Archive for the ‘Houston Area Latino Summit’ Category

HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson mentioned yesterday that HCC was considering putting out a bond proposal this November to the tune of $500 million.  Yesterday the HISD Superintendent mentioned a possible bond election for this November. Check out the Chron story here.

Both have a long ways to go with HISD having the tougher road.

In 2007, HISD voters approved an $805 million bond proposal.  It would probably be a good idea for HISD to fully explain and educate voters on how those 2007 dollars were spent.  Here is from the Chron story:

HISD has opened 16 new campuses as a result of the 2007 bond package, and eight more are in the works. About 45 percent of the school renovation projects are complete, and the others are in progress or in the planning stages, according to HISD.

Are we on schedule?  Have there been delays?  Are schools and parents satisfied with the work?  HISD needs to communicate this.

Also from the Chron:

The school board could take a key step next Thursday. Board president Mike Lunceford said the meeting agenda includes an item asking trustees to approve a study of the district’s building needs.

A good and through assessment is going to take some time.  They can’t tell the firm they hire to produce a report in time so we can have an election.  It would be a shoddy report and one that folks wouldn’t trust.

Once they do a thorough and complete assessment, HISD and the community has to take the time to digest the results.  In order to put together a bond proposal that truly addresses the needs, HISD is going to have to go to the community and gather input from parents and taxpayers.   They can’t put this together behind closed doors in the Superintendent’s office in meetings with Trustees and a few select players.  Good luck on this!

Then they have to sell this to the voters and the fella that is usually in charge of selling HISD is the Superintendent and I don’t think he’s the best salesman.  Heck, a few weeks ago four Trustees voted not to extend his contract.  Granted, Commentary isn’t in to a whole lot of socializing other than to hang out at The Yard, but I don’t know of any of my friends or acquaintances that like the Superintendent.  Since he’s arrived on the scene in 2009, he hasn’t done a good job of outreaching to the political players in town and after all the political players make or break bond campaigns in H-Town.

Before I go further, how many former ‘Stros skippers have ever been named MLB Skipper of the Year?

Also from the Chron:

"Bond costs are the lowest they’ve ever been, but you still have to raise taxes to pay for it," said Lunceford. "We have to really look at the state of the schools."

Selling a tax hike is not going to be easy these days – enough said.

Then there are the other issues like Fort Bend Mechanical and ethics.  Some groups may demand that in order to get behind a bond campaign, HISD Trustees have to adopt stronger ethics policies with teeth.  Good luck on that one.

Some groups like the Harris County AFL-CIO are going to withhold support unless HISD comes around on prevailing wage.  Good luck on this one too.

Then HISD has the Manuel Rodriguez problem.  Do they want that hate mongering areshole out selling a bond campaign?  What are they going to do with him during a bond campaign?

Then there is the whole philosophical issue of going out for a bond approval at a time when school finance in the Lone Star State is in a state of flux and school districts may forced to do another round of lay-offs.

Commentary doesn’t have a lot of confidence right now that HISD is politically sophisticated enough to carry out a successful bond campaign in 2012.  They have to do a ton of work to get folks to buy in to a bond proposal.  I could be wrong.

On HCC, those folks over there usually fly under the radar.  HCC Trustee Robinson is going to do all he can to change that so more folks can have input.  We should have more on this one later.

Today is Texas Independence Day.  Tell that to some women in the Lone Star State looking for some health care options.

Three former ‘Stros skippers of course have been named Skipper of the Year – Bill Virdon (1980), Hal Lanier (1986), and Larry Dierker (1998).

There is picture on the ‘Stros website of Numero 45 at Spring Training.  He better get a shave or before you know it he’s going to be called “El Viejo” instead of “El Caballo”.


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Check this out from today’s Chron:

In the first 16 days since abandoning his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, (Gov. Rick) Perry has been to his office just three times and stayed no longer than three hours each time, The Dallas Morning News reported in Sunday’s edition.

Here is the entire article.

Frankly, I don’t think we ought to be jumping on Guv Dude for being a no show.  All he would be doing is further making a mess of things if he was at the State Capitol.  He was gone for most of the latter half of last year and we didn’t miss him.  As far as I’m concerned he can continue to sleep in.

If my pal and talk show host Michael Berry had allegedly hit and run a car in front of Warren’s or Sherlock’s or Hearsay would folks have given a rat’s arse?

