In an effort to keep their jobs and continue their 20-plus years control of Texas, Republicans in the Legislature are filing bills to suppress the votes of Texans across the state. With serious concern for their shelf-life, which appears to be dwindling a little each election, their strategy is to hide behind their fake concerns for “election integrity, uniformity and voter fraud” (Senate Bill 7). Reportedly, after 22,000 hours of searching for voter fraud, the result was not even worth mentioning. The ultimate goal is to turn off the ACCESS to voting by eliminating the 24-hour voting initiative (HB2293), outlawing drive-thru voting, limiting mail-in-ballots and restricting the hours of polling places to daytime hours only.

Why are Republicans on this mission, especially when the state of Texas has some of the strictest, most racist, voting restrictions in the nation?

Based on the Harris County figures reported by the Texas Tribune, one in every 10 of the county’s in-person early voters cast their ballots at the county’s 10 drive-thru polling places. Black and Hispanic voters cast 47.5% of the total ballots in Harris County. Estimates are that over 300,000 voters came from drive-thru voting, mail-in ballots and voting after 7 pm.  

The survival of Republicans in the State of Texas rests on them tightening voting rules and rolling back access. However, they are gambling with energizing the emerging Texas voters who are young and voters of color. Creative methods were used this past election to expand access and allow us to exercise our “Right to Vote.” The question is, can we stop the red tide from stomping out Black and Brown access to the polls? If not, let’s come up with some more creative methods for the next election to ensure Texans of all colors, races and creeds get to vote.  

JIM CROW ON THE MOVE 

Photo of map courtesy MSNBC.

As though he was not always there, the notorious Jim Crow is making an end run nationwide as legislators scramble to suppress the vote. MSNBC did a map of the states across the country who are busy at work. WOW!

JUDGE…. Yea NOT! 

Federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore

Federal Judge Vanessa Gilmore gave her notice of retirement on the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century and we wish her the best. Now the question becomes who will fill the position, and folks are jockeying for the plum of a job.

Currently, there are 29 judges in the Southern District of Texas: 12 white men, 5 Hispanic men, 5 Hispanic women, 3 white women, 3 Black men and the ONE and ONLY Black woman – Judge Gilmore.  WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THIS POSITION IS FILLED BY A BLACK WOMAN… Let’s keep our eye on the ball.

Latest Development: Because of the overload of cases in the Valley, the decision has been made to move Judge Gilmore’s position to Laredo.  This means we lose the position completely. For years the request for more judges in the Southern District has fallen on deaf ears.  Hopefully, the Biden Administration will increase the much-needed number of judges.

METRO, did you miss the BUS? 

The disparity study for both Harris County and the Port of Houston have been completed. But where is the METRO disparity study? Why is this taking so long?  We are waiting for METRO to get on the bus. By the way, where is the City of Houston disparity study that got a head start on everybody? The Black numbers are horrible for the County (0.5%) and Port, and the expectations are METRO will be more of the same. We want to get all three studies completed so we can explore the opportunities to share cost and achieve the ultimate goal of equity at all the entities…so Black contractors will get a fair share of our tax dollars.

 “TAKE OUR CITY BACK” evolves to “TAKE OUR COUNTY BACK” in Ft. Bend County 

Who is Ft. Bend taking the county back from? Well, in the November elections, Ft. Bend County made history electing their first Black Sheriff, Eric Fagan; first Black Tax Assessor Collector, Carmen Turner; first Black County Attorney, Bridgette Smith-Lawson and not to mention the judicial seats now held by Blacks. You figure out the answer to the question. To see the strategy being used just look at the May 1 Ft. Bend School District races. First, understand that in these races whoever wins the most votes wins the election. There are no run-offs. So, the idea is to split the Black vote by having other Black candidates (backed by those ‘Take Back Forces’) resulting in a non-Black winning the race. We don’t want to discourage any Blacks from running in any race, but just understand the “games people play” are not new.   

Ft. Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan
Ft. Bend County Tax Assessor Collector Carmen Turner
Ft. Bend County AttorneyBridgette Smith-Lawson

THIS & THAT

*Texas State Senator John Whitmire is definitely running for Houston Mayor with his $6 million war chest.

*HISD School Board is setting up shop to find another superintendent. Bets are the person will be Hispanic.

*LATEST: At the City of Houston the MWBE current policy contends that Prime contractors who are Black cannot count themselves being “Black” to meet their MWBE goals, instead they must go and find other Black sub-contractors, BUT they can count themselves Black if they are a sub-contractor. And that applies to any minority-owned business. The new proposed policy says you can count a portion. Are we returning to 3/5 of a citizen? WHAT?