Latinos For Texas Blog


LFT in S.A. for (the other) J.C.

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 10:21 am

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I have been meaning to write this post for awhile, but other commitments have precluded this from happening. So here is a quick rundown of LFT’s work in San Antonio in support of Julian Castro.

On Saturday April 23, Latinos for Texas members put their money where their mouth is and blockwalked for Julian Castro’s mayoral campaign. Fiesta was in full swing and it was a beautiful day. We spent most of the day covering two precincts and quickly escaped our downtown search for margaritas when the Fiesta crowd became colossal.

The trip was a success in many ways. Not only did we get exercise and a lot of laughter, we were able to meet several members of the Castro campaign. We did not see Castro, but meeting the people working on his campaign gave us some great insight into what might be driving the candidate. Castro’s backers believe in him, as they should and our trek into the neighborhoods proved positive overall. The few negatives did not stem from the river parade, financial report or Sculley deal. Castro has even won over some who have consistently voted Republican. I will quote an older gentleman (without a monocle) as saying Castro was “a good guy, but the other candidate is an old friend of 50 years,” hhmmm, I wonder who that could be.

Some staffers candidly expressed the urgency that comes with the final days of a campaign. It was not a plea of desperation (okay maybe for some money), but a resolute belief (I think) that this candidate needs to win. I’ll admit that a trip to the other HQs might reveal the same and maybe a staffer even rubbed me the wrong way (a bit), but I happen to agree with his point. Although Castro has consistently led every poll, he is still the “grassroots” guy running against big dollars and years (and years and years) of insider elbow-rubbing.

My big brother likens Castro to Garza because they represent(ed) the same district, but I prefer to think of him as the candidate from the same area as Willie Velasquez and Henry Cisneros (yes, this is a slight stretch, but give him some time). He’s the candidate who like much of San Antonio’s youth was raised by a single mom and went to public school. Circumstance and responsibility led him to the Ivy Leagues and eventually on a return trip home because of his belief that he could make a difference.

S.A.’s Jeffersonian, in his backing of Hardberger, stated:

Not one campaign has a very good message- Julian’s seems to be: One City. My Destiny.

And he’s right, it may be Castro’s destiny to be Mayor of the 8th largest U.S. city, the voters will decide that, but he will have to take all of San Antonio along for a great ride if he wants to continue a life of public service.


Democracy for America supports candidates who are fiscally responsible, socially progressive and have demonstrated broad grassroots support. You can see the first DFA-List here.

Recommend Julian for the DFA list here.


“All God’s Children Got Values” — but do we have a doctrine?

Filed under: — site admin @ 5:15 pm

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Michael Walzer writes in Dissent Magazine a long and meaty article that touches on faith, passion, values, principles, theory (and their differences) and how to tell a story of the “American Way” that connects to ordinary citizens. He observes that the “pragmatic left” faces “ideologically driven politics” without an overall “imperial doctrine,” rendering Progressive values and principles, let alone policies, as “weak and uncommitted” to those fundamentally uncomfortable with the complexities of the world.

That is, it might well be true that most people, whether they recognize it or not, find comfort in the belief that someone somewhere really has the answers. Progressives must have the passion of a true belief in a doctrine that hangs together the disparate elements (issues) of an ordinary citizen’s life to provide answers of what “ought to be done.” This doctrine is “imperial” because it controls the theories, values, and eventually policies of a party. Quite the intriguing idea…

In fact, ideology rules everywhere on the right, across the spectrum of issues in which right-wing intellectuals and activists take an interest (note the combination: it used to be only the left that had intellectuals and activists). Everywhere, we see radically coherent, single-causal analyses of social problems and radical proposals to deal with the problems once and for all: lower and lower taxes, privatized Social Security, tests and more tests in the public schools, torture for terrorists, war for Saddam, democracy for the Arabs. And everything will be wonderful, after the revolution….

Most of us on the near-left live in a complex world, which we are not sure we understand, and we move around in that world pragmatically, practicing a politics of trial and error. We defend policies like Social Security, which have worked pretty well, and try to make them work a little better. We want more redistributive tax and welfare systems, but we are not Bolshevik egalitarians-even if our opponents are Bolshevik inegalitarians. We opposed the Iraq War but are painfully unsure about how to get out and when. National health insurance is the most radical proposal that I’ve heard from American liberals in recent years, and it’s a European commonplace.

read more…. and tell me what you think.


