Texoblogosphere: Week of August 31st

The Texas Progressive Alliance remembers the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and honors the spirit of its survivors as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff recaps Ken Paxton’s first day in court. It won’t be his last.

Libby Shaw writing for Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos scolds the Republican Party for its cruel war on immigrants. Earth to the GOP. Stop picking on immigrants and do your jobs.

Socratic Gadfly turns a skeptical eye to Constitutional-era pop historian Joseph Ellis, and rakes him over the coals for writing something barely historical, but that adds to Constitutional myth-making.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme watches the Republican war on Latinos continue with throwing attorneys out of detention centers and denying birth certificates to citizens.

Houston city council races dominated PDiddie’s Brains and Eggs this past week, with At Large 1, At Large 2, and At Large 3 all profiled and prognosticated.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s troubles are not going away anytime soon, Paxton’s Problems Pile Up.

Neil at All People Have Value expressed distress over how we drive in Harris County, Texas and asked that we be careful on our roads. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Chip Brown calls out Baylor President Ken Starr in the Art Briles/Sam Ukwuachu case.

Juanita gives the idiots protesting at the HISD Arabic language immersion school a piece of her mind.

Stephanie Stradley explains why the Deflategate case matters.

Ryan Holeywell and Stephen Klineberg debunk myths about Hurricane Katrina evacuees in Houston, while Ethan Raker shows how interacting with Katrina evacuees affected opinions about them.

The Makeshift Academic builds a model to estimate how many people would benefit from Medicaid expansion.

Paradise in Hell observes a rite of passage for George P. Bush.

Erica Ciszek explains her anxiety about bathrooms.

 

Paisano Pete1

The Paisano Pete statue in Fort Stockton, Texas is rumored to be the “world’s largest roadrunner” and is a favorite tourist draw for the Big Bend region.  Photo credit:  Big Bend Newswire

Wait… How Many Cities Have Equal Rights Protections Just Like H.E.R.O.?

The short answer… a whole bunch.

This Fall, the city of Houston will be bombarded with campaign ads claiming false information about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  You know ads like this one that just hit the airwaves recently.

As Dan Solomon of Texas Monthly reports, the move shows that HERO opponents are not above lies and deceit to lure voters towards their message…

The fight surrounding Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance has been ugly since the anti-discrimination policy was proposed—and after a petition drive to put its recall to a public vote, it’s only gotten uglier. It’s involved city attorneys issuing subpoenas for pastors’ sermons. It’s involved accusations of forged signatures on the petition. And, with the vote on the ordinance approaching, it’s involved some fearmongering. As the Houston Chronicle reports:

Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance released a one-minute radio spot Monday that targets women voters, hitting the airwaves first in what’s expected to be a heated and expensive campaign over the law that will appear on the November ballot.

The ad features a young woman talking about the perceived threat to public safety the ordinance presents. Critics have long seized on the idea that the ordinance, a broad non-discrimination law that includes protections for gay and transgender residents, would allow male sexual predators dressed in drag to enter women’s restrooms.

The idea that scheming, predatory men would disguise themselves as women in order to prey on women and girls in bathrooms has always been one of the rallying cries against HERO. When Fox News commentator and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee used his platform to rally opponents to whip up opposition to the ordinance, he focused much of his argument on the idea that bathrooms would “be unsafe for women and children“:

“If the child…a boy…walks in and says ‘you know what, I really am feeling my girl’s side, he gets to go shower with the girls when he’s 14. I mean, I’m just thinking of all the 14-year-old boys I went to school with, and how many of them would have awakened with that revelation.”

Huckabee’s claims notwithstanding, the ordinance doesn’t put women and girls at additional risk of being harmed by sexual predators, according to experts who’ve studied “bathroom panic” as it relates to transgender people. There are no reported cases of transgender women assaulting anyone in public bathrooms after anti-discrimination ordinances have passed anywhere in the country. And, as stories like the headline-grabbing incident in New York last April make clear, a predator who plans to sexually assault women in public bathrooms doesn’t need to wear a disguise to do it.

