Houstonians Rally For Reproductive Rights With Gubernatorial Candidate Beto O’Rourke

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Dem gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke chatting with a supporter after his speech at the reproductive rights rally in downtown Houston(05/07/22)

Houstonians showed up in large numbers at the Discovery Green park in downtown Houston (05/07/22) for a reproductive rights rally headlined by gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke. The very well attended and high energy rally comes on the heels of the recent bombshell leak of a draft Supreme Court majority opinion which suggests the high court is getting ready to strike down the landmark Roe v Wade decision which made abortion legal. Judging from the energy in the crowd at Discovery Green, one can safely assume that reproductive rights and the future of the Supreme Court generally, will be major issues in the upcoming midterm elections. This message was very clear from Beto O’Rourke and the other high profile Dem leaders in attendance, who included State Senator Carol Alvarado(District 6), Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, and Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia.

Beto said at the rally:“This has been among the toughest weeks for so many people across this state and across this nation, but as I look out at each and every single one of you, there is something extraordinarily beautiful in the way that we have decided to come together. And in these tough times, Texans turn out. They are there for and by one another. It brings out the very best in us…We want our fellow Texans, wherever they are, to whatever party they may belong to, to whomever they pray, however they love, whatever country their families originally came from, to know right now we stand together. We stand with them…For most of us, I’m 49 years old, for my entire life, Roe vs Wade has been the law of the land, I’ve known nothing else. But those who preceded me, those who preceded all of us, they made that happen. That fortunate generation who was fighting for the rights that so many, too many have taken for granted for too long, we now have that same opportunity to fight like just they did, and I want us to remember, whatever we think the odds are right now against us, this is possible, and in fact it has been done before against much greater odds.”

There’s no other way to interpret Beto’s remarks other than a call for Texans of goodwill to unite against efforts by Republicans at the federal level and their state counterparts(Gov Abbott’s regime), to peel back their constitutional rights. This could end up being the winning message because it could attract a sizable chunk of the independent vote.

Bottom line folks, historical trends favor Republicans to do very well against Democrats this Fall(party out of power). Reasonable people will agree however, that the leak of the Supreme Court draft opinion has given Democrats nationwide, a much needed jolt. Will this jolt be enough to upend historical trends and hand Democrats a surprise victory in November? Only time will tell. Given the high energy at Discovery Green Park however, the potential certainly exists for Democrats to “come from behind” and pull off a surprise win in the elections this Fall.

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Harris County Cop Accused Of Robbing Local Asian Businesses While in Uniform

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Harris County Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Bobby Espinoza running away from KPRC2 Reporters in what appears to be an industrial Tyvek suit(04/16/22)

A shocking report by Houston’s KPRC2 TV station(04/16/22) says a Deputy Constable with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office, was arrested and charged with felony theft over a months-long scheme(09/2021-03/2022) that involved him harassing and robbing four local Vietnamese businesses. What has shocked Houston residents even more, is the fact that he is alleged to have committed these crimes while in his uniform, and using his patrol unit–all reasonable indicators of a hardened criminal.

KPRC2 reporter Bill Barajas specifically said: “Not only is Bobby Espinosa alleged to have taken thousands from area businesses, he is alleged to have done it while in uniform and in his patrol unit…Espinosa, a Deputy Constable with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office, was arrested and charged with felony theft…He has bonded out on a $30,000 bond…Espinosa, wearing a mask and in all white, was quiet. He refused to answer my questions before disappearing underneath a nearby bridge. Court documents obtained by KPRC say Espinosa was with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office for seven and a half years. He is accused of demanding a total of $5,700 from four Vietnamese businesses in our area, the scheme allegedly starting in September of 2021, and lasting through March of this year. A probable cause court judge said Espinosa would make customers at the businesses leave, unplug surveillance cameras, and force employees to open up the cash register. He is also alleged to have pried open a game machine.”

Reasonable people will agree that given the fact that this was a months-long scheme, plus done while in his official uniform, there is reason to believe deputy constable Espinosa may have engaged in other criminal conduct during his seven year tenure at Harris County Pct4. It also raises some serious questions about the state of affairs at the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office. Often times shocking stories like these involving police officers, are usually symptoms of much bigger problems at the police department. Did his peers, for example, know what he was doing, but chose to look the other way? Prior to these criminal charges, was Espinosa ever the subject of a complaint from the public and/or disciplinary action? Was it for similar conduct?

Bottom line folks, these are questions that need to be raised with the Harris County Constable’s office as this shocking case plays out in the courts. Yours Truly, a resident of Precinct 4, will certainly keep up with this shocking case to make sure that Deputy Constable Espinosa is not a symptom of much bigger problems at the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s office. And if it turns out that he is, then other heads need to roll.

**Updated on 04/19/22 to include formal response by Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, to the news of Bobby Espinosa’s arrest**

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Top Trump Donors In The Houston Area

A firestorm erupted recently after Rep Joaquin Castro(D-TX) shared on his tweeter feed the names of prominent Trump donors who come from his home city of San Antonio, Texas. Republicans swiftly fired back at Rep Castro, accusing him of among other things, endangering the lives of the said Trump donors given the fact that emotions in Texas are still raw after the racist El Paso shooting. Sen John Cornyn(R-TX) led the assault on Rep Castro lashing out with this angry tweet.

Naturally, Rep Castro’s move left Yours Truly wondering. “Hmm–I wonder who are Trump’s biggest donors from the Houston, Texas area”. A simple google search led Yours Truly to this October 9, 2018 Houston Business Journal piece aptly titled, “See which Houstonians have donated the most to Trump’s 2020 campaign.” The Houston Business Journal piece has a slide listing some 25 prominent Houstonians, their business ties, and the dollar amounts they have contributed towards Trump’s 2020 campaign–excellent work.

It would be an exercise in redundancy to go through all the names listed in the slide and Yours Truly will certainly not do that. However there are some very prominent Houston personalities that deserve a separate mention chief among them, Jeffery and Melinda Hildebrand of Hillcorp Energy Company. Businessman Farouk Shami, a Palestinian-American and a staple in Houston’s hair products industry also caught Yours Truly’s attention. James Brookshire of S & B, one of the largest construction companies in the world is also on the list. As the article correctly points out, Ivanka Trump visited S & B’s offices in Baytown, Texas in September 2018 as part of her initiative to promote industrial craft training (a testament to S & B’s clout in the construction industry). Last but not least, Jim Flores, a big name in Houston’s oil and gas industry also caught Yours Truly’s attention.

It is fair to assume that because Rep Castro was severely criticized for sharing the names of Trump’s San Antonio donors, Yours Truly will also face similar criticism. For the record Yours Truly totally agrees with the reasoning given by Team Castro when defending their actions. Team Castro correctly pointed out that this is already public information that can be easily accessed on the FEC website so nobody is being “outed”. Yours Truly is further insulated from attacks by the fact that he is simply referencing a Houston Business Journal article that has been out there since 2018. If nobody raised an “outing” issue with the Houston Business Journal piece, then nobody should raise similar issues with this blog post.

Aside from the fact that this is already public information and therefore no donor is being “outed”, reasonable people will also agree that the Trump Presidency has led to the rise of hate groups–especially White Supremacy groups. Some of these groups have openly expressed support for Trump. Reasonable people will also agree that Trump has not done nearly enough to totally disavow the kind of politics that divides Americans along racial lines. As a matter of fact several paid TV pundits have come out and openly accused him of running a presidential campaign based on racism. It is therefore very important for people, certainly Houstonians, to know who is funding his campaign. Whether the people funding his campaign endorse the attendant racism is a different question altogether. The point is, it is in the public’s interest that people know who is funding him.

Bottom line as we approach 2020 the public needs to know where this President stands in regards to these hate groups. Unless and until he comes out and forcefully condemns these hate groups both in his deeds and his words, then the list of prominent Houstonians who continue to send him large donations will remain a topic of great interest and they will quite frankly be viewed by many as sponsors of hate.

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Unmarked And Unfenced EPA Super Fund Site In Texas

A shocking Fox26 Houston report says that the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has for years ran an unmarked and unfenced super fund site in the Texas city of Cypress located 24 miles north west of Houston.

According to Fox26 Houston a negligent Texas dry cleaning company dumped the dangerous chemical tetrachloroethylene, a carcinogen, at this unmarked and unfenced site in Cypress Texas for 14 years(1988-2002) and the carcinogen has since sipped into the area’s water wells. Numerous Cypress Texas residents have since been diagnosed with cancer related to the chemical meaning this is a serious and existential environmental hazard. Environmental activist Pam Bonta says, “We are seeing a lot of cancer and illness. We requested that they [EPA] revisit this. We demanded that they get it cleaned up because people are dying, bottom-line.”

Another environmental activist Becky Romano said “You walk on the property and you just smell the gas. You feel it in your body and it just makes you sick.”

Even more troubling, it appears the Texas company dumped this dangerous chemical right around the corner where a Cypress strip mall is currently located. Given the number of people that frequent such strip malls in small cities like Cypress, it is fair to assume that there are a lot of Cypress residents still being exposed to this carcinogen on a daily basis. EPA says it will take two years to make the site safe.

Bottom line the dangerous environmental situation playing out in Cypress Texas once again underscores the need to reign in the EPA especially in GOP-controlled states like Texas where the push for deregulation is literally endangering people’s lives. Hopefully House Democrats will soon haul in EPA officials responsible for this Cypress super fund site for some tough grilling as to how a site as dangerous as this is not even fenced and clearly marked as such. This is gross recklessness for which someone at EPA should either be fired or criminally prosecuted.

Houston’s Lizzie Fletcher–The Unsung Dem Hero

After the 2018 midterm elections, the mainstream media focus has been on incoming Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and deservedly so given the huge odds they overcame to get elected. There has been relatively less talk however about incoming Democrats like Lizzie Fletcher of Houston who flipped TX07, a congressional seat that has been held by Republicans for decades because of her centrist stance. In other words America is not just about the left(liberals) vs the right(conservatives) as is often portrayed by the mainstream media. The 2018 elections clearly showed that across the country, there is a huge swath of winnable voters in the middle(independents), especially in urban areas like Houston, where centrist candidates are preferred.

At a time when college educated voters in urban areas are increasingly frustrated by President Trump’s erratic, even reckless stances on key issues that affect their lives–stock market, immigration, race relations etc–Democrats should focus more on winning these educated urban independent voters. The best way to do that is to showcase Lizzie Fletcher and other centrist Democrats to show the undecided educated urban voters out there that there is room for them in the Dem party. Simply put, Democrats cannot/must not go into 2020 with voters thinking they are just an amalgamation of radical leftists united solely by their hatred for Trump, which is undoubtedly the Dem caricature GOP strategists will try very hard to portray. Centrist Democrats like Lizzie Fletcher are very important for the 2020 fight both at the congressional level and even in the presidential race.

You don’t have to take Yours Truly’s word for it, Lizzie Fletcher recently sat down for an interview with Newsmakers host Khambrell Marshall and said as much; “It[TX07] is an independent district and there is an independent voice that needs to be heard. It is a moderate voice, but it’s a voice that’s going to stand up for what’s right….Ultimately the way I view this district is that this is an independent voice that we need to hear more of in congress.” The full Newsmakers segment is available here but the relevant clip is below

Bottom line there are a lot of exciting new Democrats headed to Washington in 2019. One only hopes that the Dem establishment will shed some light on the less often talked about, but nonetheless very promising incoming centrist voices like Houston’s Lizzie Panill Fletcher.

Yours Truly has always believed that properly harnessed, Houston Texas in particular and Harris County generally, hold the keys to the future of the Democratic Party and it just turns out we have found a “shovel-ready” messenger in Lizzie Fletcher. Folks, you heard it first at grassrootsdempolitics.com that H-Town Dem Lizzie Fletcher is going places and Washington/mainstream media better be ready for her. Her signature tweet below says it all.

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Ted Cruz’s Ties To Racist Talk Radio Host Must Be Exposed

One of the visible effects of Donald Trump’s ascendancy to  the U.S. Presidency has been the rise in racial tensions in America. Numerous news articles have been written regarding this very topic. The racial tensions came to a head during the infamous Charlottesville demonstration where Neo-Nazi groups, professing their support for Trump clashed with counter-protestors denouncing their message of hate. It was during Charlottesville that Americans really came to terms with the racist elements that constitute a sizable portion of the Trump base.

As expected Charlottesville evoked a lot of national debate about race relations and whether Trump was taking the country back to its dark racial past. Some prominent Republicans even suggested that Trump’s constant stoking of racial tensions made him unfit to lead the GOP and the nation. As it usually happens in U.S. politics however, the race relations debate died shortly after Charlottesville as the Mainstream Media got consumed by other headlines.

On 5/29/2018 ABC TV star Roseanne Barr reignited that race relations debate when she sent out a tweet likening former President Obama's Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett to an Ape. Roseanne is a big Trump fan so naturally her racist tweet was met with huge outrage on twitter. ABC's response to Roseanne's racist tweet was bold and swift--the network immediately cancelled her show.

Roseanne's sudden fall from grace received a lot of media coverage and deservedly so. However what is conspicuously  absent from the coverage is that prominent Republicans have been courting known racists for years. One classic example is Senator Ted Cruz, whose close friendship with a Houston area talk radio host Michael Berry has raised eyebrows for years.

Senator Ted Cruz with Talk Radio Host Michael Berry

Talk radio host Michael Berry, host of the Michael Berry Show has been known to make a lot of openly racist comments against former President Obama, his wife Michelle, Congresswonan Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston,TX) and many other prominent African Americans. A lot of Texans have wondered why leading Republicans especially Ted Cruz continue to frequent his radio show even though he traffics in racially insensitive remarks.

At this time when the nation is engaged in a serious debate on race relations following Roseanne Barr's insults, it would be helpful if the Mainstream Media finally confronted Senator Ted Cruz about his close association with this controversial Houston talk radio host--especially now that he is running for reelection. Texas voters need to know where Senator Ted Cruz stands on race relations

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