Latinos For Texas Blog


Texas Politics and the Alamo

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 12:35 pm

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I came across a UT site called Texas Politics which I think is an amazing resource for anyone wanting to learn more about Texas history and how Texas Government works. This site has been adding content to their site for a few years now so it’s pretty comprehensive, and pretty current. I would recommend that if you have an interest in lobbying you might want to check out the section on Interest Groups.

So how does this get us to the Alamo? I followed the link on Political Culture and watched the video by University of Texas anthropologist Richard Flores on the history of the Alamo. Having grown up a Texan and being a product of Texas public schools, I can attest that we get a skewed version of what happened at the Alamo, complete with all the hype. And it’s not been until recently that we’ve even begun to question the importance and the truth of what happened at the Alamo. José Enrique de la Peña’s diary, which is also owned by the University of Texas, for example gives us a different side of how Davy Crockett died. I’m now very interested in Flores’ book, Remembering the Alamo: Memory, Modernity, and the Master Symbol, since I listened to his explanation of what happened to Mexican Americans in Texas at the turn of the 20th century. I think it makes a lot of sense and it is an important lesson in framing. I certainly didn’t know that the Alamo was once a saloon and really not that important until 1905 when the state purchased the building. The symbol of the Alamo seems to crop up a lot in Texas politics even as recent as the vote on the Speaker’s election in the Texas House this year. We might need to brush up on our history to be able to frame that issue more clearly. You know how that adage goes, “it’s the victor who gets to write the history”.


U.S Citizenship Drive with Rep. Eddie Rodriguez

Filed under: — site admin @ 1:17 pm

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LFT’s friendly State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez sums it up: “Immigrants are an integral part of the American community and there is no better way to demonstrate our community’s patriotism and commitment to this country than by becoming full participants in its democracy.”

Help democracy won’t you? Signup for a reminder:

Full Press Release:

Rep. Eddie Rodriguez host U.S. Citizenship Drive in Austin

Saturday, January 27th, 2007 starting at 8:00 am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs

Austin, TX– State Representative Eddie Rodriguez in collaboration with the University Leadership Initiative, will conduct a U.S. Citizenship Drive on Saturday, January 27th, 2007 starting at 8:00am at the LBJ School of Public Affairs located 2315 Red River Street, (inside the Sid Richardson building). The goal of the workshop is to assist eligible legal permanent residents apply for U.S. citizenship.

Last spring, millions of immigrants and their supporters marched in cities throughout the United States in support of comprehensive immigration reform. The unprecedented levels of participation has motivated thousand of individuals to seek other avenues to continue their civic engagement, including more direct democratic actions such as voting, which requires legal permanent residents to first become naturalized citizens.

“The message is loud and clear: Immigrants are an integral part of the American community and there is no better way to demonstrate our community’s patriotism and commitment to this country than by becoming full participants in its democracy,” said State Representative Eddie Rodriguez. “U.S. citizenship and voting are clearly the next steps.”

Approximately four out of ten Latino adults living in the U.S. are not citizens, of which 5 million are eligible for naturalization. In Texas, there are approximately 800,000 Latinos potentially eligible to become U.S. Citizens. Research demonstrates that Latino naturalized citizens, are voting at higher rates than native born Latinos in many states.

Eligible applicants for U.S. citizenship are encouraged to arrive early, as the first 300 legal permanent residents who arrive and meet the requirements to solicit citizenship will be ensured assistance. To apply, applicants must be:

* At least 18 years old;
* A legal permanent resident for at least five years (3-Years if married to U.S. Citizen);
* Able to read, write, speak, and understand basic English, and have basic knowledge of U.S. history and government.

In addition, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services requires citizenship applicants to submit a $400 money order along with the application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to bring a money order and complete the full application process on the day of the workshop.

For more information, call 441-8123 ext 101 or 113.

Cuellar proposal is an $850 million fiasco in the making

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 12:19 pm

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(tips to South Texas Chisme for the story)

McAllen Monitor Editorial 1/25/07

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley’s newest congressional representative — whose district was redrawn to take over the portion of the Valley previously represented by Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin — last week introduced a bill calling for the United States to provide up to $850 million over the next five years to help train Mexican law enforcement and military personnel to better combat rising drug-related violence just across the border.

On the surface, this all sounds pretty good. Maybe that’s why Cuellar’s bill has picked up the sycophantic support of other South Texas congressmen, including U.S. Reps. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes; Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi; Ciro Rodriguez, D-San Antonio; and Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño, however, is not prepared to say “amen” and join the chorus of support for Cuellar’s bill.

Treviño, in fact, told The Monitor he considers the proposed legislation “ludicrous.”

Cuellar is not talking about using $850 million dollars to have skilled U.S. law enforcement agencies or military units train their Mexican brethren. That might make some sense and would give the United States at least some control over how the money is actually spent.

What Cuellar is proposing is that we simply hand over to the Mexican government $170 million for each of the next five years and trust that it will all be spent for its intended purpose.

I believe in nation building as a foreign policy. It certainly makes more sense than nation destroying, which is what I think the current administration’s policy really is. In fact if we were to spend just one week’s expenditures of what we are spending in Iraq (2 billion a week) in Mexico, we would start down the right path of building a stronger relationship with our sister border country to the south. But you can imagine the wailing that would also ensue from the extreme right wing about sending money into Mexico. They would just rather isolate themselves within a 700 mile wall. That proposed wall coincidentally would also cost about $2.2 billion. Spending a couple of billion in Mexico as nation building would start to correct the major threat that most Americans see, which is illegal immigration. Our current foreign policy creates a whole lot of jobs in Asia and I just think we should start a policy of trade that would favor companies that establish their factories in Mexico. Spurring the Mexican economy would create jobs there and slow the flow of illegal immigration and at the same time provide Mexicans with more disposal income to spend on US goods and services.


TX Senator Dan Patrick files wire-money bill

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 8:34 am

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File this under more wrong headed thinking.

Postcards from the Lege 1/22/07
Patrick, R-Houston, filed Senate Bill 268 which would place a fee on money wired out of Texas to any foreign country. The 10-percent fee on wire transactions under $5,000 would be collected to provide funding for border security.

So what’s wrong with this legislation? Let’s start with the fact that’s it’s basically foreign trade policy and the state of Texas has no authority to negotiate foreign policy on behalf of the U.S. Allowing states to start imposing a tax on international money transfers would be a nightmare for the federal government. Why would Texas or any border state be the only state allowed to take a cut of the billions of dollars that are sent out of this country. Every state would surely want a piece of that action.

Then let’s get into the cost of bureaucracy of the legislation. There isn’t a fiscal note on this bill yet, but there surely will be. The bill calls for banks and wire transfer services to file paperwork and monies remitted to the Comptroller and have the Comptroller deposit funds in a special account for border security.

Oh and to make the bill more palatable to American citizens who just might have to wire money outside the country, they can go through some more bureaucracy to apply for a refund of their fees with the Comptroller. Maker sure you have your copy of your birth certificates you lazy slackers.

Here’s the only safety valve on this type of legislation

Patrick’s bill: SECTION 4. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2007. Reality: This bill never takes effect because it never passes in the Senate so long as Democrats control 11 of the 31 votes. The 2/3 rule is still in effect for the Senate this session, and that essentially means the the Democrats alone can block putrid immigration bashing legislation like this from ever coming to the floor for a vote.


State Rep. Juan Garcia (HD-32) at Latinos For Texas Austin meetup

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:44 am

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Latinos For Texas Austin Meetup
with State Rep. Juan Garcia (HD-32)

Kerbey Lane Cafe
2606 Guadalupe St, Austin, Texas (Map…)
Tuesday, Jan 23 @ 7:00 pm

Please join State Rep. Juan Garcia (HD-32) at the Latinos for Texas monthly meetup. Meet the Corpus Christi area representative, Harvard grad, and Navy pilot touted as the future star of the Texas Democratic Party by the San Antonio Express-News. Rep. Garcia will be discussing his goals for the 80th legislative session.

Also, we will brainstorm Framer’s Branch actions. What are the issues, and what can we do to make sure Citizens are treated, you know, ‘…with Liberty and Justice for all.’

Hope to see you there, and remember, bring a friend!

A new La Politiquera is available

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:41 am

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Alfredo Santos writes in to let us know that a new issue of La Politiquera is available at his website:

Among many other interesting articles, this issue’s By The Numbers has some sobering statistics on Hispanics in high school, 2-yr college, and universities.

Always an intriguing read. Thanks Santos!



House passes rules for session

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 12:10 am

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AAS Article 1/13/07
Members address gifts, lobbyists, votes

(first up at bat - power hitter Thompson)

Texas House members, who often give one another presents at the end of legislative sessions, voted Friday to cap each gift’s value at $75.

The threshold, requested by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, surfaced in the wake of a Texas Ethics Commission holding last year that such gifts do not have to be described by state officials in detail; state law requires officials to name anyone who gives a gift exceeding $250 in value.

That’s our Senfronia getting back in the game and going after those loopholes!

(stepping up to the plate, rising star Garcia)

A freshman Democrat couldn’t persuade a majority to require the recording of member votes when House proposals are initially approved or disapproved, though Rep. Juan Garcia of Corpus Christi gained a stipulation that recorded votes be posted online within an hour.

Rep. Burt Solomons, R-Carrollton, prevailed on colleagues to stick with his proposal requiring the recording of member votes only on final passage of proposals. Critics have said such final approvals are perfunctory and less meaningful indicators of how members voted at crunch time.

Garcia, trumpeting transparency in government and greater accountability, initially won approval of his call for recording more votes. Then, he agreed to reconsideration after some members said they hadn’t realized what they’d approved.

Oh, Juan had them, he had them. They actually voted for his amendment and then asked for a do-over. Well at least he accomplished two things. One he followed through on a promise to his constituents. And second he got the compromise to have recorded votes be posted online within an hour. It’s a start. We still have to get full recorded votes mandated for all votes this session.

Good game!


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.


Let us not intimidate and coerce

Filed under: — SoniaS @ 12:11 pm

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I wanted to give a big round of applause to the fearless Texas House members who voted against business as usual and the politics of fear yesterday, by voting against Tom Craddick for a second term as speaker of the House. These Representatives showed true courage. Many of these members are Latinos.

They are:
Roberto Alonzo, D-Dallas
Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth
Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio
Garnet Coleman, D-Houston
Yvonne Davis, D-Dallas
Jim Dunnam, D-Waco
Craig Eiland, D-Galveston
Juan Escobar, D-Kingsville
Joe Farias, D-San Antonio
Jessica Farrar, D-Houston
Pete Gallego, D-Alpine
Juan M. Garcia, D-Corpus Christi
Ana Hernandez, D-Houston
Abel Herrero, D-Corpus Christi
Terri Hodge, D-Dallas
David Leibowitz, D-San Antonio
Barbara Mallory Caraway, D-Dallas
Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio
Borris Miles, D-Houston
Paul Moreno, D-El Paso
Rick Noriega, D-Houston
Dora Olivo, D-Rosenberg
Solomon Ortiz Jr., D-Corpus Christi
Richard Raymond, D-Laredo
Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin
Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston
Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth

Then let me repost Richard Raymond’s “The Process is Broken” speech in the House Chamber, yesterday. Blogger, M. Eddie Rodriguez was kind enough to post this on Burnt Orange Report and I want to make sure this gets more coverage.

Thank you Mr. Secretary.

Unlike Sylvester I was not prepared to speak today. It was the last thing I thought I’d do. And unlike my good friend, Aaron Pena, I don’t have a prepared text and I am not going to talk about the currents of history. But I have to talk about a path… a better path to future.

Like my friend Patrick Rose, I too, Patrick, am proud to be a Democrat. I am not saying anything else about that one.

But I stand before you members for just a couple of minutes to say this, if you looked at lists in recent days, you saw my name. I talked to a lot of you. In fact I probably talked to lot more Republicans than I ever talked to Democrats during this process. And I reached out to our Speaker, to Mr. Craddick, and I said, I am a good Democrat and I can make you look better if you want to make the process better and he said, “I want to.”

And then we had some Republicans jump in the race and challenge in an unprecedented way; challenge a sitting Speaker of the House from their own party. Two good men: Brian McCall and Jim Pitts. But I stuck with Mr. Craddick until the process got to a point that it wasn’t even about not being for Mr. Craddick anymore but it was about being against the process because the process is broken.

So I stand before you today, I never thought I would do this, I stand up and speak against the only nominee that we have for Speaker. We saw today a good man in Jim Pitts with a critical mass of support against an incumbent speaker. And after Mr. Hartnett fought so hard to make sure that the candidates would know immediately the victor. The Speaker would know immediately who voted for whom. And succeeded in passing that. All of sudden there is no more candidacy by Mr. Pitts. We saw before our very eyes what is wrong with the process.

I have great hope for the future. I always have and I will tell Mr. Craddick who is going to be our Speaker, “Prove me wrong Mr. Speaker. Prove me wrong.” That after we respectfully disagree today with your nomination because I intend to vote “NO” and I will ask every Democrat and a few of you Republicans that ought to give it a little bit of thought to vote ‘No’ on this nomination. Think about it.

After that vote Mr. Speaker, I hope you will prove me wrong because I will extend my hand to you and say “Let’s make this process better.” Let us not intimidate and coerce. And I am not saying you did that but we saw today something we have never seen before in a Speaker’s race but something that we saw too many time these past four years… time and again.

As I said, I know that most of your Republicans, maybe all of you, will vote for Mr. Craddick. And Mr. Pitts got out of this race now that the votes would be known immediately. Because he wanted to, as he said, “because he didn’t want to put anyone in further jeopardy” and he reluctantly withdrew.

It is time to make a statement. It is time to respectfully with our finger vote for the people we represent and send a message to the process and whoever is standing up there after this vote that process and the people of the state of Texas and the God that we swear an oath to matter more than anyone one person having a tremendous amount of power.

I am asking about every single one of you Democrats to think about what is right, to help make this process better and after then that my challenge is very simple Mr. Speaker, prove me wrong, prove me wrong and let’s make this a better place and better process.

Thank you and God bless you.

I wanted to add that locally here in Travis, only Representative Eddie Rodriguez District 51, had the backbone to vote against Craddick. Thank you Representative Rodriguez for standing on your feet against corruption.

Also our friend, newly elected Representative Juan Garcia, also stood up against a corrupt system.

I fully expect after all the speeches yesterday by the House members who demanded honor, standing for your convictions, and that the voting process be publicly recorded, means that a “recorded vote” bill will pass this session. I support a recorded vote bill, so constituents know exactly how their members vote on all legislation. And those votes should be published on the Internet immediately. I know Juan wants that to become law.

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