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November 2nd, 2012:

Friday random ten: For the ladies, part 4

Happy Friday after Halloween!

1. Ida Red – Hot Club of Cowtown
2. Irene – Leadbelly
3. Isabel – Steeleye Span
4. Jackie O – John Mellencamp
5. Jamie – Trinity University Jazz Band
6. Jeannine – The Manhattan Transfer
7. Jenny Jenkins – Lisa Loeb
8. Joan Crawford – Blue Oyster Cult
9. Joanne – Michael Nesmith and the First National Band
10. Jolene – Bob Dylan

Two actual, famous ladies in this group. I don’t know, but I suspect there have been more songs written about Jackie O than about Joan Crawford. “Jamie” is one of those names that could belong to a boy or a girl. I had a good friend named Jamie at Trinity, and she is a girl, so there you have it.

Back to Basics polls SD06

We don’t know when a special election in SD06 to succeed the late Sen. Mario Gallegos would be, but Back to Basics says we should start preparing for one.

Sen. Mario Gallegos

According to a new poll commissioned and released by the Back to Basics PAC, the late Senator Mario Gallegos is well-positioned to receive a majority of the vote in the Senate District 6 general election, and longtime Harris County leader Sylvia Garcia is the strongest candidate to replace Gallegos in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election for the district.

“This survey shows a few key things,” said Jeff Rotkoff, a consultant to the Back to Basics PAC. “First, Harris County voters have a high awareness of Senator Gallegos’ tragic and untimely passing, and they are ready to honor his legacy by voting for him on November 6.”

“And second, Harris County Democrats have a strong candidate to hold this seat in Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. Whenever Governor Perry chooses to set the special election to fill Senator Gallegos’ vacancy, the ballot might as well read ‘Sylvia Garcia’ and ‘everybody else,’” Rotkoff concluded.

Back to Basics’ survey of 403 likely voters was fielded between October 23 and 25 by the respected polling firm Opinion Analysts. The results include a +/- 4.9% margin of error. Key findings are below.

You can see the full memo at the link above. I think their characterization of Garcia’s chances is, shall we say, exuberant. They show her up by 12 points over State Rep. Carol Alvarado in a hypothetical four-way race that includes two male Republicans, but only at 31%, which is still a long way from 50. Suffice it to say that there’s a lot that can happen between now and whenever Rick Perry deigns to call this election. Rep. Alvarado released a statement disputing B2B’s assessment of the race the day after the poll came out. I don’t have anything further to say about this till after Election Day.

KHOU story on the Metro poll question

I noted yesterday that there would be a separate story on the Metro referendum result from that KHOU/KUHF poll of Harris County.That story is here.

A new poll indicates the Metro referendum on Houston area ballots will probably pass, but as early voting began a large number of voters hadn’t made up their minds.

About 43 percent of surveyed voters said they planned to vote for the referendum, while 28 percent planned to vote against it. But more than one in four voters – 27 percent—were still unsure.

“Most voters don’t know what they’re voting on,” said Bob Stein, the Rice University political scientist and KHOU analyst who conducted the poll for KHOU 11 News and KUHF Houston Public Radio. “The ballot caption doesn’t tell them that.”


“I think when people really look at the language, they recognize, ‘Oh, this is great, this is very simple,’” said Gilbert Garcia, the chairman of the Metro board. “Number one, it continues road payments. Number two, it pays down short term debt. And number three, it has money to restore the bus system.”

But the plan has made some strange bedfellows. Longtime allies of Metro have suddenly become its adversaries. Strangest of all, Barry Klein—who has dedicated much of his life to fighting Metro—is speaking out in favor of the transit agency’s referendum.

Rail proponents believe this idea essentially dooms any plans for rail expansion in the foreseeable future.

“We won’t have any more rail if we vote ‘yes,’” said David Crossley, an outspoken opponent of the referendum plan. “And so, if you want rail, you have to vote ‘no.’”

Again, you can see the topline data and the poll questions with responses for more information. You can listen to my interview with Crossley here and with Chairman Garcia and Board Member Christof Spieler here if you haven’t made up your own mind yet. Stein thinks the referendum will probably pass, and that most of those confused undecided voters will probably skip it on the ballot, and I think he’s probably right. Transit advocates have done a pretty good job getting their message out considering their lack of resources, and a win for them is certainly not out of the question. The one thing I know for sure is that the politics of this issue are the strangest I’ve ever seen.

No, they can’t

You just need to ask yourself one simple question about this.

Right there with them

Planned Parenthood will remain part of the Women’s Health Program for now, state officials said Wednesday, putting off the organization’s ouster as critics questioned whether enough health-care providers would exist without it.

Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek cited court action and a desire to hold on to federal funding in putting off Thursday’s anticipated start of a new Texas Women’s Health Program, which would be run only with state dollars and without Planned Parenthood.

Perry on Wednesday said Texas remains committed to barring the clinics from the program, saying state law excludes those affiliated with abortion providers. He also said the remaining health-care providers will have the capacity to serve women in the program, saying 3,000 providers have signed up.


Mara Posada of the Planned Parenthood Trust of South Texas said the delay in launching the state program suggests “they are not ready to start this program, which by all accounts has been deemed a disaster. There are simply not enough providers with the capacity to see the same number of patients as Planned Parenthood.”

The Wednesday announcement is “an important victory for every woman who relies on the Women’s Health Program for basic, preventive health care,” said Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.

Texas officials on Wednesday said that the state-funded program is ready, but it is unclear when they will abandon the federal program. They said federal officials have suggested they can’t provide funding past Dec. 31.

Janek said the state will continue to operate the program with Medicaid funds until that federal funding is stopped or a final court decision requires the state to include Planned Parenthood, violating state law.

Is it even remotely likely that Rick Perry would wait one minute longer than necessary to tell the feds to take their filthy Medicaid money and stick it where the sun don’t shine if the state’s replacement Women’s Health Program were ready to go? Not only would it be a giant middle finger to Planned Parenthood and all of the naysayers who have been predicting – correctly, it would seem – that the state would not be able to pull this off, it would be a nice little base rallier to wrap up early voting. Would Rick Perry turn down that opportunity? The question answers itself. They’re not ready and they don’t want to admit it. Now the question is whether they’ll be ready by January. I wouldn’t bet on it.

Overview of SBOE6

The Memorial Examiner takes a look at the race in SBOE6 between Republican Donna Bahorich and Democrat Traci Jensen.

Bahorich is former district director for state Sen. Dan Patrick (R-District 7) and says her experience with the state legislative process adds to her qualifications for the post. A former manager at Mountain Bell, she home-schooled her sons until they reached high school and founded the non-profit Home Ed Plus to provide supplemental classes for other home school families.

Bahorich said she is a collaborator who will bring all groups involved with education together to help set policies for the state.

“About half on the board have been teachers. What I bring to the board, in addition to my work with home schooling, is my experience on the whole picture, through legislative process. I have a global view of how we need to be going about our work that’s been missing from the board. My opponent is focused on the classroom, she doesn’t know legislative process,” Bahorich said.

Traci Jensen

Jensen was inspired to run for the SBOE seat following its controversial decisions involving the state social studies curriculum in 2010. A former classroom teacher in Aldine ISD, Jensen has a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. As a visiting professor at University of Houston until last year, she worked with educators across the city, state, the nation, and internationally concerning the improvement of learning and developing curriculum.

Jensen wants to end the culture wars that politicize subject matter. She advocates more creative instruction choices for teachers.

“My concern is making sure we are public education advocates, not political advocates. The state board should be advising legistors and advocating for parents and teachers,” Jensen said. “She (Bahorich) has a completely political background working for Dan Patrick for years, and she’s not worked in classorooms or in the schools.”

Might be nice if someone would ask Bahorich what she thinks about vouchers, since her former boss plans to push for them next year. I mean, if we’re going to divert public funds to private schools, does that mean that the private schools need to follow the curriculum set by the SBOE? I’m sure there are other questions pertaining to this as well.

On a side note, this is the first truly contested election in SBOE6 in at least 20 years. Terri Leo had a Libertarian opponent in 2008, but before that every Republican running in SBOE6 going back to 1992 – Jack Christie in ’92 and ’94. Chase Untermeyer in ’98, and Leo in ’02 and ’04 – were unopposed. That’s as far back as the SOS archives go – if you know the history from before that, leave a comment and let us know. Campos has more.