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Forcibly Gentrified

Second Ward, you are on the clock.

Last night Commentary attended a Second Ward Town Hall Meeting where folks expressed their concerns about changes happening in their community. The G word, gentrification, came up a time or two. One passionate Second Ward resident warned about Second Ward getting ‘forcibly gentrified.”

Second Ward is the latest of H-Town ‘hoods near Downtown where redevelopment is taking place and new folks are moving in. The Chron did a lengthy piece on Second Ward a month or so ago. For the most part, folks that got up to speak last night were of the Latino persuasion.

More and more folks want to live close to Downtown and developers know this. Drive beyond Navigation and Canal and see the changes taking place. Developers are now looking east and north of Downtown.

There were not any solutions offered last night because there really aren’t any other than to try to work with developers. Last night one developer was called out by the passionate resident.

Voting precinct 9 is the Second Ward neighborhood closest to Downtown. All you have to do is check out the voter roster and compare it to 10 years ago to see the change.

Craig Biggio will be inducted next weekend. Everybody knows that Biggio is fifth in all-time career doubles with 668 two baggers. How many times did he lead the NL in doubles in a season?

We put this out yesterday.

KARLA CISNEROS RAISES $30,000 IN JUST 45 DAYS

The January 1st – June 30th Campaign Finance Reports that all candidates must file, are now publicly available on the City of Houston’s website. The Karla Cisneros Campaign is pleased to announce that we have raised over $30,000 in cash donations in just 45 days.

“I am grateful for the generous financial support I have received over the last month and a half,” said Karla Cisneros. “I formally announced my race for City Council District H on May 31, two days after completion of the school year. It’s exciting to see our campaign grow on a daily basis, as voters across District H continue to offer their support and encouragement. At this rate, I am confident that we are on the road to raise the funds to wage a successful and winning campaign. ”

Help Karla make a difference on City Council! Join the campaign team by signing up as a volunteer, hosting a house party, or making a donation at
http://www.karlacisneros.com.

Biggio led the NL in doubles in 1994 (44), 1998 (51), and 1999 (56) of course.

We get back at it tonight with three this weekend against the Rangers and a half game behind the Angels. We definitely need better offensive production from Carter and Valbuena. Play ball!

Favorites

At the mayoral forum a couple of nights ago, candidates were asked to name their favorite H-Town police chief of the last 36 years. A couple of candidates refused and talked about the future which I thought was chicken s__t. Answer the question! What is so difficult about answering it.

Maybe at the next forum they ought to be asked who their favorite H-Town mayor was. I am betting all but Rep. Turner would name Bob Lanier. Put some money on it?

At the All Star break, name the MLB batter who has struck out the most times?

At a future forum maybe they can be asked if they can name their favorite former council member. That is an easy one – Eleanor Tinsley. Heck, she has a park named after her.

The campaign reports were put online yesterday evening. Did you check them out?

Our own Chris Carter leads MLB in the whiff department with 115 strikeouts at the plate.

We need to make a move at first base if you ask me.

I tweeted this last night:

Marc Campos ‏@MarcCommentary 13h13 hours ago
#StandingOvation for #CaitlynJenner on #ESPYS.

It was a nice moment.

The so called second half resumes tomorrow night at The Yard.

Reports for Duty

The campaign reports are due today up at the Texas Ethics Commission, the City Secretary, and the HISD and HCC Board Services offices. Go check them out and spin them any way you can. I wonder how difficult it will be to access the H-Town City reports since they don’t really have all their systems going. Stay tuned!

Karla Cisneros is now on Off the Kuff today. Check this:

We continue with candidates in District H, where incumbent Council Member Ed Gonzalez is term limited. Today’s interview is with another Heights neighbor of mine, Karla Cisneros. Cisneros is a longtime educator and education activist, having served six years on the HISD Board of Trustees, including a stint as Board President. She was a teacher at Travis Elementary School and helped develop its SPARK Park while there, subsequently serving as the Assistant Director of the SPARK Park School Program. She has since returned to teaching and is now at Harvard Elementary School.