If Will White’s dad wasn’t the former Mayor, would the Chron have gone with the story last week about his reprimand for taking one of his students off campus to get a burger?

Speaking of President’s Day, what is higher, the minimum MLB salary or the President’s salary? 

The MLB Gods have decreed that when the ‘Stros take the field this year with one of their throwback jerseys – the Colt 45s one – it can’t have the gun on it.  One thing about the MLB, they aren’t like Congress.  They’re not going to knuckle under to the NRA.  I’m OK with that.

Of course, I wonder if they are going to make the folks at The Yard get rid of the scoreboard cowboy that fires off a couple of six shooters after a ‘Stro hits a dinger.

Of course, MLB is now going to have to change the name from “radar guns” to “radar baseball speed detecting gizmos”.

Teams are no longer going to be allowed to refer to their young best players as “young guns”.  They may have to settle for “young firepower”.

I just hope they don’t make the Toy Cannon change his nickname.

Go on ahead and add ESPN to the list of those that just can’t handle the Jeremy Linsation without dropping a slur or two.  After the Knicks lost this past Friday night, ESPN on one of its websites posted the “C” word.  At least the dumbarses came out and apologized the next day for being dumbarses and then fired and suspended other dumbarses.

The minimum MLB salary for 2012 is $480,000.  The President makes $400,000. 

Pitchers and catchers report today for the first day of ‘Stros Spring Training.


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This is from today’s SA Express news on the latest on the redistricting mess:

A Texas House district in Houston and Lloyd Doggett‘s congressional district have emerged as the two main sticking points in negotiations to create a set of compromise redistricting maps for the 2012 election.


Negotiations for a compromise Texas House map seem to have gotten stuck on one district east of Houston, currently represented by Rep. Ken Legler, R-Pasadena.

A proposed deal, worked out by the Latino Redistricting Task Force and (Texas AG Greg) Abbott, would make the seat a toss-up that becomes more Democratic as the area’s Latino population grows.

Other minority groups have complained that the deal is not enough, and Harris County Republicans have campaigned against additional compromise.

“They were more willing to relax on (changes to a San Antonio district) than (Legler’s district),” (LULAC attorney Luis) Vera said. “They’re not budging on (Legler) at all.”   Here is the entire article.

Meanwhile, Txredistricting.org put this out yesterday:

Both (political) parties have said they would keep their state conventions on the second weekend of June, which means that a number of internal party rules- as well as parts of the Texas Election Code- would have to change to accommodate a primary that does not occur until shortly before the state convention.


Chad Dunn, general counsel for the Texas Democratic Party, said his party likely would choose to forgo precinct conventions and move directly to senate district and county conventions. After the hearing, Steve Munisteri, chair of the Republican Party of Texas, told reporters that he would be discussing a similar arrangement with the State Republican Executive Committee.

Under the possible proposal outlined by Munisteri, district conventions would be held in April as scheduled but would be open to all comers who swear an oath that they are a Republican. At the district convention, attendees would break into precinct caucuses and elect delegates to the state convention in June, where, in turn, national delegates would be selected.

That means that Commentary’s longtime streak of attending consecutive precinct conventions will come to a screeching halt.  I wonder if the Lone Star State Dem Party or the local Dem Party will let me petition them to see if we can have quickie precinct convention on May 29 just so I can keep my streak alive. 

If we skip the precinct conventions and go straight to the county/senatorial conventions, don’t expect a lot of folks to show up.  How are folks going to be notified?  What a mess.

MLB Hall of Fame great Gary Carter left us yesterday at the age of 57.  Back in 2002, I had the opportunity to go to a ‘Stros game in Montreal.  It was a Sunday afternoon and they were honoring former Expo Carter and handing out Gary Carter Bobbleheads.  I got there too late to snag one.  During the 1986 NLCS between the ‘Stros and the Mets that the Mets won in six, Carter started all six games for the Mets behind the plate.  What was Carter’s key contribution to the 1986 NLCS? 

Now the Texas Rangers are asking for a Special Prosecutor to help investigate the Harris County DA’s office.  This is definitely going to hurt her in the GOP Primary.    Check out the Chron article here.

Yesterday’s Chron Op-Ed by my pal Bill King started out like this:

Memo to Republicans: There are not enough old, angry white people to win a national election.

