Posts Tagged ‘Sylvester Turner’

I know I shouldn’t be talking this way but I may as well point this out to those of us who love our local politics and love our ‘Stros. If the World Serious goes to a Game 6, the game will be played at the crib of the AL Champion on the evening of Tuesday, November 3 – Election Night. Wowsa! Now that’s what I call a nice dilemma or good problemo to have.

Name the MLB club with the most playoff appearances as a Wild Card Team?

There have been around 30 or so mayoral candidate forums this campaign season and I think I have missed around one or two of them. So I guess I can be called an expert of sorts on how these forums are playing out.

First let me remind folks what Commentary said yesterday:

Tonight’s Mayoral Candidate Forum is hosted by Super Neighborhood #6 and the Old Acres Homes Citizen Council. I am predicting that Ben Hall will go aggressive on Rep. Sylvester Turner. The setting plays to Ben’s style if you know what I mean.

I was right. The crowd was for the most part was older African American voters. Ben went after the HERO and got some folks worked up. During the forum, a member of the clergy asked the candidates where they stood on the HERO.

Now let me back up. Yesterday morning, at a transportation related forum, the candidates were asked to give a thumbs up or down to the HERO and they did. At the Museum District forum, all the candidates clearly said they were for, against, or would abstain.

Back to last night, Ben Hall was again the only candidate to say he was against. Bill King again laid out his concerns. Adrian Garcia talked more about what he did at the jail but never outright said he supported the HERO. Marty McVey said something about how we should love everybody but never said outright he supported the HERO. Rep. Sylvester Turner laid out that discrimination against anyone was wrong but never said the words “I support the HERO.” Council Member Steve Costello and Chris Bell didn’t attend the forum.

I guess you could say Ben succeeded in getting some of the crowd worked up and it having an effect on the HERO supporters. I bring this up because of one of the arguments I heard a few Saturdays ago at the GLBT Caucus meeting for supporting Sylvester. Let me reprint this from the Chron’s coverage of the GLBT meeting three weeks ago:

“I want to win the HERO ordinance,” longtime caucus member Kevin Hoffman said to a packed hall in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union building, in northwest Houston. “We need every single vote. If we (GLBT) don’t endorse Sylvester Turner, who can bring the African American vote and coalition with us, we are going to fail.”

That wasn’t evident last night.

Here is what Adrian Garcia told the clergy leader: “If my city attorney ever sent you a subpoena, I’d fire him.”

Like I said, Ben set the tone on the HERO.

If someone else there had a different take, let them put it out. If you weren’t there then you really can’t describe what happened.

This is what happens when you invite the minor candidates:

Marc Campos ‏@MarcCommentary 60m60 minutes ago
She definitely went over her allotted time for closing remarks at the SN6/Acres Home Mayoral Forum. #houvote

So this is what happened at the Museum District forum. Check this tweet:

Miya Shay ‏@miyashay 1h1 hour ago
Tidbit from #HouMayor forum early this week: McVey wasn’t invited, waited at Zaza bar for organizers to change their mind. They didn’t.

Trump called Jorge Ramos a “Spanish journalist.” Oh, well, they all look the same.

The Red Sox of course have been the Wild Card team seven times.

We are at Target for three with a five game lead.

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Let’s see. The City of H-Town rules on campaign fundraising say an individual can give up to $5,000 per election. A PAC can give up to $10,000.

Yesterday, Chris Bell lost his fight against State Rep. Sylvester Turner on campaign financing. Here is from Teddy Schleifer of the Chron:

The Houston Ethics Commission has rejected Chris Bell’s complaint that City Hall was letting Rep. Sylvester Turner start the mayoral race with a $900,000 head start in fundraising.

The ethics board ruled last week that it did not have jurisdiction over Bell’s case because he could not show improper ethical conduct by a city official, leaving the former congressman and city councilman with one less legal option to restrict Turner’s advantage. Bell filed his complaint last month after failing to win an injunction against the city in state district court in January.

Bell argues that Turner should not be allowed to transfer more than $10,000 from his legislative campaign account to his mayoral account, the most a third-party group can donate to a candidate. The city attorney’s office and Turner have said he should be allowed to transfer each individual donation that falls under the maximum cap set out by the city’s fundraising ordinances.

He opened his mayoral account late last month and starts with about $900,000, according to his campaign.

Here is what Commentary wants to know. If Jane Doe forked over $5,000 to Rep. Turner last October, can she give another $5,000 this July? Or is the $900,000 that Rep. Turner starts out with considered funds raised from a different or previous election.

I have the same question for a $10,000 contribution from a PAC.

If that is the case, it would appear that the Rep. Turner campaign gets two bites out of the apple while everyone else just gets one bite. I had a discussion about this recently with some folks in the know and I mentioned that it might violate the so-called “spirit of the law.” One of the responses I got was there is no longer a “spirit of the law” when it comes to fundraising at City Hall thanks to the folks that were in charge of looking out for the rules. That’s too bad since I thought for all these years that we had a pretty good system in place.

Oh, well, so now we operate under the spirit of the flaw. That is not what they had in mind when the original ordinance was first adopted.

Last night’s event was well attended.

How many combined seasons did Killer Bs Bagwell, Berkman, and Biggio spend in a ‘Stros uniform?

