Latinos For Texas Blog


Round Rock’s Official Memorial Day Celebration

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Something worth checking out if you are looking for Memorial Day action:

The Official Memorial Day Celebration for Round Rock

What: Fiesta Amistad held over Memorial Day weekend. A celebration of the Hispanic culture, a Veteran’s recognition Ceremony, a fundraising event and fun for the whole family.

Who: El Amistad Club of Round Rock, organized in 1968, a 501(c)(3) civic organization. The primary focus is to create educational opportunities for students in financial need. The club also promotes Hispanic Cultural awareness, community services and veterans’ recognition.

When: Memorial Day weekend:
Saturday May 27th – gates open at 5pm
Sunday May 28th – gates open at 12pm

Where: Historic downtown Round Rock

More: This year the Club has a terrific line-up of entertainment that will start each evening at 7:00pm. Marcos Orozco, Garcia Brothers, Grupo Fantasma, Los Palominos, and Pauline Reese will be performing throughout the weekend.

The club has awarded over $750,000 in scholarships in its 38 year history.

The Recognition Ceremony starts at 6:30pm Saturday with a squadron of Apache helicopters from the 21st Air Cavalry Squadron doing a fly over.

Included in the ceremony are the following veterans:
Monica S. Aguirre – Navy Veteran in Iraq
Jose Escribano – WW II / Korean Veteran
Joseph Knapp – World War II Army Veteran
John Miterko – Vietnam Veteran
Monica Williams – Army Veteran

Fiesta Amistad sponsors: Brown Distributing, The City of Round Rock, Austin White Lime, State Farm Insurance, Time Warner Cable, and Recuerdo Radio.

Contact: Andy Martinez
(512) 914-3907


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

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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)

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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

Special Session Wrap-up from Matt

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JustAnotherMatt has an excellent wrap-up of the going-ons and what it might mean from the dearly departed Special Session at the Lege.

HB3 and the franchise tax is the most interesting piece of the “tax legislation”. It created an interesting windfall for large corporations. Your apartment complex owners, strip mall owners, and mega corporations like Exxon-Mobil will get tax breaks. In 2007, Utilities will see a net tax break of $90.4 million, Insurance/Finance/Real Estate will get $227.5 million, and Manufacturing will see $114.6 million. This is close to the $400 million originally budgeted for education.

In the wave of record-breaking profits, I am glad the state found some time to give them tax cuts.

On the other hand, your local dry cleaner, family restaurant, farmers market, or corner store will be paying the same rent while their landowner is paying less.

So, i admittedly do not know my Texas Lege history. Has there ever been a time when the Lege did such a terrifically short-sighted run-around of their core and judicially-mandated assignment? In other words, anything to learn from history on whats likely to come next for the schools?


Vigil for Anthony Soltero, May 17 at 7:30 pm in front of Las Manitas

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Vigil for Anthony Soltero

Immigrant Rights Supporters to Honor Life and Protest Death of California Boy

What: Vigil for Anthony Soltero
Where: In front of Las Manitas Restaurant, between 2nd and 3rd on Congress Ave, Austin.
When: 17th of May, 7:30 pm
Contact: Sarah Henkel, Manos de Cristo, 512-477-7454

A broad coalition of religious and immigrants’ rights groups will be holding a vigil to honor the life and protest the death of Anthony Soltero, a 14-year-old boy from a suburb of Los Angeles, California who committed suicide on March 30.

Soltero, a third generation Mexican-American, played a lead role in organizing immigrant rights marches in his hometown. Reports from his family say that he shot himself in the head because of threats he had received from school officials stemming from his involvement in the demonstrations. According to his family, he refused to provide the names of his friends who had participated in the activities, many of whom were undocumented.

Members of an Austin coalition for immigration rights are inviting students, parents, and all Austinites to gather with them in front of Las Manitas Restaurant on Wednesday, May 17 at 7:30 pm to honor the life and protest the death of Anthony Soltero.

“We cannot let Anthony’s courageous actions and tragic death slip into oblivion. He could have been anyone, anywhere and we are gathering to make sure that this kind of tragedy never happens again, “ said Rev. Lydia Hernandez, executive director of Manos de Cristo. “This is evidence of what bad immigration policy can do to families and communities. We are all God’s children and God’s love has no borders,” she added.

Manos de Cristo (Hands of Christ) is a Presbyterian non-profit organization that serves the working poor of Austin with emergency food and clothing assistance, education programs, and a low-cost dental clinic in East Austin.


Texans Support Pre-K Education

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Via Quorum Report we see the following amazing poll findings:


Intent is to focus the issue while discussing school finance.

Nearly 69 percent of Texans think state lawmakers should provide pre-K programs and more than 75 percent of Texans would vote for a candidate who backed the creation of a statewide pre-K program, according to a survey of 1,200 registered voters released Monday by the United Ways of Texas.

The survey was conducted soon after the March primaries by Republican consultant Todd Smith, said Karen Johnson, president and chief executive officer of the United Ways of Texas. In all, 1,200 registered voters took part in the phone survey.

With lawmakers mired in talks on how to create a more stable funding source for the state’s public schools, Johnson said that she wanted to start a discussion on the importance of pre-K education.

Education is the key to success in life. Early childhood education, along with parental involvement, is the key to reducing gaps in performance among Anglo children and minority children. Texas will have a weaker future unless we get our act together and figure how to fund public education, let alone pre-K education. It’s what Texas voters want and it’s what the future of Texas depends on.


Lionel Sosa’s new venture networks together Americans and Mexicans

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Another friendly reader (thanks Adam!) sent in a link to a article about the efforts of Lionel Sosa, ‘one of Time magazine’s “25 Most Influential Hispanics”‘ to build an

online grass-roots think tank, it promises to forge new ideas and practical solutions to problems facing the United States and Mexico, immigration reform being the latest and most volatile.

He has some very interesting twist on the blogosphere ideas of getting Clickers into the streets, envisioning a complentary role for a new new site Mexicans & Americans Thinking Together at

“There’s been these marches on the street, but what happens afterward?” he said. “We hope they’ll join the Million Click March next and give us their best ideas, and we’ll serve them up to the leadership.”

Additionally, and not surprisingly since Sosa built the ‘largest Hispanic ad agency in the United States with clients such as Coca-Cola and Burger King and annual billings of more than $100 million,’ he aims to fund the non-profit side with a commercial venture side.

Its a good article, read it all at and thanks again for the tip!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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A friendly reader writes in to share some knowledge (thanks Chris!)

Cinco de Mayo and Tejano Heritage Day

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the day that General Ignacio Seguin Zaragoza led Mexican forces to victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Zaragoza had previously served as President Benito
Juarez’ Minister of War.

What is lesser known is that Ignacio Zaragoza was actually a Tejano, having been born near the city of Goliad in South Texas. So, it is appropriate, and there have been legislative efforts, to make today an official Tejano Heritage Day.

While the legislative effort has faltered, we should still take a moment today to explain to young people the Tejano connection to Cinco de Mayo.

While the term “Tejano” has been technically described as only applicable to the descendants of the first Spanish/Mexican families that inhabited Texas before 1836, Tejano Heritage Day should be a day to recognize the contributions of all Texas Latinos to the state of Texas, the nation and to the world.

More importantly, today should be a day to inspire the next generation of young Latinos in Texas to public service.

Washington Post Article

Here are some events in Austin:


How are yall celebrating? Let us know of other events and have a great weekend!


Austin City Council, Place 6

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Early Voting has started, but we all need to work to get the word out. BOR has the stats, and well, they arent too much to write home about. And while blog posts are nice, you and i need to get out and bring in the peoples.

A few LFT’ers went blockwalking for Mike Martinez last weekend, and unfortunately i have to report that most people dont even realize an election is happening.

So, find a candidate and take it to the streets, yo.

Sheryl Cole (LFT Endorsement) doesnt have any events listed on her site, but you can contact her to find out how to help (or if you are reading from her campaign, send us your information!)
Phone: 512-968-7860

Darrell Pierce writes in to say he needs help:

2. Phone Bank
Whether you have the gift of gab or not, we need your voice to represent the
campaign as we reach out to encourage voters to VOTE EARLY and VOTE PIERCE.

Available Times and Dates
Wednesday May 3rd 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Thursday May 4th 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Saturday May 7th 10:30 am to 1:00pm

Monday May 8th 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Tuesday May 9th 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Wednesday May 10th 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Thursday May 11th 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Friday May 12th 2.5 hour shifts beginning at 10:00am to 6:30pm

Saturday May 13th 2.5 hour shifts beginning at 10:00am until 6:30pm

Location: 1211 East 11th Street (right next to Gene’s Restaurant)

Please RSVP to Pam Thomas at 512.905.4807 or
to register for this week’s activities or upcoming Phone Banks.

DeWayne Lofton can use some volunteers. Contact him and find out:
DeWayne Lofton Campaign
Phone: (512) 929-0776

Every single day until victory on May 13. We need your help phonebanking, blockwalking, contacting your friends and neighbors and putting up signs across the city (many of which have gone missing).
Whether its 15 minutes or 15 hours we need your time. This is going to be a close election but DeWayne is in position to get to the runoff if we work hard these last eight days.

Contact info
phone: 929-0776 or 587-9304
All across austin

When: 09:99 AM - 09:99 PM

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