I've been waiting for a while for my Harris County Green friends to reply to my email inquiries on the results of the District caucuses held on 19 March. That's 11 days ago.
I probably could have received some answers if I had gone to Monday's monthly meeting, but I didn't go. I had other things I needed to do that night. Also, I didn't relish the prospect of watching the work that a bunch of us have done toward revising the HCGP by-laws get picked apart and scuttled, as happened in January's meeting. (To be fair, the proposed revisions presented in January truly needed some scrutiny, but it was still painful.)
It appears that the only metro-Houston race affected by District caucuses was the one for US House District 36. Hal Ridley Jr. signed up to run for that seat, and I haven't heard that he did not receive the nomination.
Meanwhile, George Reiter officially withdrew from his candidacy for Congress in Texas's 9th District due to his position on the KPFT Programmers' Board.
No Voy a SA Este Año
This post is also to inform anyone who cares that I will not be attending the State convention in Grey Forest, San Antonio. This is for personal reasons, not born of any protest or criticism of how the Green Party of Texas operates. The State Convention on 9 April will serve to make official the nominations for Railroad Commission, State Supreme Court, and Court of Criminal Appeals.
While I would love to be there, in the same room where my comrades nominated me to run for US Senate in 2012, personal and financial issues are getting in the way. As a consolation prize, however, I will get to stay in Houston and watch the Art Car Parade.
Not participating as a delegate at State means that I will not be able to represent Texas at the Presidential Nominating Convention in August. Not a problem. Let others have that opportunity. I will still happily volunteer to help our delegates and guests from all over the USA have a great time right here in H-Town. Depending on how the major-party nominations turn out, that convention could be a launching pad for a huge shift. (Insert hypothetical scenario of disappointed Bernie Sanders supporters moving in droves toward the Green Party here.)
My part-time Green homey Perry Dorrell at Brains & Eggs wields some mighty political bloggage. This entry succeeds where so many mass-market alt-media outlets have failed: It provides a fairly complete picture of Tuesday's primary election clusterfuckery in Maricopa County, Arizona, the state's most populous county..
Too many of the usual progressive web-watchdogs—from USUncut to Raw Story to Talking Points Memo—emphasized the waiting times at the polling stations, huffing and puffing, "That's not democracy!" Well, in plenty of nations with democratic institutions, long queues for voting are the norm, because they simply don't have the resources to provide a polling station in every neighborhood. They consistently gave incomplete accounts of this complex story.
Yes, I understand their point: Many voters will be discouraged, not want to wait in the queue for five hours, and will go home instead. This is an absolutely intolerable form of vote suppression in a nation that does have sufficient resources to do better.
But any report that omits the other factors, such as thousands of voters' party affiliations changing without the voters' knowledge, is irresponsible at best. You can pin the blame for inadequate polling places and long queues on incompetence, and accept the county recorder's explanation, "We screwed up," for that. But when so many registered Democrats find out on Election Day that they are suddenly registered something-elses, that situation crosses the line from incompetence to malicious electoral fraud.
Perhaps County Recorder Purcell had nothing to do with the switcheroo. But computers don't just change data points like that willy-nilly. Somebody—whether Republican, Democrat, or Anonymous hackers just trying to prove how hackable these databases are—sabotaged the system. Purcell and her staff never got around to checking the figures for sudden seismic shifts in the county's voter registrations.
Let's not forget that people were still casting ballots, or receiving provisional ballots, as late as 11 pm Phoenix time, after the news networks had called Arizona a victory for Hillary Clinton. CNN et al are as much to blame as Purcell. There's enough slime here to give the major media, the DNC, the Maricopa County government, and the state government of Arizona a proper coating.
You'll notice that I am not in a dither over this because Bernie Sanders was denied a possible victory in Arizona. I prefer Sanders to Clinton, and I believe the polls that say Sanders stands a better chance of stopping the Trump juggernaut. But unlike Perry, I couldn't bring myself to vote for Sanders in the Democratic Primary for a number of reasons, mostly Sanders's voting record on foreign and defense policy. From my objective Green perspective, the situation in Arizona reeks of corruption. The Arizona Primary should be re-run, this time with foreign or UN observers watching for further fraud.