When is this going away? I am talking about this from the Chron:

The ongoing legal battle over Houston Community College Trustee Dave Wilson’s residency is poised to pit one source of taxpayer dollars against another, as the college may be on the hook for his legal fees and the county continues to pay to pursue a case it has lost twice.

HCC has an insurance policy that covers legal fees for trustees, but the deductible is $300,000 – much higher than the $36,980 Wilson’s case has cost him so far, meaning the college probably will have to pay the full bill.

Really? Folks certainly know how I feel about this dog chasing its own tail.

Teddy also put out this yesterday:

Deputy City Controller Chris Brown will run for his department’s top job, he said, becoming the fourth candidate to commit to the race for the city’s top financial officer.

This will certainly make things more interesting on the Dem side.

Killer Bs Bagwell (15 seasons), Berkman (12 seasons), and Biggio (20 seasons) spent a total of 47 seasons in a ‘Stros uniform of course.

The April 6 Opening Day game versus Cleveland will be carried by ESPN at 6pm as part of their Opening Day quadrupleheader coverage. That’s Prime Time!

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The first regular season game the ‘Stros, err Colt .45s ever played was on April 10, 1962 at Colt Stadium. Name the player who hit the first ever dinger against the Colt .45s that day?

And they are off! Chris Bell announced for H-Town Mayor yesterday and Teddy Schleifer sent out a few tweets from Sam Houston Park – the campaign kick-off site – including this one:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 50m50 minutes ago
Bell on his opponents talking about him losing races: “If necessary, I’ll talk about the races they’ve lost.” Get used to this, Houston.

The Rep. Sylvester Turner Campaign is the only campaign that I know of that has brought up Chris’ career campaign won-loss record. I guess Chris was aiming his remarks at Rep. Turner’s campaign and his three career losses. Hey in this business somebody is always going to have to come up short. It is not as though any of these two lost to lousy campaigners. This kind of discussion doesn’t fill a pothole if you ask me. Families aren’t going to be sitting around the table saying – “now let’s see, Bell lost to Lee Brown, Al Green, Rick Perry, and Joan Huffman and Turner lost to Bob Lanier, Bill White, and El Franco Lee, now who should we vote for?” NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

I have to hand it to new Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for keeping his campaign promises.

Speaking of, who is behind the Chris Bell parody twitter account? See this:

Chris Bell @chrisbell4mayor
@chrisbell4mayor FOLLOWS YOU
There’s an election this year, which means I’m running for something. PARODY ACCOUNT

In the past three or four months or so, if anybody has bothered to ask me who I am supporting for H-Town Mayor, I have told them Bill King. Bill is a longtime friend. He is certainly talking about what concerns folks in H-Town. He is well versed on the issues. He has certainly shared his takes with all of H-Town over the past few years. I honestly believe he would make a great Mayor.

I have had the conversation about my supporting Bill with a number of players including James, Kathryn, Teddy, Carol, my parents, Roman, Claudia, Anna, Leah, and others. It is not a secret. I mention this because the following was tweeted Saturday morning – first from Teddy Schleifer:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 47m47 minutes ago
.@miyashay @BillKingForHou @GeorgeHWBush @jgm41 Plus @rrjara, Sue Walden. And @MarcCommentary supporting King too.

Then from Miya Shay:

Miya Shay 36m36 minutes ago
@teddyschleifer @jgm41 @rrjara @MarcCommentary @TheGoodBegala you’re a bad consultant if you’re not on someone’s payroll this cycle.

Then from Teddy again:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 42m42 minutes ago
@jgm41 @miyashay @BillKingForHou @GeorgeHWBush @rrjara @MarcCommentary @TheGoodBegala Is any Houston strategist not on this campaign?

Then from Kris Banks:

Kris Banks ‏@KrisBanks 33m33 minutes ago
@miyashay @teddyschleifer @jgm41 @rrjara @MarcCommentary @TheGoodBegala Can’t buy a base #justsayin

Let me say at this point I am supporting Bill but I am not consulting on the campaign as of this morning. Always a proponent of full disclosure, I will let folks know if I ever do consult on Bill’s campaign.

As for Kris’ “can’t buy a base” phrase, I am certainly not going to discuss here the Bill King strategy for winning.

Kris is also a great guy so I know he is not implying that Bill’s team is bought just like the consultants that have been hired by Rep. Sylvester Turner, Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington, Chris Bell, Ben Hall, and the Sheriff are not bought.

On April 10, 1962, Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks of course hit a 7th inning solo dinger off of Bobby Shantz for the first ever dinger against the new H-Town MLB franchise. The game will certainly miss Mr. Cub!

I have to admit I got a chuckle or two while reading yesterday’s Chron E-Board take on the pensions and state legislators. The E-Board is urging legislators to give the City the authority to do its job when it comes to firefighter pensions. I chuckled when I read what The Dean had to say.

Here is a part of the E-Board take:

Whether they decide to act, state legislators can’t escape their role at the core of the pension fight.

In addition to employee contributions, the firefighter pension is funded by tax dollars collected by City Hall. However, City Hall can’t set the amount it is obligated to pay. State law creates a framework that dictates what Houston taxpayers owe. Local tax dollars should be controlled by the elected officials at City Hall, but that isn’t what Democratic state Sen. John Whitmire thinks.

“Do you really want [Council Member Michael] Kubosh to be in charge of a $3 billion fund?” Whitmire asked the Chronicle editorial board during the past election season. “Do you want [Council Member] Dwight Boykins to be in charge of a $3 billion fund?”

Yes. In fact, that’s exactly what Houstonians elected them to do. City officials control the city budget.

Pardon me, but I had to LOL! I wonder what CMs Kubosh and Boykins had to say about The Dean’s take?

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/It-s-city-business-6036503.php.

I also tweeted this yesterday after I saw a Channel 11 announcement asking for folks to send in a pic of their favorite pothole. Wasn’t that Bill King’s idea first?

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 5h 5 hours ago
#KHOU wants your pothole horror stories: http://www.khou.com/story/news/local/2015/01/24/pothole-patrol-share-your-horror-stories/22260077/ … #HouNews

Yesterday was Rob Manfred’s first day as Major League Baseball Commissioner. Congratulations and good luck!

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When was the first time the ‘Stros threw a shutout on Opening Day?

Commentary has said it before and I will say it again. I am not ready to give any of the candidates for H-Town Mayor the lead dog status, frontrunner position, or the candidate to beat designation. I won’t hand it to Rep. Sylvester Turner even though he has a million in the bank because he can’t raise anymore dough until mid-June and he will be spending some serious change in the meantime. I can’t give it to the Sheriff because he is not in the race yet and even if he got in tomorrow, he only has $57,000 in the bank.

Teddy Schleifer has a Chron front page lead story piece out today on the Sheriff thinking about getting in the race and if you haven’t seen it, I have it here for your perusal.

Some observers are saying that as soon as the Sheriff gets in, he jumps to the head of the line and is an instant upper tier contender. That’s where the expectation game comes into play. With upper tier status comes upper tier expectations.

If he gets in he will almost immediately have to demonstrate that his fundraising capability is top of the line. That means he will have to roll out H-Town money folks on his team with proven political fundraising and bundling experience that can get the campaign to that $2.5 million threshold.

He will have to release a list of endorsements and supporters that include elected officials, activists, and business and civic leaders. He will also pretty much have to have the enthusiastic support from the city’s Latino leadership and community.

He will also have to quickly develop an articulate message and vision for the city that addresses the issues and our concerns, stands out, and resonates with the voters.

In short, if he announces for Mayor, his campaign has to show the most movement. Some may ask if is fair to set the expectation game for his candidacy. Hey, the Chron gave him front page lead story status today. On page two of today’s City/State section you can find a much smaller story on Chris Bell’s announcement. That ought to tell you and me something.

Rep. Sylvester Turner has already set his marker down. We know what he has in the bank. We know he can’t raise any money right now. So we pretty much know the status of his campaign effort.

The other candidates like Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington and Bill King are pretty much staying off of the radar and have really yet to show any of their cards.

For the Sheriff it is obviously a different game. One that comes with a different set of risks. If he decides to get out there and run he won’t have a choice and will have to play the expectation game. If he falls short of his goals and stumbles, you have to wonder what those that gave him upper tier status will have to say then. They set the bar – I didn’t.

Here is today’s Chron story:

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is sending every possible message that he intends to run for mayor this year, aggressively increasing his political operations and signaling to some of his closest advisers and fiercest backers that a campaign may be imminent.

Garcia, under the Texas constitution, would have to resign as a county official immediately upon declaring his candidacy. That presents Garcia, who watchers expect to rocket to the field’s top tier if he joins the burgeoning mayoral fray, with a fateful decision: Does he step down as the county’s premier Democratic officeholder to make a bid that will make him Houston’s first Latino mayor or politically unemployed?

“At the end of the day, it’s like standing at the craps table, placing the bet – and you could walk away with nothing,” said Garcia confidant Greg Compean.

It is a bet Garcia allies said this week he has grappled with and seems willing to make.

“I’d be really surprised if he didn’t,” Compean said.

Garcia, who said last week he still is listening to others and has not yet officially committed to the race, has met with many of the city’s political leaders in advance of an announcement and privately is telling some close allies that he will run. And other evidence is mounting.

The sheriff spent $350,000 in the last six months of 2014, according to his campaign finance report released last week. That sum, spent in a year when he was not on the ballot and 10 times what he spent during the last six months of 2010, nearly depleted the coffers of his political action committee, which, under city ordinance, may not be allowed to transfer more than $10,000 to a mayoral bid.

The report also revealed that Garcia had hired new fundraising and digital advertising shops along with spending $100,000 on tele-town halls, some of it after last November’s election, that gave him a chance to reach and gather data on up to 500,000 voters. Garcia’s political operation also hired an analyst to parse through that data.

This month, he commissioned a poll to gauge his viability, people with knowledge of the poll said.

Garcia also slowly has been building his profile locally and nationally: He was invited to the White House in November to discuss immigration policy. He has continued his high-octane social media presence and leveraged it to build an email list. And he spent a fair amount of money this cycle giving to the Democratic interest groups that can help decide future elections, noted Marc Campos, a Houston Democratic strategist not committed to Garcia.

“The only way to explain spending all that money is to let everybody know that he’s a good Democrat,” Campos said. Garcia likely did so to remind them that “‘of all the candidates that have a Democratic base, I was the one who was working the hardest this past November,'” Campos said.

Perhaps most tellingly, county sources say, is that Garcia’s top staff at the sheriff’s office are looking to jump as they eye other county positions that would give them a landing place beyond Garcia’s tenure and vest them in the county’s pension system. Garcia’s top lieutenant and close friend, Armando Tello, left last month for a lower-profile post in Precinct 6, and other executive officers currently are scoping out other opportunities.

“He’s running,” said Hispanic Chamber of Commerce head Laura Murillo, who once considered her own bid for mayor. “He’s getting ready to make his announcement very soon.”

Murillo is not in Garcia’s inner-circle, but several other Garcia allies confirmed a bid is all but inevitable.

Former Houston mayor Bill White, who long has mentored Garcia but said he has not committed to any candidate, said the sheriff told him he was “seriously considering” the race in a visit at the end of the year.

“I did sense a gleam in his eye that was like a racehorse that wanted to go on the track,” White said.

To a certain extent, that race already has begun. Ever since a federal judge declared Houston’s fundraising blackout period unconstitutional two weeks ago, all but one of the eight candidates running for mayor have scrambled to contact donors and set up the political infrastructure to accept those contributions.

Meanwhile, Rep. Sylvester Turner, who political observers consider the current front-runner, is sidelined from fundraising until June, when the legislature’s still-on-the-books blackout period expires.

Every day that Garcia sits the race out is another day less that he has to raise the $2 million most experts say that any candidate would need to run a serious campaign and catch Turner, who will try to transfer much of the $1 million he already has in his state representative campaign account.

Backers of Garcia have high hopes he could raise the money to compete and that he could win voters beyond Houston’s Latinos, who comprise more than 40 percent of the city but at the most only 15 percent of the electorate. The county’s highest vote-getter in 2012, Garcia is expected to make appeals to some Republican voters in the nonpartisan election.

Garcia also would open himself up to personal attacks over a yearlong political brawl. Some in political circles for months quietly have questioned whether Garcia, who has no college education, can handle the rigors of the city’s top job. And if Garcia resigns as sheriff, some Democratic judges and Latino leaders worry whether the party and the Hispanic community would be hurt without him leading the local ticket.

Harris County Commissioners Court is almost certain to replace Garcia as sheriff with a Republican, though one Democrat, Constable Alan Rosen, is said to be interested. Constable Ron Hickman and Rep. Allen Fletcher are considered the most viable replacements.

Even if his seat flipping would upset the Democratic hands who labored to elect and reelect him, his donors and backers in the Latino community seem to be carrying more weight.

“You got to put our best foot forward,” said Massey Villarreal, a Hispanic Republican who has been pushing Garcia to run. “I think I’ve got him on the five-yard line.”

Kuffer has more on this: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=65100.

Here is the Chron story on Chris Bell – equal time – sort of:

Former Democratic congressman Chris Bell will announce his mayoral bid Sunday afternoon in Sam Houston Park, becoming the first candidate in a crowded field to officially kick off a run to lead City Hall.

“Houston has challenges but it also has a great future,” Bell said in his invitation to supporters. “We’re going to talk about how we move to the next level, taking advantage of talent and technology so we can reach our full potential.”

A former city councilman, Bell has spoken openly about an impending bid for at least six months. Bell began his career as a radio reporter and then turned to law and politics. He lost races for mayor in 2001 and for governor in 2006.

As many as a dozen candidates could run for mayor this year, each of whom would likely need to raise $2 million to be competitive.

In recent weeks, Bell has hired finance and policy staff, and he has been working with Bill Hyers, who mostly recently advised Bill de Blasio’s come-from-behind campaign for mayor in New York, to plot his campaign moves.

Bell’s most aggressive step toward a mayoral run has been his lawsuit against the city charging that Rep. Sylvester Turner should not be allowed to transfer much of his $1 million in his officeholder account to Turner’s mayoral run. That suit, heard in state district court earlier this month, will likely move to federal court.

Bell will host his first fundraiser on Feb. 12.

Roy O and Brad Lidge shutout the Fish on Opening Day of 2006 of course for the first and only time the ‘Stros have ever shutout an Opening Day opponent.

The game times for the ‘Stros 2015 season were released yesterday. There will be five weekday day (1:10 pm starts) games at The Yard this season.

Giveaways include three bobbles, a gnome, and a Craig Biggio replica Hall of Fame plaque. They won’t be giving away umbrellas this season – darn!

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It looks like the City of H-Town is fixing to wave the white flag on some of the City’s campaign fundraising rules. The City Attorney is now saying that the so-called fundraising blackout period is unconstitutional after a federal judge said so this past Friday. I guess we have been conducting unconstitutional campaigns for over 20 years now. So I guess we are fixing to be a 24/7 fundraising City. I don’t know about that.

The City Attorney also says that Chris Bell’s courthouse move to prevent State Rep. Sylvester Turner from transferring dough from his state rep campaign account into a Mayoral campaign war chest is moot because Turner raised the funds during a blackout period that didn’t exist because it was unconstitutional – huh! I thought the Bell folks were challenging the maximum amount Turner could transfer – $10,000.

An issue Commentary has is how could have Rep. Turner raised campaign funds for a Mayoral race if he didn’t have a Treasurer on file over at the City Secretary’s Office?

The City Attorney will be out of office in less than a couple of weeks and on his way out he is fixing to alter the fundraising rules. I sure hope he has been talking about these proposed changes this with key members of City Council – at the least. I would sure hope that more folks get to have a say in this if you know what I mean. After all, it is how we conduct campaigns.

I think this issue is important so I am putting out all of Teddy Schleifer’s piece from today’s Chron here:

City officials will argue that the city’s election ordinance is unconstitutional as part of a strategy to strengthen their position in a lawsuit that could shape the early stages of this year’s mayor’s race.

After defending the city Monday in civil court, City Attorney David Feldman said he would write an opinion explaining to the City Council why its fundraising “blackout” rule is unconstitutional. A federal judge on Friday ruled that law likely violated the First Amendment.

A separate lawsuit by likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell, the subject of a hearing in state court Monday, accused the city of failing to strictly enforce its fundraising law. Feldman intends to take advantage of the ruling in the federal case to convince the judge in the Bell lawsuit that Bell no longer has a case.

The strategy, hatched in closed chambers by Feldman after more than an hour of heated debate in the 165th District Court, amounts to the city capitalizing on its own loss just days before.

“In the first instance, we have some obligation to defend the constitutionality of (city) ordinances,” Feldman said in an interview following Monday’s hearing. “But we have a ruling from a federal district court judge that the blackout period is unconstitutional. I believe he is correct.”

Houston’s blackout period, passed in 1992, prohibits city candidates from raising money for 10 months before the February of an election year. The blackout, meant to limit corruption, effectively froze campaigning until Feb. 1, when a frenzy of renewed fund-raising ensued.

But this fall, two lawsuits challenged Houston’s rules. Bell’s suit charged that the city is allowing mayoral candidate Rep. Sylvester Turner to transfer too much money from his legislative account. In the other lawsuit, a City Council candidate alleged the blackout infringed on his free speech rights.

Now the cases are converging.

On Friday. U.S. District Judge Sim Lake enjoined the city from enforcing the blackout. The city is not asking for a stay of the decision and on Monday confirmed it will not defend the law.

Also on Monday, Bell and Feldman’s team quarreled in front of Judge Elizabeth Ray, who is presiding in the Bell case. Bell is challenging Turner’s strategy of raising money for his unopposed state legislative campaign during the blackout period and then transferring that money to a future mayoral account.

Bell argued Turner should be allowed to transfer only $10,000 – the maximum permitted from any political action committee. The city and Turner say the candidate can transfer the first $5,000 of each individual donation, allowing him to build a huge war chest.

And that, Bell’s attorney said, is Feldman’s fault.

“Mr. Feldman has no authority to provide legal advice to Mr. Turner or anybody else,” said Bell attorney Geoff Berg, as Feldman shook his head. “But he did it anyway.”

Turner asked Feldman for approval of his plan in May and Feldman gave it. The City Attorney said his job involves giving his thoughts on legal issues brought to his attention.

City officials said Friday’s decision made Bell’s lawsuit moot. If no blackout period is in effect, then Turner’s fundraising during that period is proper, the city argued, and there is no need to transfer any money.

Bell said he would challenge Friday’s decision in a new lawsuit in federal court.

It is kind of messy so I guess we have to stay tuned.

Among active MLBers, who has the most career At-Bats?

Kuffer put out a take today on stuff I mentioned last week. Here it is: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=64754.

I am not going to say anything about the member of Congress from down the road who compared the President to Hitler on the Paris rally.

Just like I am not going to say anything about some GOPers criticizing the President for not going to France to pick up a couple of orders of freedom fries.

I will say that Nick Anderson has a good one today here: http://blog.chron.com/nickanderson/2015/01/leader-of-the-free-world/.

A-Roid of course leads all active – yes A-Roid is now active – MLBers with 9,818 career At-Bats.

We will see A-Roid at The Yard for four in late June.

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Teddy Schleifer had a front page story in yesterday’s Chron where he introduced us to the folks that are running for H-Town Mayor or thinking about running. There really were not any surprises regarding the names. Schleifer says:

The race to succeed Mayor Annise Parker is shaping up to be Houston’s most crowded in decades, with a half-dozen candidates already having declared they will run and another half-dozen possibly joining them.

Of course it is a long ways to filing and a month and half before the official fundraising season begins. We will see who can put together a viable campaign.

Schleifer also writes:

Most observers consider Rep. Sylvester Turner, with his support base from the African-American population that could cast a third of next year’s vote, to be the man to beat in November. Yet his fortunes to win in a December runoff – all but guaranteed to be needed in a large field – depend heavily on whom he faces in a one-on-one comparison.

I guess the “observers” are making the assumption that Ben Hall won’t be much of a factor in the African American voting community. I also think some would challenge the idea that African Americans could cast a third of the vote next year.

And Schleifer says:

Turner’s 25 years in the Legislature gives him his own advantages, said Austin lobbyist Bill Miller, as does his political alliance with top Democratic Sen. John Whitmire. Turner will have the power to influence the budget and help deliver in Austin what he will be running on in Houston.

“Most candidates would trade their ability to raise money for the ability to spend $90 billion,” Miller said. “That’s a powerful position.”

Bill Miller is a pal but I don’t agree with him on this. Dems are going to be playing the old prevent defense in the upcoming legislative session. Maybe Rep. Turner and The Dean will be able to claim credit for stopping some of the Tea Party’s legislative agenda.

Since the GOP took over the running of state government the past decade or so, I am hard pressed to think of anything positive that Dems delivered that could impact a H-Town Mayoral race and the recent election results just made the possibility of delivering for Dems a bit more difficult.

Well now that we know who is thinking about running, maybe we can start talking about the why? So far the only candidates to talk about the issues at length and in detail – that I know of – are Bill King and Council Member Stephen Costello. King had the Chron columns and now a book. Costello has put out some newsletters on city fiscal issues.

H-Town may be looking and feeling a bit different next year. Commentary paid $2.39 per gallon of gas yesterday at the Kroger. The falling price of crude is hitting the energy industry – cut backs in spending, layoffs, and rig counts are down. We all know what the energy industry means to H-Town and our economy. If this is the backdrop to next year’s Mayoral race, you have to wonder what kind of conversation the voters will want with the candidates so stay tuned!

The ‘Stros introduced their new high paid relievers on Friday. Luke Gregerson will wear Roy O.’s numero 44 and Pat Neshek will wear the numero 37. Name the former ‘Stro pitcher who wore the numero 37 from 1993-2002?

Now who didn’t see this coming? Last Friday I put out this:

Channel 13’s Ted Oberg tweeted this a couple of days ago:

Ted Oberg @tedoberg • Dec 10
I’ve been BLOCKED! @SheriffGarcia blocked me and @trentseibert after this story aired last night: http://abc13.com/429120/.

Oh well, maybe this was an accidental block.

Commentary has certainly had his share of disagreements with media coverage and stories, but that is all they are – disagreements. I don’t hold grudges or that kind of stuff. I just move on.

I would hope that the Sheriff’s folks didn’t block Ted and Trent. That would be kind of silly and unproductive. What is accomplished? Absolutely nothing!

The next day the Chron E-Board gave the Sheriff’s folks a thumbs down. What did you expect? Here is the E-Board take:

(Thumbs down) KTRK investigative journalists Ted Oberg and Trent Seibert should be happy that Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia temporarily blocked them from viewing his Twitter account. If Garcia had his druthers, it would probably be to put them in the dungeon also known as Harris County Jail. The investigative reporters were following up their excellent story about deplorable conditions in Garcia’s facility. What did the most recent story say? Two months after their initial report that a prisoner was locked in a filthy cell for weeks, “not one member of Garcia’s sheriff’s department has been disciplined.”

I tweeted this after last night’s series finale of “The Newsroom.”

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 11h 11 hours ago
And happily ever after for @TheNewsroomHB0. #HBO

Will and Mac are having a baby. Mac takes Charlie’s job at ACN. Maggie and Jim are in love. Neal returns. Flashbacks come in handy. Good evening!

I have said it before that pro sports GMs and front offices think they are a lot smarter than the rest of us but they really are not. Everybody new at the end of last season that we needed to address the QB situation but the team didn’t. Today everybody still knows that we need to address the QB situation. Do you think the front office will finally make the QB situation a priority now?

Shane Reynolds of course wore the numero 37 from 1993-2002.

That’s all I have from The Yard today.

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We all know that this is happening because Teddy Schleifer has it on Chron.com:

A judge in January will hear likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell’s request to block Sylvester Turner’s plan to transfer money from his officeholder account to his mayoral account when the fundraising period opens on Feb. 1.

Judge Elizabeth Ray of Harris County’s 165th Civil Court will hear Bell’s request for a temporary injunction on Jan. 12 at 1:30 p.m. A hearing on Bell’s request for a summary judgment likely will follow later.

Turner has been open about his plan to transfer money raised for his unopposed state legislative campaign to his mayoral bid in February. While all other mayoral candidates are not allowed to raise money until then, Turner has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars this fall and can transfer the first $5,000 from each individual donor in February, according to the interpretation of Houston City Attorney Dave Feldman.

Bell disputes that finding. Geoffrey Berg, Bell’s attorney, has argued in filings that Turner’s legislative account can only donate a total of $10,000 to his mayoral account, the limit that a candidate can accept from any political action committee or third-party group.

As of this past June 30, Rep. Turner had over $464,000 in the bank. It was reported earlier that he had raised $400,000 at an event a couple of months or so ago so he could very well have close to a million in the bank by the end of this weekend.

Now, Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington are also running for H-Town Mayor. As of June 30, Costello had $308,000 in his City Council campaign account and Pennington had $241,000 in his campaign account. Should they also be subjected to the $10,000 limit or should they be given a pass because they raised the money running for a City office? Makes sense? Should everybody be on the same level playing field and start fresh with zero in the bank? Well, when they passed the ordinance on the $10,000 limitation, the then City Council included a CYA provision and only included “non-city” fundraising and that my friends is the goofiness of the City’s campaign fundraising ordinance? FYI: CMs Costello and Pennington were not around when Council passed this “non-city” provision.

Meanwhile, my friend Bill King has filed his campaign treasurer designation for Mayor. My dear friend Paula Arnold will handle treasurer duties. Paula is a former HISD Trustee and is one of H-Town’s most highly respected players.

CM Oliver Pennington has also filed a campaign treasurer designation – longtime local GOP power player Penny Butler.

HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson and William Frazer have filed treasurer designations. Both are running for City Controller. Frazer ran unsuccessfully for that office against Controller Ron Green last year.

Former HISD Trustee Diana Davila has filed a campaign treasurer designation. She didn’t say what she is running for on her statement but I ran into her a couple of weeks ago and she said she is running for the District H City Council position.

Sen. Wendy Davis just received the Texas Monthly Bum Steer Award. Oh well! Here is from Texas Monthly:

But nothing, and we mean nothing, could match the train wreck that was Wendy Davis, Battleground Texas, and the Democrats.

No one suggested that 2014 would be the year that the party roared back to life. No one argued that the Democrats would put the Republicans in a tough spot come Election Day. But did anyone think that Davis, after all the national exposure and all the money that flowed into her coffers, would be throttled so badly by Republican Greg Abbott in her race to become governor? In the end, she lost by more percentage points than Tony Sanchez did in 2002. And she won 270,499 fewer votes than Bill White did in 2010 in his doomed effort against Perry. It’s not that the Democrats underperformed. It’s that the party that hasn’t won a statewide race since 1994 actually dug itself an even deeper hole!

For Davis, her campaign started poorly—this magazine compared her rollout to the debut of the Bag o’ Glass from Mainway Toys—and things seemed to only go downhill from there. Infighting! Staff shake-ups! Tension with the press! Missteps over her own biography! And to add insult to injury, after the dust had settled, the state Senate seat she gave up to run against Abbott was claimed by a Republican. Davis may be out of politics for now, but she didn’t walk away empty-handed: she is our Bum Steer of the Year.

What can you say?

The Chron’s Patrick Svitek put out a piece yesterday about Sen.-Elect Lois Kolkhorst possibly leading the effort to “a ‘big revamp or repeal’ of the Texas law allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.” I know what repeal looks like. I would like to know what revamp look likes. Here is a part of Svitek’s piece:

State Sen.-elect Lois Kolkhorst, laying out her priorities since winning a promotion to the upper chamber, said Wednesday she anticipates a “big revamp or repeal” of the Texas law allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants — a move that has the blessing of Gov.-elect Greg Abbott.

“We are definitely looking to modify that bill, and Governor Abbott has told me he would sign it – whether that be a complete repeal or a toughening of the standards,” said Kolkhorst, a Republican state representative from Brenham who emerged victorious from a five-way race Saturday to replace incoming Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

Responding to a report that Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick had “personally pre-assigned” her to lead the charge against the measure — known as the Texas DREAM Act — Kolkhorst said she has been in talks with Abbott and Patrick about the issue but has not been tapped for any specific position, formal or informal.

“Whatever role the lieutenant governor wants me to play on the issue, I will play,” Kolkhorst said, predicting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants will be just one of several border-related issues that will factor prominently into the upcoming legislative session.

We know that this past season Jose Altuve led the MLB with 225 base hits. That is the most base hits in a single season since 2009 when a MLBer also had 225 base hits – name the player?

Remember in Season 1 of “The Newsroom” when Will McAvoy called out the Tea Party and all hell broke loose and his network, ACN, got censured by the GOP controlled Congress? Here is what Will said:

“They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves conservatives. And they can even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are – The American Taliban.”

Well apparently a South Texas college professor didn’t see the episode and took it a step or two further. Check this from the SA Express News:

A YouTube video of a Texas professor comparing the rise of the tea party in the United States to the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany has drawn criticism from conservatives online.

In the video, filmed during a Nov. 17 lecture, Blake Armstrong — psychology professor at South Texas College in McAllen — said, “In 1931, which was really interesting, the Nazis — people are kind of tired of them. They’ve been around since 1920, 11 years now, they’ve won seats — they’re like the tea party. Look, that’s such a good example. Don’t tell anybody I said that, though. ‘The tea party are like the Nazis.'”

Armstrong continued, “But, in the sense of how they politically came to power, there’s a good analogy there that eventually people realize, ‘Oh, these Nazis, they’re a bunch of nuts. These tea party people, they’re a bunch of nuts.’ I mean, the analogy really is a good analogy. And they started losing votes again in late ’31, 1932, they started losing seats.”

The professor’s comments drew ire from conservative websites such as RedState and The Blaze.

You are never going to win an argument in American politics when you play the Nazi card.

In 2009, Ichiro Suzuki led MLB with 225 base hits of course.

Commentary has been mentioning that no moves have been made at The Yard. Well guess what? They heard me. Here is from Tags:

The Astros reshaped their bullpen Wednesday by agreeing to contracts with right-handers Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek, pending physicals.

Gregerson has agreed to a three-year deal worth at least $18.5 million, while Neshek agreed to sign with the Astros for $12.5 million over two years, with an option for 2017. The club has yet to comment on or confirm the deals.

The signings significantly upgrade a bullpen that’s struggled in recent seasons, as Gregerson and Neshek would join veteran Chad Qualls, who served as closer last season.

