Texoblogosphere: Week of June 15th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is binged out on the Women’s World Cup as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff tries to predict how County Clerks and AG Ken Paxton will react to a SCOTUS ruling in favor of marriage equality.

Libby Shaw at Texas Kaos and contributing to Daily Kos spanks the Texas Republican Party for its ideological and spiteful decisions that cheat Texas taxpayers, robbing them of paid for services. Wake up voters. TX GOP: Spite Cheats Texas Taxpayers.

A few people predicted Leticia Van de Putte’s close loss in the San Antonio mayor’s race, and PDiddie at Brains and Eggs found them.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme wants you to know a labor bashing provision was in the Latino bashing border security bill. 50 hours a week is the new norm.

Socratic Gadfly thinks we need to drop a bomb on our entire current health care system, going beyond “single payer” to a full-blown British-type National Health System.

Nonsequiteuse is frustrated by journalists who can’t or won’t shut down wingnuts when they go into the Gish Gallop.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson. Good news out of Williamson County regarding renewable energy, Georgetown Will Be Powered 100 Percent By Renewable Energy Within The Next Couple Years.

Neil at All People Have Value took a picture of the mailbox he used to send a $50 donation to the Bernie Sanders campaign. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Texas Leftist wants you to know about the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth, and where you can go across Texas to celebrate.


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

Scott Braddock looks back at how the Senate operated in a non-two-thirds-rule world.

Juanita is keeping an eye on Tom DeLay as the SCOTUS same sex marriage ruling draws near.

Greg Wythe reviews the list of departing (or possibly departing) legislators so far.

Scott Metzger offers his thoughts on a recent kerfuffle between some high-end restaurants and the Silver Eagle beer distributor that has many Texas microbreweries caught in the middle.

Carmen Cruz and Annetta Ramsey argue that marriage equality matters to both gay and straight people.

BEYONDBones celebrates World Ocean Day while spreading the word about the problem of plastic pollution.

The Texas Election Law Blog critiques Rick Hasen’s criticism of the Hillary Clinton campaign’s push for voting rights reform.

Jay Crossley calls for an end to road-only bonds.

galveston trumpet

Today’s feature photo is from the Strand in Galveston, Texas.  Taken by Texas Leftist author L. Wayne Ashley

Ivy Taylor Prevails in Run-off, Elected San Antonio Mayor

Saturday night proved to be quite the interesting contest for the Alamo City, as a veteran Democratic politician was defeated by a relative newcomer.

Ivy Taylor, former City Council member and current interim Mayor of San Antonio won her election against Leticia Van de Putte in a somewhat close race.  But at the end of the night, it wasn’t as close as some predicted.

Here’s more on Taylor’s historic victory from The Rivard Report

Interim Mayor Ivy Taylor was the last candidate to jump into the race, had the least experience in elected office of the four major candidates, and was outspent at least 2-1 by runoff opponent and former state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. None of that was enough to unseat her from the office she has held on an interim basis since last July when Julían Castro stepped down to go to Washington and join the Obama administration.

Taylor’s victory Saturday makes her the first African-American and only the second woman to win election to the mayor’s office in San Antonio, an outcome that will have analysts puzzling for some time in an increasingly majority Hispanic city. Ultimately, what they will conclude is San Antonio is two cities. The general population is minority-majority, largely Hispanic. The city’s voting population, however, is Anglo-dominant, older and more politically conservative than the general population.

With all votes counted, Taylor defeated Van de Putte 50,659-47,328, a 3,331 vote margin and good enough for a 51.70%-48.30% win, a 3.4% difference.

Even with data pointing to a win for Taylor, some long-established voices are still in a bit of shock, as the Texas Tribune goes on to try to read the tea leaves around this (un)expected result, saying that this election should be a “wake-up call” to Democrats across the state.

It’s probably not that severe, as anything can happen in a relatively low-turnout election.  But for the Van de Putte camp, this contest should hopefully provide clues to just why the voter apathy is so prevalent across the state of Texas, and in particular among minority communities.  Studies by Voto Latino have shown that even among other minority groups, Hispanics have historically voted at lower proportions than the African-American community, citing the lack of precedent that exists in a community of more first generation and much younger potential voters.  Given that this run-off was historic for Texas with two female minorities facing off for the first time, it will be very interesting to compare demographic trends among the voters when those results are available.  Again, it’s worth noting that this was a light turnout election, and there were many other motivations to vote for or against a particular candidate besides topical identifiers (race, gender, etc.)

Whatever the case, it is Ivy Taylor who crossed the finish line, and who will preside over San Antonio City Hall.  Congratulations to the new Mayor.

Off the Kuff has more.


Texas Marks Juneteenth 150th Anniversary

It’s a special week for the state of Texas.

This Thursday will be the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Juneteenth— a national celebration that marks the end of slavery in the last of the Confederate states.  The celebration was born on Galveston Island, June 19th 1865, as Texas slaves rejoiced upon hearing the news of their freedom.   Last year, the state of Texas dedicated an historical marker in Galveston to highlight the important history that occurred on the island.



The holiday has important significance across the state of Texas as well.  Former slaves actually pooled money together to purchase land specifically for Juneteenth celebration, including Emancipation Park in Houston’s Third Ward, the former Emancipation Park in Austin and Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia.

While festivities in Galveston having already begun, most areas of the state will be hosting events this coming week.  If you can, look up Juneteenth information for community and be a part of the fun.


The Juneteenth commemorative statue at Ashton Villa– Galveston, Texas.

Here’s information for selected Juneteenth celebrations around Texas…

Austin– Juneteenth Central Texas

Houston Area Juneteenth Celebrations (note some cancelled due to threat of severe weather)

Missouri City Juneteenth Celebration

Dallas Juneteenth Festival

Fort Worth Juneteenth Freedom Fest

Juneteenth San Antonio

El Paso Juneteenth in the Park

Corpus Christi Juneteenth 

Beaumont Juneteenth

Juneteenth Association of Tyler

Lubbock Unified Juneteenth

Galveston Juneteenth Festival



Music Musings: Mariah Carey Celebrates 25 Years In Music

It’s a special league of artists that make a major music industry impact.  The radio may seem flooded with budding young stars, but in reality, those that reach the airwaves represent a precious few among the throngs which would quickly take their place.  In today’s climate, even a single hit record is truly an accomplishment.

To have more than one hit?  That’s an honor reserved for only the most incredibly gifted, dedicated, enduring and (let’s face it) lucky persons in the world.  Music industry stardom really is an anomaly… everything has to fall together at the right place and in the right time.

However in the case of Mariah Carey, the whole world is fortunate that those stars aligned on this date 25 years ago.  June 12th, 1990 was the release date of Carey’s self-titled debut album, and the beginning of one of the greatest careers the pop music industry will ever know.

Here’s more on the milestone from Billboard.com….

Despite a particularly saturated female pop landscape in 1990 — recall, this is the era that saw Whitney, Janet and Madonna at their peaks — Carey carved a place among them at an astonishing rate. After arriving late to the party, Carey would surpass them all by the decade’s end, collecting more No. 1s than any female artist (a record she still holds.)

Yet for all the hits, Mariah Carey does little in the way of introducing the world to the woman behind the seismic scales and piercing high notes. It’s much more focused on the hit-making, but to the album’s credit, it succeeded to a remarkable degree. Despite entering the charts at a modest No. 80, the set eventually spent 11 weeks atop the Billboard 200, launched four (!) No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, and set the singer up to win a best new artist Grammy.

Right from the start, Carey was able to achieve feats nearly unknown to other artists of the time.  But as fans would later learn throughout the 1990s, Mariah Carey was merely the start of the singer’s dominance.

To celebrate this legendary artist, here’s one of her smash hits from that debut album… the dance jam Someday.

After a huge start with the self-titled debut, Carey went on to sell an astonishing 200 million records worldwide.  And she’s not done yet, with the recent release of her latest effort #1 To Infinity and a sold out residency in Las Vegas, the mega-music mogul is still going strong.  But on this day, it’s important to take a look back at how one of music’s greatest artists started down that path.  Congratulations to Mariah Carey on an unparalleled 25 years leading in the music industry.