The Harris County Green Party's nominating convention took place today, affirming nominations for seven different offices. The members assembled also selected a slate of 18 delegates, plus alternates, to the state convention in San Antonio 9-10 April.
The delegates to the county convention also expressed overwhelming support for nominating Jill Stein for President, with each of the other Green presidential candidates picking up a few votes.
Green conventions in Texas use the Approval Voting method and must always have a line for None of the Above in every race for public office, so ballots at the consolidated precinct conventions on 8 March allowed expressions of approval for any or all of the candidates.
The nominees for offices entirely within Harris County are:
Each of the seven faced no opposition other than None of the Above. Only two delegates cast votes from US House District 29 in the precinct caucuses, and one of the votes was for NotA. The county convention approved his nomination despite the 1-1 split.
Deb Shafto, the Texas Greens' candidate for governor in 2010, withdrew from the race for Texas Senate District 6. In withdrawing, she cited conflicts with her position on KPFT's Local Station Board. If she were to run for public office, the Board's by-laws would require that she resign her post.
On Saturday 19 March, delegates to district conventions will convene via teleconference to approve nominees for US House Districts 9, 22, and 36, all of which extend over two or more counties.
Details and links may be added later.
The Texas Secretary of State's website confirms that the statewide date for primary runoffs this year is Tuesday 24 May. If you live in Harris County and subscribe to either major party, see this post for a list of races in which you may get to vote.
Note that there will not be as long a period for early voting as there was for the Super Tuesday primary. The first day to "early-vote" is Monday 16 May, and the final day is that Friday the 20th. Considering how light turnout typically is for any runoff, there is no reason to keep the early voting locations open for twelve days, only to have about twelve people show up.
To vote in the runoff, if you are not already registered, the registration deadline is Monday 25 April. Yes, you may vote in the runoff if you missed the primary.
Meanwhile, Greens and Libertarians will have all their state and local nominations taken care of by mid-April. Both parties will hold their state conventions in Greater San Antonio the weekend of 9 April, with the Libertarians getting started on Friday the 8th. The Libertarian Party's National Convention takes place in Orlando over Memorial Day weekend.
To all my dozen or so readers: I apologize for not including on this blog some mention of the Harris County Green Party's precinct caucuses, which took place last night.
The good news is that you have not entirely missed the caucuses. We're going into extra time Saturday morning.
Due to last night's threatening weather, and the difficulties it created for anyone traveling from the Outer Limits of Harris County, we have added an hour just before Saturday's Harris County Convention. It all happens at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1015 Holman.
So, Saturday 12 March looks like this:
Bring your voter registration card if you have one, and maybe something to snack or sip on. We cannot predict how long the County Convention will last, but most likely it will conclude by 3 pm. You can then move on to whatever fun activities you had planned for Saturday afternoon or evening.
Last night, 19 Harris County Greens participated in the caucusing. Trinity Church, our home for general meetings the last two years, was closed due to the weather; we moved the whole calabash to Midtown Bar & Grill, where our Steering Committee and other subsets of the HCGP meet to conduct business.
The best news of the night was that we had some new faces present, along with plenty of old-timers. Three members of a family drove in from Baytown, new to HCGP. We had one brave soul who rode his bicycle from Third Ward near UH; the rain held off and allowed him to get home relatively unsoaked. I also had the pleasure of meeting James Partsch-Galvan, our candidate for Congress in District 29.
Second-best news by a narrow margin: Steering Committee Member At-Large Don "Sketch" Palmer did an amazing job of facilitating the caucus process.
Update, 11 March 2016: The official date for runoff elections in Texas will be Saturday 7 May.
First off, after I placed a link to my recent entry on Harris County primary runoff elections in the comments for this entry, Charles Kuffner was kind enough to link to it at the bottom of another entry yesterday. Thanks, Chuck!
Then the social networks emitted one long, exasperated gasp over a particular race in Northeast Texas. Through the magic of the Internet, the gasp spread beyond Texas. Someone at the Washington Post heard the gasping and turned it into a "legitimate news" story, rather than indignant hand wringing on RawStory.
Learn this name: Mary Lou Bruner. Republicans in the Piney Woods region almost nominated her to represent them on the State Board of Education. There were three candidates to replace current SBoE member Thomas Ratliff, and Bruner did not receive the necessary 50% of the vote to seal the nomination and avoid a runoff. In May, Piney Woodlanders have an opportunity either to fix this mistake or confirm that, yes, they really meant it.
Update, 11 March 2016: The official date for runoff elections in Texas will be Tuesday 24 May.
Yada-yada, Instant Runoff Voting, yada Ranked Preference, Approval Voting, Single Transferable yada-yada, etc. Yada, saves millions of dollars, yada-yada, prevents embarrassingly crappy turnout figures.
I know that a lot of my friends who had expressed great enthusiasm for voting in the primary mostly were enthused about voting for Bernie Sanders. But as irreverent as most of them typically are, for all their talk about "civic duty," and the good feelings associated with participating in the democratic process, I hope they will treat the runoffs with as much earnestness as they treated the presidential contest. (At the very least, perhaps they can learn more about the candidates left standing.) If not, I hope they will give serious thought to advocating for some form of Instant Runoff Voting in Houston, Harris County, and Texas.
Seeing Ted Cruz & Dan Patrick on the Tube Together Was Bad Enough! The Venue? Icing on the Turdcake.
Reposted from Facebook, wherein dbc shared a link from Houston scenester Steve Patlan.
This is mostly for friends outside Southeast Texas. Caution: may cause intense nausea.
The headline on this Gawker piece exaggerates only a little. Former Houston City Councilmember Michael Berry has proven himself on multiple occasions to be a racist. Merely saying something racist doesn't make one a racist. Saying it repeatedly, unapologetically, or insisting that it's not racist and then saying something equally racist definitely does. That would be Berry.
Enjoy this listicle by the weekly Houston Press's Jef Rouner about The Ten Most Embarrassing Houstonians, in which Berry comes in at #1.
The fact that KTRH has kept Berry on the air for so long makes the station's management and ownership (Clear Channel/iHeartRadio) racist by association. They keep him on because he gets the ratings, thanks to his regular listeners who lap up his racist rants, and who would turn on KTRH in a heartbeat if it caved in to the PC crowd.
I wouldn't characterize Berry as an "extreme" racist. That adjective implies to me that he's actively advocating eliminationism and direct violence toward People of Color; if he has, I haven't heard it. But his record is bad enough that holding Ted Cruz's victory party at his bar makes Cruz racist by association too. As Rachel Maddow would say, "Senator Cruz, you kinda own this."
Last night I saw, but did not hear, Cruz on TV delivering is Texas Primary victory speech. His wife stood to his right, and Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to his left. (Not Dan Patrick the former "SportsCenter" anchor, but Dan Patrick the former KHOU sports anchor from the '70s).
If you're not hip to Texas politics, Google "Michael Berry Houston radio" and "Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick" (not to mention "Flaming Asshole Ted Nugent") to know what kind of company Cruz keeps.
Is it a bad thing when a not-terribly-successful writer gets an attach of nostalgia for one of his own works from 20 years ago?
You know those self-produced EP's and LP's that rock bands release on local, independent labels before a major label picks them and signs them, and then everyone calls their first major-label release "their first album"? Example: Nirvana made cassettes of their early garage recordings to sell at their shows before they were even signed to SubPop. That's how I think of Eastern Daylight.
The first chapter is up, and the rest will be posted every week or two.
Go ahead. Read it. It's free. If you like it, tell me; you wouldn't be the first. If it sucks tell me; you wouldn't be the first.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.