Here is what Richard Justice had to say:

In Neshek and Gregerson, (GM Jeff) Luhnow has added two proven commodities. Between them, they appeared in 143 games, pitched 139 2/3 innings and compiled a 2.00 ERA last season. Both have shown they can handle a variety of roles.

And then I will end with these interesting tweets:

Brian McTaggart ‏@brianmctaggart 1h1 hour ago
Taylor Swift has confirmed she will be adding a Houston date to the N. American leg of her tour. She will play Minute Maid on Oct. 13, 2015.

Brian McTaggart ‏@brianmctaggart 1h1 hour ago
The date of the Houston Show at Minute Maid Park is subject to change if it conflicts with an Astros postseason home game.

Playoffs! Playoffs!

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“I Am In” trumpeted HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson in announcing this morning in an email that he is running for H-Town City Controller.

Yesterday, Chron.com posted a story saying that former H-Town City Attorney Ben Hall would be running for Mayor again.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner has already said he’s running and has signed up consultants.

H-Town Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington both had full page ads in Gary Polland’s latest TCR and are telling folks they are running.

My friend Bill King is telling folks he is running.

Chris Bell’s law partner is complaining about the fundraising rules so I guess Chris may be running.

Without spending a whole lot of time dissecting the race, I will say that Carroll Robinson probably benefits if both Hall and Turner make the race and spend a lot of dough – the African-American turnout thing.

I am also thinking that The Mayor isn’t going to sit on the sidelines and quietly watch the race. Here is what she tweeted yesterday after word of the Hall announcement got out:

Annise Parker @AnniseParker • 15h 15 hours ago
Ben Hall to run for Houston mayor? Wants debate on issues? If he paid his taxes & tickets no one would about them.-A http://bit.ly/1xOAYmP

Turner’s spokesperson also got into the tweeting act here:

Sue Davis @suedavis1974 • 15h 15 hours ago
I can’t wait! Chron:”Ben Hall to run for mayor in 2015.” And it’s not even Christmas yet. I must have been a very good girl this year.

The MLB Cy Young Award winners were announced yesterday. Name the MLB clubs who have never produced a Cy Young Award winner?

I really did want to move on but then I saw my pal Jay Root’s Trib piece on more of the Team Davis loss. Jay Root got ahold of some internal memos from Team Davis’ former consultants. Now just how did these memos fall into Jay’s hands? Is this a case of someone getting even? How convenient. Here are parts the Jay Root Trib piece:

Consultants for Democrat Wendy Davis warned her campaign months ago that the Fort Worth senator was headed for a humiliating defeat in the Texas governor’s race unless she adopted a more centrist message and put a stop to staggering internal dysfunction.

The warnings are contained in two internal communications obtained by The Texas Tribune and written at the beginning of the year by longtime Democratic operatives Peter Cari and Maura Dougherty.

After the drubbing Davis got from Gov.-Elect Greg Abbott last week, they seem eerily prescient.

“The campaign is in disarray and is in danger of being embarrassed,” Cari and Dougherty wrote in a lengthy memorandum on Jan. 6. “The level of dysfunction was understandable in July and August, when we had no infrastructure in place — but it doesn’t seem to be getting better.”


Dougherty and Cari, founders of the national consulting firm Prism Communications, had helped guide Davis to two tough Senate wins in a Republican-leaning North Texas district, and they were deeply invested in her campaign.

But the media strategists complained that they and other consultants who had been involved in her past races, and who knew her strengths and background, were being sidelined and had been unable to communicate directly with Davis.


“Running Wendy Davis as a generic national Democrat is not only the quickest path to 38 percent, it’s also a huge disservice to Wendy, her record and the brand she has built,” they wrote. Davis got 38.9 percent of the vote, compared to the 59.3 percent of voters who cast ballots for Abbott.

Given the national wave that swamped Democrats around the country, including in governor races that Republicans won in traditionally blue states such as Maryland and Massachusetts, it’s highly unlikely that any political strategy would have ushered Davis into the Texas Governor’s Mansion.

But Dougherty said it didn’t have to be such a rout.

“It’s possible to lose and still look good,” she said in the phone interview. “Our worry in January was it was setting Wendy up for embarrassment throughout the course of the campaign. I think the way the campaign played out was far, far worse than it should have been.”

Here is the entire Trib piece:

This is from the Statesman a few days ago on Battleground Texas:

They lost ground,” said Christian Archer, a Democratic political consultant in San Antonio who has worked on several mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns in Texas.

“It was frustrating to watch,” Archer said of Battleground Texas’ performance. “The bar kept getting lowered and lowered and lowered and lowered and lowered, and then they tripped over it.”

By every measurable outcome, Battleground Texas failed to live up to its promise: More women voted for Abbott than Davis, there was no surge in Hispanic registration or turnout, and the numbers of Democratic voters plunged. (Democrat Bill White’s 12.7-point loss to Gov. Rick Perry in 2010 looked good by comparison.)

Here is the entire piece:

Cincy, the Fish, the Rangers, and the Rockies have never produced a Cy Young Award winner of course.

The ‘Stros are saying they will increase their payroll to $70 mil this season. We will see.

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