Check Karla out here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=68327.

Yesterday MLB announced the Four Franchise Players for each team. Name the only team whose four players are no longer with us?

There were sparks last night at the mayoral candidate forum as punches were thrown and some landed.

One take I found interesting last night was support for lifting the revenue cap. Two candidates kind of supported and five opposed. Will this have any bearing with voters if the item is placed on the ballot?

Here is how Rebecca Elliott of the Chron described last night’s chingasos:

Let the sparring begin.

Houston’s mayoral candidates duked it out at Tuesday night’s unusually lively mayoral forum, in which candidates had the opportunity to both debate a series of broad-ranging topics and quiz each other.

The event’s different format highlighted the race’s emerging political fault lines, most of which revolve around the city’s looming budget deficit. Issues of the hour included if and when to lift the city’s revenue cap, whether to close the fiscal gap by issuing new debt, and what to do about the controversial streets and drainage initiative known as ReBuild Houston.

At night’s end, City Councilman Stephen Costello was the self-declared “piñata,” having fielded a host of questions about ReBuild Houston, which was his brainchild, and received four of the seven questions that candidates posed to each other.

Costello and former Kemah Mayor Bill King, both of whom bill themselves as moderate fiscal conservatives, are thought to be in a battle for Houston’s right-leaning voters — a well-represented demographic at the forum, which was hosted by the United Republicans of Harris County.

The first question of the forum addressed whether to amend the city’s revenue cap in light of Houston’s looming $126 million deficit. Of the seven candidates in attendance, only former City Councilman Chris Bell and state Rep. Sylvester Turner proposed changes, with Bell calling for the cap to be repealed and Turner suggesting the city make exceptions for either public safety or to pay down city debt.

The next question, on ReBuild, set up each of the candidates to criticize the execution of ReBuild Houston, if not pan it entirely. That left Costello alone singing the program’s praises.

Other questions posed by the moderator, KHOU’s Doug Miller, touched on the Houston Police Department’s best chiefs in recent history and use of devices called Stingrays to collect cell phone data, as well as the city’s pensions and permitting processes.

Miller also offered candidates an opportunity to list the top three items on their to-do lists, should they replace term-limited Mayor Annise Parker.

However, sparks didn’t really begin to fly until the second half of the event, when each candidate had the chance to ask one other candidate a question. 2013 mayoral runner-up Ben Hall and businessman Marty McVey asked Costello about ReBuild, while King pressed him on fiscal discipline and former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia lobbed him a softball on improving the city’s permitting process.

Meanwhile, Costello went head-to-head with King on how King would fund the pensions of legacy members through his proposed defined-contribution model.

Turner, too, questioned King’s proposal to fund infrastructure projects through bond elections, saying that approach would “bankrupt the city.”

Garcia was the only other hopeful to receive a candidate question.

Bell inquired about when Garcia initially found out that a mentally ill inmate was being held in squalid conditions in the Harris County Jail, under his watch.

Garcia did not directly answer whether his former chief deputy had indeed told him about the case a year before it became public last fall, saying instead, “when I found out about this issue, I took action.”

All I am going to say is I get tired of Pete Rose’s act.

The Four Franchise Players of the Yankees are Joe Dimaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Babe Ruth and of course they are no longer with us.

I am not going to argue with the four greatest living players – Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays but I wish Yogi Berra had gotten a mention.

I am not going to argue with the Four Franchise Players of the ‘Stros – Baggy, B-G-O, the Big Puma, and Nolan Ryan but you have to give an honorable mention to Joe Niekro, J.R. Richard, Mike Scott, Roy O. and Jose Cruuuuuuz!

The Great Satan Deals

Dallas Keuchel starts at pitcher tonight for the AL All Stars – nice.

United Republicans will host a mayoral candidate forum tonight.