Apparently Republicans are unaware of a new science called demographics that has been developed over the last several decades.
It is a good piece by Bill so check it out here.

Gary Carter hit a game winning RBI single of course off of Charley Kerfeld in the bottom of the 12th in Shea Stadium to give the Mets a 2-1 win and a 3-2 game lead in the NLCS.

A few years ago, My Best Friend, his son Matt, and I went to San Luis’ new crib to check out the ‘Stros play there.  We both commented about the sea of red in the stands.  We will never see a sea of anything at The Yard.   A handful of fans wear the old Colt 45 gear.  Some wear the rainbow stuff.  Some wear the orange.  Some wear the blue and orange.  Some wear the blue and gold of the 90s and some wear the brick red.   The new owner is thinking about getting new uniforms.  I don’t know about that.  I don’t have any more room on my ‘Stros gear rack.


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Something isn’t right with this picture.  According to today’s Chron, after giving his “State of the County” speech that touched on ethics issues yesterday, Hunker Down called out County Attorney Vince Ryan for not living up to his watchdog role.   

Here is from the Chron:

Emmett, speaking after his fifth State of the County address hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership, also called on County Attorney Vince Ryan, as the county’s highest ethics officer, to do more to strengthen Harris County’s ethics practices.


"People have got to feel comfortable in Harris County exposing ethical violations," Emmett said, "and the county attorney needs to tell us how we do that and quit telling us why it won’t work."

Here is the Chron piece.

You don’t really have to read between the lines to figure out what is going on here.   The latest three ethical flaps going on at the county involve three former or current constables – all Democrats.  Hunker Down is gigging Vince and his office for being silent on these flaps.  They are setting up Vince and Dems so they can use the corruption/ethics issue against Dems in November.  Good move on Hunker Down’s part, I guess.  Oh, well!

Among current active MLB pitchers, list the top 4 with the best ERA?

Talk about a headache in the making.  May 29, the day the Lone Star State may finally get a primary, is the day after Memorial Day – yikes.  I wonder what that will do for turnout.   Here is the latest Chron article.

The Lone Star State Dem Convention is scheduled for 10 days later – June 8-9.  That doesn’t give us much time select our county and senatorial district delegates and then our state delegates.  What a mess!

My pal talk show host Michael Berry has some ‘splaining to do so I’ll just wait and let him ‘splain.  Check out the latest from Channel 2 here.

What is the “significant event form”?  How do get on it?  Is it for talk show hosts?  Is it for professional athletes?  Is it for elected officials?  I’d like for HPD to ‘splain that one for us.

At yesterday’s H-Town City Council meeting, the proposed substitute ordinance “relating to the regulation of automotive businesses” was referred back to The Mayor’s office.  I guess they didn’t have the votes and will work on it to see if they can eventually get at least nine Council members to say uncle, err yes.

The active MLBers with the best ERA are Mariano Rivera (2.21), Tim Lincecum (2.98), Johan Santana (3.10), and Roy Oswalt (3.21), of course.  Roy O. is still looking for a team to sign him up.

From the Chron:

Astros will open a Walk of Fame outside Minute Maid Park this year as a means to spread visible honors beyond the nine former Astros with retired numbers.

The Walk of Fame will begin with those nine players — Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Jim Umbricht, Don Wilson and Jimmy Wynn.

Four more members will be added this year — one each representing the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, as voted on by a panel. After this year, one player a year will be added.

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The Tomball City Council decided last night that they didn’t want to go down the path to Red Neck Branch or act kind of like Arizona by banging on paperless folks.  Way to go Tomball!  Check out the Chron story on last night’s meeting.

A city council member proposed making Tomball an English only burg, not let paperless folks rent, buy or own a business in Tomball, and shut down the city’s day labor site.  The city council said no se puede to the proposals!

That’s why H-Town CM James Rodriguez has taken the lead in organizing the Houston Area Latino Summit.  That’s why we just hosted the Houston Area Latino Summit on Immigration Reform.  Thanks to CM Rodriguez, Cesar Espinosa,  America Para Todos, and others, we create area awareness on this issue.  The Tomball city leadership very well knows that it isn’t worth it to them to take on this issue.  Good for them!

Meanwhile, the Former H-Town Mayor’s campaign introduced a new TV ad banging Guv Dude on border security.   I guess they know what they are doing.

I guess Dude knows what he is doing because he hasn’t unleashed his ads yet.

Reliever Trevor Hoffman who now closes for the Brewers picked up his 600th career save last night.  Hoffman is the all time save leader.  Which MLBer is number 2 in career saves and how many MLBers still pitching are in the Top 10 in career saves? 

‘Stros rookie first baseman Brett Wallace picked up his first career dinger last night and it happened at Wrigley – cool – and Michael Bourn was a dinger short of hitting for the cycle.

Mariano Riviera of course of the Yankees is Number 2 with 555 career saves and aside from Hoffman and Riviera, Billy Wagner of course is Number 5 with 418.

Even though we only have 24 games to play, if you like baseball, the ‘Stros are definitely fun to watch.  We wrap up our series with the Cubbies tonight then come home for ten games.  Oh yeah, we won last night!


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About 125 folks showed up at Saturday’s Houston Area Latino Summit on Immigration Reform.  It was a most informative morning.  The presentations by the panelists were insightful and right on the mark.  Special thanks are in order for Gordon J. Quan, Co-Chairman, FosterQuan, LLP, State Representative Ana Hernández,  District 143, Michael Espinoza, Texas Director, Mi Familia Vota, Sylvia Mintz, Partner, Plake & Mintz, PLLC, Oscar Chacon, Executive Director, National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities, Adriana Fernandez, Political Affairs Coordinator, Association For Residency and Citizenship of America, Cesar Espinosa, Director, Center for Community Integration, and Francisco Arguelles, Founding Member, Colectivo Flatlander.

Key community leaders were on hand including State Rep. Carol Alvarado, Port Commissioner Janiece Longoria, Richard Shaw, Secretary-Treasurer of the Harris County AFL-CIO, LULAC’s Mary Almendarez, Wendy Rodriguez, Sergio Davila, Houston City Council Member Steve Costello, and Maria Jimenez.

Those that attended certainly came away with a better understanding of where we are on immigration reform and why.  Again, the event was first rate!

Of course, H-Town CM James Rodriguez kept the forum on pace as the moderator.  Check out the Chron story on the Summit.

Those that are interested in being the next HISD Trustee for District VIII have been summoned for a forum of sorts at Furr High School tomorrow morning.  Some folks wonder why they are being made to go through a question and answer period at HISD. Hey, why not?  Candidates get screened all the time by a lot of folks and organizations.  I don’t have a problem with this.

Checkout the Chron mention of the forum.

Not all Latinos are on the same page when it comes to filling the District VIII vacancy.  The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has let the HISD Board know that an appointment ASAP would be A-Okay.  Commentary was quoted last week as preferring an election.  Stay tuned!

Former ‘Stro Carlos Beltran and the Mets visit The Yard for four games this week.   When he was with us in 2004, how many post season dingers did he have?

Commentary and Dante were hanging out at Lefty’s before the game yesterday when Dante was approached and asked to do the “Let’s Play Ball” shout-out right before the first pitch. We were escorted down to the field and Dante had his lid on backwards like a lot of folks wear.  Former ‘Stro Jimmy Wynn walked up to Dante and told him to wear his lid correctly if he was going out on the field.  Dante complied.  I guess Jimmy is old school.  Dante also got to lead off the dance segment during the game by doing the twist up on the jumbotron. Of course, Commentary had to show Dante how to do the twist.

Carlos Beltran hit eight post season dingers of course in 2004 with the ‘Stros – four against The ATL in the NLDS and four against San Luis in the NLCS.

What can I say about sweeping the Pirates this weekend?   Let’s see how we do against the Mets.


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Don’t forget to attend tomorrow’s Houston Area Latino Summit on Immigration Reform at 9 a.m., at PlazAmericas (old Sharpstown Mall).  For more information you can go to  http://houstonlatinosummit.com.  See you there!

The HISD Board of Trustees held off on making a decision last night on how to go about filling the vacancy.  They’ll meet again next week but they do want candidates to come forward this week and show their battle flags.  It is going to be a very interesting week.

The ATL’s Chipper Jones got hurt Tuesday night trying to field a Hunter Pence ground ball.  He’s out for the season and he could hang up his spikes.  He was the first overall draft pick in 1990 when he was drafted by The ATL.  He’s had a Hall of Fame type career with a .306 career batting average, 436 dingers, 1,491 RBIs, an MVP award, and 6 All Star Game selections.  Who else from that 1990 first round draft class also merits Hall of Fame discussion?