To be clear, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance is a local protection for all Houstonians.  While it’s true that pregnant women (for example) are protected by federal and state laws against discrimination, what opponents don’t tell you is that it is far more expensive to lodge a discrimination claim through state and federal channels than it is to have the city investigate claims at the local level.  HERO is not simply a duplication of law.  It is putting access to local protection within reach of many in our community that don’t have the money or time to file a federal case.  It is for all of these reasons that cities and counties across the United States have taken similar actions.

Stating that fact over and over again is important, but sometimes it helps to have a visual.  If Houstonians knew that every time they travel to New York, Dallas, Shreveport or even Disney World in Orlando, they were going to another city that offers these same protections, such information could help to break the stigma HERO opponents want so desperately to create.

Texas Leftist has compiled a graphic showing all of the cities and counties that have passed comprehensive non-discrimination ordinances (also known as Human Rights Ordinances or Equal Rights Ordinances) with protections on par with the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (Data source:  the Human Rights Campaign).  Before Houstonians vote this November, they should get a clear picture of just how important, yet commonplace the protections in H.E.R.O. are.

Have you ever visited (and by proper assumption, used restroom facilities) in any of these American Cities? If so, share this post and help combat the many lies being spread about HERO.  

Also, don’t forget to join the cause to protect HERO with Houston Unites.  It’s now more important than ever.

City NDO map

 

By the way, some cities like Las Vegas, Nevada or Santa Fe, New Mexico are not listed for having local Equal Rights protections, but that may be because they are in one of 17 states that have enacted non-discrimination laws, thus protecting residents. In other cases like Los Angeles, the city has still chosen to pass local protections even though they are in a state which offers them.

Arizona
Phoenix, City of
Tempe, City of
Tucson, City of

California

Los Angeles, City of
Oakland, City of
Palm Springs, City of
Sacramento, City of California
San Diego, City of
San Francisco, City of
Santa Cruz County
West Hollywood, City of

Colorado
Boulder, City of
Denver, City of

District of Columbia
Washington, City of

Florida
Atlantic Beach, City of
Alachua County
Broward County
Gainesville, City of
Gulfport, City of
Key West, City of
Lake Worth, City of
Leon County
Miami Beach, City of
Monroe County
Palm Beach County
Pinellas County
Orlando, City of
Tampa, City of
Volusia County
West Palm Beach, City of

Georgia
Atlanta, City of

Idaho
Boise, City of
Coeur d’Alene, City of
Idaho Falls, City of
Ketchum, City of
Moscow, City of
Sandpoint, City of
Victor, City of

Illinois
Aurora, City of
Carbondale, City of
Chicago, City of
Cook County
Decatur, City of
DeKalb, City of
Evanston, City of
Peoria, City of
Springfield, City of

Indiana
Bloomington, City of
Evansville, City of
Indianapolis, City of
Marion County
Monroe County
South Bend, City of

Iowa
Cedar Rapids, City of
Council Bluffs, City of
Davenport, City of
Des Moines, City of
Iowa City
Johnson County
Waterloo, City of

Kansas
Lawrence, City of
Roeland Park, City of

Kentucky
Covington, City of
Danville, City of
Frankfort, City of
Jefferson County
Lexington, City of
Lexington-Fayette County
Louisville, City of
Morehead, City of
Vicco, City of

Louisiana
New Orleans, City of
Shreveport, City of

Maryland
Baltimore, City of
Baltimore County
Howard County
Hyattsville, City of
Montgomery County

Massachusetts
Boston, City of
Cambridge, City of
Northampton, City of
Salem, City of
Worcester, City of

Michigan
Ann Arbor, City of
Detroit, City of
East Lansing, City of
Ferndale, City of
Grand Rapids, City of
Huntington Woods, City of
Kalamazoo, City of
Lansing, City of
Pleasant Ridge, City of
Saugatuck, City of
Sterling Heights, City of
Traverse, City of
Ypsilanti, City of

Minnesota
Minneapolis, City of
St. Paul, City of

Missouri
Columbia, City of
Clayton, City of
Kansas City
Kirkwood, City of
Olivette, City of
St. Louis County
St. Louis, City of
University City

Montana
Bozeman, City of
Butte, City of
Helena, City of
Missoula, City of

Nebraska
Omaha, City of

New York
Albany, City of
Binghamton, City of
Buffalo, City of
Ithaca, City of
New York City
Rochester, City of
Suffolk County
Syracuse, City of
Tompkins County
Westchester County

North Carolina
Chapel Hill, City of

Ohio
Athens, City of
Bowling Green, City of
Cincinnati, City of
Cleveland, City of
Columbus, City of
Coshocton, City of
Dayton, City of
East Cleveland, City of
Newark, City of
Oxford, City of
Summit County
Toledo, City of
Yellow Springs, Village of

Oregon
Beaverton, City of
Bend, City of
Benton County
Corvallis, City of
Eugene, City of
Hillsboro, City of
Lake Oswego, City of
Lincoln City
Multnomah County
Portland, City of
Salem, City of

Pennsylvania
Abington Township
Allegheny County
Allentown, City of
Bethlehem, City of
Cheltenham Township
Doylestown, City of
East Norriton, City of
Easton, City of
Erie County
Harrisburg, City of
Hatboro, City of
Haverford Township
Jenkinstown Borough
Lansdowne Borough
Lower Marion Township
New Hope Borough
Newton Borough
Philadelphia, City of
Pittsburgh, City of
Pittston, City of
Scranton, City of
Springfield Township
State College Borough
Susquehanna Township
Swarthmore, City of
Upper Merion Township
West Chester Borough
Whitemarsh Township
York, City of

South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, City of

Texas
Austin, City of
Dallas County
Dallas, City of
Fort Worth, City of
Houston, City of (suspended pending litigation)

Utah
Alta, City of
Grand County
Harrisville, City of
Logan, City of
Midvale, City of
Moab, City of
Murray City
Ogden, City of
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake County
Springdale, City of
Summit County
Taylorsville, City of
West Valley, City

Washington
Burien, City of
King County
Seattle, City of
Spokane, City of
Tacoma, City of

West Virginia
Morgantown, City of
Charleston, City of

Wisconsin
Dane County
Madison, City of
Milwaukee, City of
Dane County
Madison, City of
Milwaukee, City of

Laramie, Wyoming

 

 

 

TLCQ 2015: Lane Lewis

In the Fifth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Lane Lewis, chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party and candidate for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1.

Please note: Responses are directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but may be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

LL:  Lane Lewis

 

 TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

LL:  I am currently the Harris County Democratic Party Chair; Harris County is the nation’s third largest county with nearly 2 million registered voters. I was elected unanimously in a special election in December 2011, was re-elected in May 2012 with over 55% of the vote and won re-election again in 2014.

 

 TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

LL:  I began my community involvement organizing friends and neighbors 25 years ago focusing on public safety and social issues. Time and time again the issues I encountered in communities came back to city services and infrastructure. This motivated me to run for office, so I could help provide the help communities and community organizers need to better their neighborhoods. Just recently after a tragic murder in of a young man in Neartown, I helped organize a formal dialogue between HPD and neighbors. The topic of safety again led back to infrastructure, the community and law enforcement agreeing sidewalks and lighting would be key in deterring crime. It only reinforced for me that; a prosperous, safe, world-class city cannot be built on crumbling streets.

As an At-Large Council Member, I will be able to influence initiatives that affect the entire city and benefit multiple districts. Infrastructure improvements need to be streamlined for the engineers, contractors and constituents. 

 

TL:  If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.

LL:  

1.  Improving infrastructure

As an At-Large Council Member, I will be able to influence initiatives that affect the entire city and benefit multiple districts. Infrastructure improvements need to be streamlined for the engineers, contractors and constituents. I am also concerned that infrastructure needs are not adequately addressed in all neighborhoods fairly. City council can work with departments and stakeholders to find better ways to identify and address infrastructure issues, a process which has begun in earnest and I will help the current efforts anyway I can.

2. Growing the tax base with quality businesses paying livable wages

Houston needs a sustainable solution to budget and pension shortfalls. Tax hikes are not a long-term solution and drive away businesses and residents to surrounding municipalities. I will work with District Council Members and business leaders to expand business opportunities that are beneficial to hard working Houstonians. The city government plays a central role in making a city attractive to development and business investment and should pay particular attention to helping minority owned business participate and grow.

3. Relieving transportation and traffic congestion

Working with METRO and public works, city council can find solutions that fit the diverse needs of Houston. Properly executed alternatives like ride sharing, bike paths, new bus routes, and light rail can open our roadways. City council needs to lead on these initiatives.

 

TL:  After decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, Houston’s infrastructure is in a critical state of disrepair. Ask any driver, cyclist or pedestrian, and they can readily tell you that city streets and sidewalks are crumbling… some to the extent that they pose significant danger to those that would traverse them. The Parker Administration has attempted to address the problem by the voter-approved ReBuild Houstonprogram. Knowing that the next Mayor has no choice but to invest in city infrastructure, do you support the continuation of ReBuild Houston?  If yes, please explain why.  If no, please explain how you would address our copious infrastructure needs differently.  

LL:  ReBuild Houston is not perfect, but the imperfections are mostly on the political side of its inception and the program itself is a strong step in the right direction. New projects are coming online and helping with Houston’s flood issues. The immediate problem is that we are so far behind that we are vulnerable today and ReBuild’s full impact will not be felt for decades to come. Once ReBuild finishes paying off decades of debt, it will produce about $600 million a year to our infrastructure and the number of projects will increase rapidly.

ReBuild’s pay-as-you go philosophy is a much needed improvement; however, it requires a project to be fully funded before work begins. I would like to explore the possibility of starting projects simultaneously based on a predicted revenue stream prior to being fully funded, but without borrowing money.

 

 TL:  At present the city of Houston has one of the strongest forms of “strong-Mayor governance” in the state of Texas, to the point that the Mayor alone decides what business comes before City Council. If elected, would you support an amendment to the City Charter that would allow any coalition of 6 Council Members to place items on the Council Agenda without prior approval from the Mayor? Whether yes or no, please explain your answer.

LL:  I would approve such an amendment to provide balance to the horseshoe. I have strong personal and working relationships with most of the Mayoral candidates and am comfortable that I will be able to work effectively with any administration. Even if the power to place business on the agenda was granted to council, the Mayor of Houston would still hold tremendous power and influence over the process of voting and implementing that business. City council would still need a good relationship with the Mayor and the main trump card to counter the Mayor would still be public opinion. I am in favor of empowering council more with the understanding that the key to a productive council will always be the ability to work with the Mayor and fellow council members.

 

TL:  If elected, would you support and seek to continue the current administration’s Complete Streets policy, which establishes that any new or significant re-build of city streets will work to prioritize and incorporate safe access for all road users, including pedestrians, persons with disabilities and cyclists?  

LL:  A significant change in our transit system must include options for pedestrians and cyclists of all ability levels. Complete Streets along with rail, bike paths, ride sharing, traditional cabs and most importantly the reimagined bus system, must work in concert to make a Houston a multi-mobile city. New development should encourage walkable neighborhoods and the city should provide that foundation.

 

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

LL:  My service to the community has given me strong relationships with elected officials and decision makers that can help me get things done. I have strong ties to leaders across the city, county, and state from all walks of life and in all areas of town. As a Houston City Council Member, you cannot accomplish your goals without the help of other council members, the Mayor, and constituents. My valuable relationships will enable me to be an effective council member from day one at City Hall.

My decades of service, the relationships I have nurtured with integrity, and my experience as an elected and appointed servant have prepared me for the job of Houston City Council. Public service is about solving problems and meeting the needs of constituents. That requires being able to pick up the phone on day one and having a positive relationship already established with the person on the other end.

No one else running for Position 1 has the number of or quality of both professional and personal relationships that I have with other elected officials and decision makers in the city or the state, which will allow me to get to work on day one.

 

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

LL.  I have a large library collection of books, so I read a lot. For the past year or so, most of my reading has been news and policy related rather than simply a good book. I have very little free time, so often by the time I get home around 9pm, I just make myself something to eat and lay in the floor with my dogs while watching a few minutes of TV before going to sleep.

 

Thanks to Mr. Lewis for the responses.

Lane Lewis

Houstonians Mourn Tragic Killing of Harris County Deputy

As many working adults in the city of Houston prepared for a lovely and well-earned weekend, one Deputy in the Harris County Sheriff’s Department left his family and hit the streets to keep all of us safe.

But sadly for Deputy Darren Goforth, he would never return home.  As NBC News reports, the officer was tragically slain Friday night not in a dangerous crime scene, but simply while pumping gas in his uniform…

Hundreds of people showed up at a Texas gas station Saturday to pay tribute to a sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down from behind after filling up his patrol car the night before.

Many who attended the vigil for Harris County sheriff’s deputy Darren H. Goforth said they were there to support the police, and some said they were frustrated with the “black lives matter” movement and what they said was an increased hostility against all police.

Those who knew Goforth said he was “just a really nice guy.”

“It’s not fair,” said Simone Langland, whose family were friends with Goforth’s. “When we were younger and we were home alone, he would always drive by just to make sure we were OK,” she said through tears.

Goforth, 47, a father of two, was ambushed by a gunman who shot him from behind at the gas station at around 8:20 p.m. (9:20 p.m. ET) Friday, police said. The gunman then shot the 10-year veteran again as he was on the ground.

On Saturday, suspect Shannon Miles, 30, was arrested and charged with capital murder. A motive has not been determined. Miles is black. Goforth is white.

As stated above, the killing left the Houston Area, the whole state of Texas and many across the country in complete shock.  No one deserves what happened to officer Goforth, and the killer, now in custody stands to face the full weight of the justice system for what he has (allegedly) done.

At this point, no one really knows why the killer did what he did. Whether this murder was racially-motivated, violence directed at the police, a combination of the two or neither, no one can say.  But no matter the motivation, it was heinous and wrong.  Texas Leftist sends prayers to the officer’s family, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department, and all those affected by this tragedy.  Texas Leftist also continues to support all of our local law enforcement and the great work that they do every day to keep us safe.

Goforth

photo credit:  Tim Wetzel on Twitter

TLCQ 2015: Greg Travis

In the Fourth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Greg Travis, candidate for Houston City Council, District G.

Please note: Responses are directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but may be considered during the endorsement process.

 

TL:  What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

GT:  Greg Travis

 

TL:  Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

 GT:  No.

 

TL:  As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

GT:  Government is important, but only if it addresses the needs of the people and is representative of the people by setting the rules, rights, and responsibilities of all involved, without which we have no society.  Everyone is capable of governing themselves.  Government should be answerable to the people and the more control they have over the government, the more they control their own destiny.

Government should not oppress, but enable, allow the citizens to be free to reach their potential, by providing a basic framework by which and under which we can all operate.  Government’s first duty is to protect the people not run their lives.  Government can provide for basic needs best provided for as a whole, such as defense, security, or water and roads.  However, I feel it is better if it provides for security and opportunity by limiting its reach and allowing the citizens to lead free lives because with freedom there is hope—and there are dreams and from dreams we slip the horizons of our limitations and become more than who we are.

