Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Cincinnati Bengals-Houston Texans Playoff Preview—Taxpayers Have Already Lost

Two of my home town teams–The Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans–are in the NFL playoffs against each other this weekend. The game is in Houston on Saturday, January 7 at 3:30 PM CST.

(Above–Program From Providence–Green Bay game on October 25, 1931. Green Bay won this game 48-20.  Mention of the Green Bay Packers allows to me link to a post from last year about how Packer coaching icon Vince Lombardi was a Democrat. ) 

In my 44 years, I’ve lived in Providence, R.I., Cincinnati and Houston.

Both the Bengals and Texans have benefited in recent years from public money for new stadiums.

I’ve voted no every chance I’ve gotten against public money for sports stadiums.

Despite the massive public subsidy and sneaking into the playoffs this year with 9-7 record, the Bengals are best known for losing and losing year after year.  The last time Cincinnati won a playoff game was 1990.

Before the opening kick off, taxpayers in both Cincinnati and Houston have already lost. Taxpayers will also keep on losing after the game is over.

My enmity for the Bengals is eternal, as I was a resident of Cincinnati and a Cincinnati City Council staffer when the Bengals were scamming the money.

The taxpayer money the Bengals gouged will seemingly never be paid off. (Told you so.)

My boss at the time, a current Hamilton County, Ohio Municipal Judge named Tyrone Yates, voted no as a Cincinnati Councilmember on enabling the Bengals stadium deal.

Here is a 2004 Houston Chronicle article about publicly financed  stadium deals in Houston. 

This weekend I’ll root for my 3rd hometown team. The Providence Steam Rollers won the NFL title in 1928 and never–as I am aware–demanded public money.

The Providence Steam Rollers played in the NFL between 1925 and 1931. Here are facts about the team from the excellent Pro Football Reference.com.  

The Steam Rollers ask for nothing but that we keep them in our memories. Keeping the Steam Rollers in our memories is something which involves no corporate welfare at all.

Field of Schemes is a good blog about the business of building sports stadiums.

January 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why You Should Volunteer For Michael Skelly For Congress Or In Some Other Uphill Race

Michael Skelly is running for Congress as a Democrat from the 7th Congressional District of Texas. ( Please click the link for the Skelly campaign.)

This district includes portions of Houston and areas around Houston. It has been a Republican district in recent years.

The incumbent is the terrible John Culberson.

You should volunteer for Michael Skelly and for other candidates facing an uphill race.

(Though this race may not be uphill as it seems at first look.) 

Let me tell you why.

When I was 23, I volunteered for a man named Tyrone Yates who was running as a Democrat in the very Republican 2nd congressional district of Ohio. This was in 1990.

This Cincinnati-area district now elects the terrible Jean Schmidt.

Tyrone had, at best, a small chance of winning.

In the other Cincinnati-area district, the 1st, there was a tight and high profile race for an open seat.

That campaign had many volunteers. Most of them were forgotten by the campaigns when the race was over. 

Mr. Yates did not have many volunteers.   

I called Tyrone one day out of the blue and he told me to come to a campaign meeting.

I was soon part of the campaign core.

There were maybe 8 of us.

We went to campaign appearances and had a good time. I learned things. I made some friends.

We lost the race, but it was a great experience and fun.

In 1991, Tyrone became a member of the Cincinnati City Council.

In 1992, he gave me a job in his office. Tyrone gave me the job in part because I had been on-board with him when others had not.

While working at Cincinnati City Hall, I met my future wife. 

Also, even though we lost our race in 1990, we served the cause of democracy.

Mr. Skelly will likely have a larger campaign than we did—I hope he does—But I bet he will appreciate each and every person who offers help. The same can be said of challengers like Mr. Skelly running across the nation. 

This story from the Houston Chronicle talks about a quick fundraising start for Mr. Skelly.

Here’s a recap of why you should volunteer for Micheal Skelly for Congress in Houston, or in some other challenging race where you live—      

1. You will learn about politics— 

2. You might meet new friends

3. If you are loyal and lucky, you might end up with a job–

4. You will be serving democracy–

5. Maybe you will meet your future spouse

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Cincinnati, Houston, Politics, Relationships, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Time I Was Mistaken For A Black Man

One time in my life I was mistaken for a black man.

I once worked in the office of a black member of the Cincinnati City Council.

In late 1992-early 1993, my boss, current Ohio State Representative Tyrone Yates, was critical of racial comments made by former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott.

This did not sit well with right-wing bully Bill Cunningham at Cincinnati radio station WLW. 

This is the same Bill Cunningham who made news not long ago at a John McCain rally leading up to the Ohio primary. 

Mr. Cunningham and other WLW programmers encouraged listeners to call Councilman Yates and voice their displeasure about his views on Mrs. Schott’s comments.

We took many hundreds of calls.

Because of death threats our office received, a Cincinnati police officer was posted in our council office for three days.

One caller said to me that because of comments made by Mr. Yates and because I worked in his office, he was going to come to City Hall and “hang you by your black balls.”

I told the caller I was Italian.

He did not miss a beat. He said—“I’ll hang you by your spaghetti.”

Did the caller hate only black people or was he a hater in general? Likely it was a close call.

Often when a black person who speaks up, whether the comments are valid or not—and Tyrone’s comments were valid— that black person is demonized.

Forces of “respectable” conservatism sit back while the shock troops do the dirty work.

We see the pattern today with John McCain silent as Barack Obama is portrayed as some kind of militant. ( The burden is on any black politician to establish that he or she is not some kind of “militant.”)  

We see this in my current hometown of Houston just this morning. The Houston Chronicle reports that Jeremiah Wright has canceled three planned sermons in Houston due to death threats.

Is it any wonder why many black folks, and people of all kinds, don’t see American society as fundamentally decent? 

March 26, 2008 Posted by | Cincinnati, History, Houston | , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments