Sunday, March 1, 2015

Points System And The Projects

MOAR low income housing for the Cy-Fair/Bear Creek area, you say?  Yes, it's true.  Hard to believe?  Well believe it!

I recently wrote an article titled, "Plutocracy and the Projects" in which I briefly outlined the process by which low income housing makes its way stealthily into the burbs.  It's a pretty involved process, but I thought I would try to break it down for you, maybe get a little more in-depth on the subject this time.

I'm reporting primarily about the Cypress, Texas area, but I'm sure that much of the targeted areas get close to the same amount of money.  Right now, the federal government had dangled $9,704,613 for the Cypress area.  Each developer seeks $1.5 million.  Only the top six developers with the highest points are awarded funds.    The developers need 118 points to qualify to receive the funds.  What I'd like to do is show where the points come from to show you how important it is for the state representatives to maintain their negative point capabilities.

Last year, the highest points achieved were 133.  By contrast, the lowest points awarded were 125.  The developers were funded or lost on a single point.

There are several entities that can award or subtract points to the developers.  They are:
-School District
-MUD 61 JF-Hofman
-Fire Department
-Law Enforcement
-Local Businesses
-Elected Officials
The only other quantifiable community participation is with a coalition, which, thanks to James and Barbara Hardin, Cy-Fair has now; The Cypress Coalition.  It first came to the Cypress Coalition's attention last year and I wrote an article about the first town hall meeting titled, "The Texas House-Representing Voters or Subsidized Developers?"

State Representatives still have eight points, which can have a HUGE impact, as you see that developers were funded or lost on a single point.  As of the current legislative session, State Representatives are proposing to give up their points that serve their constituents.  County commissioners also have the ability to add or take away points; they've been allotted three points.

To further prove the need for the reps to keep their points, especially those that represent Cy-Fair as we have several vulnerabilities as an area.  We live in an unincorporated area, which means we don't have a city council or a mayor to represent us.   That leaves us with, you guessed it, relying on the State Reps and the County Commissioners to be our voice.

Stay tuned as there's a town hall being planned to oppose the two new proposed developments.  If you're concerned, please contact State Representative Dwayne Bohac at:
(512) 463-0727   Austin Office
(713) 460-2800   District Office

I'm sure there's more to come since the 84th legislation is far from over. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy 100th Blog Post, Political Chicken!

Here at The Political Chicken, I'm ALL about celebrating milestones like birthdays and such.  So, I feel that I would be remiss if I didn't commemorate my 100th blog post!  It just happened on Monday and I thought much like a TV series celebrates their 100th episode with a giant cake, I thought I'd share my milestone with you, my supporters and readers with these cute little cupcakes.

Not only have I just posted my 100th post, the blog has achieved another milestone of 15,000 page views!  Not too shabby for a local blogger.  Some have asked me recently, why the name, 'The Political Chicken'?  I say, it was because I thought it was a catchy name AND because I was a bit of a chicken when it came to sharing my views on politics.  As you can see, ahem, I've long since lost that shyness.  I'll admit that from time to time when I post something that I know is going to be controversial, I get a tiny bit nauseous.  Heh.

All that said, I am proud of the work I've done here and will continue to do. I am totally in love with writing and story telling and the unfolding of an idea and an explanation or an argument I'm trying to make.  The process is as much fun as the end result, in my opinion.  Remember, I'm no longer really shy about that.

I usually do a birthday blog for the Chicken, and here they are, when the Chicken turned one and when it turned two.  I also wanted to link the very first article I ever wrote for my blog titled, "Why I'm Supporting Bill Tofte for Congress" here.   The link for my 100th blog post, titled "Jared Woodfill: Tenet vs. Track Record" can be found here.

You'll have to wait for my third birthday blog for the top performers, but I almost can't wait to do that, so here is one that I've written recently that is my personal favorite, "Could We Be Living In The Twilight Zone?"  It wasn't very popular, but I put a lot of work into it and I'd love for you to read it, too.

So there you have it, from A to Z, or from beginning to, well, I won't say end because I'm far from done here. You've been fabulous, but this is FAR from over!  MUAH!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Jared Woodfill: Tenet vs Track Record

In Proverbs 22:1, it says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold."

What are some of the qualities that are important to you when considering a candidate for public office?  Do you consider their past voting history?  How about their stance on gay marriage?  Maybe their willingness to regulate and spend the taxpayers money without regard for the future generations?  What about their stance on abortion?

Whichever one or two qualities that you may have picked that are important to you, whether I listed them above or not, do these qualities, or lack thereof, impact their ability to carry out the duties of the office they seek?  For example, would you hire a tax cheat to run the U.S. Treasury?  Would you vote for someone to be the Sheriff if they had a criminal record?  I would think that those kind of things would be important when considering a vote for someone to represent me.

What if I told you that someone who continually lost elections for a county party was hoping to be put in charge of a state party?  What if I told you that same someone had problems raising money and maintaining the trust of the donors once he actually received the donations?  What if I also added that he squelched the grassroots by ignoring them and putting his own cronies in place to benefit himself and his buddies?  How about if I told you he couldn't then and still can't even manage his own personal finances, what would you say to that?

Enough with the ambiguity, I'll tell you who I'm talking about, if you haven't already figured it out: Jared Woodfill.  Jared is a nice enough person, but no amount of pleasantries and good personality is going to change my mind about his qualities and abilities to hold any kind of elected position.  EVER.  Unfortunately, he still has a following of sorts and those that support him seem to be completely blind to his inability to manage people and finances and win elections simply because of one thing; he's Pro-life.

Great, he's pro-life, and yes, it's a good, Biblical quality to have.  The Bible tells us we should not murder and in my opinion, abortion IS murder.  I'm going to let you in on a little secret, though.  The Bible also talks about paying debts, too.  Now, I know that generally speaking, we all have some debts; mortgages, credit cards, student loans, car notes, etc. and I'm not saying that having debt is evil or wrong.  There are, however, consequences for not paying those debts.

Let us not forget about Jared Woodfill’s $30 Million lawsuit gamble and tax problems.   Woodfill was sued in New York for defaulting on a nearly $30 million “questionably ethical” loan.  Not only that, but The Houston Business Journal and the Chronicle recently reported the IRS has placed a $40,000 lien on the Woodfill Law Firm for unpaid taxes.  If you're not a subscriber, you may not be able to read the link, but the information included is this:  
Name: Woodfill Law Firm PC, Address: 3131 Eastside St. Suite 450, City: Houston,State: TX, Zip: 77098, Amount: $40,214, Tax Type: (941), File Date: 2014-11-24, Rec Date: 2014-12-10, Rel Date: 0000-00-00.  You can Read the Chronicle article here.

In Romans 13:7 it says "Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed." 

When you don't pay for your car, the bank repossesses it.  When you don't pay your house note, the bank kicks you out of your house.  So why shouldn't there be consequences for those seeking elected positions?  If you've proven yourself a failure in an area that your position needs you to excel in, why would anyone want to put you in that position, pro-life or no?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Plutocracy and the Projects

Plutocracy is defined as government by the wealthy, or an elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.  I can't think of a better word to describe the government of the state of Texas.  Now, I hear you, you're saying, Texas, right?  Yes, I'm talking about our great state of Texas, and while the government of Texas hasn't done EVERYTHING wrong, there is definitely room for improvement.

I'll start off with one good thing; Texas' decision to refuse the use of Common Core Standards for our public school system.  Not just the standards, but the money that the feds dangled in front of the state.  Let's face it, the government doesn't give anything away for nothing.  They always want something in return-there are always strings attached.  Common Core was no different.  However, the reason that the state turned down the money wasn't just because they were trying to be honorable, and 'do the right thing'.  It was simply a case of not being able to profit from the implementation of Common Core statewide.

Next topic, low income housing.  Yep, I hear you groaning.  Once again, the feds are at the ready to offer up money to the state, in the form of tax credits, but guess what kids, there are strings attached.  The state has an agency set up called Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA), and they hand out the tax credits to the developers who score the most points in order to build the low income housing I mentioned.

Low income housing usually lowers property values, increases crime rates and overcrowds the system; fire departments, schools, EMS services, etc.  However, that's of no concern to the developers who only see dollar signs when they come into the neighborhood they are trying to 'bust'. That's a real term, 'neighborhood busting' and it's a term and an action that has trickled down from liberal Washington, D.C.  Surprise!

So, back to these points that the developers try to accumulate in order to build; you may be asking, who can award those points?  I'm so glad you asked. The state legislators of the designated development area have points to award, as do county commissioners, school districts, water districts and community coalitions, which brings me to my main point.  The state does NOT have to accept this money from the feds!!  If they had courage of conviction, the state would tell the feds to get the hell out of our state, similar to the courage, ahem, they exhibited when they shunned Common Core.  There is one glaring difference here, though.

If you guessed the potential for capital gain on the part of the legislators, then you guessed correctly.  Hmmm, let's see, the developers just might sidle up to the legislator whose district they want to build in, and oh, maybe make a campaign contribution.  Gee, I can't imagine why the legislators wouldn't want these developers to keep coming back.

To another point that has my pants in a bunch is that during the last legislative session, the Senate voted to do away with their points.  Now they have no say in what comes into their districts.  The House is planning on doing the same thing this session.  This can only lead the voter to one conclusion; that the representatives WANT the campaign contributions to continue to flow without having any accountability to those they represent.

This issue isn't over.  I'll be following it and sharing with all of you to keep you informed.  Big shout out to Kay Smith and Barbara and James Hardin for forming the Cypress Coalition and getting out in front of this important issue.  Please go to their website to find out more and to join the coalition.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

State Republican Executive Committee to Select New State GOP Chair March 7th

This just in: Texas remains a red state!  After the November 2014 election, Republicans see victories all over the state!  Okay, well, maybe it's not as recent as I made it sound, but it's still a fact worth celebrating.  Think about who we have to thank for that victory?  Well, lots of devoted volunteers from around the state, that's who.  GOP County Chairmen are the immediate leaders of each county in Texas and their boss is our State Republican Party Chairman, Steve Munisteri.  Without a clear plan in place, our state party and each county party might not have done nearly as well in this last election, and I almost hate to do this, (almost), but I need to bring your attention back to my ground zero; Harris County.

In March 2014, Harris County elected a new county party chairman, Paul Simpson.  He ousted 12 year incumbent, Jared Woodfill from the spot, and it was no easy victory.  Although you'd think that someone who had been in the position for that long and kept getting re-elected MUST have been doing a great job, right?  WRONG!

Sadly now Steve Munisteri is resigning as our State Party Chairman after five great years of service to us.  We will miss him, but know he's going on to bigger, better things.  That leaves the position open and since his resignation comes before the next state convention, the job of electing a new chairman falls to the State Republican Executive Committee or SREC for short.  There are four candidates in the field, Robin Armstrong, former State Vice Chairman, and current National Republican Committeeman for Texas, Wade Emmert, current chairman for Dallas County GOP, Tom Mechler, current State Party Treasurer and of course, Jared Woodfill, the recently unseated Harris County GOP Chairman.

Let's take a look back at some of the highlights from Jared's tenure as Harris County GOP Chairman:

Jared Woodfill Led the Decline of Harris County Republican Dominance

• The Harris County Republican Party delivered Harris County for the Republicans in every presidential election from 1968-2004 and Gubernatorial elections from 1994-2006.

With no county party organization and a lack of leadership from Woodfill, Obama and the Democrats won Harris County in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

For 12 Years Jared Woodfill Failed to Grow the Grassroots
• Over 600 of Harris County’s 1,064 precincts did not have a Republican Precinct Chair.

• 20 years ago Harris County had over 700 Republican precinct chairs. When Woodfill left office there are fewer than 460.

Jared Woodfill Lost the Trust of Grassroots Donors
• A review of Texas Ethics Commission documents show that in 2012, under Jared Woodfill’s leadership, the county Party spent $.78 of every dollar raised on consultants and paid campaign
advertisements with only $.01 going to grassroots activities.

Jared also mismanaged his own personal finances and The Houston Business Journal recently reported the IRS has placed a $40,000 lien on theWoodfill Law Firm for unpaid taxes.  Hmm...

Now, let me ask you if you think that this resume that I've shared qualifies Jared to be the state party chair?  Jared dutifully ignored the development of the grassroots, and pandered to a select few he surrounded himself with at the peril of the party.  He spent more money on high dollar consultants and he let the pay-to-play slates take over Harris County which allowed candidates for any and all offices to be chosen by a few top paid endorsers!   

We've come so far as a state, we cannot afford to let Jared take the helm and repeat what he did in Harris County to the State GOP.  The election will take place on March 7, 2015 at the next quarterly meeting of the SREC.  Let me tout some of Steve's record: From his resignation announcement:  
"It has been my honor to serve as RPT Chairman since June 2010 and oversee our party’s efforts during the last three election cycles. I am proud that by working together, we have had a net increase of 1,182 Republican officeholders during my time in office, representing an increase from 45% of all state officeholders to 67%. We have also set the all-time record for most number of elected Republican Texas State Representatives and Republican Texas Congressmen, as well as tying the record for most number of Republican State Senators.
At the same time, we paid off the party’s debt to $0 for the first time in 18 years and have remained debt free since November 2010 while bringing in over $22 million in revenue. This would not have been possible without the support of literally tens of thousands of grassroots activists and donors, for which I will be forever grateful."

Debt paid off to $0.  A net increase in Republican officeholders and an all-time record for most number of elected Republicans in the State House and State Senate.  Texas can't afford to go backwards.  The vote is scheduled for March 7th.  Contact your SREC representatives and let them know who you support.  Just say 'no' to failed leadership!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Home" by Edgar A. Guest

I got to thinking the other day, and I couldn't remember ever posting a poem here on The Political Chicken, since they don't have much to do with politics, but I do love a few and this is one of them.  It is simply titled, "Home" and it's written by a man named Edgar A. Guest.  I don't know much about him or his style of writing, but this poem warms my heart when I read it; it makes me think of my little boys and how true it is that I would hang onto even the thumbprints and smudges they made if it would keep them little just a bit longer.  My mom tells me stories of my dad's mom and how she used to like to keep the smudges and lip prints my sister and I used to make on her glass door.  I can totally relate to that feeling as a mom now.  Here's how it goes:

It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home,
A heap o’ sun an’ shadder, an’ ye sometimes have t’ roam
Afore ye really ’preciate the things ye lef’ behind,
An’ hunger fer ’em somehow, with ’em allus on yer mind.
It don’t make any differunce how rich ye get t’ be,
How much yer chairs an’ tables cost, how great yer luxury;
It ain’t home t’ ye, though it be the palace of a king,
Until somehow yer soul is sort o’ wrapped round everything.

Home ain’t a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute;
Afore it’s home there’s got t’ be a heap o’ livin’ in it;
Within the walls there’s got t’ be some babies born, and then
Right there ye’ve got t’ bring ‘em up t’ women good, an’ men;
And gradjerly, as time goes on, ye find ye wouldn’t part
With anything they ever used—they’ve grown into yer heart:
The old high chairs, the playthings, too, the little shoes they wore
Ye hoard; an’ if ye could ye’d keep the thumbmarks on the door.

Ye’ve got t’ weep t’ make it home, ye’ve got t’ sit an’ sigh
An’ watch beside a loved one’s bed, an’ know that Death is nigh;
An’ in the stillness o’ the night t’ see Death’s angel come,
An’ close the eyes o’ her that smiled, an’ leave her sweet voice dumb.
Fer these are scenes that grip the heart, an’ when yer tears are dried,
Ye find the home is dearer than it was, an’ sanctified;
An’ tuggin’ at ye always are the pleasant memories
O’ her that was an’ is no more—ye can’t escape from these.

Ye’ve got t’ sing an’ dance fer years, ye’ve got t’ romp an’ play,
An’ learn t’ love the things ye have by usin’ ’em each day;
Even the roses ’round the porch must blossom year by year
Afore they ’come a part o’ ye, suggestin’ someone dear
Who used t’ love ’em long ago, an’ trained ’em jes’ t’ run
The way they do, so’s they would get the early mornin’ sun;
Ye’ve got t’ love each brick an’ stone from cellar up t’ dome:
It takes a heap o’ livin’ in a house t’ make it home.

There's so much to relate to in this poem, I could go on and on, about how sometimes you have to travel to appreciate where you live, the place you call 'home'.  We all can relate to the death part of the poem, too, and that might be why I'm posting this, just one day after the twentieth anniversary of my own dad's death.  Yes, death is a part of life, as it is often said, but that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to a loved one.  As he says, 'An tuggin' at ye always are the pleasant memories, O' her that was an' is no more--ye' can't escape from these."  It's true, you can't escape from these.

So, thank you God, for all of  these experiences in life, the joy of a birth, the pain of a death, the happiness and the sorrow.  These things make us who we are and although not always pleasant, it is what we call 'life'.  To quote John Lennon, which is also something I'm not known to do, "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

So, make plans to enjoy the simple things, the feeling of the warm sunshine on your face, the wind blowing in your hair and a few good friends to enjoy a cup of coffee with and maybe a dessert.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Could We Be Living in The Twilight Zone?

Foreshadowing.  Alluding to the future.  Prophesying.  We've all heard of these things before. We've heard foreshadowing through the recording made by former President Reagan when he warned of the dangers of socialized medicine.  Or Paul Harvey with his recording of "If I Were the Devil" when he makes some very chilling predictions about the future, and I think we can all agree that some of those things he talks about have definitely come to pass.  You know me, though, I like to find unlikely places for inspiration and I think I may have done it with an episode of The Twilight Zone.

Back in 1961, an episode was aired on The Twilight Zone called, "The Obsolete Man" starring Burgess Meredith.   At the beginning of the episode, there is an introduction by Rod Serling and it is fantastic.  "This is not a new world, it is simply an extension of what began in the old one.  It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted a ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of every superstate that has preceded it, it has one iron rule: logic is an enemy and truth is a menace."  Oh, boy.

Let me set the stage for you.  Burgess Meredith plays Romney Wordsworth, a librarian and a citizen of the state, as Rod refers to him as in the intro, and in the opening scene we find Romney standing in front of a podium of the state to decide his value as a citizen.  The state is to determine whether he is a value to society or if he should be found 'obsolete'.   When he is asked for his profession and he says, 'librarian', there are sounds of laughter coming from the court room. With as much disdain as he can muster, the Chancellor repeats, "A librarian?" 

So, wait, what?  Yes, you read that right.  The state was determining whether Romney was worth anything.  Stop a minute there and think about where we are as a country today.  Obviously, I'm on the conservative side of things, believing that the government should be out of mine and everybody else's business.  However, on the liberal Democrat side of things, we have this belief that the government should be involved in everything.  Everyday decisions that the lay person makes, from what type of light bulb to use in your home to whether we get to put sprinkles on our donuts.  Those are just a few of the examples of what the 'left' hopes to have jurisdiction over in our day to day lives.

Let's move on to the part of the 'hearing' when the 'state' does finally decide that Romney is obsolete.  When Romney argues that he's a human being, and that, "no man is obsolete!"  The state argues that he's a librarian and therefore is obsolete.  The state also argues that there is no God to which Romney replies, "You can't erase God with an edict!"  I do remember something about the Democrat party holding its national convention and declaring not once or twice, but three times that they wanted to take the word, 'God' out of their platform.  Also, the increasing number of religious liberty court cases that have sprang up over the past four or five years, one involving a WWI war memorial out in the middle of nowhere.  After it's having been there for over eighty years, it was all of a sudden deemed 'offensive' by the ACLU and their ilk.  A definite infringement on religious liberty.

