Hope for Texas Democrats? Reading the tea leaves in the early voting results.

It was the most probably the most conservative to in the history of Texas. The 82nd Texas Legislative Session of 2011. The year of the height of the Texas drought we are still experiencing.

The legislative session before Governor Rick Perry announced his intention to run for president of the United States. Some thought it was a disaster foisted upon the state by Perry’s political ambitions and a tragedy for impoverished women in the state of Texas. It was a session that produced the sonogram abortion law, deep cuts to women’s health care, the Texas Voter I.D. law, loser pays for frivolous lawsuits, balanced the budget and cut spending in a year of recession and gutted the funding of public education and Planned Parenthood.

Much has been made about the early voting results. That Democrat candidate for governor Wendy Davis will lose by double digits to her Republican opponent. That Battleground Texas has failed and Democrats did not get out their voters in key counties like El Paso. They are now available for the larger counties of Texas.

And now the results are in. At least for the counties with major population centers.

Is there really anything to glean from these numbers? Sure.

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In the race for Congressional District 14, don’t vote

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Congressman Randy Weber

If ever there was a congressional race desperately in need of sanity Congressional District 14 is it.

The primary candidates for both parties were beyond dismal. The GOP incumbent, Randy Weber was unopposed. To call him a congressman is a complete bastardization of the word. A complete bastardization of the office.

The Jefferson County Democrats (because there may be no others in District 14) were derelict in their duty to produce a slate of viable candidates.

The best they could do was a carpetbagger from Austin. Gagan Panjhazari. An Indian-American. Not an American Indian. Never mind that few in this district could pronounce his name. Brown but not Mexican so most Southeast Texans probably thought him to be an Arab. A Muslim. You know what that means. A terrorist.

And there was “the only Democratic candidate who actually resides in Congressional District 14″, Buck Willis. Survivor of an “unsurvivable” small plane crash, scientist and professor. He ran on putting people first.  Ahead of what?  Vegetable?  Mineral?

But in the end Weber got the opponent he deserved. Another gas bag.

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Bob Wortham, born to be D.A.

 

wortham2_01He’s a big man. Red-faced and white-haired with a matching mustache.

Bob Wortham was born to be a district attorney. At least here in Jefferson County.

Before Wednesday night’s candidate forum at the American Legion Dorie Miller Post 194, he greeted the crowd of mostly veterans with gusto: “Good evening!” And they responded right back.

“My name is Bob Wortham, I’m your Democratic candidate for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office”

Wortham then briefly recounts his life’s journey that led him to his destiny. Started in the D.A.’s office, private practice, Judge of 60th District Court, U.S Attorney (as a Republican), private practice (again), and then ran as a Democrat for the 58th District court where he served for seven years before resigning to run for district attorney. He says his resignation proves commitment to the people of Jefferson County.

“Let me tell you. Who wants to give up a job that you’ll probably never have a candidate..op, opposition for.”

He coulda been judge for life, man!

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Newly elected state Senator Brandon Creighton must fill Tommy Williams’ huge suit

Legislative Update Luncheon

Photo: Burnt Orange Report

Dismal. Once again. But what else did anyone expect?

In the election for District 4 state Senator, Jefferson County had a voter turnout of 3.03 percent. It amounted to 4381 votes cast. Most of which went to the winner Brandon Creighton. His opponent Steve Toth didn’t even get 30 percent of the vote. 28.97. He didn’t fare much better over in his home county of Montgomery either.

A total of 22,584 ballots were cast. Down from the May “special election” by 7664.

Once again Jefferson County voters yielded to Montgomery County and let them do the choosing. Essentially letting others think for us.

Or, in the case of our Congressman via Pearland Randy Weber, not.

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In the race for Texas Senate District 4, your vote counts. Too bad there wasn’t much choice.

 

Today is the day.

After being state Senator-less since the retirement of Tommy Williams last November, Senate Distict 4 is finally going to choose a new one. And it only took nine months. About three of those after the field of four was whittled to two in last May’s “special election”.

Endorsements?  Sure.

The Beaumont Enterprise editorial board touts Brandon Creighton’s experience as a majority leader in the Texas House.

The Houston Chronicle endorsement notes the difference in the candidates political styles.

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Where does the BISD truth lie? On the Beaumont Enterprise opinions column.

 

“The RIF [reduction in force] was as a result of the fact that the district is gonna be 25 million dollars in the hole next year.  Deficit spending.  It’s also as a result of the district had specific staffing guidelines that again, uh, I would have to say that the uh the [BISD] HR [Human Resources] department, it would appear that the HR department was not following those staffing guidelines. Therefore you have um…you have more teachers than you need.”

“You have more teachers than you need. The HR department did not do their job. They did not follow state staffing guidelines.”

That’s what BISD Conservator Fred Schafer said at the final meeting of the ousted Board of Trustees.

BISD has more teacher than it needs.

And he said some other things. Issued dire warnings after the board failed to pass the RIF.

Uh I think that I need to make something very clear in terms of the fact that you you did not pass the RIF.  You’re not gonna have enough money to pay the teachers.  I shared with you last week that your payroll for next year was in the neighborhood of 138 million dollars.

So what happened?

According to the Beaumont Enterprise editorial board , it was simply the installation of a board of managers.

Poof! All the problems went away.

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Rick Perry, a DPS gunboat, and the first–maybe last–Vulture Politics poll

Governor Perry took a ride on the Rio Bravo del Norte.

That’s the Rio Grande for pretentious intellectual types that frequent Big Bend National Park and its park rangers.

You know. Foreigners. Anyone from the other side of the Texas border. Some still call them Yankees. Those from the southern side of its border are ‘illegal aliens’.

The Governor was on a Texas Department of Public Safety gunboat. With a helicopter escort. Presumably a DPS sniper.

He was making a political point.

President Obama was in Dallas to discuss what has become an immigration crisis. Thousands of Central American children crossing the border illegally. Sent by their families on an unsubstantiated rumor that they would be given asylum.

Perry asked the president to visit the border.

He refused.

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TEA appointed conservator, Fred Schaffer, jumps into the BISD Heart of Darkness

It’s the very same thing that has this district where it is.

In the hole. Dead broke and divided.

Tit for tat. Retaliation.

The childishness of opposing adults who would take down an entire school district. Maybe even a city.

It’s the BISD heart of darkness.

And now even TEA appointed Conservator to BISD, Mr. Fred Schaffer, has jumped into the madness.

Before the scheduled vote on the agenda item that would cut teachers, staff and administration, Schaffer reminded the BISD Board of Trustees that deficit spending is what caused the estimated 25 million dollar shortfall in the 2013-14 budget.

Mr. Schaffer told the board that the human resources department at BISD failed to follow staffing guidelines. That BISD has too many teachers.

Mr. Schaffer told the board that the “lack of past and present leadership from the superintendent to the board of trustees” has bankrupted the BISD school district.

The district will only have a five million dollar budget to run its operating expenses at the beginning of the next school year. It needs 138 million to pay for its staff. It will have to reduce its payroll. That means teachers are going to lose their jobs. When asked, Mr. Schaffer affirmed it with a simple “yes”.

When the vote finally came, canceled from the following week, it failed.

Former BISD president Woodrow Reece cast the only affirmative vote. He voted his “conviction”.  And Woodrow Reece did the right thing.  Trustee Mike Neil voted against it. The other four abstained.

Two months of hard work down the drain. A process punctuated with missteps from the administration and board over. “We are doing nothing” is how Reece characterized it.

The conservator was incensed. He steps up to the podium.

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