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Why I Am Now Even More Dogged for Doggett

by: JMVC

Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:08 PM CDT

(Readers have been asking us for more coverage of the TX-35 Democratic primary. Here is a perspective from an Austin voter and reader on the race. - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

By John-Michael Vincent Cortez

I am a young, Latino elected official - and I want to see more Latinos, especially young ones, in elected office at all levels of government. Not only is an increase in Latino representation warranted given our demographic reality, but it is also generally in the best interest of having a government that substantively represents the communities it serves. However, in the case of the newly created Congressional District 35, I argue that Hispanic community interests could not be more substantively and effectively represented than they are currently by Congressman Lloyd Doggett. For this, and many other reasons, if this travesty of Republican gerrymandering is to stand, I firmly believe Congressman Doggett is the best candidate to represent CD35 in Washington.

Despite my strong support of Doggett, until very recently, I did not begrudge Joaquin Castro for his efforts to take advantage of this terrible situation created by another Republican power grab by announcing his intent to run in CD35. However, I am now terribly disappointed by recent reports of Castro's involvement along side the very Republicans who have essentially disenfranchised me, my neighbors, and many communities all the way down to Bexar County. As a result, my support of Doggett is firmer still, and I hope you will join me.

I always found it odd that Castro and many of his supporters were justifying his challenge to Congressman Doggett by claiming that he would be more effective than Lloyd, because Castro knew best how to get along with Republicans. Well, most folks I know want someone who will stand up to Republican extremism, not go along with it.  However, I previously felt that Castro's claims to be strongly opposed to the GOP congressional map were believable - no committed Democrat could justifiably support this plan that illegally divides communities across Texas.  However, we now know that this purported opposition was only superficial, as Castro worked hand-in-hand with Republicans to draw the most favorable district for himself, no matter how many of us were harmed.  

At the recent trial in Federal Court in San Antonio, Republicans actually used Castro's involvement as part of their defense against Democratic claims that this redistricting plan is illegal.  Republicans essentially said: "Hey, it was not Republicans alone who drew this map to which you Democrats are objecting, we were just following the advice of Democratic State Rep. Castro (and his friend, Redistricting Committee Vice Chair Rep. Mike Villareal)." Castro wanted this crooked District carving up neighborhoods in San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Lockhart and Austin.  Then he asked that this area be carved up a little more to add what he thought would be even more favorable additional territory in San Antonio along with symbolic locations like the Alamo.  

Why are parts of San Marcos, Kyle and Lockhart consigned to Tea Party Republican Lamar Smith or Blake Farenthold? Why are the people of East Austin and the Eastside of San Antonio and Harlandale split up to weaken the strength of their voices?  Because the only community of interest Castro seemed to care about was his own interest when he reached out to GOP map drawers to draw himself into Congress.  One small step forward for Castro, but one lamentable step backwards for our Hispanic communities generally.  

The effect of moving more strongly democratic precincts into the proposed CD35 has caused great harm across Bexar County.  Castro actually agreed to the removal of longtime Rep. Charlie Gonzalez's home and district office as well as the core of downtown San Antonio from his district, replacing that area with more conservative neighborhoods.  This makes the district of the Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus considerably less Hispanic.  The long list of grievances with Castro's configuration of Rep. Gonzalez's district has been covered in two different stories, published in the San Antonio News Express on October 8 ( Article1 & Article2 ).  The precincts that Rep. Gonzalez says he wants restored to his district by the Federal Court are the very ones Castro supported removing.

And what about working with other Democrats to regain the Congress?  Castro was willing to remove some of the strongest southside Democratic precincts from the district of Rep. Quico Canseco (Freshman Republican who defeated Congressman Ciro Rodriquez last year).  That helps protect Conseco and makes it more difficult for a Democrat to defeat him.  This seat is critical if Democrats are to win back the US House of Representatives next year.  

And there are more news reports showing how Castro collaborated with Republicans in support of the Perrymandering congressional map now being challenged in court.

In a fawning profile in his hometown paper, the San Antonio Express News, dated October 5, (http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Rep-Castro-looks-to-leap-to-bigger-stage-2198786.php) reports that Castro worked with Republicans Lyle Larson and redistricting committee chairman Burt Solomon (author of the anti-immigrant "Sanctuary Cities" bill) to move precincts from other nearby districts to the new 35th district.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

"Before Democratic state Rep. JoaquĆ­n Castro of San Antonio declared he would run in a contested new congressional district that stretches like Silly Putty from downtown to Austin, he placed a strategic call to a member of the rival party in control of its shifting boundaries.  State Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, knew Castro as an ideologically distant yet collegial member of the House. Castro "asked me to help with the (redistricting) chairman, Burt Solomons, in dealing with adding some Hispanic precincts," Larson said, "so it's more likely that the person who wins the district would come from Bexar County."

Again, probably a great move for Castro, but what about the communities that have been split up to serve his ambitions and Republican interests?

Perhaps the most troubling part of this whole affair is that Castro seems to have misrepresented his involvement in this unseemly process:  On July 27, 2011 Castro told an audience of Travis County Democratic leaders:

"I know that congressional districts have been a very sore spot, especially Travis County, because of the way the districts were cut up. And I want you guys to know I agree with you on that.  I voted against all the Republican redistricting.  I voted with Dawnna Dukes to keep Travis County in just two parts, rather than have it be divided into five." (Source: Travis County Democratic Party County Executive Committee Meeting Speech)

Despite his vote, Castro failed to disclose that he had worked with Republicans to develop their map, designing a district for himself, improving Republican Canseco's district, and tearing apart communities represented by Rep. Charlie Gonzalez.

I really want to see more Latinos in Congress, but in attempting to custom-make himself a district, Castro has done tremendous damage to the communities he claims to represent, and the political party to which he belongs.

Newly-minted Republican Aaron Pena is not the only State Representative to misrepresent his role in redistricting.  Perhaps we should treat them both the same.

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agreed (5.00 / 1)
Working with the Republicans would be improtant if they didn't chop off every olive branch that gets held out to them (I heard someone say that the other day in the context of President Obama, it applies here, too). What we really need here & now is someone who'll stand up to them. Lloyd Dogget has a record of standing up to them. Keeping him in office says to Republicans that we will stand up for ourselves & our neighbors.

Hill Country Ride for AIDSmy HCRA Page

Look at is financing Castro... (2.00 / 2)
Democrats only need to look at who is financing Castro to know that Castro will not be a progressive voice in Washington.  The announcement for his August Fund Raiser listed the following listed as sponsors:

Gene Dawson - Principal of Pape-Dawson Engineering
Sam Dawson - Principal of Pape-Dawson Engineering
Carl Raba - Principal of Raba-Kistner Engineering
Bill Kaufman - President of Kaufman & Killen, Inc.
H. Bartell Zachary - Zachary Construction.

A check of the Federal Elections Filings in August showed that these 5 have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Republican National Committee, George W. Bush, John McCain, Rick Perry, Kay Bailey Hutchison, John Cornyn, Republican Governors PAC and Republican Candidates in other States. NOT ONE CENT went to the DNC or Obama.  

For the Record:

Pape-Dawson Engineering is the largest single recipient of Engineering Contracts from The City of San Antonio and San Antonio Water Systems.

The Kaufman & Killen web site states: "The firm represents clients before the City of San Antonio, San Antonio Water System, Edwards Underground Water District and other area governmental entities."

Zachary is Cintra's partner in Perry's Land Heist known as SH130; Raba-Kistner is a major consultant in the scam.

My question to Joaquin is this:  If you were running against Canseco or Smith, would these Republicans be as eager to finance your campaign?

I think not.

Trying to create controversy where it doesn't exist (5.00 / 1)
ProgressiveInTexas it looks like you're trying to create controversy where it doesn't really exist. Would they finance his campaign? Hard to say but I think they might. I've seen some of these same businesses contribute to both Republican and Democratic campaigns before in the same race. That's not uncommon for businesses to do.

While they may not have donated to the DNC or Obama several have donated to Democratic campaigns. Take Zachry, for example. You mentioned Canseco. Did you know that Zachry donated $1,000 in 2009 and 2010 to Ciro Rodriguez's campaign? Did you mention that fact? You might do a little more research before thinking there is some sinister plot out there.

Regarding local business support these business members look at an elected official's track record of helping the local community and working to help grow it. That's why they, Republicans, are crossing over and contributing to Castro, not because he's a DINO, which he's not.

No, all you seem to do is just try to create a smear where one doesn't exist. If you really did your research or REVEALED what you found but didn't post the story would look much different. But you just want to smear a person. Kinda speaks for itself.

[ Parent ]
I did research and you missed my point.... (0.00 / 0)

Gene Dawson: 25K to Texas for Rick Perry, 15K to the RNC, 10K to Cornyn-Texas Victory Committee, 1,000 to Texas for Senator John Cornyn, Inc,  2300  to John McCain  2500 to Texas for Ted Cruz, 250 to McCaul for Congress and a mere 2,000 to Henry Cuellar Congressional Campaign.  A 28:1 Ratio of Republican to Democrat

Sam Dawson is a little more balanced: 500 to Texans for Hurd, 2,000 to Elizabeth Ames Jones for Texas, 1,000 to National Republican Congressional Campaign, 8,220 to Texas for Senator John Cornyn Inc, 1,000 to Lyle Larson for Congress, and a total of 2050 split between Ciro and Cuellar...  A 6:1 Ratio R:D

Bill Kaufman: 2K to Texas for Lamar Smith, 1K to Lyle Larson for Congress, 3,770 to Texans for John Cornyn Inc, 1K to John McCain, and only 1K to Ciro A 7:1 Ratio

Carl Raba: 500 to Texans for Hurd, 3,770 to Texas for Senator John Cornyn Inc, 4,000 to Cornyn-Texas victory Committee, 2,300 John McCain, with only 500 to Cuellar...A 21:1 Ratio..

Zachary is more complex with their PAC etc, but it is over 50:1 on a National and Statewide Basis.

Using the Texas data base, yes they have given to "Local" Democratic Candidates for State Rep and State Senate, County Commissioner, but only to encumbants and those without a serious Republican challanger...and NEVER to the TDC or State Wide Democrats.

This is just a part of big money buying both sides... the pay to play environment...they even give to the the TOP two or three candidates for Mayor and each city council district... but never equally...

The point is, if Castro were running to unseat either Canseco or Smith, these Republicans would NOT have anything to do with his Congressional Campaign.

Republicans will stop at nothing to unseat the ranking Texas Democrat and Castro is willfully allowing himselfto be used by them for his own advancement. EGO.

Tell me, exactly how will Texas, the Democratic Caucus and 99% of Americans benefit from losing Doggett's progressive voice and his senority on Ways and Means?

[ Parent ]
Nope you still missed (0.00 / 0)
Let's go back to your "if Castro were running to unseat either Canseco or Smith" comment. Did you not see that HB Zachry himself gave $1,000 in both 2009 and 2010 to Ciro Rodriguez? Kinda blows that theory.

BTW, if you'll also read in the Express-News article Doggett hasn't exactly given much love to the local Democratic base himself. He kind of hoards his money. Doesn't sound like he believes in helping the locals out.

Regarding your last point, as I stated, I'm not going to get into the political muck at this point until the maps come out. You seem to have dropped into it with the money accusations that are, quite frankly, coming up a little weak at times.

[ Parent ]
WOW... (3.00 / 1)

...HBZ and Pac give two grand to Ciro and over 100K to Rebuplicans/RNC.... seams fair and balanced...

...more "government for sale"...and some Democrats are willing to be bought for far less that what R's are charging.

My arguments are weak only in the context that you are blind to the fact that they are giving multiple times more to Republicans than to Democrats?  To HBZ, two grand is pocket change, more than offset by tax cuts and toll road reciepts...

Until his district was gerrymandered into Bexar County, why would Doggett need to give financial assistnace to "locals".

Since Doggett is under constant attack by the Republicans,and now a "fellow Democrat", i think he is justified in keeping his war chest full; regarless of how the Corporate Right-Wing EN chooses to slant their coverage of him.  

[ Parent ]
Never said they were Democrats (0.00 / 0)
You're the one who's harping on contributions to various groups. All you said was that they wouldn't contribute to a Democrat. I proved you wrong and now you're looking for scale.  Heck, I'll be honest in that I contribute to some Republicans if I think they are a better candidate. It's more about the candidate than the party, in my mind. You're trying to make something of this and the argument gets weaker by the posting.

Regarding local contributions, most in the party try to boost others in the party when they can. Doggett's had that opportunity and never seemed to do it. I guess you guys don't do that up in Austin. We do in Bexar County to help each other out.

BTW, regarding attack didn't you come out attacking Castro? Is Doggett the ONLY Democrat that you consider immune from attack? As I said, your arguments get weaker by the post, now the paragraph.

As several have pointed out, Castro has been more than progressive in the Texas House. But I guess you seem to ignore that fact, trying to make him a Republican in sheep's clothing. Face it, you have an agenda. You can't keep the arguments and facts straight and all you really want to do is try to smear Castro because your man Doggett has a challenger. There's more I'd like to say but you're pretty much doing it on your own.

[ Parent ]
You "FOXED" my statement... (0.00 / 0)

...to crate your own strawman

I never said they "wouldn't contribute to a Democrat", My statment was "not a cent to the DNC..." and that is a true statment..GD, SD and HBZ all contgribute large sums to the RNC ...big distinction and telling of their true ideology....

Bottom line is still:

Who and who loses if LD is ousted in the primay?

Texas will lose senority on Ways and Means.

Progressives will lose a stong voice in Con.gress.

Republicans win a battle they have been waging since LD fist went to DC.

[ Parent ]
No, you said it (0.00 / 0)
Here's the statement from your ORIGINAL comment "if Castro were running to unseat either Canseco or Smith, these Republicans would NOT have anything to do with his Congressional Campaign." I proved that wrong by showing that HBZ did contribute to a D. I'm sorry but you keep changing your lines. I thought it might be good to bring you back to your original statement.

Sorry, but I'm not buying all your comments on the losses. Doggett has lost his effectiveness on Ways and Means thanks to the R majority and his ill-will with them. Tell me the last "effective" move made recently. I don't think we'll lose a progressive voice. Castro has proven to be a strong Progressive also.

I'm not disputing the last statement because I agree with it but that's not enough to only support Doggett. This is more about representation than "sticking it to the Rs."

[ Parent ]
At this point (0.00 / 0)
what Democrat has any goodwill with the Republicans?  And given the behavior of this GOP-led Congress, why would any Democrat want to.  Besides, this is shaping up to be by far the least productive Congress in a long time.

[ Parent ]
typically (0.00 / 0)
almost without exception, SA business folk give to SA candidates of both stripes.

and, LD has plenty of money (particularly PAC $) that one could assail as "not D".

so, is your contention that LD has some stated policy to refuse contributions from non-Dems?

but, as we've all seen in most races, the only person that criticizes the source of funds is the one not getting it.

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
Really? (0.00 / 0)
Is this the best the Doggett campaign can do? Try to paint the 12th most liberal member of the Texas House as a Republican sympathizer? I guess they don't remember Ardmore, or taking down Tom Craddick. I guess they haven't seen that Castro has a 100% voting record with every major progressive group.

They also failed to mention that MALDEF originally proposed the new 35th congressional district, not Republicans.

And since when do we Democrats spread Republican "testimony" as truth?

I think this line of attack is weak and plays right into the Republican hand. I expect more from Doggett.

I hear the shrill of the shill... (3.00 / 1)
Enough anonymous BS. Fair disclosure of who you are and who you work for - all of you.  

haha (0.00 / 0)
good luck with that!!

unless my memory is failing me, the author of the post is a former LD staffer...but even he doesn't disclose that.

i am no one and work for no one involved in this match-up.

unique to the discussion? i'm a constituent currently, and under the new map.

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
Waiting for maps (3.00 / 1)
I think a lot of us are waiting for the new maps (or interim maps) to come out discussing the candidates in the race. Personally I don't think it productive to start campaigning for or against two very good Democrats who may not end up in the same race. Instead, I think some, including myself, are focusing on the issue of redistricting in general and letting the media kind of follow the situation.

While I respect JMVC's position regarding Castro and Doggett, I think there's much, much more to the redistricting situation than is stated in this piece. It seems the poster is trying to smear a person based on the redistricting process rather than look at the records of the candidates. "Tremendous damage?" Can we say drama? I think there has been changes to the areas but "tremendous damage?"

I would prefer we not have the situation we have and have written about the need for a redistricting commission that has been proposed by Sen. Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) and Rep. Mark Strama (D-Austin) before (Redistricting - there is another way). Yes, I mentioned a Republican in the BOR in a positive manner. However, if you look at the blog post you'll see how these commissions are having a positive effect across the country for both parties. They make sense and that's why 11 states have adopted them for the redistricting process.

When the maps finally come out I think you'll see the commentary on the races start to ramp up when we know what's really at stake. Until then, I'd prefer not to get too mucky on the race.

I would have agreed with you about "two good candidates" (0.00 / 0)
Until it came out that Castro was working with Republicans on redistricting, lending them legitimacy and helping to disfranchise several groups for his own self serving ends.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
Give more details on this (5.00 / 1)
Castro basically was working to make sure Bexar County was represented adequately and properly and to help create a new Hispanic Opportunity District. In case you need some help, the Republicans essentially controlled the House. You have to work with them to make things happen. I guess trying to create a Hispanic Opportunity District is low on your priority. The bottom line is Doggett supporters are trying to make this like a conspiracy when, in reality, it was working to help build opportunities for Hispanics in Texas.

I'm sorry but your claim of disenfranchisement claim is weak on this account. You're following the Doggett campaign lines too much. I guess even before the new maps come out some people want to roll in the mud.

The reality is that if the new district was going to be designed as a Hispanic Opportunity District it needed to have the downtown area. That's all Castro and Rep. Villarreal did in working with the Republicans on the matter. BTW, tell me who he was supposed to work with regarding redistricting? The DPS officers working in the Capitol?

Actually if you read my entry you'll find that I would prefer support for a redistricting commission proposed by, OMG, a Republican. Are you saying we should work with Wentworth on that? Help me out here on this stuff.

[ Parent ]
He explicitly wanted more Bexar vs. Travis (0.00 / 0)
"In court, Downton testified that Castro and Villarreal wanted the new district "sufficiently weighted toward Bexar County, as opposed to Travis County.""

Are you telling me there couldn't have been a Hispanic Opportunity District anchored in Travis County?

If Castro wants to drive a knife into our back by working with Republicans to keep Austin from being able to elect a single representative of our own, that's not something I'm inclined to overlook.

And yes I agree that we should have a redistricting commission.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
What's wrong with that? (5.00 / 1)
There could be but there wasn't going to be. I don't think you're getting it that the Republicans were in control. Not working with them would result in something worse. You weren't going to get a single rep district out of this biennium regardless who did what. Face that fact.

For some reason you want to blame that fact on Castro which is absurd and frankly more about trying to create controversy that's not there.

These actions by Doggett supporters (I haven't pinned them on Doggett just yet) are something I and voters are not likely to overlook. It's pretty obvious this is about trying "give" the district to Doggett at any cost.

I'm seeing more that these actions will come back to bite you. Many of the claims are just downright false and fabricated. Stuff like chastising Castro for taking donations from Republican donors? You check the records and Doggett has done the same over the years. Pot, meet kettle. But those silly accusations were made this early. Give me a break.

Either debate this race on its merits or just give it up. If you guys want to drop to the mud, so be it. Just understand if it gets to that I, for one, will be ready to play that way also. I despise it when a campaign, like this one, resorts to those sort of practices but I don't let that stuff lie without rebuttal.

[ Parent ]
Yes Republicans were in control (3.00 / 1)
That doesn't excuse Castro lobbying to screw over Travis County even more.  I expect that from Republicans, I don't from fellow Democrats.  Am I blaming Castro for the whole thing?  Of course not.  But I also am not going to ignore the part he chose to play.  And telling Austinites he was uninvolved after lobbying Republicans to give us even less chance of representation.

As for "letting the voters" decide, the same could be said for you.  I could wrap my rhetoric in what the voters think too.  You've made it clear who you support, as have I.  If you want to talk about throwing mud, Castro and his supporters have been accusing Doggett of being an ineffective shrill, in so many words.  Is that not throwing mud?  The holier than thou rhetoric is unnecessary.

Can you really blame us for wanting to protect Doggett?  He's the one Democrats in Austin goes to regardless of district numbers or what district they are in.  If an Austin Democrat was working with Republicans to take away San Antonio's only Democratic rep, would you be OK with that?

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
Castro doesn't represent Travis County (0.00 / 0)
he represents Bexar County.  The people of Bexar County elect him, so he will act in their interests

Perhaps you should look to your Travis County representatives to see if they did anything on this endeavor to help Travis County.  It is their job, right?

Maybe there wasn't anything that they could do, and I would be inclined to believe that.

But that doesn't mean that Castro shouldn't.  And the GOP was going to put in a bad district and hurt Doggett regardless

[ Parent ]
All representative should represent the interests of everyone (0.00 / 0)
I strongly disagree with the idea that it's OK to hurt people just because they aren't in your district, and that you should only care for the good of your own direct constituents.  What happened to caring about the greater good?  What happened to doing the right thing?

Should a representative focus on his district?  Of course.  But it's not OK to hurt others in the process.  Especially when you want to represent some of them.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
but that's how representative government works (0.00 / 0)
and look, there's an implication that if Castro had sat on his hands, then Doggett wouldn't have hurt or targeted.

Well, I have news for you.  Doggett was going to be targeted -- period.  Don't blame Castro for that. Why was he going to be targeted?  Because the GOP could

[ Parent ]
Making sausage requires all hands (0.00 / 0)
v2aggie2 brings up a great point. Not faulting the Travis Co reps but if you want to attack someone for this issue you should start at home first. Castro was working hard to create the best situation for Bexar County. I'd like to see that attitude carried into DC and why I think Castro would make a good US representative. He has the progressive credentials proven in the TX House. He also has the political skills to hit the ground running in DC.

Regarding Doggett's ineffectiveness? There may have been but I haven't put that out. I have repeated what I've heard talking to people in his district. Don't get me wrong. Doggett's done a great job in DC. He's also done some things I disagree with. I don't like all the tactics some Ds pull and I let them know it. I'm not a big Sen. Wendy Davis fan right now after her "principled" move at the end of the biennium. That brought back more bad bills than you could shake a stick at in the special.

If you guys really believe in letting the voters decide why do you keep harping about Castro pulling out for the "good of the party?" I've heard that argument SO many times. Doesn't sound like letting the voters decide, does it? So no "holier than thou" rhetoric here. Just calling it like I see it. When you guys quit acting like it's Doggett's district without a primary challenge, I'll stop the voter "rhetoric." Fair enough?

I appreciate the dedication to Doggett. I don't appreciate the tactics. You and others have tried to create a redistricting conspiracy and don't seem to want to back down from it. If this is how your dedication manifests itself, in mud slinging politics and loyalty accusations, then it sounds like that dedication may be misguided. Think about that. Is that really how you like to campaign? What's next? Trashing Castro's family?

[ Parent ]
That's a red herring (0.00 / 0)
None of this addresses the point about Castro lobbying Republicans to make the district have more of Bexar and less of Travis.  That has nothing to do with Castro dropping out, a subject I haven't even talked about.  Castro was trying to pick his voters for his own personal benefit no matter who it screwed over.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
Red herring? (5.00 / 1)
You really are stuck on trying to pin this on Castro, arent' you. Well, the more you argue it the weaker your arguments are becoming and the more people see where this started.

Castro lobbied to help develop a Hispanic Opportunity District. Yes, he worked for more in Bexar County because he represents Bexar County. He works for the common good (referring to another comment of yours), especially when it comes to higher education. But when the issue is local, he does the right thing and works for his constituents.

I'll agree you haven't called for Castro to drop out. I was addressing it at the Doggett hacks in here and in prior entries who seem to think this district was Doggett's solely. There have been many with that mentality.

You can keep trying to argue that Castro was only looking out for his own interests but in reality it was for the district. I'm glad he did. I live there and appreciate his hard work for Bexar County. As v2aggie2 said, you probably should be harping at Travis County reps who seem to have been MIA during redistricting. They may not have been but I haven't seen their names brought up in working with the House committee.

[ Parent ]
Representing Bexar county (3.00 / 1)
Doesn't excuse screwing over Travis county in the process.  And it's absolutely something voters in Travis county should remember when he wants to be part of a district that has large parts of Travis county in it.  He wasn't the main person responsible, of course, but he lobbied for it and then lied about his role to us.

Working for the common good on other issues, or on redistricting 8 years ago, doesn't change anything he's done here on THIS issue.

As for Travis county reps, they were loudly calling for Austin to have it's own district.  Even Paul Workman, our sole GOP state rep, said that we should have our own district.

Was it his job to focus on protecting Austin?  No.  But he worked against us.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
Well, I imagine Travis County will support Doggett anyway (0.00 / 0)
so I'm not sure they need to "remember" anything

Again, the GOP was going to do what it was going to do.
They didn't need Castro to do it.

[ Parent ]
Forgot to note (0.00 / 0)
Not everyone in Bexar wanted it either.  Including Charlie Gonzalez in the two articles linked in the OP.  http://blog.mysanantonio.com/t...

His suggested changes also helped Canseco against any potential Democratic challengers.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
We understand Charlie's motives (0.00 / 0)
Nothing against Gonzalez but he's self-serving here also. No one likes change but it was going to happen in order to shoe-horn in 4 new districts into the state. Fortunately we got one here in South Central Texas. Some changes had to occur.

You've got an agenda and I can see where it's at. You're making some pretty smarmy claims like lying and screwing over. I don't think you've seen anything of that low caliber coming from the Castro camp so I guess we now see what kind of Democrats are working for Doggett. BTW, I don't know if I've asked. Do you live in the new 35th? I do, BTW. It's my district you're talking about. I'm a constituent, unlike a lot of Doggett's folks.

Finally, I can't believe you've diminished all the work Castro has done for some accusations that are baseless. Is that really how you view the work of our Democratic reps in the House? Do you EVEN know how things work in the House? Just in case you forgot, the Rs have a supermajority. They could run the House with EVERY single D sitting at home. Yep, you HAVE to work with the Rs to make things happen.

So, since you said the Austin reps were working with the Rs, trying to secure a single district for Austin they are just as bad as Castro? I'm just applying your logic to the situation. I take it they were working with the redistricting committee. If they weren't you may need to get a new set of reps because (see above on House control).

[ Parent ]
To a certain extent, everybody has their own (0.00 / 0)
self-interested motives, whether it be Gonzalez, Castro, Doggett, the GOP, or others.  

I guess I get surprised when people are surprised by that fact.

[ Parent ]
LOL, love it (5.00 / 1)
I'm surprised you're surprised by people being surprised in a blog. Okay, having too much fun with this. Time for a close out on this. Pretty obvious the lines from Doggett's campaign folks are from a hack piece and they aren't going to deviate from it. Gotta give 'em kudos for staying on the hack message. Some campaign supporters can't do that.

[ Parent ]
Yes I'm biased, and so are you (3.00 / 1)
You talk about my agenda, what about yours?  You're just as much of a partisan for Castro as I am for Doggett.

Yes, I'm aware the Republicans had a super majority, and could do what they wanted regardless of the Republicans.  That doesn't justify or excuse Castro advocating for policies that would hurt Austin, regardless of who had the final say.

He claimed he opposed their efforts to marginalize Austin.  But it turns out he lobbied the Republicans to marginalize Austin in that district so he could run it.  That's lying.  And it's inexcusable, regardless of any of the other good work he's done.

As for he difference between trying to secure a district for Austin and one for San Antonio?  San Antonio already has at least one Democrat (and I believe two).  Without this district, Austin Democrats will have zero.  Zero representation for a major city with roughly the same number of Democratic voters as San Antonio.

Castro being a partisan for San Antonio is a great argument against him.  Any Democrat who wins this seat, if the maps stand, will be Austin's ONLY Democratic representative.  And you want us to support someone who has shown that he will sell us out for his own interests?  No.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
I think it's a fairly safe bet (5.00 / 1)
that Republicans were going to marginalize Austin regardless of what Castro did or didn't do.

[ Parent ]
Completely agree (5.00 / 1)
v2aggie2 that's pretty much dead on. However, the Doggett campaign (or a few folks from it) seem to want to pin the entire situation on Castro as if he engineered the whole redistricting fiasco, probably including the crazy map up in in the DFW area.

I find their claims almost desperate in this campaign and I don't know why. The maps aren't even finalized and it's still early. Do they really think Doggett doesn't have a chance on his merits? This is almost Swiftboating, in my mind.

[ Parent ]
Straw man (3.00 / 1)
No one has tried to "pin the entire situation on Castro as if he engineered the whole redistricting fiasco, probably including the crazy map up in in the DFW area.".  You bash me for having an "agenda", yet you use these kinds of silly arguments to deflect attention away from the role he did play.  

Was it a relatively minor role?  Yes.  Does that excuse it?  No.  I have less tolerance for a fellow Democrat who wants to be Austin's only Democratic representative than I do for generic Republicans on this issue.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
Of course I don''t blame you for wanting to protect Doggett (0.00 / 0)
and if I lived in the district, I would be voting for Doggett myself.

And if Austin Democrat was working to benefit Travis County, I would say that he or she was acting in the interests of his or her constituents.

[ Parent ]
Well, if you are in Bexar County (3.00 / 1)
that may be something you go after.  And in the same manner, I would expect a Travis County rep. to work on behalf of Travis County.

Bottom line -- local reps. look after their own areas.  After all, those are the people who elected them.

The new district was going to be bad regardless.  It was going to hurt Doggett regardless.  Don't blame Castro for the GOP's desires.  

[ Parent ]
so, by your logic (3.00 / 1)
when it comes out that LD also worked with the repubs...you'll no longer consider him a "good candidate"??

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
Separate the two questions (3.00 / 1)
Castro's involvement in drawing a district for himself is quite damning. as is his hypocrisy in pretending to have fought against the gerrymander that he helped engineer.

On the other hand, the money argument doesn't hold much water with me. Yes, a bunch of GOP folks are happy to fund Castro to get rid of their nemesis Doggett, but that doesn't mean that Castro isn't actually progressive. (Do you actually expect him to turn down the contributions?!) It just means that he (and the GOP donors) are happy to make deals with their most-of-the-time enemies to win the current battle. That's the nature of politics.

Elections are about issues and character. On the issues, Castro has a strong record, and nothing in this post changes that.  On character, he's a heck of a lot weaker than we thought he was.  

really? (3.00 / 1)
have you ever followed the redistricting process for one second?? every member with a brain cell works their district lines as much as they can. show me one that doesn't and i'll show you the first person we should kick out for not caring.

and, if you'll look objectively at JC's story and legislative record, you'll find that he's passed his character tests.

that remark is beneath you.

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
calmate (5.00 / 1)
everyone on both sides should simmer down just a bit. of course both LD and JC talked to repubs about their districts.

if both LD and JC were NOT working with everyone who would answer the phone to get their respective districts tuned to give their hometowns the best shot, i would be shocked.

of course, when the republicans are in charge of the US House and every single aspect of state government, you'll have to go to them.

i'll guarantee you that LD and/or his staff had communication with repubs at the state and federal level to work on his district. (I know he negotiated with them extensively in 06).

and, for the record: if LD truly, truly prioritized minority representation (not that he doesn't care...just refuses to prioritize) then he would be supporting the addition of new Hispanic-opportunity districts during the legal process. instead, he has tried to rally other members (including Hispanic members) to abandon redistricting damages that would result in new H-O districts and instead save his. frankly, that is extraordinarily disappointing and makes me a little sad.

and again, this is NOT LD's district...it is a new district.

JMVC: you compare JC to Pena? that is either a testament to complete and utter ignorance of both men, or the strength of your bias. as someone who knows both, the comparison is wholly inappropriate and inaccurate.

Please refer to KT's signature.

Cortez used to be an employee of Doggett. (4.00 / 2)

So is BOR now allowing former employees of candidates to do hatchet jobs on their old bosses opponents?

Actually, I'm a former Doggett staffer as well.  However,if given the chance I'd do a hatchet job on  Lloyd Doggett.

short answer (3.00 / 1)

anyone is entitled to write just about anything.

disclosure is incumbent on the author.

as far as i know, the only time disclosure is "required" is if they are currently an employee or consultant.

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
Questions (5.00 / 2)

Do you think you should make it clear that you used to be on Rep. Doggett's payroll?

Did Rep. Doggett's campaign ask you to make this post or did you do it on your own?

busted (5.00 / 2)
as i referenced in one of my posts in this diary...

if he says he didn't have any communication with the campaign i'll laugh for a month!  

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
Don't think it's germane, but sure (0.00 / 0)
I am certainly not hiding that fact. One only need to google me to see that (I think my bio is the first hit), but I do not see how that is germane to anything mentioned in my post. I worked in LD's district office about 5 years ago - the last time Republicans tried to redistrict him out of office.  I had always admired Congressman Doggett before working for him, and after serving in his office for about a year and half, I came to admire his unyielding efforts to fight for our community even more. I saw first hand the difference he has made in so many of his constituents' lives, and I can't imagine ANYONE better representing the interests of my neighbors and I in Congress.  No one needed to put me up to anything - I have been speaking out about redistricting as a concerned voter and elected official since before the lines were finalized. I testified against several of the proposed maps at the lege before Castro announced, and I made clear my support of Congressman Doggett since before the special session adjourned. My only interest in this unfortunate situation is to make sure that we have the best person representing us - and I remain firm that person is Congressman Doggett.

To be clear, I think Castro has been a great State Rep. I admire his willingness to break quorum in 03 and his progressive voting record since, but neither, in  my mind, excuse his apparent involvement in this redistricting affair. Others may disagree, but that is my opinion, and I stand by it. If perhaps the testimony in the federal case in San Antonio was in fact perjury, and the Express News articles are dead wrong, then perhaps I would owe Rep Castro an apology. If they are not, then perhaps he owes us one.

[ Parent ]
Perjury? (0.00 / 0)
Okay John-Michael exactly what testimony (and I want it quoted) are you referring to that is creating this "conspiracy?" I was ready to let the thing lie but "perjury" is a pretty tough word you're throwing around. I'm really having a hard time with this conspiracy theory you've come up with. Working on maps to create the best HOD and voting to avoid Travis County being split into 5 parts are not conflicting interests. You continue to try to create this grassy knoll.

I'm telling you. Keep this up and this is going to backfire on the Doggett campaign. You're having to bend and twist statements to create your conspiracy and it's becoming more and more evident. Perjury is a really serious word and you better have something to back it.

Are you guys just that desperate to feel the merits of the candidate aren't enough?

[ Parent ]
Perjury refers to Downton (3.00 / 1)
Downton testified about Castro's and Villarreal's involvement on the issue.  He was saying that if Castro wasn't actually involved, than Downton's statement was perjury.

Castro and state Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, worked with Republicans to put downtown into the new congressional district, according to Ryan Downton, general counsel to the House committee that drew the maps in Austin.

In court, Downton testified that Castro and Villarreal wanted the new district "sufficiently weighted toward Bexar County, as opposed to Travis County."


"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
Not "germane"? (0.00 / 0)
"I think your opinion and perspective are important and relevant to this debate, regardless of your past employment by Congressman Doggett. As an elected official in Austin and a constituent of the district, your opinion should be heard on this types of issues.

However, I do think you should disclose your past employment. That was my only issue. My apologies if it appeared any other way."

The above is what I wrote in response to you on another thread.

I know many people value your perspective, including myself, and for good reason. I think we are just going to disagree on whether disclosing you used to work for the person you are praising is "germane" or not.

[ Parent ]
point of order (0.00 / 0)
couldn't resist.

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
As a constituent of the district ... (0.00 / 0)
I'm glad the work was done. I'm not sure if John Michael lives in the new district. I do. I read his statement "what about the communities that have been split up to serve his ambitions and Republican interests?" Personally, while I wish the district was more compact, the areas John Michael is calling out needed to be moved to create more compactness in Bexar County, to create a true community of interest.

Serving Republican interests? Let's be clear. Helping create a Hispanic Opportunity District and also creating a better community of interest in a Democratic district does very little to serve their interests. But it's easy to claim conspiracy when you support the opponent and try to distort the facts.

John Michael seems to be doing mores disservice to the party by trying to create his own little "grassy knoll" in this race. I'm still trying to figure out how a brand new district designed to be a Hispanic Opportunity District all of a sudden was assigned to Doggett, who doesn't even live in the district. I guess the voter's will has nothing to do with this race.

BTW, John Michael, do you live in the district? If so, welcome neighbor. It'll be good to meet you as a fellow constituent.

I Live in Lamar Smith's New District Thanks to Gerrymandering (4.00 / 2)
Waiting to see how the lawsuit comes out before re-engaging in this battle, as I have stated in earlier posts. Hopefully all of South Travis County and Hays County could be in the same congressional district as a result of the lawsuit.

Everybody needs to chill out, we still have plenty of time to beat each other bloody after Christmas.

[ Parent ]
re: "do you live in the district" (0.00 / 0)
According to the VAN, which admittedly may be out of date, he lives in the proposed CD 25.

[ Parent ]
Time to close this out (0.00 / 0)
It's pretty obvious the Doggett folks are working from a hack position to try to discredit Castro for sticking up for Bexar County and doing what any good legislator does - work as best he/she can within the system for constituents. The district is a Hispanic Opportunity District. Doggett has every much an opportunity to win this as Castro, on their merits. Apparently Doggett's folks don't think that's enough. So be it.

With regards to the money, that's the most ludicrous position I've ever seen, especially since we've pointed out that Doggett took money from Republican donors also. I noticed that side of the argument went silent all of a sudden. Castro's donors are Bexar County business people who believe in him and support him. Not uncommon in Bexar County. Heck, Zachry supported Ciro Rodriguez, as I pointed out.

I think I and several others have provided rational rebuttals on the matter without dropping into the mud. There's really no reason to and hopefully Doggett doesn't support that type of campaigning. Granted, you can't stop your volunteers but let's hope the entire campaign isn't going to look like this.

The maps still have yet to be finalized and a lot could change. Time to stick with the merits of the candidates and get out of this mud, or dust if you consider how dry it's been here in TX. Oh, that we could only have mud.

this should get this post Bumped (0.00 / 0)
Maybe John-Michael, Madame Breaux, Mr. Beaux and Timothy can answer 1 simple question:

How is Castro contacting map drawers compare to LD sitting down at the table in 2006 with Smith, Bonilla & Cuellar and negotiating the boundaries of his district?

He and his staff specifically negotiated one-on-one with Lamar Smith & Henry Bonilla (republicans) to make changes to his district.

How is this different?

(giddy with excitement...can't wait for this)

Please refer to KT's signature.

2006?! (0.00 / 0)
What does 2006 have to do with anything?  The last redistricting was in 2003. The current one is in 2011. The only thing happening in 2006 were the court-ordered changes.  

[ Parent ]
forgot to mention LSadun (3.00 / 1)
in my list of apologists.

does collaboration matter or not?????

there was a court-ordered redistricting in 06 (news flash).

the court accepted the plan AGREED to and NEGOTIATED by Smith, Doggett, Bonilla & Cuellar.

have you lost all intellectual integrity over this match-up?

if this is all about principles and values, be principled and answer the question.

(i knew the responses would be awesomepants...just didn't know how good!)

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
Who has said that working on redistricting in general is inherently bad? (0.00 / 0)
The problem is that Castro claimed to have no part in dividing Travis county so that we wouldn't have any district to call our own, but then it turns out that he advocated minimizing Travis's presence in the only Democratic district.

"I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."- James A. Baldwin

[ Parent ]
ok (5.00 / 1)
so does it matter to you at all that the map drawer indicated that castro's contact was after the map was drawn?

Please refer to KT's signature.

[ Parent ]
This could all be for naught (0.00 / 0)
Well, Michael Li put out the information on the latest proposals by the interest groups, Cuellar and Canseco and they are, pardon the pun, all over the map. I did my take on them at my blog (and a diary entry here that may be promoted).

Some are REALLY interesting. DFW gets gerrymandered to high heaven (one district is only five blocks wide at one point).

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