Friday, March 31, 2006

Another Candidate for State Party Chair

I am getting ready for my John Courage House Party and this gem comes in. Keep in mind that the new candidate has worked for Lyndon LaRouche the perennial fringe candidate for President.

LaRouche supporters were trained to "lobby" delegates at the convention in Boston. This lobbying was basically aggressively attacking delegates on the street and telling them to cast their vote for LaRouche instead of Kerry. This tactic was so effective that every delegate voted for John Kerry.

That is old news though. The important thing is that Lakesha Rogers is running for state party chair now.
Lakesha Rogers from Houston has announced her candidacy to be Texas Democratic Party Chair. Rogers, a Democratic Party activist who is a former member of the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee, is a member of the LaRouche Youth Movement, and will emphasize her skills in recruiting youth to the Party.

"I'm running, " she said, "because we Democrats have to take the state back. To do this, we are going to have to make a serious effort to bring young people into politics, to give them a voice in the Party, give them responsibility in shaping the future."

A key to this, she added, is to engage in a vigorous debate around a platform. "The Cheney-Bush administration has trampled on our Constitution, whether in the lies, corruption and general incompetence involved in its pursuit and handling of the Iraq war, or its malign negligence exemplified in its handling of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the collapse of manufacturing and infrastructure, and the rip-off of seniors with its phony prescription drug

She called on Texas Democrats to join her in taking the platform debate out of the inner sanctum of the Party -- where it has been controlled by the money-wielding fascist Felix Rohatyn, who rages against the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt -- and into the workplaces, campuses and neighborhoods, where Democratic voters have been neglected. "We need to do what FDR did," she added. "We need to bring the forgotten men and women' into the discussion, take the Party back from the pundits and pollsters and the endless pursuit of money. We are not losing elections due to the lack of money, but the lack of principled ideas."

She pledged that her campaign for Party Chair will bring in new voters, by involving them in a serious platform debate on how to serve the general welfare. "I will not limit my campaign to speaking to the delegates to the convention, but will demonstrate how we can bring new voters into the Party. I will emphasize the principles put forward by economist Lyndon LaRouche in his `Prolegomena for a Party Platform: Franklin Roosevelt's Legacy'. For Texas, this means a campaign for water, power and transportation infrastructure, so we can create decent
jobs the way FDR did to get us out of the Depression. By mobilizing the energy and creativity of youth behind these principles, we can virtually guarantee a landslide victory in the mid-term elections this November."

She called on Texas Democrats to join with her to "GET TEXAS OUT OF THE BUSHES AND INTO THE FUTURE."

As a young person I am excited about anyone who want to get youth involved in the process and I am a fan of getting more ideas out there, but I am going to go ahead and say that the race for chair is still a three person race.

If Rogers makes any impact in the race I will be surprised. I suspect her ideas will simply be adopted by Boyd Richie, Charlie Urbina-Jones, or Glen Maxey, and her voice will be pushed back because of her support for LaRouche.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


What are you doing tomorrow night?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

3 Sources...

...makes it sad, but true.

The Stallings campaign broke the story, Strange Bedfellows confirmed the story, and The Jeffersonian reminded me of the story.

Oscar Kazen as officially been defeated by newcomer Laura Salinas. The margin ended up being seven votes and was the closest county wide race since 2000.

Salinas has been a Republican a lot longer than a Democrat, and I look forward to seeing how she does in her first term. On a side note, Kazen comes from a long history of impressive Democrats and has been a fantastic asset for the party. I hope that Kazen and company will continue their devoted careers in law and Democratic politics. Maybe County Chair in the near future? Or perhaps, City Council?

John Courage: "Why do we need a wall?"

(John Courage is running against Lamar Smith in Congressional District 21, and has been kind enough to write a piece on how Lamar Smith's policies aren't even accepted by his own party. We all know how Smith is wrong, but Courage gives us some more details. For more information about the Courage campaign, visit his website and sign up for his updates.)

My opponent Lamar Smith (R) was noted in a recent Austin American Statesman news article as supporting the proposed “wall” or system of double barrier fences across Texas’ 1200 mile border with Mexico. Smith was one of the cosponsors and strong supporters of the legislation. Smith however recently stated:

Texas has worked with the federal government’s border security entities, collaborated with Mexico and Central America, and created a “smart” border – using advanced technology, multidisciplinary research and communication.”

In light of this statement why does Rep. Smith continue to push for a wall between Texas and Mexico?

In fact Representative Smith is out of touch with most Texans along the border as shown in a recent El Paso Times/ABC Poll that found that close to 57 percent of habitual voters opposed the construction of two layers of reinforced fencing with lights, cameras and sensors -- which many critics are calling a wall.

He is also out of touch with numerous other Texas Republican members of Congress like Sen. John Cornyn, who has emphasized a "virtual border" over a physical barrier and Republican Rep. Michael McCaul of Austin also said he favors greater use of technology to monitor the border, rather than relying on barricades.

Smith also appears to be out of touch with his own party's President. In the same article it is noted, “President Bush has endorsed a guest worker program, an idea that has some support in Congress but is facing stiff resistance from members such as Smith who support tougher border control efforts.”

It is time to elect a leader that understands the district. Smith has shown time and again that he is willing to vote against families, small businesses, and Texas even if his own party does not support him.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kazen/Salinas Recount Tomorrow

Matt Flores has the story over at the Express-News based blog "Strange Bedfellows", but the short story is, Oscar Kazen requested a recount and it is happening tomorrow.

The long story is:
Kazen, who will complete his first term as judge at the end of this year, was stunned by Salinas, a 34-year-old family and criminal law attorney, in her first run for office.

The vote margin easily was the slimmest of all Bexar County races in the March 7 primary. Kazen had a razor-thin lead over Salinas in election day polling, but Salinas was able to inch ahead after mail-in ballots arrived from military personnel overseas in the ensuing days.

Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said the recount would begin at 10 a.m., and estimated that it would take about a half-day to recount the roughly 1,700 mail-in ballots. It was uncertain whether the recount would include electronic tallies, which accounted for the overwhelming majority of the nearly 35,000 votes cast in the election.

Sparks Gone in Strayhorn's Suit

Really this story should be more of headline writing contest. From Quorum Report:
Independent gubernatorial candidate Carole Strayhorn is currently suing Secretary of State Roger Williams in federal court over his stated intention to take up to two months to verify her petition signatures. Strayhorn's suit says there are ample legal means to do the verification expeditiously.

However, this morning federal district Judge Sam Sparks recused himself from the lawsuit because both he and his wife had signed the petition to place Strayhorn on the ballot.

He wrote, "Carole Keeton Strayhorn and the undersigned [Judge Sam Sparks] have been life-long friends. It is a matter of public record the undersigned and his wife [Melinda have long supported Carole Keeton Strayhorn in her political endeavors and have signed her petition to be an independent candidate on the ballot for the governor’s race in the upcoming election. For these reasons and to avoid any appearance of impropriety the undersigned [Judge Sparks] recuses himself in this case.”

Quick Update on Immigration

The immigration debate is mind blowing to me and the lack of real coverage is scary. HR 4437 will affect specifically 11 million workers. If the House version being championed by Lamar Smith passes, it will make it a felony to employ undocumented workers.

Some quick stats on small businesses from the US Small Business Administration:
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ half of all private sector employees.
• Pay 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
• Create more than 50 percent of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
• Produce 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms. These patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
• Made up 97 percent of all identified exporters and produced 26 percent of the known export value in FY 2002.

Ignore for a second any bias you may have. If the House version passes, then we are talking about a major hit in Gross Domestic Product. We are going to make it a felony for people to employ or transport undocumented workers. We are going to make it a felony for churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues to perform humanitarian aide, and any member of any place of worship that does perform aide, is assisting in a felony.

There is working to protect our borders (i.e. actually checking all of the materials coming in our ports. Creating worker programs. Developing a policy that is not based on catch and release at the border. These are good ideas. Punishing a church for feeding someone is discriminatory.

This post was inspired by another good piece at Grit’s for Breakfast and the People’s Republic of Seabrook. Also, Capital Annex has the news about 1,500 Dallas students walking out of classes to protest HR 4437.

Monday, March 27, 2006

We Don't Want You Here

The Senate Judiciary committee passed a version of legislation restricting immigration and workers rights, but created room for debate by allowing a guest worker program and humanitarian exception. These two changes will create a need for a conference committee to resolve the different House and Senate bills and give the Democrats an advantage for now.

The panel agreed to add the temporary worker program as proposed by Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat. It also agreed to a program for agricultural workers that was proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat.

The committee picked a fight with the House by adopting a competing proposal allowing humanitarian groups to help illegal immigrants.
The humanitarian exception was added when some smart legislator (Sen. Durbin) realized that this would prohibit churches from giving assistance to undocumented workers. According to, religious leaders are still uneasy about the House version of HR 4437 and are prepared to encourage people to do the right thing.
Catholic clergy joined the marches to protest the House measure, and Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, California, said he would order his priests to violate a law banning humanitarian assistance, if passed.
The debate begins for the full senate tomorrow. There is an article here about Bush's call for a civil debate, Vince Leibowitz's view of what is right and wrong, and the ends and out of the day can be found here.

It appears Kuff has a great round up here too.

Immigration Debate Heats Up, Lamar Smith on the Wrong Side

With the debate heating up on restricting immigration through out the United States, Lamar Smith was one of only 23 other Republican’s to tell President Bush that his policies are not conservative enough.

Currently a fight over HR 4437, a joint resolution to amend current legislation focused on Border Protection and Immigration standards, has begun to spill over into the economic and public arenas.

Yesterday over half a million people protested the resolution in Los Angeles and workers rights groups are calling this bill what it is… malicious and ineffective.

Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy have come up with a plan that President Bush agrees with and are working in a bi-partisan fashion to pass it, but Congressman Lamar Smith is not thinking about all of the blue color workers out there. At an event at Cornell, Smith once said that immigration should only be for the highest educated and with a focus on fields of work that American students cannot fill.

What this fails to address is the fact that HR 4437 would make it a priority to build a wall across the entire Mexican/American border, would make it a felony to hire or employ any undocumented worker, and a felony to transport (including a bus driver or taxi cab driver) any undocumented person.

The situation is deeper than what Congressman Smith and the other 22 Republican’s want to admit. Currently undocumented workers do the backbreaking labor that American’s will not consider doing. They are the janitors, farm workers, nurses, lawn care professionals, and construction workers that make our economy work.

The McCain/Kennedy plan focuses on something more important than building a couple trillion dollar wall around Mexico.

According to Associate Press writer Suzanne Gambao, employers and immigration advocates prefer a bill drafted by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., that would allow illegal immigrants to become eligible for permanent residency after working for six years. Both McCain and Frist are likely candidates for the Republican presidential nomination next year.

This would mandate that workers pay taxes, become documented, and show their positive impact to society, and then after six years would be granted the ability to start the process of becoming a citizen. Instead of wasting tax payer dollars, harming relations with our allies, and eliminating people that work the jobs that are the backbones of our nation.

According to Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune, "The debate also has divided the Republican Party. Business-minded Republicans stress the reality of a labor force that many employers rely upon; cultural conservatives insist that any accommodation of illegal immigrants rewards lawbreaking and makes a mockery of the nation's borders."

Congressman Lamar Smith is so far out of the mainstream to his district he fails to realize the backbone of Bexar County and all of Congressional District 21 was built on a heritage of immigration, family, and hard work. He disagrees with his own leadership and is aggressively forcing the government into our homes. Lamar Smith is wrong for business and workers, he is wrong for America, and he is wrong for Texas.

For more on this debate check out National Public Radio.

Monday New Round Up

The Trans Texas Corridor is an enigma to some and a problem to most. The recent legal and community problems facing the Republican pushed Trans-Texas Corridor has so far derailed the development. The development contracts have been canceled for further studies.

However, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) thinks that they will be able to get the project back on track in the near future. If you oppose this project, like I do, you stay vocal and keep organizing.

There is an immigration showdown in DC as Lamar Smith is a leading advocate to build an 1800 mile fence along the border and spend $1 Trillion (yes with a “t”) to complete this project. This is an idea Senator John McCain, President George Bush, and even Secretary of State Condi Rice disagree with. I guess if you aren’t going to live in your district, you will have ideas this far out of the mainstream.

Jamie Castillo talks about the new shape of politics in San Antonio in the Express-News and Russ Feingold has leapt into the national spotlight by doing what is right—calling for a censure of the Presidents illegal wiretapping.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Special Party is in Session

I am on my way out to meetings and the my senate convention, but I had to tell you about party that is less than a month away.

Pink Dome and In the Pink are putting together a party for the first Thursday of the special. Not only should you be there, but help them throw the party of the year.

Snarky bloggers, journalist, politicians that need a court order to hang out, and insiders, what more can you ask for!?

Donate to make this the party of the year and then SHOW UP! Make sure to let Pink Dome know that Just Another Blog sent you!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Justice Delayed, Justice Denied for Texas Foster Children

(This is a guest piece by Bree Buchanan running for the 3rd Court of Appeals. She is an impressive and hard working and brilliant mind, and it is important we put someone of her caliber on the courts in November.)

Tom DeLay’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, claims that “justice delayed is justice denied” if the Austin Court of Appeals fails to issue a quick decision concerning his client. DeGuerin argues that DeLay will suffer a disadvantage if his conspiracy charges are not resolved prior to the November elections.

But what about the thousands of Texans in the court’s 24 county district who are waiting for a decision? Of greatest concern to me: the foster children who are being denied an adoptive “forever family” because their case has yet to be resolved. Their cases, which involve the termination of the abusive parents’ rights, are often appealed by parents who lost at trial. Once the case gets to the appellate court, everyone – children, foster parents, caseworkers, CASA’s – begin what is often a very long wait. Some foster children wait for months for a decision by the court and some wait for years, depending on the justice who is assigned to write the decision.

I certainly hope the DeLay’s appeal is not given preferential treatment over other cases pending on the court’s docket. The Austin Court of Appeals should not let DeLay jump to the head of the line in front of central Texans.

Bree Buchanan, J.D.

Note: At the end of the 2005 fiscal year, 1,481 cases were on the court’s docket. 2005 Annual Statistical Report, Office of Court Administration.

Dick Cheney Makes Demands

If you have worked on a campaign as either a volunteer or staffer, you have most likely done some advance work. The Advance Team is the group of people that either get to a town or city first and make sure all of the a candidates needs are met or it is the team of people that puts together an event like a press conference or fundraiser.

Usually the former is pretty standard- toothbrush, phone, no big deal.

Some how The Smoking Gun was able to get their hands on Dick Cheney's advance demands. Not to much our of the ordinary, except he demands that Fox News is on when he walks into his room, and that the room is set to a chilling 68 degrees.

The best part is the stipulation that the hotel is allowed to leave gifts for Mr Cheney. I am sure they will be happy to leave a shotgun for the marksman.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Why We Must Stop Kinky

(A reader made this comment on a post that analyzed the Governor's race. It was so good, I had to make it a post. Stop Kinky's site can be found here and has been added to the blogroll.)

Kinky Friedman has voted just once in the last 12 years, and that was when he voted for Bush/Cheney in 2004. Kinky explained, "I was for Bush in 2004 ... he's a good man." Kinky has also run (unsuccessfully) for public office as a Republican in the past.

Kinky complains about "the Ten Commandments being taken out of the public schools" and says, "I want them back, they belong there." Kinky also says "I'll tell you right now. I'm for prayer in school."

When asked about his position on women's rights, Kinky says "I'm not pro-life, and I'm not pro-choice. I'm pro-football!" Even CNN's reporter had to exclaim, "Now that's evasive, man, that's evasive."

To secure the Texas-Mexico border, Kinky proposes his "Five Mexican Generals" plan: "Friedman again outlined his Mexican generals policy, whereby he would divide the Texas-Mexico border into precincts, stationing a Mexican general in each precinct. Each general would be given $1 million and the account would be drawn against every time an illegal immigrant is captured and returned to Mexico."

Texas is undergoing a public education funding crisis, Kinky's proposal is to let the highest corporate bidders into the schools: "As to funding the education system, Friedman's answer is to put all the money in the education system and let the corporate sector bid on funding athletics."

We gotta stop this Kinky nonsense!

Save Our Springs Releases New Ad

Save Our Springs (SOS) has released an online cartoon about the affects of the development of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) facility on the aquifer.

SOS is combating a huge media buy by AMD, and they are hoping to further mobilize Austin for the upcoming election to “Save Barton Springs” and “Stop Secret Deals”. To check out more on the campaigns visit the website here.

Problem With Blogger

I have received e-mails that the comments section is not working. Blogger is busted, and I have received an update that they are in process of fixing this error. I am sorry for the problem and I appreciate the e-mails.

While you are waiting to comment, go take the Just Another Blog Survey and tell us what else we can work on!

TDP Statement on Strayhorn’s suspension of payment to GOP Lobbyist Cronies: Late to the Game, Short of the Mark

Below is a statement from Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Amber Moon on Carole Strayhorn’s announcement today that she would suspend payments on a contract approved by Governor Perry with the Washington DC-based lobbying firm Cassidy & Associates:

“Unfortunately, Carole Strayhorn is late to the game and short of the mark. While Rep. Jim Dunnam and Texas Democrats called to stop payments nearly a year ago to these Tom DeLay/Jack Abramoff Washington lobbyists and voted to direct all of the funds to Texas veterans, Carole Strayhorn was one silent grandma. Republican leaders, including both Strayhorn and Rick Perry, ignored Texas veterans and backed the Washington lobbyists instead. Since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Texas taxpayer funds have been squandered on well-heeled lobbyists loyal to Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff. Carole Strayhorn had the authority to stop these payments from day one, and she acted now only because it might benefit her campaign against Rick Perry. Democrats took a stand to protect Texans against the corrupt Tom DeLay style “pay-off your lobby friends” culture that Republican leadership brought to Texas. Fortunately, Texas is gaining from the collateral benefit, even if it did result from Republican political ambition, not good public policy.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Candidates for State Party Chair Answer Tough Questions

South Texas Chisme has compiled a great Q and A of the three candidates running for State Party Chair- Glen Maxey, Boyd Richie and, Charlie Urbina-Jones (if the other candidates have websites, please let me know so I can add them).

Instead of listening to all the pundits and officials, read it for yourself and voice your opinion.

Special Session Woes

Activists and politicos across the state are making a faulty assumption—Rick Perry has said there will be a session on April 17th but we still do not know what the focus will be. If the recent reports coming from Austin are any clue, we may not know until right before the session.

The 30 day session will be the fifth attempt at resolving the education and tax woes created by the Republican leadership, but before the session has even started, there is infighting on what to focus on.

Lt Gov David Dewhurst is demanding a call that focuses on education reform and using the state surplus to fund contentious and controversial plans. Some of the things Dewhurst would like to see done range from the most benign like increase teacher pay to a touchy publicly funded voucher program.

On the other hand, Rick Perry is looking for a quick and easy victory to walk into the November elections with. Perry is looking to call a session that focuses on finding a solution to the unconstitutional sales tax.

Some plans have been announced to achieve the June 1st deadline created by the recent Texas Supreme Court Ruling.

The tax commission, headed by former Comptroller John Sharp, also is recommending a cigarette tax and using $1 billion of the state surplus. Under the commission’s plan, higher sales taxes – a staple of previous legislative plans – would be unnecessary.

The number one priority for all legislators must be to ensure that our deteriorating public education system has the fiscal support it needs and that schools are able to open their doors next year.

This internal debate will have an impact on the November election and may create a possible speakers race either in the special session or during the 2007 regular session.

The Dallas Morning-News and the San Antonio Express-News have more details on their websites.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

How to Become the Next Governor of Texas

I started asking myself a question on my commute to Austin today, how will a four person race for Governor affect things. I don’t usually ask myself these kinds of questions, but I read The Jeffersonian last night and today saw multiple cars with a party sticker and signs of support for an Independent Governor.

All of a sudden things became clear. Having two independents on the ballot not only messes things on analyzing who will win the Governors race, it makes predicting the affects on down ballot races virtually impossible.

In this part, I will look at just the Governors race, soon I will look into the affect the top ballot will have on the down ballot races.

Let’s start by making the assumption that both Kinky Friedman and Carole Keeton Rylander Strayhorn are both on the ballot. Let’s further assume that the Green, Libertarian, and possible write-in candidate do not garner more than 3% of the vote (based on historic returns in a non-presidential year).

