Texpatriate endorses in US Senate runoff

Democrats have a knack for self-inflicted wounds. In an example equally humorous and sad, this year’s Democratic primary for the US Senate saw an enormously lousy candidate advance into a runoff for the nomination. Kesha Rogers, an activist with the cult of Lyndon LaRouche, garnered an appalling 22% of the vote. David Alameel, a dentist and businessman, received the far-and-away plurality of 47% despite spending countless dollars of his own money on the campaign. Our original choice in this race, Michael Fjetland, finished in dead last with less than 5% of the vote. Accordingly, we must field a new selection in this runoff.

To say that Rogers is crazy would be a gross understatement. She actively compares contemporary politicians with Nazis and has openly called for President Barack Obama’s execution for alleged treason. Indeed, the LaRouche cult openly professes support for strange conspiracies such as the belief of a nefarious British scheme to take over the world’s finances. Without any semblance of political experience, this board simply cannot find any good reason to acknowledge Roger’s campaign or give her any further publicity on this inane, strange campaign. If nominated, she would wreak havoc on the prospects of Democrats both up and down the ticket, setting the party back years in its quest to make competitive throughout the State.

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Feral hogs for dinner?

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Harris County Commissioners are musing over a new proposal to both solve a feral dog infestation and help to feed the hungry population within Houston. In a contract recently approved by the Commissioners, heralded by Commissioner Steve Radack (R-Precinct 3), over $200,000.00 will be allocated for these hogs to be trapped, butchered and served to the homeless and impoverished.

The hogs have multiplied exponentially in recent years throughout western, rural portions of the county. Specifically, in George Bush Park and Bill Archer Park, these hogs have become a massive nuisance and public safety issue. Multiple anecdotal examples of these hogs running amok into neighboring communities have been documented, with the hogs “rooting up yards and damaging sports fields.” Radack has long talked up this issue, once even promulgating an admittedly quixotic plan to cull the feral hogs using bow hunters. That plan was vetoed, but this one looks far more realistic.

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Texpatriate endorses in Attorney General primary

Editorial note: We originally published this editorial on February 2nd, ahead of the March primary. We reiterate our support for Rep. Dan Branch in preparation for the May primary runoff by reprinting it today.

We would like to pose a question to our readership: What does the Texas Attorney General do? If you believe the incumbent, Greg Abbott, the job chiefly revolves around suing the President of the United States. If you believe one of the Republican contenders for this post, Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, the job is simply a stepping stone to conservative, red-meat social issues. And if you believe one of the most recent Democrats to run for the post, David Van Os, the office is about providing liberals a soapbox to rant and rave against “Big Oil” and the energy sector.

Obviously, none of these are really correct answers. The Attorney General serves as the lawyer for the State of Texas, both representing the Governor and other agencies as official counsel and as the official defender of laws that are challenged in court. However, despite being the most flashy duties, this only represents a small fraction of the position’s responsibilities. In addition to those aforementioned duties, the Attorney General’s office also investigates a plethora of crimes that are especially heinous or damaging to public integrity. Finally, the office secures child support payments, which perhaps is its most time-consuming duty. When taking into account these responsibilities, this board is hard pressed to find a candidate in the Republican primary who will competently and capably fulfill these duties.

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Majority of Councilmembers support NDO

As I reported yesterday, the first real draft proposal of Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance has officially been introduced to the City Council and unveiled to the general public. Longtime followers of the saga could probably explain it as well as me at this point, but the ordinance does three basic things. First, it bans discrimination against LGBT people (among countless other demographics, all of which are already protected under Federal Law) in government sectors. Second, discrimination is banned in businesses, both in employment and public accommodation. The anecdote I keep using is that a restaurant would not be able to deny service to a gay patron, nor fire a lesbian waitress for coming out to her boss. That last part, extending the ordinance’s protections to private employment, was a hard-fought victory for the GLBT caucus in Houston, as well as all opponents of homophobia.

Mayor Annise Parker was originally tepid on this provision because there were ostensibly not enough Councilmembers supporting it. A few weeks ago, my sources counted eight supporters of private employment protections in the NDO (Mayor Annise Parker and CMs Stephen Costello, David Robinson, Jerry Davis, Ellen Cohen, Ed Gonzalez, Robert Gallegos and Mike Laster). This was exactly one vote shy of the needed majority for passage. However, a couple more Councilmembers have now gone out in the open supporting such legislation, giving it the green light to becoming law.

Click here to see which Councimembers are now supportive!

Non-discrimination ordinance introduced

The first draft of Houston’s proposed Non-discrimination ordinance has officially been unveiled to the public and will be introduced to the City Council in the coming days (IT IS AVAILABLE HERE). In short, and to answer everyone’s question, the ordinance protects LGBT rights in private employment…sometimes. As I have previously elucidated, discrimination is typically legislated against in three ways. First, the government prohibits any internal discrimination of its own, be that in public employment, public services or in the private companies it contracts therewith. Second, discrimination in public accommodations is prohibited. This hails back to the days of the Civil Rights movement, when the original bills on these topics were aimed to combat bus lines, restaurants or bars that had segregated sections. Similarly, this proposed ordinance would ban, for example, a restaurant denying service to a gay patron.

But what if the restaurant had a lesbian employee who was fired upon coming out to her boss? That is what the third section of the ordinance, regarding private employment, deals therewith. I cannot say that I have heard of all too many cases of private employers firing people because of their sexual orientation, and given that Texas uses at-will employment it would be enormously silly to choose such a route for termination. However, the principle of protecting LGBT populations is important nonetheless, important enough to necessitate pertinent legislation on the subject. Just one person being fired for such an asinine reason is one too many.

Click here to read more, including the exact provisions!

Civil Affairs: Collier

CIVIL AFFAIRS

If there is any consistency in Texas politics, it’s about taxation. The Republican Party sees it as pure evil — and no, that is not hyperbole. The Texas GOP’s platform advocates for the repeal of the 16th amendment, which allows for a federal income tax, and for the total abolition of capital gains and property taxes, among others. Accordingly, when a Democrat rants and raves about a Republican opponent wanting to raise taxes, it should raise more than a few eyebrows.

Mike Collier, the Democratic nominee for Comptroller, which is the state’s chief treasury and financial official, recently accused his Republican opponent, State Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Harris County, of wanting to engage in a massive tax hike. A recent television ad by Collier pledged to “hold the lines on taxes.” So, for a party so hell-bent on dismantling sources of government revenue, how on earth could one of its candidates be accused of raising them?

Hegar, like his party, is in favor of abolishing property taxes, although they are the largest single source of revenue for local governments in this state. Specifically, municipalities and school districts receive inordinate amounts of their revenue from such sources. Texas’ property taxes are high compared to the rest of the country, but they occur in the complete absence of a state income tax — something few other states boast.

PLEASE SEE THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT THE DAILY TEXAN!