Wednesday, September 28, 2005


The Austin American Statesman has this story about Tom Delay stepping down after being indicted.

The AP also has this and this. As the story develops I will bring you more articles and some analysis.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tommy Adkisson Loves the Environment

Tommy Adkisson has this to say about how Bexar County is spending money on environmentally sound improvements. It is always good to see elected officials doing the right thing before they need to.

Our budget maintains the same tax rate as last year’s of $0.33119 per $100 valuation. This is possible because of the growth of the tax base of the County. It is though, the 11th time your County has either cut or retained the same tax rate.

Significant policy decisions have been made with respect to energy. The recent power outage in Los Angeles and other foibles such as the crashing of the Northeastern United States power grid evidence glitches avoidable and perhaps unavoidable. We are working to strengthen our energy position to avoid the inconvenience and suffering of people when energy is unavailable. Of vital economic interest, is to provide business with dependable energy without which we would not be as economically competitive as other communities with a reliable energy supply.

We allocated $50,000.00 for the Metropolitan Partnership for Energy (MPE), which by all reports, is unique in Texas. The MPE consists of Bexar County, City of San Antonio, CPS Energy, San Antonio Water System, Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG) and VIA Metropolitan Transit. Our aim is to take the major energy users to a new level of energy conservation while finding other technologies helpful to energy savings.

Consistent with the goal of energy savings for Bexar County is $367,000.00 to provide more energy-efficient County facilities. With an added $600,000.00 we will address increasing fuel costs. We will however, be purchasing a number of hybrid vehicles to increase miles per gallon. In the interest of diversifying our supply of fuel, we have also scheduled the first E-85 (ethanol 85%/gasoline 15%) fueling station at our new Fleet Management Facility on I-35.

Commissioner’s Court has also reorganized our old Housing and Human Services agency to be entitled the Criminal Justice Planning and Coordination Department. It will focus on critical criminal justice issues such as jail population. In developing an array of streamlined and accountability-based procedures as well as approaches to dealing with both the accused and the offenders, we will not only save tens of millions, we will build a more functional community.

I look forward to addressing other aspects of the budget in future articles.

To contact the Commissioner, call or write to: Bexar County Courthouse, 100 Dolorosa, Suite 101, San Antonio, Texas 78205, Office 335-2614, Fax 335-2644 e-mail:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Campus Alliance Against Inequality

Here is a great new site for the student group in Austin for No Nonsense In November. Check it out!

Greg has this to say about the Houston perspective.

Here is some words from the city about how bad this amendment is and how unneccesary it is to write hate into our states Bill of Rights.

San Antonio Express-News

Eager to discriminate

I was shocked when I read about Gov. Rick Perry having closed-door meetings all over Texas with ministers and other representatives of "large" churches to obtain their vote for the marriage amendment ("Perry, pastors push gay marriage ban," Sept. 11).

This country was formed on the basis of separation of church and state, and I have to wonder how many people have forgotten that. This amendment is not about same-sex relationships; it is about writing discrimination into the Texas Constitution, and I'm wondering how many people have yet to understand that.

There are many laws affecting heterosexual couples who are cohabitating that will be down the drain if this passes — hopefully, those people will read the verbiage and vote no.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community is no threat to anyone, anywhere; it is already against the law for same-gender couples to marry, so why write discrimination into the constitution?

I am a person of faith who attends church on a regular basis and am very proud that my church welcomes all people.

I applaud the Express-News for telling this story about Perry. I wonder why he is so eager to discriminate. I wonder who's putting money in his back pocket.

— Marilyn Graham

Stop condemning gays

As a retired Christian minister I find it appalling that so many pastors have been duped into believing this was a biblical issue with Gov. Rick Perry. They should be aware that the great prophets of ancient times were highly critical of the young prophets who pandered to the politicians and told kings what they wanted to hear. We still need courageous prophets who speak the truth to authorities and call them to justice.

Some of these pastors are appealing to "God's word" in relation to homosexuality. The Bible reflects social and cultural practices of ancient times.

The messages of the Bible, while inspired in many cases, were still sifted through human minds and were not infallible. They were written by humans searching for the mysteries of the holy.

The term "homosexuality," or the knowledge of its being a sexual orientation, what a person is, was unknown in biblical times. Just as we now realize, for example, that epilepsy is not a result of sin, we now know homosexuality is not a disorder.

It is long past time for us spiritual leaders to call for righteousness and stop condemning gay people.

— Dan Adams, retired United Methodist minister

Shouldn't exclude press

The central concern with the anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution should really be the separating of church and state.

Something is very radically wrong when the press is prevented from attending meetings between religious and political leaders. The word "liberty" is used in the Declaration of Independence.

— Brian Kelly

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricane Rita

I am officially in the state of panic. Here are some important resources and information for everyone.

Evacation Routes

Rita's Path and Effects on Bexar County

Don't know what you need? Matt Hardigree has that figured out for you.
Bottled Water
D Batteries

Then you're going to have to drive away from town or get up early in the morning. Speaking of early in the morning, the sooner you start at daylight, the easier it is going to be to get somewhere. One overturned 40' sailboat can block a highway.

Here's a good example of a hurricane surival kit from the City of Tampa:
· Two weeks supply of prescription medicines
· Two weeks supply of non-perishable/special dietary foods. Buy plenty of nonperishable foods, because there won't be any refrigeration.
· Drinking water/containers: 1 gallon per person per day for two weeks. It's a good idea to sterilize the bathtub and fill it with water just before the storm.
· Flashlights and batteries for each member of the family Energizer makes a new flashlight that can adjust to use multiple batteries.
· Portable radio and (7 sets) batteries (so you can listen to the game, and AM 740, the Houston EAS channel)
· First aid book and kit including bandages, antiseptic, tape, compress, non aspirin pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication
· Mosquito repellent and citronella candles
· Two coolers (one to keep food; the other to go get the ice)
· Plastic tarp for roof/window repair, screening, tools, nails, etc.
· Water purification kits (tablets, chlorine (plain) and iodine)
· Infant necessities (medication, sterile water, diapers, ready formula, bottles)
· Clean up supplies (mop, buckets, towels, disinfectant)
· Camera and film (keep track of what gets damaged for insurance purposes).
· Non-electric can opener (doubles as a bottle opener)
· Extra batteries for camera, portable TV & lamps, etc.
· Plastic trash bags
· Toilet paper, paper towels and pre-moistened towelettes,

Stay safe, stay off the roads, and stay dry.

First Votes For Roberts

From AP, today will be the day that Judiciary Votes for John Roberts for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Chief justice nominee John Roberts is picking up support among divided Democrats with a vote planned for today in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Approval by the committee seemed assured, with the panel's majority Republicans united and top Judiciary Democrat Patrick Leahy on board.

Another committee Democrat, liberal stalwart Edward Kennedy, said he would vote against Roberts. A number of Democrats not on the committee said they would oppose Roberts when the Senate votes, indicating a split among the Senate's 44 Democrats over whether they can or should mount even symbolic opposition to the successor to late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Democrats including Sens. Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Max Baucus of Montana have announced their support for Roberts. Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana have indicated they are leaning toward voting for the nominee. Sen. Kent Conrad (news, bio, voting record) of North Dakota is viewed as a possible vote for him, as well.

The Republican's hold the majority on the panel, so Roberts will be passed off to the Senate for a vote. With everything going on today, tomorrow, and this weekend here in Texas, details very easily fall through the cracks.

Today Roberts gets through the first round to become our Chief Justice, and ironically this barely is a blip on our radar.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

TexPIRG Scorecard

The Jeffersonian had an excellent post detailing how little some legislators care about the aquifer. This wasn't much of a surprise to me after working for the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance during the general session.

TexPIRG has just released their scorecard on the house. They would have done one for the senate but there were not enough pertinent votes. Apparently the sexy cheerleading issue didn't clime up the charts as a public interest like Al Edwards would have thought.

Some interesting notes is that David Liebowitz and Joaquin Castro both scored 100%. The only two that did in the San Antonio delegation. All the other scored above 70% except my favorite person. Frank Corte scored an impressive 25% and either did not vote at all or voted against the public interest. Not to surprising really, but then again, I am only a little bias.

John Courage is Number 1

Now Let's keep it that way!

John Courage is running for Congress against Lamar Smith in Congressional District 21 and John is the ideal candidate. Don't believe me? How about these people?
Richard Morrison on Kos
Richard Morrison on MyDD
PDiddie over at Brain's and Eggs
Damon McCullar at BOR
David at the Supreme Irony of Life
The Jeffersonian

And this is just what I found through e-mails being sent to me and a quick google search. At the end of the day it is always better to hear from the candidate them self. So here is what John has to say to all those voting. Go support John, put Courage in Congress, and remember to vote for the only Texas candidate. Make them pay attention to us!

Stranded on the Road

I am currently in Tyler working on organizing the Northeast part of the state, and the plan is to drive down to Laredo tomorrow. That is the plan...

I was informed today that my plans may simply have to change because of Hurricane Rita. With Perry calling in the National Guard, the statewide state of emergency, and the current state of Louisiana the state has a "safety and security net" in place. The guardsman that I talked to made it clear that Perry's definition is, "any place that could possibly be affected in a direct or indirect way is subject to state of emergency standards".

I have been looking for a couple hours and I can find the phrase all over the place, but in Texas there is no solid definition for "security net" or "state of emergency standards" except in schools and hospitals.

As Galveston and the Texas coast are evacuating I am encouraged that people are moving swiftly and with concern for the friends and neighbors, but looking at the interior of the state I am confused by the strong guard presence and "lock down" attitude.

Were are the priorities Governor? Why is Tyler so important? Why can't I get home or at least to a city or area with housing and shelter in case of a storm?

Monday, September 19, 2005

A New Focus

I am not a journalist. I am bias and I like it that way. Besides, the news is well covered in this state by Burnt Orange Report, Greg's Opinion, The Jeffersonian, Off the Kuff, Quorum Report, and The Red State.

I enjoy the feeling of having an opinion based on well found facts and spouting off my two cents as a consultant and political operative.

Now that we have cleared that all up, what does this mean?

I am going to go through the process of changing this blog to be Democratic commentary. There will be a plethora of stories from around the state as I work on campaigns and with candidates. I will focus on the candidates I like, the events I attend, and unsolicited advice to the party, things I would like to see changed in this great state, and advice for the candidates that are running.

You will first notice the new layout (I am not sure I feel about it yet so it could change again) and the lack of ads. I hated the way google ads looked and the things they directed people too. I am also going to rework the links and if you know a good site for me to check out then please let me know (the same goes for local candidates across the state).

My focus is to spread the netroots and grassroots commentary. I am tired of all these talking head consultants that give their opinion but never act or do. I am tired of tireless conjecture from people that sit in their offices, go to meetings, and sit on the phone. I am tired of taking my cues from someone who thinks they are above blockwalking, phonebanking, and actual grassroots field work.

This is going to become more than just another blog, and a voice and megaphone for all those that would like to see and make real change.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

DeLay's PAC Indicted in Travis County

Drive Democracy and Quorum Report have the story:

The illegal corporate cash Tom DeLay used to build new protective political levees for the GOP have led to more indictments from a Travis County, Texas, grand jury this morning. If only Bush/DeLay would have put a similar effort into real levees to save real lives rather than enhance and protect their own lust for power.

Indicted was Tom DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, for the illegal use of corporate money in its campaign to win a majority in the Texas House of Representatives and pull off an unprecedented mid-decade Congressional redistricting plan. A state group, the Texas Association of Business, was also accused in four indictments opened this morning.

Make no mistake: TRMPAC, the political action committee DeLay founded and controlled, day by day and minute by minute, has been formally accused of violating the law in service to DeLay's pursuit of power. He is culpable.

The congressional redistricting plan forced upon the nation (primarily by the DeLay-controlled Texas legislature, control he achieved by giving GOP candidates bags full of illegal money) will now help guard the GOP from deep losses in 2006. TRMPAC spent $600,000 in illegal corporate money in 2002 to gain a majority of seats in the Texas House for Republicans. The Texas Association of Business spent about $1.7 million in illegal corporate money on the same cause.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How Lowes Can You Go?

Tomorrow at 2 pm (or later) the City Council will decide whether to rezone land ON the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone to allow Lowes Home Improvement Store to build a store at 1604 and Bulverde. I am completely supportive of this because I only drink bottled water and like the taste of oil and other run-off in my water.

Here are the facts from GEAA:

Lowes could move the store approximately 1 mile south on Bulverde Road, or approximately ¼ mile southeast on Classen Road to move off the Edwards Recharge Zone.

There is another Lowe’s 5.88 miles away from the proposed location, and another lumber and hardware store that is 5.42 miles away.

In December of 2000, Lowe’s knocked down a 300 year old heritage oak tree to build their store located on Callaghan Road.

Lowe’s has a questionable history of environmental safety:

In 1989 Lowe’s in Baker, Louisiana had a fire that required 18 fire, law enforcement and environmental agencies to get it under control. Environmental experts had to sample the runoff constantly to see if it was contaminated. Environmental Quality officials said the store remains would have to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

In Albany, Georgia in 1996 there was a fire that almost completely destroyed the store because oxidizing pool and spa chemicals were stored too close together. The fire fighters found that the sprinklers weren’t capable of extinguishing a fire of that magnitude.

Lowe’s was fined by the EPA in 2003 for $137,000.00 because they violated national water protection standards.

Last year a Travis County court issued an injunction halting construction of a Lowe’s Store in the recharge zone. The court found that Lowe’s gasoline tank was leaking, causing gasoline and other polluted runoff from the construction site to flow directly into a recharge feature, and that if not restrained Lowe’s would pollute the Edwards Aquifer and the community’s drinking water. The recharge feature had not been disclosed by Lowe’s engineers nor initially discovered by the City of Austin inspector.

This land is over the Edwards Recharge Zone. Lowe’s will be storing large amounts of hazardous chemicals.

The Limestone that makes up the Edwards Aquifer is especially susceptible to the hazardous materials that would be stored at the Lowe’s.

The hazardous chemicals that will be stored in this warehouse could have a huge impact on the recharge zone if a spill, fire or explosion were to occur.

Lowe’s uses, sells and stores treated wood outdoors. This wood is injected with arson and pesticides that can become part of the storm water runoff if exposed to rainfall.

Tell your Council Person to vote against the rezoning of land for Lowe's

UPDATE 9/7/05 3:13 PM

I was told that the Lowes item will be reintroduced on the City Council agenda in either two weeks or six months. In the meanwhile, it will not hurt one bit to call and write letters to the Mayor and City Council to let them know that this is important. If you would like Annalisa Peace to come talk to your group she would be delighted. Her contact information is 210-320-6294 or

Monday, September 05, 2005

San Antonio Gets Football Team?

After all the commentary about San Antonio getting a football team during the municipal elections it seems that we may get the Saints on a temporary basis. Accordint to, the New Orlean's Saints will be practicing in San Antonio all season and will most likely call San Antonio home for the next year.
Despite their public stance that they hope to play home games in Baton Rouge, La., for the 2005 season, the strong preference of New Orleans Saints officials is to stage the contests here at the Alamodome, and it is a position that team management is expected to soon articulate to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

"The best [scenario] for us is to play the games right here, because, well, this is where we are," coach Jim Haslett said Monday, following his team's first practice in preparation for Sunday's season opener at Carolina. "I know a lot of things have been discussed, but we would like to be here. But it's not up to us. The league will make the decision."

Saints owner Tom Benson, who on Monday afternoon declined to do interviews but did suggest he will sit down with the media later in the week, will meet sometime in the next few days with Tagliabue and other NFL officials. That session, which likely will be in New York, could occur as early as Tuesday, club sources told It's expected that Benson will review his franchise's options, and also lay out for the league the details in place in San Antonio, where the Saints already have decided to practice all season.

I for one am happy to call the Saints the San Antonio team for the 2005 -2006 season. I will still be rooting for my Texans and 9'ers, but I will be encouraging the New Orleans/San Antonio Saints all the way to the playoffs.

San Antonio Saints? I like the sound of that...

UPDATE 9/6/2005 7:21 AM
The express-news has confirmed the rumor as true, but the NFL has some serious doubts about San Antonio's ability draw a crowd and corporate sponsors.

The city seems to that the Saint's will be here for sure.
The Saints "are committed to playing their games in the dome," a city official said. "The only question is, how many games can they play there."
If the Saint's will be here, then I will be going to some games.. That is all I have to say about that.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chief Justice Rehnquist Passed Away of Cancer

From the AP Wire:

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who oversaw the high court's conservative shift and presided over the impeachment trial of President Clinton, died Saturday evening. He was 80 years old and had spent 33 years on the Supreme Court.

"The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his duties on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days," court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said in announcing his death.

Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on Jan. 7, 1972. He was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.

The death leaves Bush with his second court opening within four months and sets up what's expected to be an even more bruising Senate confirmation battle than that of John Roberts.

The last time there were simultaneous vacancies at the court was 1971, when Justices Hugo Black and John Marshall Harlan retired in September, about a week apart. Rehnquist, then a Justice Department lawyer, urged the Nixon administration to move fast in replacing them and wound up being appointed to Harlan's seat himself.

Possible replacements include Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and federal courts of appeals judges J. Michael Luttig, Edith Clement, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Michael McConnell, Emilio Garza, and James Harvie Wilkinson III. Others mentioned are former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, lawyer Miguel Estrada and former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson.

More news as it comes in. My thoughts and prayers are with the Rehnquist family.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Hurrican Katrina

Let me start by saying that this Hurricane hit the Gulf Coast and no person can be blamed for that. Let me also say that this is a tragedy and I encourage you all to donate to the Red Cross or the link on the right side bar to help save more lives now.

The real tragedy is the fact that it didn't have to be this bad. Andrew Dobbs does the math at Burnt Orange Report, and counts out the amount of time it took for the Bush Administration to get Congress back to put together and vote on an emergency spending package.

The Bush Administration cut the federal funding for the dams and levies by 44% to fund the Iraq war, and the national guard and army reserve is stretched beyond capacity because of the military engagement in Iraq.

There were statements questioning the rebuilding of New Orleans by Hastert before security support was even in place to stop the anarchy in New Orleans. These questions happen before FEMA was completely in place because the Bush administration did not call it a federal emergency until he left his month long vacation and "flew by the disaster".

The Mayor of New Orleans is mad about what is going on. The people of Louisiana are in a very dangerous situation, and I am outraged that the Bush Administrations only answer to all of these critiques is that he released emergency crude oil stockpiles even though we don't need crude, we need refined oil.

I am mad, but I am doing something about it. I have donated my money to the Red Cross. I am going to buy some diapers and ready to eat meals for the refugees in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. I encourage you all to be the change you want to see in the world. Be mad. Be outraged. But be sure, you do something positive about that.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No Nonsense In November

Where have I been? I have a lot e-mails like that right now...

I have been working across the state as the Field Director for the No Nonsense In November campaign to defeat the horrid Texas Marriage Amendment that will effectively prohibit civil marriage and civil unions for same sex couples. It could go one step further and eliminate common law marriage and domestic partnerships for all Texans!

As I work across the state from El Paso to Beaumont and Amarillo to Brownsville, watch the campaign unfold on the blog at the No Nonsense website.

Spread the word and with your help we will make them pay attention to us!

Liberal Blogosphere for Hurricane Relief

As President Clinton once said, "There's nothing wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America."

The most prominent lefty blogs in the nation, represented by the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, are leading the way by running donated ads and asking readers to join us in making a difference. Combined, these blogs will display their ads over 12 million times each week over the course of the campaign.

All of the proceeds will be sent to the Red Cross. Donations are being tracked by Drop Cash. Transactions are secured through Paypal. You can be certain that your contribution will be secure, for a good cause, and people will know it came from the liberal blogosphere.

Click the Link to the right or in this post and help people in Louisiana today!