Texas Liberal

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Occupy Houston Forum On Corporate Personhood To Be Held On Jan. 20

(Blogger’s Note–This is a reposting as the event in question draws near. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.)

Below are details of an upcoming Occupy Houston event pertaining to corporate personhood in the United States.

Former Houston City Council candidate Amy Price has worked hard to put this event together.

We say corporations have the same rights as do people in our nation, yet they don’t serve in our wars or get called for jury duty.

Move to Amend is working for a constitutional amendment  to end corporate personhood.

Here are some facts on corporate personhood and on the Move to Amend campaign.

Here is the Occupy Houston event—

On Friday evening, January 20, join us for “Corporate Personhood vs. Your Personhood: Who Has More Rights?”  This panel discussion commemorates the 2nd anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC, the latest in over a century of Supreme Court decisions establishing the doctrines that corporations are people and money is speech. Panelists include politician Chris Bell, lifelong activist Arthur Shaw, and legal scholar Leslie Griffin.

This event is from 7:30 PM–10 PM.

University of Houston, main campus, SEC building room 102, FREE PARKING! Drive down Cullen to park in the stadium lot across from Entrance 14. Walk across the street into Entrance 14 and you’ll see the SEC building immediately to your left

January 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Amy Price Reports On Day 2 Of Occupy Houston & Good Jobs Great Houston Actions In Washington

My friend Amy Price has traveled to Washington with Occupy Houston and Good Jobs Great Houston to take the fight for economic fair play and the 99% to our elected officials and to the offices of the big lobbyists.

Amy was a recent candidate for Houston City Council. With that race over, she is remaining involved in the fight for a better Houston and a better nation.

Below is an account from Amy of her second day in Washington.

(Above–A fuzzy yet clear enough photo of the arrest of an Occupy protestor in Washington on 12/ 7.)  

Here is the account of Amy’s first day.

Here is Occupy Houston.

Here is Occupy DC.

Here is Occupy Wall Street.

From Amy on Day 2—

Today in the DC action against austerity economics, we switched our focus from elected officials to lobbyists. Over 1,000 of us–union members, activists, members of Occupations around the nation–started out in the lobbies of various firms. The one I was in was The Capital Tax Partners, where we chanted “jobs, not cuts” as we moved through the ground floor. Several folks in suits videoed us from the second floor. 

But the real action of the day took place on the streets, specifically on K street, where most of the lobbyists are located. We shut down the street with three different human chains from curb to curb. The first human chain was made up of union members, including a Houstonian with SEIU. The second and third chains were made up of Occupiers from around the country. We waited through the rain and the cold as, one by one, 62 individuals traded a few hours in jail for the opportunity to remind the nation that freedom of speech trumps local ordinances, including traffic codes.

Why does our freedom of speech require taking the streets? Because more ordinary methods of speech aren’t working. We speak through our votes, except that our votes get bought, bought by the bidder willing to put the most money behind a national political campaign. So we speak where we inconvenience people, because then we might actually get listened to. 

I was interviewed by a local reporter who said to me, “why are you doing this when you know that it won’t make a difference?” And I responded with what I believe, which is that while we won’t make the difference today, or tomorrow, we will eventually. And when he asked how we’d accomplish this, I said, “we won’t. You will.” Because the press, in its many incarnations, is the conduit by which the citizens of this nation will become educated about exactly how we are being legally robbed of a just economic present and future. 

Later in the evening, Carlos–who got arrested not for lying down in the street but for literally begging the police, on his knees, to do their duty to protect us and our freedom of speech–was released, and he told this story: a few blocks from the arrest site, the police stopped their van to take names and details of the arrestees. Carlos had been trying to dialog with the police, and one of them finally said to him “you’re doing the right thing. Keep it up.”

That made my day.

December 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 11 Comments

Occupy Houston & Good Jobs Great Houston In Washington—A Report From Amy Price

My friend Amy Price has traveled to Washington with Occupy Houston and Good Jobs Great Houston to take the fight for economic fair play and the 99% to our elected officials and to the offices of the big lobbyists.

(Update 12/8/11—Here is Amy’s second day in Washington.)

(Above–Picture taken by Amy of an occupation on the National Mall.) 

Amy was a recent candidate for Houston City Council. With that race over, she is remaining involved in the fight for a better Houston and a better nation.

Below is an account from Amy of her first full day in Washington.

Here is Occupy Houston.

Here is Occupy DC.

Here is Occupy Wall Street.