Happy Birthday to The Dean!

Fidel Castro also has a BD today.

Pitcher Mike Mussina of course (who is no longer playing) was 270-153, 2,813 strikeouts, a 3.68 career ERA, 5 Gold Gloves, and with 5 All Star Game selections is worthy of Hall of Fame debate.

The Pirates come in for three this weekend as 10,000 umbrellas are handed out this evening.    You need to come check out our third baseman Chris Johnson who has one of the hottest bats in baseball these days. 


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Commentary is going to go out on a limb and predict that The Former H-Town Mayor and his BTEC dealings will be featured in a negative GOP ad coming to a TV or radio near you.  The Chron’s Bradley Olson and AP’s Jay Root put out similar stories yesterday on more BTEC stuff and The Former Mayor. Check out the Chron’s story.

Guv Dude’s campaign pounced all over The Former Mayor.  Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dude and the Lone Star State’s GOP AG charged The Former Mayor and BTEC of profiteering during a crisis, kind of like they go after gas stations that increase their fuel and bag of ice prices during a hurricane.

The only thing The Former Mayor and Dems can do in response is to keep hammering Dude on his rental mansion.  Stay tuned!

The Houston Area Latino Summit on Immigration Reform will be held next Saturday, August 14 at 9:30 am at PlazAmericas (the old Sharpstown Mall).  For information on speakers or agenda items, go to Houston Area Latino Summit.

A-Roid got his 600th career dinger yesterday afternoon – so what!

In the ‘Stros’ 18-4 win over San Luis Tuesday night, Tony LaRussa had to bring in infielder Aaron Miles to pitch in the ninth inning so he wouldn’t have to use up another pitching arm.  In the ‘Stros 18-1 win over San Luis in 2007, LaRussa pulled a similar move.  Who was the non-pitcher that LaRussa used to pitch in 2007?

Speaking of, some in the GOP now want to abolish the citizenship section of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to get at paperless folks that have babies here.  Good luck!

Aaron Miles of course pitched in the ninth inning in San Luis’ 18-1 loss to the ‘Stros in 2007.

Our seven game win streak came to an end last night in an 8-4 loss to San Luis. ‘Stros pitcher J.A. Happ who was taken out of the game in the second inning said he didn’t pitch with “conviction.”  The ‘Stros have today off and play Friday in Milwaukee.  Maybe J.A. can spend the off day shopping around for “conviction.”


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About four weeks ago, Commentary launched the “Latino Vote 2010” series.  I wanted to get a discussion going and boy have I!

Here is what someone sent out this morning: “I don’t know if Campos has any constructive ideas at all. He seems to be, mostly, a gossip and gadfly. But, he is correct about a self-perpetuating and failed party leadership.”

 “Marc Campos is incompetent in his inability to get out the Latino vote.”

 “As I’ve said before Marc is likened a 2nd. string player sitting on the bench in the dugout complaining to the water boy about the play or lack of play of his team mates on the field…. but when he gets to play, well what can I say…. that’s why’s he’s on the bench most of the time….”

  “Marc doesn’t know himself what’s needed to get more Latinos to the polls… TRUST ME IF HE (Commentary) DID……… we’d all know it for he’d make certain he’d get the credit for fixing this problem…”

 “I agree 100 % with Marc Campos.  Every election year it’s the same thing. Yet, it’s the same democrats who say why the Republicans have “token” Hispanics  in committees and appointments.  The D’s should learn from the R’s and start investing into the Hispanic Community around the state of Texas.  If they don’t invest then don’t complain when the other party does…………………..”

 Obviously, I got some blood boiling out there because it is generating some personal attacks.  Like I said, I’d rather have this discussion before the election than after.

Yesterday I pointed out the vote turnout for certain Latino precincts in Harris County’s inner city for the 2002 Perry/Sanchez and 2006 Perry/Bell races.  First of all, let me say that Commentary consulted for the Sanchez campaign in Harris County in 2002.   As most folks recall, the Sanchez campaign put in money into a ground and air effort in the Latino community and that is why the Latino turnout was in the 25% to 31% range in hard core Latino precincts as compared to the overall 35% Harris County turnout.  It also helped that Sanchez was Latino.

Check out Kuffer’s latest on the Latino vote.

Commentary is helping to organize two local events that could impact Latino voter awareness.   Yesterday we sent out an announcement on the next Houston Area Latino Summit that will focus on Immigration Reform.  It will be held at PlazAmericas (the old Sharpstown Mall) on Saturday, August 14, 2010.  The info will be posted on www.camposcommunications.com  and   www.houstonlatinosummit.com  later today.  We will also be helping to organize the PlazAmericas Community Expo and Voter Registration Event on Sunday, September 12, 2010 … to be continued!  

Last night before the ‘Stros/Royals game in KC, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced that KC would host the 2012 MLB ALL-Star Game. This year’s All_Star Game is in Anaheim and next year’s is in Phoenix – oh no.  Of course, the 2004 All-Star Game was at The Yard with The Big Puma and Miggy going dinger to dinger in the Dinger Derby.  Barry, Barry, A-Roid, ManRoid, SamRoid, Piazza, and Pudge were among the stars that showed up.  The Rocket was the starting pitcher for the NL.  Who was the starting pitcher for the AL?

Yesterday, Commentary was watching the H-Town Mayor at her post Council Meeting press availability and she said that a cell use and text banning while driving ordinance was not going to happen here in H-Town.  She wants to leave it to the state and feds to come up with a law.  That’s too bad. 

Mark Mulder of course from the A’s started on the mound for the AL in 2004.  Mulder last pitched in the MLB in 2008.

In case you didn’t get to see the end of last night’s rain delayed game, we won 4-2 with Roy O picking up the win.  So we’re 4-5 on the road trip as we finish up in KC tonight!

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Commentary goofed up big time last Friday by not wishing a big happy birthday to The Lovely Wendy and by the way, she is looking lovelier everyday now. I just forgot. She turned 30 – wow! So Happy Birthday Last Friday The Lovely Wendy – sorry!

The Lovely Wendy was sitting on the front row at Saturday’s Houston Area Latino Summit Mayoral Debate taking down notes. She was one of about 200 folks that showed up. The debate itself lasted a shade under two hours.

The assembled panel of Latino activists (5) that were uncommitted in the mayor’s race scored it Gene Locke 79.6 out of a possible 100, Annise Parker 71.2, Peter Brown 64, and Roy Morales 51.6. Of course, it really doesn’t matter since there was nothing scientific about picking the panel. They were just folks that haven’t made up their mind in the mayor’s race. We added the panel just to give the debate a little something extra like salsa so to speak.

Two Cents and Bay Area Houston had some good takes on the debate.

Check them out: http://doscentavos.net/ and http://www.bayareahouston.blogspot.com/.

The Chron also ran a piece on the debate. Check it out.

Minerva Perez gets high marks for how she moved it along and got in all the prepared questions. What a pro!

H-Town CM James Rodriguez also gets high marks for getting it and providing much needed leadership. He’s utilizing his position and reputation to get Latino leaders and activists all under one roof to get focused on the important issues. He is certainly one of the most astute political players in these parts.

Here’s a quote from James Saturday that kind of set the tone: “The individual that wins the mayoral race this year will in all likelihood be our leader for the next six years. During their first term, it is highly probable that the U.S. Census will announce the City of Houston is 50% or better Latino so the next mayor will be leading a city whose largest population group is Latino so they better have a clear understanding of our concerns and who we are.”

Now let me say that I think all the candidates need and are actively going after the Latino vote. We will just find out who puts in the resources to win it.

Here are a few of Commentary’s observations on their responses to some of the questions.

Question #1 – “¿Quien Habla Español?”

I have to say advantage Peter for at least stringing together a response.

Question #3 – “According to the latest US Census estimate, the City of Houston is close to 45% Latino however, there are only 4 Latino department heads out of 24 departments or 16% of city department heads. Do you think that’s appropriate? If not, what are your plans to correct this?”

Peter, Annise and Roy all said city government should reflect the city’s diversity, so if any of them win, we’re going to demand 50% of the department heads. Gene said that when he looks at top job applicants, Latino resumes will be among those in the final round. Of course, it doesn’t do us any good if we’re runner up 24 times. He needs a better response.

Question #6 – “If elected Mayor, which Latinos not currently serving on city council will be among your circle of close advisors? Who is your ranking Latino campaign advisor or advisors? Please name names.”

Roy, Peter, and Annise all threw out a couple of names. Gene put out a bigger list, of course one or two of those on his list I wouldn’t want near the city government throttles.