Years ago someone asked me why I didn’t do takes on the drug cartels. I think I said something like those guys don’t play by my rules or yours and I like to be able to keep going to ballgames. Besides, I wouldn’t know an El Chapo from an El Guapo.

The last thing I want to do is advise Trump other than to say be careful.

Unlike my fellow Latino Dems. I am not mad at Trump. In fact, if I ever run into him, I am going to go out of my way to give him an abrazo and thank him for making it nearly impossible for the GOP to make inroads into the Latino voting community in 2016. Look at the boost he’s given to the piñata industry!

I was up early this morning and I flipped on the flat screen and the deal with Iran was being announced. It brought back memories from over 35 years ago, way before the internet and twitter and flat screens when the Iranian Revolution started and they were calling us The Great Satan. If the President says it is a good deal, I guess it is. I mean, I’d rather have The President explain it and not Gov. Scott Walker.

When was the last time a MLB All Star Game went into extra innings?

The candidate questionnaires are starting to come in. There is Labor, Tejanos, OFADs, DFHers, GLBT, Young Stonewalls, Dem Party, Realtors, and Home Builders for starters. Most endorse. You know who is missing and won’t be endorsing? Women. How come they don’t have a PAC and endorse?

Don’t put your money on Kid Rock on this one. He is on the wrong side of history. From the internet:

Two of Detroit’s own are ensnared in controversy today. In an interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, mulleted musician Kid Rock told those protesting the Confederate Battle Flag to “kiss my ass.” Now, Chevrolet, which is sponsoring Rock’s summer concert tour, is under fire for its support.

I don’t know about screening off more folks from foul balls at MLB cribs. If they are going to do something, maybe dugout to dugout about a third of the way down each side. It would be ridiculous if they went foul pole to foul pole or in our case fowl pole. Here is a related story:

A federal lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Monday is trying to force Major League Baseball to install netting from foul pole to foul pole to protect spectators from flying bats and balls.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of an Oakland A’s fan and other season ticket-holders throughout the major leagues does not ask for money. Instead, it wants Commissioner Rob Manfred to extend the screens that typically cover only a few sections behind the plate all the way down the first- and third-base lines.

“Every type of fan is constantly at risk of serious injury or death,” said Robert Hilliard, one of the lawyers involved in the case. “If that foul ball is hit hard enough, reaction time is basically zero and life-threatening injury is certain. This is a needless risk. Extending the nets will, as a fact, save lives.”

The proposed class action was filed on behalf of Gail Payne, who has tickets in an unprotected section at the Oakland Coliseum, by Hilliard’s Texas-based firm, Hilliard Munoz Gonzalez. A website asks other season ticket-holders to contact another firm handling the case, Seattle-based Hagens Berman.

The commissioner’s office said it is discussing safety with the clubs, and players could also become involved in the talks.

“Fan safety is our foremost goal for all those who choose to support our game by visiting our ballparks, and we always strive for that experience to be safe and fan-friendly,” MLB said in a statement. “Major League Baseball is in the process of re-evaluating all issues pertaining to fan safety, comfort and expectations.”

In 2008, the AL All Stars beat the NL All Stars 4-3 in 15 innings of course.

Root, root, root for the AL All Stars tonight

I guess the Mayor has the votes on City Council to move forward. I am talking about the votes needed to put on the November ballot a measure to alter the city’s revenue cap. Here is from the front page of today’s Chron:

A (City Council) charter review committee in February took a unanimous, nonbinding vote not to send any cap modifications to voters, with most council members saying the city still needed to prove it was spending taxpayer money wisely.

And:

“I’m going to make them vote up or down,” (Mayor Annise) Parker said of the revenue cap. “If they want to give a pay raise to firefighters without having to cut huge numbers of programs across the city they’re going to have to figure out that, you know, that’s one way to bring some relief in.”

And:

Repealing or tweaking the revenue cap, however, is a difficult pitch to make to voters, who approved the limit in 2004. Parker would likely face a strong conservative campaign casting the city’s financial troubles as a spending problem rather than a revenue issue. Even city officials acknowledge that the revenue cap is no cure-all and would have to be coupled with reining in some expenses.

If this measure does make it to the ballot, who is going to run the campaign. The usual suspects are tied up with the local races. For now it looks like the Mayor will be the face of this campaign. They are going to need a lot more faces to make the case and not just on the spending side but on the cutting side.

Sooner or later the other candidates are going to have to take a position and address this issue.

Here is the entire Chron article:
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Amid-mounting-budget-concerns-Parker-plans-to-6380728.php.

Tonight is the MLB Dinger Derby. Who was the last ‘Stro to participate in the Derby?

No that wasn’t Bill King on Channel 2 Friday morning – close, though. Check this:
http://www.click2houston.com/community/editorials/editorial-bond-issue-and-this-years-mayoral-race/34092522.

The City informed campaigns this past Thursday evening that the online software used to file the campaign reports would likely not be available by this Wednesday’s deadline. It has to do with changes made by the Texas Ethics Commission. Campaigns were directed to go to the Texas Ethics Commission website to generate their reports. From what I can gather in-kind contributions will have their own page and not be included with the cash donors. That is probably a good thing. See below what is on the City’s website:

In April 2015, the Texas Ethics Commission released a new Electronic Filing Application. The changes made have to do with the separation of the types of contributions and political expenditures. Though these changes are minor, they require substantial modification to the databases that facilitate the electronic filings that campaigns will be making.

The Mayor’s Office, City Secretary, Legal Department, and the Houston Information Technology Services Department are working diligently to modify the database in a way that will allow electronic filings that comply with the amended TEC requirements. We do not currently have that database available, and will be providing daily updates to enumerate the status of the database reconstruction. In the meantime, if you intend to file before the deadline of July 15th at 5 p.m., the only current option available will be to file by paper in the City Secretary’s office. To produce a report that will satisfy the requirements enumerated by the TEC, you can go here to file as a local candidate and print the PDF, which you can then submit to the City Secretary’s Office in person, or via email at citysecretary@houstontx.gov. The instructions on how to file are enumerated by the photo set below. The Texas Ethics Commission has also issued detailed instructions and troubleshooting information available here.

Until further notice, the City of Houston will not be enforcing Chapter 18 Sections 18-103 and 18-104.

If you have any questions, you may email Steven David in the Mayor’s Office at steven.david@houstontx.gov, or Danielle Folsom in the Legal Department at danielle.folsom@houstontx.gov.

Otherwise, we will update this site once daily to show the current status of the database and its ability to receive electronic filings.

Some GOPer are not happy with Trump because he’s hogging all the press these days. Hey, the GOP created this border security issue and Trump is just kicking it up a few notches so live with it. You did it to yourselves.

The Big Puma of course in 2008 was the last ‘Stro to participate in the Dinger Derby.

I know, I know. Losing six in a row stinks and having the tenth best record in MLB is so so but we are just a half game out at the All Star break. We have to do something about first base and third base. Both of our starters there are hitting under the Mendoza Line. They are not cutting it. We will see how they come out of the gate this Friday.

Not in Texas

The GOP’s strongest 2016 candidate for president isn’t even in the race. Instead, she is spending the morning taking down the confederate flag from her state capitol grounds.

Too bad her type of leadership isn’t a part of our state capitol crew.

The Chron E-Board takes on the confederate statues that are on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. Here is how their take ends:

If South Carolina, the birthplace of the Confederacy, can take down the Confederate battle flag from its own capitol grounds, surely Texas can face up to the symbols of hate, division and disinformation in our midst, symbols we have come to live with for more than a century. It’s time.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/If-South-Carolina-can-do-it-so-can-Texas-6376443.php.

Nah! Ours are not coming down any time soon. They will stay up because they don’t want to appear that we succumbed to what the rest of America is thinking – got it.

What goes down first? The renaming of HISD schools or the renaming of H-Town streets?

