Archive for the ‘The Latino Education Crisis’ 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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Here is a part of the proclamation Guv Dude put out yesterday on the upcoming prayer gathering out at Reliant on Saturday, August 6:

Given the trials that have beset our country and world – from the global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and wars that endanger our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and theaters of conflict around the globe, and the decline of our culture in the context of the demise of families – it seems imperative that the people of our nation should once again join together for a solemn day of prayer and fasting on behalf of our troubled nation.

Commentary is not going to get into the business of going after folks that want to pray even though here is what a Dude spokesperson said yesterday about the gathering:

“a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting.”

That is kind of a head scratching phrase if you ask me.

Commentary doesn’t have plans to attend because I usually skip Dude’s event.  Anyway, the Brewers are at The Yard that day and they are handing out replica jerseys. 

I just hope they pray for good stuff and not pray against folks they disagree with like Planned Parenthood, paperless folks, Dems, GLBTers, and The President.

While they are out at Reliant, maybe they can throw in a prayer or two for Wade Phillips’ new defense and another prayer for the players that wear the brick red out at The Yard.

In the history of the ‘Stros, name the ‘Stros pitcher that has given up the most career dingers?

Since the Big Prayer Caucus is Dude’s idea and event and since folks are talking about Dude running for prez, does that mean that the other GOP candidates for prez will stay away from arguably one the biggest political prayer events of the year?  Stay tuned!

This one from Chron.com will probably get some play out in the community.  Here is a taste:

Houston ISD board president Paula Harris said today that raising property taxes, dipping into the district’s savings account and suing the state over school finance inequities are all possibilities.

Harris noted twice that HISD has the lowest tax rate of all school districts in Harris County ($1.1567 per $100 of assessed value). The district also offers a special tax break known as an optional homestead exemption, which reduces the taxable value of homes by 20 percent.
Here is the entire Chron.com piece.

Why should the HISD Trustees do what the Texas Legislature didn’t have the huevos to do?  I’d only have them do it if a bunch of other business, political, union, parent, and community leaders stood behind them and supported them.

Larry Dierker of course gave up 177 dingers during his years with the ‘Stros.

The Big Puma, Albert Pujols, and San Luis will be at The Yard for three starting this evening.   They are in first place and we’re in last place!



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From today’s SA Express News:

“I think it’s just going to be harder for poor kids to go to college,” (State Sen. Steve) Ogden said, “because there’s just not as much financial aid, and if money’s tight at the universities, it’s going to be hard for them to basically provide big discounts for their students to attend.”

We’re better than this.  We’re now a “No Mas” state.  We’re now a state that throws in the towel.  Way to go!

Things ought to get interesting at the Port Commission meeting today.  The Port Chair and the Port CEO are kind of under the gun.  Leading the charge to get things cleared up are Port Commissioners Janiece Longoria and Elyse Lanier. 
Check out the Chron story.

The Chron E-Board also weighed in on the Port stuff today.  Here is a part of what they said:

(Port Commission Chair Jim) Edmonds has come under fire for taking a tour of Libya with his wife two years ago paid for by AECOM, a port vender that has since hired Edmonds as a consultant. The chairman told the Chronicle’s Jenalia Moreno that his contract with AECOM began last fall and ended this spring. He declined to provide details of the pact, calling it a private business matter. That’s an unacceptable position for the chairman of an agency board that spends taxpayer dollars.


Whatever the findings of the district attorney concerning these allegations, it’s clear the port governors need a stronger code of ethics and increased transparency in their official dealings and on-the-side employment. We urge the commissioners to make instituting those reforms their top priority.
Here is the entire E-Board piece.

You have to give some credit to Commissioners Longoria and Lanier.  The City of H-Town and City Council should be glad that Commissioner Longoria was reappointed last fall if you ask me.

Oh, I almost forgot!  The GOP Tax Assessor-Collector for Harris County also weighed in today on the Port stuff with an Op-Ed in today’s Chron.  He certainly didn’t mince any words like:

While the port generates tremendous economic benefits for this area, its promotion fund generates tremendous benefits for those bold enough to reach into the cookie jar. So much so that(Channel 13’s Wayne) Dolcefino is calling the Port of Houston the "Port-o-Plenty."

Maybe it is. Certainly Harris County no longer is the land of plenty in which mismanagement of the port’s resources can be overlooked or swept under the rug.

The port should immediately increase its accountability by publishing online the promotion fund’s check register and the tour boat’s log of trips and related expenses.     Check out the entire Op-Ed here.

Things ought to get interesting over at the Port so we all better stay tuned!

Four years ago today, this pitcher beat the Mets to become the first pitcher in MLB history to win 200 games and collect 150 saves.  Who am I talking about?

Speaking of “when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”  Zimmerman is celebrating his 70th BD Today – wow!

Last night in Arlington at the Rangers-White Sox game, a high pop foul landed right in front of 43.    Check out the replay here.  I don’t blame him for kind of just freezing up.  I’ve been there before.  Those are the toughest to snag.  I am not a physics expert but it is probably safe to say that the ball comes down faster than it goes up. 

The ATL’s John Smoltz of course pitched seven innings in a 2-1 win over his ex-teammate Tom Glavine of the Mets.