Marriage Equality Will Face Hurdles in Harris County

In recent years, the month of June has often meant big news out of the Supreme Court, and June 2015 is likely to be no exception.  Any day now, it is quite possible that the issue of Marriage Equality could be settled once and for all by the Federal Government.

But just because an historic ruling could be handed down in Washington doesn’t mean that the dust will settle in states or counties any time soon.  As Dianna Wray of the Houston Press reports, Texas’ largest county is still far from making same-sex marriages a reality, even if they suddenly become the law of the land…

The U.S. Supreme Court is due to hand down its decision on same-sex marriage this month. Depending on how the court rules, county clerks across the country could see countless gay couples lining up to apply for their marriage certificates. However, if same-sex couples show up to the offices of Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, it looks like they might have some trouble submitting their applications via the current state-issued application forms.


…should the Supremes rule in favor of gay marriage this month – and the fact that Justice Anthony Kennedy, the resident swing vote on the court, has written virtually every opinion the court has issued on gay rights in the past decade, and has voted in favor of gay rights consistently, implies that the court will find in favor of same-sex marriage – couples who wish to apply in Harris County will still have the flimsy but challenging conundrum of a paperwork problem standing between them and that marriage license.


While the county clerks in Travis and Bexar have publicly stated that they’ll deal with the marriage application form problem by simply rewriting the form so that it won’t be limited to a male and female couple, Stanart has no intentions of changing the form or doing anything to rush in and start letting gay couples get hitched as soon as the probably-favorable SCOTUS ruling is issued. It seems that even altering a couple of lines on the application form is way too close to supporting gay marriage. “Right now we’re following the current law and we’ll see what happens [with the U.S. Supreme Court], and then we’ll see what guidance the state attorney general gives us, which direction he wants to go,” Stanart says.

Having already issued the state’s first same-sex marriage license earlier this year, Travis County seems a sure bet for Texas couples seeking to wed if the state ban is struck down, with Bexar County not far behind.

While it is true that Harris County is far from alone in this “wait and see” approach, it’s also true that the state’s most populous county will face more pressure to evolve than some of its peers.  The LGBT community in Houston, with its strong political ties and rich history of activism, is not likely to accept a “de facto stay” of the ruling from the County Clerk’s office.

In any event, this is one issue that is definitely worth watching.

Off the Kuff has more.

Harris County LGBT

UPDATE:  While Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart has not changed his position on marriage equality (cough FAIL cough) , Dallas County Clerk John Warren wants his offices to be ready for the expected SCOTUS decision.  Here’s more from John Wright of the Texas Observer

The Dallas County clerk now says he’ll issue licenses to gay and lesbian couples if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of same-sex marriage later this month.

Previously, Democratic Clerk John Warren told the Observer he was concerned about modifying marriage license application forms, which are generated by the state and say “male” and “female.” Warren wrote in an email Wednesday that he contacted the Texas Department of State Health Services about the forms last week, but had not heard back, so he came up with an alternative strategy in consultation with the Dallas County DA’s office.

“When the Supreme Court issues its opinion, I will immediately meet with counsel to make sure we understand the opinion,” Warren said. “Since I feel that it will [be] in the positive, I will be ready to issue license[s]. I’ve already sent a briefing over to our commissioner’s court regarding overtime pay for my staff as well as addressed the need to have security not lock the building at its normal 5:00/5:30 scheduled time.”

Warren, who came out in support of same-sex marriage in 2013, added that he’s asked a manager to survey staff on their ability to work extended hours.

This is great news indeed.  So while Houston same-sex couples may still face discrimination in their home County, at least they know they can add Dallas to the list of places with open minds and open doors on marriage equality.

Enjoy all of those extra tourism and wedding dollars headed your way!!

Oh yes… time to update the map

Texas Counties Marriage Equality2


Texoblogosphere: Week of June 8th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is happy there’s no hint of any special sessions to come as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff notes that while Travis County is ready for the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage, there’s likely to be no small amount of chaos in the state once they do.

Letters from Texas explains how a recent ruling in a North Carolina redistricting case may bode well for Texas’ plaintiffs.

LightSeeker at Texas Kaos calls “ethics reform” in Texas for what it is. Government is for, by and of the highest bidder. Texas leads the pack. Texas Ethical Reform – DOA.

SocraticGadfly, reading about a new study that claims classical psychological conditioning during sleep can reduce racist tendencies, has two thoughts: it’s either too good to be true, or, if it has real and lasting change, it’s probably got an element of Clockwork Orange.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme is glad McAllen ISD and others are taking care to feed children during the summer.

Do you think Greg Abbott’s first legislative session as governor was a success or a failure? PDiddie at Brains and Eggs wants to know.

From WCNews at Eye on Williamson, the threat was enough for the clandestine video scheme that may have changed the game on the budget and taxes in 84th Texas Legislature, Timing Is Everything.

Neil at All People Have Value offered a framework about how to live our lives. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

Nonsequiteuse missed the Houston Mayoral Candidates Arts and Culture Forum, but it got her thinking about getting arts organizations out of their silos and engaged as advocates for progressive change.

On her long road seeking the Presidency, one of Hillary Clinton’s greatest challenges will be to re-create the infamous Coalition of 2008. This week at Houston’s Texas Southern University, she worked hard to mend some fences, and shared some important views on Voting Rights.


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

Texas Watch celebrated its victories from the legislative session.

Grits can’t wait to see if the state’s new junk science writ will be interpreted broadly or not.

The Texas Election Law Blog asks if our government is supposed to represent everyone, or just everyone who is allowed to vote.

The Texas Living Waters Project warns of a new environmental danger to the Brazos River.

Molly Cox bemoans low voter turnout in San Antonio.

Keep Austin Wonky explains how percentage-based homestead exemptions help fuel inequality.

Paradise in Hell is not impressed by Rick Perry 2016.

Texans for Public Justice and Public Citizen call Greg Abbott “just plain wrong” on the matter of dark money and disclosure.

Texas Vox managed to find a few small rays of hope from the legislative session.

Equality Texas produced its report card for the 84th Legislature.

Gov. Abbott Rules Out Special Session Over Marriage Equality Fallout

As Americans wait for the Supreme Court’s ultimate ruling on Marriage Equality, there’s been one question looming in the distance… how will we handle states fallout?

For Texas especially, this question has been quite unclear.  With a new Governor and much legislative turnover, some have wondered if a ruling in favor of Marriage Equality would cause the Governor Abbott to call a Special Session to rebuke the nation’s highest legal authority.

But today in a radio interview with WOAI San Antonio, the Governor essentially put those questions to rest…

The Texas Legislative Session is over, but several social conservative groups are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session for lawmakers to consider exceptions to same sex marriage, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this month that Texas must either allow same sex marriages to be performed, or to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states as valid, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.


The social conservative groups, including the Texas Eagle Forum, Texas Values, and a group called Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, specifically want Abbott to recall lawmakers to consider a bill that would prohibit county clerks from issuing same sex marriage licenses.


But Abbott says it won’t happen.

“I do not anticipate any special session,” he told News Radio 1200 WOAI.  “They got their job done on time, and don’t require any overtime.”

Governor Abbott’s statement may cause fury among some fringe Right groups, but for the majority of Texans, right and left, this is the correct stance to take.  If the state ban is struck down and no Special Session is called, legal marriage would be able to take place for nearly 2 years before the legislature could reconvene.  That’s 2 years of marriage equality taking place across the state, and 2 years of Texans getting used to it.

Of course even in today’s climate, many GOP activists have moved past this issue.

Houston area Representative Sarah Davis (HD 134) recently became Texas’ first Republican state-level office holder to publicly support marriage equality.  She also earned the endorsement of Equality Texas back in 2014.

Christopher Busby, chair of Harris County Republican Party Precinct 34, had this to say…

I’m glad that Governor Abbott decided to forgo wasting taxpayer money on a special session on a law that would have very likely been ruled unconstitutional at the end of the month. I look forward to the day when Republicans across the state are not only making sound judgment, but championing legal equality for lgbt citizens.

Try as they may, a few loud-mouthed, anti-equality fringe groups cannot stop the evolution of the Texas GOP.  We’ll wait to see if the Governor remains true to his word.