Question #10 – “All of you have touched on your involvement in the local Latino community. On the sheet of paper in front of you can you write down 3 local Latino non-profits?”

This question was put in to see what they know and they all know something. Good for them!

Question # 11 – “What processes and policies will you implement that will allow Latino professionals and business owners to increase their share of City of Houston contracts?”

They all gave the standard responses that they are supporters on making sure Latinos get more contracts, blah, blah, blah. I would have said something like “As mayor, I am going to meet every few months with Latino business and professional groups to see how we’re doing and how we can improve. Latino businesses are among the fastest growing in the region and they need to be full business partners with City Hall.”

Question # 12- asked by Maria Jimenez., well actually she had a different version than this one – “In recent weeks there has been extensive coverage in the Houston Chronicle about the Houston Police Department getting into the immigration enforcement business and becoming a defacto arm of ICE. The implementation of 287G is a testament to this. Many Latinos believe that implementation of 287G will lead to police officers on patrol beginning to inquire about immigration status when they pull someone over on a traffic violation. As you well know, they will only ask someone that looks like me. Many in the Latino community consider this unnecessary and believe it will result in immigrants not coming forward to report criminal activity and also scare immigrants away from participating in the 2010 census. What is your position and what will you commit to?”

Roy went south on this one. The others kind of wanted to review which translates into let me see what the police union does on their endorsement. On this issue there is a definite disconnect between the candidates and the Latino community.

Question #14 – asked by Commentary. “After the 2010 Census, the City of Houston could be looking at a population that is 50% Latino, however, we currently only hold 2 out of 14 council positions. On the issue of redistricting, historically the Latino community has had to put up legal and political challenges against various local governments including the City of Houston in the fight for political representation. As you well know, we will be adding two new council seats in 2011. The way it typically works is the Mayor sets out on redistricting process with the philosophy of protecting the nine district council members first, which can be problematic because council members look to survive first rather than do what is right like Ben Reyes did in the 90s when he gave up half of Denver Harbor to District H in order for a Latino to be elected. If elected Mayor will you commit today to work hand in hand with Latino leaders for more Latino political representation opportunities on council during the 2011 redistricting process by giving us a seat at the table and letting us help you pick your experts, consultants, and attorneys instead of having half the population shut out of the process that ends up fighting you and taking you to court?”

They all said they supported increasing Latino political representation, however, Gene probably understood more where I was coming from on the question though because as a lawyer, he has worked with various governmental entities on redistricting.

Question #21 – “Cities across the country are preparing for next year’s 2010 Census by forming advisory committees to engage the community to make sure everyone is counted. As you well know, Latinos are the most undercounted community. The city has budgeted $500,000 for a Census awareness campaign. Compared to other major cities some are saying that this is not enough money and could once again lead to under counting the city’s largest population group. If elected Mayor, would you increase this amount when you first take office?”

None would commit to increasing funding so they all blew it on this one. The city budgeted $500,000 for the effort ten years ago. Since then, the Latino population has grown so it kind of makes sense to at least triple what was spent ten years ago. The census is serious business – heck, it is in the Constitution. They don’t give Mulligans when it comes to counting. If we don’t get it right this time, we have to wait another ten years. It is pretty obvious that the candidates and their campaign staff haven’t thought this one through.

Question #22 – “There is debate going on in the East End on the rail line about the construction of an underpass or overpass on Harrisburg. Experts say an underpass would cost too much. What is your position and how would you pay for it?”

Annise responded by taking a shot at METRO’s credibility. Peter threw out a slogan – something like it ain’t over til it’s under. Both kind of pandered to the overpass opposition. Gene’s response was the most thoughtful.

All in all, I think it went well if I don’t mind saying.  Thanks to CMs Michael Sullivan and Jolanda Jones for showing support and sticking through the entire debate.  Stay tuned!

The ‘Stros easily could have swept the four games in LA this past weekend but an ump blew a call Saturday night and Mike Hampton was upset at a bad pitch and in anger threw the ball into his mitt and missed letting a run score – huh. Yesterday, reliever Alberto Arias missed an easy toss at first and and lost the handle to the ball after a grounder to him and that was enough for us to lose – drats! So now Albert Pujols, Tony LaRussa and the Cards come in for three and the first 10,000 fans tonight get Lunar Lids to commemorate the moon landing 40 years ago today.

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