 

TL:  If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.

GT:  Fiscal Discipline—and followed closely by Infrastructure Improvements.  A lone Council member cannot on their own accomplish either without the help and support of the community and other council members.  I intend to educate the public through the media and social media as to the dire situation we find ourselves in and then promote the solutions—which is to curb spending and focus our priorities on infrastructure.  I intend to work with the Mayor and other council members and bring together a coalition who understands the seriousness of our situation.  I am proud that in 24 years, I have never lost a trial.  This shows I can get together with people I just met and within a week or two, convince them of the facts and my desired solution to the situation.  Further, I am a certified mediator and I am trained and practiced in bringing parties together to resolve a situation.  I intend to do the same on council.

 

TL:  After decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, Houston’s infrastructure is in a critical state of disrepair. Ask any driver, cyclist or pedestrian, and they can readily tell you that city streets and sidewalks are crumbling… some to the extent that they pose significant danger to those that would traverse them. The Parker Administration has attempted to address the problem by the voter-approved ReBuild Houstonprogram. Knowing that the next Mayor has no choice but to invest in city infrastructure, do you support the continuation of ReBuild Houston?  If yes, please explain why.  If no, please explain how you would address our copious infrastructure needs differently.  

GT:  While there are aspects of Rebuild Houston I have troubles with, I generally support the concept.  I think the implementation of the program has been troublesome and misguided.  However, the program as conceptualized is good.  We need a dedicated funding source to address the years of neglect.  We have $500M a year in depreciation affecting our roads and infrastructure, with only $100M going towards repairing and replacement and that in and of itself is mainly due to ReBuild Houston.  We have 16,000 lane miles in Houston with 75% in need of repair or replacement.  What other way can we insure this need is addressed?  Bond issuances are problematic as we are near the ceiling on bond debt, and the process will take us too long to address our needs which are immediate.

 

TL:  At present the city of Houston has one of the strongest forms of “strong-Mayor governance” in the state of Texas, to the point that the Mayor alone decides what business comes before City Council. If elected, would you support an amendment to the City Charter that would allow any coalition of 6 Council Members to place items on the Council Agenda without prior approval from the Mayor? Whether yes or no, please explain your answer.

GT:  Yes.  Actually, I would prefer four members of council.  I think if you can get 25% to bring up a matter, it should be worth considering by the entire council.  This issue is one of the issues I bring up when talking to the residents in my district.

 

TL:  If elected, would you support and seek to continue the current administration’s Complete Streets policy, which establishes that any new or significant re-build of city streets will work to prioritize and incorporate safe access for all road users, including pedestrians, persons with disabilities and cyclists?  

GT:  Yes and No.  While I support the concept generally and appreciate the goals, I do not think it is appropriate in Houston for most areas.  We have 16,000 lane miles currently which we can’t even maintain properly today.  To require complete streets could easily effectively increase that number from 20% to 33% depending.  Where would we get the money?  Further, not all streets or areas in Houston are conducive to such a policy or would pass a cost/benefit analysis.  To effectively handle current traffic and other uses would require usage of eminent domain on a scale we have never seen.  However, other areas are perfect for such a concept and there is a need. So, it is not as simple as a yes or no, but rather a case by case, area by area analysis.

 

TL:  What makes you the best candidate for this office?

GT:  I do not have such a high estimation of myself to think I am the best candidate for this office as undoubtedly there are a number of people who could run with better experience than I.  However, I am the best candidate “running” for this office—simply because I care and I can and will solve the problems.  I am not a politician.  I am a businessman and an attorney with empathy for my fellow citizens.  The people in my district and in this city are tired of paying for services and not having them delivered.  They don’t mind paying for what they get but they do want to get what they pay for.   Roads, Drainage, Sewers, Police and Fire.   I get it.

As stated previously, I am both a litigator and a certified mediator.  I have never lost a trial in 24 years of practice.  I know what it takes to reach out and convince others of the actions needed to resolve situations in my clients favor.  I will use my talents to do the same on council for my clients—the citizens of my district.

 

TL:  When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

GT:  I spend time with my dogs (and semi-adopted stray cat).  I also go out on dates with my girlfriend.   I read, listen to classic (1960s and 1970s) music (Mo-Town especially), and continue to search for the perfect ice-cream.  Also, I spend quite a bit of time rescuing animals, whether domestic or wild (sort of a hobby).

 

Thanks to Mr. Travis for the responses.

Greg Travis

Final Ballot Language Approved for Houston Equal Rights Ordinance

After months of uncertainty, the ballot language for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.  In a move ordered by the Texas Supreme Court, Houston City Council retooled the measure by a vote of 17 to 0.

Here’s more from Houston Unites

The ballot language is final: On the November ballot, Houstonians will vote “Yes” on Proposition 1 to uphold Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance. 

It’s hard to believe, but in just 68 days, Houston voters will go to the polls to determine the fate of our city’s equal rights ordinance that ensures no one faces discrimination, regardless of race, religion, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Whether or not we win will come down to how many Houstonians turn out to vote—which is why starting now, we have to send the message far and wide that a “Yes” vote on Proposition 1 is a vote to treat everyone fairly under the law.

As discussed previously, the new language is exactly what HERO opponents wanted.  The coalition has already gotten started spreading hate and lies.  But even despite that fact, Houston Unites and supporters of Equality are ready for the fight.

So remember in November…

Vote YES

 

 

And before then, be sure to check out Houston Chronicle journalist Lisa Falkenberg’s epic take down of the Anti-HERO campaign.

 

 

Jorge Ramos Shines Light on Immigration Issues

But first, two definitions….

Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power.

Civil discourse is engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to enhance understanding.

It’s important to understand these two terms… both the differences and similarities among them.  And the fact that sometimes, an encounter can have elements of both.

Such is the case for recent encounter between veteran bilingual journalist Jorge Ramos and 2016 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump.  Here’s a recap via Fusion TV…

For Mr. Trump and his accompanying echo chambers, Ramos’ actions were “absolutely out of line“.  Which I guess means we’re to assume that Trump’s full-scale Twitter attack against Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly is somehow acceptable and appropriate??

But let’s be clear about what happened.  Whether you consider Ramos’ actions to be more in the civil discourse camp, or the civil disobedience camp, that doesn’t change the fact that the reporter achieved his desired result.  In front of the national news media, he was successfully able to not only press Trump on Immigration, but also put the issue at the forefront of America’s political discussion once again.  He did so in the highest form of civil discourse… journalism.

The confrontation was similar to recent tactics employed by the Black Lives Matter movement and the DREAM Action Coalition. Individuals in these organizations may not be as well known as Ramos, but when given the opportunity, they have successfully brought their issues of concern to light, and in many cases, achieved important progress.

In November 2016 and the whole process leading up to it, Americans are being asked to make one of the most important decisions that we will ever make.  In the course of making that decision, all Americans have the right to question those seeking the office, and engage in civil discourse around issues that concern our lives.  Jorge Ramos was not out of line with Donald Trump… he was doing his job and representing the concerns of millions of Americans who want answers to those very questions.  Just as he has done with President Obama at many points in his Presidency, Speaker of the House John Boehner and even Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Ramos continues to press Federal leaders on why they  have not yet achieved comprehensive Immigration Reform after years of promises to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.

After decades in the supposedly cut-throat world of big business, Mr. Trump sure seems to have difficulty with some of the most basic levels of civil discourse.  Jorge Ramos deserves high commendation for staying committed to the cause, and for being consistent with candidates of various political stripes.  The current Republican front-runner can say all he wants about the “temporary inconvenience” caused to his campaign.

But here’s a newsflash for Donald Trump… the truth ain’t always convenient.

Dos Centavos has more.

 

Jorge Ramos

Photo credit:  CNN Money

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