Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Republicans vs. Democrats: A Culberson Town Hall Wrap Up

Pensions.  Health care.  Tax reform.  Immigration.  All of these issues affect us.  Not just 'you' us, but ALL of us.  Each individual has a story about how each one of these issues affects their lives.  There isn't any sweeping legislation that is a one size fits all solution, and I think going forward, legislators and the public need to remember that when we're considering what we're asking for.

Unfortunately, we live in the era of Big Government, and although it's not necessarily a new thing, it's still a thing.  They have this attitude of, "Anything the private sector can do, the public sector can do better."  This is not just an attitude of the federal government; it's a view held by Democrats and leftists alike.  That was never more evident at the John Culberson town hall.

The town hall was hosted at Spring Branch Middle School Auditorium and it was filled to capacity.  Seven hundred constituents flooded the town hall with questions to be asked and confrontations to be had with the Congressman.  The majority of the attendees were Democrats and there was a theme running through them all.  I'd love to tell you it was sweetness and light, but alas, that was not the case.

From the moment that they booed the opening prayer, and left out 'Under God' in the pledge, the mood had been decided. It was clear to me that the folks that were in attendance were out to control the entire town hall.  They were there to intimidate and to shout down and make their noise.  And that, they did.

I've got to say, I didn't blame the constituents for their frustrations, although they could have been much more civil about it.  I and others have felt similar frustrations with Congressman Culberson over the years. The only difference between myself and the Democrats is that going into any conversation or meeting, THEY would KNOW that they're going to disagree with the Congressman and that he's not going to represent their interests very well.

I think that the Congressman could have handled the crowd a bit better than he did.  Each time someone rose to ask a question, he often responded with "That's a very thoughtful and important question."  On the surface that might sound good, but it came across as very condescending.  The constituents recognized it and often followed those words with 'boos' and began chanting, "do your job'.  It was embarrassing.

I went there as an observer.  Full disclosure, I have been a long time skeptic and critic of the Congressman, but I went there really wanting to hear what he'd have to say.  There was one few thing he really stood strong for, like being against a single payer healthcare system which I was glad of.  Others, like something that he kept repeating, "Keep politics out of science and art.", that I wasn't so sure of.  Sounded good for the crowd he was in front of, I guess.

Another constituent was there, Mary Jane Smith, precinct chair and long time GOP activist, and this is what she had to say about the way the Congressman handled himself; " He was misinformed on several points. I was disappointed, although not surprised, when he said to the opposition that he was going to vote for same ole funding for National Institute of Health, (NIH), increased funding for education, public broadcasting, and was against Trump's decrease funding of the Dept of State."

The Republican constituency that lives in Congressional District 7 didn't show up for this town hall.  Hell, they didn't show up for the general election!  CD-7 went for Hillary!  I have news for them and for whomever is reading this, the Republican leaders, activists and voters had better not get comfortable over the next four years. The opposition is alive and well in even the most conceivably conservative areas in Harris county. The GOP still has to make OUR voices heard in the legislative process and the election process!  The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Local Government Matters: Pockets of Power

Local government matters, just like the title of the blog states.  The title has dual meaning, actually.  Events that take place within local government are 'matters' and those things are important, or they 'matter'.  However, I can't stress enough how important keeping an eye on local taxing authorities are.  I hope the information I've included will convince you and you'll be converted for LIFE!  Well, anyway, here goes!!

We've all been so focused on Washington, D.C., that we haven't paid attention to our local municipalities and how much debt THEY are incurring.  Tell you what, I'll let you in on something that will (or should) get your attention: Texas has the second highest per capita local debt in the nation!  We are only second to the state of New York in local debt!

There are taxing authorities that no one talks about or knows about; Management Districts, cities, MUD Districts, ESD's, and all of the ISD's.  In and around Harris County and the City of Houston, there are things called TIRZ's that fall under the management district category.  They can all issue bonds and debt, some of them without even putting it on a ballot for public approval!  Now, we can't just eliminate these entities, but we can certainly influence the elections of these tiny towns and pockets of power.

You may not be aware, but May 6th is Election Day for lots of the aforementioned taxing authorities.  Yes, you read that correctly.  So if you live in any of the smaller cities in and around Harris County, you may just be electing a new Mayor or new city council members or voting to change your city charter.  These are the elections where you can make the most difference!!

The Harris County Republican Party is working to empower the grassroots to make a difference during this election cycle.  The party is hosting phone banks all over the county in order to increase voter turnout in what are ultimately some of the lowest turnout elections. You can visit www.harriscountygop.com to find out dates and times of upcoming phone banks.

So, how do you know if you have an election to vote in?  Good news!  I've asked our very own  Harris County Clerk, Stan Stanart.  He reports that, "(Harris County)...is conducting only eight of the sixty two entities holding elections this May.  Harrisvotes.org has been programmed to tell a voter, when they look themselves up, if they are eligible to vote in an election and we provide links and/or phone numbers to the other fifty-four of the sixty-two that we are not conducting."  So, if you're not sure if you have an election to vote in, please go and visit harrisvotes.org.

On a side note, I once personally surveyed 100 people and only four out of those 100 had ever voted in an Emergency Services District election before.  So four percent of the people in that room could have decided the election.  So, you see now, I hope, the importance of showing up to elect people to what I now refer to as pockets of power.  Government really does go to those that show up! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

John Culberson Hosts a Town Hall THIS Saturday, March 25, 2017

Congressvarmint. Congresscritter.  Tax dollar waster.  These are some of the names that I and others have come up with over the years for our congressmen.  I think I may have found a new favorite term of endearment for my very own congressman; 'porker of the month',  Unfortunately, I wasn't the one who coined the phrase, but when I did a Google search of Congressman Culberson this morning, the first thing that popped up was an article written by Citizens Against Government Waste.  The title?  "CAGW names Culberson, Rogers, and Rooney December 2016 Porker of the Month".  Love it.

Apparently he's done enough of NOTHING over the past sixteen years he's been in office for Congressional District 7 that he may face a serious Democratic challenger for his seat.  I base that claim on the fact that good old conservative congressional district 7 went for Hillary Clinton in the November general election.  So, guess what he's doing now?  Sending out fundraising emails with cries for help much like a modern day Paul Revere, only with much less courage, claiming in emails that his staff sends out, "The Democrats are coming!  The Democrats are coming!"

Oh, yeah, they are.  And so are the Republicans.  After cosponsoring legislation to remove the ban on earmarks in December of last year and his lack of responsiveness to his current constituency, he's feeling the pressure.  Seems kind of ironic, though, don't you think, that the party of the opposition would be the voice that he's responding to? Well, you know what they say, there's only two ways to run for office, unopposed or scared.  I have a feeling Culberson is running scared.

To further prove that he IS running scared, he's finally hosting a town hall.  If you live in his Congressional District like I do, you will be allowed entrance.  Click on the link here to get all of the details, the do's and don'ts.  Apparently this time, there are quite a few of those.

So, what will his tagline be this time?  I guess you'll have to attend to find out....

Friday, February 24, 2017

Go Home, Harris County, You're Drunk!

That can be the only explanation for the election results we saw in Harris County for the 2016 general election; all of the voters showed up inebriated.  YEAH!  Just kidding!  Kind of....

I know I'm late to the party for a postmortem on the 2016 general election, however, there is an article that came across my desk, one that discussed the losses that the Harris County GOP experienced and I couldn't help but share it with you.


We all know that the diverse demographics and the changing political landscape of Harris County makes it nearly impossible to have a Republican stronghold.  Despite all of the best efforts of the Harris County GOP, the Democrats swept the county by replacing almost all of the Republican judges, tax assessor-collector, District Attorney, Sheriff, etc.

Anytime there's a less than stellar result from an election for either party, fingers start to get pointed at those at the top, otherwise known as county party leadership.  Since the election, there have been rumblings among bloggers and activists about the disappointment they have felt about the elections.  Some have even written about it.

Case in point, an article written and published a few days ago for The Weekly Standard talked about the Harris County election results.  The problem with the article is that the sources that were quoted gave dated information.   Mr. Barnes, who authored the article,  picked Gary Polland, former Harris County GOP Chairman and author of the Texas Conservative Review to quote for a recap.  The link to the article written by James Barnes can be found here.

From the Harris County GOP's response to the article, "
... the same Gary Polland who now publishes a for-profit candidate “slate” and once wrote a glowing editorial endorsement that helped elect former liberal Mayor Annise Parker.  The same liberal mayor who attempted to force her radical bathroom policy into law without voter approval."

Now, this article was not necessarily 'fake news' because the losses did happen, however, the article was a bit disingenuous because of the dated information and quotes used by the author.  Kind of like when a Congressman that represents me presented a resolution that was passed by a 2011 body of the local GOP and pretended or tried to pass it off as something that was done recently.  Very disingenuous. 

The party did respond to the article and the allegations made within, and here is another quote from that response, " If Fred Barnes had ever contacted me or the Harris County Republican Party to ask about the elections, he would have learned the Party did indeed support Donald Trump, along with every other Republican candidate on the ballot.  He would have learned the truth about what the Harris County GOP actually did in the 2016 campaign-- not the inaccurate spin set out in his article."

No matter where you come down on what you feel the reasons are for the election results this time around, I think that the article that was written and published could be a good reminder for all of us to consider the source.  This is also a time for us to unite behind the party and work together to spread the message of conservative principles in and around Harris County.