Latinos For Texas Blog


Bill to combat non-existent Voter ID fraud appears to be dead in the Tx Senate

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A report over at BOR links to an Austin-American Statesman article proclaiming Dewhurst has pronounced the Senates version of HB218 ‘all but dead.’

There is some great discussion in that thread about how this voter id bill really is NOT about ‘non-dilution of American’s votes, and keeping the vote safe’ and the like, but about a clever way to reduce Dem vote by about 3%, according to even staunch Republican Royal Masset in this comment, and elsewhere.

If the Lege wants to increase the vote, enact same-day registration, and county-wide polling places efforts (replacing my-precinct-only polling place). If the State’s technology is good enough to arrest someone in Amarillo for a warrant in Brownsville, if should be good enough to span a county on election day.

There is no voter ID fraud problem. Even according to Dewhurst, if you believe him, almost a few hundred non-citizens have voted in the last, according to him, 14 years! maybe as many as, in his words, 41 voted in two years in all of Bexar county. does he know how to do math, do ratios mean anything!! talk about a speck of a speck.
he then takes that and says ‘what about the ones we dont know about, what if it is “twenty-five thousand?”‘ WOW! what if its 25 ka-billion!?! What if EVERYONE stole EVERYTHING from HEB. We better enact a law to treat ALL shoppers as shoplifters, or at least the old, young, frequent movers, and poor ones.
how about focusing on problems we know exist — like education, healthcare, and infrastructure — and when thats all solved, you can take some time to work up a exciting David Blaine-style conjuring routine .


UPDATE: HB 626 passes

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Despite wide-spread opposition, and a truly remarkable, even stunning, lack of evidence pointing to a need for its existence, HB 626 passed out of the house.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) released a statement which sums it up nicely

“Let’s be clear about this: there is no voter impersonation problem or voter fraud epidemic in this state,” said Rep. Rodriguez. “This is part of a partisan disenfranchisement effort to keep seniors, minorities, and the poor from voting.  I voted against House Bill 626 to protect the voting rights of every Texan.”

From the federal level on down, there really is a systematic effort by Republicans to win elections by manipulating the process, since they cannot compete on the merits. And, it doesn’t hurt that they find it morally easy to scapegoat the already tenuously involved, and their low-information, lousy-moral-compassed minions just plod along according to their marching orders.

is it too cliche to remind people of the banality of evil?


UPDATE: HB218 passes out of the House, HB 626 postponed

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from BOR:

“House Bill 218, the voter ID bill, has passed the House 76 - 68. Luckily House Bill 626, requiring proof of citizenship, has been postponed until next Monday.”

derrrghhhh… Altho, as i understand it, there is no true Senate companion bill, and Senator Ellis has proclaimed he has the support needed to stop one in his side of the dome. Lets make sure no Dems get peeled away — and make sure your electeds know you are watching and remembering.

URGENT: Call today to stop the Voter Roadblock bills (HB 218 and Hb 626)

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Call your State Rep. and tell them to vote NO on HB218 and HB 626.

I am sure you read loads of alarmist-sounding posts, but please pay attention and act today because there really is a coordinated Voter Suppression effort rolling through the Lege right now, this morning.

There are two bills in the Texas House (HB 218 and HB 626) which pretend to fight Voter ID fraud although it has been proven to NOT exist. The real plan of these bills is to reduce voting participation by throwing up roadblocks to Voter Registration and Voter Registration Drives, and essentially kick just about anyone who moves frequently (read: disproportionately poor, minority, seniors, and youth voters, base-hopping soldiers’ families), or who doesn’t remember to send away for a ‘certified’ copy of their birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers weeks ahead of the 30-days-before-an-election voter registration deadline.

On a recent conference call hosted by True Courage Action Network, a non-partisan non-profit, it was revealed that the minimum cost, even for voters who have been voting for 20 years but maybe move, or get married and change names, will be roughly $20 for the certified copy of a birth certificate. And, possibly as much as $90 if you are a naturalized citizen.

Call your State Rep. and tell them to vote NO on HB218 and HB 626.

HB 626 requires proof of citizenship at the time of registration, in the form of certified copy of either your birth certificate, passport or naturalization papers, and because no one carries these around, and if they did no one in their right mind will hand a copy of these documents to a stranger to register to vote, effectively killing voter registration drives. HB 218 requires multiple forms of identification at the poll.

Learn More:


Republicans Raising Gas taxes

Filed under: — site admin @ 1:20 pm

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A helpful Texan writes in to make sure we all know who really is fiscally responsible and who just claims to be.

SB 165 (Carona) adjusts October 1 annually the state motor fuels tax rate by a multiple of (a) the change in the HCI (highway cost index) during the preceding fiscal year and (b) the combined state and federal tax rate on gasoline and diesel fuel. HB 962 (Krusee) adjusts the state tax on motor fuels (gasoline and diesel) annually in accordance with the change in the consumer price index (CPI). Either bill helps transportation but SB 165 is far more beneficial.
The REPUBLICAN members of the Dallas (North Texas Delegation) are leading the charge on this bill to PERMANENTLY install an statewide annual gas tax increase. How times have changed in this red state.

So, i wonder, is there a comprehensive list of the subtle, semi-secret tax hikes in this year’s Lege offerings? Anyone know a source?


Act Today to Save Voter Registration!

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Quick, do you have your proof of citizenship on you? Do you even know what counts as proof? Would you be carrying it on you when you head to a music festival, a parade, or immunization day?

Well, certain House Republicans know this, and in an effort to combat unsubstantiated and fabricated ‘voter ID fraud,’ the House Committee on Elections is moving on Wednesday to approve a bill which make it harder for people to become involved, or stay involved. These bills will do three things

  • Require proof of citizenship PLUS an additional ID just to register, at the time of registration.
  • Require even long-term voters to re-register after moving, WITH proof of citizenship — even if they have been dutiful voters for years and years.
  • Require two forms of ID at the poll.




Rafael Anchía
Capitol: (512) 463-0746
District: (214) 943-6081

Lon Burnam
Capitol: (512) 463-0740
District: (817) 924-1997

Joe Farías
Capitol: (512) 463-0714

Leo Berman (Chair)
Capitol: (512) 463-0584
District: (903) 939-2400

Dwayne Bohac (Vice-Chair)
Capitol: (512) 463-0727
District: (713) 460-2800

Charlie Howard
Capitol: (512) 463-0710
District: (281) 565-9500

Kirk England
Capitol: (512) 463-0694
District: (972) 264-4231


Rafael Anchía
Capitol Fax: (512) 463-0738
District Fax (214) 920-9996

Lon Burnam
Capitol Fax: (512) 463-1075
District Fax (817) 924-6788

Leo Berman (Chair)
Capitol Fax: (512) 463-3217
District Fax (903) 939-2402

Dwayne Bohac (Vice-Chair)
Capitol Fax: (512) 463-0681
District Fax (713) 460-2822

Charlie Howard
Capitol Fax: (512) 463-0711
District Fax (281) 565-1579

Kirk England
Capitol Fax: (512) 463-1130
District Fax (972) 522-5918






Alberto Gonzales is not the victim

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Shame on Mr. Navarette, for defending Alberto Gonzales and assuring us he is not a liar after 3 interviews (see ). He should have done his homework. Mr. Navarette has stated that Gonzales assured him that the firings were related to performance. If that is true then why was David Iglesias, US attorney from New Mexico, ranked the # 4 best US attorney in the nation fired? It seems that Mr. Navarette doesn’t mind continuing to victimize another Hispanic’s reputations in defense of someone who dishonored himself, his country & Hispanics when he chose to carry the water for this less than stellar administration.

I am Hispanic, I am from Texas and I am aware of the long history Mr. Gonzales has at failing to do what is honorable & what is good. In Texas he looked the other way rather than intervene in the execution of a retarded man under then Governor Bush. After that came condoning & encouraging torture, his faults are endless. He is an embarrassment to Hispanics. He embodies the saying, “Por eso no sube la raza [that is why the raza (Hispanics) never progress]. It is not just white Liberals who want him gone. Fuera, Sr. Gonzalez.
Margie Medrano

in response to


Representative Richard Raymond’s blog

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 4:18 pm

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Richard Raymond’s 2007 Capitol Report VLOG (video blog)

Today I cosponsored a bill to move the 2008 Texas Primaries to February.

Today I cosponsored a bill, House Bill 993, by Rep. Alonzo of Dallas. This bill would move the Democratic and Republican primaries in 2008 to the first Tuesday in February.

We’re going to have a new President elected next year. And the Texas primary right now is too late in the process for Texas to have any meaningful impact on who the nominees are — both Democrat and Republican. I’ve talked with a lot of Democrats and Republicans and we’re all in agreement that it would be a good idea to move the primary to the first Tuesday in February. It’s after New Hampshire but it’s still early enough in the process that we’ll actually have a real impact.


I am so impressed with our Representatives using multi-media tools and the Internet to get their message out. Congratulations to Representative Raymond on his video blog! And he’s got the post and video in both English and Spanish too.

Oh and kudos on the bill too which I support whole heartedly. HB 993 We need to make sure Texas counts.


Rep. Eddie Rodriguez showing love for citizens, even the blogging sort

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An excellent start to the Lege, from LFT-endorsed State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), which not only allows, but, can it be true, actually encourages people to be more involved in politics, and the process.

Representative Eddie Rodriguez to propose amendment to support Bloggers

AUSTIN– Representative Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) will propose an amendment to the house rules today that will give established Bloggers access to the House floor.

“With the rise of citizen journalism, it no longer makes sense to limit access to House business solely to the traditional press outlets,” said Representative Rodriguez.

Political blogs are some of the limited media that focus solely on reporting the happenings at the Capital and many of these Bloggers regularly break stories that show up in the traditional media.

Bloggers, as defined by this revised rule, produce original reporting and informed comment worthy of credentials. This amendment will allow increasingly popular non-traditional media, the privileges necessary to more effectively inform citizens on governmental issues.

“This kind of measure would encourage citizen participation in government and help demystify the system for the general public,” said Rodriguez.



Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/tspdream/ on line 83 announces is up and running!

OnlinePhoneBanking the most efficient and effective way for folks anywhere in the state (or country) to help Democrat Ciro Rodriguez defeat Republican Henry Bonilla. The netroots worked hard for Ciro last time, and with this new tool, we can turn netroots passion into grassroots action!

Learn more about TX-23: Democrat Ciro Rodriguez v Republican Henry Bonilla

Make simple calls to voters in any precinct in TX-23 to identify Democrats for GOTV, from the comfort of your home, right now, using OnlinePhoneBanking’s tools. Choose any precinct, and if you want, choose any demographic in that precinct - women, men, seniors, youth, anyone, and more. TrueBlueAction provides tools, scripts and data, you provide the volunteer effort and the data that helps Democrats!

Click here to make calls at

2006-Aug-24 and

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As a bit toward explaining the recent slowdown in LFT blog posts, let me offer two clues: and which yours truly has been working many long hours developing, designing, programming along with the inimitable Glen Maxey and Hunter Ellinger.

With these tools, ‘every volunteer can phone, walk, register or GOTV their friends and neighbors in their precinct, local area or across the state’ and in just the last two weeks of soft-launch testing, hundreds of people from all over the state have contacted thousands of voters. We can ramp that up and contact 10, 25, 100,000 voters before election time?

so spread the word and thanks for helping!

For those that didnt get or didnt read a recent Maxey blast:

I want to introduce you to a dynamic new online set of tools at

It is my hope that you’ll make use of the many tools you find at this innovative new site.

It has been created by a new political action committee, True Blue Action PAC, whose sole reason to exist is to make tools available to identify and turn out Democratic voters for candidates at all levels.

Chris Bell, Democratic nominee for Governor, has been instrumental in helping us get off the ground. His campaign understands the need for ALL Democrats running at all levels to assist in turning out voters for each other.

There is NO COST to use these tools. They are open, accessible and free. TrueBlueAction simply asks that you use them to work for Democratic issues and candidates.

Ever want a walk list, phone list, or other data for your street, precinct or area? Here it is!

On this site, you’ll find some easy to use tools. Among them are:

a) Build a walk list to canvass your street or are

b) Print out pre-filled accurate Mail Ballot Applications for seniors, disabled, or those who’ll be out of town

c) Use the Online Phone Bank to call to ID voters, and GOTV during early voting and on election day to turn out the vote in your precinct or anywhere in Texas!

d) Email your friends across Texas voting reminders with their early voting locations

e) Build a list of voters you know (friends, co-workers, etc.) to “turn out to vote”. Get daily reminders whether they’ve voted early if you’re in a county that has electronic access to early voters.

f) Register new voters and make a retrievable list by entering them in this system so that they’ll get voting reminders.

g) And much, much more as we proceed and great volunteers add tools!

As we improve this site, we’ll send you updates of new tools that have been added. Thanks to the creative energy of lots of volunteers, we’re literally changing the way grassroots politics happens across Texas.

Give as feed back at

There is now no excuse for someone not being able to help our Democratic candidates.

Every volunteer can phone, walk, register or GOTV their friends and neighbors in their local area or even across the state!


LAST DAY to Vote for John Courage to help ALL Texas Democrats

Filed under: — site admin @ 6:50 am

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TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE for John Courage for Mark Warner’s Mapchanger Fundraiser, in which John Courage has been holding a slim lead.

The Chris Bell and John Courage teams got together and decided that if we can bring this money to Texas, they will use a portion to build online tools for all candidates and activists. Seriously, in 30 seconds or so, you can really make a difference! Why not vote right now at

Glen Maxey, former State Rep and newly minted Chris Bell Field Director writes in to say:

OK, guys. I want to put up these online tools for everyone in Texas to use….candidates, activists, campaigns.

We MUST win this contest to get Mark Warner to Texas to have a fundraiser for John Courage, candidate for CD 21. If John has the fundraiser, he will pay the first $15,000 raised to cover online tool development costs.

