Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Government Overreach vs. Back to Basics

I love it when an organic idea or a Facebook post turns into a blog, don't you?  Well, that's what spawned this blog idea in particular.  Well, that and a city election that just happened this past Tuesday.  Mayor, comptroller and city ordinances as well as Texas constitutional amendments made an appearance on the ballot and trust me when I say there was no shortage of controversy on the ballot centered around one HERO ordinance.

The HERO ordinance, or Houston Equal Rights Ordinance went down in flames, only getting thirty-eight percent of the vote.  Say what you will about the ordinance, or the wording or the good or bad of it, I'm simply of the mind that this is not something that the city government should be dabbling in.  At. All.

So, on Saturday morning, I started thinking about it and here's my 'organic' Facebook post that I posted on my wall: "What is the world coming to? We're now fighting as a city and a nation over whether or not men and women should be using the same public restrooms and now contemplating the need for a transgender bathroom? I never actually made my opinion on the bathroom issue public, but I am glad that the ordinance was shut down on Tuesday. I also think that the City government shouldn't even be dealing in this kind of matter. I endorsed Bill King for mayor and like his slogan, "Back to Basics" seems to fit the bill. Infrastructure, pensions, drainage, is the business of the city. NOT a liberal, leftist agenda by a lesbian, soon to be ex-mayor. And, no, I don't believe that anyone should be discriminated against for whatever reason, but how do we take a small segment of the population and somehow elevate their rights over the rights of a majority? Oh, wait, I'll just go one step further and offend everyone today, you could apply that same logic to black lives matter. ALL lives matter! Is this still America?"

Back to basics.  I like the sound of that.  I'm sure it's been used before in other campaigns, but to me it resonates because we're facing a time when government overreach is at an all time high.  The overreach we see is at EVERY level of government; city, state, and federal.  Here's an idea, governing bodies, if it's not in your wheel house, then you don't need to get involved!  

Another question that we have to ask ourselves, or our governing bodies should be asking themselves, is " do we take a small segment of the population and somehow elevate their rights over the rights of a majority?"   It's true that most people overestimate the amount of the population that identify and gay or lesbian.  Most think that at least 20% of the population identify as gay, lesbian or transgender, when it's actually less than 4%.  Less than 4%. 

And speaking of back to basics, I think that Ted Cruz has it right when he refers to the United States Constitution as his 'touchstone'   To quote him, he says, "My touchstone for every question is the Constitution."  It's just too bad that more legislators and governing bodies don't put their own special interests on the back burner in order to better represent their constituents according to the Constitution.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Put YOUR Boots on The Ground October 17th, 2015

Boots on the ground.  We've all heard that phrase before.  Do we live it, or do we sit in front of our computer and read the headlines and complain?  Even in the midst of all of the despair and hopelessness that can be spread among the ranks of the local GOP and beyond, I believe that there are activities we can engage in to grow our party.  Like what?  Like the basic nuts and bolts of campaigning; things that we can do to help boost our local party affiliate.  I have to warn you, it's not for the faint of heart.  Are you ready?

I know, I know, block walking is not glamorous or sexy.  It's not as much fun as a high dollar fundraiser at a fancy house with big donors and champagne flowing from gilded fountains.  Matter of fact, it's quite the opposite.  It's hard work; it's sweaty work.  You expose yourself to the elements and people, and did I mention the Texas sized mosquitoes??  So why do it?  Why bother getting out in the heat and rain and humidity to knock on a few doors and present Republican ideas to the masses?

Because it works!  I'll even prove it to you.  Here's one reason why to do it: Mike Schofield, State Representative for House District 132.  Mike knocked on over 7,000 doors during his primary run and his run-off combined, and he (obviously) won his race.  He also had a good campaign, but the fact that he knocked on so many doors (dressed in a suit and tie, I might add) had a great deal to do with his victory.

I asked Representative Schofield to give us an inside, a reason as to why block walking is so important.  He shared this, "Even the biggest presidential campaigns know that elections are won by having volunteers talk directly to voters.  They spend millions of dollars targeting precincts and individual voters for phone banks and block walking because it determines who will win.  Anyone who wants to have a real say in their government can do that most directly by knocking on doors in their neighborhood and phoning their neighbors."

And that's exactly why Katy Libertea is teaming up with Harris County Republican Party on Saturday, October 17th.  We need to build an army of grass roots volunteers for 2016!!  So what are you waiting for!  RSVP and join us on the 17th by clicking on the link here.  The time to act is NOW!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Apathy Is Not Just For Politics

Hello, Political Chicken fans!  It's been a few months since my last piece and I missed you!  Yes, all of you!  I love writing, but there just hasn't been a whole lot of time for it lately.  However, I'm dusting off my computer keyboard to bring you a special message.

I'm sure that any one of us that have been around politics for any length of time have heard the word apathy used in relation to voter turnout during an election.  To me, apathy is a general sense that the voters just don't care anymore about getting out and voting or campaigning for their favorite candidate.  They don't feel that their voice or vote counts or matters, so they just stay home.  Hmph.

Apathy as defined by Wikipedia is "lack of enthusiasm, interest, or concern".  As a hardcore political activist, I'm someone who lives, eats, and breathes elections, campaigns, etc.  Although, I can certainly understand why someone would be apathetic, considering the condition we find ourselves in as a country.

Take that word, 'apathy' and apply it to one's walk with Jesus.  Are you like me and find yourself with a less than enthusiastic approach to your faith sometimes?  Things get busy and your spiritual bank is running on fumes, you know what you need to do, but there just isn't time!  Or you hit that place where you aren't even really concerned about your walk with God.  Ever done that?  You think, "God will be there when I need him."  I gotta tell you, from experience, that's a dangerous way of thinking.

The reason that I'm even bringing this up is because of a new Bible study I started attending recently called "The Armor of God" and it's amazing.  See, in the very first study, the lady who leads the study on the videos and the author of the book, Priscilla Shirer mentioned the word, 'apathy' and it hit me.  Apathy is not just for politics. 

Sadly, it is true.  And unlike the arena of politics when be blame our apathy on our leaders and representatives, we can't blame our spiritual apathy on our spiritual leader.  Jesus is the same today, yesterday and he's the same tomorrow, too, in case you're wondering.  He loves you no matter where you are or what you've done.  Take that with you as you go into your places of worship on Sunday.  I know I will. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

So What Is A TIRZ, Anyway??

Here at The Political Chicken, more often than not, I'm focused on fiscal issues, and of course, government overreach.  So, I'd like to bring your attention to something that actually falls under both of those categories;  a little thing called, Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone or TIRZ for short.  As defined by wikipedia, a TIRZ is a political subdivision of a municipality or county in the state of Texas created to implement tax increment financing. They may be initiated by the city or county or by petition of owners whose total holdings in the zone consist of a majority of the appraised property value.

So why should you care?  Because the people that work on TIRZ are unelected and aren't held accountable by the tax payers!  And as we speak, there's an effort underway to put Bus Lanes on Post Oak.  The Uptown TIRZ has allocated $204 million for the project, oh, and did I mention they've blown through $43 million just to PLAN the project???  Yeah, nothing to see here.

The idea is to add managed METRO bus lanes to the CENTER lanes up and down Post Oak, which would actually cause a bigger traffic flow problem.  Considering that METRO rider numbers have not risen in quite sometime, that makes one wonder why the Uptown TIRZ would find this project necessary in the first place

They've also decided they need to add bigger sidewalks and more foliage.  They won't stay under the projected budget.  I can almost guarantee it.

There is a group of folks that have gathered and formed The Uptown Houston PAC in an effort to oppose the construction in the Uptown/Galleria area.  They've got a website called  Go there and look for yourself to see if you'd like to  sign their petition to oppose the project.

The last thing we need in the City of Houston is more unelected bureaucrats who are unaccountable to the taxpayers spending more of our money on wasteful projects.  I mean, what could possibly go wrong??

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Happy Third Birthday, Political Chicken!

It's that time of year again, fair readers!  Yep, you guessed it!  Time to celebrate another trip around the sun with yours truly, The Political Chicken!!  TPC is officially three years old and in that time, we've covered lots of issues, candidate endorsements and challenges to folks running for office, not to mention the 84th legislative session of the Texas legislature.

Let's take a look back at a few of the articles that topped the charts here at The Political Chicken, shall we? As I mentioned in this particular blog post, nothing gets folks in a community excited like a bond election, amiright?  That's why "Katy ISD: Got Debt?" shot to the top of the charts with 667 views, an all time high for The Political Chicken (TPC).

Coming in a close second was the article I wrote about the resignation of Steve Munisteri as State Party Chair for the GOP and the choice that the SREC faced in choosing his successor.  Check it out here, titled "State Republican Executive Committee to Select New State GOP Chair March 7th".  It hit second place with 652 views.

"As Iron Sharpens Iron", one of my very first favorite blogs, comes in at number three with 347 views.  Good articles can stand the test of time, and I'm especially proud of that one.  Check it out, you won't be disappointed, I promise.

I'll share the two articles that were nearly tied for fourth, one that I wrote a long time ago that also stands the test of time titled, "Sex, Lies and Politics" and another article that I wrote fairly recently titled, "Jared Woodfill: Tenet vs. Track Record".  Each one had around 340 page views.

Now for a few of my favorites that I wrote that didn't have a stellar amount of page views.  "Could We Be Living In The Twilight Zone?" was one of my personal favorites, but it didn't top the charts.  With only seventy-seven views, it didn't even break the hundred mark.  Next on the list was what I considered to be a timely message, titled "Come Back To Me Before You Go Back To School" in which I encouraged parents, students and teachers to revisit their faith to help see them through a new school year.  It had just seventy-eight views total.

Just a few more to go.  Two of my favorite topics, if you haven't noticed are politics and Christianity.  So of course, the next title should be no surprise, "Politics and Christianity: Can The Two Work Together?"  That came in with a grand total of ninety-three page views.  And one of my absolute favorite past-times is, yep, you guessed it; picking on my favorite Congresscritter, John Culberson.  I put his 'Jeffersonian Republican' principals to the test here in, "Is John Culberson a Jeffersonian Republican or Not?"  Sad to say, his platform was full of holes; Swiss cheese, even.

That's all for this edition of TPC.  This isn't the end, it's just the beginning!  Remember, The Political Chicken is going places!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Want More Local Debt Transparency? Senator Bettencourt Delivers with SB 1041

The 84th Texas Legislature is coming to a fast and furious close.  Will there be a special session?  Will there be TWO special sessions?  Only time will tell.

As individual activists and collectively as communities in varying school districts across the state of Texas, I think it's safe to say we're all concerned about mounting local debt, especially debt for our school districts through bonds that are issued.  We've all experienced the frustrations that come with those hidden elections, when precinct numbers are changed and mobile voting is introduced, ensuring a low voter turnout to those who would normally be against the bond.

I'm a resident of the Cy-Fair School District and they passed a $1.2 Billion Bond Referendum last May that I worked against that passed with flying colors.  They employed the same tactics that other school districts and taxing authorities use to get their bonds pushed through on an unsuspecting public.  These tactics are not new, and as long as they keep being successful, they won't ever stop.

I know how hard I've personally worked alongside other volunteers and activists to defeat certain bond measures and to defeat increased taxes.  Not because I hate children or don't want to see children succeed, but because as a taxpayer I have to wonder, when is enough, 'enough'?     

Thankfully, not all hope is lost.  One of the ways we can try to rein in local debt is through the Texas state legislature.  The representatives we send to Austin, (or even you) can write and introduce bills to make changes to current laws to ensure the changes that we want on how bond measures are presented on the ballot get made.

Enter SB 1041, introduced by Senator Paul Bettencourt.  Here's a little about the bill from Senator Bettencourt, "Taxpayers have a right to know how much debt their local government has taken out and what the cost is to taxpayers. For the first time, taxpayers will get to directly see how much they should expect to pay when they vote for bonds - right on the ballot itself.

My bill, SB 1041, just passed the Senate 26-5 and would require on any ballot to approve property tax backed debt, information about the
ir local government debt and the amount of taxes the average homeowner would pay to pay off their local government debt. This information is required for ALL of the property tax backed debt the local government currently has, and the debt they are asking voters to approve."

Wow!  Right on the ballot?!?  Right on, Senator Bettencourt! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

HB 4 passes the House and is now in the Education Committee in the Senate.

Pro-liberty House Member Jonathan Stickland writes about his position on House Bill 4.

"This weeks worst bill of the week didn't quite start out that way, but by the time the liberals in the Texas house were done with it, it earned the ‪#‎WBOTW‬ award.
HB 4 by GOP Rep. Dan Huberty sought to establish a "High Quality" pre-k program in the state of Texas. The first obvious question is, "Why would we be spending money on our other pre-k programs if they aren't "high quality"?
After an amendment offered by conservative Rep. Jodie Laubenberg to put a ceiling on the amount of money spent on this pilot program was gutted by progressive liberal Trey Martinez-Fischer, it was effectively opened up to unlimited spending. Things only got worse from there. The measure initially limiting it to a half day program was also stripped allowing, for full day programs for 4 year olds. New requirements and testing of our teachers and children also found their way on to the legislation.
The final end product in my opinion was nothing but a first step for the state of Texas requiring an unlimited, full day, mandatory pre-k program.
I wish that value was placed in fostering an environment of stronger family units instead of government daycare. How can we on one hand complain when parents are not as involved in their children's education as needed, and then promote handing them over to government at a younger age?"

House Bill 4 has a companion bill in the Senate; SB 801 and it is in committee now.  Here is a link to find all of the committee members.  Click here to find the names of the members.

We need to stop the intrusion of the government into the family unit.  Call the Senate Education Committee Members to tell them to kill this bill.