The lowdown on Latinos and the passage of HJ6

Filed under: — kevin @ 9:14 am

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Via the Border Buzz section of Quorum Report :


Sharply contrasting regional differences in the Democratic vote

Border and South Texas lawmakers played a critical role in a House vote to place a constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions.

After an emotional three-hour debate Monday, representatives approved HJR 6 by 101-29. The amendment’s author, Rep. Warren Chisum (R-Pampa) needed 100 votes to pass it out of the House and over to the Senate. Six border and South Texas Democrats backed the measure.

Those backing the amendment included Reps. Chente Quintanilla (D-El Paso), Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), Tracy King (D-Batesville), Ryan Guillen (D-Rio Grande City), Juan Escobar (D-Kingsville) and Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles (D-Alice).

Five members were unexpectedly absent when the vote was taken - Reps. Kino Flores (D-Mission), Aaron Peña (D-Edinburg), Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco), Jim Solis (D-Harlingen), and Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio).

Three South Texas members had been excused by Speaker Tom Craddick - Reps. René Oliveira (D-Brownsville), Vilma Luna (D-Corpus Christi), and José Menendez (D-San Antonio).

Four border and South Texas Democrats were present on the House floor but did not vote - Reps. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), Veronica Gonzales (D-McAllen), Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) and David Leibowitz (D-San Antonio).

Seven border and South Texas House members voted against the amendment - Reps. Paul Moreno (D-El Paso), Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), Abel Herrero (D-Robstown), Robert Puente (D-San Antonio), Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio), Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio (D-San Antonio) and Ruth Jones McClendon (D-San Antonio).

Store this one for future reference.



Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 7:30 pm

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The Leffingwell and McLain families remain in the thoughts and prayers of LFT members.

From the Austin American-Statesman.


Carlos Guerra: There’s more riding on Tom DeLay’s fortunes than Tom DeLay

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:17 am

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From today’s San Antonio Express-News :

Web Posted: 04/21/2005 12:00 AM CDT

With his ethical woes growing, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay last week sent his backers talking points to counter the charges.

Since “many of you have requested a ‘fact versus fiction briefing document’ that can be shared via e-mail …,” DeLay wrote, he was sending “the real story.”

But from the memo’s title, “Fact vs. Fiction: The Democrats’ Case Against Tom DeLay,” and its first assertion — “Tom DeLay has never been found in violation of any law by anyone” — it is clear that is not what he sent.

After all, an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on the House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished him for golfing with Westar big shots while shepherding an energy bill through the House; misusing government resources for political gain by getting the Federal Aviation Administration to track Democratic legislators fleeing Texas to thwart his congressional redistricting scheme; and offering to back the congressional bid of the son of a Michigan GOP lawmaker in exchange for his vote on a Medicare bill.

“An ‘admonishment’ is not a sanction,” the memo huffs, which is true. But it is undeniable that the panel found fault in his actions and that DeLay is the most admonished congressman in memory.

And it isn’t only Democrats who have criticized DeLay. Moderate Republican Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut called him an embarrassment; conservative Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado said his ethics woes are a distraction; and the Wall Street Journal ran a stinging editorial about him.

Other GOP luminaries, such as Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich, and 10 conservative former congressmen called on DeLay to explain himself before the ethics committee.

But even if DeLay agreed to do such a thing, he could not. He had two GOP members on the panel replaced with loyalists: Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, who contributed $5,000 to DeLay’s legal defense fund, and San Antonio’s own Rep. Lamar Smith, who gave $10,000.

And the committee’s rules were changed so that now an investigation can’t be launched unless at least one GOP member agrees to it. Charging that this is tantamount to a batter having to agree with the umpire before a strike can be called, Democratic members have refused to participate, shutting down the entire ethics process.

In Austin, a ruling is expected soon on the civil lawsuit against some DeLay lieutenants seeking damages for the illegal use of corporate cash for campaigning.

“‘Sour grape’ attempts by failed candidates to get rich quick,” DeLay’s memo blusters. And the Travis County indictments of three DeLay apparatchiks and eight corporations, also for using corporate money for proscribed political activities, it says, is the work of “a partisan Democrat,” District Attorney Ronnie Earl, who over the years has prosecuted many more Democrats than Republicans.

Asked about the charge on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Earle replied: “Being called partisan by Tom DeLay is like being called ugly by a frog.”

But more critically important to both parties — now and in the future — is that Congress have a fair, vigorous and fully functional ethics enforcement process, and that proscriptions against corporate and union money tainting the electoral process be enforced.

After all, those who believe that the pendulum swings in only one direction understand neither physics nor electoral politics.

To contact Carlos Guerra, call (210) 250-3545 or e-mail



Filed under: — site admin @ 1:31 pm

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Andrew Bucknall - Place 1
Margot Clarke - Place 3
Betty Dunkerly - Place 4
More information available at in the resources section

*Turnout, turnout, turnout.*

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 12:13 am

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LFT members have done everything from voter reg and G”I”TV to sign building/posting/retrieving and DRT. We are some sound-car-driving, door-hanging, phone-banking fools. With unlimited resources we could take over the world. *Evil laugh* To volunteer with us in San Antonio and Austin or to learn how to do this in your precinct send an email to

Join us.


LFT Endorses (and more S.A. stuff)…

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 11:41 pm

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

What do you get when you add Mojitos and Cuban beer with a city council endorsement caucus peppered with candid conversation? A LFT monthly meet-up!

LFT members took a literal “stand for his or her man (or woman)” (add that to Mario’s quotes) in primary-esque caucuses for Austin City Council Places 1, 3 and 4. A press release will be out shortly, so I will keep it mum (and if you really want to know you’ll leave a comment). There was plenty of debate and some candid exchanges.

Stay tuned for our picks.

Also discussed tonight was our trip to San Antonio, which I think represents LFT well and our belief that individuals can affect elections and thus policy and culture.

Julian Castro has taken some hits lately, but that has only given us more reason to head down there. A funky campaign finance report, city manager ordeal and the Express-News endorsement of the other guy have equated to a bad couple of weeks for Castro. Granted every frontrunner suffers some mishaps, his come at the most inopportune of times (like right when early voting is set to begin) and shine a not-so-pretty light on his campaign.

Since Castro and Schubert have served on the scandal-laden council they have seen more media scrutiny. Castro, in particular, seems to have been given way more power than I imagined he had. He single-handedly killed the PGA Village and Sculley deal? How many council members are there? So he likes to call press conferences… would he not have come under fire for his votes anyway? Was he just reflecting the will of his constituents? I will give the blogosphere that his Schubert answer was not very bright. Did I say that guy takes money from Rep. Frank Anti-Choice Corte?

These sound like excuses, but if the guy already has that much power, let’s make him mayor. And let’s foster that power the way we think it will best serve the entire city. San Antonio is a stepping-stone for Castro’s career. If he wins and continues to seek public office, he would forever be judged by the role he played in molding the culture of his hometown.

Would he want to mess that up? I don’t think so.

Dem Response to Horrible GOP Voting Bills

Filed under: — kevin @ 11:59 am

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Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting issued a press release yesterday on HBs 1706 and 2405.
Here it is in its entirety:

“CONTACT: Mike Lavigne

Monday, April 18, 2005 512-478-9800


(AUSTIN) — Texas Democratic Party Chairman Charles Soechting today said on
every Texan who is registered to vote to stand up for their civil rights,
saying that GOP-sponsored bills scheduled to be debated in the Texas House
this week would impose a new “high-tech poll tax” to discourage wide-spread
participation in the democratic process.

Soechting said HB 1706 by Mary Denny (R-Flower Mound) and HB 2405 by Terry
Keel (R-Austin) are bad bills that should be unanimously opposed by state
lawmakers, and he called on the state’s 12.5 million registered voters to
let their elected state representatives know where they stand.

“The first bill is nothing but a high-tech poll tax, and the second bill is
just a cheap political stunt,” Soechting said. “Taken together, they are
irresponsible assaults on the civil rights and common sense of every Texan.”
HB 1706 by the GOP-appointed chairwoman of the House Elections Committee,
would require registered Texas voters to show one photo ID or two non-photo
IDs in addition to their voter registration card when trying to vote in
person even if their names appear on the official voting rolls. Republicans
pushing the measure claim that it is no different than people being asked to
show ID when boarding an airplane or cashing a check.

“Those are legitimate responses to the attacks we suffered at the hands of
foreign enemies,” Soechting said. “House Bill 1706 is an illegitimate
attack by political hacks on one of our most basic civil rights — the right
to vote.”

Soechting said HB 2405 by Austin Republican Terry Keel appears to be an
effort to use the taxpayer-funded legislative process to drive a partisan
message regarding purported fraud by elderly or minority voters in mail-in
ballot programs. The bill would declare voter-fraud to be a crime even
though it already is and require county elections administrators to turn
over any evidence of wrong-doing to the state attorney general not their
local district attorney.

“This is a cheap political stunt,” Soechting said. “The issue it claims to
be addressing is already against state law, there is little if any
documentation that the problem exists in the first place, and the
appropriate official to go after it if it does is the local prosecutor.”
Keel, a former assistant district attorney in Travis County, has an ongoing
feud with Travis Co. DA Ronnie Earle.”

To find who represents you (in the off chance that you care about, oh, VOTING,) go to Texas Lege’s website .

Richardson with AP

Filed under: — kevin @ 7:57 am

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ABC News Online has a write-up of Richardson’s address to the annual Associated Press convention.

Here is the headline they chose, no doubt because it fits into the well-established frame of Dems being “out of touch with American values.”

“N.M. Gov.: Dems Must Connect With Values”

I like what Richardson has to say, but AP headline writers are now on my list. And could they have picked a worse picture?!


LFT Staying Busy

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 6:35 pm

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This week LFT members attended the Chicano Huelgista Coalition Candidate Forum, participated in DFA’s Social Security National Day of Action and volunteered at the University Democrats/Friends of John Kerry Kids First Town Hall meeting.

The Chicano Huelgista forum took place Wednesday night at Nuevo Leon restaurant and coincided with the Austin Eco Network’s candidate forum. Four candidates attended the Chicano forum – Andrew Bucknell and James Paine (Place 1), Margot Clarke (Place 3) and Betty Dunkerly (Place 4). James Paine is the only candidate I had not previously seen and ended the candidate part of the night on a funny note. He was the last to speak and concluded by saying he had been overwhelmed by the amount of citizen participation in local politics. He stated that he had spent the last few months watching Bush on CNN and throwing things at the TV. And while he needed our vote, he doesn’t care who we vote for – “Hell, just vote,” he said.

April 14 was the SS National Day of Action. A LFT Core member, along with other voters, met with O’lene Stone field director for Congressman Lamar Smith. The visit was friendly (and lots of other stuff that may be posted later). If only staff could vote, we might not be in such trouble.

Burnt Orange Report live blogged the Kerry event and In The Pink Texas has a great and funny (as usual) summary. Kerry is still tanned and still working the thumbs-up thing. He was in campaign-form and even mentioned a 50-state strategy (uhh, when did that happen? ).

BOR mentions the last anti-immigrant question which drew boos from the crowd. A lady in front of me spoke up – undocumented workers pour billions of dollars into social security and never collect – Kerry acknowledges this with a nod mentioning that the fix we need for immigration cannot be hypocritical. Their children are born here and are U.S. citizens. If it had been ’04, some people may have bought it.

This week LFT will meet Tuesday for a live endorsement caucus of the city council candidates. Many of us have seen the candidates at forums around town, but we have also formulated a short survey and requested a response from each of the candidates. See their responses here. Additionally, LFT will discuss a trip to San Antonio to support Julian Castro’s bid for mayor.


Castro, Chump Change and John Kerry

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 3:03 pm

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Cincinnatus is reporting that Hardberger is playing hardball.. this is getting interesting folks!

In other campaign news, three former council members- all Hardberger supporters (my emphasis)- have filed a formal ethics complaint against Julian Castro for his shoddily filed campaign finance report. Glen Hartman, Helen Dutmer, and Al Rhode filed the complaint yesterday, which prompted Castro to charge Hardberger for playing politics with this, uh, political campaign report. “If he really believed it, why didn’t he file the report himself? I’ll tell you why. Because our ethics code says that if you file a frivolous report, you can be prosecuted for doing that,” said Castro.

I have to agree with Cincinnatus concluding that Castro’s amended report will most likely reveal that he’s stuck with chump change and not the $20K originally thought (even without the amended report, he’s still got chump change compared to the other guys). We may be looking at a run-off folks…. let’s just hope Schubert ain’t on the ballot.

Other news:
For once, I will admit my hometown of San Antonio is way more entertaining than what’s going on these days in Austin… except for maybe this:

Please join University Democrats-UT in welcoming Massachusetts Senator and 2004 Democratic Presidential Nominee John Kerry to Austin!

Senator Kerry will lead a Town Hall forum that will focus on children’s health insurance and his Kids First initiative on Saturday April 16, 2005 at 10:00 am.

The forum will take place at the University of Texas’ Recreational Sports Center located on campus at 2100 San Jacinto Blvd. It will also feature US Congressman Lloyd Doggett, as well as local and state officials. Admission is open to students, faculty, and Austin community members.

So 59,028,109 votes later and Kerry is coming to Texas…. if only he knew in ‘04 the magic of Travis county!

Kudos to the University Dems for all their hard work - staying active, visible and involved.


The Mole Thickens: The Case of the Missing Numbers and 6 Degrees of Separation

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 12:26 pm

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So, the Julian Castro post from Monday started a flurry of discussion. Is he the proverbial flip-flopper? Is he a phony? Can Castro count? Did he teach Enron how to find the gray areas of GAAP? Is he taking money from the same people whose city contracts he votes on? Is he “suspect”? Is he the cutest Latino to run for Mayor? He he he. Or is he indeed what CNN calls one of the Fab 5 of ’05?

In all seriousness, these are important questions to be answered as the election is fast approaching. Below is a summary of information out there and where to find it.

First, a shout out to The Jeffersonian, a blog based in SA with not just info on the mayoral race, but overviews of the council district candidates and Paris Hilton. Apparently, Cincinnatus has been around for awhile, but we just found him today! The blog discusses everything from the whispers surrounding February’s Mayoral Push Poll (did that Councilman from the West Side do it or was it the Developers’ Darling?) to a breakdown of what campaign managers are running the show and what the numbers have to say… so go fish around and start here.

Cincinnatus has some stinging criticism for Castro here. His closing paragraph reads:

The Castro campaign is not the sort of beautiful, grassroots-oriented campaign that is looking to make City Hall a modern-day Athens, where every citizen has his/her say. It’s just a regular political campaign, with a regular politician heading it up. One that is being run by a subpar campaign staff and that has kept its head above water because of a charismatic, young pol.


This is not the first time that Castro has been derided as nothing new, as a man of the polls and not the people. Hello PGA! But Castro’s finance misstep did not play that big with me and I doubt it is going to send regular voters into the arms of Phil and Carroll. I also appreciate Castro admitting that the buck stops with him. And maybe with Joaquin as well since he is the treasurer … too busy in Austin? Who knows? The fact that Phil equates Castro’s mishap to “Enron-style accounting” is silly to the point of s-t-u-p-i-d. We are not talking about defrauding millions of investors, thousands of employees and the entire state of California. But maybe the critics are right.. since Castro is so broke, perhaps the confetti on election night will be those bank statements Hardberger wants to see so badly!

WOAI has a great summary of who is giving money to whom. Cincinnatus had a breakdown of Castro’s coffers from city contract recipients, but did not touch on Schubert’s donation from Turner, Collie & Braden – a beneficiary of $10+ million in city contracts.

Rep. Frank Corte (gag me) is also a Schubert contributor. If I was an eligible voter in SA, I would not even consider Schubert. The fact that he is taking Corte’s dinero makes him even less appealing… like unbelievably so. Ick. Barf. Ick.

And Hardberger? I don’t have time for much more digging so I will leave you with two words. Fat cats – Agnese, Frost, McCombs and Doggett. Okay seven words.

And who knew that picking the next City Manager would come into play. There were so many shenanigans surrounding the dismissal/resignation/force-out of Terry Brechtel that the Texas Rangers were ready to step in and investigate, but Brechtel decided to leave and that calmed the waters ultimately leaving Mayor Ed Garza looking like a jerk. BIG TIME. How many employees would put up with being called to their office at midnight and grilled for hours? The Council is set to vote on their lone candidate, Phoenix Assistant City Manager Sheryl Sculley, who drives a hard bargain demanding a salary and perks that would total $300,000. She has some ganas because she said she would not take the job unless the vote was unanimous.

Given the economic climate of late, citizens are outraged. Nevermind that you get what you pay for or that the Brechtel debacle will only serve to scare possible future candidates. While Hardberger has been busy dissing the Council claiming they are arrogant, power-hungry and mismanaged, Schubert claims they are fully prepared to make the decision. Castro says he will vote no on the package - a semi-flip-flop from his earlier quote of “leaning” towards saying yes.

What does that leave us with? Castro as a phony. Can I speak to that? No. I can only hope that, should he win, the man will recognize that people are watching and bloggers are blogging (and seven swans a swimmin’) and he would have to pay for any mistakes in 2007.


Health Insurance and Military Families

Filed under: — kevin @ 12:56 pm

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Via the Daily Buzz section of Quorum Report :


Recounts her own efforts to try and use the program

Recounting her own experiences, Rep. Melissa Noriega (D-Houston) said today that a healthcare plan for military personnel is next to meaningless unless enrolled soldiers and their families live near a military base.

Noriega explained the limitations of the TriCare plan to a panel of federal and state Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol today at a forum on federal budget issues. How the federal government treats veterans and military families was easily the most emotive topic under discussion.

“If I, as an assertive, educated adult, wife of an elected official, cannot access proper healthcare, with all the resources, contacts and abilities my husband and I share… then who can?” Noriega asked the panel.

“I will tell you who cannot: families dependent on a member in the National Guard or reserves who has been called up for active duty; families living in urban areas without a military base.”

Talk about credibility…Noriega’s husband is in the National Guard and currently serves in Afghanistan. She is just filling in for him while he’s gone.

Texas Predatory Lending

Filed under: — kevin @ 12:46 pm

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From Monday at the Capitol, via Jason Sabo of United Ways of Texas :

Senate Gallery:  The Texas Senate just passed SB 1479 by Senator Eliot Shapleigh.  The bill’s an effort to rein in the “plague” - to quote the Senator - of predatory lenders encircling military installations in Texas.  It’s a great bill and the entire Senate is to be commended for supporting this important legislation.  There will be a press conference on the provisions of the legislation upon adjournment of the Senate here on Channel 2.  Now, it’s on to the House.

One of Texas’ best legislators, Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso), has really got a winning issue here: military families, especially Latinos and working folks, against the big bad wolf of predatory lenders. ¡Qué inteligente! We’ll see where it goes in the house.

If you want to contact Senator Shapleigh to thank him, here ya go:
 District 29
   Capitol Office: EXT E1.706
   Capitol Address: P.O. Box 12068
         Austin, Texas 78711
   Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0129

   District Address: 800 Wyoming, Suite A
         El Paso, TX 79902
   District Phone: (915) 544-1990

Here is his official website .

BlueLatinos Blog

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There is another (well-done) site in the Progressive community. They have some great tools, and clever feedback so you can see how the tools are being used by others.

They have started what looks like a series on the WSJ articles about the 2004 vote, especially the Latino vote:

Their mission:

A national online organization for progressive Latinos.

We are the next generation of action-oriented Latinos who are taking ownership of our lives and political futures and working to make America better for everyone. We are concerned individuals who are exercising our democratic right to organize.

Our mission is simple.

To organize progressive Latinos online and harness energy and resources to move voters, particularly Latino voters, toward progressive issues and action. We are using the best tools available to reach out and connect to other progressive Latinos throughout the country. We are the best messengers to communicate with Latino voters on issues that matter.



2005 City of San Antonio Elections

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 2:27 am

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San Antonio is gearing up for its next mayoral election. Julian Castro is leading in the polls but is dead last in campaign coffers with $20,840. Castro’s contributors include attorneys, Democratic activists and popular-amongst-bloggers St. Rep. Richard Raymond. Phil Hardberger comes in second on both accounts (and he has a blog). He outpaces Castro 8-1 with $165,292. Notably, he has received gifts from Congressman Lloyd Doggett and USAA’s former chairman Gen. McDermott (of highway fame). Carroll Schubert has a slick commercial on his home page where an anonymous voice boasts Schubert as a “conservative leader” who “stood up to the liberals on city council” (because San Antonio is sooo liberal). Schubert is last in the polls but he is sitting on some fat cash – fifteen times Castro and almost twice as much as Hardberger. Much of his $312,085 comes from business interests – developers, lobbyists, engineers, a real estate tycoon and builder’s PAC.

San Antonio is large and as with all elections television will be important. Castro has been running commercials since January, but there’s no doubt Hardberger and Schubert will continue to blast the airwaves. Schubert planned in March to spend $475,000 to stay on the air until May while Castro eked out three more weeks of ads.

Since Castro is working with limited funds precinct organization and turnout will be important. Grassroots activism has made a strong comeback and Castro is relying on it to possibly help him avoid a June run-off (seemingly a difficult task) and win outright. A less glamorous 2003 mayoral election brought out only 5% of eligible voters; however an all-time high of 478,073 or 53% participated in the 2004 general elections. The highs (or lows) of ’04 may have cooled the atypical voter, but with all the tax-hike maneuverings in the Legislature, it will be hard to ignore the tax freeze on the ballot.

The chance to decide on three tax proposals will surely boost turnout. Voters will look at two propositions to protect the environment – more funds to preserve land over the Edwards Aquifer and linear parks along the city’s largest creeks. The third proposal is a property tax freeze for seniors. Propositions 1, 2 and 3 will inspire voters across a wide spectrum of interests and the potential for a high turnout is definitely there.

San Antonio is the 8th largest city in the nation. The next mayor has a host of matters to confront – growth while improving and maintaining a quality environment and water supply, confronting gang resurgence and crime, re-addressing homeless issues, affordable housing, pet population control and earning the citizen’s faith back – just to name a few.

Before his graduation from law school, frontrunner Julian Castro was quoted in the Harvard University Gazette as saying, “Our city has as much potential as Harvard has prestige.”

Will voters embrace his vision of one city, one destiny? We are all in this together and we will soon find out.


1987 San Antonio: ¡Viva, Papa!

Filed under: — LaGirlFriday @ 8:37 am

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I was in the sixth grade at St. James the Apostle when Pope John Paul came to San Antonio. Other than the picture we took of him driving by in his popemobile, I do not remember much of the celebration, but J. Michael Parker of the San Antonio Express-News has a nice article in today’s paper.

The pope in San Antonio
Web Posted: 04/08/2005 12:00 AM CDT

J. Michael Parker
Express-News Religion Writer

San Antonio gave Pope John Paul II a welcome he didn’t forget during his nine-city tour of the United States in September 1987.

During his 22-hour visit to the city Sept. 13, more than 1 million people saw him — more than in any other city on that 10-day tour — and their enthusiasm was evident.

The tour that began Sept. 10 in Miami also took him to Columbia, S.C; New Orleans; Phoenix; Los Angeles; Monterey, Calif.; San Francisco; and Detroit.

Even Detroit, despite its huge Polish community and the many friends he’d made there during a 1976 visit as a cardinal, didn’t match the fiesta-style enthusiasm he found in the Alamo City.

The globe-trotting pontiff, then still in robust health, was so delighted by the crowds of well-wishers greeting him from every corner on his ride from Kelly AFB to the Westover Hills Mass site that he decided to ride in his open “popemobile” on the rest of his tour through the city — a total of 22 miles instead of the previously intended 6 — so more people could see him.

The bulletproof popemobile was made to protect him while still allowing him to be visible to crowds after the May 13, 1981, assassination attempt in St. Peter’s Square. Previously, he’d customarily ridden in open cars.

The Mass, attended by an estimated 300,000 people, was the largest gathering of people at a single place and time in the history of the Southwest. Archbishop Patrick Flores had told pastors not to celebrate Mass in their parishes that Sunday in order to encourage more parishioners to attend the historic papal Mass.

Even a sudden windstorm just days earlier that blew down two 150-foot towers of scaffolding erected for the altar backdrop didn’t dampen the festive mood of the city. In fact, the momentary disappointment brought the community together. Volunteers materialized from every direction, cleared away the debris and restored the dignified church-like appearance of the site in time for the pontiff’s arrival.

Flores used the mishap to make a proud statement to the pope, quipping: “The towers fell down, but the Catholic Church in Texas is still standing.”

Flores, who was at the pontiff’s side nearly every waking moment of the San Antonio visit, later recalled he’d felt like pinching himself.

“It was difficult to believe this was really happening,” the archbishop said. “I didn’t think it was possible a pope would actually come to San Antonio, particularly in my lifetime.”

Many other San Antonians voiced the same sentiment after the pontiff’s departure, he said.

“I’ve never had any remorse about the money we had to raise. It wasn’t raised for him, it was for those who wanted to see him and couldn’t have otherwise,” Flores said.

The prelate recalled a meeting in Vatican City the previous March when the pontiff had told him, “‘I’m coming to San Antonio because you invited me. They tell me it is un Mexico chiquito (a little Mexico).’

“I told him, ‘No, Holy Father, it is un Mexico grandote (a big Mexico).’”

From start to finish, Pope John Paul II’s visit reflected the lively, colorful, enthusiastic faith and culture that defines San Antonio’s Hispanic Catholic heritage.

The pontiff lunched with Texas bishops in Flores’ second-floor apartment at Assumption Seminary, addressed a national Catholic Charities convention in Municipal Auditorium, met with candidates for the priesthood and religious life in San Fernando Cathedral, greeted Hispanics at Guadalupe Plaza and ended the day with an emotional visit at the seminary with Texas’ Polish community — including the entire population of Panna Maria, the nation’s oldest permanent Polish settlement.

In the packed cathedral, future priests, nuns and brothers joyfully shouted, “¡Viva, Papa! ¡Viva, Papa!” They laughed when he made a comment about “men and women” and then playfully corrected himself to say “women and men.”

Archbishop Patrick Flores and Pope John Paul II kneel in prayer at San Fernando Cathedral. One of the most pivotal dates in San Antonio's modern history is Sept. 13, 1987, the day the pope stayed here for about 22 hours.

As the happy pontiff rode in his popemobile to Kelly AFB the next morning, 30,000 San Antonians showed their appreciation for his visit by lining his route at 7 a.m. They serenaded him joyfully and gave him a rousing despedida, or farewell.

The whole visit combined faith with emotion.



Latinos and CHIP Advocacy

Filed under: — kevin @ 1:05 pm

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Via Quorum Report :

Debate expected on House floor on CHIP Advocacy Day

Today is CHIP Advocacy Day at the Capitol. In an op-ed, Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) said he would like to see two things happen to greatly improve the CHIP program’s effectiveness. First, that the assets test for eligibility be lifted. Second, extension of the six-month eligibility period.

“Without adequate funds for CHIP, the cost of health care will continue to shift to local communities, and we will continue to see children in this state who are critically ill but have no health coverage at all,” Hinojosa said. “In a state so rich in resources working families should not have to choose between health care for their children or food on their tables.”

Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders have called for the full restoration of CHIP benefits to the 176,000 Texas children who were cut from the program last session. CHIP funding will be debated on the House floor today as the Appropriations Bill comes up for a vote.

“We want CHIP restoration for every eligible child,” said Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Alpine), chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. “How can we look a mother in the eye and tell her that her child isn’t good enough to get health coverage.”

For links to Hinojosa’s Op-Ed piece and a press release from the Democrats, follow the link above to the Quorum Report.
Now this is great leadership from Latinos on a moral issue that all Texans care about. Again, let’s see if the Republicans follow.

Clashing Latino Groups at the Capitol

Filed under: — kevin @ 1:00 pm

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Via Quorum Report


Hispanic CREO stages school choice rally; Texas LULAC says concerns of minority communities being hijacked

Two Latino groups clashed today over whether a lobbying effort in favor of school voucher legislation was funded with taxpayer dollars.

The Hispanic Council for Reform in Educational Options (CREO), a national non-profit organization, brought hundreds of Latino parents and students to the Capitol for a rally in support of school choice. Gov. Rick Perry and other Republicans spoke at the rally.

The League of United Latin American Citizens said it was illegal for Hispanic CREO to use grants it received under the No Child Left Behind Act for its lobbying efforts.

“Hypocritically, Hispanic CREO profit from governmental largesse while decrying so-called ‘big government’ that public schools represent,” said Angela Valenzuela, Texas LULAC’s education committee chair. “It is clearly insidious and under-handed.”

Not so, said Rebeca Nieves Huffman, president of Hispanic CREO. Nieves Huffman said that although her group held 501c3 non-profit status, it could, through an ‘H’ Election, use a small percentage of its funds for lobbying. She said NCLB funds were not used for Tuesday’s rally.

“We are not lobbying. We are here with the parents who are directly affected by the Legislature and these parents want school choice,” Nieves Huffman said. “We are so careful about our No Child Left Behind money because it is a government grant. The parents here are not related to No Child Left Behind. That is complete misinformation.”

I am not an expert on campaign finance law and nonprofits, but this looks fishy. ¿Alguien sabe más?

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