Chris Bell is asking everyone to vote for Courage, so Texans don’t split their votes.

Vote at:

Here’s examples of what is in development:

We’re working on a open access website for candidates, activists, and campaigns across Texas to use to organize their efforts.

Look for these kinds of tools coming soon:

Voter registration: Info in one place about how to do it and all the stuff you have to know… but then the things to make you able to do it effectively, such as…

Tool #1:

A tool to call up your block, street, precinct or more with the names and addresses of registered voters… and the missing addresses where no one lives. An easy way to find which doors to knock on to register voters. And we’re going to ask you to help us create a permanent address file so we can do this every election cycle. Is that old house at 1504 Park Ave, really just a shed? Did you register someone to vote at a new address?

Tool #2:

Did you meet a disabled or senior citizen who’ll need an mail ballot? You’ll be able to make that notation and then the system will send you a list of everyone you’ve got on your list on September 7th when applications can be accepted by the clerk. You’ll have your list ready to go get applications signed… but where are you going to get the applications???

Tool #3:

Mail ballot applications online! If a voter needs an application to vote by mail, they can simply call up their name in the online file, mark the reason, and print out an automatically populated request form ready for a signature and a stamp. And more importantly, it tells you exactly where to mail it in your county.
Better yet… this tool will have a file near it where you can print out a list of everyone over age 65 in your block, your street, your precinct so you have a road map to drop by and ask your neighbors if they need you to print out an application for them to vote by mail.
Ahhh… but what about all the nursing home staff and social workers who’ve struggled to get mail ballot applications for those they care for? It’s now going to be as simple as entering their names, printing the form, obtaining a signature, and mailing the application.
Or maybe you’re better suited to take your laptop and a printer to a senior center and printing out applications for anyone who needs one… or going to your neighborhood nursing home, or to a hospital, or maybe even a bingo parlor.
How about using Face Book (an online networking site for high school and college studnets) and looking up every university student from your high school who is attending college outside your county and sending them a link to print out an application for a mail ballot?
How about that friend living in Europe or that soldier in Iraq? They can now print out the form and fax it in… the correct fax number is on the form!

Tool #4: Friends Vote
This tool allows you to call up the names of your friends or family, enter their email, and send them a list of all the early voting locations in their county and their election day polling location.

There are a bunch more in development, but the sky’s the limit.

And it’s all going to be “free”. No access fee, no secret pass codes, just action items to get folks registered and to a polling place.

Help John Courage win this contest, so we’ll have the money for a bunch of other cool, new tools.

Statewide, all candidates, all activists, all the time.

Everyone can organize their world. One voter at a time.

Have ideas of things that could help you organize? Email me at


Kinky and Grandma Make Ballot

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 2:36 pm

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Check it out at


A TDP Convention wrap-up (mostly links)

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:46 am

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Well that was a heck of a 36 hours.

As i am sure you know by now, Boyd Richie was elected in a run-off nail-biter 52%-48%. He won the election, and so he should have all our support.

Glen gave a hell of a candidate’s speech, and a top-tier concession speech, and BOR post.

Of course its tempting to let things just coast along while we Maxey supporters ponder how we got so close, yet didnt cross the line, but we gotta pull like our candidate won. We grassroots and active folks (and the new blood on the SDEC) gotta hold the new chairman’s feet to the fire to do all the things he talked about, AND we have to hold our own feet to the fire and do what we said we would do. Uniendo Comunidades, as we like to say.

This was my first state convention, i got elected to nominations committee (thanks SD14!) and generally got an intriguing education. I was honored to give the official motion to recommend “all” candidates for State Chair, rather then a “no recommendation,” even after some moves by Richie’s camp to kick Maxey supporter Rich Bailey off the nominations committee.

With Glen’s loss, I was disheartened for a while, but when i look around at all that we and our allies have done in a state this big this red this diverse, i still get excited.

how was your experience? what did you learn, see, experience?

onward, forward,


Texas Dem Party State Chair and the Executive Director should be a strong team

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ok, i like you Alfred Stanley, so dont take this personal. BUT i have some disagreements with how your email to TDP Convention Delegates is presenting information, some of it small, but still telling, some of it larger, and questionable.

perhaps its just a misunderstanding, in which case, someone, Alfred or Boyd or Ruben if you are reading, please fill me in.

In an email the TDP delegates just received, Alfred calls Boyd, ‘our current chair’ but really, by law and more importantly by concept, he is the ‘interim chair’ and BECAUSE its already been debated, and i would be surprised if Alfred didnt see this debate on BOR, to keep calling him just Chair hardly seems a meaningless slip. I think someone wants folks to think Boyd, a good and hard-working fellow and all, IS the Chair, and that in just a few weeks he can properly claim credit to things outside his control, and that support for any other candidate is preventing Dem unity or is time-wasting or rock-the-boat-for-rocking’s sake — and its exactly that sort of game-playing with the rules that make people think Boyd is the establishment-machine back-room deal-making being foisted upon the Party.

Whomever wins Saturday’s vote will be Chair, and have the full support of folks like me and other delegates i am sure, but until then, its frankly a disservice to use that title now.

Also, Alfred’s email claims that we dont need Glen to be TDP chair because we have Ruben Hernandez as Executive Director. I have met Ruben, and i like him and am impressed and i hope he stays on as ED, but thats a red herring as to whether Glen or Boyd are better for the role of TDP Chair.

On to the specifics of why Ruben negates a need for Glen and how the ED prescribes a CHAIR role better suited to Boyd, Alfred writes “Ruben has hired the most diverse staff the Texas Democratic Party has ever had including two Hispanic field organizers, an African-American field organizer and an experienced, bilingual Deputy Communications Director whose top priority is Hispanic media and outreach. ”

Meanwhile Boyd has been claiming credit for these decision/actions both in person at the LFT meetup, and in his emails and direct-mail.

“As TDP Chair, I’ve already hired staff to concentrate on Hispanic media and grassroots outreach and have also initiated meetings with activists to begin our campaign efforts for the November election.” - June 03 email from Boyd Richie

You cant have it both ways. If Ruben alone made those decisions, why is Boyd claiming credit and merit for them, and if it is in fact a joint decision, then of course it matters who makes up the team that leads to those decisions. If its a joint decision, or perhaps one that came from the Chair, the assertion that Ruben negates a need for a personality like Glen is spurious, and non-causal.

BUT more importantly, let me remind folks who forgot, or perhaps never knew, that the bilingual, hispanic, black, and anglo field staff are ordered, and paid for by Dean’s DNC. And those of us who went to the DNC Hispanic Summit in San Antonio last year will recall Dean’s direct statement that money will not come into to Texas until TDP staff reflects Texas, and that specifically until TDP hired some black and hispanic field staff.

It is a good decision, but it wasnt really Ruben’s, or Soechting, or Boyd, or Glen or me or you. I think probably Ruben would have made a similar decision because it is a good decision, as building the strongest team is the goal so that the strong decisions become the ordinary fare of the day.

So speaking of a team and each member’s role, the explicit conclusion of Alfred’s email that the presence of Ruben as ED means that the TDP Chair exists solely for “fund-raising and financial ability, communications and coalition-building skills, knowledge of the entire state and the administrative skills to support the fine work our new executive director is doing” is, to me and i think people like me, a partial picture, and a little bit of exactly what people say when they say “establishment.” Its more of the same, tweaked up and all, but its not likely to be enough, in my humble opinion. I mean, if it were, whats been going on the last dozen years? Does anyone claim the previous Chairs and staff were so out of touch that they couldnt see they just needed some tweaks. Of course they werent. They were and are hardworking and committed and caring, but (enjoy this metaphor) they seem to be deciding among the best driving routes from here to there — as there are many many routes in this big State– and in the meantime have forgotten you can also get there both by flying, and telephone.

i think reasonable people can disagree, but it certainly doesnt seem like a tweak is gonna break us through to the winning side. Glen’s responses that i have seen and read easily sail past Boyd’s toward my desire for big structural fundamental RE-definition of TDP Chair’s roles.

Having a politician/political consultant who has won CONTESTED races for himself and others, as the head of a political party is a really obvious (and sensible) decision! Choosing an atty who theoretically can tap other attys for funds is a short-sighted decision, in my estimation — especially now that ‘tort reform’ laws have dried up much of the trial lawyer’s long-vaunted funding.

comments, ideas??


TAKS, Chris Bell, GOP, Immigration, Winning and Losing

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 2:44 pm

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Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell is campaigning against high-stakes testing and believes the $360 million spent on selected teacher bonuses should have been used for a larger, overall pay raise.

He is correct. Even with the additional $2,000, average teacher pay in Texas will continue to lag several thousand dollars behind the national average. Most Texas teachers are being “squeezed.”

Clay Robison chief of the Houston Chronicle’s Austin Bureau.

“Those folks running schools from Austin think they can use tests to make our kids smarter,” he rails before chuckling: “But a test won’t make you any smarter than a ruler will make you taller.”

Chris Bell on the TAKS test in a column by Carlos Guerra.

“For them to adopt such an egregious proposal makes their platform look more like a hate crime than a policy position.”

Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer (D-San Antonio) in a press conference on the Texas GOP’s divisive immigration stance.

“It’s not very often that you have a Democrat candidate for governor trying to come in third. You have to relish that.”

Rep. Lamar Smith to the GOP executive committee. Smith is facing John Courage in November.

She also warned the party faithful that President Bush’s sagging poll numbers and general unease across a spectrum of issues could jeopardize the Republican majorities in Congress.

“We have never had so much to lose, and we’ve never had so far to fall,” said Hutchison, whose re-election is being challenged by Democrat Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer.

John Moritz - Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


TSEU, Carole Keeton Strayhorn - The Past and Future

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 6:56 pm

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This is old news, but I am just getting around to it…

On April 24, 2006, the Texas State Employees Union Executive Committee endorsed Carole Keeton Strayhorn for Governor. As many people know the endorsement did not sit well with many members, and had little effect on the AFL-CIO who endorsed Democrat Chris Bell.

The TSEU Executive Committee cited three reasons to favor Strayhorn.

1. Carole Keeton Strayhorn has made commitments on key TSEU issues. Among them: she has opposed the Convergys/AccessHR contract and the Accenture/IEE contract, and will work with us to defeat them, and she will oppose the privatization of state services. She also has committed to work to include university employees in any statewide pay raise while she is governor.

2. As Comptroller she has already shown her willingness to stand up for state employees by forcing HHSC and its contracted HR system to honor the procedures established in state law for state employee organization membership. AccessHR had stopped accepting TSEU membership forms until Comptroller Strayhorn got involved.

3. WE NEED A NEW GOVERNOR! Carole Keeton Strayhorn is our best chance to move Rick Perry out of the Governor’s Mansion. She is the only challenger who has a real statewide campaign and a campaign fund that will allow her to take on the Perry machine.

Strayhorn has stood up for state employees, but so far she has not been successful. AG Abbott disagreed when she sought to restrict the release of personal and identifying information after the DMN filed a request for the names, birth dates, and salaries of the state’s employees.

In response to TSEU’s endorsement Strayhorn said in a press release, “State employees are the unsung heros of the state. They stay on the job year after year with their pay stagnant, with cuts in their health and retirement plans, with skyrocketing workloads as their agencies are downsized and their assignments are upsized.”

However, her previous actions show that she’s pro-privatization the Grandma of privitization and has stepped on some state employees a time or two. She seems to have been most brazen during her run for and freshman year as Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander.

In September of 1998, the SAEN reported:

Rylander said she would target the comptroller’s audits to districts that need the most help, such as those that are low-performing academically and financially.

She said these audits should be a catalyst for school districts to provide its taxpayers the best cost savings.

To achieve cost-effectiveness and quality, she suggests districts use the “yellow pages test” for private services to save taxpayer dollars.

“Government should do no job if there is a business in the yellow pages that can do that job better and at a lower cost,” Rylander said.

And in October of the same year, the AP ran a story by Renae Merel:

Ms. Rylander wants to apply the “yellow-pages test” to every state function. “If you can look in the yellow pages and find someone to do it better for cheaper, then that’s the way you should go,” she said.

[Opponent Paul] Hobby says privatization can sometimes be misguided. “What she says is the politically easy answer. Privatization is an intelligent decision in some circumstances, but it’s not a default buzzword,” he said.

In January of 1999, Rylander laid of 60 people with the intention of making her office more efficient and Democrat-free (she denied that part). The Statesman reported:

Boone Taylor, an organizer for the Texas State Employees Union, said the union isn’t surprised by the additional cuts. He added, though, that people who have done a good job in the past should be allowed to stay if they want.

“Unfortunately, TSEU expects more layoffs,” Taylor said.

That same month The Dallas Observer pointed out that Rylander bypassed state hiring laws to bring on the wife of her Chief of Staff and long-time associate John Colyandro. Helena Colyandro was hired directly out of college as the funds marketing manager of the Texas Tomorrow Fund. No one else was interviewed for the position. The Colyandros both resigned months apart. The Weekly also critiques Rylander’s e-Texas initiative:

“It’s time for government to stop competing with the private sector,” she told her Heritage Foundation audience. “E-Texas will be a true public-private partnership using new strategic tools such as activity-based costing, outsourcing, managed competition, and benchmarking the best practices… E-Texas, a medley of 14 task forces of 10 to 15 people each, will recommend to the Legislature areas of government that can be outsourced to the private sector. In that way, Rylander is making good on her campaign promise to apply the Yellow Pages test across state government.

The e-Texas task force to focus on outsourcing is chaired by Bill Hammond, who says his committee will take a thoughtful approach in recommending which services should be shifted to the private sector. Hammond, an advocate of outsourcing, has been president and CEO of the Texas Association of Business and Chambers of Commerce since April 1998… Hammond says he expects his so-called competitive government task force to get help from Bill Eggers, a top Rylander aide. Eggers co-authored the 1995 book Revolution at the Roots, which offers glowing accounts of privatization efforts nationally. The book is a bible for outsourcing proponents. Hammond sounds like he prefers that representatives of state employee unions, who have been the most vocal critics of privatization, do not become members of his task force.

TSEU is right about one thing, we do need a new Governor; but Carole Keeton Strayhorn is neither the answer nor the best choice. People can change, but voters are not naïve. Who really thinks a politician will walk away from the trough regardless of her “independence” when she’s already sold out for that last bit of election cash?

TSEU members are right to call this endorsement what it is – unfortunate and short-sighted. In fact, outside of these three promises and her crowing over Perry’s perils, we don’t know what her plan is for all Texans – even the person that answered at her campaign headquarters wasn’t sure.

TSEU also pointed out that Strayhorn’s war chest is bigger than Chris Bell’s and that makes her more viable as a candidate. Texans can’t afford to role the dice because she might have more money. There are just some principals that you don’t walk away from and they are best represented by Texas Democrats all over the state. TSEU and some big Dem donors may have abandoned the party, but I think (hope) they’ll be surprised come November because there’s a Texas Democratic state takeover brewing.


So, what is the role of the TDP Chair?

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Perhaps it too late, but it seems the first order should be to determine on what basis people are actually casting their votes for TDP Chair?

There seems to be some fundamentally different views of the Chair’s role:

  • Chairman of the board? (if so what board? SDEC?)
  • Executive Director?
  • fundraiser-in-chief?
  • strategist-in-chief?(global or local or all?)
  • spokesperson-in-chief?
  • lead-field-organizer?
  • lead-inspirer?
  • lead-blockwalker?

all, none, just a few…?

Lets separate opinion from legal fact, if any.

So, perhaps there is some legal description of this (unpaid) job?

or legal proscription of what the Chair can and cannot do (regardless of what traditionally the chair does and doesnt do)?

what body, if any, governs the chair? does the legal language,if any, say they have to approve, allow, guide??

Once those facts are known, then let the discussion debates arguments roll on about what roles COULD be filled, and which are most important (and give some basis for why its important), and who is most likely to fill that bill.

so, who has some knowledge on the legal questions?


(cross-posted at BOR)


Latinos For Texas Endorses Rep. Glen Maxey for State Party Chair

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:01 am

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LFT’s Austin May meetup was a well-attended rousing success with all three candidates for state party chair in attendance and openly and enthusiastically answering questions from LFT members. It really is gratifying to see regular folks engaging in politics, and for State Chair candidates to give of their time and energy over tacos and beer. So, thank you to Glen Maxey (site | Fundraiser), Boyd Richie and Charlie Urbina-Jones.

There were quite a few great questions (’what would you do if money was not a problem?’, ‘how would you connect and include the Hispanic communities?’,'who have you mentored and how?’), and the answers were telling.

I think one of the best answers was from Glen Maxey, who said, “We must mentor, teach, and create organizational systems to get people involved. I believe in the power of individuals to do amazing things. We need to empower people by giving them tools, encouragement, and training to make a difference.”

It was quite civil, and while there is lots of overlap in the candidates’ love of the Party, there are meaningful differences on which to base a choice. Both Boyd and Charlie had good things to say of Glen. Charlie offered that, “Glen Maxey is as smart as they come. He can kick ass and take names.” while Boyd Richie said, “Glen Maxey is a good man.”

Glen likewise had good words about the candidates, which was nice since sometimes in the blogosphere we read mostly sniping and disparaging commentary. What was useful about this candidate discussion was seeing for ourselves what these folks have to offer, and how they offer it.

A Broad but Useful Frame
I will go with Charlie’s general framing, which is not so far off i think: Boyd is the establishment candidate, as Boyd’s mailer’s endorsement list and the very fact he was appointed by the SDEC as interim chair seem to confirm, and that Charlie and Glen are the candidates for change in the system.

I think this is a reasonable assessment, from which follows: If you think things are going good with the Tx Dem party, stay the course and elect the establishment candidate. The party would be in caring hands, but will it move to where we need to move to win elections, and improve Texas?

Or, if you desire deeper structural change, which of the change candidates has communicated a vision of what things can be, and can show more leadership experience as both an elected official and a campaign, candidate and community organizer to get the Texas Democratic Party there? That answer is clearly Glen Maxey.

So why Glen? Vision, Communication, Experience

Glen Maxey won the caucus, i think, because he was able to present both a vision of what the Party can and should do, and strategies for doing it. His site has the details, and in person it really comes across that Glen believes in and understands the challenges, knows there is no one magic bullet so he comes prepared with specific experience including both cutting-edge technology and old-school in-the-field action, in blue and red and swing districts, and in rural and urban, black white and brown communities.

Glen’s answers repeated a theme we wholeheartedly endorse — rebuilding the engine(s) so that every county, every precinct, EVERY VOLUNTEER, every JP race on up drives the Democratic party. Much digital ink gets spilled over Glen’s technology strengths, which are often then held-up straw-man style as a weakness because some are willing to pretend that is his only strength — and that couldnt be further from the truth. email and onlinephonebanking didnt get 85,000 new people registered in travis county in 2004, 25,000 door hangers werent e-hung in one weekend, and thousands of activists didnt give up weekends and evenings based on technology databases. Of course, the coordinating of that activism thru technology, where it could, certainly helped.

Average people didnt get involved because Travis is blue, Travis is blue because we developed ways to get average people involved!

Glen’s answer to ‘How would you get Hispanics involved and voting?’ was also a clear winner to me. It was specific: mentor and run Hispanics everywhere we can, dont just offer symbolic seats at the table, offer guidance and support to everyone (as he did with State Rep Eddie Rodriguez) to step up to the head of the table. For those that want to serve in other ways, develop and disseminate training and tools so that everyone can be integral to the party.

Charlie Urbina-Jones’ ‘yo soy mexicano’ answer didnt do it for me. no one is voting dem because the state chair is half mexican, speaks spanish and went to a black university. i can see where he is coming from, but i gotta tell ya that a more compelling strategy to get people to vote dem is when they understand it improves their lives, via greater opportunities for their family, and they see it in the (judgeships, commissioners, state reps, etc) leadership positions.

Another excellent question was ‘what would you do if all the money was available?’
Boyd Richie had a good specific reponse: get more professional field staff. “At the state level, having such resources would mean you are able to have the professional staff you need to build infrastructure. We’ve got to rebuild the party structure in the counties. Putting more directors in the field will make a difference.”

Glen Maxey’s response was broader and more compelling, “I believe in people power, message, and sheer determination. In 2002 we had a ticket and a gubernatorial candidate that did lay the golden egg. But the golden egg just means a different set of challenges. We must build permanent infrastructure that endures at the local level. I believe intrinsically in the power of individuals and not putting money into consultants, but into tools to empower all people.”

All that said, Boyd Richie really is a personable fellow who also cares deeply for the Party and its core values, and has a lifetime of experience to prove it. My constructive criticism is that i can see he cares and that he sees a big picture, but in person and from his site and his mailers, i dont see the specific details that embody enough change i need to be swayed that he is the best candidate for this job — the unpaid, and largely thankless job. He knows the ‘what’ at the high levels, but where are the ‘how’ answers?

Yes, there is strength in unity, yes we need to win elections in red and blue areas, yes we need put out messages and candidates which resonate, but how, specifically will you approach those layered and interlocked challenges (and the many more)? By uniting, and winning elections is too circular an answer for me, and i guess the meetup attendees as well.

When labeled as the ‘establishment’ and old-school candidate by Charlie Urbina-Jones, Boyd clearly bristled a little but remained civil. Boyd later claimed that label with pride, referencing his work for Ralph Yarborough when Boyd was just 10 years old. Boyd did a commendable job and is clearly confortable in the role, and, yes, really is a good guy. i think the meetup tho was just not convinced that he would be a better chair than the other candidates.

Meanwhile, Charlie Urbina-Jones knows how to throw some bombs. I appreciate his laying it out on the line, but positioned in essentially his own words as the ‘change’ candidate, its hard to see how he trumps Glen’s experience and trackrecord.

So, what do yall think?



Texas Democratic Party State Chair Candidate Forum at LFT Meetup (UPDATE)

Filed under: — site admin @ 12:55 pm

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Texas Democratic Party State Chair Candidate Forum

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 starting at 7PM
Little Mexico Restaurant, 2304 S 1st St, Austin, TX 78702


First, LFT would like to congratulate LFT Endorsements Sheryl Cole and Mike Martinez for being elected to Austin’s City Council. Also, thanks to all of you who volunteered with their campaigns. Surely you played a great role in each of their victories.

This month’s LFT Meetup will be focusing on the Democratic State Convention, June 8-10 in Fort Worth.

First, David Holmes of the Democratic National Committee will share some pearls of wisdom regarding the practicalities and practices of the State convention.

The Main Attraction:
We’ll have a discussion with the candidates for the Tx Democratic Party State Chair position. Glen Maxey and a Boyd Richie representative and Charlie Urbina Jones are confirmed for the evening. Come hear from the future leaders of our State Party!

Want to be involved but cant make it to Austin? Add your questions, comments, insights below. We will incorporate these into the discussion at Meetup, and report back.

Feel free to sign up for an email reminder on the LFT calendar.

Hope to see you there, and bring your friends for the lively discussion!

Mario, Kevin, Crystal, Lila, Michael, & Sabas
Latinos for Texas Steering Committee

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