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Houston Rocks Dayna Steele at Numbers

I don’t mention candidate fundraisers very often in this space, but today I’m going to make a special exception for one of the cooler events I’ve come across.

Dayna Steele

Hilton at 10:30 a.m.

Dayna Steele rocked Houston for years. Now, let’s help Dayna get to Congress and #Rockthe36 at Numbers
October 16th, 6-8PM 300 Westheimer Road

Steeleworkers will reunite and rock as we fundraise for Dayna Steele’s campaign for Congress TX-36 at Houston’s most iconic live music venue located mere steps from the original KLOL studios.

Former Houston mayor Annise Parker joins the Host Committee (forming now) along with KLOL notables (stay tuned) and an all-star jam to close out the evening. Galactic Cowboys’ Dane Sonnier is leading the band and David Bowie guitarist Earl Slick is coming all the way from New York City to rock for Dayna. Lady Liberty may even make an appearance!

Food and drinks will be available. For more information or to RSVP to pay by check at the door, email andigreer@gmail.com. Contact Doug Harris to join the Host Committee and/or KLOL notables list at dough@noisemaker.com

*Ticket/donation levels are nods to Dayna’s rock and roll past. There’s really not a front row or backstage but there is a guaranteed good time to be had. See you there rock stars!

The guest list includes Outlaw Dave Andrews, also of KLOL fame, and Tom Scholz, the lead guitarist and founding father of classic rocker Boston. I mean, how many chances are you going to get to do something like this? Click the link to buy a ticket or make a donation if you can’t make it. And rock on with your bad self.

#GiveToWendy

wendy-button-final-fb-cover

A year ago at about this time, a group of progressive blogs joined forces to raise money for the Wendy Davis campaign, which at that point was only a month old and all of the usual “early money” maxims applied. The only “early” now is early voting, which begins in three days, but late money still helps, too. I’m joining in this push to ask you today to make a contribution to the Davis campaign to help her make that final push to get everyone possible out to the polls.

I know, everyone’s asking for money. Believe me, I get all those desperate begging emails, too. If you want to skip this post and move on to the rest of today’s content, I don’t blame you. But if you’re still here, let me make my case, as briefly and hyperventilation-freely as I can.

Like so many people, I was inspired by Wendy Davis’ courageous actions on the Senate floor last summer, and outraged by the underhanded and small-minded tactics that were used to try to shut her up. I was thrilled when she announced her candidacy for Governor. And like many people, there have been times when I wished her campaign had made other choices. But I’ve never wavered in my belief that the state of Texas will be infinitely better off with Governor Wendy Davis that it would be with Governor Greg Abbott. If you’re reading this blog, I trust that you don’t need me to enumerate the reasons for that. But that’s what it comes down to. And that means we all want to be in a position to wake up on November 5 and say to ourselves, “I did what I could”.

If you’re already doing other things – calling, knocking on doors, talking to family and friends, whatever – then bless you. You’re making a difference. If you’ve already given to your limit, then thank you. It really means something. If you’ve got some capacity left, we still need you. Just click the link or the picture up top, and you’re good to go.

I don’t have a cutesy finish, and I won’t end this with a PS. Please give if you can – any amount will help – and thank you if you do. If you’re inspired to make further contributions to the other fine candidates on the ballot with Wendy – Leticia Van de Putte, Sam Houston, Mike Collier, John Cook, Steve Brown – or if you’d just rather give to one or more of them instead, that’s awesome, too. Every little bit helps, and everyone’s help is needed. Thank you very much.

More about TPJ

The Chron profiles Texans for Public Justice, the group that filed the complaint that led to Rick Perry’s indictments.

[Craig] McDonald’s Texans for Public Justice, which operates out of a small office west of the University of Texas-Austin campus and currently has less than $1,000 in the bank, is known as the state’s preeminent group for analyzing campaign donations, building lobbyist databases and filing ethical complaints. It is at least partially responsible for the downfalls of former state Rep. Gabi Canales, former state Board of Education member Rene Nuñez and, most notably, former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The only thing unusual about the two-page Perry complaint, McDonald said, was how long it took him and longtime colleague Andrew Wheat to put it together: just two days.

That, and the reaction.

Since the indictment was handed up Aug. 15, Texans for Public Justice has received dozens of interview requests and hundreds of expletive-filled letters, calls and emails, 10 times what followed DeLay’s 2005 indictment, McDonald said.

The group has played no role in the case since filing the complaint, but it nonetheless has become a part of the story as Perry has waged an aggressive campaign to cast the indictment as politically motivated.

[…]

Most of the group’s most high-profile targets have been Republicans, including DeLay, Perry and Ken Paxton, the current GOP nominee for attorney general, who last month became the subject of a TPJ complaint over his failure to register as an investment adviser as required by law.

Texans for Public Justice has gone after Democrats too.

One of the group’s earliest efforts targeted Canales, a Corpus Christi Democrat, for allegedly selling her power as a legislator to delay lawsuits. Canales lost her 2004 re-election bid, and the Legislature passed a law requiring all members to disclose when they used legislative continuances during legal proceedings.

Two other Democrats, Nuñez and fellow state Board of Education member Rick Agosto, were targeted in 2009 for not reporting gifts from a firm with business before the board. Nuñez was fined and lost his re-election bid.

National campaign-finance watchdog Ellen Miller said the group likely would target more Democrats if there were more of them in power.

“Texans for Public Justice has a national prominence and recognition for their very active state-based work around issues having to do with money, power and politics,” said Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, which donated $1,200 to the Texas group in 2012.

So there you have it. Elect more Democrats, including some statewide, and you’ll see more of them get into trouble. It’s a lot harder to abuse power when you don’t have it.

Anyway. This story is a lot like the Trib story from last week, and undoubtedly like the others that have been written as well. I hope that in addition to all the attention they’re getting, a few people have also made contributions to TPJ so they can keep doing what they’re doing. If you want to be one of those people, see below the fold for the text of a fundraising email they sent out, with a donation link included. Someone has to do what TPJ does, and they’ve shown they’re pretty good at it.

(more…)

January campaign finance reports for Harris County candidates

BagOfMoney

In our previous episode, we looked at the campaign finance reports for Democratic statewide candidates. Today, let’s have a look at the reports for candidates for countywide office in Harris County. I’m not going to get down to the Constable or JP level – I’m not aware of any interesting primaries, those districts tend not to be too competitive, and there are only so many hours in the day. Neither County Commissioner Jack Cagle nor Jack Morman has an opponent, so I’m skipping them as well. The real interest is in the countywide campaigns, so here are those reports.

