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December 2nd, 2009:

Locke sorta kinda explains the Hotze endorsement

Here it is, for what it’s worth, which isn’t much. I guess if you can truly convince yourself that Hotze’s endorsement wasn’t about Annise Parker’s sexuality, you can believe it’s okay to accept it. I don’t know what there is to say about this that hasn’t already been said, so let me just refer you to a press release from State Rep. Garnet Coleman that calls on Locke to repudiate Hotze and leave it at that. Click on to read it.


Runoff EV report, Day 3

Here’s the spreadsheet. Basically, three near-identical days for in person voting. At this rate, about 75,000 ballots will be cast before Election Day. I think it will be higher than that, but I don’t think by much.

For comparison, here’s Bradley Olson’s spreadsheet with the daily EV totals from the 2003 runoff, which doesn’t quite compare since there were two full weeks of early voting then, and here’s a spreadsheet from the County Clerk’s office that shows the three-day totals from each of the locations that are in each election. Early voting is up across the board from the November election, which may portend an increase in turnout, or it may just be a reflection of the compressed schedule and reduction in locations. I’ll be looking to see if there’s a sharp increase in the last two days of early voting, when the hours are extended, as is usually the case when there’s five such fuller days. What do you think?

First, get someone to actually run

I certainly agree that the Democratic statewide ticket would benefit from the presence of a qualified Latino candidate or two or three. Agreeing on that is the easy part. Finding someone who qualifies as qualified and who is actually willing to get into a race, especially if it means not resigning from or not running for re-election to an office he or she would easily hold indefinitely, that’s the hard part.

Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of Cameron County Democratic Party and a member of the Democratic National Committee, said state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, one of the best known Latino elected officials in Texas, would make a great lieutenant governor.

“Someone like Leticia brings all the attributes we need for a strong candidate for lieutenant governor. She is smart, she is aggressive, she is not afraid to do what is right,” said Hinojosa, in an exclusive interview with the Guardian.


“The key to everything here in Texas is the Latino vote. That is the make or break, the do or die for the Democratic Party,” Hinojosa said. “If the Latino vote increases by eight to ten percent in this state Texas becomes blue. We would have a Democratic governor, a Democratic lieutenant governor, and every position up and down that ballot. But, unless you increase that vote you are not going anywhere.”

In addition to Van de Putte, Hinojosa said state Reps. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, and Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, would be great candidates for statewide office.

I agree with all this, but someone has to step up and run first. I’m lukewarm on Raymond, but Van de Putte and/or Villarreal would be awesome, for whatever office they wanted. Now how do you make it make it happen?

Toys for tots with valid ID

This is what you call bad holiday publicity.

The Salvation Army and a charity affiliated with the Houston Fire Department are among those that consider immigration status, asking for birth certificates or Social Security cards for the children.

The point isn’t to punish the children but to ensure that their parents are either citizens, legal immigrants or working to become legal residents, said Lorugene Young, whose Outreach Program Inc. is one of three groups that distribute toys collected by firefighters.

“It’s not our desire to turn anyone down,” she said. “Those kids are not responsible if they are here illegally. It is the parents’ responsibility.”

The idea of a charity turning away children because of decisions made by their parents unsettled some immigration activists.

“It is very disturbing to think a holiday like Christmas would be tainted with things like this,” said Cesar Espinoza, executive director of America for All, a Houston-based advocacy group. “Usually, people target the adults because the adults made the decision to migrate, where the children are just brought through no fault of their own.”

Other groups don’t require specific documentation, relying instead on outside groups to recommend families.

“When you distribute toys to 10,000 to 12,000 kids, it’s impossible to background (check) every child,” said Fred Joe Pyland, a Houston police officer who oversees the Blue Santa program. Blue Santa doesn’t consider immigration status but collects names from police officers, schools and churches.

I think Blue Santa’s got the right idea here. I get that you don’t want to give from your limited stash to kids who aren’t poor, or to kids who don’t actually exist, and the way to do that is to get some kind of verification. But this is one of those situations where I think I’d trade a bit of security for a lot more openness. You can say you don’t mean to discriminate against anyone, but I don’t find that very convincing. I’m sure the Salvation Army would rather be touting its new donation mechanisms instead of dealing with this; I hope it serves as impetus for them to change their ways. Stace has more, and click on for a couple of reactions to this story. Thanks to Marc Campos for the link.


CCA versus David Dow

According to Grits, UH law professor David Dow and the nonprofit Texas Defender Service will be called to account before the Court of Criminal Appeals for filing tardy paperwork.

Two years ago, David Dow and the Texas Defender Service were embroiled in a controversy after a thwarted last-minute attempt to file pleadings for a death-row inmate. Now Dow and Katherine Black, his TDS co-counsel in a different death penalty case, have been ordered to appear before the Court of Criminal Appeals to explain an “untimely filing,” and they face possible sanctions under one of the CCA’s rules.

On Nov. 18, the CCA ordered Dow, the TDS litigation director, and Black, a TDS staff attorney, to appear before the court for a Dec. 2 hearing to show cause for the untimely filed documents in Ex Parte Simpson. Dow and Black work in the Houston office of TDS, a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the representation of death-row inmates.

As noted in the CCA’s order, Sharon Keller, the court’s presiding judge, did not participate in Simpson and is not participating in the court’s show cause hearing for Dow and Black.

Like Grits, I have a feeling that this will not be a pleasant experience for Dow. I sure hope he’s got a good explanation for the Court.

How green is your website?

Here are two thoughtful and interesting posts about data centers and carbon neutrality from my friend and Trinity classmate Robert Nagle; a postscript with some added thoughts is here. I’m glad to see that my webhost does pretty well in this regard, though it’s purely by accident from my perspective, as I’d never really thought about this before. But I have now, and I recommend you check out what Robert has written and give some thought to it as well. And maybe if we can’t get data centers to be much greener than they already are, we might be able to come up with some creative ways to blunt their impact.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 30

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone had a happy Thanksgiving weekend. Click on to see what you missed last week amid all the turkey and football.