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When Will Harris County Judge Ed Emmett Show The Leadership He Is Asking Of Others?

Republican Harris County Judge Ed Emmett hopes Republican legislators in Austin will do they right thing in the face of drastic cuts to vital services that are on the way in Texas.

Here is what Judge Emmett has said as reported in the Houston Chronicle

” In his State of the County address March 4, County Judge Ed Emmett said the county would only see positive changes in the coming years if lawmakers at all levels showed “vision and courage,” such as by raising fees or taxes to pay for mental health care if necessary to secure funding. Emmett, a Republican former state representative, said he expects such actions from the GOP-dominated Legislature at some point. “They’ll get there,” Emmett said. “And if they don’t, then I hope some of them get beat. It’s just that simple. We all have to govern. It’s fine to campaign on what you’re against, but sooner or later you have to govern.”

We can all hope for the things, no matter how unlikely, that we wish to see in life.

Judge Emmett was speaking about funding cuts the legislature is cooking up for Texas counties.

It is unclear what Judge Emmett is really asking of others.

Faced with large cuts for the most vulnerable, and for many other essential services in the Harris County budget just recently approved, where has been Mr. Emmett’s own call for increased revenues to meet the legitimate needs of our county? Where is his leadership? If the money is not going to come from Austin, maybe we need higher taxes in Harris County.

Here is what the Chronicle reports the most recent budget holds for the people of Harris County

“Facing an 11.3 percent drop in revenue, Harris County Commissioners Court passed a budget today that could mean dozens of law enforcement jobs cut or left vacant, hundreds fewer patients receiving mental health counseling and fewer books in county libraries.”

Does anybody seriously think Harris County is currently over-served by government?

Judge Emmett did send one of his top campaign officials to a meeting of a local Tea Party cell last year to reassure them he was on-board with the Tea Party agenda.

Mr. Emmett himself did not show up at the Tea Party meeting.

You can never quite pin the guy down.

Will Judge Emmett be sending another underling to a Tea Party meeting to sell them on the idea of increased revenues for government?

Which Republican legislators in Harris County will Judge Emmett be campaigning against in 2012?

I’m glad Judge Emmett is open to discussing the issues before Harris County in a more helpful way than are most Republican officials.

( Which is not to suggest that many Democrats have been helpful. Most of our elected Democrats in Houston and Harris County have little to say about what is going on in Austin. And it will be a cold day in Hell when you find just about any of them actually organizing voters and registering new voters for the fights ahead.)

Yet given the gravity of what’s taking place now in the legislature, it is time for Judge Emmett to step up beyond being acceptable to enough Republicans and tolerable to enough Democrats, to remain politically popular.

It is time for Judge Emmett to show the leadership he is asking of others.

(Fellow blogger Charles Kuffner has also written on Judge Emmett’s recent comments.)

March 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Trouble For Republicans DeLay And Eversole Are Fine Holiday Gifts

The conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Sugarland, Texas right before Thanksgiving Day last month was a wonderful Thanksgiving offering.

(Above–Bountiful Thanksgiving table. Photo by Ms. Jones.)

Tuesday’s indictment of Republican Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole for bribery and income tax charges is indeed a Christmas gift.

Mr. Eversole has pleaded not guilty.

Above–Christmas gifts. Photo by Sigismund von Dobshcutz.)

I’m sorry to say that Mr. Eversole is my Harris County Commissioner.

I’m sure the Tea Party—If it even exists anymore—will be focusing their energies on Mr. Eversole real soon.

Let’s hope that after this gift of an indictment is unwrapped we will find that it contains a conviction.

(Above–Unwrapped presents on Christmas Day. Photo by Steve.)

I’m not glad that Mr. DeLay and Mr. Eversole are in hot water simply because they are Republicans.  I don’t think all Republicans are crooks.

What I’m glad about is that wrongdoing by powerful people can be called to account, and that members of a party that calls Democrats Communists and traitors can be brought to justice.

Who are the Republicans serving with Republican County Judge Executive Ed Emmett on our Harris County Commissioner’s Court?

We have the indicted Jerry Eversole.

And then we have incoming Commissioner Jack Morman who will replace the unelected Sylvia Garcia. I say “unelected” because Ms. Garcia would still be serving if enough Hispanics in Harris County had bothered to vote, and if the Harris County Democratic Party and the Texas Democratic Party made serious efforts to encourage Hispanic voting.

These Democrats don’t want to make serious efforts because then they would actually have to address the concerns of this voting group, and because Hispanic elected officials in low-turnout one-party constituencies might face a primary challenge or might have to really talk about serious issues.

As for Mr. Morman, he still has not updated his campaign web page to even address the fact that he won the election. Also, there is nothing at all on his web page that suggests at all what his views are on issues before the county.

Click the link above and read it for yourself.

Here is what Houston TV station KHOU reported on Election Night about Mr. Morman—

“Even GOP leaders Tuesday night could not place where they might have seen Morman on the campaign trail or at pre-election events. He was nowhere to be found on Tuesday night at the GOP party.”

Mr. Morman will be representing something like 750,000 people, and nobody has any idea of his positions impacting the county and he can’t even thank voters for putting him in office.

What a crew of Republican alleged criminals and blank slates at our Harris County Commissioner’s Court.

(Top Houston bloggers Charles Kuffner and John Coby have also written about Mr. Eversole’s indictment.)

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The 2010 Texas Liberal General Election Endorsement Slate

Here is the Texas Liberal endorsement post for the 2010 general election.

(Above–The red is the City of Houston within Harris County, Texas.  In the upper right is Harris County in Texas.)

Where possible, I am voting the straight Democratic ticket.

In the case of the office of the State Comptroller, I am voting for Green candidate Edward Lindsay. There is no Democrat in this race. If the Green gets 5% in this race, then Greens get automatic ballot access in Texas in 2012. I want the option of Green Candidates on the ballot.  Texans merit a choice that will consistently advocate for social justice and fair play. Hopefully the Greens can grow into this role in cases where Democrats let voters down.

(Blogger’s Note —I voted for Mr. Lindsay in early voting. Since that time, Mr. Lindsay’s ability to hold the office has come into question. You’ll have to figure out for yourself  what course is best in this matter. It is a frustrating situation.)

I am  voting Yes on Houston Proposition 1 in favor of the job-creating Renew Houston. This issue will help address our flooding problems in Houston.

I am voting Yes on Houston Proposition 2. This issue will help manage the Houston City Council redistricting process more fairly for incumbents not sure where their new district lines are drawn.

I am voting Yes on Houston Proposition 3. A yes vote in on Issue 3 will help save lives on our already dangerous streets by keeping our red light cameras.

I’m not voting the Democratic ticket with a full measure of enthusiasm. I’ve lived in a city everyday of my 43 years. Democrats sometimes take advantage  of the loyal support of urban voters and offer little in return. It is really little different from how Republicans take the majority of rural votes in our nation, yet at the same time offer few solutions to the many problems of rural America.

While I do believe that former Houston Mayor Bill White will be a much better Governor than the incumbent, I’m disappointed that he has not put forth a vision that includes all Texans. We live in what is many ways a poor state. Yet the poor frequently seem shunned by the modern Democratic Party.

However, it should also be noted that the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor of Texas, Linda Chavez-Thompson, has offered a very inclusive view of who should share in the blessings of freedom and prosperity in our state.

In Harris County, Loren Jackson has done a great job modernizing and bringing new efficiencies to the office of Harris County District Clerk.

The entire Democratic slate for countywide offices is competent. And at least two of the Republicans running for countywide office are so-called Tea Party followers.

The Tea Party is not something we need in our Harris County.

In Texas Congressional District 7, located in the Houston-area, there is a write-in Democratic candidate against the Republican incumbent. Her name is Lissa Squiers. The incumbent is not running unopposed.

I am not endorsing any Republicans. It is possible a case could be made for the reelection of Harris County Judge Executive Ed Emmett. Mr. Emmett is a reasonable voice who brings some moderation to the Republican Party in a way that likely benefits the County as a whole.

Top conservative blogger Dave Jennings at Big Jolly Politics, endorsed Democrat Jeff Weems to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission. Mr. Jennings did this despite the fact he is Tea Party mouthpiece.

I cannot in this political climate endorse a Republican. It is not enough that Mr. Emmett is not a kook. Silence in the face of extremism is very much a vice. The present day Republican/Tea Party talking points of drastically scaled back government and racial and ethnic intolerance simply have nothing of relevance to say to our growing and diverse county.  Mr. Emmett needs to speak up against the rising menace of Tea Party extremism.

I urge all to vote in the upcoming election. Please vote for all the offices right down to the last judicial and county race.

Here are some links to facts about the election—

Here is the Democratic Party of Texas.

Here is the Green Party of Texas. ( I note that this web page has no update newer than July 23. I really want to be supportive, but are these people serious or not?)

Here is the Harris County Democratic Party.

Blogger Charles Kuffner has interviewed scores of Democrats on the ballot. Listen to these interviews and hear the candidates for yourself.

For those of you who insist on considering the Republicans on the ballot, the League of Women Voters of the Houston area has all the facts.

Here are the endorsements of the Houston Chronicle.

If you have a candidate you think is worthy of mention here, please go ahead and leave a comment.

October 22, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Harris County Judge Edition Of Which Of These Is Less Like The Others?

Here is a “which of these is less like the other” game from Texas Liberal.

Today’s game focuses on the race for Harris County Judge Executive.

We’ll warm up for the main act with a test question featuring the train cars you see above.  I took this picture a few hours ago in the area of Navigation Blvd. in Houston.

Which of these three train cars is less like the other two?

We can see that the one in the middle is the only one of the three train cars that is not cylindrical in shape. It is also the only one that is blue.

The one in the middle is also the only one covered in graffiti.

Okay. I think we get the idea. Let’s try another picture connected to the race for Harris County Judge Executive. This picture is also one that I took today.

Above we see three campaign signs on prominent display at the building of International Longshoreman‘s Association Local No. 24.

Which of these three signs is less like the other two?

Well…All three of the signs are for candidates on the ballot in 2010. And I’ll bet that all three have been endorsed by International Longshoreman’s Association Local No.24.

So I would say that the big difference here is that County Judge Ed Emmett is a Republican while U.S. Rep. Gene Green and Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White are Democrats.

It seems that the Longshoreman don’t think much of Democrat Gordon Quan’s chances of beating Mr. Emmett.

Mr. Emmett has the support of unions and of the so-called Tea Party. That is very skillful of him.

It is rough out there. Where is the love for Mr. Quan?

I’m voting for Mr. Quan in this race. Harris County would be better served with Democratic control of our Commissioner’s Court.

Don’t give up before the votes are counted!

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett Paints Himself As Voice Of Reason, Yet At The Same Time He Panders To Tea Party

David Jennings, a top conservative blogger who serves as a mouthpiece for the local so-called Tea Party movement, writes that the campaign manager of Harris County Judge Executive  Ed Emmett appeared at yesterday’s meeting of the so-called King Street Patriots. The King Street Patriots are a local Tea Party cell that advocates sending out poll watchers for the 2010 election in Harris County, in an attempt to forestall through intimidation the demographic changes that will soon leave the Republican Party in the minority in Harris County and in Texas as a whole.

The Republican Party will do anything at all to hang on a bit longer because once Democrats start winning, they will go on winning for a long time.

The Tea Party says elections are being stolen in Harris County. They have no proof, but they keep on saying that elections are being stolen in Harris County. It’s easy to say that when you think that conservative white folks are the only true Americans. Illegitimate  people by definition cast illegitimate votes.

In Wisconsin, Tea Party poll watchers are part of a plan to curb minority turnout.

Here is what Mr. Jennings wrote in his mouthpiece blog, Big Jolly Politics, for September  20—

“I have to admit that I was shocked when Ryan Walsh, Campaign Manager for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, was the first speaker with a message from the judge. His message? That now is the time more than ever to get involved and get trained to be a poll watcher, that he supports the efforts of King Street, and that we need to make certain that every person gets one vote counted accurately.”

Judge Emmett likes to paint himself as a voice of reason. He knows that if he wants to last more than one more term, he will have to appeal to a diverse county that is trending Democratic.

So why are Judge Emmett’s representatives pandering to the Tea Party?

I suppose it is likely for the same reason that Judge Emmett himself did not appear at the King Street meeting.

Judge Emmett wants to be all things to all people. He’ll reach out to the Tea Party—But just so much.

I wager the Judge and his people are all over the county telling folks just what it is they wish to hear.

Let’s hope it is an act. We would not like to find out later that Judge Emmett has dabbled in witchcraft.

Here is the web home of Judge Emmett’s opponent Gordon Quan.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

Top Tea Party Blogger In Harris County Acknowledges Hard Work And Initiative Of Houston Liberal Bloggers In Setting The Agenda—TPA Round-Up

At the bottom of this post is the weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

TPA bloggers in Houston scored a big success in recent weeks, as we helped correctly define the story after Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector Leo Vasquez and a local Tea Party outlet went after the Houston Votes registration drive in an apparent attempt to suppress minority turnout in Harris County.

Perry at Brains & Eggs,  John Coby at Bay Area Houston, Stace at DosCentavos , and Charles at Off The Kuff posted about this bad conduct on a number of occasions. I have also commented on the matter here at Texas Liberal and at The Daily Hurricane.

Statewide, South Texas Chisme offered up a post on the matter.

In defeat, top right-wing blogger David Jennings at a Tea Party annex called Big Jolly Politics admitted that Conservative bloggers in Houston and Harris County have not shown the initiative and gumption required to become a potent force in local politics.

David said that our victories locally have been long-standing—“ For years, when a story hits a news outlet, the lefty bloggers in Houston have had their way in forming the “narrative” on said story. Narrative is everything when it comes to public perception.”

Republican Harris County Judge Executive Ed Emmett seems to have gotten the message. He has used Republican attacks on the right to vote in the county as a starting point to suggest  that a non-partisan voter registration chief be appointed to oversee elections in the county.

Texas Progressive Alliance bloggers will stay on the case and keep looking out for the people of Houston, Harris County, our Great State of Texas, and our nation.

Here is the most recent TPA round-up—

This week on Left of College Station Teddy takes a look at the positions of Chet Edwards and Bill Flores on energy, and finds it unlikely that leadership on the environment, clean energy, and climate change will come from Texas Congressional District 17. LoCS also covers the week in headlines.

WhosPlayin is watching the tax rate election for his local school district, where anonymous mailers are flying and things are not looking good for it to pass.

Libby Shaw is at again over at TexasKaos, exposing Republican puppetry of the rankest order. Who’s pulling the strings? Check it out:Meet the GOP/Tea Party Billionaire Puppet Masters, Part 2. Continue reading

September 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Examples Of Cross-Party Voting in Texas—Voting Across Party Lines Most Often Does Not Make Sense

Here are two pictures I’ve taken in Houston in recent weeks of some likely cross-party voting this November.

The first picture shows an intent to vote for Democrat Bill White for Governor and Republican incumbent David Dewhurst for Lt. Governor.

The best course would be to vote for Mr. White for Governor and Democratic nominee Linda Chavez-Thompson for Lt. Gov. Ms. Chavez-Thompson has a proven record of advocacy for working people in Texas.

Why would you support for Governor and Lt. governor two people of opposing political ideologies?

The second picture shows support for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a Democrat who will next be on the ballot in 2011, and Republican Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. Judge Emmett is on the ballot for 2010.

Mr. Emmett is known as a County Judge here in Texas. Outside Texas and much of the south you might call him a County Commissioner.

Gordon Quan is the Democrat running against Mr. Emmett in 2010.

Mr. Emmett’s web home calls him a”conservative pioneer.” Why would you support a person who identifies himself in this way while at the same time supporting a Democrat for Mayor?

In practice, Mayor Parker and Judge Emmett represent in Houston and Harris County an often centrist, business centered outlook that does appeal to some. (Though not me.)  In fairness to Judge Emmett, he is not a nut.  Yet at the same time, neither is he the right person to address the hard economic circumstances faced by so many in Harris County.

As for Mayor Parker, my view is that she willfully ignores issues of extreme poverty in Houston. She also ignores the need for greater Hispanic involvement in our political process in Houston.

Ms. Parker’s voter base is narrow and largely Anglo. She won in 2009 in a election that generated turnout of barely over 15%. While some of Ms. Parker’s supporters see themselves as progressives, economic issues are often not the chief concern of these voters.

There are many people in Houston who could use Mayor Parker’s bully pulpit and advocacy. This support has not so far been forthcoming.

When will liberals, progressives and Democrats ask more of Mayor Parker?

On a larger level, political parties provide a shorthand and a coherence that is useful to the wise voter and to the informed citizen. Politics is at core about beliefs and action rather than about personalities and playing it safe when people need help.

While there will be exceptions, the more practical and intellectually coherent approach to voting is to support a group of candidates who will work towards the same ends.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

White, Emmett & Duke Address UTMB Cuts & Houston Area Care Crisis

I was glad to see an opinion column in yesterday’s Houston Chronicle by Houston Mayor Bill White and Harris County Judge Executive Ed Emmett about cuts in services for the uninsured caused, in part, by Hurricane Ike damage at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.    

In their column, Mayor White and Judge Emmett , joined by the well-known Dr. Red Duke, focus less on job reductions at UTMB and the damage these layoffs will do to Galveston’s economy, though the  job losses are mentioned, and more on the need for health services to be restored for the the entire metro region.

From the opinion piece–

“Before Hurricane Ike, the upper Texas Gulf Coast was already at the center of a storm — the crisis of unreimbursed medical care provided to working people and children not covered by health insurance….After Ike decimated UTMB in Galveston, the storm surge receded but other medical institutions in the region have been flooded by the patient case load displaced from this historic, invaluable Texas asset….Both the state of Texas and counties in the upper Gulf Coast need to quickly develop a plan to restore these services with three related elements. First, funds from FEMA and insurance policies need to be available immediately to restore the medical, research and physical facilities to the capacity required before Hurricane Ike. We should let both private insurers and FEMA know that we expect prompt payment on valid claims. The UT System must make hard choices concerning the location of some clinical facilities and recognize historic ties to the island, while being convenient to customers, including more insured patients…. Second, there must be a plan for sustained funding of some portion of uncompensated care for the region served by UTMB. The Harris County Hospital District was formed over four decades ago in response to the crisis of unreimbursed care within Harris County. There should be a formula for fair funding of contributions by the counties served by UTMB in proportion to the uninsured patients served from those counties….In the longer term, leadership should consider the need for one or more hospital districts. In addition, Texas should continue its historical support for this great medical school from general funds….Third, some portion of the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for Texas should be earmarked for a program to compensate those providers who now receive the uninsured patients diverted from UTMB.”

The cuts at UTMB by the University of Texas Board of Regents are a case of kicking the little guy when he is down. The job losses in Galveston in the aftermath of Ike, and the cuts to already stretched services for the uninsured, strike at a poor area of our state, and at individual patients who for the most part lack the ability to fight back without help.

I hope the public opinions now expressed by Mayor White, Judge Emmett and Dr. Duke are just the beginning of a strong effort by elected officials and medical professionals to help restore what has been lost, and help improve what was, even before the hurricane, a difficult situation.

December 9, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment