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Posts from ‘January, 2013’

PPP polls Texas

I have three things to say about this. Texas voters- even Republicans- have had enough of Rick Perry. PPP’s newest poll finds that only 31% of voters think Perry should seek reelection next year, compared to 62% who think it’s time for him to step aside. He’s among the most unpopular Governors in the country, […]

Until there’s something to talk about we’ll talk about the talk

I have two things to say about this. Attorney General Greg Abbott doesn’t want to talk about whether he is running for governor, but he is in overdrive on all the issues that make him a leading contender for the Republican nod, even if Gov. Rick Perry runs for re-election. Abortion? The stalwart abortion opponent […]

Tell us more about these HCC concerns

The Chron expresses some concerns about recent happenings with the HCC Board of Trustees. As many longtime Houston residents are well aware, HCC has too frequently been plagued by problems involving the approval of contracts to board members’ supporters and relatives. Our endorsement of the bond issue was conditioned on the assurance that such problems […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 28

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for a ruling in the school finance lawsuit as it brings you this week’s roundup.

How about Ellis 2014?

Michael Hurta makes an observation. The only Democratic legislator in Texas who is not up for reelection in 2014 yet also has seven figures in his campaign bank account is Rodney Ellis. Will we hear any Ellis for Governor rumors before session is done? You can see a copy of Sen. Ellis’ January report here. […]

The 311 app is here

I’ve been waiting for this. The brand-new Houston 311 app will allow residents to file a complaint and then track its progress. The program officially goes live Tuesday, city officials said. Here’s how the 311 app works, city spokesman Chris Newport said: “Say you see a pothole on your street. Before you even leave for […]

Yet another report saying we should expand Medicaid in Texas

It’s the fiscally responsible thing to do, in addition to being the morally correct thing to do. Expanding Medicaid is a “smart, affordable and fair” decision for Texas, according to a report issued by Billy Hamilton, a non-partisan consultant commissioned by Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas and Texas Impact, a statewide interfaith network. “If […]

How would you pay for extra school security?

Would you be willing to tax yourself for it? Texas school districts could create special taxing districts to fund more security under a proposal unveiled Tuesday by three Houston-area lawmakers. The Texas School District Security Act would allow school boards to hold elections on whether sales or property taxes should be raised to fund more […]

January finance reports for area legislative offices

Just to complete the tour of semiannual finance reports, here’s a look at the cash on hand totals for area legislators. First up, the Harris County House delegation. Patricia Harless, HD126 – $308,221 Dan Huberty, HD127 – $69,058 Wayne Smith, HD128 – $218,425 John Davis, HD129 – $99,962 Allen Fletcher, HD130 – $46,559 Alma Allen, […]

What we need is better choice

With all the talk about “school choice” floating around, it’s important to remember that in Houston at least we already have a lot of options from which to choose. Houston’s urban school leaders vowed Wednesday to continue efforts to expand quality school choices, despite financial and regulatory challenges. Top charters schools – including KIPP and […]

Zack Kopplin

Remember the name Zack Kopplin. Rice University sophomore Zack Kopplin says he has been called the Antichrist, a godless liberal and, bizarrely, the cause of Hurricane Katrina. Kopplin, 19, has gained notoriety for championing the fight against his home state of Louisiana’s 2008 law that made it easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into […]

Another setback for open beaches

At this rate, the concept of “open beaches” is on its way to becoming an anachronism. The Texas Supreme Court dealt another blow Friday to the Texas Open Beaches Act in a case pitting beachfront property owners against the city of Surfside. The court overturned an appeals court ruling upholding Surfside’s refusal to permit repairs […]

January finance reports for Harris County offices

For the most part, it’s way too early to start thinking about the 2014 Harris County elections – we have a legislative session and a city election cycle to get through first – but since January 15 is a reporting deadline for county officeholders, I figure I may as well have a peek at who […]

Is there a way forward on expanding Medicaid in Texas?

It’s a little hard to know what to make of this. The Affordable Care Act is the federal law that Texas Republicans love to hate, but one top lawmaker says expanding health care for the working poor could happen if federal authorities are willing to strike a deal. Republican Sen. Jane Nelson, chair of the […]

Trace cases to be prosecuted as felonies again

So says our new DA. Newly elected Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson said Thursday he will prosecute as felonies drug cases that involve trace amounts of crack cocaine, reversing his predecessor’s stand on the so-called “trace cases.” “If there is enough evidence to test in a lab, then we’ll take the charges,” Anderson said. […]

Are you ready for the hipness?