County Judge

Ed Emmett
Ahmad Hassan
David Collins

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Emmett 28,600 119,244 401,209 Hassan 0 1,250 0 Collins 0 0 0

The only thing Judge Emmett has to fear, I’d say, is a 2010-style Democratic wave. Other than that, he should win without too much trouble. In the meantime, he will have plenty of campaign cash to spend on various things, including a $10K contribution to the campaign of Paul Simpson, who is challenging Jared woodfill to be Chair of the Harris County GOP, and $5K to the New Dome PAC. It’ll be interesting to see how much he spends on other campaigns from here on out.

District Attorney

Friends of Mike Anderson
Friends of Devon Anderson
Kim Ogg
Lloyd Oliver

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Anderson 0 29,730 36,739 Ogg 66,643 8,897 40,771 Oliver 0 0 0

The Friends of Mike Anderson PAC gave a contribution of $66,469.58 to the Friends of Devon Anderson PAC, which closed out the books on it. I presume Devon Anderson will commence fundraising at some point, and will have all the resources she needs. Kim Ogg has done a decent job fundraising so far, but it’s what you do with what you’ve got that ultimately matters. Zack Fertitta had $145K on hand as of his 30 day report in 2012, and we know how that movie ended. Early voting starts in three weeks, you know.

County Clerk

Stan Stanart
Ann Harris Bennett
Gayle Mitchell

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Stanart 16,400 19,398 45,969 Bennett 10,748 7,113 2,442 Mitchell 1,138 2,010 0

Stan Stanart has $20K in outstanding loans, which was the case in July as well. His fundraising came almost entirely from two sources – the campaign of County Commissioner Jack Cagle ($10K), and a Holloway Frost of Texas Memory Systems ($5K).

District Clerk

Chris Daniel
Friends of Chris Daniel
Court Koenning
Judith Snively

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Daniel 0 15,871 0 Daniel SPAC 31,843 24,166 20,859 Koenning 38,165 48,974 112,814 Snively 5,300 3,095 2,204

Still a lot of money in this race. Incumbent Chris Daniel’s PAC and challenger Court Koenning both have the same outstanding loan totals that they had in July – $74,500 for Daniel, and $50K for Koenning. Democrat Judith Snively has loaned herself $4K. I suspect we won’t see as much money raised in this race after the primary as we do before it.

County Treasurer

Orlando Sanchez
Arnold Hinojosa
David Rosen

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Sanchez 23,500 5,577 220,437 Hinojosa 0 1,250 0 Rosen 2,875 2,122 651

Orlando Sanchez’s eye-popping cash on hand total comes from an equally eye-popping $200K loan to himself. This leaves me wondering where he got that kind of money. Did he do really well for himself from 2002 through 2007, when he was in the private sector, or was he just that well off before he was elected Treasurer in 2006? Maybe someone with a journalism degree and some spare time should look into that. Google tells me that his primary challenger Hinojosa is a constable in Precinct 5. Other than paying the filing fee, he had no activity to report.

HCDE Trustee

Debra Kerner
RW Bray
Michael Wolfe – No report

Melissa Noriega
Don Sumners

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Kerner 0 810 329 Bray 135 0 135 Wolfe Noriega 0 8,690 9,335 Sumners 0 750 0

Neither Michael Wolfe nor Melissa Noriega has filed a report with the County Clerk; Noriega’s report is from the Houston finance reporting system, for her City Council account, which will presumably be transferred at some point. Not a whole lot else to say except that everyone on this list has run for office at least once before, and with the exception of RW Bray has held office at least once. Who knew the HCDE Board of Trustees would be so popular?

113th District Civil Court (D)
311th Family District Court (R)

Steve Kirkland
Lori Gray

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Kirkland 55,065 6,806 35,963 Gray 35,000 30,209 4,791

Denise Pratt
Donna Detamore
Alecia Franklin
Anthont Magdaleno
Philip Placzek

Candidate Raised Spent Cash on hand ========================================== Pratt 146,020 78,361 67,659 Detamore 0 2,591 0 Franklin 15,555 13,595 47,317 Magdaleno 7,562 11,519 299 Placzek 6,700 25,012 149

I’m not interested in watching all of the contested judicial primaries, but these two are certainly keeping and eye on. The 113th is shaping up as a rerun of the 215th from 2012, in which the candidate running against Steve Kirkland is being financed by one person. In this case, George Fleming and the Texans for Good Leaders PAC he runs gave all of the money that Lori Gray collected. I don’t know Ms. Gray – she has responded to Texpatriate’s Q&A, but as yet has not sent answers to mine; if she has a campaign webpage or Facebook page I haven’t found it – but I don’t care for lawyers with vendettas like Mr. Fleming.

As for Judge Pratt, she may have a gaggle of challengers this March, but she’s not feeling the financial heat at this time. She’s also doing what she can to stay in the good graces of the establishment, with $10K to Gary Polland’s Conservative Media Properties, LLC for advertising and $10K to the Harris County GOP for various things (I’m not counting the $2500 for the filing fee). We’ll see how much good it does her.

Still more state and county finance reports, plus the city reports, to go through, and the federal reports should start being posted on February 1. January is a very busy month.

Today is a great day to give some money to Wendy Davis’ campaign

If your daily reading habits include progressive blogs, especially Texas progressive blogs, then you’ve probably noticed some of my blog colleagues making a plea today for contributions to Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial campaign. Why would you want to do that? Lots of people have given their reasons – BOR has a list of many of them – but I think Harold Cook says it best.

Goal Thermometer

In my almost-25 years in politics and government, I’ve never seen anything in Texas like the excitement for Wendy Davis.

If this were shaping up to be a typical election, and Wendy Davis was shaping up to be typical Democratic nominee for Governor, I’d be ready to throw in the towel – Democrats would suffer the same typical result.

But this isn’t the typical election. And Wendy Davis damn sure isn’t the typical candidate; she’s extraordinary. I worked with the Ann Richards campaign back in the day. Governor Richards finished with a ton of enthusiasm, but she didn’t have it from the starting gate like Wendy does. Indeed, she started out her race for Governor 27 percentage points down in the polls.

Let me throw cold water on things
: Wendy can’t do this. If you stand still and wait for her to win this election, you’ll be disappointed.

The good news: we – together – can do this. Not just Wendy alone, but all of us.

Texas Democrats have had candidates for Governor who were solid on policy. We’ve had candidates who were flush with campaign money. And we’ve had candidates who were charismatic.

Wendy Davis is the first candidate since Ann Richards who has all three. That’s why she can win.

But we all have to help her with that pesky middle thing – raising the funds necessary for her to tell voters what she stands for. Texas has more expensive media markets than any other state, so it’s impossible to compete without a ton of money.

Good enough for you? Here’s the link to contribute. Easy, right?

Need more? Ask yourself how you’re going to feel if you wake up on November 5, 2014 to Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Now ask yourself how you’re going to feel if you didn’t do anything to help. There are of course many ways to help a campaign, some of which involve money and some of which do not. Anything you can do most certainly helps. But for now, right now, before much of that activity gets into gear, the thing you can do that will help the most is chip in a few bucks, so a solid foundation can be built. It doesn’t have to be much – $20, $10, even $5 helps. You know what you’re comfortable with. Give a little now and give a little more later if you can. Give a little now and do some of those other things later, when they’ll be needed more. But please give a little now. Here’s that link to contribute again. Thanks very much.

If you knew Paul Sadler

If you knew Paul Sadler, you’d probably think he was an experienced, well-qualified candidate for the US Senate. And you’d be right. Unfortunately, not enough people know Paul Sadler well enough to know this.

Paul Sadler

In 2002, state Rep. Paul Sadler of Henderson, was one of the most powerful Democrats in the Texas Legislature when he announced he was not running for re-election.

At the time, he was the chairman of the House Public Education Committee and a force that even the state’s governor had learned to be mindful of when it came to anything involving schools.

Ten years later, Sadler, 57, is the unequivocal underdog in his bid for U.S. Senate against Ted Cruz, a rising national star in the Republican Party. As he crisscrosses the state, Sadler is learning firsthand that before he can persuade voters to view him as a serious contender, he must first remind them of the power player whom he once was.

“We have the qualified candidate. They do not,” Sadler recently told a crowd of Democrats in Seguin. “I am the one that served in the Legislature. I am the one that chaired committees. I am the one that built a school system. I am the one that helped you build schools and educate your children.”

[…]

Sadler was chairing a committee hearing on teacher health insurance one evening in 2001 when he received word that his 10-year-old son, Sam, had been in a car accident. Sadler rushed to a Tyler hospital. Sam spent four days in a coma. A brain injury would necessitate years of physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Later that year, Sam expressed interest in playing baseball again. Sadler took his son to their backyard and ventured a game of catch. His son could catch a ball coming toward his left or right. When Sadler softly tossed a ball over his son’s head, Sam let it pass by.

“So I put a helmet on his head, and every night we would toss the ball,” Sadler said.

His son played baseball again and later took up golf, feats Sadler viewed as “an absolute miracle.” Sam Sadler is now a senior in the PGA golf management program at Mississippi State University.

Sadler was on the phone with Sam in 2010 as Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. Both father and son had long worried about whether Sam’s brain injury would prevent him from securing health insurance once he aged out of his parents’ plan. The new law bans health insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

“We watched the vote together and he said, ‘Dad, I’ve got tears in my eyes. This is probably the most important day of my life,’” Sadler said.

It’s interesting to speculate what might have happened if Sadler had not stepped down from the Lege after 2001. In 2000, he was unopposed for election in a district (HD08) that consisted of Henderson, Panola, and Rusk Counties. In the 2002 election, after redistricting, Henderson was in HD05, which was narrowly won by Republican Bob Glaze, and Panola and Rusk were in HD11, which was won by then-Democrat Chuck Hopson. It’s not hard to imagine that Sadler, like Hopson, could have held on to that seat through 2008; assuming so, if he had been opposed by any Republican in 2010, he would have lost that year. All three counties are also in CD01 and SD01, so it’s possible Sadler could have taken a shot at Crazy Louie Gohmert in 2006 or 2008, or could have done what he did anyway as a former Rep and run to succeed Bill Ratliff, with whom he collaborated on the education reform bill of 1995 that is his signature achievement in the Lege, in the 2004 special election after Ratliff resigned. If he remained in the Lege beyond 2001, perhaps he’d have an easier time raising money, or perhaps he’d have no interest in running again so soon after what surely would have been a wrenching loss in 2010. Who knows? Like I said, it’s interesting to speculate.

What we do know is that Sadler is knowledgeable and experienced and has skin in the game, but has barely raised enough money to be competitive in a State House race. What’s particularly unfortunate about that is that he polls pretty decently once people hear a bit about him and his opponent. The Chron reports on an internal poll released by the Sadler campaign, but they don’t go past the opening line, in which Sadler trails Cruz by a 49-32 margin. The same sample has Romney up on Obama by 52-40, so this is not an especially Democratic-friendly sample. They then go through a series of questions describing Sadler and Crux and various issues – it’s a basic push poll – and the surprise isn’t so much that in the end Sadler actually leads Cruz 42-41 but that the respondents were a lot less favorable to Republican ideology than you might think. For example, a candidate who supported replacing Medicare with vouchers was opposed 61-27, and a candidate who supported turning down federal money to expand Medicaid was opposed 59-31, even though a candidate who supported repealing “Obamacare” was supported 49-42, and the Medicaid question specifically mentioned that it was part of “Obamacare”. Particularly near and dear to my heart, a candidate who opposed abortion in all cases was opposed 63-27, and a candidate who opposed making contraceptive coverage available to all women was opposed 64-27. Not all of Sadler’s attack lines against Cruz had majority or plurality support, and of course that final “now that you’ve heard all this bad stuff about Ted Cruz” question just nudged him into a one-point lead with plenty of undecideds, but still. The needle can be moved, and the terrain ain’t as hostile as you might have been led to believe.

But again, people have to know who Paul Sadler is to want to vote for him, or at least to consider it. Sadler will now have at least two opportunities to debate Cruz, and hopefully earn himself a little media and exposure as a result. Beyond that, you can help him out next Monday at the Continental Club if you’re so inclined. We know he’s the best choice. We just need more people to know it.

Sadler’s challenge

Democratic Senate hopeful Paul Sadler is a strong candidate with limited resources. Where have I heard that before?

Paul Sadler

In Victoria on a recent Saturday afternoon, the candidate for the U.S. Senate had the crowd on its feet, the shouts and applause washing over the meeting room like waves on the nearby Gulf. As he wrapped up his 15-minute jeremiad warning of the havoc his opponent would wreak on the Lone Star State and, as he began making his way to the back of the room, shaking hands and posing for photos along the way, an older woman in a red pantsuit sought to recapture the crowd’s attention.

“This campaign costs money,” she shouted into the microphone several times, but only those within a few feet of her were listening. One of them eventually doffed his straw hat, which became a makeshift collection basket for a statewide campaign tossing nickels and dimes at an opponent awash in money and nationwide ardor.

The Victoria experience represents the Paul Sadler campaign in miniature. Little-known statewide and underfunded, the lawyer and former state representative from Henderson is a capable campaigner, an experienced lawmaker and a credible candidate for a party desperately in need of new faces and arresting ideas.

Sadler’s problem, of course, is that his GOP opponent, tea party darling Ted Cruz, has been all but anointed the successor to retiring U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. Cruz has money, star power and the overwhelming advantage of being a Republican in the most fervid of red states. In last month’s Senate runoffs, 1.1 million Texas Republicans cast a ballot, compared to 235,000 Democrats.

I’m going to begin by going off on a tangent here. I don’t know exactly how one defines fervidness in this context, but at least by 2008 results, Texas isn’t the reddest of red states. It’s not even in the top half, if one uses margin of victory as the metric. Here are the 2008 results by state. I’ve helpfully plucked out the states carried by John McCain and sorted them by margin of victory below:

State Obama McCain Margin ================================= Wyoming 32.54 64.78 32.24 Oklahoma 34.35 65.65 31.29 Utah 34.22 62.24 28.02 Idaho 35.91 61.21 25.30 Alabama 38.74 60.32 21.58 Alaska 37.89 59.42 21.54 Arkansas 38.86 58.72 19.85 Louisiana 39.93 58.86 18.63 Kentuky 41.15 57.37 16.22 Tennessee 41.79 56.85 15.06 Nebraska 41.60 56.53 14.93 Kansas 41.55 57.37 14.92 Mississippi 43.00 56.17 13.17 W Virginia 42.51 55.60 13.09 Texas 43.63 55.39 11.76 S Carolina 44.90 53.87 8.98 N Dakota 44.50 53.15 8.65 Arizona 44.91 53.39 8.48 S Dakota 44.75 53.16 8.41 Georgia 46.90 52.10 5.20 Montana 47.11 49.49 2.38 Missouri 49.23 49.36 0.13

Fourteen states were redder than Texas in 2008. Even in 2004, when George W. Bush was running for re-election and beat John Kerry by 22 points here, Texas was only the tenth-reddest state. Now I admit that even an 11.76 point margin is still daunting, and if you go by vote margin instead of percentage margin Texas was indeed the reddest state in 2008 – McCain got 950,000 more votes than Obama; only Oklahoma and Alabama had margins greater than 450,000 – but that’s a function of population, not popularity. I mean, Alabama and Oklahoma had barely more total votes for both candidates combined than Texas had for just Obama. If fervidness is a synonym for intensity, then Texas was at best #15 for the GOP in the last Presidential election.

But numbers are one thing, perception is another, and the perception that Texas is as red as it gets is a big factor working against candidates like Sadler and other Democratic statewides. Fundraising is obviously affected by this – it’s one thing to give to an underdog, another to a hopeless cause. I believe Sadler is the former, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is by cohosting a fundraiser for him on Monday, September 24 at the Continental Club. There obviously isn’t much time for fundraising at this point, and I don’t even know what a realistic target that can make a meaningful difference might be, but I do believe a difference can be made. If you think so as well, come out and help the cause and meet the candidate on the 24th at the Continental Club. Thanks very much.

We have a long history of screwing public schools in this state

I’ve been meaning to post about this Texas Observer story about the current status of school finance, the litigation challenging it, and the story of how we got here. Here’s a little local angle to illustrate one of the many ways in which the system is messed up.

Even one of the state’s most efficient districts, Northwest Houston’s Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (ISD), is bleeding out slowly after eight years of cuts.

Cy-Fair, the state’s third-largest district, has become a model for doing more with less. It’s consistently a top performer not only in the state comptroller’s rankings of budget efficiency, but also in state test scores. The district hasn’t suffered the massive teacher layoffs some others have, and spokeswoman Kelli Durham says that’s because the district has grown so adept at finding other places to cut. Still, Cy-Fair has scaled back its custodial contracts, cut money for field trips, and skimped on new furniture, trimming $125 million (20 percent of the district’s current budget) in less than a decade. They’ve gotten more waivers than ever before to exceed the state’s 22-student cap in kindergarten-through-4th grade classrooms.

To keep running smoothly through the tight times, Durham says, district leaders cashed in on trust and goodwill they’ve built with their community over time, asking teachers and the whole Cy-Fair community to do more for their schools. But that solution, Durham says, is not sustainable. “In reality, people can’t do double-time for a long period of time.”

Most districts receive more than Cy-Fair’s annual $4,800 per student, but some get even less. The state’s current funding scheme harms them all in different ways. In wealthy districts, parents pay thousands in taxes every month, then watch the state give it to some other school. Their kids sell candy bars and magazines so their school can make ends meet. In poorer districts, students may have to pay to ride the bus to a school that’s more crowded than ever—the sort of environment that makes it easier than ever for students to drop out without being missed.

[…]

In 2005, the Texas Supreme Court ruled the school finance system unconstitutional. With so many districts maxing out their property tax rates, the court ruled that the system amounted to a statewide property tax—outlawed by the state constitution. State lawmakers were ordered to reduce property tax rates, which they did in 2006, but not before muddling the whole system even more.

Rather than update the old formulas used to determine how much money a district should get, the Legislature in 2006 invented a new benchmark— “target revenue”— based on each district’s property tax revenues in 2005. The strategy was meant to protect districts from losing money as the state lowered property taxes. But it created its own grave inequities in funding between districts. Target revenue not only doesn’t provide districts enough money, it makes inequalities worse over time.

In an absurd twist, the target revenue system actually punished the school districts that were most efficient with their money. This is why Cy-Fair ISD finds itself at such a severe disadvantage under the current system. It’s a large district that got by for years by pinching pennies. But now the district’s funding is tied to its 2005 levels of property tax revenue and per-student spending.

“If we had not been so efficient, we would’ve come up with a better target revenue [figure],” says Durham, the Cy-Fair spokesperson.

HISD is largely in the same position. Its property tax rate is below the mandated cap, and it could have made up for at least some of the funding cuts by raising its rate, but as primarily argued by Trustee Harvin Moore, it shouldn’t be in the position of having to subsidize the state’s failure. Once again, we wait for the courts to step in and force the Lege to Do Something. Let’s hope this time the effect is positive.

In the meantime, of course, you can get involved locally and at the Capitol. I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth showing again (and again):

Here in Houston, in addition to the community grassroots meeting this evening, you can hear Wayne Pierce, the Executive Director of the Equity Center, and David Thompson, the lead litigator on the lawsuit for which HISD is a plaintiff, give a talk on where things stand and what you can do about it. The talk is Monday, March 5, from 10 to 12 at the United Way of Greater Houston, 50 Waugh Drive (map). Here’s a flyer with the details. You can also team up with the Equity Center as they press forward.

If you can’t attend that, you can attend a family fundraiser for the Texas Parent PAC on Sunday the 4th, from 2 to 4 at the Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Newcastle at Evergreen in Bellaire. More details for that are here. If you want to sign on as a sponsor, see here for more. Get informed, get involved, and get out and vote. And don’t forget who’s on your side and who isn’t.

How you can help support policies and funding for public schools

From the inbox, sent by Sue Dimenn Deigaard:

Over the past week I have heard several legislators make the misleading claim that they increased funding for public education this past session.  As a parent with a child that is in a classroom with 29 other students this year, and as a parent that regularly attends local school board meetings where I witness their laborious and stressful discussions about where they can attempt to cut even more from our school district without further harm to our classrooms, I continue to be reminded why it is so imperative that we collaborate as a community to spread honest facts about the challenges confronting our public schools and engage others in support of effective policies and funding for public education in Texas.

Last session we all worked hard to minimize the impact of the legislature’s cuts on Texas students.  The result was a $5 billion reduction in funding as opposed to the nearly $10 billion that was originally proposed.  Through our letters, petitions, meetings with legislators, community outreach, and rallies, WE made that difference.

But there is still work to be done if we want public education to be a priority in Texas. In addition to the second round of cuts that most Texas school districts will experience this fall, the structural budget deficit that was not addressed by this legislature, coupled with the creative accounting that was utilized to balance the current budget with things like deferred payments, will set the stage for the potential of even more funding cuts again next year.

Over the past year, you have all expressed interest or have engaged in supporting public education in Texas.  Below are 3 upcoming events where you can connect with other parents and community members to build a collaboration of support for Texas schools, learn how you can effectively advocate for public education, and hear updates on the issues.

I will also leave you with this gem of video from the House Appropriations Committee meeting earlier this week where you can hear directly from legislators that they did, in fact, cut funding to public education in Texas.  As if our crowded classrooms and reduced resources had left us with any doubt.

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, February 29 – 6-8 p.m.
Grassroots Community Meeting and Advocacy Workshop
McGovern Stella Link Library, 7405 Stella Link
Connect with other community members, learn updates on the issue, and learn tools for effectively advocating in the community.

Sunday, March 4 – 2-4 p.m.
Family Fundraiser benefitting Texas Parent PAC
Bellaire Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Evergreen
Bring the kids for an afternoon of school carnival-like fun, frolic and fundraising so Texas Parent PAC can continue to support pro-education candidates.  Since 2006, Texas Parent PAC has helped elect 23 new legislators to stand up for our kids and education.
For more information about Texas Parent PAC, or to be a sponsor, please visit texasparentpac.com
(Donors who contribute $250 or more by February 29 will be acknowledged on a banner at the event.)
If you would like to volunteer to help with the event, please email texasedfunding@gmail.com

Monday, March 5 – 10 a.m.-noon
“Public Education: Where Things Stand and What You Can Do About It” 
United Way of Greater Houston, 50 Waugh Drive
Learn the basics of public school finance and an updated analysis from experts on the Texas public education lawsuits.
Keynote Speakers:   J.David Thompson, Partner, Thompson & Horton, LLP and Dr. Wayne Pierce, Executive Director, Equity Center
Sponsored by All Kids Alliance, CHILDREN AT RISK, Collaborative for Children, Houston A+ Challenge, One Voice Texas, Project GRAD Houston, Save Texas Schools, Stand for Children Leadership Center, and United Way of Greater Houston

RSVP to cirsvp@unitedwayhouston.org

Texas Ed Funding is a grassroots, non-partisan collaboration of individuals creating a community of support for Texas public schools.  We are not a formal organization, non-profit or PAC. (We just needed to call ourselves something to have an email address and website.) And while our initial purpose was to support the issue of funding during the crisis last spring, we have evolved to collaborate to support other efforts that affect public education in Texas.  Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TexasEdFunding.

The claim that the Lege actually increased funding is as we know a bald-faced lie. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to hear Republicans make those claims, since it strongly suggests that they do in fact fear there may be electoral consequences for what they did. Which is why it’s important to emphasize that the $5 billion in cuts that we got would have been twice as bad if the House budget had held sway. They’re vulnerable on this and they know it.

“For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair”

From the inbox:

Gish Creative (www.gishcreative.com) and Southwest Alternate Media Project/SWAMP (www.swamp.org) have come together to celebrate the arts and cultural landmarks with a public screening of “For the Sake of the Song: The Story of Anderson Fair” (www.andersonfairthemovie.com) on Tuesday, October 26, 7pm at the River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray. All proceeds from the evening will go to SWAMP.

This event was organized to honor SWAMP as a cultural landmark and to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Gish Creative. SWAMP is a 33-year-old nonprofit media arts organization serving independent filmmakers in Houston and statewide; they were the fiscal sponsor for the documentary film being screened. Gish Creative is a marketing company that specializes in personal and family enrichment as well as local cultural explorations. Sarah Gish, owner of Gish Creative, chose SWAMP as the funds beneficiary because they were her first client. Sarah used to manage the historic River Oaks Theatre and helped get it designated as a city landmark in 2007.

“For the Sake of the Song” tells the extraordinary tale of another venerable Houston landmark, Anderson Fair, a small music venue in Montrose with a loyal following and major impact in the world of artists working in the singer/songwriter tradition. Featured in the film are artists who got their start at the “politically subversive and neighborhood coffee house and restaurant,” including Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith.

Advance tickets are $15 online at www.swamp.org and $20 at the door. There will be an intimate after party at Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant Street, which includes one movie ticket. Confirmed after-party musicians are Don Sanders, Vince Bell, Denice Franke, Bill Cade, Shake Russell, with more to come!

Small World Department: I once lived in Don Sanders’ old house. He and his wife, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, sold their little north Montrose bungalow to their longtime next-door neighbor in the early 90s after the birth of their son. The neighbor, whose name was also Charles, rented the house to me and my then-roommate Matt. I was there for a bit more than three years, before moving to the Heights. Houston is just a big ol’ small town sometimes. Anyway, here’s the flyer for the event:

Go here to learn more about the film, and here to buy tickets. Sounds like it will be a good time.

Rick Perry’s manly man event

Say what?

In an invitation circulating this week, Governor Rick Perry is inviting some of his closest, wealthiest friends to a “Wild Game” dinner in Houston–just not their wives.

The invitation from Perry’s State Finance Chair James H. Lee boasts an all-male host committee and encourages interested men to “share your views” with the Governor during an all-male dinner hour. “We are limiting the crowd so you will have a chance to talk to Rick,” it reads, and notes that after dinner, “wives/significant others join us for Pat Green.”

Once again, I am forced to quote Dogbert: “Sometimes, no sarcastic remark seems adequate.” I’ll have to settle for suggesting this as the theme song for the event:

Christy Hoppe, who takes an appropriate tone, has more.

Central City Co-Op Fundraiser

Central City Co-Op, Houston’s original organic co-op, is doing its annual fundraiser at this time. The following is from Tiffany Tyler, the chair of the Central City Co-Op Board, and also my wife:

At the Car Wash...

At the Car Wash...

Central City Co-op is partnering with Bubbles Express Car Wash to offer car wash tickets benefiting the Central City Co-op capital campaign fund. Central City Co-op is the original organic vegetable Co-op in Houston, serving over 200 households each week with fresh organic vegetables from local farms and a national organic distributor. Our new home inside Grace Lutheran Church at 2515 Waugh allows us to bring more local produce to our community, with a larger cold storage room and easy visibility. Central City is committed to building community around good food, and in addition to our retail operations, we do outreach work in local schools and donate produce each week to organizations that feed the hungry in our community.

Tickets for the Bubbles Express Choice are $8- the same as a drive-up price at Bubbles for their wash with rainbow foam wax, including free use of the vacuum cleaners. For each ticket sold, Central City keeps $4. Funds raised will help Central City build a cash reserve to cover anticipated summer utility bills and continue to donate produce each week. Tickets are available each Wednesday at the Co-op, 2515 Waugh at Missouri, inside Grace Lutheran Church. Tickets may also be purchased from co-op members at select classes at Studio NiaMoves, 508 Pecore in the Heights, or from our friends at New Living, 6111 Kirby Drive in the Rice Village. You can also email ttcentralcity@gmail.com for ticket sales.

Handwashing your car at home uses anywhere from 3-10 times as much water as a car wash at Bubbles. Water then runs down your street into the storm drains untreated. At Bubbles, the water is filtered and reused, then filtered again before going into the sanitary sewer for treatment at a city water plant. So having a clean car can be environmentally friendly, too!

These are great gifts!!! Moms, Dads, teachers and grads can all use a car wash! It’s an inexpensive gift that doesn’t take up storage space or attract dust, is always the right size, won’t make anyone fat AND they support a great cause! What could be better?

You can also drop me a note or leave a comment here if you’re interested in buying car wash tickets. Thanks very much.

The Wizard of Pawz

From the Inbox:

Wizard of Pawz

Houston Humane Society’s 29th Annual K-9 Fun Run & Walk

HOUSTON, TX (March 10, 2010) – The 29th Annual Houston Humane Society K-9 Fun Run & Walk will take place Sunday, March 28 at Sam Houston Park, 100 Bagby.  This fun and beneficial event begins at 10 am, check-in opens at 8 am and activities end at 4pm. The event will also feature a doggy costume contest, an alumni walk, interactive activities, and much more! All proceeds raised go directly to the Houston Humane Society (HHS).

“People participate for various reasons.” said Sherry Ferguson, Executive Director of the Houston Humane Society. “Some walk in memory for a pet they loss, some run for abused animals, and some jog just to support HHS. It is special to see the community band together for a common cause and raise awareness for the animals.”

All four legged family members and their two legged human companions can now sign up for a 1-mile competitive run, 1-mile non-competitive jog, or a 1-mile non-competitive walk. Whether you participant or not, you can help raise funds by inviting friends and family to pledge.  Simply create a pledge page online.   Visit http://www.houstonhumane.org for more information.

For more than 50 years, Houston Humane Society has helped thousands of animals find loving homes. HHS also provides a low-cost wellness clinic to the public 7 days a week for exams; vaccines and Houston’s only $30 spay/neuter service.

Registration is $25 before race day, $30 on race day, and $5 for additional human companions.  Vendor and sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information visit www.houstonhumane.org, email funrun@houstonhumane.org or call 713-433-6421 extension 309. 

I may have to do that this year in memory of Harry. Please participate if you can, or sponsor someone if you can’t. Thanks very much.

Rick Molina campaign kickoff

There was a lot of good news for Democrats in Harris County in 2008, but one place we fell short was in HD144, which had been left open by Robert Talton’s decision to try to be the Republican nominee in CD22. There will be another effort to win that seat this year as Rick Molina takes on freshman Rep. Ken Legler. Molina, who is unopposed in the Democratic primary, will officially kick off his campaign tomorrow night at 6 PM in Pasadena. You can get the details here. If you’re in the area or you just want to support a good Democrat, check it out.

HCDP 2010 Campaign Kick-Off Event

From the inbox:

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Help Equality Texas

Equality Texas, which lobbies on behalf of equal rights for all Texans, had the misfortune of its office being vandalized over the weekend.

The offices of Equality Texas were vandalized over the weekend sometime  Saturday night or on Sunday.  The large front plate glass window was broken out.  Nothing was taken from the office and there was no entry to the building.  There was no graffiti and nothing to indicate specifically that we were targeted except that we were the only office hit in our immediate area (there being multiple offices with plate glass windows).

  • We have called the police and are waiting for a detective to contact us;
  • We have contacted our insurance company but this type of damage is specifically excluded from our tenant coverage (because we don’t own the building) and our business lease makes us responsible for replacement;
  • We have canvassed our neighbors with flyers and have interviewed the  businesses around us.  We found that one office four blocks away had a back door vandalized on Saturday morning.

So, we cannot determine if this is a specific action targeting Equality Texas.

“We appreciate the concern of our members and our neighbors,” said Paul Scott, Equality Texas Executive Director.  “This act of vandalism, whether random or targeted, is a surprise to us in this neighborhood.   The act was clearly intended to cause damage to an occupied office and has disrupted our activities as well as will have a financial impact.  We thank everyone for their help.”

Repairing the damage will cost around $1,200.  If you wish to help us with the cost, please contribute here.

I hope you’ll consider making a donation to help them cover the cost of this. They’re definitely worth supporting. BOR has more.

Let the games begin

The filing deadline for Houston municipal offices is one week from today – Martha has been keeping track of who has filed yet and who has not. What could be better to do immediately after the deadline than get together with a bunch of fellow political junkies and gossip about it? Well, now you can.

Let The Games Begin!

Go here if you want to add this as an event on Facebook. Have fun!

Broken Cords

Got an email today from Stephen, Melanie and Dianna Muldrow, who are three local kids that have put together a benefit concert called Broken Cords, which is intended to highlight and help fight against human trafficking. From their press release (PDF):

Broken Cords, a benefit concert to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern day slavery, will be held on August 29, 2009 at the prestigious Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston’s theater district.

The brainchild of Houston area teenagers Stephen, Melanie and Dianna Muldrow, Broken Cords’ aim is to show that individuals of all ages can help identify and prevent the modern-day enslavement of children, women and men. Inspired by the plight of individuals in their own area, the Muldrow siblings challenged themselves to spend the summer of 2009 making a difference in their community.

“The fact that so few people know about modern-day slavery was one of the main reasons we wanted to put on this concert,” said Stephen Muldrow. “Human trafficking involves individuals just like me, they can be my age, and they can come from backgrounds like mine.”

The Broken Cords benefit concert will feature a world-class ensemble of musicians who have performed in the United States, Europe and Asia in an evening of music and education at Jones Hall. Confirmed performers include internationally acclaimed clarinetist Håkan Rosengren, concert pianists Rick Rowley, Caleb Harris and Andrew Staupe, and violist Luke Fleming, a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the renowned Juilliard School in New York City, New York.

“We really appreciate the musicians giving their time to this cause, and making the concert a beautiful program that all will want to see,” said Dianna Muldrow. “Human trafficking is a far larger problem than I ever realized and I am so glad to see people wanting and working to end it.”

Proceeds from the evening’s event will be donated to Houston’s Coalition Against Human Trafficking through a non-profit organization. The Coalition actively works to free those in bondage to modern-day slavery primarily through educating the Houston public to the existence and horrors of this tragedy.

“I’m excited about the fact that the Coalition Against Human Trafficking will be able to fund some of their projects that will make the public aware of what human trafficking is and how it is becoming more prevalent right here in our own city,” said Melanie Muldrow.

“Victims that were rescued and have been served by CAHT member organizations over the past several years are now needing extended care and connections to continue their journey of restoration,” said Charlotte Morris, Chair of CAHT Houston.

“It is essential to engage the community in a diversified way so that human trafficking victims can be better identified, rescued and restored. The opportunity to partner with Broken Cords provides CAHT the avenues to reach the community and raise awareness, and it will provide much needed funding for projects and support to help CAHT better serve in the restoration process.”

Two additional organizations, the International Justice Mission and Houston Rescue & Restore Coalition, will also benefit from the concert.

Ticket prices for the Broken Cords concert range from $25.00 to $75.00 for box seating. Special discounts are available for groups. Personal or corporate sponsorships are available in four levels: Liberator, Deliverer, Rescuer and Be a Hero. Concert, sponsorship and ticket information can be found at www.brokencords.com.

According to their email, if you’re a student you can get a second ticket free when you order one. Harris County Commissioners Court will issue a Resolution on August 11, 2009 declaring the day of the concert to be “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in Harris County. That’s pretty cool. Check them out, and please help if you can. More here.

Reminder: Central City Co-op garage sale this Saturday

Just a reminder about the Central City Co-op garage sale this Saturday, from 8 AM till noon at the Fixers Automotive on Harvard at 11th in the Heights. This is part of their capital campaign, which I blogged about last week. There’s going to be a ton of stuff at this garage sale – I know this because all of it is currently somewhere in my house or my garage, and it’s getting a bit difficult to see my children amid the large piles of toys, clothes, furniture, musical instruments, and so forth. So please, come out on Saturday morning and buy some of this stuff, as well as some car wash tickets for the Bubbles Express on Washington Avenue, and help out the Central City Co-op. Thanks very much.

Benefit for Jason Nodler

Jason Nodler is the artistic director for The Catastrophic Theatre. The following is an email from Tamarie Cooper:

Dear Friends,

Many of you know that Jason was the victim of a serious hit and run accident while in Amsterdam this summer. He has had surgery and despite much pain, is finally starting to heal, very, very slowly.

Although Jason has a basic health insurance plan, there are many medical expenses that are not covered and he is currently in dire financial straits.

Unfortunately, the Dutch authorities are dragging their feet on charging the driver of the cab that hit Jason and, even if he is eventually compensated, it could be years before he recovers any of his expenses.

Jason is also not comfortable asking his friends for help with this matter, so I’ve taken it upon myself to do so for him.

Any size of financial contribution will greatly help. Please join me in raising these much-needed funds! Whether it’s $10 or $100, any amount will help immensely.

In times of crisis, we must turn to friends and family for assistance. Let’s help our friend and fearless leader of The Catastrophic Theatre, literally, get back on his feet.

We will be having an Open House/ SAVE JASON! Benefit at:

The new Catastrophic Office, 1540 Sul Ross (on the corner of Mandell & Sul Ross, directly across the street from the Menil Collection) on:

SATURDAY JULY 11th

6pm-11pm

Beer, wine, sodas, cocktails, delicious food, and lively banter will be offered for your enjoyment.

Cash and checks (made payable to Jason Nodler) will be happily accepted at the Benefit.

If you are unable to attend, but wish to make a contribution, you may send checks to (Ed. note: address redacted – please send me an email for the info if you want to mail a check.)

Contributions may also be made with credit cards via PayPal. Simply visit the PayPal website (www.paypal.com) and click the “Send Money” tab.

All you’ll need to complete your transaction is Jason’s email address: jnodler@gmail.com

Thanks Everyone!

I hope to see you next Saturday. If you have any questions, please contact me at tamarie.cooper@gmail.

xoxo,

Tamarie

Jason is a swell and super-talented guy who, as it turns out, was also good friends with a cousin of mine when they were in high school. (Houston can be a big ol’ small town sometimes.) The Catastrophic Theatre is a jewel in Houston’s arts scene, and Jason is a key part of making that happen. If you’re at all a fan of the arts here in town, please consider helping him out. Thanks very much.

