The Houston Climate Movement will hold a debate for Houston at-large council candidates on Saturday, August 19.
Here are the details:
What: At Large Environmental Candidate Forum
Where: First Congregational Church of Houston
10840 Beinhorn Rd.
Houston, TX 77024
When: August 19, 2023 - 2:30 - 90 minutes
M/C: Daniel Cohan - Rice University
It'll be interesting to see if At-Large 3 candidate Casey Curry joins the debate and, should she show up, mentions climate change. Ms. Curry, a Democrat, has rooted her campaign in her knowledge of flooding and resilience and her experience as a meteorologist at Channel 13. The Houston Democracy Project has seen Ms. Curry speak three times so far and she has never once mentioned climate change. Her website does not use the term either. She talks about flood mitigation. But not fully about causes of the floods.
This is one of the many problems with the illusion of non-partisanship in Houston municipal elections. Ms. Curry needs Republican votes to get into a runoff, and avoids one of the most important issues facing Houston so she can appeal to voters who support Donald Trump.
Democrats seeking Republican votes in this political environment risk slipping into reactionary politics and seeking greater partnership and coalition with the right rather than with pro-democracy Houstonians.
Republicans don't treat city elections as non-partisan. Neither should any advocate of democracy in Houston.
The Houston Democracy Project is working everyday to make the protection and expansion of democracy a top issue in 2023 Houston city elections. Please share word of the effort & please support the Houston Democracy Project.
There is a lot of money in politics. It goes to consultants, hangers-on and sycophants, connected vendors, paying for tired electoral strategies and whoever and whatever. Maybe some of it goes to good things.
Where the money does not go is to block walkers out in the heat knocking doors for a candidate because they are afraid their granddaughter will be prosecuted if she has a miscarriage. It doesn't go to the committed volunteer who shows up year after year. It doesn't often go to developing new political talent as the same candidates run over and over.
Maybe nobody should volunteer to canvass or phone bank for a well-financed Houston Mayoral candidate or council incumbent or sitting state legislator or for a well-financed non-incumbent.
The great majority of these incumbents and well-connected challengers were missing in action when it came to energizing turnout when so much was at stake in the 2022 Harris County elections. A theme of the 2022 Harris County Democratic campaign was--correctly--that democracy was on the ballot.
Charles Kuffner at the Houston political blog Off The Kuff made this file of Houston municipal campaign filings up the most recent July filing date. Check out who has what money before you offer your time and skills.
There is so much money out there. Get your share. You've earned it likely 20 or 50 or 100 times over. Ask the volunteer coordinator or candidate for money or a gift card or gas money or whatever. Get something. Volunteering is great when it's needed. Exploitation is not great.
John Whitmire and Shelia Jackson Lee are not the issue in 2023. 2023 Houston city elections are about the chance for people who care about the protection and expansion of democracy in Houston to organize, connect across diverse communities, set expectations for candidates & to have frank conversations about self-protection.
The Houston Democracy Project asks for donations. This works takes time and effort & is a product of my knowledge and experience. Please share word of the Project and please support the effort.
Houston GOP Councilwoman Supporting Election Re-Do Lawsuits Not Very Non-Partisan--No Obligation To Reach Across Aisle
With this post is a tweet from Houston City Councilwoman Mary Nan Huffman.
Councilwoman Huffman's words are just why the Houston Democracy Project says there is no such thing as a non-partisan election. We should not treat city elections as non-partisan.
Two investigative reports, one by Jen Rice at the Houston Chronicle and the other by Andrew Schneider at KUHF, establish the ongoing Republican election overturn lawsuits as horse hockey.
In fact, one of the 21 Harris County Republican plaintiffs just withdrew his election suit. No reason was given.
A common theme on the 2023 Houston municipal election trail is reaching out to the other side.
There is an old saying that there is no Republican or Democratic way to fill a pothole.
But we don't need our potholes filled by people who support authoritarians or by people silent about authoritarians. We could find people fully committed to democracy to be in charge of filling the potholes.
We don't have an obligation to talk to people who want to take away our most basic rights. There is no way forward for any of us if election results are not respected. There is no public safety without democracy.
The people we vote for do have an obligation to call out extremism and election-denial. This can't be left just to rank & file Houstonians. We need elected advocates.
The Houston Democracy Project is working to change the culture of Houston city politics and to make democracy a top focus of the '23 election season in Houston.
In addition to voting, we must also be discussing organizing across diverse communities and talking about self-protection.
We are being told out loud what the right intends.
Please tell others about the Houston Democracy Project & please support the Project with your donation.
The Houston Democracy Project was at the Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus municipal candidate endorsement meeting today.
All six hours of it!
Caucus membership endorsed Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee for Mayor by a vote 136-53 over John Whitmire.
The picture is of Rep. Jackson Lee today.
I'll have more to say about the meeting in the days ahead.
But I'll comment on one thing that was certain.
The rank & file membership of the Caucus does not want to be in coalition with extremists seeking to undo our elections and taking away our Houston elected school board in what just 60 years ago was a Jim Crow city.
Candidates who offered the extreme position of looking the other way at the Republican threat to democracy were soundly rejected. Caucus membership does not want to partner with Dan Patrick and Mattress Mack
Today's meeting was a good step along the way to making protection of democracy and fighting for democracy important issues in '23 Houston city politics.
The issue today was not the candidates selected so much as a membership that advocated for its rights and self-protection. There is no endorsement for any candidate for Mayor in this post.
The Houston Democracy Project is working everyday to shape and change the culture of Houston city elections. Please share word of the effort and please support the Project with your donation.
(Blogger's Note--I Know the formatting of this post is screwy. But I can't figure out how to get it back to normal. But it is a good post in any case!)
After a successful petition drive, Fair For Houston has been certified by the City of Houston to be on the November ballot.
Here is how Fair For Houston describes the issue that will be before Houston voters in 2023:
"If passed, this amendment will add language to the City of Houston charter requiring that any Council of Government (COG) or Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) of which Houston is a member adopt a population proportional voting system.
By requiring population proportional voting in H-GAC, our regional governing body, the Fair for Houston charter amendment will ensure that everyone in the region has a fair voice and fair representation in important decisions about how billions of dollars are spent for transportation infrastructure, flood control, workforce development, childcare vouchers, and more."
It's a matter of democracy. It's only correct that the people of Houston have proper representation on regional governing bodies and authorities.
A good thing about the Fair For Houston campaign is that they want every pro-democracy voter in Houston to vote.
City council incumbents and candidates want the people they think most likely to vote for them to turn out on Election Day. They are not reliable advocates of the widest pro-democracy turnout or the widest turnout just in general.
The Houston Democracy Project looks forward to supporting the Fair For Houston campaign.
Not only is it good on a strict public policy basis, the Fair For Houston effort is a strong boost for the cause of the protection and expansion of democracy in Houston. It's a rare case where the actual expansion of democracy is on the table rather than just fighting to guard what we already have.
The Houston Democracy Project is working everyday to make democracy a top issue in 2023 Houston city politics. Please share word of the effort and please support the Project with your donation.
A strong crowd at the monthly rubber-stamp HISD Board Of Managers this evening at a read-in to oppose the shutting of libraries of 28 HISD schools so they can be converted into discipline chambers.
Let's maintain and expand the fight against this attack on democracy.
State Senator & Houston Mayoral candidate John Whitmire wants to bring 200 Texas Department of Public Safety troops to patrol the streets of Houston.
These troopers are in Austin. At first, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson was in favor of DPS being stationed in his city. Then there were concerns about Blacks and Latinos being targeted by DPS. Now Mayor Watson wants the state troopers to leave and Governor Abbott says no.
Here is what Senator Whitmire says about his ability to control how Governor Abbott would use the troopers in Houston:
“I’m not Gov. Abbott, I’m not the mayor of Austin. I have been in the Legislature long enough to know how the political scene works in Austin. I can handle the responsibility of telling the governor we’re going to do it the Houston way,”
You see in the Tweet accompanying this post what Governor Abbott thinks the mandate of the state police is in Texas. They can go anyplace they want. They will do what they want.
Senator Whitmire was unable to stop the HISD takeover.
Senator Whitmire has not been able to stop the legislative attacks on trans people.
Senator Whitmire was unable to stop House Bill 2127 which greatly erodes the political autonomy of Texas cities and counties.
Senator Whitmire has been unable to stop the sharp restrictions on reproductive rights in Texas.
Senator Whitmire offers the deal to Houston voters that his relationships with far right extremists like Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick will benefit Houston.
Maybe--maybe--it's a deal worth considering if Senator Whitmire could deliver. But it just doesn't seem to be the case. Senator Whitmire isn't able to convince Greg Abbott about the virtues of the "Houston way."
There is no reason to believe Senator Whitmire will be able to restrain Governor Abbott or Greg Abbott's police. It's not a solid wager with democracy at stake.
There is no public safety without democracy.
The anti-democratic Republican Party is a top public safety threat to the people of Houston & Harris County. For all his emphasis on public safety issues, Senator Whitmire appears blind to the threat.
Maybe what the Senator proposes with the DPS troops plays well in the polls. So it goes.
As we vote, organize, connect with one another across communities and think about self-protection as authoritarianism and white supremacy guide public policy in Texas, let's have a clear view of Senator Whitmire.
We can give Senator Whitmire every benefit of the doubt here and still say he picks questionable friends, has over his very long time in elected office lost a clear reading of the diseased-pulse of hateful Texas Republicans and lacks consistent judgement.
The Houston Democracy Project is working everyday to make protection and expansion of democracy a top issue in 2023 Houston city politics. Please share word of the effort and support the Project with your donation.
Harris County Republicans are in court trying to undo 21 Democratic wins from the 2022 elections.
Going on right now is the first of the cases. Defeated Republican Erin Lunceford is seeking to commandeer the election from rightful winner Judge Tamika Craft. The case is being heard in a Harris County courtroom.
Here are some basic facts:
The Lunceford/Craft case is first because it was filed first. Each election challenge is seen as a separate case. other 20 cases will be heard likely in early autumn bundled all together or divided into two groups. The various attorneys for the sore-loser Republicans have in some cases different theories as to why the real vote count was not in fact the real vote count.
Re-doing the elections is sought--Not declaring new winner. But a decision to re-do would still involve tossing out every Harris County vote for these 21 2022 elections.
There is no jury. The cases will be decided by Republican retired Judge David Peeples from San Antonio. The Houston Democracy Project has watched the weekly pre-trial hearings for these cases.
All sides say no matter what Judge Peeples decides, the cases will end up before the far-right Texas Supreme Court.
Two investigative reports, one by Jen Rice at the Houston Chronicle and the other by Andrew Schneider at KUHF 88.7 FM, say the lawsuits are bunk.
But the bottom line here for Harris County & Texas Republicans is not truth. The updated yard sign design you see in the picture by super sore-loser Alexandra Mealer tells the real story.
"Hold Harris County, Hold Texas"
Hold Harris County away from who? Voters who choose Democrats time and time again?
Hold Texas away from what? Texas voters who may in the near-future elect Democrats?
Hold Harris County on behalf of who? Mattress Mack? Dan Patrick?
Hold Texas on behalf of what? Authoritarians? White supremacists?
Houston has lost its elected school board in what just 60 years ago was a Jim Crow city. The extremist Texas legislature never misses a chance to attack the political autonomy of diverse Texas cities and counties. Insurrectionist Trump remains the overwhelming choice of Republican primary voters.
The Republican mission from dog catcher on up is to curtail the power multi-racial democracy. It's a coup in progress. We must pay attention and be ready to fight back. We need to accept that we may be fighting this battle for a long time to come and that it won't be settled only at the ballot box.
The Houston Democracy Project is working everyday to make the protection and expansion of democracy a top issue in 2023 Houston city politics and to be part of an active pro-democracy movement in Houston and Harris County. Please share word of the Project and please support the effort with your donation.
There was a crowd of about 250 at the Hattie Mae White HISD administrative complex in the summer heat at 9 AM on Saturday, 8/5 to protest the shut down of 28 libraries at Black and Brown Houston schools.
The libraries are being replaced with Zoom discipline chambers where kids will be sent as punishment.
The strong crowd is part of a growing movement in Houston on behalf of our kids & in support of democracy. Houston has lost its elected school board in what just 60 years ago a Jim Crow City.
(The picture is two women at the protest who made excellent umbrellas reminiscent of the use of umbrellas by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.)
Belligerent Greg Abbott-appointed superintendent Mike Miles is making a lot of rushed changes. He wants to end union involvement in HISD & seeks approval to be able to offer contracts to vendors of up to $2 million without an okay from the Abbott-appointed Board of Managers. He'll just say where the money goes.
What does the Board of Managers think about all this? Nobody knows. They've taken a vow of silence it seems. You can say as little as you want when not accountable to voters.
Community Voices for Public Education is a good source to follow to stay updated on opposition to the hostile takeover.
The anti-democratic state takeover is fully connected to the ongoing sham lawsuits by Harris County Republicans to undo much of the 2022 Harris County election, the ceaseless attacks by the Texas state legislature on the political autonomy of diverse urban areas in Texas & the ongoing dangerous embrace of Donald Trump by much of the national Republican Party.
The fight for our Houston schools and the fight for democracy are the same fight. The takeover of HISD isn't just bad for kids. It is part of the far-right ongoing coup against voting rights and democracy.
The Houston Democracy Project is working every day to put democracy on the agenda in 2023 Houston city elections. Please share word of the Project & please support the effort with your donation.
The Houston Democracy Project will be a main topic of discussion at the Baytown Area Democrats meeting on Thursday, August 8.
You see the details in the picture.
Thanks to you, the Houston Democracy Project is making a difference.
In the two months since the Project was launched, the Houston Democracy Project has been written up by a leading Texas political substack, endorsed by a popular former member of Houston City Council, been the subject of a widely-viewed Facebook Live interview series, been featured on the Egberto Willies Politics Done Right broadcast on Houston station KPFT & is looked to for accurate reports of the weekly pre-trial hearings for the Harris County Republican election-denial lawsuits.
I've maintained an aggressive schedule of one-on-one conversations with 2023 Houston municipal candidates, influencers & rank and file Democrats and Houstonians concerned about the future of democracy. The Project has a daily blog, (You're reading it right now!) with a consistently increasing traffic.
Together we can change the culture of Houston municipal elections. There must be more to our local politics than low voter turnout and special-interest funding.
The Houston Democracy Project has already made progress in changing this depressing and ineffective culture.
With the loss of our elected school board in what just 60 years ago was a Jim Crow city and the ongoing Harris County Republican efforts to undo 2022 Democratic wins at the ballot box, we understand that the threats to democracy are right here at home. This is why it is essential that candidates for Houston municipal office in 2023 address the protection and expansion of democracy as a top campaign issue.
Please share word of the Project and please support the work with a donation.
Your contribution is a vote of confidence that we can impact Houston municipal politics. It’s a vote of confidence that rank & file Democrats and people who care about democracy can have meaningful influence in the politics of one of the largest cities in the United States.
I'm Neil Aquino