Commentary mentioned yesterday that Nolan Ryan started the 1979 All Star game for the AL. Name the starting pitcher that year for the NL All Stars – hint: PA?

KPRC-TV Executive VP Jerry Martin in his editorial his morning called for leadership on city finances and said the issue should be front and center in this year’s race for mayor. Sounds familiar to me.

Ken Stabler is no longer with us. I am glad he spent a couple of seasons with the Oilers.

Check out this prediction for the second half of the season by MLB.com:

HOUSTON WILL HOLD ON

The Astros have the third-lowest average age in the big leagues, with no regulars in their current lineup or rotation older than 29. Beyond the youth is the simple fact that there’s not a whole heck of a lot of postseason experience on that Houston roster, so this team will be tested in new ways down the stretch, as it looks to put an exclamation point on what has already been a dramatic rise in the standings.

It bears repeating, though, that no team in the AL West (and perhaps no team in baseball) has a better combination of trade resources and financial flexibility than these Astros. Their farm system is deep enough to put them in play for any starting option the market might bear, and the rotation will obviously be the focus for Jeff Luhnow and Co., especially with Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez on track to reach unprecedented innings territory.

The Astros likely have to do something, because the Angels are looming close behind and we can’t rule out the Rangers making another run at them, too. Also, a power-reliant lineup will hit some snags, as we’ve seen this week. But I think the Astros will get it done.

Steve Carlton of course of the Phillies started for the NL All Stars in 1979.

Our lead is still at a game and a half and we have to take two of three at the Trop this weekend if we want to be in first when we return to The Yard next Friday against the Rangers.

Vote Your District

How many times have you heard the phrase “vote your district” when talking about an elected official and how they are supposed to represent the folks that elect them?

Yesterday I watched H-Town City Council debate the multi-billion dollar capital improvements plan. Everybody knows we have infrastructure needs all over the city. Every council district has needs. Some district council members were pretty vocal about the needs of their districts.

I don’t see anything wrong with that. The Mayor did. Here is from the Chron today:

Houston City Council passed an $8.7 billion five-year capital improvement plan Wednesday, despite a wide-ranging and at times tense six-hour debate among district council members about perceived inequities and project delays.

Mayor Annise Parker, in her final term, said this year’s meeting marked the most contentious during her time as Houston’s top official.

She said the pushback was coming from district council members who were not considering the city’s needs, and instead advocating for equal funding across the board.

Councilmen C.O. Bradford, Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin voted against the plan.

“What you saw displayed here today is why I think it’s important that we actually have at-large council members,” Parker said. “Because the district council members were very clear that they didn’t give a damn about the whole city. They only cared about their district, and you had at least four of them say as much, and the others were in concert. My job is to present a budget and a CIP that reflects the needs of the entire city and so not all the needs are the same.”

I don’t know about that. Folks don’t want to elect lapdogs for the Mayor. They want to elect council members who will advocate for their needs. I am certainly hearing that on the trail. You can certainly make the case that advocating for your district is giving a “damn about the whole city.” That is kind of why we went single member districts back in 1979.

How many times has Nolan Ryan been a starting pitcher in a MLB All Star Game?

Remember this from the Chron a few days ago:

Mayoral spokeswoman Janice Evans said (Mayor Annise) Parker plans to bring revenue cap changes before the City Council this summer in hopes of placing something on the November ballot.

Remember a few months ago when the Ad Hoc Council Committee voted NOT to put the revenue cap issue on the ballot this November. I guess the Mayor now thinks she has the votes on Council to move forward. This ought to make the election a lot more interesting as candidates may have to take a position.

The Chron E-Board has taken a position of sorts today. Here is part of what they say:

Removing the cap isn’t politically popular, but it will likely prove to be financially necessary if the city is going to pay what it owes.

Nolan Ryan of course was the starting pitcher for the AL All Star team back in 1979.

Our lead is down to a game and a half with four games left before the All Star break.

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