So, our character Romney Wordsworth has been deemed obsolete.  Now what?  Well, what else do you think the state would do to someone who they feel has no use?  Right, kill them, or in this case, 'liquidate' or 'eliminate' them.  In this episode, the state gives Mr. Wordsworth the 'choice' of when and how he should be liquidated; pills, gas or electrocution, to which he replies, "I am a very rich man."
 Romney: "I merely said that I was a very rich man.  I have such a luxury of choices that I choose the following: to be given an assassin to whom I should tell the method of my execution...I should like to die with an audience."
Chancellor: "Ah, Mr. Wordsworth, that can be arranged!  It's not unusual that we televise executions, it has an educative effect on the population."
Romney: "I have no doubt."

Educative effect?  So, if your beliefs don't match up with the state, they will have to reeducate you so that you'll fall in line?  May I remind you of the case of bakers being forced to bake cakes for a same-sex marriage?  The baker was well within his rights to refuse, since all businesses have the right to refuse service to whomever they choose.   Anyone remember the 'no shirt, no shoes, no service' sign we used to see on the outside of doors of Stop and Go convenience stores?  And yes, I realize I'm dating myself here, but I think it's a valid point.  These regulations and limitations that the government tries to force onto us have nothing to do with what party we affiliate ourselves with and I'll show you how that plays out next in this particular episode.

Fast forward a bit to the scene of Romney in his room waiting for his time of death.  He has requested the presence of the Chancellor, and the Chancellor is a bit skeptical as to why he was chosen and he even mentions the probability of Mr. Wordsworth's desire to get revenge.  As their time plays out together, it gives Romney a chance to question the methods of the state, and when pressed, the Chancellor exposes the state for what it really is when he says this,
Chancellor: "On the contrary, history teaches us a great deal.  We have predecessors who had the beginnings of the right idea."
Romney: "Hitler."
Chancellor: "Hitler, of course."
Romney: "Stalin."
Chancellor: "Stalin, too, but their error was not one of excess, their error was not going far enough.  Too many undesirables were left around and undesirables form a core of resistance.  Old people who clutch at the past and won't accept the future.  The sick, the maimed, the deformed, they fasten onto the healthy body and damage it.  So we eliminate them.  And people like yourself, they can perform no useful function for the state and so we put an end to them."

I would like to stop a minute there and point out that we may have already seen this take place in the form of tea party activists being targeted by the IRS.  The tea party would be the undesirables in this instance who have formed a core of resistance and obviously, the IRS would be the state entity.  We could go back even further than that to the Boston tea party, the original tea party to show a core of resistance had formed.  I think we could all agree that King George would consider that first group of patriots as undesirables.

At one point before his imminent demise, Romney reveals the method of liquidation he's chosen.  A bomb is to go off at midnight, but he won't be alone.  Chancellor learns that he'll be present during the liquidation, and he is none too happy.  However, Romney retrieves his Bible from its hiding place, after all, it's against the rules of the state to have a Bible, remember, since they've determined there isn't a God.  He opens it and begins reading from Psalm 23 as the Chancellor makes himself comfortably uncomfortable on the couch.  Romney continues to read scripture after scripture while Chancellor looks on and smokes cigarette after cigarette as the time ticks down.   

With one minute remaining, at 11:59 PM, the Chancellor begins to weep and beg, "Please, please, in the name of God, let me out!  Let me out, let me out!"  Romney replies, "Yes, Chancellor, in the name of God, I will let you out."  Shortly after the Chancellor escapes, an explosion erupts from Romney's room and we know he has been liquidated.

The closing scene finds the Chancellor on the other side of the podium.  Remember, Romney's liquidation was televised, so the state saw how Chancellor wept and begged for his life.  Therefore, the state placed him in the obsolete category as well.  We see how easily and readily the state turned on its own instrument when any display of weakness was shown.  You could even say that regardless of party affiliation, when the state is pressed, they will turn on their own.