1 Constable robo call.  Traci Jensen for State Board of Education, District 6, Judge Steven Kirkland for the 215th, Cindy Vara-Leija for Precinct 1 Constable, and Alan Rosen for Precinct 1 Constable visited my mailbox yesterday.

After 2012 EV Day 10, 7,120 Dem mail ballots have been returned, surpassing the 6,959 in 2010.  We’re now at 19,324 EV in person with Sunnyside still leading and West Gray and Fiesta tied for second.

Vince Coleman of course of San Luis stole 109 bases in 1987, the last time a player stole 100 plus bases in a season.

Here is from the Chron’s Sports section:

The Astros are nearing submission of a new 2013 uniform to Major League Baseball for approval, and while Jim Crane couldn’t share specific details, he did suggest the old colors are coming back.

“We’ll blend some of the new with the history of the team and some of the colors in the past,” Crane said.

I don’t know about adding a handgun or the brick red to the rainbow.  How about just keeping the brick red and putting the rainbow on the star?

We swept the Cubbies and are now 21-23.  We take today off and then head to LA.

 

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Sean Hubbard, Dem candidate for U.S. Senate in the Lone Star State got him a nice write-up in today’s Chron.

Check it out here.

A couple of weeks or so ago, my pal Harold Cook said some nice things about Hubbard.  Here is what Hubbard says today in the Chron:

"I just got tired of watching the Democratic Party being afraid all the time.  It’s just a theory at this point, but I think part of the reason Republicans do so well here is that they take a stand on an issue. I thought, ‘Hey, let’s try that.’ "

The UT/Texas Trib poll said former State Rep. Paul Sadler and Hubbard might be headed into a runoff.  Today’s Chron write-up certainly helps him out.

In 2010, West Gray made up 9.6% of the Harris County Dem Primary EV in person.  In 2012, after EV Day 9, they are at 7.8%.  In 2010, Fiesta/Sunnyside/Palm Center combined for 22.7 % of the EV Dem in person total.  After EV Day 9, they are at 23%.  Only 86 Dem mail ballots came in yesterday but who’s counting anyway.

Josh Hamilton of the Rangers is being mentioned as a Triple Crown hopeful.  Everyone knows that Hall of Fame greats Carl Yastrzemski of the Red Sox won it in 1967 and Frank Robinson of B’More won it in 1966.  Who was the only player to win it in the 1950s?

Roll Call:  I got a Glen Castleberry for Precinct 1 Constable robo call and a Lane Lewis for Dem Party Chair robo call yesterday.

It is kind of hard to pick the Dem candidates that will make the run-offs in State Rep. Districts 137 and 144.  The candidates are all working hard and dropping mail. 

It turns out the Chron E-Board did endorse in the Dem Constable Precinct 1 race.

Check it out here.

Mickey Mantle of course won the Triple Crown in 1956.

Commentary doesn’t care if the Cubbies have the worst record in baseball, a win still counts as a win and we are now 20-23.  Soccer fans and ‘Stros fans will converge this evening so get there early. 

 

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The first day of Early Vote is in and it is looking like a mixed result for Dems.  Kuffer says don’t even try to compare to 2008.  I won’t.  I’ll make a brief comparison to 2010.

On EV D1 in 2010 in Harris County, Dems were at 2190 in person with 2886 mail ballots returned.

On EV D1 in 2012, Dems are 1570 in person with 4,644 mail ballots returned.

On EV D1 in 2010, Sunnyside was 6.6% of the total.  In 2012 it is 8%.

On EV D1 in 2010, Acres Homes was 5.1%.  In 2012 3.9%

West Gray is down.  Ripley is down.  Moody is up.  HCCS is about the same.

Galena Park, IBEW in Pasadena, and North Channel had major bumps.

Kuffer mentioned that the new Galleria location might take the pressure off of West Gray.  Only 11 Dems could find the place.

Oh well!

Name the all time MLB career leader in RBIs among Latino ballplayers?

Commentary doesn’t think HISD wanted this.  Here is from the Chron:

Houston ISD’s general manager of facilities has resigned after two years on the job, Superintendent Terry Grier confirmed Monday.

Grier said his staff told him that Issa Dadoush announced during an internal meeting Monday that he was resigning, tired from the long hours that kept him away from his young children.

That is not what Dadoush put out later.  See more from the Chron:

“A change in the Business Operations structure is desperately needed, by which redundant layers of approvals and restricted communications are eliminated,” Dadoush wrote. “Our limitations on communicating directly with all stakeholders, including Trustees and other cabinet members, have made it impossible to move this Department to the next level of performance efficiency. The ‘muzzle’ that was ordered on me and other department heads has made it impossible to do our jobs effectively.”

Bobadilla emailed Dadoush and other department leaders on April 14 telling them not to directly respond to requests from board members. Instead, Bobadilla said, he would respond or farm out questions that trustees make through the formal request process. Bobadilla, who used to work with Grier in North Carolina, said in his email that the process needed to be followed so that trustees, Grier or other officials are all kept in the loop.

HISD spokesman Jason Spencer said Bobadilla was trying “to ensure that the information we release to the public and to members of the Board of Education is accurate and consistent. These same protocols apply to all other HISD departments.”

Dadoush also wrote in his resignation letter that the business department wasted time on trivial matters.

“Furthermore,” he wrote, “colossal time is wasted in minute details, trivialities, voluminous paperwork, unnecessary meetings, while losing strategic direction of the projects and essentially abandoning leadership. This bureaucratic and gate-keeping philosophy (blocking all alternative flows of information) is not sustainable; it is inefficient and has been exhausting for our human and financial resources within CFS (construction and facilities services).”

Talk about burning your bridges.

Here is the rest of the piece.

Just don’t blame me!

Alex “A-Roid” Rodriguez of course ranks numero 1 among Latino ballplayers in the career RBI category with 1,907, ninth overall amongst all MLBers.

The ‘Stros lost again last night and have one more in Philly this afternoon that might be delayed or called off because of rain. 

 

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The Chron has another take on Saturday’s election and what it means at the City Council table.  Check it out here.

One thing is for certain.  Commentary is still being read.  Here is what I said yesterday:

C-O-L-L-A-B-O-R-A-T-I-O-N ought to be the theme at City Hall over the next two years if you ask me but they don’t ask me but they better start asking me – got it!

I guess they are sort of asking me because here is what the Chron said:

Councilwoman Sue Lovell, who will not return to office because of term limits, said that competition for finite city resources could limit productivity, but a larger issue will be whether the new council can collaborate.

Kuffer has a more expanded take on the election here.

We have to do a better job of getting folks to the polls period.  A 6% voter turnout is embarrassing.   We can’t allow ourselves to let this become the norm. 

Liberal/progressives were the losers this past Saturday.  We let the GOPers and Tea Baggers out work us.  We can’t say that we were outspent because we weren’t.  We just didn’t effectively communicate with our base. 

We have to do more and better than just trotting out the list of all those leaders and groups that endorse.  We have to get their folks to the polls.  I haven’t seen the precinct returns yet but I’ll bet you $10,000 that White Dems and Latinos stayed home on E-Day.  Complacency took over if you ask me.   I don’t know why we would have reason to be complacent.  Oh well!

I will say this, City Hall just needs to focus on providing services and not start getting fancy with us with a bunch of regulations and stuff and new parking rules and stuff.  Stop pi__ing folks off!

On June 30, 2011, this AL MLBer hit his 300th career dinger.  The next day (July 1, 2011), this NL MLBer hit his 300th career dinger.  Who am I talking about?

The Harris County DA cleared the Port CEO of any wrong doing this past Friday.  The Port CEO says he’s leaving.  Here is from Chron.com:

“I came to the Port of Houston to apply my business experience in public service. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Dreyer said, noting the port’s preparations for growth with the widening of the Panama Canal. “This experience, however, has shown me that the political arena is not where I want to be.”

Don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out, fella!  Oh no, the dreaded political arena!

I guess you can score one for Port Commissioners Janiece Longoria and Elyse Lanier!

Maybe by the end of the day, we will have some sort of clarification on when the primaries will be held.

On June 30, 2011, Yankee great Mark Teixeira hit his 300th career dinger and the next day (July 1, 2011) Cubbie great Aramis Ramirez hit his 300th career dinger of course.  Aramis will stay in the NL Central and play with the Brewers next season.

Well what do you know!  Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak is capable of smiling. 

‘Stros catcher Jason Castro got hurt again and will get a late start at Spring Training – drats!

 

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