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Former California Governor Jerry Brown Makes Comment On Texas Liberal

Former California Governor Jerry Brown made a comment on Texas Liberal today. Below you’ll find the post I made about Brown last month along with Brown’s comment from today. Brown joins Wall Of Voodoo singer Stan Ridgeway as well-known figures who have commented on this blog.

In Houston, in Texas and in all places, the rich have too much influence over the political process.

The best line I ever heard about this influence was offered by former California Governor Jerry Brown. Running for President in 1992, Brown said the Presidential race was a gong show for the rich. He said that when the rich got tired of a candidate they gonged him out.  That is great imagery.

I’ve met Jerry Brown twice. Each time he was a bit sour.

In 1976, when I was 8, I met Jerry Brown in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown was campaigning in the Rhode Island primary. Brown and Senator Frank Church of Idaho had entered the race late and Rhode Island was one of the first tests involving Brown, Church and Governor Carter.I asked Brown for an autograph. He gave me the autograph, but he came off as grumpy and aloof.

The next time I met Brown was at Cincinnati City Hall during his 1992 Presidential run. I worked for a Cincinnati Councilmember at the time. Brown was in town looking for support from elected officials.  I told Brown I had met him in Rhode Island in 1976. He reminded me that he won that primary. He was, as he had been 16 years before, somewhat standoffish.

Maybe Brown just did not like me.

Brown is currently the Attorney General of California.

This entry was posted on Friday, March 23rd, 2007 at 4:45

jerry brown Says:
April 18th, 2007 at 3:55 pm e
Glad to be part of this conversation, extended over so many years. St. Ignatius said that we should be in the world but not of it. I feel the same about politics.

April 18, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Politics | 4 Comments

Houston Council Candidate Melissa Noriega Taking Votes For Granted And Leaving Me To Consider Other Options On May 12

Democrat Melissa Noriega seems likely to win the Houston City Council special election coming up on May 12. I’ve previously written that I would, with some hesitation, vote for Ms. Noriega.

However, the more I consider the election, the more I wonder why I should support someone who, so far, has not shown a willingness to seriously confront the many critical issues facing Houston.

I’m tired of Democrats taking my vote for granted.  And I’m very tired of Houston Democrats often ignoring the sometimes third-world quality of life standards in our city. 

Ms. Noriega’s campaign homepage lists a so-called “Melissa’s Mission.” This agenda consists of “safe neighborhoods”, a “healthy environment” and “effective government.” Nothing on the list challenges or respects voters.

There is nothing about Houston’s place in the national immigration debate. There are no specifics on air quality. There is nothing about poverty or basic questions of social fairness in Houston. And nothing about a city living wage proposal.

I got a mailing recently from Ms. Noriega. It was all about attending a fund-raiser and nothing about positions on issues.   

I’m sure Ms. Noriega is a fine person. Maybe she’ll make a good councilperson. If she finds herself in a runoff, I’ll take it from that point.

But on May 12, I’m going to vote for Harris County Green Party co-chair Alfred Molison for Houston City Council. I urge others to consider doing the same. Votes should be earned—Not taken for granted. 

April 17, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Politics | 22 Comments

I’m Sorry For Using Ronald Reagan Stamp On Donation To Erik Williams For Amarillo City Commission

A few days back, I mailed my $20 contribution to Erik Williams for Amarillo City Commission. I made this donation because fellow Texas blogger Jobsanger wrote that Mr. Williams was a good candidate.

Having other things to mail as well, I went to my local post office. I handed my items to the postal worker and she placed the stamps on the items.

Imagine my shock later that day when I looked at the receipt from the post office and saw that the post office worker had used a Ronald Reagan stamp for the letter to Amarillo.

I had, like all good Americans, resolved never to use a Ronald Reagan stamp. When I visit the post office, I enjoy looking through the stamp binder to see what’s new. For the past few months however, my enjoyment of this process has been diminished by having to look at the Reagan stamp.

As a way of apologizing for having bought and used a Ronald Reagan stamp, I am providing this link to the Frankilin D. Roosevelt library

April 16, 2007 Posted by | Politics, Texas | 7 Comments

Not Paying All Taxes Due—Just Disloyalty Or Treason As Well?

It’s simple enough, even for people who think Texas is an independent nation; —-Not paying all your taxes at a time of war, or at anytime, is an act of disloyalty. To some, including myself, it might even be a kind of treason.

With the tax filing deadline this weekend, tax cheating and tax avoidance is rampant. Estimates run at $ 300 billion lost to our government from the underreporting of income and other tax avoidance schemes. This is money that legally and ethically belongs to all people. Real wealth is about the commonwealth.

A victory for the American people was the recent demise of the Jenkins & Gilchrest law firm of Dallas. That firm specialized in helping wealthy clients use sham shelters to avoid taxes.

Of course, the obligation to pay taxes goes all the way down the income scale. The underreporting of tips and other under the table income also weakens our country. It chips away at the sense of shared obligation that is an important measure of national strength.

A way to encourage all people to pay taxes would be to repeal the Bush tax cuts that shifted the tax burden downwards and to step up enforcement of tax law violations. People will respond better to a system they see as fair to all.

It’s easy to say you love America. It is, it seems, a bit more difficult for some to back up that claim with something more tangible than empty words.

April 13, 2007 Posted by | Taxes---Yes! | 36 Comments

More Thoughts On Capture Of 100 Year Old Fish—Those Fishermen Were Out There Catching Our Dinner

Two days ago I wrote about the capture of a 100 year old rockfish off the coast of Alaska. (I’ve looked it up and these fish do not seem to live off the Texas coast. If anyone knows different please tell me.) My friend Lyuba had the following thoughts about the unlucky fish— 

I was saddened and annoyed for the rockfish as well.  However, after reading the article off of the BBC site, I am not sure that the fishermen would have any way of knowing that this guy was in fact over 100 years old when they first caught him and that they should throw him back in.  It seemed to me that the scientists were the ones that discovered his age.  On the flip-side, they may have very well known and still not have shown this guy any mercy. 

It is possible that the questions that we would want to ask of the fishermen would be along the lines of did they know that this was a very old fish just by looking at him?  If so, why was he not spared?  Could a fish this old even be used for food?  What made the fishermen bring the fish to the scientists once he was caught?  Was it the fact that they realized that they had a very old fish on their hands and they wanted publicity and fame? Whether or not fishermen think about the animals’ well being, I do not know.

Also, I don’t know which one would be bigger, the fish or the fisherman’s ego for catching such a fish therefore decreasing the possibility that the fish ever had a chance.  The fact that this guy had made it 100 years is both amazing and a miracle.  He is an inspiration to all!

I had already considered many of the questions Lyuba has asked about the fish. An additional question might be, since I eat fish, do I bear a measure of responsibility, beyond this one oddball incident, for the overfishing of the seas?

Based on my value system I’d say that I do. I’m aware of overfishing issues and I’ve done nothing to address the problem beyond reading a book on the subject. I read The Empty Ocean by Richard Ellis. There are types of fish I won’t order at restaurants because I don’t want them to go extinct. But that’s all I’ve done.

Of course, there is a role for government regulation here. Since I don’t believe the fishing industry will anything unless forced, it’s up to governments to address this issue. Depletion of resources is a concern our elected representatives must face.

What might be most rotten about the capture of the 100 year old rockfish is how people bring trouble wherever they go. I’d like to think that something that had lasted 100 years might be left to die in peace. I guess that is too much to ask for in this world.

We are everywhere and we disturb everything.     

April 12, 2007 Posted by | Books, Sea Life | 12 Comments

Folks Involved In Crawford Peace House Dispute Need To Work It Out And Stop Letting Us All Down

A recent disappointment has been problems and disputes at the Crawford Peace House in President Bush’s hometown of Crawford, Texas.

The Crawford Peace House was, among other things, a staging area for people coming to see Iraq War Protester Cindy Sheehan in the summer of 2004. I made that drive from Houston and I saw Ms. Sheehan.

The Associated Press Story here gives the details. I don’t really care about the specifics. It involves money and, it seems, personal disputes. Whatever.

I just know that the folks involved need to work it out. The operation at the Peace House was a good thing about my trip to Crawford. They had a system of shuttle vans driven by volunteers that took visitors out to Ms. Sheehan’s big white tent near the president’s ranch. (I did put money in the donation jar to pay my way.) 

The parties in this dispute are letting down those who have a good memory from 2004 and they are letting down the entire peace community.   


April 11, 2007 Posted by | Politics, Texas | 2 Comments

100 Year Old Fish Should Have Been Left Alone

Fishermen off the coast of Alaska have snagged a 100 year old rockfish. Before this I was not aware of the rockfish— I’m not sure they live off the Texas coast. What I’m certain about is that whatever a rockfish is, that it should have been left alone. 

This one fish went about its fish business for a century. Now it’s dead. I wish I believed in karma. The men who caught that fish would be in for a rough ride if life were fair. Is there nothing we leave undisturbed?

April 10, 2007 Posted by | Sea Life | 6 Comments

I’m Donating To Erik Williams For Amarillo City Commission Because Blogger Jobsanger Says Williams Is Solid

My good friend and fellow Texas blogger at Jobsanger has written a post in support of Erik Williams for the Amarillo city commission. I have never been to Amarillo and I’ve never heard of Erik Williams. No matter. If Jobsanger says he is okay, that is good enough for me.

Jobsanger says he does not figure enough people in Amarillo read his blog for him to do Mr. Williams any good. Jobsanger should not sell himself short.  But in any case, I’m sending Mr. Williams a $20 donation. So Jobsanger has at least done that amount of good. 

My friend at Jobsanger was one of the first people to say a nice thing about my blog. At New Year’s he wished many Texas bloggers a Happy New Year. If Jobsanger says Erik Williams is good for Amarillo, it must be so.

In this lonely world, we must support each other to the extent that we can.   

April 9, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Politics, Texas | 1 Comment

The More The Merrier—Houston Area Gets Ever Bigger & Excellent Census Website

According to the Census Bureau, the Houston metropolitan area is now the sixth largest metro area in the United States. The Houston area passed the Miami area in the past year.

The more the merrier. Today it is a boom. Someday it will  be a bust. So it goes. At one point people moved to live along the Erie Canal. Maybe someday they’ll move to the moon

All sorts of numbers can be found at the Census Bureau webpage. The specific metro area numbers are here. It’s interesting and fun stuff to read.

April 7, 2007 Posted by | Houston | 1 Comment

Kinky Friedman Sign Still In Vacant Lot Is Reminder That All Illegally Placed Political Signs Are Bad

I saw a Kinky Friedman for Governor sign recently in a vacant field here in Houston. This reminded me how much I dislike illegally placed political signs. It also reminded me how much I dislike Kinky Friedman.

Political signs in traffic medians or in vacant lots are against the law. It’s most annoying when done by Democrats. I don’t have many expectations of Republicans. But when Democrats break the law and misuse our shared space, I get very annoyed.

I’ve been responsible for putting yard signs up in political campaigns. I put maybe 1000 signs in the ground in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not once did I place a sign in any public space or on private property without the permission of the owner.

One of the worst signs in the right-of-way offenders I ever saw was Republican Harris County, Texas Judge Linda Storey. She was in a primary fight last year. Her rotten signs were everywhere. Now this lawbreaker is a so-called judge.  

All candidates, Republican or Democrat, who have illegally placed signs should be made to take down the signs themselves—maybe on a rainy day— and should pay a fine out of their own pockets. In fact, maybe all such signs should be nailed to the outside of the candidate’s home. That would be good.

April 5, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Politics | 6 Comments

The Wretched Of The Earth Is A Good Texas Blog

The Wretched of the Earth is a good Texas blog and a good blog in all other regards. It is written by a public defender in Dallas. The blog author says his purpose is to address issues affecting the poor and indigent. I’d say he meets his objective. 

It is appropriate to give The Wretched of the Earth a mention on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death. I’m sure this lawyer could find a job that pays more. Instead, he helps people who might not otherwise get help.   

April 4, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Texas | Leave a comment

Martin Luther King Died 39 Years Ago Today Fighting For Striking Workers—Some Good King Links

Martin Luther King was shot and killed 39 years ago today. He died fighting for the rights of striking sanitation workers. This link to the Seafarers International Union discusses Houston workers who marched in this year’s King parade.

Three other good King links are to his papers at Stanford, to the King Memorial being built in Washington, and to a San Francisco Chronicle article about King’s theology. 

April 4, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

While Houston May Or May Not See 2007 Hurricanes, Remote Solomon Islands Are Definitely Hit By Tsunami

A new forecast says 2007 may be an active Atlantic hurricane season. This forecast will excite Houston TV stations. They love hurricanes and they love the prospect of hurricanes. 

The hurricane forecast reminded me of the tsunami that just hit the nation of the Solomon Islands. At least 22 people are dead and others are missing. I decided I would make a $30 donation to relief efforts in that country. 

However, I can’t figure out how to do so. The website of the International Red Cross simply says that the Solomon Islands suffers from political instability and that it is monitored by the Red Cross from Fiji. The BBC web news will sometimes give information about how to assist. In this case though, no information is provided.

The Solomon Islands has just over 500,000 people. The BBC reports that it is a poor nation. It seems that even before a tsunami hit part of the country, that it was a place remote from the world. I’ll continue to try to figure out how to make my donation.

April 3, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Houston Garbage Fee Is A Good Proposal As Government Must Collect The Money It Needs To Provide Services

The City of Houston is considering a monthly $3.50 fee for trash pick-up. This proposed fee, reported in the Houston Chronicle, would run $42 a year.

This is a good idea.

It’s a good idea because the money would be used for recycling and conservation efforts and for illegal dumping enforcement. It’s a good idea because it conveys the needed message that we don’t raise enough tax revenue in Houston.

The only cause for regret is that the fee can not somehow be made more progressive. While not likely to take place, I would support that the fee be based on the assessed value of the home receiving the service. Flat fees are regressive and Houston is a poor city.

Today, I will call my district councilmember and each of my at-large councilmembers to indicate my support for this new fee.    

April 3, 2007 Posted by | Houston, Taxes---Yes! | 4 Comments

Just As With George Washington, Our Views Of Ourselves Impact How We See Politics

I’ve been reading the historian Richard Hofstadter’s The Idea of a Party System: The Rise of Legitimate Opposition in the United States, 1780-1840. 

(I wish this book was required reading in Houston so we could get past our no-good non-partisan city council elections. Non-partisan elections deny voters the right to choose between competing parties and competing ideas.) 

Hofstadter wrote that George Washington had a difficult time understanding the rise of political parties during his presidency.

Washington felt he stood above party concerns and that his proposals should be seen as national in character and not the product any faction or party.

We all have assumptions about ourselves (often wrong) that impact our political lives. We may think we are better than other people or we may feel bad about ourselves. We may feel something in common with certain types of people or we may not want anything to do with certain types of people.

These opinions of ourselves guide decisions about who we want to identify with politically. They guide where we feel our tax money should go.

No person makes fully dispassionate decisions about politics. Our personalities and self-assumptions are always involved. We are full of ourselves. This was true even for George Washington.

This fact is one of many reasons that a good path to understanding others is to understand one’s own self.  

April 2, 2007 Posted by | Books, Political History, Politics | 2 Comments