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Archive for the ‘Redistricting in Houston’ Category

It is back to redistricting again.  I knew all the recent articles and columns about the legislative feel good session would come to an end.  I’m betting it will be a red meat special session. 

It is a slow news day I have to say.  Politico didn’t add much today.  Their lead story this morning on May 28, 2013 is who is Hillary going to hire in 2016.  She is not even interviewing folks these days.

Walt Weiss is the skipper of the Rockies.  As an A’s, Weiss got him a World Serious ring.  He also was a member of The ATL when they beat us in 12 in Game 3 of the NLDS back in 1999.  In the bottom of the 10th with the game tied at 3, the ‘Stros loaded the bases with nobody out but failed to score.  Name the three batters that came up in the bottom of the 10th that failed to bring in the winning run?

I don’t know how long they will be in special session but if someone runs into The Dean, tell him he’s not missing much at The Yard.

With the infield playing in, Carl Everett grounded one to the first baseman who forced out Baggy at home for the first out.  With the infield still playing in, Tony Eusebio grounded one to shortstop Walt Weiss who threw home to force out Caminiti for the second out.  Ricky Gutierrez struck out to end the inning and the rest is history.

I don’t feel so bad with only 15 wins.  There are three other teams with wins in the teens.

 

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I’m sure some Dems are not going to like what Commentary said in the Chron today about the Early Vote turnout.  Instead of getting upset with Commentary, maybe they can channel their energy to get a better Dem turnout this Saturday.  Here is part of what is in the Chron:

Political consultant Marc Campos saw two trends in the early voting data, particularly when comparing the numbers to early voting totals from the Nov. 8 general election.

First, District A polling indicated strong interest in the Stardig-Brown runoff. Second, voting in conservative areas generally was stronger than in African-American neighborhoods, even in areas where there was no district race to drive local turnout.

That could help Christie, a repeat GOP challenger to Jones, the incumbent Democrat.

"In a close race like this with low turnout, when you see numbers like that, if you’re Jack Christie, you might be feeling a little bit better than you did two years ago," Campos said.

Here is the entire Chron piece.

Now let me just give you some numbers.  In the 2009 December run-off (including the Bellaire run-off), Mendenhall provided 7.4% of the Harris County – City total in-person early vote total.  This year it is 12%.  In 2009, West Gray provided 16%, this time it is 12.2%.  In 2009, Acres Homes was 4.4%, this time it is 4.6%.  In 2009, Palm Center was 5.7%, this time it is 7.6%.  In 2009, Kingwood was 4.2%, this time it is 6.9%.  In 2009, Fiesta was 6.5%, this time 7.8%.

In 2009, CM Jones carried Latino boxes in the run-off but not by a whole lot.   In 2009, HCCS was 2%, this time it is 1.3%.  In 2009, Ripley was 1.2%, this time it is .8%.

The numbers do the talking so get to work!

The Harris County Sheriff’s folks just handed the GOP another issue to get banged up with yesterday.  A month or so ago the Sheriff’s folks said they needed more clerks to dispose of a 10,000 case backlog in the felony warrant entry department.  Yesterday they said “never mind.” 
Check out today’s Chron.

Old school types like Commentary got to read Lisa Falkenberg’s column in today’s Chron hard copy.  She wasn’t too kind to the Sheriff’s Office.  FYI:  The Sheriff still hasn’t filed for reelection.

How many different folks have served as General Manager of the ‘Stros?

I got a letter yesterday from the Former H-Town Mayor and CM Ann Clutterbuck for Jack Christie in At-Large 5.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman got him an opponent yesterday – Ray Hill.

My pal Bill King says he didn’t have anything to do with the SD 6 survey/poll and the finger pointing continues so watch your backs!   Show me the survey/poll sponsors!

Twelve different folks of course have served as ‘Stros GMs:  Paul Richards (1962-65), Tal Smith (1965-67, 1975-80, 2007), Spec Richardson (1967-75), John McMullen (1975), Al Rosen (1980-85), Dick Wagner (1985-87), Bill Wood (1987-93), Bob Watson (1993-95), Gerry Hunsicker (1995-2004), Tim Purpura (2004-2007), Ed Wade  (2007-2011) and now Jeff Luhnow (2011).
Check out the Luhnow hire story here.

 

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Early Voting ended yesterday with West Gray overtaking Mendenhall by 40 voters – 1,908 to 1,868.  Mendenhall hit 58.8% of the Round 1 Early Vote total as compared to 37% for West Gray.  Kingwood had 57.7%, Bayland had 33%, Fiesta had 40.3%, Sunnyside had 48.6%, Palm Center had 52.4%, and Ripley had 14.4%. 

My pal Robert Miller put this out today so let the phone calls continue:

SD 6 Democratic Primary?  A SD 6 push poll has been conducted in the last few days testing various opponents against Sen. Gallegos.  Team Gallegos believes that Bill King is the instigator of the poll, acting on behalf of HISD interests and perhaps anti-public employee pension interests.  Former Commissioner Sylvia Garcia continues to indicate that she will not run against Sen. Gallegos.

There are very nervous campers out there and they should be.  Of course, it is definitely healthy for the process.  I told you this one would keep getting interesting.

Today is Pearl Harbor Day.  It happened 70 years ago today.  I bet they don’t even teach it in high school these days.

If you live in H-Town Council District A or have friends or relatives there, pay attention to what the Houston GLBT PAC put out yesterday:

Sometimes the Caucus doesn’t endorse in a race for any number of reasons. This year, we didn’t endorse in District A, but it is still important for us to educate voters on issues that matter to our community and help them make informed decisions in the voting booth. We would like to share a brief overview of both candidates with regard to issues that affect our community.

In Stardig’s two years as a member of Houston City Council, not many GLBT issues have arisen. However, a number of votes have been taken to authorize funding for facilities that provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA funding), including Marjo House, a facility whose funding the Caucus and other GLBT organizations had to fight for in 2010. Stardig stood up against tremendous pressure and supported Marjo House, and has voted in favor of all other HOPWA contracts. She has made a point to engage the community as a representative of GLBT constituents in her district.

Helena Brown is currently a Republican precinct chair and is actively involved in the Tea Party movement. While she does not have a voting history as an elected official to evaluate, she has gone on record with the Harris County GOP and the notoriously anti-GLBT Houston Area Pastors Council as being opposed to equal rights for the GLBT community. She opposes non-discrimination policies that protect the civil rights of not only GLBT citizens but other minorities as well, and is opposed to the extension of benefits to same-sex partners of City employees. Her anti-GLBT views are well known in political circles.

Please take the time to consider these candidates and make the choice you feel is best for our community when you vote.

Everybody knows that the first ever MLB Amateur Player Draft was held in 1965.  Two players were drafted and signed that year and are now Hall of Fame greats.  Who am I talking about?

Ornaldo Ybarra, Pasadena City Council Member, filed for HD 144 yesterday and here is what he put out:

It is an honor today that I announce that I will be a seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the redrawn Texas House of Representatives, District 144. During the last legislative session, my fellow Texans witnessed first hand that public education, health care and higher education funding was drastically cut and the budget was balanced on the back of the working class.

During the last 2 ½ years, while serving as a council member for the City of Pasadena (District A), I have built a reputation for being a strong supporter of the two most important groups that should matter to all elected official, our taxpayers and our public employees. While on council, I have opposed all city increases on various fees that have been brought before council due to its adverse effect on the working class. I have advocated for pay equality among the lower paid employees and have even proposed amendments to reward our lower paid employees, against the wishes of our Republican Mayor and administration.

The upcoming legislative session is going to face many of the budget constraints that the prior legislative session faced and it’s important that District 144 elect a representative that understands the basic principles of all the revenue sources and expenditures. While it’s easy to file for any office, understanding the dynamics of how government works is something that requires experience. I understand how it feels to be in the minority of any governmental body, but that hasn’t stopped me from fighting for the people and our public employees while being a council member in Pasadena.

I was born in Houston, Texas, 33 years ago and have been a resident of Pasadena and District A my entire life. I reside in the same home that I grew up in and still walk the same neighborhoods that bring me close to the day-to-day concerns of the people. I am honored to have attended Kruse Elementary, Jackson Intermediate, and graduated from Pasadena High School. I am proud to say that I attended the public schools of the Pasadena Independent School District.

Upon graduating from Pasadena High School, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps (1996-2000) and was assigned as an infantryman with 1st Battalion 7th Marines at 29 Palms, California. While in the Marine Corps, I was the recipient of many awards such as the Navy Achievement Medal, Marine of the Quarter 1998, Meritoriously Promoted from Lance Corporal, Letters of Appreciation, Certificates of Commendations and the Good Conduct Medal.

After receiving an Honorable Discharge from the United States Marine Corps, I returned back to Pasadena and attended San Jacinto College. I received an Associates of Applied Science from San Jacinto College and was recognized for my academic achievements on various occasions by being placed on the Dean’s List.

Upon receiving my A.A.S from San Jacinto College, I applied and was selected to be a Police Officer with the Pearland Police Department. I have worked all three patrol shifts and I am a member of the Pearland Police Department SWAT Team and Honor Guard Detail.

In December 2010, while working full time as a Police Officer, I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science from the University of Houston (Main Campus).

I believe that I have the political and work experience that distinguishes me from other potential candidates. My background as a police officer allows me to understand how various laws enacted impact not only our residents, but the law enforcement community. Currently being assigned to a school campus, I have witnessed first hand the consequences of the public education budget cuts and have first hand knowledge of the concerns of teachers, parents and students.

Prior to working as a police officer, I worked in the emergency room at one of the local hospitals, and I witnessed first hand the medical needs of the community. I observed first hand the positive effects that Medicaid and CHIP had on the children of the underprivileged. As a veteran, I understand the medical, educational and personal attention that our veteran community needs.

While on city council, my record speaks for itself. I have worked for the construction of over 5 miles of brand new sidewalks, various new concrete and overlaid street improvements, speed bumps, splash pads built in parks, and water/sewer line replacements. Although, I can point to major infrastructure accomplishments during my tenure as a council member, I am most proud of the level of energy and involvement that my constituents have provided since I was first elected.

I ask for the support of my fellow residents of Texas House of Representative District 144, as I embark on the journey to be your representative. I am a middle class American who understands the needs of the district and who has been in the trenches fighting for the rights of taxpayers and our public employees. No other candidate seeking the Democratic Party nomination has a proven track record when compared to mine.

Hall of Fame greats Johnny Bench and Nolan Ryan of course were drafted and signed out of the 1965 MLB inaugural draft.  Johnny Bench is celebrating his 64th BD today.

Once again there is nothing to report from The Yard today.

 

 

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Here in Harris County it was kind of the usual suspects filing for reelection in the Dem Party Primary yesterday.  It looks like we’re going to have a choice in the race for Harris County DA next March.  That’s probably a good thing.  Of course, I’m wondering how both candidates are going to deal with the death penalty issue.  That could be interesting in a Dem Primary in a county that loves to award the death penalty.   I guess I might as well ask them both:  What do you think about the death penalty?

I ruffled a feather yesterday when I said this:

Let’s see who steps up in the reconfigured HD 134.  Let’s hope it isn’t a Dem retread.

Some fella took it personally.  Sorry!  Here is how I responded to him:

I hope you and others don’t take it personally.  I will now be voting in the reconfigured HD 134.  Winning the district in November isn’t going to be easy.  I’m hoping we can produce a nominee that can excite the base as well as appeal to independent voters.

During the 1960s, the SF Giants averaged 91 wins per season.  What five Hall of Fame greats played with them then?

You know Herman Cain is just about done when a late night talk show host said last night that Herman Cain’s belt buckle was made out of mistletoe – yikes!

Commentary made a mistake yesterday.  I said the San Diego Chargers kicker was doing the #2 on the sidelines Sunday afternoon when it really was just the #1.

Meanwhile, Lone Star State politicos are nervously eyeing the U.S. Supreme Court to see what they decide to do on the state’s redistricting maps.  Any bets? 

Hall of Fame greats Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, and Juan Marichal of course all played for the Giants in the 1960s.

It turns out the best Holiday Party of the season is moving to Chicago this year. Now that’s a bummer!   How can they do that?  They don’t even have a Hotel ZaZa in Chicago!

Commentary thinks new ‘Stros CEO George Postolos is a nice fella.  I worked with him when we passed the arena vote ten years or so ago when he was COO of the Rockets.   I hope George does a good job because I’ll still be going to The Yard.  Remember though, George doesn’t have a ring either.  He came to the Rockets after they won a couple of NBA titles.  Heck, he hasn’t even been to the NBA finals.   We should all have high expectations but we should also have patience.  

 

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Candidate filing for office starts today at your local or state party headquarters so let the campaigns begin!  With the federal judges ordering new state house, senate, and congressional lines, it will be an interesting next couple of weeks or so.  Commentary hears there may be surprises in the works so you better stay tuned!

Let’s see who steps up in the reconfigured HD 134.  Let’s hope it isn’t a Dem retread.

Here is a response to the CM James Rodriguez Chron Op-Ed thanking Drayton:

Let’s all thank billionaires (Drayton is largest Walmart stockholder) for allowing taxpayers to build and maintain ballparks so they can get even richer than before. Meanwhile we can lay off teachers, municipal employees and reduce school services.

May joy and peace follow you forever. 

Here is how Commentary responded:

You know, we actually had an election in November of 1996 and the Harris County voters decided how a portion of the stadium would be funded.  I won’t even bother to try to explain the funding source the voters approved.

Then he responded with this:

There were also elections in the early 1900s that gave us Jim Crow Laws. Whats your point? Wrong is wrong    

May joy and peace follow you forever.

Oh brother!   Jim Crow laws and sports stadiums in the same debate, I’m not even going to respond to that. 

What two cities did the A’s call home before 1968, when they moved to Oakland?

Let’s see now, the Texans are on a five game winning streak and a lot of the fans are bummed out because it looks like the third string QB is running the offense from here on out.  I say give the fella a chance because that’s all we have.    The Texans are 8-3 and of course they wouldn’t even exist today if the Drayton led referendum hadn’t passed here in Harris County in November of 1996. 

After a CBS camera crew caught the Chargers’ kicker doing the #2 next to the Gatorade cooler, I wonder if the NFL Commissioner will order port-a-potties next to each bench. 

The GOP Texas AG is crying all the way to the courthouse because the redistricting maps are looking a bit different these days.   Hey, you guys tried a blatant and disgusting power play and it backfired.  You guys forgot about something called the Voting Rights Act that applies here in the Lone Star State.   You have to wonder if there were any rational GOP voices behind closed doors that were urging a more cautious approach.  Now you have the Williams twins up in North Texas looking for a place to run.  You have nobody to blame but yourselves. 

This past Saturday I got a mailer from City of H-Town At-Large 5 run-off candidate jack Christie. 75% of the mailer slams his opponent CM Jolanda Jones.  What else is new?

Philadelphia (1901-1954) and Kansas City (1955-1967) of course once hosted the A’s. 

You had to figure it was going to happen.  I’m talking about ‘Stros President of Baseball Operation Tal Smith and GM Ed Wade getting the old heave ho.    I wonder if Tal get to take his hill with him.

 

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First of all let me say that Commentary hasn’t been involved in the Harris County Commissioners’ precincts redistricting deal.  In reading today’s Chron story on the issue it looks like Commissioner Jerry Eversole has been in office way too long.  Check out what he says:

"So, I’m to give up my job to give you fair representation?" asked Commissioner Jerry Eversole, who would be drawn out of his precinct in the Guerra-Jara map.   Check out the article.

Eversole would have been better off keeping his pie hole zipped.  He sounds like a bitter old fella if you ask me.  He better hope he don’t have any Latinos on his next jury.

Well I guess Commentary was wrong when I predicted Guv Dude wouldn’t run.  At this point it would be a shock if he didn’t get in the race.  What do I know?

J.D. Martinez got his fourth dinger last night.  That’s right – four dingers in ten games.   Who leads the team in dingers this season?

Henry Sosa will make his major league debut tonight when he takes the mound for the ‘Stros.  That will make nine ‘Stros that have made their major league debuts this season – yikes!

In checking who has filed for office for City of H-Town races, so far there are no surprises.  Stay tuned!

Numero 45 of course has 11 dingers to lead the team and Hunter Pence of course had 11 when he left.  Commentary messed up a little yesterday when I said that J.D. Martinez had nine RBIs through nine games. He had 11 RBIs.  After last night, he now has 12 RBIs through 10 games.

It looked like we were going to win last night when we took a 7 to 1 lead.  We lost 11 to 9 as the wheels kind of fell off. 

 

 

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Commentary was watching the H-Town City Council meeting yesterday and noticed that the red light folks brought in their firepower to City Council Chambers – GOP hot shot lawyer Andy Taylor and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips, another GOPer of course.   They were on the agenda to speak and asked that they be moved up the speakers list.   It turns out they didn’t speak.  Folks at City Hall are still trying to figure out what to do with the 53%-of-the-vote-gorilla-in-the-room that just won’t go away. 

Meanwhile, today the Chron E-Board got into the fray and want the City to turn on the red lights RIGHT NOW!   Check out what they say.

Here’s a taste of what  the E-Board says:

(H-Town CM Anne) Clutterbuck says she still supports the cameras, but to turn them back on now would "be a violation of the will of the people."

We disagree. The election violated the will of the people as expressed in the city charter.

Now hold on E-Board!  I don’t even think 1% of the H-Town voters know where to find the H-Town City Charter but we do know that 53% of those that showed up at the polls put the old thumbs down on the red lights.  So you can’t cavalierly blow them off.

Here is how the E-Board ends today’s piece:

We believe the best solution for the city and taxpayers is to restart the red-light cameras and fulfill Houston’s legal commitment to its contract with ATS. If opponents want to mount a legitimate challenge, they can follow the rules and do so when the contract comes up for renewal in three years.

There is no easy way out on this deal.  What you can’t do is to put further stress on the voter.   A lot of them like Commentary are seeing their water bills go up.  The roll out of the Rebuild Houston fee wasn’t pretty.  They are seeing some city services reduced.  Now you want to tell them that their vote didn’t count last November. 

We have to do better than that so stay tuned!

‘Stros skipper Bard Mills wears the numero 2.  Name the Baseball Hall of Fame great that was with the ‘Stros in the latter part of his career that also wore the numero 2?

My old pal Yolanda Black Navarro has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron and mentions the new City Council District J.   Check it out.   Yolanda jumps the gun a bit and asks the Latino community to get behind the only announced Latina candidate in the race.  There is a Latino that has filed the paper work to run and his name is Rodrigo Cañedo.  So both candidates need a look.  In the coming days and weeks folks will get to know more about both or more.  Stay tuned!

Mama mia!  It’s complicated!  One of Commentary’s all time favorites is 62 today!  Happy Birthday Meryl Streep!  The fantastic Mrs. Fox will never need touching up!

From the things to come department:  Super star Dem consultant James Carville called out Guv Dude yesterday on CNN.  Carville said that Dude’s “not bright” – ouch! 

The H-Town City Council will spend most of today finalizing the City’s budget. 

The late and great Nelson “Nellie” Fox of course wore the numero 2 as a player and then as a coach for the ‘Stros from 1964-1967.  Nellie Fox played most of his career with the White Sox (1950-1963) and was the 1959 AL MVP Award winner.

Last night in Arlington the fans set a Guiness World Record by having thousands wear shades at night.  Even 43 put on a pair.

All I can say about the team though is that sometimes – like last night –the back end of our pitching staff look like Triple A arms and our only healthy catcher looks like he ought to be in Double A – yikes!   We should have won last night but we didn’t so that is that!  

 

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