Friday, November 27, 2009


I'm thankful for my health and grateful that I have avoided serious injury or illness. It's not the pain and suffering that scares me. It's the financial ruin that would be sure to follow because I don't have health insurance. I'm hopeful that this is the last Thanksgiving that many of us will be in this predicament.

I'm grateful for my family and my baby niece, Avery. She is the blessing we've prayed for in our family and I'm so happy that I get to teach her everything I know. She already likes to test her vocal chords and loves watching football like her favorite tia.

I am thankful that Barack Obama is our President, that we have a great chance at electing a Democrat to statewide office in Texas,  and that I have a job to look forward to in the new year. I am hopeful that you find a job, too, if you're looking.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And to reiterate...

I found this post by Burka over at Texas Monthly, and I think it's safe to say that anyone with any credibility agrees that Steven Hotze is a vile human being. It would not serve any campaign well to be associated with that guy, and everyone knows it, even Burka.

To whom it may concern...

It's been an interesting 24 hours since Brad Olson's opinion piece report on that douchebag Steven Hotze and his plans to attack Annise Parker.

Disclosure: I've spent lots of time at the Locke campaign, although I am not on staff. I want Gene to win, so I've been doing what I can despite losing money I don't have and getting myself in debt by hanging out over there instead of looking for a job.

A couple of the kids at the Locke campaign get twisted, sometimes, about the Twitter and FB chatter that continously slams Gene Locke. I really don't pay attention to the shit-talkers who support Annise Parker because it's basically one big circle-jerk, or as my dad would say, they're just smelling each others' farts. I've been personally attacked and accused of all kinds of crazy things because I have the nerve not to support Parker. And no, I do not support Annise Parker, and no, I will not vote for her, and no, I will not be bullied or pressured into backing off of my support for Gene Locke.

Some people have been floating a petition around to HCDP clubs and organizations asking that we pledge to support only Democrats in the December 12th Runoff Election. Before I sign anything like that, I'd like to get assurances from these Democrats that they will stop trashing other Democrats who don't support their candidate. Gene Locke is a good and decent man, like I've said before, and if I were on the Locke campaign, I would do things much differently in responding to these attacks by the Parker campaign. Alas, it's not my campaign, and I can only speak for myself.

It's actually a brilliant strategy by the Parker camp. Call Gene Locke a gay-baiter by painting a picture of him as Steven Hotze's BFF and then dispatch your shit-talkers to tell everyone that the Locke campaign is "desperate" and spreading "hate" while you play the victim. It's funny to me how everyone gets his panties in a bunch over the idea that Annise Parker is under attack by homophobes, but no one really said much about her showing up at a failed anti-immigrant hearing at City Hall a few weeks ago. I guess it's okay to shit all over Latinos, because that type of intolerance is okay if you are a white progressive.

Steven Hotze is irrelevant and so are his politics, which Gene denounced Saturday. Attempts to align Hotze with the Locke campaign serves Annise Parker well in painting her opponent as anything but the respectful and kind person that Gene Locke really is. Instead of getting to know Gene, his accusers generalize and speculate, hoping something will stick. I think it's worth mentioning again that Gene Locke is the only candidate for Mayor who supports benefits for same-sex partners while Annise Parker has backed off of that promise.

I received an e-mail today from Robert Jones at Annie's List in Austin. Here it is:
Sandra –
This is a personal message to you (who I first met in 2004 at the March for Women’s Lives) as an acquaintance that is also committed to progressive values. Sandra do you really want to be associated with this? He wants to win so bad that he is willing to associate with people and tactics that must be the polar opposite of your core beliefs. It won’t be an easy thing to do but you should consider publicly disconnecting yourself now. The writing is on the wall…he wont be the next Mayor…but we (Democrats) will all be the losers if this path of enabling and encouraging hate is pursued.


I have never been associated with Steven Hotze or Dan Patrick. To tell it like it is, Robert lives in Austin, and personally, I think he should mind his own damn business. As the Annie's List guy, I know why he is involved, but if Annise Parker wins or loses, it is of little consequence to Robert. Like the other outsiders who have involved themselves in the Houston Mayor's race, he doesn't live here. A win gives him room to brag, but a loss means that he sank a bunch of money that could have been used on Legislative candidates in a few months.

I'm not sure how difficult he could make my life if I told Robert to go fly a kite. Truth be told, he hasn't always been pleasant with me since I've known him. It's not like I've had much involvement with Annie's List, anyway, because it's my observation that they do not promote women of color as much as they do their white candidates. Besides that, I'm too fucking old to be an intern, and my people are already in office.

The hardball politics has already been introduced in to the fray but it was not from the Locke campaign. Annise Parker threatened Houston Police and Fire Fighters for not supporting her, but we were supposed to dismiss those threats as "jokes."

It is my belief that Latinos and our concerns will take a back seat at the Mayor's office if Parker wins and that is something that cannot happen. I say this because of the hostility some of us in the Hispanic community have experienced from the Parker camp when things didn't go their way over the course of the campaign. The feeling is that ties were cut, and it's sad and unfortunate, but it also gives me no choice but to double down with our candidate. We've worked too hard for our seats at the table and I'll be damned if we give up any ground in the name of "progress" that works for some but not all.

It's not progress if your focus on equality is for just your friends and for those who identify with you. It's not progress if all are not lifted with you. It is not progress if some constituencies are left behind for refusing to fall in line at their own expense.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sundays - football makes it better!

There is campaign work to do along with SUNDAY FOOTBALL and having some of these St. Arnold Lawnmowers in the fridge.

Sunday mornings are for church. In my case, it's George Stephanopoulos and reading the Sunday paper online. In today's Chron, Brad Olsen writes about Gene Locke's "uphill battle" with Annise Parker. Check out the numbers provided by Charles Kuffner.

While numbers don't lie, there is plenty of room for interpretation (or misinterpretation). My brother, ConFrijoles, likes to say that context is everything... so I'm going to give you the election results from last Tuesday with some context.

Attorney Gene Locke made the runoff with 26% of the 19% voter turnout against Annise Parker, whose name has been on the ballot for 15 years; Peter Brown, who spent 3 years and millions of dollars to win 51% of the vote in 2005 for At-Large 1; and perennial candidate Roy Morales.

Gene had never put his name on the ballot before, yet raised enough funds to compete with a popular establishment candidate. Yes, I said it. Anyone who has been in office for 12 years can't run as an outsider. It just doesn't make sense.

The chatter in the www's has been knocking Gene for his multiple endorsements from elected officials and leaders in the Hispanic community, as if we made a mistake in supporting Gene Locke for Mayor. The reality is that Latinos didn't turn out in higher numbers to vote. Of those who did, they did so because they always vote or have a niece/sister/cousin/granddaughter who bugs them or takes them to vote.

Let's face it -- none of the major campaigns made a significant push for the Latino vote because it was not a big part of the winning formula on November 3rd. Latinos were not a base constituency for anyone other than the former IT guy, Roy Morales, and he picked up his share of the Latino vote despite telling Mexicans he'd deport as much of us as possible, if elected.

As a first time candidate, Gene Locke came in second and certainly has his work cut out for him. I'm still puzzled why "some people" knock Gene for his multiple endorsements from community leaders. Or are they knocking Gene? The criticisms of endorsement sometimes seem to be aimed at Locke supporters for not backing the more well-known candidate.

The hostility has been palpable. The accusations of pandering and of "deals" being made for endorsements along with the inanity of "what else have they been promised?!?" only promise to intensify in the run-off. I saw a CNN report featuring Kuffner who told CNN that this election is essentially a battle of personalities, about who is better liked. Candidates aside, I can name about 5 people I am never talking to, ever again, thanks to this election cycle.

Latino voters outperformed the crucial black voting bloc one time -- in 2007's HISD bond election. Look -- I am no statistician. I saw the numbers from Tuesday, and without pulling up the calculator app on my phone, I can see that Locke underperformed in Latino neighborhoods against his opponents. The support for Locke from Latino elected officials is not any more significant than it is for Parker. I've remarked to friends how strange it feels to not have "my people" around me these days -- (Ms. is a Parker supporter, others are staying out of it). At the same time, I am enjoying and taking full advantage of the opportunity to work with Latino community leaders and elected officials on the other side of town. Kumbaya, and all that shit.

My analysis is this:
  1. Annise did well on Tuesday because she's been on the ballot for about 15 years and the motivated city voter recognized it. She also had a significant turnout in her base.
  2. Gene Locke did well because he appealed to his base and was able to hold his own across all parts of the city. He's a newcomer to elected politics but has worked hard in reaching out to all communities.
  3. Peter Brown did not do well because he has no base. I agree with Dr. Murray that he needed a big turnout to do well. His performance on Tuesday just proves that some voters watch too much TV.
Almost 300 community leaders and precinct chairs made their way to El Jardin Mexican Restaurant last Friday as a show of support for Gene Locke for Mayor. Many of these voters were on the Brown and Parker supporters lists, but we're glad to have them on our side, now. Another thing has changed, too -- Latino community leaders are engaged in the runoff to turn out voters in their neighborhoods.

So, here I am, plugging in numbers, creating spreadsheets and grids to spread the Gene Locke love all over Districts H & I. It's a big job to do on a Sunday, but football makes it better.

Hasta next time.