Speaking of, I snagged Pam-In-Charge’s seats at the last minute yesterday so I took McLovin and his steady with me.  I momentarily lost faith in the team and left in the eighth inning when we were behind 3-1.  I got home and watched us make a bottom of the ninth comeback 4-3 win – wow!  What do I know!   It is OK with me as we take on the Dodgers again this evening.


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Commentary has to hand it to H-Town CM Brenda Stardig.  She had 175 or so folks including staff and security at the City of H-Town’s Redistricting Town Hall Meeting last night at Oak Forest Elementary.  The Mayor ran the meeting.  CMs Stardig and Noreiga were there.  Once again the super neighborhood and management district folks showed up and stated their case to be kept intact.  The Greater Heights area neighborhood once again stated their case to be kept with the Greater Heights.  Asian Americans once again said they didn’t want to be split up.  Commentary also spoke on Latino representation on City Council.

So far partisanship hasn’t surfaced at the meetings.  That is probably a good thing.  My pal Yolanda Black Navarro was there and here is what she sent out to Latino leaders last night:

Tonight I attended the District A Meeting at Oak Forest Elementary where over 175 people were in attendance.  Of those attendees, there was a handful of Latinos.  I saw Marc Campos, Lenora Sorola Pohlman, Hector Carreno, Dr. Adolfo Santos and maybe a few others.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, March 23rd the Redistricting Town Hall Meeting will be held at Houston Community College-Southeast Campus for District I.

If we do not have over 150 people there then shame on us as citizens, business owners, community leaders, and residents.  We talk the talk about why we are so underrepresented but our voice is not heard when it needs to be or present when we should be.  We cannot talk about adding 2 more seats to City Council, wanting more Latino representation without our presence.

Where are the e mails, calls and engagement from the chambers, management districts, civic clubs, superneighborhoods, et al.  to rally around the importance of attendance.  Precinct Judges should be making calls and we should all be responsible for good attendance.

Next week on Monday, March 28 there will be a District H meeting at Jeff Davis High School.

I respect you all and share this frustration so we can do better and hope you forward to everyone you can.

Way to go Yolanda!

The City of H-Town Redistricting Town Hall Meetings resume tonight at 6:30 pm at the Learning Hub of the Houston Community College Southeast Campus (District I), 6815 Rustic.  Be there!

How many times was B-G-O in an Opening Day starting line-up with the ‘Stros?

Bonus:  How many times was B-G-O the lead-off batter in an Opening Day starting line-up?

Now we know why there isn’t an urgency to fully fund public education in the Lone Star State.  Check out the following from Chron.com:

The number of non-Hispanic white children attending Texas public schools continues to decline and again reinforces the state’s rapidly shifting demographics.

This school year marks the first time Hispanic children represent a majority (50.2 percent) of the 4.9 million student enrollment, which includes Pre-kindergarten and early childhood education.

There are 218,557 fewer white students in Texas public schools today than 1995-96 when the white student enrollment peaked at 1,756,966, according to Texas Education Agency records. While the white student enrollment keeps declining each year, the Hispanic student enrollment continues to climb.

GOP State Senator Dan Patrick wants to tell the City of H-Town how to implement Rebuild Houston.  Commentary worked on Proposition 1 last year.  I can’t recall if Sen. Patrick put in his two cents worth back then.
Here’s the Chron piece on what Patrick wants to do.

Patrick wants to exempt churches and schools from paying the Rebuild Houston fee.  If that happens, home owners, and commercial property owners will have to cough up more.  As far as I’m concerned, the H-Town voters have decided this and now it is up to City Council to do the implementing.

B-G-O started 19 consecutive Opening Days from 1989 to 2007.

B-G-O was lead-off batter on 12 Opening Days.

The Chron’s columnist has a piece today on the 2011 H-Town Mayoral race.  I kind of think he is itching for a fight.  For now you can only read the piece if you are old school like Commentary and get a hard copy of the newspaper in your front yard.

One week from tonight the Red Sox come to town for a practice game at The Yard.


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The H-Town City Council did the right thing and voted to proclaim that H-Town has a population of 2,100,017 so that makes it official and now we get to have City Council Districts J and K.  Only CM Stardig voted against. 
Here is the front page Chron story on yesterday’s vote.

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to those African American and Latino leaders and activists that first challenged the City back in the 1970s and got the settlement.   They are the ones that deserve our praise today.  WAY TO GO!

The City of H-Town Redistricting Town Hall Meetings resume tonight at Pershing Middle School (District C) so be there.  I wonder if any speaker is going to get up and oppose J&K. 

These are corrected 2010 City Council District population numbers.  The set handed out last month had some errors:

H-Town City Council will expand by 2 seats this year so each council district will have about 190,859 in population.  Here is how the current nine council seats look like from a Latino and African American perspective:

District A (Stardig) has 242,611 (125,020 Latinos or 51.5% and 25,904 African Americans or 10.7%).

District B (Johnson) has 209,725 (88,458 or 42.2% and 106,168 or 50.6%).

District C (Clutterbuck) has 233,019 (78,107 or 33.5% and 50,959 or 21.9%).

District D (Adams) has 257,872 (67,686 or 26.2% and 134,250 or 52.1%).

District E (Sullivan) has 257,792 (98,132 or 38.1% and 27,716 or 10.8%).

District F (Hoang) has 225,617 (125,432 or 55.6% and 42,624 or 18.9%).

District G (Pennington) has 261,082 (55,978 or 21.4% and 39,868 or 15.3%).

District H (Gonzalez) has 213,784 (134,542 or 62.9% and 30,560 or 14.3%).

District I (Rodriguez) has 197,949 (146,313 or 73.9% and 27,907 or 14.1%).

Commentary said yesterday that on October 9, 1999, the ‘Stros and the ATL played in the last MLB game ever played in the Astrodome.   Who hit the final Dome dinger that day?

Bonus:  Illinois will soon become the 16th state without the death penalty.  Including Illinois, name the MLB teams located in states without the death penalty.

Also on the Chron front page is this:  Perry: School woes not our fault.  Every major newspaper is running the story today about Guv Dude claiming that the state’s not responsible for layoffs at local school districts across the state.  The response by just about everyone was like the AFLAC duck in the Yogi Berra ad – HUH!   I think Dude is starting to trip over his own swagger.

A bunch of folks showed up at City Hall yesterday to voice their concern about implementing Renew Houston, err Proposition 1, err Rebuild Houston.  I don’t know about that.  That’s why we had an election last year so folks could have their say.  The voters have already decided and folks don’t get mulligans in elections.

Ken Caminiti of course hit a no-out three run dinger off of ATL starter John Smoltz in the bottom of the eighth inning for the last Dome dinger of all time..

The Cubbies and White Sox (Illinois), Red Sox (Massachusetts), Tigers (Michigan), Twins (Minnesota), Mets and Yankees (New York), and Brewers (Wisconsin) of course.  We also have the Nationals in D.C. but D.C. isn’t a state.  Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and West Virginia don’t have MLB teams.

The following bobbleheads will be handed out at The Yard this season:  Michael Bourn Gold Glove (4/10), Hunter Pence Play Green (4/30), Chris Johnson Pink Bat (5/14), Brownie and J.D. (6/11), and Brett Myers (7/3).



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According to the Chron, criminal defense attorney Rusty Hardin to will go before H-Town City Council this afternoon to address H-Town CM Jolanda Jones’ "Know Your Rights With The Police” card.  Now this ought to be interesting and worth watching.

H-Town City Council will expand by 2 seats this year so each council district will have about 190,859 in population.  Here is how the current nine council seats look like from a Latino and African American perspective:

District A (Stardig) has 213,284 (113,545 Latinos or 53.2 and 20,948  African Americans or 9.8%).

District B (Johnson) has 203,494 (84,280 or 41.4% and 103,866 or 51%).

District C (Clutterbuck) has 284,588 (102,156 or 35.9% and 58,711 or 20.6%).

District D (Adams) has 260,249 (65,780 or 25.3% and 137,989 or 53%).

District E (Sullivan) has 237,445 (86,838 or 36.6% and 21,950 or 9.2%).

District F (Hoang) has 180,278 (99,807 or 55.4% and 33,659 or 18.7%).

District G (Pennington) has 274,668 (65,012 or 23.7% and 44,472 or 16.2%).

District H (Gonzalez) has 242,544 (152,265 or 62.8% and 36,616 or 15.1%).

District I (Rodriguez) has 202,901 (149,985 or 73.9% and 28,425 or 14%).

It looks like we currently have four majority Latino population districts and two majority African American districts.

BTW:  The first redistricting hearing for the City of H-Town is this Thursday evening, March 3 at the Museum of Fine Arts on Bissonnet so be there!

Stay tuned!

The last Dodger to have his jersey number retired has a ‘Stros connection.  Who am I talking about?

The piling on continues as Paul Krugman has a piece out today that says “the kids are not all right” in the Lone Star State.  Check it out.  
Take that Guv Dude!

Dodger great Don Sutton of course who also played for the ‘Stros (1981-1982) has his numero 20 retired on August 14, 1998.

I’m not going to comment on Wandy’s performance yesterday or the ‘Stros 13-3 loss.



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From Judith Cruz, HISD Trustee District VIII Candidate:

Much has been made recently about my alleged opposition to "nutritional breakfasts" for HISD students.  I want to take a couple minutes to set the record straight.

First, I’m an HISD parent.  I send my eldest child to my local HISD school in the Eastwood community.  The school is predominately low-income and predominately Latino.  Second, I’ve spent all of my professional career teaching some of our nation’s poorest students.  I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t need to talk.  Others can speak on behalf of this issue.

Here’s who agrees with me on the problems with HISD’s "Breakfast in the Classroom":

(1) Teachers:  Most teachers want to spend their time teaching and not serving food.  I hear it at my own child’s school; I hear it from my friends who are HISD teachers; and you can learn more about a teacher’s perspective here:  http://blogs.chron.com/schoolzone/2010/05/   (and note the picture of the muffin with melted plastic that is serving as a "nutritional meal" for our children via Breakfast in the Classroom).  (2) Parents: Parents want their kids LEARNING during the academic day.  Most parents aren’t too thrilled to have important academic time "eaten" up by meals their kids don’t want.  Check out this post.  http://www.schoolfood2010.blogspot.com/.   While I am 100% supportive of having children fed before school begins, academic time needs to be protected for the sake of our children and their education.  (3) Employee groups including the Houston Federation of TeachersDuring HISD consultation with employee groups, it was noted that the accumulated time taken up by "Breakfast in the Classroom" came to a lost 6 to 7 days of lost instructional time.  See here: http://andy-dewey.blogspot.com/2010/01/january-7-2010-consultation-minutes.html.
(4) TaxpayersJust take a look at all the pictures at the posts above of wasted food–either muffins with plastic melted into them or full milk cartons discarded by the trash cans full.  As liberal blogist Susan Ohanian wonders, is Breakfast in the Classroom for kids or is it for for-profit food service organizations?  I’ll let the readers decide.  See here: 

So, in the final analysis, who wants Breakfast in the Classroom?  The answer is my opponent and our Superintendent.  For anyone who wants a Board Member who will stand up for teachers, parents, kids, and taxpayers, I am here to be your voice.

I stand behind my statement….I’ve got a child in HISD schools and I’ve taught in the toughest teaching situations out there and I’ve yet to meet a starving child.  Those that are starving deserve the sort of attention that a simple classroom breakfast can’t even begin to provide.  They need very serious family intervention and I will stand behind making sure that happens.

What I have seen are a whole bunch of kids who are absolutely starving for academic opportunities and I will make 100% sure they get what they deserve.  Our many talented young people who are not getting the education they deserve are counting on you and me to make sure they get what they need to succeed.


Judith Cruz

Candidate, HISD Trustee District VIII

Take that!

In the race for HISD Trustee District VIII race, Judith Cruz’s opponent is letting Two Cents be her attack dog.  Now he’s accusing Judith Cruz of promoting hunger and starvation and I guess famine is coming next.  Oh brother!   This is already on top of the opposition saying Judith wants to close schools.  This is also already on top of the opposition saying Judith moved into Precinct 27 just to run.   This is also already on top of the opposition saying Judith wants to dismantle HISD.

Here’s my favorite the opposition is putting out – that Judith isn’t a Latina – huh!  That’s kind of low if you ask me since most of my conversations with Judith’s mom are in Spanish.

I guess the opposition’s only strategy is to sling mud and dirt and hope that something sticks.  Is that really the best they can do? 

Early Voting continues in the HISD Trustee District VIII Run-off.

In Game 6 of the 1975 World Serious, Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk hit the dramatic game winning dinger in the bottom of the 12th inning against the Reds at Fenway.  Who was the starting pitcher for the Red Sox in Game 6?

Sometimes you just have to eat your words.  I remember when I was promoting getting Vince to play with the Texans.  So I’m just going to have to eat my words.  Of course, the fella we picked hasn’t really been tearing up our opponents’ backfield.  The fella the Saints picked with the number two pick hasn’t really done much either.

One of the hardest parking spaces to find tomorrow will be at the Midtown Spec’s, so make your Thanksgiving Day run today if you ask me.

Luis Tiant of course started Game 6 of the 1975 World Serious for the Red Sox but the Reds won the Serious in 7.  Luis Tiant is celebrating his 70th BD today!

My pal Drayton still owns the ‘Stros and that’s all I have from The Yard!


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Commentary normally doesn’t print other folks’ complete pieces, but since I’m kind of out there and out in front in talking about the Latino vote or lack of vote in the Lone Star State, I thought I would lay out the best article this year on the Latino vote.  I lifted it off of the Texas Tribune and it is written by my old pal Matt Stiles of the Tribune and Zahira Torres of the El Paso Times.   What’s missing in the piece?  It would have been nice if they would have gotten both campaigns to address the amount and type of resources they were going to commit to engage the Latino vote.  In my opinion resources have always been the issue.  Here goes:

Latinos are the "sleeping giant" of Texas politics — a phrase repeated so often that it has become a cliché. 

Nearly 37 percent of the state’s population of about 24.8 million people is Latino, but almost any political expert will tell you that the group does not fully exercise its strength in elections. Pinpointing if and when Latinos will begin wielding their voting power is a challenge.

“It’s the $64,000 question,” says Bob Stein,  a political science professor at Rice University. “If you’re biblical, it’s like the [coming of the] messiah.”

Politicians often speak of the Latino population as a mystical group that must be captured before it awakens. The prize is a massive number of votes for the person who can figure out how to move the group to the polls. Scores of candidates, political parties and interest groups spend millions of dollars each year trying to determine what would happen if the group decided to exercise its strength in the next election.

In the current gubernatorial race between Republican Gov. Rick Perry and Democrat Bill Whiteanalysts and others wonder what might happen if more of the state’s registered Latino voters turned out at the polls. 

Latinos in Texas tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans get a smaller share of the Latino vote, yet they continue to win statewide elections. The general consensus is that Democrats in Texas would have an edge over their Republican counterparts if more Latinos voted. But wondering about the possibilities has not proved fruitful for Democrats in past election cycles. 

One reason Latinos are not flexing their muscle at the polls is that some may be too young to vote.  Steve Murdock, a sociology professor at Rice University who is a former state demographer and a former U.S. Census Bureau  director, says nearly 36 percent of the state’s 6.7 million Latinos were not of voting age a decade ago. 

Latinos will be the largest ethnic group in Texas in five years. In 2029, they will be a majority of the state’s population, but they will not dominate the voting-age population until 2033, Murdock says. In 2015, about 30 percent of the state’s expected 11.8 million Latinos will still not be old enough to vote, he says. 

Hispanic Surname Voters: 2008 Presidential Race

County        Voters

Bexar         194,745

Harris        166,288

El Paso       120,947

Hidalgo        98,112

Dallas          79,596

Tarrant        56,850

Cameron      52,441

Travis           50,710

Nueces         42,770

Webb            40,498

Source: Texas Secretary of State

But age is not the only issue. Registered Latino voters lagged behind other ethnic groups in voter turnout during the last presidential election. A little more than 40 percent of nearly 2.9 million Latino voters registered in 2008 actually cast ballots. By contrast, about 60 percent of about 10 million registered non-Latino voters turned out at the polls.

Experts say various circumstances contribute to the lower turnout. Latinos, for example, may meet the age qualifications but still be too young to fully engage in politics. A 30-year-old registered voter is more likely to cast a ballot than a 20-year-old. Other factors include higher rates of poverty among Latinos and lower levels of educational attainment.

Activists have cited low Latino voter turnout as one reason why immigration reform is not at the top of the to-do list for lawmakers. A lack of Latino voter participation is often considered a culprit when Democratic candidates in Texas cannot topple their Republican counterparts. Leaders from counties with large Latino populations and low voter turnout also say that if the group turned out in higher numbers, the communities would get more money from the state and neighborhoods would see more investment from city government.

James Aldrete,  a Democratic consultant, says it is unfair to place the blame on Latinos. Aldrete says Latino voters face obstacles to voting that include working long hours or multiple jobs to provide for their families. He says it is up to the candidates and communities to drive those voters who feel disenfranchised to the polls.

“The real annoying thing is when they call it a sleeping giant or when they make any insinuation that it’s lazy Mexicans,” Aldrete says. “What they need to understand is if you want that vote, you have to make it front and center to providing for their families, because that’s what people are doing.”

Wooing Latinos

Since Texas does not require residents to declare their ethnicity when they register to vote, the best way to measure the tally of Latino voters is by surname. An El Paso Times/Texas Tribune study of the 2008 voting rolls shows that about 17 percent, or nearly 1.3 million, of the state’s 7.6 million voters had Latino surnames. 

Nearly 1.6 million of the state’s about 2.9 million registered Latino voters did not cast ballots in 2008, according to an analysis based on the statewide voter file maintained by the Texas secretary of state. The list does not contain some overseas voters or voters who have been removed for various reasons. (No similar list of voters was available for the 2006 gubernatorial election.)

Political analysts warn that 2008 was an anomaly. They say the average turnout for Latinos in the state ranges from 11 to 15 percent. Still, though Latinos are not voting in numbers equal to their population, the group remains too large to ignore.

Perry and White each say they have their eye on Latino voters. Perry says he plans go after 50 percent of the Latino vote this election. The governor has picked up about a third of the Latino vote in past elections, according to his campaign. White will be looking to increase Latino turnout and trying to maintain the larger voting margins typically afforded to Democratic candidates.






“If Bill White loses the Hispanic vote to Rick Perry, then it’s all over,” Stein says. “He needs to get 65 to 70 percent of a good turnout of the Hispanic vote. If he doesn’t hold his margins, it won’t matter what the turnout is.”

Perry says outreach will focus mostly on translating his message into Spanish through social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. He says that could mean a few commercials that feature him speaking Spanish, a language he still struggles with. Perry says his record speaks to Latinos, who like all other Texans care about the state’s economic stability, education and feeling safe in their communities.

“The Democrats were in control of the state for 150 years,” Perry says. “It was a Republican who put the first African-American on the Supreme Court. It was a Republican who named the first Latina secretary of state. It was a Republican who put the first Latina on the Supreme Court. What’s not to like about these Republicans, or this Rick Perry Republican?”

White, who has already run his own commercials in Spanish, says he is focused on working with Latinos who may feel ignored by the state’s leadership. He plans to touch on many of the same issues as Perry but will try to persuade voters that the governor has been ineffective.

“Latino voters, like all voters in our state, should have their support earned by performance and a lifetime commitment to progress, not simply by a slick television ad,” White says. “You don’t start nine and a half years into office deciding you are going to appeal to a group.”

With that message, White hopes to increase Latino turnout in Democratic counties like El Paso and Hidalgo. Only about 46 percent of the nearly 262,000 El Paso Latinos who were registered to vote in 2008 made it to the polls. About 40 percent of the more than 242,500 registered Latino voters in Hidalgo County cast ballots.

Democrats believe that Latino candidates like  Linda Chavez-Thompson,  who is running for lieutenant governor, and Hector Uribe, who is running for land commissioner, will help draw Latino voters to the polls.

Republicans, on the other hand, are still battling an image of a party that is hostile to minorities — a point revisited this year in public comments made by Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo after he lost to political newcomer David Porter in the March GOP primary. Carrillo made headlines when he told supporters that he lost the race because of a party bias against Latinos. 

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams, who lost to Ann Richards in 1990, says Carrillo’s defeat in the primary could be a blow for the party. “If we cannot have more Hispanics become a part of our conservative effort, then we don’t have a future,” Williams says. “That’s a setback, and we’ve got to work on that.”

Latinos in Texas often choose the Democratic Party at the ballot box, but that is not always the case at the national level.  Mark Lopez associate director for the Pew Hispanic Center, says that until 2008, a majority of Latinos nationally did not believe either party had more concern for them. That year, a majority identified with the Democratic Party, and only 6 percent chose the Republican Party.

“For the most part, the majority of Hispanics prior to 2008 were saying there was no difference between the parties,” Lopez said.

Understanding Latino issues

Democrats have normally enjoyed an edge with Latino voters in Texas, but experts say they have done little to engage and excite that base. Republicans often point out that they share conservative and religious values with many Latinos, but the party’s platform is sometimes at odds with them. For instance, Republicans generally push against reform efforts that would provide a legal path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“It’s not that Hispanics aren’t probably pro-life. It’s not that they aren’t pro-choice,” Stein says. “But those are not things that will motivate them to vote Republican when they are unemployed, don’t have health insurance and their schools are terrible.”

Pia Orrenius, a research officer and senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, says education will be the key for Latino progress over the next decade. “In Texas, it just so happens that we have some of the most segregated high schools in the nation, so over half of Latino students tend to go to high schools that are 90 percent Latino or minority,” Orrenius says, explaining that more needs to be done to level the playing field. 

But analysts say that until Latinos show politicians that they cannot be appeased at a superficial level, candidates will continue to do just enough to get the vote each election year.

Lydia Camarillo, vice president of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Projectsays that day is coming. In the meantime, she says, Latinos must be reminded what is at stake in each election. “Go to our neighborhoods. We are not seeing any progress,” she says.

Many candidates still have a hard time pushing issues that drive the group to the polls. Eight years ago, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez relied too heavily on the idea that he could increase Latino turnout and that the group would vote for him because of his surname, political analysts say. Sanchez lost to Perry by more than 800,000 votes.

Those analysts say current candidates who travel to the border to discuss security or complain that Latinos are not represented in history books are also not doing enough to engage the population in a meaningful way.

Camarillo says underestimating Latino voting power is a mistake. She says candidates have missed the mark when tackling important concerns for Latinos. “The questions should be, what are we going to do to make sure that the Latino community has better resources, better jobs and better opportunities?” she says. 

But, Camarillo says, Latinos also continue to pay attention to how candidates respond to immigration issues. “Even though it is a federal issue, the immigration issue has become increasingly a litmus test for how we will be treated,” she says.

Both White and Perry are playing it safe on immigration and border security. White, who is trying to appeal to moderate Republican voters and keep his base Democratic voters, has leaned more conservative toward those issues. He treads lightly when discussing national immigration reform efforts and has joined Perry in criticizing the federal government’s response to border security needs. 

Perry, on the other hand, is also trying to play both sides. Aldrete says the governor doles out money to sheriffs and provides grants along the border, while presiding over a Republican Party convention that talked about eliminating federally sponsored pre-kindergarten and passing an Arizona-like bill in Texas. 

Perry has said publicly that he disagrees with portions of the Arizona law, which would not be right for Texas. Meanwhile, some of his fellow Republicans in the Legislature have promised to pass similar bills in the state. 

White says he would veto legislation that resembles the controversial law. Perry would not commit to a veto without a review of such legislation. 

Analysts say both parties have to step up efforts to reach Latino voters by talking about issues like closing the wage gap with Anglos, reducing the dropout rate for Hispanic children and raising the college graduation statistics for the minority group.

“For the majority of Hispanics, the Republican Party is just not a choice,” Aldrete says. “The choice is, ‘Is it worth my time to get involved?’”

Speaking of, the Former H-Town Mayor kind of got criticized in the Star-Telegram for not taking on the immigration issue. Check it out. 

Dems have to deal with this or else!

The Big Puma batted in the six-hole last night.  He hadn’t batted sixth since May 18, 2004.  Who did he bat behind that day?

Bonus:  The Big Puma said on the jumbotron last night that he has met three presidents.  Name them?

Guv Dude says he still hasn’t heard from The President on his border security meeting request.  I’m betting the meeting is going to happen

McLovin got honored last night at The Yard.  He got to stand down the first base line with a few others for stuffing the MLB All-Star ballot box with at least 4,500 ballots.  Way to go McLovin!

B-G-O, Adam Everett, Baggy, Jeff Kent, and Richard Hidalgo of course batted in front of The Big Puma back on May 18, 2004.

41, 42, and 43 of course have had the honor of shaking The Big Puma’s paw!

Batting sixth last night didn’t seem to faze The Big Puma as he came through with a 7th inning grand salami as we wrap up the series with the Cubbies this afternoon.


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The Houston Independent School District Superintendent has been here six months and he is making changes.   Reorganizing, cutting, trimming, reevaluating, adding, subtracting, dividing – hey, folks want change within HISD.  The latest is the controversial Community Education Partners (CEP), HISD’s alternative schools program.  That’s the program that handles students with various levels of discipline issues.  The program has drawn criticism from some community leaders.  The Superintendent is putting the contract out for bid.  Here’s the Chron story. 

The Superintendent’s leading – maybe only – critic in H-Town is the honcho of the local teachers’ union.  Here’s what she said about the Superintendent’s move on CEP:  “That jerk (the Superintendent) is willing to throw these kids away rather than save them so he can divert a few dollars into his asinine new programs that no one wants.”

The Chron says in the piece:  “Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon, an ardent supporter of CEP whose union has exclusive bargaining rights at the Houston campuses, criticized Grier’s idea.”

The honcho doesn’t elaborate on the programs that “no one wants.”

So far it looks like to me that the only person that is publicly unhappy with the Superintendent is the teachers’ union honcho.  Everybody is A-OK, just observing, or keeping their pieholes shut.  Commentary is one of the ones that is A-OK.

Only six MLB players have career World Serious dingers  in double digits – name them and how many?

Commentary spoke to Edgar’s class last night at UH-Downtown on politics of course.  His students were pretty knowledgeable I might say.  They hadn’t read what the teachers’ union fella said about me last week so they still found me to be a credible speaker. 

In today’s online Statesman, the Former H-Town Mayor is saying no se puede to casino gambling in the Lone Star State:  “White says he doesn’t support slots, casinos.  Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill White said Monday that he does not support the legalization of slot machines and does not think Texas should legalize casinos across the state. ‘I don’t think the State of Texas should be promoting gambling and something for nothing,’ White said during an interview with the American-Statesman.”

Interesting in that a lot of his key supporters are Dem members of the Texas Legislature and support the legalization of casinos in the Lone Star State for additional revenue.

On this day, March 9 in 1959, Barbie was born.  We’ve had Barbie in a bikini, as a soldier, as a Navy SEAL, as a flight attendant, race car driver, cowgirl, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader,  Air Force pilot, and even as Gomez’s Morticia.  Barbie is 51 today….. hmmm, Barbie the Cougar?

Mickey Mantle (18), Babe Ruth (15), Yogi Berra (12), Duke Snyder (11) and of course Reggie Jackson (10) and Lou Gehrig (10).

Here is from Alyson’s Footnotes on former ‘Stro Morgan Ensberg:

“Ensberg has been retired from the game for about a year and he’s hoping to begin a career in broadcasting. When he was with the Astros, I always felt he would be successful with whatever he decided to do in his post-playing career, whether it was politics or coaching or broadcasting. As much as I liked him as a player, I had 100 times more respect for him as a person. That’s why I was delighted to see he started a blog.  In his most recent entry, he talks about how it ripped his heart in half to be booed by the Houston fans: ‘As a result, I no longer concentrated on the game and instead concentrated on not getting booed.’  Check it out. Interesting stuff.”


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A local teachers’ union staffer cracked on Commentary this past Friday because I talked about voter bias last week.  Here’s what he sent me:

“Wow, this is rich coming from someon (Commentary I suppose) quick to cash a check from a less qualified candidate (HISD Anna Eastman I suppose) in a race against a very qualified Hispanic candidate (Alma Lara I suppose)).

“Outside that small group of folks that no ones listens to, you have lost ALL credibility on the issue of bias in politics.”

Oh yeah!  I guess the Chron’s E-Board didn’t get the message.  Here’s today’s editorial about the gubernatorial campaign that Commentary has mentioned before.   Check it out. 

Here’s how I was included:  “As Houston political consultant Marc Campos observed in his Daily Commentary blog, the White-Perry collision will feature ‘everything you wanted to know about H-Town but were afraid to ask. We’re fair game, I suppose.’”

Here is an AP story that ran this weekend in newspapers across the land on the Guv Dude – Former H-Town Mayor match-up that had a quote from Commentary.  Check it out. 

Here’s what I said:  "’We’re going to find out if Bill White can take the punch,’ said Marc Campos, a political consultant who worked for a candidate (Rep. Sly Turner) running against White in the nonpartisan mayor’s race.  ‘It’s going to be interesting how he reacts to a full-fledged negative campaign against him. He’s never done that. He’s never had to go through something like this.’”

Here’s what someone sent me after they read the piece:

“Dear Mr. Campos, I read your comments yesterday about Bill White. ‘We’re going to see if Bill White can take the punch.  It’s going to be interesting how he reacts to a full-fledged negative campaign against him.’

“I assume you’re working for Rick Perry, and I can’t help but wonder why? Why would you run a negative campaign against an honorable man who can do so much good for Texas and its people? Why would you hire out to man who encourages discrimination toward Latinos, who has failed to make the education of our children a priority, who has turned a blind eye to the poor, to abused children, to the retarded and disabled in the state, who favors corporations over people, who has advanced cronyism in all facts of state government, who has ignored strengthening responsible environmental oversight and with his failed tax plan has bungled the budget. If it weren’t for the stimulus, Texas couldn’t balance its budget.

“I just don’t get it. We all have to make a living, but to promote evil instead of good is a moral choice. I would not want to have your job. To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, for the good of all the people of Texas, my children and yours, I hope you fail.

“Shellie from Franklin, Texas."

I think they need to check the drinking water in Franklin, Texas.

The reason Commentary gets written up is because the reporters know that I don’t read from the daily talking points like other political consultants.  They know they can get a pretty good observation from me – that’s all.  Commentary is not afraid to call it like it is.

Who holds the AL team record for most consecutive wins without a tie – Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Tigers, or A’s?

This fella needs to get to the end of the line if you ask me.  I think he’s a Dem Party officer:

From Allan Jamail:  “To name just a few let me say I’ve seen the Mexican language used on yards signs, flyers, letters, door hangers, bumper stickers, T-shirts, large signs, robo calls, ballots, TV & radio ads, Democrat Party rules, door to door Hispanic speaking campaign workers”

Here’s how someone responded to Allan:  “As I’m sure you know, Mexican is not the official language of Mexico any more than Lebanese is the official language of Lebanon.  Perhaps Mr. Jamail should educate himself a little more about Hispanic culture before commenting on it.  Then he would be a little more credible.  Yes, I know that I am now vulnerable to the slings and arrows of the redneck folk out there, but I felt I had to speak up.”

I really don’t make this up!

From this weekend’s SA Express News:

“Non-Hispanic judges caught in crosshairs

“Granted, these are three Democrats — Karen Crouch, Michael Mery and Linda Penn — and their races were local, not statewide like Carrillo’s. And, obviously, there’s not a Hispanic surname among them.

“But just as Carrillo’s last name played into his defeat, their surnames factored into theirs. Each judge fell to youngish Hispanic attorneys: Liza Rodriguez beat Crouch, Richard Garcia beat Mery, and Ina Marie Castillo beat Penn.

“’The greatest judge we lost was Michael Mery — he’s a good man,”’(attorney Luis) Vera said. ‘I talked to him in my office a couple of days (before the election). I told him my fear was that (racially) polarized voting would get him, and it did.’”

From the FW Star Telegram this past weekend:  “In Fort Worth, the defeat of Judge Ruben Gonzalez offers some parallels to the Carrillo race. Gonzalez, whom Perry appointed to the new 432nd District Court in August, was endorsed by major Republican groups and had several straw-poll victories under his belt, but he lost to veteran criminal defense attorney Tom Zachry. But unlike Carrillo’s opponent, Zachry was known in the community and had been one of 10 candidates for the judicial post that Perry ultimately awarded to Gonzalez.

“Gonzalez, in a telephone interview, said he doesn’t believe that he was the victim of outright racism but says his Hispanic surname may have nevertheless aroused Republican voters’ impassioned reactions on illegal immigration, voter fraud and demands for new legislation requiring voter identification.

"’You shouldn’t be so Pollyannaish to believe that it doesn’t exist,’ he said. ‘There are people out there who are obviously racist. But I try to believe in the best of people instead of the worst of people.’

“Echoing the views of many experts and political analysts, Gonzalez said it is virtually impossible to gauge the extent to which subtle and not-so-subtle racial bias comes into play when voters are trying to make up their mind in a race in which one of the candidates has an Hispanic last name. He recalled one incident that occurred when he flashed a card bearing his name at a campaign stop in Tarrant County.

"”This fellow walks up to me, takes a look at my card and spits on the ground,’ Gonzalez recalled. ‘You could say that was racist or you could say he was a real fervent Democrat … or maybe he was a convicted felon. Maybe he just had a really bad day.’

"’How do you know what’s going through somebody’s mind? You really don’t know.’

“Zachry, who doesn’t have a Democratic opponent in the general election, acknowledges that ethnic biases could have surfaced in his race with Gonzalez.

"’I think if I’m going to be honest, that’s probably true, unfortunately,’  the attorney said. ‘I hope it’s not true, but I would be something other than candid if I didn’t say that I would not want to have traded.’

“Even after more than four decades of civil-rights advances, they say, racially polarized voting is an enduring social pattern that can thwart the advances of Hispanic and African-American candidates.

"’It certainly is a legitimate concern,’ said Nina Perales, the San Antonio-based regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund. ‘It means that we still have a long way to go in moving toward a race-blind society.’”

Enough said for now.

Back to the teachers’ union guy that cracked on Commentary.  It looks like he was having a bad week.

Here’s a CNN story:  "In a small, poor city in Rhode Island sits a low-performing high school with a graduation rate of 48% and a math proficiency rate of 7%. ‘Within the same school sit teachers—many making over $72,000 a year—who do not want to take on reform responsibilities without significant pay increases. They have the union’s backing.

“Enter School Superintendent Frances Gallo, who is under pressure from Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist to reform Central Falls High School, which is one of the worst performing schools in the state.  About a month ago, Education Commissioner Gist tells Superintendent Gallo that she has to use one of four models to reform Central Falls High School. Gallo chooses the “transformation” model, which allows her to work with existing staff members to improve the school’s abominable performance.

“Gallo lays out six conditions. She tells union leaders and staff that if she can’t adopt the ‘transformation’ model by getting their cooperation, she will resort to the ‘turnaround’ model, which means that everyone will be fired and the district will be able to hire 50% or less of the staff back for the next school year.

“The six new staff responsibilities Gallo presents are:

“25 more minutes added to the school day, some tutoring shifts before and after school, once a week eating lunch with students, undergoing more extensive evaluations, attending teacher planning sessions once a week, and 2 weeks of training during the summer.

“Gallo can only offer $30 an hour and only for some of the additional duties, but the union leaders say the teachers should earn $90 an hour and for all of the additional duties.

“As a result, the union leaders say no, we do not agree to your six conditions. They, I conjecture, effectively try to strong-arm Gallo and call her bluff.

“They find out that Gallo wasn’t bluffing because she fired them all. Every teacher and administrator.

“And from this situation a major media story erupts that asks a lot of fundamental education reform questions."

Here’s from a follow up NY Times story:  “Mr. Obama’s endorsement of the Rhode Island board’s tough action infuriated many of the four million members of the two national teachers’ unions, thousands of whom campaigned vigorously for him in 2008.

“’I ripped the Obama sticker off of my truck,’ said Zeph Capo, a midlevel official at the Houston Federation of Teachers who trains classroom teachers. ‘We worked hard for this man, we talked to our neighbors and our fellow teachers about why we should support him, and we’re having to dig the knife out of our back.’”

The Oakland A’s of course won 20 in a row in 2002.  The A’s won the AL West but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Twins.

It was good to be back out at The Yard this weekend for the College Classics and be there for Jake’s debut Friday night.


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