Category Archives: Harris County

Why was the Status Quo Upheld in CFISD Board Election?

Trustees Covey, Ogletree, and Ryan were reelected Tuesday, some by large margins, over an effort by conservatives to oust them from office.

Cy-Fair ISD voters returned John Ogletree, Don Ryan, and Bob Covey to the board of trustees for another three-year term Tuesday, after a concerted effort  to oust the incumbents.

Conservative challengers Bill Henderson, Kay Smith, and Scott Adams lost in their bids for the board, by 20 percent, 11 percent, and just 4 percent respectively.

Despite a banner year for Republicans and conservative candidates, I am a little surprised all three challengers failed. But in the end, what I think helped Ogletree, Ryan and Covey was group cohesiveness.

Did the signs cause CFISD's board challengers to fail?

People always seem to respond to “groupspeak.”  With the Citizens for Quality Cy-Fair ISD Trustees PAC behind them, joint signage, and what seemed like a good presence of canvassers at the polls, people more easily identified with the incumbents in a year when anti-incumbent sentiment was the theme.

If cohesion was a winning strategy, the conservative triumvirate had a mixed message of sorts, with similar-sized signs and apple logo, but different colors.

Adams, who was closest to winning, had black-on-yellow signage, far different from the red and blue signs the other two challengers used.

Sheer numbers clearly were also in play online and at the polls; on Facebook, the PAC has over 750 supporters, versus just 127 for the conservative challengers.

So, was it the cohesiveness and ease of incumbency, or the failings of the challengers to use such a strategy that caused them to fail? Hit me up in comments…

Advertisements

Patrick to GOP: My Will Be Done in 2011

In today’s 4 o’clock hour of Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)’s KSEV drive-time radio show, the Texas Senate sophomore-to-be put Republicans on notice that it is time to act like a majority.

Renewing a 2006 talking point, Patrick said it was some Republicans, not Democrats, who were responsible for the Voter ID bill failing to gain traction after listener John called to discuss his support for the legislation.

“If these Republicans get elected and do not do what they said they would, I will

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)

name names,” Patrick said, adding that he was sick of Republicans acting as if they were not the majority in the Texas Legislature.

There it is–fair warning from the Voice of Texas, who looks to renew his threat of using his now expanded radio network and influence of the Tea Party Caucus to bully the GOP into submission.

Prediction: Look for Dan Patrick to run for governor in 2014.

Praise 92.1 Positions Station as Obama Mouthpiece

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

After a six-minute softball segment with President Barack Obama last Wednesday, Praise 92.1 FM is positioning itself as Houston’s liberal talk network with an interview Monday with First Lady Michelle Obama.

Monday’s interview is billed by The Yolanda Adams Morning Show as a discussion on getting out the vote, and the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, encouraging children to exercise and get active every day.

The problem I have is with the former, not the latter.

For anybody who heard the interview with the president, it is abundantly clear  Praise 92.1, and parent company Radio One, Inc., hope to become Houston’s official mouthpiece for the Obama White House, failing to offer a response to Republicans.

The problem with that is Praise 92.1 bills itself as a Christian inspirational station; I think it is disingenuous to preach the Word, but then fail to seek truth by asking questions from both sides of the aisle.

I don’t like it when Dan Patrick does it at KSEV for Republicans, and I don’t like how Praise 92.1 is doing it there for Democrats.

For anybody who listened to the six minute, 20 second interview, hosts Yolanda Adams and Minister Anthony Valary (“AV”) essentially took the president at face value on his agenda, and even showed their bias through the language they used.

Adams, an award-winning (and amazing, might I add) Gospel artist, accentuated her bias by asking the president to discuss the importance of the election for our people, and declared that we–as in Praise 92.1, Yolanda Adams, Radio One and President Obama–needed the listener’s help to continue Obama’s brand of change in Washington.

AV, on the other hand, did not parse words when he told the president he agreed that Republicans had “driven the economy like a car into the ditch,” despite failing to realize that the worst years for unemployment were marked by Democratic control of Congress.

The pro-Obama language coming from Praise 92.1 is of no surprise, however, when you consider the parent company behind them.

A History of Support for Liberals

Radio One, which operates 53 radio stations in 16 urban markets, has a history of support for liberal politics as it caters to a largely African-American audience.  Rev. Al Sharpton can be heard on The Al Sharpton Show in 18 different markets.

Furthermore, the company’s top brass are unapologetic in their support of liberal Democrat candidates, according to Federal  Election Commission filings.

According to records, Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins was a 2008 donor to President Obama’s campaign, and has contributed to the campaigns of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and New York Rep. Charlie Rangel this cycle.

Radio One Founder and Chairperson Catherine Hughes is also a Democratic donor, formerly supporting Obama’s bid for U.S. Senator, in addition to that of former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk, who is the U.S. Trade Representative in the Obama Administration.

While there is a certain political-racial element we could discuss (Gallup Poll: 93 Percent of Blacks Support Obama), it is the Christian angle that I am more interested in pursuing.

It should be said, and I broach the topic carefully, that the Bible does not signify Jesus Christ’s political affiliation, but it does make clear we ought to work to win people to Christ, not push them away.

The practice of engaging in partisan politics, for Christian media, is potentially dangerous, in my opinion, as it has the potential to turn off people to the message of Jesus Christ, who for all intensive purposes, would probably lump the Congress in with the tax collectors of the day.

Often in political discourse, we see liberals balk at conservative Christian groups, calling for their tax exemptions to be revoked.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit group, Houston’s more popular Christian radio station, 89.3 KSBJ, does not offer its listeners a partisan agenda, except to engage listeners to vote. Period.

Radio One, which is a publicly traded company and not financially supported by listeners, has every right to present its one-sided view; in this case, because the president is not on the ballot, the FCC’s equal time rule does not apply.

But, just because Praise 92.1 can engage in politicking, there will be a cost.

The Fallout From Praise 92.1’s Politicking

Aside from engaging in  indoctrination, Praise 92.1’s bias will ensure another generation of African-Americans will suffer under a philosophy which says reliance on government rather than responsibility is good for black families.

If liberalism, with its tenets of handouts and entitlements, has been so good, why is unemployment is liberal states tilted disproportionately towards African-Americans?

Furthermore, despite great increases in government under every president since Franklin Roosevelt, why are the poor still not housed, the hungry not fed, and the naked not clothed?  A Great Society it did not become.  Liberalism fails time and time again.

Meanwhile, by engaging a political philosophy that so often maligns the Christian faith, Praise 92.1 does a disservice to its own mission to inspire others for Christ.

The same president Yolanda Adams cheered on as “the coolest” last Wednesday is influenced, unbeknownst to most, by an agenda written by a man who dedicated his work to Satan.  Yes, really.

As a result, some will tune out Praise 92.1 as a result of the station’s Obama bias, and maybe Christianity.

Others, however, will remain faithful to the cause, to the station, and to the president.  And who knows how that will hurt them in the long run.

So, how can we stop Praise 92.1?

First, turn off the station.  It helps not to have the sane go insane listening to something that makes the blood boil.  Second, pray. He listens.  And third, you can hit the station where it hurts.

Because Radio One is not a 501(c)(3) as KSBJ is, they rely on advertisers to keep them afloat. Contact the advertisers and let them know you will not be patronizing their business because of the political message that the radio station supports.

Let them know, in clear words, that it is the radio station that is the problem–Praise 92.1’s agenda can divide the Christian community, and as a result, you wanted to let them know that you will not support their business as long as they support that radio station.

And finally, pray again, for our nation, for Praise 92.1, and for the president.  God is still on the throne, and he moves the hands that move the world.

The Yolanda Adams Morning Show Producer Jay Rodriguez could not reached for comment prior to posting.  I will gladly bring an official response from the show when and if it becomes available.

————————————————————
————————————————————

Best and Worst Campaign Websites: Harris County Democratic Edition

Earlier this week, I analyzed the websites of Harris County Republicans.  Now, it is the Democrats’ turn.

As I have previously suggested, Democrats will always win the war on the web when it comes to information and web design, only because they have an actively engaged youth bloc that knows technology.  You know the type: liberal, ugly feet-in-sandals, environmental t-shirt wearing, vegan Starbucks fan who is always plugged in on their iPhone, flipping through their apps, updating Twitter, etc. Yeah, that nuisance.

And even if the Democrats have found a nice niche for their beautiful web wares, the truth remains, if they are of the liberal brand, their sites are nice but their policies are dumb! On to the sites:

The Best

Best Party Website in Harris County

Designed in the same vein of the Barack Obama campaign, the Harris County Democratic Party offers nothing new in terms of design, but it is still the best political party website (for now!) in Harris County, Texas. I won’t say much else, because a liberals are a prideful bunch and will gloat any chance they get.

Best State Senator’s Site: Rodney Ellis

State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D13) wins by default in the absence of a website by the Harris County Democratic Party’s other local senator, the venerable Sen. John Whitmire (D-15).   Much like Republican Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7), Ellis’ site is well connected for social networking and built for effective communications. But, unlike Patrick, I doubt Rodney Ellis will be the next gubernatorial prospect from his party.

Best State Rep’s Site: Kristi Thibaut

State Rep. Kristi Thibaut (D-133) has a website that is probably one of the best in Texas, in terms of simplicity, organization and effectiveness in engaging readers.  I am always a fan of retro fonts, and Kristi’s site uses them in splashes in a way that makes it crisp and fun.

Best Website Flag: Rick Molina

While his website is of the dime-a-dozen Obama-like sites Democrats are hitching their posts to, Pasadena State Representative candidate Rick Molina (D-144) has a pretty cool flag which is reflective of the district’s industrial lifeblood, and his dream digs in Austin.

The Worst

The Best of the Worst Award: Garnet Coleman

While State Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-147) has a website that does the job,  it is very modular in design and in old school HTML. Additionally, whoever built the site did not designate a Metatitle which reflected whose website it was.  As a result, the web browser reads “Home” up top, which would not be typically good for Google search results, but then again, how many people do you know named Garnet Coleman?

Man of a Thousand Words Award: Scott Hochberg

State Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-137) is, in many respects, a statesman, even if he is a Democrat. I would be remiss not to applaud Hochberg on the many emails I have received over the years in which he linked to and explained the political process or something going on in the Democratic Party. Yet, I must admit his website is of that early 90s HTML look that makes me sad, especially since he has so many useful links and content. Furthermore, more images would help break up the very prolific Hochberg’s text.

Yeah, Right Award: Brad Neal

Perennial Democratic State Rep candidate Brad Neal (D-150) uses this piece of crap to get his gobbly goop across to the few Democrats who will bother to show up out there in State Rep. Debbie Riddle‘s turf. Neal has run twice, and will lose again on Tuesday’s General Election. You can blame it on the red nature of the district, but I’ll blame it on his website. Anybody who thinks text that size is appropriate doesn’t deserve to become a State Representative.

The Pretty-Ugly Award: Diane Trautman

I normally wouldn’t write about how pretty or ugly a candidate is, because I don’t like it how the media does that to female candidates of any party, but for a Democratic woman, Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Diane Trautman is actually very gorgeous.  So, it hurts to see a nice photo of Mrs. Trautman being displayed on such a boring website, which is why she gets the Pretty-Ugly award: Pretty mug, ugly ass website.

————————————————————
————————————————————

LSCS: No Discussions on Replacing Chris Daniel on Trustee Board

While it is still three days away, I figured I might as well play devil’s advocate and asked Ray Laughter, Vice Chancellor for External Affairs for the Lone Star College System, what plans, if any, had been made should Trustee Chris Daniel win his election for Harris County District Clerk.

In short, Laughter said, there were no plans considered as of yet.

“Not wanting to get ahead of anything, I don’t believe there has been any discussion about the process to replace Chris Daniel if he were to resign from our board,” Laughter said.

“In the past the board has appointed a committee to review candidates and make recommendations for appointment, in this case for the year and a half remaining on his term.”

Daniel will face Democratic incumbent Loren Jackson for the Clerk’s Office on Tuesday.

————————————————————
————————————————————

Best and Worst Campaign Websites: Harris County Republican Edition

Each election, I am both amazed and appalled by some of the choices of branding political candidates choose to forgo on their campaign signs and websites. While few are excellent, many are notoriously bad. The Harris County Republican slate is no exception.

 

Today, I look at some of the best (and worst) the Harris County GOP has to offer, and a few comments from me to you.  By and large, the Republicans could use a book on CSS for Christmas.

 

The Best

 

Typically, the best Republican websites come from the Congressional incumbents.  They have more money, staff and relevant content on the issues to fill a site.  U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-7) has the most organized site, featuring top-of-the-page navigation, plenty of social media links and buttons calling voters to interact with the campaign, and an overall clean feel.

 

Of all the Republicans in all of Texas, Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)‘s website is built to inform and engage.  A Twitter link up top provides easy access, which a left-hand navigation is straight forward with sections for issues and videos. The gigantic Texas flag behind him and the red, white and blue nature of this website screams “I AM RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN 2016.”.  Scary thought, isn’t it?

 

Texas Rep. Patricia Harless (R-126) sets the bar for what every House member’s website should aspire to be. Not only is it clean and classy, in a Texas cowboy kind of way, but it offers her constituents and supporters ways to get in contact with her via email and social networks. Furthermore, bonus points for the very cool tagline: “I believe that limited government means limited spending.”
I hope she will run for higher office at some point, and take this website with her. 🙂

 

The Worst

 

I start the bad section with the Harris County GOP’s party website only because it could be better.  Republicans, by definition, are not very good with the Internet to begin with, so I will try to be brief. But, this site is crammed, very modular in its appearance while also looking very disheveled. My eye doesn’t quite know what to look at, and therefore, I am apt to struggle to focus on one thing; for example, the video embedded (congrats on learning how to embed videos, guys!) at left is so “heavy” in weight, even if I want to look at the buttons at right (which are the second “heaviest” item), I have a hard time focusing.

 

Another point I want to make, thus proving the assertion about the GOP and its slow progress online: While viewing the website’s page source, the webmaster (or creator) illustrated how behind they were by not only taking the time to write out metatag keywords (which, for all intensive purposes, lost importance years ago when it came to SEO and search engines), but alternating between capitalizing keywords, as if they were case sensitive.

 

Remember when I said the Congressional incumbents had the best sites? On the flip side of that, Congressional also-rans (in this case, Republicans challenging standing Democratic incumbents, who no matter how bad they suck, always win) have among the worst. Steve Mueller, God bless him for trying, has nice talking points framed by a website my 10-year-old brother could make if he was learning HTML.

 

Okay, I lied. Not all Republican incumbents have the nicest sites.  Rep. Pete Olson shows just how boring, white bread he can get by filling one of the Republican’s nicest websites with big blocks of text from top to bottom. Olsen is highly prolific, and unless you have the time to read Olson blah blah blah about blah blah blah, you will be turned off by this website.  Olson does get points for breaking out of the red, white and blue motifs, however.

Back when I was with the 1960 Sun Newspapers, I met and spoke with Rep. Gary Elkins on a number of occasions.  His policies, especially in terms of small business, are incredibly sound. But, his website looks like something I tinkered with when I was in my freshman year of high school!  It is a very simple HTML site. I wish he’d do something about this eyesore.

 

In the Harris County judicial races, one judge stands out for a weird navigation feature on their website.  Harris County Judge Vanessa Valasquez, of the 183rd Criminal District Court, relies on this crazy Flash menu which changes at a rate of every 4 seconds.  The image isn’t even shaped like the flap, with a corner virtually cut off. It looks pretty tacky, and for an older voter, probably isn’t clear it is a link.

 

Orlando Sanchez is to the Harris County Republicans as Chris Bell is to the Harris County Democrats: He is always running for something.  And when he throws his hat in the ring, Orlando counts on the above early ’90s HTML website to carry him through, time and time again.  In fact, if you look closely, the “for Harris County Treasurer” part appears to be pixelated, likely because they changed it in Microsoft Paint every time he filed for a new campaign.  The left-hand navigation is very simple, and let’s face it, the site is boring.

 

While Harris County Clerk candidate Stan Stanart is busy vying for Beverly Kaufman’s seat, he is also busy as the Harris County GOP’s IT guy.  And yet, despite being the Computer Whiz-in-Chief, this train wreck of a website is supposed to persuade us to “Stand with Stan.”  The alternating red and blue text is bothersome, the artwork is fuzzy, and the faded American flag looks like some Windows Outlook background. Navigation is simple enough, but the end result leaves much to be desired, Stan.

Oh, and when the September 27th Fundraiser was over, you should have removed the flashing yellow banner. I got my hopes up thinking I was going to get to spend a night with you, Chris Daniel and Paul Bettencourt!
————————————————————
————————————————————

Dan Patrick Errs on Side of More Government, Taxes in Harris County

Dan Patrick

State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)

As part of his KSEV drive time radio show tonight, Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7) and caller Guy discussed (well, Guy tried…) the wisdom of giving unelected boards the authority to implement and collect local taxes, in this case an improvement district in Magnolia.

On the ballot in Magnolia, voters will decide November 2 whether to approve a two-cent sales tax, as advocated by the Westwood Magnolia Parkway Improvement District.

In response, Patrick, who authored 12 pieces of legislation granting such unelected authority, said:

“It’s been part of government a long time… that’s how things get done.”

Business improvement districts are unelected bodies and boards which are authorized by the state legislature to form, designate members and collect a sales tax all without taxpayer or voter approval.

Improvement districts are generally located in large municipalities, and rarely found in Texas outside Harris County.

As a conservative Libertarian, I am opposed to giving any sort of authority to an unelected board, only because they are largely unchecked in their exercise of that power. What should be especially disconcerting is that Sen. Patrick is supposed to be one of the most conservative members of the Texas Legislature, and yet he offered his help on nearly a dozen pieces of legislation that would result absolutely in more taxes for Texans.

While Republicans are quick to point fingers (and rightly so) at Democrats for using such unchecked authority in the Obama health care bill, it is rare to find one who will also shine a light within their ranks.

To his credit, Patrick said he didn’t approve all of them, but decided based on the arguments for the districts. If that’s the case, Dan Patrick has never seen a unelected taxing authority he didn’t like.

In the 81st Legislature, Patrick’s bills providing taxing authority to unelected boards include:

  • SB 1038, for the Northampton Municipal Improvement District
  • SB 1039, for the Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 478
  • SB 2455, for the Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 495
  • SB 2467, for the Waller Town Center Management District
  • SB 2472, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 14
  • SB 2473, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 13
  • SB 2496, for the Westchase District (and sponsored by Democratic Reps. Hochberg and Thibaut)
  • SB 2510, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 18
  • SH 2536, for the West Harris County Regional Water Authority
  • SH 2537, for the Harris County Municipal Utility District, No. 524
  • SH 2542, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 17
  • SH 2552, for the Harris County Improvement District, No. 1

If you haven’t voted yet, I might recommend you cast a ballot for Libertarian Lee Coughran for Texas Senate this year.  This isn’t the same Dan Patrick CLOUT guy we voted for in 2006.