Here is Amy’s report–

I came to Washington DC on Monday of this week, along with about 100
other Houstonians, to meet up with people from across the country who
have taken over the National Mall and are here to demand that our
government start–well, governing. Folks will be coming in through
Wednesday, leaving Friday, and by the time it’s all said and done we
should number about 2,500. The group here is pretty diverse: all ages,
different ethnicities, way different backgrounds. What we have in
common is the realization that austerity economics is not the solution
to America’s economic problems.

Walking past the Capital Building, I had an acute sense of history
wash over me, and I felt privileged to be literally in the shadow of
the symbol of our nation’s legislature. I wish the folks who worked
around that building–the senators and congress members elected to
serve their constituents–felt the same way. Even the most casual
student of American history knows that America got out of the Great
Depression by spending the money necessary to put people to work. The
Works Progress Administration, the manufacturing that accompanied WWII
and other programs ushered in the golden age of America’s middle
class. Continue reading

December 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Who Can Liberals & Progressives Support For Houston City Council In 2011—Election Day Is Here

(Blogger’s note 11/8/11—Election Day is here. This was first posted two weeks ago.)    

It is time for our Houston municipal elections.

(Above–Houston City Hall.)

General Election Day is November 8.

Here is a link to help you find out where to vote.

Who can a liberal or progressive support in these elections?

As is so often the case in Houston, the pickings are slim.

Houston city elections are low-turnout affairs in which an electorate not representative of Houston’s demographics chooses from candidates who discuss a very narrow range of issues. Just how much is it that can we hear about red light cameras?

The credibility of the candidates on the ballot is often judged by how much money they have raised.

Here is my look at the Houston city ballot and, also, some additional links to help you figure out how you’d like to vote.

Houstonians merit liberal and progressive options at the ballot box.

Houston was a 61% Obama city in 2008. If we can’t muster up some decent candidates, then maybe we should use our political energies to support Occupy Houston.

While we should vote in every election, the energy and hope we are seeing from the Occupy Wall Street movement is more positive  and hopeful than anything occurring in our municipal elections.

Here are my endorsements—

Mayor-–I’m leaving my ballot blank for Mayor. I simply don’t believe Mayor Annise Parker has any consistent commitment to progressive values. Good people will disagree, but the Mayor has had two years to offer leadership on pressing issues of poverty and on the lack of broad political participation in Houston. She seems to have little interest in these subjects.

Mayor Parker is likely to win reelection in 2011. The absence of competent and credible opponents, and her campaign war chest of more than $2 million helps make this so. Yet despite her good electoral outlook for 2011, the Mayor is concerned with winning a strong majority of voters in 2011 so as to strengthen her hand with City Council, and to help her fend off challengers in 2013.

I’ve no desire in helping the Mayor accomplish these goals. No matter what percentage of votes cast in 2011 Annise Parker ends up  winning, it will be done with an overall turnout of somewhere between 10% and 15%. There is no way the Mayor will have a credible mandate from an involved public. Why should Mayor Parker be given the illusion of a mandate when she has never engaged in serious grassroots efforts to expand voter turnout in Houston, and when she does not pursue policies that are inclusive of Houstonians of every economic status?

(Update 10/31–Mayor Parker has received a grade of A- for fiscal conservatism from the Texas Conservative Review. I say again that Mayor Parker does not warrant the support of liberals and progressives.) Continue reading

November 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Amy Price For Houston Council At-Large #4—Ms. Price Is The Best Candidate For Any Race On The 2011 Houston Ballot

Green candidate Amy Price is simply the best candidate in any City Council race on the 2011 Houston ballot.

General Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

(Above–Ms. Price) 

Here is Ms. Price’s website.

Ms. Price is running in At-Large 4 against incumbent C.O.Bradford.

While Mr. Bradford asserts he is a Democrat, he is endorsed by the Texas Conservative Review. Mr. Bradford has in the past been a poor Chief of Houston Police as he mishandled administration the city crime lab, and is today a Houston Councilmember who offers little for anybody who values someone being upfront about what they stand for on Council.

Ms. Price has sought to offer solutions as part of her campaign. She is someone who listens and who thinks things out. She is someone who has worked to appeal to wide range of voters while at the same time not hiding her beliefs.

As you consider your vote for Houston At -Large #4, please give some thought to Ms. Price’s candidacy.

Here are my endorsements for the 2011 Houston ballot.

Here is a recent campaign blog entry from Ms. Price—

Problem: unclear training manuals for election judges

Solution: know your rights as a voter

It seems that Houston’s election judges are using a manual that describes next year’s election laws. Those’d be the same laws, requiring picture ID to vote, that are being challenged in court even as I write.

This new election law, geared towards fixing the basically non-existent problem of voter fraud, will make it harder for the poor, the young, the elderly to vote. No surprise, then, that it is backed by Republicans and denounced by progressives.

Apparently, two confused election judges contacted the office of State Senator Rodney Ellis, who in turn contacted the office of county clerk Stan Stanart regarding the training manual’s lack of clarity regarding the sufficiency of a voter registration card.

“By failing to include this information in your manual,” he wrote to Stanart, “an election judge utilizing the manual as the official reference document could erroneously turn away otherwise eligible voters that may have arrived with nothing more than their voter registration card.” Continue reading

November 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Liberal & Progressive Options For 2011 Houston City Council—Eric Dick Tells You Who He Is

I early voted a few hours ago in our Houston 2011 city elections.

Above are campaign signs that were across the street from the polling place.

The man with the dark hair on the other side of that Eric Dick sign near the center of the picture is none other than Council position #2 candidate  Eric Dick. It is not very good picture of Eric–But it is him.

I’ve met Eric twice and have had nice conversations with him each time.

I’m not going to vote for the guy and his placement of signs all over Houston this year has been a misdeed.

Yet I can’t muster any anger at Eric. He has been so brazen in his actions that I just have to laugh. And, unlike so many others running for municipal office in Houston in 2011, Eric makes it clear he is a Republican. He does not hide his party affiliation.

Eric Dick tells you right up front who he is.

With early voting down to the last few days and General Election Day next Tuesday, here is a reposting of my liberal and progressive endorsements for the Houston municipal ballot —

It is time for our Houston municipal elections.

Early voting runs October 24-November 4. General Election Day is November 8.

Here is a link to help you find out where to vote.

Who can a liberal or progressive support in these elections?

As is so often the case in Houston, the pickings are slim. Continue reading

November 3, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

2011 Harris County Green Party Endorsements For Houston City Council

Below are the Harris County Green Party endorsements for Houston City Council in 2011.

Here are my Houston municipal election endorsements for 2011.

LOCAL ELECTIONS
Green Party members:
Don Cook, for Houston City Council At-Large Position 1
Video interview on Greenwatch
Amy Price for Houston City Council At-Large Position 4

Video interview on Greenwatch

also endorsed:
Jenifer René Pool (At-Large 2)
Jolanda Jones (At-Large 5)
Karen Derr (District C)


also endorsed OCCUPY HOUSTON (non-partisan)
Greenwatch TV about O H

October 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Can Liberals & Progressives Support In 2011 City Of Houston Elections?—Who Is Running For Houston City Council?

It is time for our Houston municipal elections.

(Above–Houston City Hall.)

Early voting runs October 24-November 4. General Election Day is November 8.

Here is a link to help you find out where to vote.

Who can a liberal or progressive support in these elections?

As is so often the case in Houston, the pickings are slim.

Houston city elections are low-turnout affairs in which an electorate not representative of Houston’s demographics chooses from candidates who discuss a very narrow range of issues. Just how much is it that can we hear about red light cameras?

The credibility of the candidates on the ballot is often judged by how much money they have raised.

Here is my look at the Houston city ballot and, also, some additional links to help you figure out how you’d like to vote.

Houstonians merit liberal and progressive options at the ballot box.

Houston was a 61% Obama city in 2008. If we can’t muster up some decent candidates, then maybe we should use our political energies to support Occupy Houston.

While we should vote in every election, the energy and hope we are seeing from the Occupy Wall Street movement is more positive  and hopeful than anything occurring in our municipal elections.

Here are my endorsements—

Mayor-–I’m leaving my ballot blank for Mayor. I simply don’t believe Mayor Annise Parker has any consistent commitment to progressive values. Good people will disagree, but the Mayor has had two years to offer leadership on pressing issues of poverty and on the lack of broad political participation in Houston. She seems to have little interest in these subjects.

Mayor Parker is likely to win reelection in 2011. The absence of competent and credible opponents, and her campaign war chest of more than $2 million helps make this so. Yet despite her good electoral outlook for 2011, the Mayor is concerned with winning a strong majority of voters in 2011 so as to strengthen her hand with City Council, and to help her fend off challengers in 2013.

I’ve no desire in helping the Mayor accomplish these goals. No matter what percentage of votes cast in 2011 Annise Parker ends up  winning, it will be done with an overall turnout of somewhere between 10% and 15%. There is no way the Mayor will have a credible mandate from an involved public. Why should Mayor Parker be given the illusion of a mandate when she has never engaged in serious grassroots efforts to expand voter turnout in Houston, and when she does not pursue policies that are inclusive of Houstonians of every economic status?

(Update 10/31–Mayor Parker has received a grade of A- for fiscal conservatism from the Texas Conservative Review. I say again that Mayor Parker does not warrant the support of liberals and progressives.)

(Below–Recent picture of ongoing drought in Houston as seen in Memorial Park. The grassroots have dried up. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino)

Council At-Large #1–Incumbent Stephen Costello plays all sides of the political aisle while Green Don Cook does not work hard in his campaigns. Mr. Costello’s Renew Houston plan addresses the serious issue of flooding in Houston, but is also regressive in how it is funded and makes little effort to include green solutions in the plan. I’m leaving my ballot blank in this race.

Council At Large #2–I’m supporting Jennifer Rene Pool in this 10 candidate race.  She will occasionally say liberal and progressive things. Maybe she means some of them.

Council At-Large #3–Incumbent Melissa Noriega is a thoughtful person and has my support.

Council At-Large #4–Green Amy Price is an energetic and upbeat. She works hard to learn the issues and will be a councilmember who seeks solutions and who listens. Incumbent Democrat C.O. Bradford has on his balance sheet his terrible administration of the crime lab when he was Houston’s police chief, and his calls for austerity-type budgeting for Houston.

Council At-Large #5–Only you know if you want to support Jolanda Jones for one last term. She is always involved in some type of fuss. Sometimes it seems to be her fault, while other times it is not her fault. In any case, you wish that Ms.Jones was a more disciplined and effective advocate for the poor and disenfranchised in Houston. Her story on Council seems in good part to be of an opportunity missed. After some thought, I’ve decided I’m going to vote for Ms. Jones.  Ms. Jones made a recent visit to Occupy Houston and I appreciate that fact. I’m not aware of any other incumbent city official who has done the same.

Council District C-–I live in this district. Karen Derr is a more progressive option than Ellen Cohen. I’m going to be voting Ms. Derr. Ms. Cohen is a fund-raising machine who in the recent past has accepted campaign funds from gay marriage opponent Bob Perry. I’d rather have a fresh voice in City Hall rather  than a candidate who seems to have the advantage in part due to her friendship with Mayor Parker, and in part due to her ability to raise a lot of money from big donors. Ms. Cohen gives the impression of being an incumbent even before she is elected.

Council District H–I don’t live in this district. However, incumbent Ed Gonzalez merits mention as a decent person and as someone open to hearing voices on all sides of a debate.

There are also 10 amendments to the Texas Constitution on the ballot. Here is my in-depth analysis of these propositions.

There are 2 resources that stand out when considering our city elections. These resources cover all the Houston district council seats up for election in 2011.

Houston blogger Charles Kuffner has a page at his blog Off The Kuff with his interviews of many of the candidates. This page also has links to the websites of the candidates and listings of selections by the various interest groups that endorse in city elections.

The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area offers a voter’s guide that profiles and asks questions of all the Houston candidates.

Fellow blogger Perry Dorrell at Brains And Eggs has made a series of excellent posts endorsing candidates in Houston for 2011.

Greg Wythe at Greg’s Opinion has also made some well thought-out endorsements.

Houston city elections often seem to be a taxpayer-financed subsidy for a political class of consultants, city contract seekers, and all-purpose opportunists who all have little do with everyday life in Houston.

That said, you should still go and vote. I don’t have the heart to tell you otherwise.

The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.

Vote in Houston in 2011 and then commit yourselves to making our local democracy better.

(Below–Houston skyline in 1971. Photo by YixilTesiphon. Here is a link to a history of Houston.) 

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Houston City Elections—Vote Even If You Are Not Enthused

I’m overdue to blog extensively about the upcoming Houston municipal elections. Early voting starts on October 24 and Election Day is November 8.

I’m embarrassed to claim these elections are relevant. The energy and optimism of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Houston movements in recent weeks has made our Houston city elections seem even more irrelevant.

The narrow ideological range of the issues discussed in city elections—and of the candidates themselves—helps explain and perpetuate the chronically low turnout in Houston.

I don’t care about red light cameras. I am so tired of hearing about the red light cameras.

However, there are reasons for hope and ways to make your views known even within the paltry options provided on the 2011 Houston municipal ballot.

Karen Derr and Josh Verde are progressive options to the Ellen Cohen money machine is Council district C. I live in Distrct C.

Amy Price is a great new voice for At-Large #4.

And while Democratic Mayor Annise Parker is the only credible candidate for Mayor—Progressives and liberals have the option to leave the ballot blank for Mayor.

You don’t have to reward Mayor Parker for attending Republican fundraisers, or for raising a $2.3 million campaign warchest while doing nothing to register voters or strengthen the Democratic Party for the fights ahead in 2012.

The near 50% child poverty rate in Houston? It’ll be a cold day in July in Houston before you hear Mayor Annise Parker address that topic with any intensity.

Houston city elections often seem to be little more a taxpayer-financed subsidy for a political class of consultants, city contract seekers, and all-purpose opportunists who all have little do with everyday life in Houston.

We’ll have to make the best of this election, and then work with Occupy movement to bring real hope and change to our politics.

I’ll be blogging more on our Houston elections over the next couple of weeks.

The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area has a voter’s guide online in pdf form to help voters learn more about Houston city candidates. 

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amy Price For Houston City Council At-Large #4—Ms. Price Listens To People

Amy Price is a running as a Green Party candidate for Houston City Council at-large position 4.

(Above–Ms. Price.)

The incumbent in this race is C.O. Bradford.

Mr. Bradford—a Democrat—has offered Democrats an austerity based fiscal message and a council tenure where he has worked with Republicans to undermine Mayor Annise Parker.

Mr. Bradford’s record of service to the people of Houston includes his time as police chief and his poor stewardship of the City of Houston Crime Lab. Mr. Bradford was police chief from 1997 to 2004.

The impact of the crime lab scandal goes on to this day. 

Mr. Bradford is not loyal to the best ideals of his party. Nor is he public official who has done his job well.

Lacking these qualities, what does Mr. Bradford offer the people of Houston?

Ms. Price is working hard on the campaign trail each day not just to defeat Chief Bradford, but to offer the people of Houston a hopeful progressive choice.

It is not enough to simply be someone other than the person you are running against. You have to offer something of value to the voters you are running to represent.

Ms. Price is asking questions and seeking solutions. She is talking to everyday people in Houston, and not to big corporate donors or advocacy groups who often have narrow agendas.

As Houston voters consider the 2011 City Council field, they will find Ms. Price both true to the values she asserts on the stump, and a person who inspires confidence in voters of all ideological leanings that she will be able to do the job.

Here is an interview with Ms. Price that was conducted by Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner.

Here is the link to Amy’s website.

Here is her campaign blog. 

Here is a link to donate to Ms. Price.

Ms. Price is running a daily series of questions and answers on her campaign blog.

Below is a complete entry from one of her recent posts.

As early voting and Election Day approach for our Houston city elections, the work of deciding who will best serve our city is up to each of us.

It is the responsibility of voters to look beyond name recognition and fundraising advantages to see who will do the best job.

I encourage Houston voters to study the options available on the 2011 municipal ballot and to vote as they see fit.

Here is Ms. Price’s blog entry—

Challenge: a big, complex city

Solution: listen to its inhabitants

While block walking this weekend, I had folks share some fantastic ideas with me. Here they are.

For discouraging the sort of cyclic electricity usage that could lead to brownouts (especially in the future, when we’ll have more people crowded into the same space): have more expensive peak rates and lower off-peak rates. Just like your cell phone plan.

For encouraging water conservation when rationing is going on: up the rates during rationing. The surest way of ensuring that folks do what they should do is to make it something they want to do. Continue reading

September 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Green Party Candidate Amy Price On The Trail For Houston City Council At-Large #4

Green Party Houston At-Large candidate Amy Price spoke at the Meyerland Democratic club just a few hours ago.

Amy is going to unseat incumbent C.O. Bradford.

Here is Amy’s website. Take a look and learn more.

Please consider donating to the Price campaign and getting involved.

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 5 Comments

Amy Price Running As A Green For Houston City Council in 2011

I met this morning with Amy Price.

Amy is going to run a Green for an at-large seat on Houston City Council in 2011.

She is still working out the details, but what I am certain of is that she is going to conduct a solid and hard hitting campaign effort.

Folks in Houston merit more options than so-called Democrats running for city office who are afraid to even say that they are Democrats.

As a Democrat or progressive following Houston politics, if you can’t afford the endless fundraisers, if candidates don’t call themselves Democrats and they take Republican money, if Democrats do nothing to address the dismal turnout we see year after year in city elections—-Then why not get involved on your own and work and fight for your liberal and progressive values no matter what?

The work of freedom is up to each of us.

There is an Amy Price For Houston City Council page that you can like on Facebook and there will be more to come in the weeks ahead.

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments