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July 15th, 2010:

White reports $9 million on hand

Not too shabby.

Democrat Bill White hit the mid-year mark with more than $9 million in the bank for his November challenge to Gov. Rick Perry. White raised $7.4 million since his last report, in February, bringing to $16.4 million the amount he’s raised since joining the race in early December.

The exact (top-line) numbers: Cash on Hand: $9,045,425.60; raised this period: $7,447,799.33

The press release from Team White is beneath the fold. The best part of this is that White outraised Rick Perry.

Gov. Rick Perry raised $7.1 million from his last report through June 30, bringing his campaign’s cash on hand at mid-year to $5.9 million. That’s less raised and less on hand than Democratic challenger Bill White is showing in his mid-year report; White raised $7.4 million and ended the period with $9 million in the bank — $3.1 million more than the incumbent.

Awesome. Yes, I know, Perry basically shot his wad during the primary – the eight days out report showed him with $2,478,753.35 on hand after spending nearly $9 million during the reporting period. White had $5,446,564.54 on hand but had spent much less to that point. Bottom line, that money’s gone, and White now has the advantage. Perry can try, but he can’t spin that away.


Back in the saddle

I’m back from my secure undisclosed location (the Hudson River Valley in Dutchess County, New York – it was gorgeous, and I’ll have more to say about it shortly) and as I work my way through a zillion unread items in my feed readers and just generally catch up on the news, I’ll be getting back to regular posting. My sincere thanks to Greg Wythe for keeping an eye on things and posting some updates, to the makers of WordPress for their “Schedule” feature, and to you for sticking around. I’ll be back with more later.

A view of the “Heights” Wal-Mart site

I was thinking last week that I didn’t have a good feel for the geography of the site for the proposed “Heights” Wal-Mart. So I figured the thing to do was to drive over there and take a few pictures. I did that on Friday morning, and put them into this Flickr set for your perusal. There are comments on each picture, and here are a few additional thoughts.

– The south side of this property is bounded by the train tracks that come in from 290 and continue on into downtown. Unless a new road is built from Bonner to Yale on the north side of these tracks, the site will have no access on the south.

– Bonner is the west edge. It’s not a street so much as it is two cul-de-sacs, one on each side of Koehler, with the southern cul-de-sac terminating at the tracks, and the northern one dead-ending before I-10. You could, as I noted before, extend Bonner across the tracks, to meet its corresponding cul-de-sac on the north side, and the I-10 service road extension may connect to it as well, though I have no idea if TxDOT plans to do that or not. Without at least one of those additions, you could have an entrance to the site on Bonner, but you’d only be able to get to it via Koehler.

– While the property extends to Koehler to the north, the northwest corner of the site, at Koehler and Bonner, is the home of Berger Iron Works, which is very much a going operation, and quite a cool one from the look of it. It fronts on Bonner, with a small office and attached employee parking lot across the street, but the shop, which fronts on Koehler, has street access. I don’t know how much traffic this generates.

– Koehler runs from Yale to Shepherd/Durham and points west from there. It is also the entry and exit point for San Jacinto Stone, which was already receiving customers and sending out trucks at 7:30 AM, which is about the time I took these pictures. West of Bonner, it’s residential, with cars parked on both sides of the street. That will be an issue if Koehler becomes an entry point for this Wal-Mart, since with cars parked on even one side, Koehler is too narrow for bidirectional traffic. It also has “traffic-calming devices” on it, also known as speed bumps, which suggests to me that the residents in this area were complaining about cut-through traffic long ago. Koehler also has no sidewalks and open drainage ditches, so no one will be walking to Wal-Mart as it is currently configured.

– There’s another little cul-de-sac north of Koehler between Yale and Bonner, called Bass Court, which like Bonner dead-ends before I-10. According to this Chron story, it will be widened and will connect to the service road extension. As with Bonner, there are people living there. I have no idea what they think about having a Wal-Mart so close by.

– There are a couple of streets that extend west from Bonner between Koehler and the tracks: Schuler, which is closest to the tracks and which ends at Patterson; and Eli, which extends to Durham/Shepherd and thus could also serve as access to the Wal-Mart site. I did not explore either of these streets. There’s a large abandoned commercial site at Schuler and Bonner that is currently for sale. Eli appears to be residential.

– I’ve said that Bonner is a cul-de-sac on the north side of the train tracks as well, but that’s not really true. It meets up with Allen Street, which then proceeds west right next to the tracks. Connecting the two sides of Bonner would make Allen Street another access road for the site. As it happens, the morning I was taking these pictures, I met a young man on the north side of Bonner who was walking his dogs. He lives in the apartments that front on Center and back up to the train tracks. I asked him if he’d heard about the Wal-Mart, and he said he’d heard rumors about a grocery store being built there. I told him Wal-Mart had bought the property, and he immediately expressed concern about the traffic it would bring. Make of that what you will.

So you say you’re concerned about the effect of undocumented immigration on employment

Here’s your chance to do something about it.

There are two issues facing our nation–high unemployment and undocumented people in the workforce–that many Americans believe are related.

Missing from the debate on both issues is an honest recognition that the food we all eat – at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias (including those in the Capitol) – comes to us from the labor of undocumented farm workers.

Agriculture in the United States is dependent on an immigrant workforce. Three-quarters of all crop workers working in American agriculture were born outside the United States. According to government statistics, since the late 1990s, at least 50% of the crop workers have not been authorized to work legally in the United States.

We are a nation in denial about our food supply. As a result the UFW has initiated the “Take Our Jobs” campaign.

Farm workers are ready to welcome citizens and legal residents who wish to replace them in the field, we will use our knowledge and staff to help connect the unemployed with farm employers. Just fill out the form to the right and continue on to the request for job application.

Boy, I can think of some people in this town who need to fill out their form and apply for a job. Not that any of them ever will, of course.

Putting it all somewhat more succinctly:

Seems like I’ve had that song in my head a lot these days.