Because ready or not, here it comes. A rapper, a ballerina and a host of top chefs are among the locals who will be featured in a new Houston image campaign launching next month. The $425,000 promotional blitz targeting readers of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and even Cooking Light magazine will feature […]

Weekend link dump for January 27

Jimmy Carter makes a stand for equality. I hope many of his fellow Baptists follow him. There are a lot of things we don’t know about gun violence. The HP Lovecraft problem. On “healthwashing” Girl Scout cookies. When a (Yankees fan) man loves a (Red Sox fan) woman. Beware the rogue cloud. Google says “Death […]

It’s Sylvia versus Carol in the runoff

Pretty much as expected. Here’s the vote totals from the County Clerk: Candidate Votes Pct ========================= Garcia 7,416 45.37 Alvarado 6,803 41.62 Bray 1,014 6.20 Olmos 461 2.82 Martinez 403 2.47 Reyes 125 0.76 Selva 73 0.45 Delgado 52 0.32 Two points of interest here. One is that the Election Day vote total was 7,747, […]

From the “Anyone can call themselves an expert” department

Now see, this is what happens when you go soliciting expert witnesses on Craigslist Joseph Bast, president and CEO of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, is a witness for Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education, or TREE, a group led by former state Rep. Kent Grusendorf that is not a plaintiff but was permitted […]

Hog killin’ update

Because I know you like to know about this sort of thing. After a competition to kill feral hogs left more than 1,000 of the destructive animals dead in Hays and Caldwell counties, plans are emerging to further control the population. Both counties participated in the state’s Hog Out County Grants Program, a competition among […]

Saturday video break: Unchained Melody

Song #34 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “Unchained Melody”, originally by Todd Duncan and covered by the Righteous Brothers. Here’s the original: I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard that version before. You can see the bones of the Righteous Brothers’ version there, though, which is easily the most famous of the […]

Election Day in SD06

It’s highly unlikely that this will settle anything, but today is Election Day in SD06. If you live in SD06 and have waited till today to cast your ballot, you can find your polling place here or here. I’ve already done my spiel about turnout and finance reports, so let’s see what the media has […]

Inside baseball with the hospital district

I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to learn from this article about the political relationship between the Harris County Hospital District and Commissioners Court. You have to wonder if David Lopez ever feels like he’s in the circus. When Lopez, the CEO of Harris Health System, Harris County’s public hospital district, visits Commissioners Court […]

The Real Housewives of the Oilpatch

Sure, why not? A reality television show developer has traveled from California to Texas in hopes of spinning the “Real Housewives” concept into an oil field drama. Matt Stroud, a development producer for CrashHat Entertainment, recently released a casting call for women who can show “the real American pride that goes hand-in-hand with being an […]

Friday random ten: For the sake of randomness

You know what I haven’t done in awhile? A Friday random ten that was actually random. So here we go. 1. Mrs. Robinson – Pomplamoose 2. Say What! – Stevie Ray Vaughan 3. Adios, Lorena – Eddie From Ohio 4. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out – Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band 5. The Recruited Collier […]

Optimism abounds at inauguration time

Inauguration time is always a good time to be optimistic. Texas Democrats haven’t had a lot to cheer about in recent years. As San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is quick to remind you, the political score in Texas is 29-0. In favor of the Republicans. That means 29 Republicans in statewide offices; zero Democrats. But […]

Another reason why spending caps are a bad idea

There are many reasons why, but this is one we haven’t encountered before. Several political observers well-versed in the state’s finances say that lawmakers could hit the state’s spending limit this session, complicating efforts to access the $11.8 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. The Texas Constitution says the government can’t grow faster than […]

The case against Metro advertising

Ed Wulfe isn’t happy with talk about Metro putting ads on buses and trains. In the late 1970s, Houston voters overwhelmingly defeated a local referendum to allow ads on bus shelters. Soon after, Houston City Council banned all new billboards within the city limits, then extended the prohibition to the limits of the city’s extraterritorial […]

Will we have enough power?

Maybe not. From the EDF. It’s understandable that no one seems to have noticed a strongly worded letter to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) last Monday demanding more action to ensure electric reliability in Texas, and asking ERCOT to report back to NERC by April […]

The state begins preparing its excuses for its WHP screwup

The fail is strong in this one. State health officials continue to insist that they have signed up more than enough providers to replace Planned Parenthood across most of Texas. Areas of limited coverage — including San Angelo, Corsicana and Paris — are being scoured to find health care providers willing to join the Women’s […]

More STAAR changes proposed

Everyone’s least favorite standardized test is a fat target these days. State Sen. Kel Seliger, the Amarillo Republican who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, filed a bill Tuesday offering broad changes to student assessment and high school graduation requirements in Texas. Senate Bill 225 would significantly reduce the number of state standardized tests students […]

Pushing for equality in Waco

Glad to hear it. A group of Waco residents is seeking a city ordinance to bar public and private employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. Advocates of the measure plan to propose it Thursday to the city’s Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee and hope to get Waco City Council to consider it […]

Final SD06 early voting turnout

Here’s the final daily record of early voting in SD06. Tuesday was the strongest day as expected, with a bit over 1,000 ballots being cast, but that just got the total to 8,245. With four more days for mail ballots to arrive, I’d guess the number will ultimately be about 8,500 when the first results […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 21

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes President Obama all the best at the start of his second term as it brings you this week’s roundup.