Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Fort Bend Democratic Party Chair Stephen Brown Talks About Protecting The Right To Vote In Texas In 2012

General Election time is approaching across the nation and here in Texas.

Early voting begins in Texas on October 22 and runs through November 2.  Election Day is November 6.

There have been many concerns in the 2012 election season about efforts to suppress the vote and to deny people the right to vote.

In Texas, a discriminatory voter ID law has been struck down by the courts.

In Harris County, living voters are being asked if they are dead and are in some cases having a hard time reestablishing their right to vote.

Here is a press release by Common Cause that deals specifically with voter suppression issues in Texas.  

I asked Steve Brown, who is Chairman of the Fort Bend Democratic Party here in the Houston area, to write about these issues for Texas Liberal.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Brown.

Here is what Mr. Brown had to say—

October 22, 2012 will be my Election Day. It marks the first day of early voting in Texas. This year, I’m not waiting to vote on Tuesday, November 6th – and for good reason.

Since 2009, a Houston-based Tea Party affiliate, “True the Vote,” has led a crusade advocating for laws found to intentionally suppress the votes of minorities and the poor. At their annual 2012 conference, they vowed to recruit over one million poll watchers for Election Day. These self-proclaimed voter fraud vigilantes want to use their poll watchers to intimidate and challenge minority votes at the polls this Fall.

True the Votes’ modus operandi is clear. They are targeting minorities, the poor and students. They want to purge voters, challenge the right of eligible voters to cast their ballots and bully everyone else on Election Day.

In a recent report Bullies at the Ballot Box, Common Cause examines True the Vote and the state laws that are intended to protect voters from unnecessary harassment. They found that True the Vote has built a reputation of hovering over people as they vote and engage in confrontational conversations. In almost every case, they chose polling locations in predominately minority communities. Some voters were overheard leaving the booths in tears saying that they would never vote again. They also found that Texas law could be stronger by placing the burden of proof on the person that’s challenging someone’s right to vote and not the voter.

I’m voting on October 22nd because on Election Day I’ll be watching the bullies, and making sure that they don’t harass any eligible voter.

There’s a practical reason why I’m voting early as well. As a Party Chairman, I know that the more “certain” Democratic voters that I can turnout on the first week of early vote, the easier it is for me to target new and unlikely voters. Democrats have a history of being outvoted during early vote, so we spend all of Election Day trying to catch up. By voting more Democrats early, we can focus our attention on persuading a larger universe of Democrats unlikely to vote that their vote matters. With limited resources, I would much rather spend time persuading those Democrats as opposed to dedicating dollars to target procrastinating Democrats.

Due to redistricting, some Election Day polling places may have moved.  I would hate for someone to go to the wrong location, and risk not being in line by the 7 PM deadline.  Early voting is much more flexible allowing voters to cast their ballots at any location within the county they reside.

This election is too critical to wait until November 6. I don’t want to wait to see what scheme True the Vote is hatching next. I’m pledging to vote on the first day of early vote. Before we go to work, we should vote. Before we take our kids to day care, we should vote. Before running our errands, we should vote.

We should be the first person in line to vote on October 22nd, because some would wish for us not to vote at all. #WeVoteFirst

Steve Brown is the Chairman of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party. Connect with Steve on Facebook at facebook.com/sbrown2 and on Twitter at twitter.com/electstevebrown

October 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Houston Area 2012 Memorial Day Events

Memorial Day 2012 is Monday, May 28.

Here is my annual posting of Memorial Day facts and links.

As always, there will be a number of events observing Memorial Day in the Greater Houston area.

The leading event in our area each year is at the Houston VA Cemetery. At the bottom of this post are details of the 2012 events from the website of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Fort Bend County will be observing Memorial Day in Fulshear.

The George Ranch in Richmond, Fort Bend County will be having a Memorial Day observance on Saturday, May 26 that will take a historic look at how America’s wars have impacted Texans.

The Galveston County Daily News regularly updates a list of Memorial Day events in Galveston County. Here is the  most recent listing.

Here is a link to Memorial Day weekend events in The Woodlands.  These planned events in The Woodlands seem a bit more festive than reflective.

The Woodlands Memorial Day weekend events involve “Fireworks. Live Music. Vendors. Street Performers. And more….”

I guess we would not want to think about death or anything that would detract from shopping.

My late father was a combat veteran of the Korean War. Here is a small portion of what he wrote a number of years ago about war—

“One thing that I learned is that the young men who fought in our wars should never be forgotten…Another fact I learned…is that millions may serve but far fewer fight. So, in reality, for many who have served, war is a glory-and-gory myth that feeds on its own legends and publicity. …Another truth I learned is that civilians are combatants in war–embattled victims perpetually on a losing side….That brings us to the biggest deception: The need to be ready defend our freedom if we are to keep it. Those who say that freedom has a price are absolutely right, and wrong: International conflict today is beyond ideology. The only freedom American and Russian leaders offer their  people today is the freedom to kill ourselves in the name of freedom.  This is not freedom, but allegiance to a suicidal death culture….Today, we are servile to our masters, mistaking economic well-being for true freedom, which is the freedom to live hopefully and not to die needlessly.” 

We can honor those who have died in our wars without buying into our violent culture that often values war over peace, and without forgetting that we sent our soldiers to a war in Iraq that was based on lies.

If there are events in the Houston area I am missing, please leave a comment and I will add that event to this list.

Here is the Houston VA observance—

A special Memorial Day Service will be held on Monday, May 28, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at the Houston VA National Cemetery, located at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive.

This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs is pleased to announce that retired Navy Reserve Captain Richard L. Halferty will give the Memorial Day address. Halferty serves as the Chief Operating Officer for H.M.S. Telecom LLC., and has extensive experience in logistics, contingency and emergency planning.  Halferty served in the United States Navy Reserve for over 38 years retiring as a Captain in 1986.  He currently serves as Chairman, Korean War Veterans, Lone Star Chapter.  Among his military awards are the Navy Commendation Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Reserve and the United Nations Medal.  Continue reading

May 21, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Combat Veteran Marine Killed By Alleged Drunk Driver

Blogger’s Note—Because I have some other projects I want to take on, I’ll be offering up shorter and more formulaic posts for the remainder of August. These posts will still be quite good and will merit your visiting the blog each day. Yet at the same time, shorter posts will allow me time to accomplish other objectives. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

Book Of The Day–You see above that Chicken Wearing A Pumpkin Suit is reading Making Toast–A Family Story by Richard Rosenblatt.  This book is an account of the death of the author’s adult daughter and his role at that point in helping to raise his daughter’s young kids. It’s a short book written with as few words as possible and with each word having impact.

Link Of The Day-— The death toll and the impact of the floods in Pakistan continue to grow. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent has information on how we can help these folks in Pakistan. Look at those people suffering from these floods. Are they in any less distress because they are Muslims? No–They are our fellow world citizens who could use some help.

Texas Link Of The Day– A Texas Marine who had served in Afghanistan and Iraq was recently buried in Rosenberg, Texas after he was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver in Fort Bend County last week. Fort Bend is part of the Houston area. The Marine’s name was David Stidman.

There have been a number of reports in recent years talking about the high rates of drunk driving in our Houston area. Local sheriffs and police departments should consider additional resources to combat this problem, and people should do all they can to prevent people they know to be drunk from getting behind the wheel.

August 14, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Asked St. Jude, Saint Of Lost Causes, To Bless Idea Of Mass Transit In Houston

I’ve called upon St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes, to offer blessings to the idea of an extensive mass transit system in Houston and the Houston area. When I reached St. Jude, he told me he was busy working on the idea of a first-rate recycling program in Houston.

( Above is St. Jude as painted by Georges de La Tour. The painting was completed at some point between 1615 and 1620. Here is information about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Young Natalie Turner is patient of the month at St. Jude.  Here is information on St. Jude himself from Catholic.org.)   

The Houston Chronicle ran a story today about prospects for a more comprehensive mass transit system in Houston and the suburbs. (To the extent suburb can be distinguished from city around here.) The story gives a clue why Houston and this area as a whole are so often such a backwards-looking mess.

A Republican County Commissioner from Fort Bend County named James Patterson, who in fairness appears to be in favor of more mass transit, had this to contribute on the idea of a regional transit authority —

“Patterson said he believes most residents of Fort Bend and other suburban counties “are pretty much an independent lot, and they are going to say, ‘We would love to work with Metro … but if there is going to be a Park & Ride lot in Rosenberg, we need our elected officials to be in control of that”

Yeah…those are rugged independent types out in Fort Bend County. I’ll tell you what—why not just give those folks horses and they can ride into work like John Wayne. That will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The Duke here is saying “Don’t mess with my park n’ride.”

Metro itself is not yet on board with the idea of a regional transit authority either. Why think big when millions of cars are on the road, gas prices are up, the air is horrible, and people are wasting hours of their lives on the highway?

Metro seems to be playing it coy. They are waiting for the day suburban residents are ready to be taxed to help pay for an expanded public transportation system.

I wonder how long a wait that will be.

The next total solar eclipse visible over the United States is projected for 2017. The one after that will be in 2024. Based on what I read today, I would bet “no” on a regional transit authority in the Houston-area by these dates. 

In the meantime, Metro pushes a light rail system that costs billions and offers service to a small number of people. I voted for it not because I believe anything Metro says, but because it irritated conservatives to such a great degree. And at least it’s a job creation program.

St. Jude got back to me on this issue. He said that he was all for desperate cases, and that he feels no person is beyond hope, but that this was more than even he could handle. St. Jude referred me to an acquaintance of his to handle the foreseeable future of a top-flight public transportation system in Houston—  

September 2, 2008 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments