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Houston Mayor Annise Parker Not Coy About Intentions To Run Statewide In 2018

by: Joe Deshotel

Wed Jan 01, 2014 at 00:00 PM CST

Annise Parker, fresh off reelection to her 3rd term as Houston Mayor, told Lone Star Q she is eyeing a future run for statewide office possibly in 2018. As fired up as Texas Democrats are right now, the state will not turn blue without recruiting top tier candidates, so you can mark this announcement as another progressive victory of 2013.

Parker is an experienced campaigner who first honed her chops on Houston City Council in 1997 before being elected to 3 terms as City Comptroller starting in 2003. Now, in her final term as Mayor she is no stranger to headlines and continues to rattle the Conservative establishment far beyond Houston's city limits.

Find out what position Mayor Parker may be considering along with the full interview below the jump...

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Midyear 2013 Houston election update

by: kuff

Tue Jun 04, 2013 at 05:54 AM CDT

(Thanks to Kuff for this thorough preview of Houston's elections this November! - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Back in January, I took an early look at the 2013 elections in Houston. At the request of the folks at the Burnt Orange Report, who also printed my initial overview, here's an update on the races in the city of Houston in 2013. Join me beneath the fold for the goodies.
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Overview of Mayoral Races-so far

by: Aboubacar Ndiaye

Fri Mar 15, 2013 at 08:50 AM CDT

With Battleground Texas stoking hopes of turning Texas into a swing state by the 2016 presidential election, more attention is being paid to organizing during the interim. Before the 2014 midterms, Texas Dems have an amazing opportunity to identify supporters, mobilize communities, and train organizers and activists this year. Major cities in Texas will be having municipal elections this year. In competitive contests for offices from Mayor to City Councilperson, millions of dollars will be spent and countless organizing opportunities will arise. I have put together an overview of the Mayoral contests in the biggest cities in Texas:


Shaping up to be the most expensive and possibly most divisive of the city races, Houston's mayoral race pits incumbent Annise Parker against former City Attorney and current superlawyer Ben Hall. First elected in 2009 in a runoff victory against Gene Locke, Parker narrowly avoided another runoff in her reelection campaign in 2011, winning 50.4 percent of the vote against a slew of unknown candidates. Because of Ben Hall's ability to fundraise and large personal resources, the race is likely to be much more competitive this time around. The unaccounted variable in the race is potential entry of a Republican candidate in the race.

San Antonio

Golden Boy, Future Presidential Nominee, and Great Brown Hope of the Texas Democratic Party Julian Castro still has to win re-election as Mayor of San Antonio this year before he can fulfill the wish of every democrat in Texas. He is facing an array of newbie and perennial candidates with little name ID or campaign funds. As of this writing, unless something crazy happens between now and Election Day, he will cruise to re-election without having to stop his current national speaking schedule.

El Paso  

Current Mayor John Cook is term-limited and a large field of candidates are vying to replace him Among the eight declared candidates are current City Representative Steven Ortega, local businessmen Oscar Leeser and Robert Cormell, and substitute teacher Jorge Artalejo. Even in such a crowd, Cormell and Ortega, by virtue of their early fundraising prowess, are beginning to separate themselves from the pack.

Fort Worth

After handily winning her election to a first-term as Mayor of Fort Worth, Republican Betsy Price is running unopposed in her re-election campaign.

Aboubacar "Asn" Ndiaye was a Field Organizer on the Harris County Democratic Party's 2012 Coordinated Campaign. Follow him at twitter.com/thehardask

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A first look at Houston's 2013 elections

by: kuff

Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 05:57 AM CST

(Thanks to Charles Kuffner for this detailed first look into Houston's upcoming November elections.   - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Dist        Name     Cash on hand



Myr       Parker        1,281,657

Ctrl     R Green            9,983

AL 1    Costello           57,345

AL 2       Burks            3,160

AL 4    Bradford           20,590

AL 5    Christie           14,535

A          Brown           22,641

B          Davis           64,211

C          Cohen           45,597

F          Hoang            6,429

G     Pennington          119,951

H       Gonzalez           57,899

J         Laster           31,816

K        L Green            9,107

It is 2013, right? So while we have the SD06 special election and the new legislative session to worry about, it's not too early to start talking about the 2013 elections. Let's start with a peek at the campaign finance reports from last July of the Houston officeholders who will be on the ballot this November, at right.

I omitted the three Council members who are term-limited out (Melissa Noriega, Wanda Adams, and James Rodriguez), as well as newly-elected Dave Martin, since his July report would not be relevant. Normally there would have been five open seats this year, but with Mike Sullivan stepping down due to his successful candidacy for Tax Assessor and Jolanda Jones losing in 2011, there are only three vacancies, and as such there will likely be a stampede for those seats. But we'll get to that in a minute.

Below the jump, let's take a closer look at where the non-term limited incumbents are.

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San Antonio Referendum Could Signal Austin To End Education Cuts

by: Joe Deshotel

Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 11:00 AM CDT

San Antonio, one of Texas' fastest growing cities and the hometown of House Speaker Joe Straus, may approve a tax increase for Pre-K that could signal to Austin that more cuts to education will not be tolerated. In June, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro announced he would propose a 1/8 cent sales tax to pay for full-day Pre-K for low income students. The idea received Republican criticism but last week passed City Council unanimously sending it to the ballot for voter approval in November. A major referendum on the ballot and the keynote speech at Obama's nomination add up to a big year for the young mayor being groomed as a future statewide candidate. He said of his plan, "I'm not going to wait for Washington or Austin to make the right investments for our young people…And in the meantime, we lose our economy.” He did admit, "nobody likes a tax [increase]", but could there be a better way to challenge state leaders than to fulfill the job they've abdicated while touting a pro-economic message?

The tax will raise an estimated $29 million dollars at about $7.81 per household annually and serve roughly 4,500 4 year olds. At least two San Antonio Republicans State Rep. Lyle Larson and Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolfe disagree with the Mayor's proposal. Rep. Larson argued, “The city has no business creating a ‘department of education.'" That's a revealing statement from someone who's Party platform includes demolishing the federal Department of Education and who's record includes voting to cut $5 billion in state funds for public education - $200 million of which funded Texas' full-day Pre-K program. For his part Commissioner Wolfe believes it's, "parental failure to take advantage of existing programs" and ultimately, "It is a parent's responsibility.” It may be a parent's job to provide for their children but the state is constitutionally required to provide an "efficient" public school system where, as the state Supreme Court ruled, efficient does not equate to "cheap".

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How Can You Make A Judgement On Gender The Way Another Acts?

by: Arctotraveler

Mon May 28, 2012 at 04:37 PM CDT

Please do not send me any more of your petitions of hatred, promoting an anti-gender America such as,

"Dear Pro-family American, the Radical Homosexuals infiltrating the United States Congress have a plan: Indoctrinate an entire generation of American children with pro-homosexual propaganda and eliminate traditional values from American society. Their ultimate dream is to create a new America based on sexual promiscuity in which the values you and I cherish are long forgotten. I hate to admit it, but if they pass the deceptively named "Student Non-Discrimination Act," (H.R. 998 & S. 555) that's exactly what they'll do."

You are an embarrassment to the rest of the six-billion people that occupy this globe. Just maybe, if you can read and want to take the time to understand the harsh reality of the world, study this essay closely as follows:

A miracle is a positive event in our lives that seems to oppose the laws of physics or the natural order of things. Perhaps miracles are natural events outside of peripheral perception or beyond the limits of human reasoning that gives hope in times of despair or uncertainty.

Take a moment and think of all the people who are so commonplace in your daily affairs; they seem to be non- existent or completely invisible. At times, gender, race, and cultural groups seem to ride in a perceptual blind spot of social recognition.

Gender is a controversial tender blind spot of social recognition. Gender is an identity role by which a person is recognized by himself or others, regardless of biological sex!

Most Americans do not know, five-thousand infants are born every year in this country with ambiguous genitalia. A simple definition of the condition of ambiguous genitalia is, "Cannot be determined to be male or female." Tell me, where do the 100,000 American adults, over the age of
eighteen years old, born with ambiguous genitalia, fit in any of these anti-gay preachers, theologians, or hate groups holy bible?

Gender is the way we act, a behavior that is viewed as feminine or masculine by a particular culture, society, or group regardless of biological sex determinations. In some societies, gender can be recognized as both, such as the term 'two-sprits' used by American Natives. Conversely, in some societies such as Tibetan Buddhist tradition, gender can be recognized as neither or gender neutral.

Never-the-less, gender is culturally determined by the way an individual identifies with others as a 'man' or a 'woman' who are biologically determined in the womb as genitalia develops from a sexually neutral fetus. So it makes good sense that gender has nothing to do with biological sex, and gender is misidentified as behavioral characteristics determined by biological sex.

In other words, the way a person behaves could be based on a weaker sex dominated by a stronger sex in relation to the way we adapt to the world biologically and culturally.

Not long ago, head hunting was the rave amongst Amazon clans which gave way to deculturalization by a society that knew its strength by corresponding with other heads. In the same time period, a male dominated anthropologist rewrote theories that excluded the view of women of anthropology, who know their strength by using their own heads.

An encyclopedic definition of Anthropology is "the study of humanity" and that study is by way of ethnography or a compilation of observation reports. We cannot ignore the earliest biblical story tellers as ethnographers and these stories are preserved in Hebrew (Jewish) text as the first books of laws that prescribe behavior, the way we act, and punishment for acting contrary to that prescription. No doubt religious beliefs that prescribe a natural woman and a dominant man, tend to be more prejudiced toward sexual alternative roles such as in today's America.

Although Americans view themselves as a society of diversity and sexual indifference, they are probably the least intolerant to alternative gender roles. Gender Intolerance could be in part based on a false belief that these roles are not 'natural', or more especially, violate traditional beliefs.

The notion that women and men are essentially different or complement each other, constitute the idea of the natural woman and dominant male cultural consciousness that is based on moral beliefs either prescribe from, or culturally developed from tradition. The biases to alternative gender roles are not religious biases, they are developed from cultural associations that define what is 'feminine' and what is 'masculine' and how each should act.

We know American society as a whole is less tolerant to alternative gender roles and we can even say, show prejudice to those that behave contrary to their biological sex by contrast and comparison to other societies of the world. Anthropologists do not understand why the notion of the natural woman is so prevalent world-wide, but this does not mean that women of all ages played a lesser role to the
dominance of men based on biological sex; nor does it predict a male dominated society in the future based on biological sex.

Never-the-less,global attitudes toward alternative gender roles seem more tolerant than American bias to the extreme of legislating man made laws that forbid the behavior.

Likewise, societies that are accepting or more open to alternative gender roles such as Native Americans and Buddhist cultures, seem more tolerant because their moral belief systems are more tolerant to alternative gender roles. These beliefs can be understood as a disregard to a social morality similar to the system of philosophy known as Confucianism which grew from the Buddhist tradition. The
anatomical similarities of Native Americans are biological links to Asian ancestry, and could also be a causal relation to the same Buddhist ideology in which Confucianism developed.

Confucius seems to think we should be concerned with what is personally satisfying because a satisfying life is living in a society or group (Ren) by way of ritual (Li). Relations are crucial with Confucius' ethical methodology. Confucius rejected the idea of morality as a set of rules or imperatives; if ethics is Ren by way of Li, then we cannot make a judgment on another person's behavior or say it is morally wrong to live in a certain way.

The idea of the natural woman is still prevalent in these societies and oppression of women including servitude and public beatings cannot be ignored; however, gender alternative roles are acceptable because gender alternatives are a way another person acts and does not threaten established order.

No person including myself is alien to moral convictions and my own biases seem more tolerant to the idea of alternative gender roles because I believe, even if that belief is false, that gender is essential to the individual before conception and is naturally agreeable to the native American 'two-spirit" ideology and cannot contradict the Buddhist notion of a gender neutral before birth.

With that said, I identify myself as a recovering genderistic, someone who has shown prejudice to the idea of alternative gender roles, and I contribute that bias to social construction, because I was born and raised in the American society that promotes or prescribes these biases.

The documentary 'The times of Harvey Milk' came as a surprise to me, to now understand that I had lived through a major cultural event and knew nothing of the assassination of Harvey Milk. San Francisco City Supervisor, Harvey Milk was the most influential public figure advocating for gay rights and founder of the gay movement.

Perhaps Harvey Milk's death had been obscured by the headlines that featured Jonestown Guyana where 900 followers of the Peoples Temple lead by Jims Jones had committed suicide in hope of meeting together in a better afterlife on November 18, 1978. However, after a little research, I find the press gave full coverage of the assassination of Harvey Milk alongside my daily reads of the Johnstown tragedy.

Most likely, my ignorance of the political upheaval in San Francisco was rooted in my small Texas town customs that developed my values, assumptions, and beliefs about the world which included a common false belief that homosexuals are sexual deviants and the worst of them preyed on children.

Harvey Bernard Milk, assassinated in the San Francisco Court House along with Mayor George Moscone was not a sexual deviant but a hero not only amongst the gay community, but for all peoples in America who face persecution in a society based on common law which shapes not only beliefs but law and punishment. According to the Times Magazine, Harvey Milk was:

"the first openly gay man elected to any substantial political office in the history of the planet ".As the self-described "Mayor of Castro Street" he was active during a time of substantial change in San Francisco politics and increasing visibility of gay and lesbian people in
American society. He was assassinated in 1978, along with Mayor George Moscone, by then recently-resigned city supervisor Dan White, whose relatively mild sentence for the murders led to the White Night Riots and eventually the abolishment of diminished capacity defense in California (Wikipedia The Times of Harvey Milk)."

Public and private acts of homosexuality was a criminal offense in most states during Milk's brief position on the Board of supervisors of the City of San Francisco until it was finally challenged in 1984. Dorothy Bracey highlights this Supreme Court case in her text Exploring Law and Culture:

"Lisa Brower (1994) demonstrates that Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), in which the supreme Court of the United States decided that the right to privacy did not extend to consensual sodomy, was one of the factors leading to a new stage in gay and lesbian activism (Bracey p. 26)."

The term deviant is usually a reference to an offensive person or even a criminal, but in its literal sense deviant simply means "different from traditional norm (Encarta Dictionary." The American judicial system is based on common law which historically considers traditional values of a dominating culture or group.

Bracey further elaborates the impact that customs and tradition have on law, which in many cases creates a pluralistic applications based on tolerance depending on the denominate group of a particular culture.

The dominant culture that shaped San Francisco values and beliefs in the late 1970's were personified in city supervisor Dan White, a previously serving police officer elected by the community to serve on the same City Board of his victims killed in cold bold on November 27, 1978 (Wikipedia The Times of Harvey Milk).

White received a light sentence based on an acceptance of a "Twinkie Defense" by a preselected group of jurors from White's community. Compassion was shown by entertaining the possibility of insanity by way of junk food intake which Dan white had been indulging weeks before the murders.

These jurors share the same common false belief as people from my small town in Texas, that homosexuals are sexual deviants and the worst of them preyed on children. The jurors in this case gave White a light 5-year sentence for double political assassination. However, San Francisco was much more tolerant to the gay community at the time because a large minority lived peacefully in Harvey Milk's district.

I would hate to think what the outcome would have been if the same tragedy occurred in a small town in Texas with absolutely no tolerance such as where I lived in 1978. It would not surprise me if Dan White would have been acquitted for ridding neighborhood of sexual deviants which would include Mayor Moscone for conspiring with the homosexuals.

The jury's decision was not accepted as justice by San Francisco citizens who considered Dan White to be the worst of social deviants, a cold blooded calculating killer. After the trial, a riot broke out by both heterosexual and homosexual citizens that brought havoc to the bay area by breaking out windows in the court house, destroying public property, and the group is well remembered for systematically burning every police car within a torch throw.

The riot aftermath found relief in gay activism that has led over time to a high level of acceptance of homosexual relationships in all communities across American which eventually spurred congress to remove laws based on sexual
orientation, and create new laws to protect gay citizens.

G N O'Dell 05/23/2012

Field Researcher South Central Texas - South America Cultural Anthropologist

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An overview of the 2011 City of Houston elections

by: kuff

Thu Sep 15, 2011 at 06:16 AM CDT

(Thanks, Kuff! Houston readers, what are your thoughts on this November's elections? - promoted by Katherine Haenschen)

Howdy. This is Charles Kuffner from Off the Kuff, and I was asked by the fine folks at BOR to write an overview of the 2011 Houston municipal elections. What follows is my effort to summarize it all for you. For more information, please see my 2011 Election page, which contains links to interviews I have conducted with the candidates (more are to come), campaign finance reports, and endorsement lists. On to the overview...
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Yes Lee Can!

by: Amy Everhart

Sat May 09, 2009 at 10:46 AM CDT

Today is the day!

Lee Leffingwell has earned the support of the progressive community in Austin, and he'll provide strong leadership as our next Mayor. If you haven't already voted, then please click here to find your polling location.

From the Austin Chronicle:

Leffingwell's willingness and ability to work patiently with disparate interest groups - as well as his council colleagues - has broken policy logjams and moved the city forward on water conservation, redevelopment, public safety, and other issues. We haven't agreed with him on every issue, but he listens very well and seriously considers all public input, including opposing viewpoints. His mandate will also include being an inspiring, forward-thinking leader; he will need to use wisely the "kitchen cabinet" he proposes, in order to generate fresh ideas, solutions, and public energy.

PhotobucketCome to Lee's headquarters today and volunteer! Let's spread the word about Lee's progressive vision for Austin.

You can choose from several volunteer options:
1) Phone banking
2) Poll workers
3) Street visibility

It's a beautiful day in Austin, TX. So come volunteer and elect a mayor who shares our values.

Lee Leffingwell Headquarters
700 North Lamar
Austin, TX 78703
Click here for directions

After the polls close, join us at the Hill's Cafe to take part in the ELECTION NIGHT WATCH PARTY!  

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Breaking: San Antonio Express-News Endorses Julian Castro for Mayor

by: sanantoniomayor

Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 05:15 PM CDT

( - promoted by Karl-Thomas Musselman)

(Cross-posted at San Antonio Mayor).

Today, the San Antonio Express-News endorsed Julian Castro for Mayor.  This is a key development because the candidate that wins the endorsement of the Express-News usually goes on to win the mayoral race.  In 2005 and 2007, the E-N endorsed Hardberger for Mayor and he won both times.  In 2001, the E-N endorsed Ed Garza, and Garza won.

The Express-News editorial notes that of the three main candidates in the race,  Julian Castro is the best prepared and offers the best choice for the city.  Notably, the editorial noted Castro's emphasis on and vision for economic growth as one of the main reasons for their endorsement. The newspaper also noted that most of the business community is now backing Castro in this race.  With early voting in the race starting on Monday, the Express-News endorsement will give Castro a major advantage as it will probably influence many undecided voters.

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Austin Chronicle Forgets Alternate Candidates in Its Hustle for Mayor

by: MeanRachel

Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:08 AM CDT

(Rachel's post has started quite the buzz on the grassroots twitter. Glad to see it cross-posted here.  Thoughts? - promoted by Matt Glazer)

cross-posted on MeanRachel.com.

What happens when the alternative becomes mainstream? As the city of Austin delves further into its live music and hipster vices, with $200 ACL-fest ticket and plethora of skinny jeans, suddenly grunge is luxe. In last night's Hustle for Mayor, hosted by the alternative weekly newspaper the Austin Chronicle, the two mainstream candidates Lee Leffingwell and Brewster McCracken sipped coolly on Lone Stars and Miller Lites while answering softballs in front of a youthful, sweaty crowd at The Mohawk.

Strangely absent from the stage -- but not the venue -- were lesser-known mayoral candidates David Buttross and Josiah Ingalls. Nevertheless, Buttross managed to distribute glossy push-cards to attendees and Ingalls, a janitor at the Downtown Hilton, stood awkwardly in a poorly fitting suit and tie at the back of the audience. He was, as one Chronicle staffer put it, "uninvited."

The Chronicle, representative of Austin perhaps now more than ever in its scenester popularity, seemed unapologetic for eschewing an alternative voice in its Austin mayoral debates. A questioning of senior staff writer Michael King resulted in him saying "I don't think he's a serious candidate - do you?"

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