Making those basic assumptions, who is the frontrunner? Republican Rick Perry. Why? With 4 “major” candidates and multiple third party candidates the number to win the Governor’s race is a mere (hold your breath) 35% or so. Kinky and Strayhorn will split about 30-35% (neither will get it all and it doesn’t matter how it is split up), Chris Bell will get the non-disenfranchised Democrats and at this point that is 25-30%, and the third party candidates will get 2-3%.

Rick Perry’s approval rating has not fallen below 38% in the past year. This leads me to the conclusion that about 34% will stick around and actually vote for the Current Governor.

That’s right people, if you vote anyone but Bell, then you are electing Perry! Scary but true. I am all for an ideological vote, but within a certain frame of mind.

What that means, is that a 4+ person race for Governor means that Democrats have to out organize the field (possible) and convince Kinky and Strayhorn voters to change their mind (harder). It also means that Perry has to do very little to win re-election.

The flip side of this whole argument is how do Kinky and Strayhorn get the votes to actually upset the field and win?

Strayhorn has to convince the 34% of Republican’s sticking with Perry to either stay home or vote for change and at the same time convince them she is really a Republican even though there is an “I” next to her name. At the same time she needs to peel away moderate and conservative female Democrats. This is a weird tension because she can easily alienate one of these two groups by courting the other too aggressively.

Kinky, has to simply not get old and mobilize more young people that ever before. The other three candidates have institutional support, a record, and have been elected before. Kinky does not have any of those luxuries, and that’s why he is going to end up getting the lowest vote total of the four.

The Governors race is about either maintaining the status quo in Perry or voting for the viable alternative. Whoever positions themselves as that alternative first will win the 35% of vote needed to be the next Governor of Texas.

Nolan Ryan Supports the Idea of San Antonio Marlins

And the plot thickens...
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan on Monday endorsed Bexar County's efforts to lure the Florida Marlins to San Antonio, saying Texas could support a third Major League Baseball franchise and this city is the right spot for it.

"The demographics of the state allows for another team to come here," Ryan said. "Given the projected growth of the state and the exciting things happening in San Antonio, I think (San Antonio) would support (a team)."

Ryan also suggested he would consider investing in the Marlins should they move here.

Ryan's comments came after he had lunch with County Judge Nelson Wolff, County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson, County Budget Officer David Smith and County Chief of Staff Seth Mitchell at the Plaza Club atop Frost Bank's downtown tower. Ryan's sons, Reid and Reese, also were there.

The Marlins are exploring relocation options because stadium talks in South Florida have stalled.

The Marlins are waiting to hear from MLB on whether they can engage in more serious relocation talks with Bexar County.

MLB decided to take a closer look at the San Antonio market after Wolff faxed a stadium-financing proposal to the Marlins on March 8 that called for the county to pay two-thirds of the cost for a $300 million open-air ballpark.

Wolff says the county could raise $200 million if voters were to extend hotel/rental-car taxes used to build the AT&T Center. The deadline to call a November election is August.

Wolff hinted Ryan would campaign for the tax extension.

"It would help us tremendously to have his name attached to this," Wolff said. "It would make an election in November a lot easier."

The full story can be viewed at the Express-News.

What Are You Doing Tonight?

The Alamo Sierra Club will meet on Today (Tuesday, March 21st) at 7 p.m., at the Witte Museum, 3801 Broadway. The program will be “Renewable Energy—State of Development in Texas” by Russell E. Smith. This event is free and open to the public.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Just Another Blog- Survey

(reposted to generate more responses)

Do you like what you read here? Do you hate it? Do you agree with JAB or loath every word we write?

There are so many questions, and we want the answers! Take just a moment and answer this quick 10 questions survey and let us know what we can do to make this a better site.

Salinas, Vela claim victory

The Jeffersonian has it first, Laura Salinas has claimed a narrow victory over Oscar Kazen. Sadly, Salinas is not half the Democrat that Oscar Kazen or the Kazen family is, and I am personally hoping for a recount.

In other news, Carla Vela has defeated fellow plaintiff Dan Ramos in the race for Bexar County Chair. Vela has a lot of work ahead of her, and I am excited to see the staff she puts together. Help her put rebuild the party by donating to the Bexar County party today!

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition to Testify Before House Committee

TCJC to focus on solutions to Texas’ costly prison overcrowding problem

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition today announced it would testify on Wednesday, March 22, before the House Corrections Committee in the Texas Capitol. The Coalition is expected to tell committee members that the current prison overcrowding problem cannot be sustained and that practical, cost-effective, and pro-family solutions to Texas’ probation system should be pursued.

Coalition Executive Director Ana Yáñez-Correa and Ann del Llano, also of the Coalition, will address the cost of Texas’ probation system and offer recommendations to reduce revocations and recidivism. Coalition representatives Molly Totman and Dominic Gonzales will also testify and make recommendations related to the Governor's Criminal Justice Advisory Council’s recent report. Coalition partners are also expected to testify on other aspects of the committee’s interim work.

For more information on the Coalition’s work, click on

What: Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Testimony, House Corrections Committee
When: Hearing Begins 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, March 22
Where: E2.016, Capitol Extension, Texas State Capitol, Austin, Texas

National Weekend News Round Up

This weekend had some interesting political news. The national landscape is getting more interesting as the mid-terms inch closer.

The Senate continues to look for its spine as Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois raised his concerns, saying that fellow Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, acted hastily in his call for censure.

However, a Newsweek poll said that most American’s want a Democratic Congress and only 34% want a Republican congress. You hear that Sen. Durbin, you guys have the cover to say what you want, now do it.

The Democrats think that a 50-50 tie in the Senate is not far fetched, but I am still putting my money on retaking the House.

Even though all eyes are focused on 2006, some ambitious types are looking to ’08 and heading to New Hampshire. If all politics are retail, then how come so many people are headed to NH now when we have so many good retail chances to win in Montana, New Mexico, Texas, Ohio, Florida… basically not New Hampshire. Focus on the races at hand right now, and I promise you, the Democrats who do the most to help win in 06, will be looked at with much more favor in 08.

Speaking of favor, John McCain hired Terry Nelson the Political Director of the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, and Vice President Dick Cheney says that his job is safe, even though he has a 44% disapproval rating (one of the highest ever for a Vice President).

What did I miss?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Polls are Fun, Especially This One

The Pew Research Center has released a new poll looking at Congress, partisan reactions, and the Bush Administration. The Bush White House has a staggering 33% approval rating, the lowest for the Bush Presidency.

The most amazing aspect of this poll is the erosion of support of the Bush base. Since January of 2005 there has been a 16 point drop in support among conservatives, an 18 point drop among white evangelicals, a 21 point drop among men, and a 22 point drop among rural voters.

It is also interesting to see the trend of the words used to describe Bush. This is an unprompted question that simply asks to use a single word to express your thoughts on President Bush. In February of 2005 38 said Honest, in July that number dropped to 31, and now in March of 2006 only 14 say Bush is honest. The most common words used to describe Bush (in order of 1st to 5th) are incompetent, good, idiot, liar, and then Christian. Honest comes in at 6th.

How will this affect the 2006 midterm elections? It depends on whether congress continues to run away from the Bush Administration. If Bush’s numbers hold or drop, then we might be looking at a 1994 all over again.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Roger Owen's Responds to Letter

To say some of us were concerned about Roger Owens would be an understatement, but a few Texas bloggers got together and did what any person would do... we wrote a letter. Kuff has the background, but here is Democratic Congressional Nominee Roger Owens's response:
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me. If I may, please allow me the opportunity to address some of these concerns.

First and foremost, as Democrats we must adhere to two basic principles. 1: All politics is local. And 2: The party of the people. (The people, as in who our elected politicians represent.) Failure to adhere to these two basic principles could spell defeat. No matter which Party they may belong to.

I have only two goals. 1: To expand the Democratic Party in District One. 2: To get Democrats elected. If you noticed, I made no reference to special interests or lobbyists. To summarize, there is a small number of people in Gregg County who do not share these beliefs. They never cared much for me. And when the dust settled, they was unsuccessful (even in Gregg County) with a low primary voter turnout to defeat me. This should be proof to the perception of these people in Gregg County.

As for my views on gays and lesbians, the only comment I have ever made was in reference to the growth of our Party in District One. These people in Gregg County that I made prior reference to was the only ones who tried to capitalize on this one issue towards my defeat.

You mentioned The Hill reducing my candidacy to that of oddball status. They may be making reference to my disregard towards special interest contributions. Unlike my primary opponent, everything I have is paid for. And I am sure I will have to write a check before November.

In reference to your big tent philosophy, I think I have already covered it.

At this time, (as Bill Clinton has said) let us focus on what we have in common. And that is the defeat of Mr. Gohmert.

With Greatest Respect;

Endorsement For Glen Maxey

Like with most things Glen Maxey has done, the grassroots are taking over. Gainesville resident and Maxey supporter Ken Leach announced his support for Maxey today and has begun organizing on the cause.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to hear from you people who think the way things are going in the Texas Democratic Party SUCKS. I have been saying this for the past ten years, but to deaf ears.

The leadershp of the Texas Democratic Party has not rolled up its sleeves and dug in. Too many time they just show up to be introduced.

I believe there is a Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. I think it is worth working real hard to reestablish the kind of leadership we had when Mrs. Randolph was alive. (Boy, am I showing my age.)

We have a chance to get things going again in Texas, IF we elect Glen Maxey Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. I see no other candidate for the office with Glen's trace record of oganizing and fund raising.

I have had some say they do not like Glen for this or that reason. I aske those people to look past the individual and look at what he has done and can do for the Democratic Party in Texas. You do not have to like the man to admire what he can do for Texas Democrats.

I have a yahoo Group of people working independent of Glen Campaign, but with the same goal. Email me at for an invite to join the group.

Glen Maxey may well be Texas Democrats' last hope to slavage their party and start winning elections again.

Ken Leach

Special Session Set for April 17th

From Quorum Report:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst told the Houston Kiwanis Club yesterday, and it has been re-confirmed through his office, that the special session will be begin on April 17. That puts work to begin post-Easter and post-income taxes. In addition, the Texas Tax Reform Commission intends to unveil its tax plan next Tuesday at the Capitol, with public testimony to follow on Wednesday.

Afternoon News Round Up

There seems to be a lot going on around the state.

Carla Vela Claims Victory in Bexar County Democratic Chair Race

Two candidates were separated by only 301 Votes. With more than 32,000 votes counted, the race for County Chair is a squeaker, with only 300 votes separating the two candidates after early voting and Election Day voting. The provisional and mail ballots counted on March 14 continued the trend, with Vela receiving only one more additional vote than Ramos received.

International ballots postmarked by March 7 can still be counted until March 20, but they are trickling in in very small numbers, so it is unlikely that Ramos will be able to catch up.

Vela, along with the newly elected Precinct Chairs, will take office on May 1.

Chris Bell endorses Boyd Richie for State Party Chair, Tony Sanchez endorses Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and Willie Nelson supports Kinky

Texas Counties are among the fastest growing in the nation, and sadly, the panhandle brush fires have claimed more than a million acres.

Did I miss anything?

Charlie Urbina-Jones States His Vision for TDP

Burnt Orange Report has it first, but San Antonio activist Charlie Urbina-Jones formally announces his "agenda" for the Texas Democratic Party.

His agenda outlines what he would like to see if elected to become the next chair of the party and his general observations of the current party make up. Here is Urbina-Jones' full, unedited agenda:

· Our party should be run from the ground up not the top down. For this state to turn blue we need to win at the local level first. We need to build a strong foundation to support all Democratic candidates regardless of what they’re running for.

· As Democrats we must ensure that all local parties have the necessary resources they need to do their job at the grassroots level, whether it is getting basic office supplies, improving technological resources or providing information for walk lists, phone banks etc.

· As Democrats we must mount a coordinated campaign to help our statewide Democratic candidates defeat the Republicans in November. We can do it and we can win!!

· We need to ensure that every candidate has full access to all resources and technology available from TDP along with the full support of our staff year-round.

· “Our Diversity is Our Strength”, our leadership should reflect this and we should embrace and protect the views of all Democrats. I believe that every Democrat has full and equal ownership of our party.

· We believe that every Democrat should have the opportunity to run if they choose to do so. I intend to offer regular regional candidate training/informational sessions so that regardless of how much candidates can raise they have the basic tools they need to run competitive campaign.

· We need to encourage and support more women to run for elected office. With over 50% of the Texas population being female I believe our elected leadership should reflect this. We will aim high and elect women to the courthouse, the statehouse and eventually the White House.

· We need to find alternative financial resources (from the grassroots to large donors) and keep enrolling sustaining members; many people do not give because they are not compelled to. We need strong leadership, a strong message and an effective statewide infrastructure.

· As Democrats we need to encourage and empower our youth, they are our future. We must mentor and guide them for the benefit of the state and national party.

· With our environment in danger we need to promote business savvy, eco-friendly ideas for legislation in Texas and in DC. We must protect our natural resources now and ensure they exist for our future.

· We need to run a fiscally responsible party, we need to update our procedural process, encourage more dialogue from everyone, use our resources efficiently as well as effectively and be honest with Texas Democrats.

· With a country that has over 1,600 registered religions; 250,000 churches, temples, mosques and synagogues- we are without a doubt a country of faith. We need to protect the rights of all Texans and ensure the ability to pursue our own personal beliefs.

· As Democrats we need to ensure our current elected officials have a way to communicate so they can work together on legislation, local programs, and statewide initiatives. We’re a family; we need to work together as a team and more importantly as Democrats!

· As a party we need to ensure that Democrats from across the state have access to proper assistance in the field.

· As individual Democrats we need to promote, follow and encourage the ideas we support in our Platform. This is who we’ve decided to be, this is our plan…let’s follow it.

William McManus Named as New Police Chief

San Antonio now has a new police chief. Last night the city announced that former Minneapolis police chief William McManus, will be taking over the San Antonio Police Department.

McManus did not originally file by the December 31st deadline, but after some internal politics in Minneapolis, City Manager Sheryl Sculley quickly added his name to the list of nominees.

According the Express-News, the new police chief will start on April 17th when Albert Ortiz steps down.

The plan is to get to know the officers, get to know the community and the values of the people of San Antonio," said McManus, who called San Antonio a "world-class city.

McManus plans on strengthening a community based approach to deter and prevent crime, and he will be working with a force that is nearly twice the size as his Minneapolis department.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Earle Abel's Lives On

Earle Abel's is a tradition in San Antonio, but it's location is a prime piece of real estate. Today was suppose to be the restaurants final day, but Arias Retail has purchased the name, recipes, and fixtures and now the famous San Antonio coffee shop will live on.

The plans are for the restaurant to reopen next Tuesday. Read here for more information.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Texas State Democratic Party Chair Resigns

Charles Soechting has decided to step down from his post as Chair of the TDP.
As you know, several months ago I announced I would not be seeking re-election as the Chair of the Texas Democratic Party in order to devote more time to both my family and law practice. As it happens, things are changing. I have been given the exciting assignment of heading up a new section at our law firm, an opportunity that will unfortunately, demand a greater portion of my time and energy. Because of this opportunity, coupled with the desire to spend more time with my wife and children, I will be stepping down as Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party effective April 22, 2006.

Of course, the next several months are critical toward the success of our convention, and the Party will need solid leadership during this time. Accordingly, I will call for an election to be held at the April 22nd meeting of the SDEC to elect a new chair.

In closing, I want to say how much I have enjoyed my time as Texas Democratic Party Chairman. I consider each and every one of you a friend, and I certainly intend to remain actively involved in Democratic politics and the effort to turn Texas blue!
Rumors are circulating about what is next for the party and what Soechting's involvment will be.

To Censure or Not to Censure

For one Senator that is an easy question to answer. Yesterday, Senator and Presidential hopeful, Russ Feingold started the process of a Senate censure and now the Senate Judiciary Committee will look into formally condemning President Bush’s domestic spying program.
Feingold said Bush broke the law and violated the Constitution when he authorized the National Security Agency to conduct a warrantless wiretapping program as part of the war on terrorism.

"Congress must respond," Feingold said Monday on the Senate floor. "A formal censure by Congress is an appropriate and responsible first step to assure the public that when the president thinks he can violate the law without consequences, Congress has the will to hold him accountable." (From Forbes)

Sadly, Democratic leaders in the Senate are maneuvering away from a debate on the issue in attempts not to alienate “swing voters”. The most brazen line of the day has so far been Joe Lieberman, Senator from Connecticut, who said he had not read it and wasn't inclined simply to scold the president.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, attempted to capitalize on the fact that Democrats are shying away from the fight and attempted to call an immediate floor vote on the censure.

This is another story of one Democrat doing the right thing and the rest running away.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Carter Casteel Wants A Recount

From the Quorum Report:

CASTEEL ASKS FOR RECOUNT Acknowledges difficulty of overcoming 45 votes

State Rep. Carter Casteel (R-New Braunfels), who lost the HD 73 primary to challenger Nathan Macias by 45 votes, decided Monday to seek a recount.

From her statement:

"I am going to request a recount and I have retained Buck Wood as the attorney to represent me in that effort. I have thought about it a long time. I have come to grips with Election Day. However, my supporters and many of my constituents in House District 73 have encouraged me to ask for a recount. Forty-four, 45 votes is a pretty good stretch, but stranger things have happened."

She will have two days from when the Republican Party of Texas canvasses its primary results to petition for a recount. According to the party’s Web site, canvassing will happen March 22. After receiving the petition, the party will have two days to decide on whether to grant the recount.

Multimedia Monday!

Coldplay- Rush of Blood to the Head
Sometimes you need some good lyrics, solid piano playing, and chill pop. XY is not such a great album, it doesn't venture to be unique. Rush... does. Scientist and Clocks both venture into musical depths with two different styles.

The Roots- Home Grown! The Beginner's Guide to Understanding the Roots Vol 1 and 2
After seeing Block Party, I had to listen to The Roots. This is a complex set of albums that gives you details into both The Roots and the depths of Rap and Hip-Hop. The Roots prove that music is alive and well by combining rock guitar with jazz solos and lyrical prowess all over hip-hop beats and rhymes.

Elefant- Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid
Nothing to say here, but if you like something chill and different, this is your album.

Dave Chappelle's Block Party
This movie was funny but also a great documentary on life and music. The power artists and hip-hop can have on a community and people. Yes, Dave Chappelle makes jokes and he is one of the most charismatic people you will ever see on the big screen, but this is more than just the Chappelle Show.

Mos Def and Common talk about the history of Brooklyn. Wyclef Jean tells kids that they can be anything. And Dave Chappelle makes jokes, but talks about keeping grounded in the most important times.

This is a funny movie, but it’s not a comedy. This film has great artists and musicians, but it is not a music video. This is a documentary on art, film, comedians, and life, and it pulls no punches. Go see it.

Big Surprise

According to the Express-News, the legislators that were targeted in the primary don't want to work with leadership to solve their problems.


This further fuels the fires of speculation that there will be a Speakers Challenge either in 07 or as soon as the special session. The names being thrown around are Jim Pitts, Bill Keffer, and Mike Krusee.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Big Regret- Reps Gallego and Puente Wonder about SD 19

During the run up to the primary it was long speculated that Carlos Uresti would not be the only one challenging Frank Madla in Senate District 19. Now Uresti is being called the Democrat to watch in Texas and Pete Gallego and Robert Puente are second guessing their decision not to run.

Jaime Castillo’s editorial discusses the political hangovers both State Representatives are experiencing.

While Uresti took the hard road and ran against Madla, Gallego and Puente hoped to be crowned the successor in four years.

Puente, like Gallego, believed Madla would be serving his final term in office had he emerged victorious this election cycle. According to Puente's plan, the seat would be open in four years and he would have just as good a chance as anyone to win it.

While Puente and Gallego deferred to Madla, Uresti took the gutsy route and it paid off. He still has to get through the November general election, but most, including Puente and Gallego, believe the seat is Uresti's for the foreseeable future unless he stumbles during a probable first term.

In the end, Gallego and Puente may have “lost” their chances for a promotion, but Texas won on Tuesday. The two representatives have served their districts well for many years, and the fact that they will continue to do so is great for the party. The Democratic Party has a deeper bench for later elections, and has the ability to net more D’s for the 2007 session because of their presence.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

We Can Only Hope

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rep Leibowitz Urges Taxpayers to File Earned Income Tax Credit

Press Release from Representative Leibowitz office:

State Representative David Leibowitz today launched a public awareness campaign to encourage qualified taxpayers to ask for refunds under the federal Earned Income Tax Credit program, saying that Texas taxpayers are leaving nearly $1.2 billion per year in federal funds on the table by failing to file for the dollars they deserve.

"If you qualify for a credit, you're cheating yourself and your family if you don't apply for it," said Leibowitz (D-San Antonio). "It's your money. Don't you want it back?"

Leibowitz said the Earned Income Tax Credit is available to any Texan who had a job during the 2005 tax year and earned less than $11,750 if single and with no qualifying children or less than $35,263 if married with more than one qualifying child.

Some 2.1 million Texans filed for the EITC last year, Leibowitz said, bringing more than $4 billion into the state economy. The average credit for qualifying workers with eligible children came to $4,300. Workers without children received credits up to $382, depending on their income.

Leibowitz said data on unclaimed EITC refunds shows that nearly one-quarter of those who qualify fail to file for the credit.

"This is a well-deserved bonus that can help a family cover the costs of back-to-school supplies, a new appliance, or other needs," Leibowitz. "And because the credits generally get spent in retail outlets in the community, it's also a boon to small businesses and the local economy."

Earned income includes taxable wages, salaries, and tips, as well as net earnings from self-employment, combat zone compensation for military personnel, and strike benefits paid by labor organizations to their members, Leibowitz said.

In addition, Leibowitz said, the IRS has special rules that apply to members of the clergy, taxpayers with disability retirement income, and those who have been displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Leibowitz said area employers can do their part by making sure their workers know about the tax credit and make it easy to obtain the necessary W-5 form.

Commissioners Concerned About Macias

Carter Casteel was one of the more upset losses to watch last Tuesday. She was narrowly defeated by one of the Leininger 5, Nathan Macias.

Casteel is still bouncing the idea around on whether to call for a recount, and the Herald-Zeitung gives her one more reason to.

So far, county commissioners and County Judge Danny Scheel have not met with Macias. Some county officials voiced concerns Thursday that Macias’ campaign suggests he might not be friendly to the legislative needs of county government.
Macias admits there be some difference between him and the highly responsive and well like Casteel.

“In principle, I trust there will be a difference,” Macias said. “I wouldn’t have run for office if there wasn’t going to be. But I would also let the judge and commissioners know that, while I’m there to represent all the citizens of the district, I clearly understand that counties are the arm of state government that gets things accomplished.”

To say there is unease to Macias representing House District 73 is an understatement. Scheel and other both look at the negative campaign tactics and Macias’s unwillingness to discuss policy with locally elected officials, cause locally elected officials great concern.

As far as I’m concerned, a defeat for Carter Casteel is a defeat for me,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Jay Millikin said. “I think the hype and tripe that was presented against our state representative was unconscionable. I believe it could be a very strained relationship between our local governments and Mr. Macias.”

Scheel said he was concerned because Macias hasn’t met with local officials — even while campaigning for office — and no one knows his stances on many issues that are vital to the county.

Another concern for officials like Scheel and Millikin is the source of funding during the primary.

Scheel also was concerned, he said, about the possible influence on Macias of Dr. James Leininger of San Antonio, a Republican backer who pumped more than $800,000 into Macias’ campaign. Leininger’s main goal is to get a statewide school voucher plan passed.

In light of this, maybe Casteel will change her mind and ask for a recount.

The Express News Is Impressive

At least they got their facts straight?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Democratic National Security Event

Democratic National Security Event
U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Local Rep. Lloyd Doggett and Houston State Rep. Garnet Coleman

Austin, TX- U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's national "Red State" tour is taking him to Texas where he will discuss national security issues and why Republican incompetence has made our homeland less safe. Joined by local U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and State Rep. Garnet Coleman, Chair of the Legislative Study Group, the three Democratic elected officials will highlight Republican failures, from Hurricane Katrina to port security. Under Democratic leadership America can do better.

WHO: U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and State Rep. Garnet Coleman
WHAT: Democratic National Security Press Conference
WHERE: TX State Capitol
Speaker's Committee Room, Room 2W.6
WHEN: Friday, March 10th @ 4pm

The New Political Landscape

What happened on Tuesday? A lot of groups, people, and blogs are celebrating after the Tuesday election, and why?

Answer is simple, things look good. Carlos Uresti beat Frank Madla. Diana Patrick defeated Kent Grusendorf. Al Edwards is in a run off with Boris Miles. Garnet Coleman killed the field, and the list goes on and on and on.

The year started out well for the progressive community. On February 14th Donna Howard wins in a run off, and February 28th Katy Huebner gets within 300 votes of victory. These two races, and Anna Hernandez winning the special election to fill Joe Moreno’s seat gave Democrats 2 new votes for the upcoming special election and one close enough to ensure that Kirk England is on a short leash (aka no vouchers) for the special session.

Now we fast forward to the March 7th primary results.

Charlie Geren won hands down after 5 of his “fellow Republicans” endorsed his opponent. The Leininger 5 under performed which means there will be some ticked off R’s coming back to vote, and the loss of the popular Carter Casteel ensures that she will not budge from her opposition to vouchers (although I wish we weren’t losing Casteel’s strong voice).

The really impressive part is the shake up of the leadership within the capital. Kent Grusendorf’s loss eliminates one of Tom Craddick’s key soldiers. Grusendorf was the chair of the House Committee on Education and will not even be on the ballot in November. Craddick is at a cross roads, either he creates a short term solution or he is no longer Speaker.

Look for Mike Krusee, Jim Pitts, or Bill Keffer to make a bid for Speaker if they can whip enough support from the moderate and pissed off R’s. Democrats will run in mass against conservative ideologue Craddick and with new hostility between moderates, right wingers, and those who are now retired, this special session could very easily be one way to pay back Craddick for all his hard work.

Now more than ever the special session is the key to the November elections for both Democrats and Republicans. Chuck Hopson represents a district that is 70% Republican. Kirk England may lose 300 votes and cause Huebner to win, and must win seats like Strama and Vo could become more vulnerable.

On the other hand Gene Seaman could become more susceptible to the charismatic Juan Garcia, and Toby Goodman becomes weaker against Paula Hightower-Pierce.

The expectation is that Governor Rick Perry will play it conservative and call for the special session to only focus on taxation issues. If Lt. Governor David Dewhurst gets his way, there will be a call for education reform too, and if that happens all the infighting within the party will make the special fun to watch.

San Antonio Marlins

I love sports, so here is some good sports news for you baseball lovers. From the Express-News:

County Judge Nelson Wolff faxed a letter to the Florida Marlins on Wednesday promising that Bexar will provide up to $200 million to help build a stadium — if voters extend the hotel and rental-car taxes used to build the AT&T Center.

Wolff estimates the project will cost $300 million. According to Wolff's plan, the Major League Baseball franchise would have to agree to a memorandum of understanding before an election is called.

The deadline for putting the issue on the November ballot is early August, Wolff told the Marlins.

Wolff's advisory comes two days after billionaire B.J. "Red" McCombs said he would give "serious consideration" to becoming a minority investor in the Marlins if his involvement would result in the team relocating to South Texas. Wolff said the Marlins would pick the site. The proposed stadium would not have a roof or be used for football.

One such project could be the addition of 200,000 to 400,000 square feet of exhibition space on the grounds of the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum, Wolff said.

Henry Flores, a political scientist and dean of the graduate school at St. Mary's University, believes voters would support Wolff's plan because it doesn't call for the imposition of a sales tax or ad valorem tax.

According to a WOAI/SurveyUSA Poll conducted this week, 72 percent of San Antonians would like to see a professional baseball team come to town. The poll revealed 41 percent would consider buying season tickets.

It is very clear that San Antonio is trying to expand its national exposure and they believe sports is the way to do it. First it was the attempt at getting the New Orleans Saints and now this.

As a sports nut, I love this, but a name change will be needed.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Primary Wrap Up

Here are the final totals. I am going to break down all the match ups and elections today and tomorrow and should have some analysis by the end of the week.

US Senate:
Barbara Ann Radnofsky will be in a run off with Gene Kelley. This was a big surprise of the night since Radnofsky has been campaigning for over a year and yet still didn't crack 50%.

CD 28:
Still not finalized but it looks like Henry Cuellar has won out right with nearly 53% of the vote. I am sure there will be some legal challenges this year, like there was in 2004.

Chris Bell won huge over Bob Gammage and I am looking forward to watching that race.

Lt Gov:
Maria Luisa Alvarado and Ben Grant are in a runoff with both getting about 39% of the vote.

Senate District 19:
Carlos Uresti won big over Frank Madla. While the race isn’t locked by the Secretary of State’s office yet, it looks like Uresti won by over 15 points! I credit this to their solid ground game, great endorsements, and amazing GOTV efforts.

House District 118:
Joe Farias pulled an upset not because he did well, but because he won outright with 57% of the total vote. Looking at the race it looked like Larry Rickett or Pedro Molina would get into a runoff, not so.

Leininger 5:
Carter Casteel looks to have lost by 42 votes to Nathan Macias but there are still mail ballots to be counted and there will be an automatic recount. Wayne Christian won over Roy Blake, but Merritt, Jones, and Geren all defended their seat and Diane Patrick won over Kent Grusendorf.

The Bexar County close races:
Oscar Kazen and Carla Vela won their very close races last night. Both did it by half a point.

Full Bexar County results can be found here, and statewide results can be found here. Thanks again for reading yesterday, it was fun!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Election Returns!

I am getting set up with some Lone Star tall boys and here we go...

JAB is focusing Ciro Rodriguez versus Henry Cuellar and Frank Madla versus Carlos Uresti.

Here we go! (Numbers Updated as of 11:04 pm)

CD 28- 68 % Reporting
Henry Cuellar- 16,705 or 48%
Victor Morales- 2.145 or 6%
Ciro Rodriguez- 15,408 or 45%

SD 19-84% Reporting
Frank Madla- 15,488 or 43%
Carlos Uresti- 20,191 or 56%

Update 11:01 pm
Time to call SD 19. Carlos Uresti has won. 84% of the precincts are reporting and Uresti has a 13 point lead. I will update the numbers fully tomorrow and update CD 28. Thanks for reading today and tonight.

Update 10:46 pm

So here is the hold up on results for CD 28 and SD 19. In CD 28, the main hold up is obviously Webb county, but we are also waiting for Atascosa, Wilson, and Zapata counties. These are all areas that should go for Cuellar and the concern is by how much.

SD 19 is a bit different Uvalde, Val Verde, and Maverick county should split pretty evenly because of Madla's attempt to destroy the Kinny County ground water district. Doesn't sound like much, but you are talking about peoples drinking water, agriculture base, and their democratic rights to create a governmental organization.

Update 10:34 pm
I really want to call the Uresti race because Shapleigh was so involved in the El Paso part of the campaign, but alas, memories of Florida are filling my head. We are waiting for 25 boxes in Bexar county to know the county positions.

Ciro Rodriguez has apparently sent attorney, supporters, and legal minds to watch the counting in Webb. Unlike 2004, it is very clear that the Rodriguez is not taking anything for granted and are being proactive about this situation. I am going to stay with CD 28 as long as I can tonight.

Update 9:55pm
90% of Bexar County is in and Vela and Kazen have a mere 1 point lead right now and I am still not ready to call it because of Ramos and Salinas's e-day surge. Paul Elizondo is still the County Commissioner of Precinct 2.

The Quorum Report has the latest on the Leininger 5:

Geren 54% to Hatley 43%
Casteel 56% to Macias 44%
Blake 20% to Christian 80%
D Jones 60% to Van Wilson 25%
Merritt 58% to Williams 42%

However, in the Blake-Christian race, the Secretary of State has not reported Nacogdoches early voting. It is the biggest population center in the district and sources tell QR that Blake has won over 60% in early voting

Update 9:35 pm
First, thanks anonymous for the catch. Seeing all the numbers move so quickly can be tricky at times. The gap continues to narrow between Kazen and Salinas (51 to 49 right now) and the county chair race is equally close (Vela 50.6 to Ramos 49.4). Right now we have 70% of the votes counted in Bexar County.

Uresti and Rodriguez have been maintaining their leads all night and nearly 50% of the vote is in for both the SD 19 race and CD 28.

On the statewide front, Radnofsky is moving closer and closer to a run-off and the Associated Press has called it for Chris Bell.

Update 9:10 pm
Down ballot time in San Antonio. Oscar Kazen's lead is being worn down from E-day. Currently Kazen has a 3 point lead but Laura Salinas has out performed today. I am ready to call Court at Law #6 for Ray Olivarri and Peter Sakai has won the 225th judge race. It looks like Joe Farias could win the HD 118 race outright, he is at nearly 56% right now.

It is still close to call on the County Chair race.

Update 8:47 pm
Webb County apparently had some major problems with early vote and the ballots are being counted by hand. This will cause some serious delay's in the CD 28 race. You have to wonder how much attention is going to be paid to this since this is Cuellar's home turf.

Update 8:31 pm
E-day precincts are starting to roll in. BOUT TIME!

Update 7:55 pm
Still just waiting for numbers...

More on HD 73. Put your fears to rest boys and girls, Carter Casteel has moved ahead of Macias and is nearly 11 points ahead now. I will keep my eyes on it, but the Texan of the Year is back on top.

Update 7:20 PM
So far the numbers are not really in statewide, but we are getting a picture in San Antonio. Rather than taking the time to cover too many races by my lonesome here are the highlights from early vote in BEXAR COUNTY.

Carlos Uresti beat Madla in early vote by an astounding 2,000+ votes. Carla Vela is squeaking past Dan Ramos for County Party Chair, Joe Farrias has nearly twice as many votes than all three of his opponents in HD 118 and Oscar Kazan and Peter Sakai are up and Phil Meyers is down for their judge races.

On the Republican side, Carter Casteel has lost early vote to Nathan Macias in HD 73 by a mere 200 votes.