Support the Central City Co-op

Some of you may know that my wife, Tiffany Tyler, has been working with Central City Co-Op. Last year, she helped launch the farmers market they run at Discovery Green – she was its first manager – and has continued to work with them on their Board of Directors. Central City is embarking on its first capital campaign this summer. She sent the following email to friends and supporters of Central City, which I’m reproducing here:

As most of you know, I’ve spent the past 2 years working within Central City Co-Op.  I’d been a co-op shopper and member since 2003, and took the opportunity after my corporate severance to become more involved in this community-based organization.  I am now chairman of its Board of Directors.

The Co-op has a central mission of bringing fresh, organic produce to people in the Houston community at a reasonable price.  We use a network of local farmers and a national distributor to source our produce, and a group of strongly committed volunteers supporting the equivalent of 3 paid staff to make the business work.  This includes our Wednesday operations on Taft Street AND the Farmer’s Market at Discovery Green on Sundays.  Each market day, remaindered unsold produce is donated to feed the least fortunate in our community.  In 2008 we donated over $10,000 in produce to support SEARCH, the Salvation Army and the Beacon at Christ Church Cathedral.

Our volunteers and staff have worked in area schools to do nutrition education and outreach, including Healthy Harvard Happenings.  We work now with the Urban Farm Belt coalition to help develop more community-based gardens so that people in the inner city will have access to the fresh produce they need to have balanced diets at reasonable cost.  Our Sunday operation at Discovery Green provides free booth space to community service groups to bring their messages of caring for the environment and each other to the masses of park attendees each weekend.

We pride ourselves on being a Texas not-for-profit corporation, serving our community.  We do not have IRS 501 C3 status, however, and this presents challenges as we apply for grant funding to grow and expand our educational programming.  It also hampers us when we need to replace capital goods.  Things like refrigerators, computers, shelving and scales do break.  The margins we use to keep our prices low don’t allow us a lot of wiggle room.  So we need a capital campaign.

We have begun our first capital campaign this summer, with a goal of raising sufficient funds to replace and expand our refrigeration system, buy new shelving and replace our scales.  We have multiple projects planned throughout the summer and fall to meet this goal.  Our summer projects include:

a car wash ticket sale for Bubbles Express.  Now through the 22nd of July, purchase a Choice Wash ticket from us for $8 (the same $8 they charge you if you drive up), and the Co-Op keeps $4.  We all like clean cars, right?  And the Bubbles on Washington Avenue is really convenient.  And did you know that they RECYCLE the water in their carwash?  Each 18 gallons used in a typical Choice Wash gets used for 2 or 3 cars (depending on how dirty they are).  And of course it is filtered and then sent to the treatment plant.  So there’s no groundwater contamination AND it uses very little water.  Doesn’t it just make you want to buy a block of tickets from me right now?  They’re good through 22 December, so you can stock up!

a community garage sale.  On Saturday 11 July, the folks at Fixers Automotive on Harvard at 11th are letting us use their space for a large community garage sale.  We’d love to have your household goods for sale, and we’d love to have you stop by and clothe your kids or round out your household in some other way.  Contact me for drop-off information.  We’ll be selling from 8 am to noon on the 11th.  And we’ll have carwash tickets there, too.

I encourage all of you to support Central City Co-op.  I’ve found it to be a wonderful group of people who believe passionately in good food, good stewardship and strong community.  We are always looking for more good folks to help, as well, so if the spirit moves you to learn more and become involved, please don’t hesitate to ask me for more information.

Thanks for your time.  I look forward to hearing from you.

You can also follow Central City Co-op on Twitter or join their Facebook group. If you want to help out with the car wash ticket sales, or just want to buy some car wash tickets, please send an email to ttcentralcity@gmail.com. Or just leave a comment here and we’ll get in touch. Thanks very much.

Hail to the king!

So apparently the head of the GOP is in town tonight to help raise money for US Rep. Mike McCaul, who apparently isn’t taking any chances for next year. No, not this guy – nobody cares about him. I mean this guy, also known as He Who Must Be Apologized To. Is there a brighter star in the Republican Party these days? Why, we may soon find that his image has appeared on a grilled cheese sandwich or something. It could happen, you know. Anyway, I can’t wait to hear what he had to say at this event. Should provide fodder for months to come. BOR has more.

Council campaign miscellania

Just some notes and news about various Council campaign activities, collected and collated into one convenient location for you…

Karen Derr will have an “old fashioned patriotic grand opening” of her campaign headquarters, which happens to be her house in the Heights. The event is this Saturday, February 28, from 2 to 4, at 448 Columbia (map). For more information, call Lance Marshall at 281-702-6367. Derr also has a podcast up on her site, for those of you who want to hear from her and can’t wait for my interview.

Also this Saturday, from 2 to 5, is a house party for Maverick Welsh, at the home of Shannon Bishop and Kevin Jeffries, at 829 Allston (map).

If you’re looking for something before then, there will be a fundraiser for Yolanda Navarro Flores this Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:00 at Rico’s Triangle Cafe, 4002 North Main (map). There’s a Facebook event for it, or contact Marisol with Campos Communications, 713 861 2244, marisol@camposcommunications.com.

Finally for District H, while I missed posting the info about a fundraiser for Ed Gonzalez that took place this past Friday, you can help him with blockwalking any weekend from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Show up at the headquarters on 415 Fairbanks St (map) or call Jason Cisneroz at 832 368 2042 for more info. We got our door knocked by the Derr campaign yesterday; I’m curious to see which others come by between now and May.

And in news from other districts, Carl Whitmarsh sent out word that there is another Democratic contender for District A, a fellow named Lane Lewis, who is an educator and resident of Oak Forest. That’s all I know about him at this point.

That’s what I know at this time. What are you hearing?

Green to announce for City Controller

I think everybody knew that term-limited City Council Member Ron Green, who currently serves on At Large #4, was planning to run for the to-be-open position of City Controller. But if you didn’t, or if you were wondering what was up with that, here’s a link to the invitation (PDF) for his campaign kickoff party, which will be on March 17. No word yet from any potential opponents, which at last report included at least two of his term-limited colleagues, Council Member MJ Khan in District F, and CM Pam Holm in District G. Green hasn’t had an opponent since he defeated former Council Member Bert Keller in 2003. Since I doubt he’ll be as fortunate this time around, it’ll be interesting to see how this campaign plays out. In any event, the Controller’s race is now officially underway.