At this point, it's worth reporting that there is a new Green entity in Harris County. This is not to say that the Harris County Green Party has officially bitten the dust: It hasn't. But several HCGP members who are currently not active with HCGP have formed a group that they are calling Green Party Houston. It doesn't have a website yet, so nothing to link to here.
I welcome this development, primarily because a group that is not the official county party can do things in the broader community that HCGP cannot, whether due to restrictions imposed by the State of Texas, by lack of resources, or by internal policies. However, the Green Party of Texas can grant it delegates to annual state meetings and conventions.
Let there be no misunderstanding: It would be easy to assume that Green Party Houston is an effort to compete with or supplant HCGP. But that's not the case. Nothing would stop anyone from being an active member of both. The current co-chairs of HCGP know of the group's existence. So there is no problem in naming some names: Longtime Greenie Alfred Molison and 2016 post-DNC-screws-Bernie refugee Jan Richards got the ball rolling.
For the most part, I like peoplesparty.org, the redesigned website of the Movement a People's Party, If you navigate to the old domain, forapeoplesparty.org, it redirects you to the new one. Once you get there, you're treated to an au courant, NationBuilder-style layer-cake homepage with a rotating gallery of photos at the top. Some of the photos include founder Nick Brana with a group of fellow MPP ralliers. The rest...well, that's the part I don't like so much.
Even if the many photos that adorn the site are not purchased from istockphoto.com or one of its competitors, they most definitely have the look of stock photos. They consist mostly of well-scrubbed and -coiffed Millennials of various ethnicities, some sitting and smiling or daydreaming or looking with intensity at the camera, some conversing, some doing what looks like work.
I'm looking forward to a time when MPP can replace the stock-looking images with actual of People's Party activists in action.
Last year I posted about World Naked Bike Ride just a couple of days before the event. This year I didn't want to wait that long: We're 17 days from takeoff. This post is a copied, pasted, and hella modified version of last year's.
RIDE! RIDE! RIDE! Ride to demonstrate against fossil fuel addiction, for safe human-powered transportation, against car culture, and for bodily freedom. Meet at Super Happy Fund Land about 7 pm on 8 June; the ride starts at 9 pm.
NOTE: The pages linked below may contain photographic depictions of boobs and butts. Viewer discretion is advised.
Bare in mind that the dress code does not require riders to be fully exposed. The term of art is "Bare As You Dare." Consider your comfort zone and the possibility of encounters with law enforcement. The City of Houston does have a nudity ordinance.
Party-line vote yet again, 19-12. Start this video at about 5 minutes in to see it happen—though if you blink, you might miss it, because those senators legislate fast. On to the Governor's Mansion it goes.
Greenfolk: Assuming that Governor Greg Abbott signs HB 2504 as expected, get yourselves ready to collect dollars or signatures when you run for office. If you take the petition route, your magic numbers are 500 for districted races and 5,000 for statewide (or 2% of the vote for that office in the last election if that is a lower number).
The Secretary of State's Office provides a table of the fees and petitioning requirements for parties that nominate candidates via primary elections. When HB 2504 becomes law, candidates from so-called convention parties—e.g., Greens and Libertarians—will still be required to pay the fee or submit the signatures by roughly the end of August, even though their parties will have ballot access guaranteed.
Ballot access geeks, here is a half-hour of major geekage from this past weekend: video of the discussion of HB 2504 during Sunday's meeting of the 86th Texas Senate, starting at 2:46:21.
Several Democratic senators rose to ask questions of Senate sponsor Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola). The questions seem posed to stall the bill's progress, mostly because they (perhaps rightly) suspect the Republicans of engaging in political chicanery. The Republican majority had mostly made up its collective mind on this bill beforehand. As it upsets the Libertarian Party, their putative competitors for right-of-center votes, the Republicans appeared ready to ram the bill through.
As of now, the Senate has not officially adopted the bill, but it did pass second reading on a party-line vote (19-12). This bodes well for final passage.
Not gonna violate the copyright notice (which, by the way, ought to come with a link one can click to obtain written permission to use the work, don't you think?) by reposting Sunday's Pearls Before Swine strip, so I'll link to it and embed a YouTube vid of an Anti-Nowhere League song instead.
As for the PBS cartoon: I totally feel ya, Pig. Le cochon, c'est moi. "Don't check Twitter!" Oops, I checked Twitter. Fuck me sideways, what a shit-show.
This time it was Socratic Gadfly who tweeted me with the news: The seven Republican senators on the Texas Senate's Committee on State Affairs approved HB 2504 yesterday.
The two Democrats had more important business on other committees or something, as they are listed as Absent on the report. One of them is part-time Democrat Eddie Lucio of Brownsville.
Ballot Access News reports that the committee heard testimony from only three witnesses:
Two Libertarians testified against the bill (because of the filing fee provision) and one Green testified in favor of the bill.
I'll try to find out which Green testified. It would be quite interesting if it were katija gruene, who like me has not been active with the Greens in recent years. kat, however, has testified against Rep. Drew Springer's similar bills in previous legislative sessions. The difference this time around would be the amendment tacked on last week, granting ballot access to parties that have received 2% of the vote in any statewide race in any of the last five state elections.
In these final days of the 86th Texas Legislature (phew, got it right that time!), Thursday the 16th is scheduled date for the review of HB 2504 in the Senate Committee on State Affairs. Attention on this bill has now gone beyond Texas: possible Green presidential candidate Howie Hawkins has been sending out pleas to sign this petition or call senators. The petition apparently sends a message to all 31 senators.
This morning I gave Sen. Borris Miles's Austin office a call and spoke to an otherwise well-informed staffer who told me he hadn't really seen the issue from the perspective that allowing more choices in elections improves turnout and enhances democracy. I doubt that it means Miles will vote for HB 2504 as amended, let alone be the lone Democrat in the Senate to do so, but a constituent can dream.
For those keeping score, the Texas Senate still comprises 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats. One of those Democrats, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, has become notorious for voting with the Republicans on culture-war issues among others.
I have yet to find any new information on whether the Libertarian Party of Texas are considering launching a court challenge if the bill becomes law. As of last week's Chronicle piece, LPTX still opposes charging fees, mostly since the fees are set up to pay for the state's and counties' facilitating of primary elections...which the Libertarians and Greens don't have in this state.
Stay Tooned. There will be further updates as we continue to follow the progress of HB 2504.
Dude, I should be checking Ballot Access News more often. PDiddie sent several old-guard Harris County Greens a psst! by email this morning, linking to his new post concerning the progress of HB 2504 in the current 86th Texas Legislature (not the 92nd as I mistakenly wrote yesterday.)
The bill passed the House on a mostly party-line vote, 77-57, with five reps absent, and the Speaker not voting. Absent a major filibuster or a classic Dan Patrick Calendar Clusterfuck, this bill should sail through the Senate and get a signature from Governor Abbott.
In brief, HB 2504 allows candidates from convention parties (i.e., those that do not hold primary elections) to pay the same filing fees that candidates from primary parties do. In lieu of the fees, convention candidates may submit petition signatures, just as primary candidates currently may.
As if that weren't enough of a gift, another Republican's amendment to the bill, as passed by the House, reduces the criterion for retaining ballot access from 5% of the vote in a statewide race to 2%. Not in the next election, but in any of the previous five. Guess what? In 2014 and 2016, Green candidates crossed that 2% threshold in three four-way races. Since 2010, in races that the Democrats sat out, at least one Green has earned 5% or better, some scoring as high as 10%.
As Naomi Klein might say, This Changes Everything.
Occasionally I have both the time and the brain-space to check through the other pages of this website to see if anything needs correcting or updating. I have just done some of that tweaking, and I may do more in the near future.
In particular, I have made modifications of varying sizes and scopes on these pages:
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.