Category Archives: Houston Politics

Texoblogosphere: Week of April 9th

The Texas Progressive Alliance is neither the subject nor the target of an investigation, but it is bringing you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff noted that Texas lost another federal lawsuit about voting rights.

Socratic Gadfly, seeing the latest anti-Palestinian violence by Israelis, looks at myth vs reality in a major piece of Jewish history.

Stace writes about Tex-Mex music Grammy winners Los Texmaniacs’ new album, Cruzando Borders, which will touch on border and Mexican American themes. It’s quite timely during this era of Trumpismo.

After more than a generation of one-party dominance, it’s tough for any Texas Democrat to predict what a winning statewide campaign would actually look like. But if Texas Leftist had to take guess, it would come pretty close to the Beto O’ Rourke campaign thus far. After a massive fundraising haul, Beto is showing that he means business in this race. And speaking of winning, more great news for Texas’ Classical Music community as the Houston Chamber Choir receives a very prestigious National honor.

Neil at All People Have Value attended, as he does each week, the John Cornyn Houston Office Protest.

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

Stan Spinner, Lindy McGee, and Julie Boom urge Texans to not politicize vaccinations.

Better Texas Blog explains why a property-tax-for-sales-tax swap is a bad idea.

Elise Hu remembers her first mentor and his warning about Sinclair Broadcasting.

Deborah Beck urges elected leaders to have in-person meetings with constituents.

Therese Odell grapples with the politics of Roseanne.

Texoblogosphere: Week of March 26th

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the marchers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff analyzed the Harris County precinct data for the Democratic Senate primary.

SocraticGadfly offers his thoughts on the lawsuit by Seth Rich’s parents.

Stace offers his thoughts on law enforcement and media portrayal of the Austin bomber.

As if last weekend’s March For Our Lives events weren’t epic enough, Texas Leftist was glad to see some Houston Area high school students start yet another impressive movement. By bringing prominent Democratic and Republican leaders together in ways that political forces have fallen short, the Inaugural Day of Unity Texas is off to a great start.

Neil at All People Had Value made the point that we are facing an authoritarian/Constitutional crisis.

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

Stephen Young lists ten Texas celebrities who ought to get into politics, a list that might have been a bit more useful before the primaries.

Space City Weather explains why a hurricane forecast for 2018 will be a challenge.

Jeff Balke puts the blame on negligent drivers for the spate of car crashes with light rail trains in Houston.

Dwight Silverman shows how to manage your Facebook privacy settings.

Mean Green Cougar Red takes a long look at the Uber self-driving car that caused the death of a bicyclist.

March For Our Lives Houston

The sound was at once unforgettable.  So loud, so HIGH!! If you’ve ever heard the sound of a gaggle of young girls shrieking for their favorite boy band, you’ll get pretty close to what was heard. But take those same screams, and add the weight of purpose, the energy of determination and the urgency of concerns.

Crowd size estimates are in the neighborhood of 15,000 for Downtown Houston alone, which didn’t include numbers from marches in the Heights, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, and other areas of Southeast Texas.  But wherever they where, those distinguished sounds were one and the same.  The shrieking sound of a crowd full of teenagers is not something one can easily forget.  And make no mistake about it… the March For  Our Lives in Houston was composed of and led by young people.  In fact, high school students were probably the median age for the crowd, as many younger children were out in full force marching to support their families, elder siblings, and of course, their own rights to go to a safe school.

And if thousands of young people can lead this movement in Houston, Texas, there shouldn’t be any doubt who led these marches across the country.

Sorry NRA TV, but you got this one totally wrong.  If y’all had been there… if you could have heard the yells, the shrieking of that crowd, this wouldn’t even been a question.

In Houston, local politicians like Mayor Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo not only attended the March, but at one point the took the front line to show full solidarity with the movement. Mayor Turner also announced the creation of a new Commission to End Gun Violence, which will focus on local research and solutions. So even in Houston, the March For Our Lives movement has already yielded substantive results.

As for what lies ahead for this new movement?  We’ll know soon enough. But as for March 24th, the history for that day has been made loud, clear, and HIGH.

 

The March For Our Lives rally in Downtown Houston, near the office of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.  The Senator did not attend any March For Our Lives Events.  

Texoblogosphere: Week of March12th

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the winners of last week’s primaries and thanks those who did not win for their dedication as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff gave his post-primary impressions.

Socratic Gadfly has his set of post-primary and pre-runoff thoughts, primarily on the Senate and Governor’s races.

Neil at All People Have Value offered his thoughts on the recent Texas primary with a focus on Harris County.

Stace responds to Dems and media alike regarding Beto’s South Texas performance.

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

G. Elliott Morris looked for predictive data in the early voting numbers.

Grits for Breakfast assessed the criminal justice-related primary races of interest.

Paradise in Hell is glad to see the end of Kathaleen Wall’s campaign.

Juanita finds her next job.

Alex Macon bemoans our state’s bad transportation policy.

TLCQ 2018: James Horwitz

In the Fifteenth installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from James Horwitz, candidate for Harris County Probate Court- Number 4.

Please note: Responses have been received 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 will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

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

JH: James Horwitz

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

JH:  No. I was the Democratic nominee for this Bench in 2014, and ran for the Houston City Council in 2013.

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

 JH:  Beneath the rotunda of City Hall is a seal. Its caption reads “Government Protects the People.” The adage is twice as true for the judiciary. The probate courts, the judgeship for which I am a candidate, doubles as both a court of law and a court of equity. What this means is that adjudication of the black-letter law is only one component of the job. Doing what is right is another.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming judicial term. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

JH:  (1) The most important priority for my Court would be to expand community outreach. It is time for the people to say enough, and demand that the judiciary that works for them actually do so. I would want my Court to be an active member of the community in educating and informing the public about wills, estates, trusts and guardianships, among other functions of the probate courts.

For example, you can handwrite your own will, and in doing so skip most all of the formalities that often cause typewritten wills to be voided in court. Another example is that, if you don’t write a will, the state legislature essentially writes one for you through a process called “intestacy.” The general public basically knows the rudiments of criminal or family law, but often does not for probate law. I want that to end, with my Court being on the vanguard of the change.

(2) I will insist upon more mediations to occur in my Court before trial.

Probate court is often the setting of visceral family disputes, where longstanding feuds rearise. Litigants sometimes lose track of their best interests, and disputes over even modest estates can be tied up for years in court, with the attorneys often taking a sizable chunk of everyone’s inheritances. I want to insist upon more mediations, the way the family courts have operated for years, before trials, so more cases can have happier endings.

(3) I will interpret the law.

This is a phrase that may sound a little trite, and it’s because it is a favorite of Republican judges. I recall being interviewed by the Houston Chronicle editorial board in 2014, and discussing how the law always changes, and a good judge needs the alacrity to respond to changes or developments in the law. In 2014, I discussed how a federal court may one day soon legalize same-sex marriage in Texas. (In fact, the Supreme Court did just that less than a year later.) I discussed the need to react to updates in the law by openly and fairly interpreting it.

I suggested that a good judge would examine the prospect, then, of common-law marriages being found for same-sex couples. Whether the decedent in probate court left a surviving spouse is often a major question. Many Republican judges, the ones who talk about interpreting the law, now make political statements by ending their longstanding occupational commitment to officiating marriages. I don’t see that as following the law. I see my suggestion, reacting to the developments and updates that may arise, as following the law more faithfully.

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

JH:  I have practiced law for more than 40 years. I have also practiced any and every different type of law under the sun, with the regrettable exception of arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court.

I have practiced law longer than my primary opponent has been alive. He solely does probate law, and claims that he has more active cases currently before the probate court.

But as I explained, much of the probate courts is administrative. Probating most wills is very straightforward. I have no doubt that both my opponent and I would be able to capably do such tasks. The probate courts, though, are also courts of equity, or doing the right thing. And in such cases, there simply is no substitute for the experience, wisdom and compassion that accompanies practicing the law for more than 40 years.

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

JH:  I am very lucky to have a remarkable family with whom I can spend as much time as I can. My wife Deborah, sons Geoffrey and Noah, daughter-in-law Adele, nephews Jamie and Daniel, and standard poodles Tilly and Sadie brighten my days.

Thanks to Mr. Horwitz for the responses.

 

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

 

Texoblogosphere: Week of February 12th

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds everyone that early voting for the primaries begins next week as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff emphasizes that the bathroom bill issue isn’t going away any time soon.

Stace provides some insight on the latest voter registration data from Harris County.

Socratic Gadfly notes that various activist groups can’t get on the same endorsements page.

Neil at All People Have Value said it is okay not to give money to the rich. APHV is part of NeilAquino.com.

For all the press and hype which surrounds the leading Democratic candidates for Governor, Texas Leftist continues to wonder when the actual FUNDRAISING will show up. Less than a month from the primary, it’s past time to make some money moves!!

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

G. Elliott Morris interprets the state of the polls.

Durrel Douglas finds lessons from the Astros for Democrats.

Juanita would like to know when Rep. Blake Farenthold is going to pay us taxpayers back for that sexual harassment settlement money.

Paradise in Hell collects a list of things Mike Pence was surprised to learn.

The TSTA Blog casts a wary eye on the latest anti-education campaign from Empower Texans.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!!

TLCQ 2018: Fran Watson

In the Seventh installment of the 2018 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Fran Watson,  candidate for the Texas State Senate, District 17.

Please note: Responses have been received 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 will be considered during the endorsement process.

 

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

FW:  Fran Watson

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

FW:  No.  I am a first-time candidate.

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

FW:  Government is important as it exists to provide protections from injustice and oppression for the community at large.  This is done by implementing laws, policies, and accountability measures for actions or inactions of the residents.

TL:  If elected, name your top 3 priorities you hope to accomplish for the upcoming legislative session. Describe how you plan to accomplish them.

FW:

  1. Access to inclusive healthcare.
  2. Proper funding of public services, (state services, public education)
  3. Economic Empowerment for Disenfranchised Communities. (living wage, non-discrimination laws).

By working in coalition with members of both chambers who are already in Austin that have begun the work and developing a plan even before legislation is drafted.  For instance, to provide access to healthcare, part of the solution already exists- Medicaid expansion.  The more members aligned with ensuring billions of dollars are not left on the table and Texans are continuing to be uninsured, the more likely, Medicaid expansion in Texas can happen.

TL:  In the coming years, the state of Texas is on course to have an unprecedented boom in the state’s population. But with more people and more opportunities comes an ever-increasing strain on Texas roads and infrastructure. Describe your thoughts on what needs to be done to improve Texas infrastructure now so we can plan for a bright future for the state.

FW:  It is a multi-layered approach.  While it is necessary to construct highways to relieve congestion, it is an expensive endeavor.  Focusing on public transportation, including dedicated biking lanes. Additionally, working on a plan for affordable housing, as many people are having to move further out from work, school, and other daily endeavors, which puts a strain on Texas roads.

TL:  Even as impressive growth continues in around the state’s urban centers, rural Texans are faced with a healthcare crisis.  According to Laura Garcia of the Victoria Advocate, rural communities across the state have lost 18 hospitals in less than five years, and this was before any additional challenges worsened by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.  Without hospital services in or near their local communities, the medical and emergency care is at an increasing risk our citizens.  As a legislator, how would you plan to address this issue and help Texas’ vital rural healthcare facilities stay open?  

FW:  Rural areas make of a large part of District 17, and with access to inclusive healthcare and funding being one of my top priorities, having a plan to provide proper funding will be the first step to ensure the facilities not only stay open, but are not always in threat of closing.  I plan to bring in advisers that can come up with innovative ways to provide long-term services to rural residents in addition to ideas such as telemedicine and mobile clinics.

TL:  In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to overturn an Obama-era rule which classifies internet service providers as public utilities, and thereby governed under the 1934 Communications Act.  This decision essentially erases the principle that Internet Service Providers should treat all online content equally without giving preference to particular sources, otherwise known as Net Neutrality.  Please describe your views on this decision, and whether or not you would support legislation at the State or Federal level to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality.

FW:  My entire platform is about access.  The decision to overturn net neutrality has the potential to shut down voices as it gives ISP the authority control content.  As we’ve seen over the last few years, organizers and activists have been able to fight oppression and injustice using Social Media.  Overturning Net Neutrality could once again attempt to mute the voices of the unheard.  Therefore, I would support legislation to uphold Net Neutrality.

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

FW:  I am an attorney, intersectional activist, advocate, and community leader, and my approach to problem solving ensures that when elected I will be looking to hear from all constituents whose voices are missing from the conversation and how disenfranchised communities are impacted by current policies and proposed solutions.

I had an untraditional childhood.  I grew up in poverty with a single mother who passed away early.  When I lost my mother, in many ways, I inherited her role as caretaker.  I was expelled from high school due to missing too many days and it took some time to get back on track to getting my GED and eventually graduating from law school.   My past is a driving force for the work that I do and the communities I serve because I understand what it is like not to have access.  And I use my skills, talent, and experience to work to ensure we all have equal access.

I have leadership experience.  After serving less than a year on the board of a nonprofit that serves homeless youth, I was entrusted to be the president after its founding board member and first president resigned.  I was elected the first black woman president of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus after being a member of the organization within three years. I’ve served in leadership in several organizations in and around Houston.  Through the many and varied experiences, I have been asked to speak on many panels and provide thoughtful leadership on a myriad of topics.

And I show up. I have been involved in various progressive causes.  I lead when I need to lead and support when I need to support.

Finally, representation matters.  The government should reflect the make-up of the people of Texas.

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

FW:  Laughing with friends and family.  Traveling.  Reading.

 

Thanks to Ms. Watson for the responses.

 

Texas Primary Election Day is Tuesday March 6th, and Early Voting begins February 20th.  For the Primary, you must register to vote no later than February 5th (if you’re unsure of your voting status, here’s where you can check your registration).  Early voting procedures can differ depending on your county, but here are helpful links to some: Harris CountyFort Bend CountyBrazoria CountyMontgomery County, and Galveston County

For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)