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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