The biannual Texas Conservative Review City of Houston Voters Guide is coming soon to your mailbox and to the Internet.
TCR uses a survey of twelve questions sent to all candidates. Obviously, the responses are voluntary. We publish the questions and answers and give a letter grade. In some races we endorse, but overall we give you information so you can make an intelligent conservative choice. TCR also offers ads to all city candidates, and endorsements are unrelated to ads.
Exposed - Boates Misleads Republicans
Scott Boates, a candidate for Houston City Council At-Large Position #1 is listed on the Harris County Republican Party website as a Republican and has campaigned as one. Please follow the link below, he is not what he says he is. TCR has no tolerance for candidates who mislead the voters. Make sure you have your sound up and listen for yourself:
Texas U.S. Senate Update:
Quiet Campaign So Far, Opens Door For McCaul?
The quiet campaign for the U.S. Senate with candidates fundraising, making small group appearances & with no major campaigning along with the emergence of Ted Cruz as national conservative icon via a National Review cover story has caused Congressman Mike McCaul to look again at getting in the race. This slow developing race is encouraging his entry. It's still Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst's nomination to lose, but in politics, anything can happen.
Occupy Wall Street:
Radical, Anti-Semitic Left On The March
You don't have to be a radical leftist to wonder why not many people went to jail for the fraudulent transactions and bonuses based on inflated earnings that helped usher in the crash of 2008. The bailout of failed companies which led to the socialization of risk is also angering Americans, but these protesters are truly part of the loony left.
As a public service, TCR will highlight a few of their "ideas":
- Minimum wage of $20 (why not $1,000)?
- Open our borders
- Free college education
- End all fossil fuel use (return to the Stone Age)
- Attacking the police as serving only the rich
- Hatred of Israel
Sounds to TCR like a replay of the 1960's radical student movement and this spectacle will only help conservatives in the 2012 elections.
Real Clear Politics Poll Averages
Show Us What Today?
Specifically, we found the generic GOP candidate leads President Obama 43.8% to 41.5%. But what is interesting is when we look at Obama and the GOP's actual candidates all running behind the generic Republican and behind the president by numbers from 7 to 13%:
So the electorate by a majority wants a GOP President but none of the current candidates is as popular as the generic GOP. The message is maybe the GOP needs someone else.
The GOP field itself is divided with Romney at 23.5%, Cain 23.2%, Perry 12.5%, Gingrich 8% and Paul 8%. No majority in sight. And some Texas conservative leaders are now suggesting we are headed to a "brokered" convention. Stay tuned.
Other interesting poll numbers: the generic Congressional ballot shows the Democrats at 41.7% and the GOP at 40.7%, a draw. Right track, wrong track is 76.5% wrong, 12% right. Obama's approval rating is at 44% and disapproval at 50%.
TCR's conclusion is this is going to be a hard fight to win next November and a challenging election cycle for conservatives.
Texas School Finance Suit:
If Successful, Massive Tax Increases Coming
A coalition representing public school districts, taxpayers and parents filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas. The Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition claims the state's public school finance system is unconstitutional because it doesn't treat Texas taxpayers and school children fairly.
"Succeeding in this lawsuit and attaining an equitable school finance system would enhance our ability to close the achievement gap and offer more educational opportunities for our students," said Dr. Robert Duron, Superintendent at San Antonio ISD. "There is still debate about how to measure the adequacy of the system, but I have no doubt that our current funding system is inequitable."
Just remember when they say "equitable" and "close the achievement gap" it means higher taxes for working Texans. If this suit is successful, the legislature will need to find billion of dollars out of an already stretched state budget.
Conservatives need to engage on this issue or we could be facing Robin Hood 2 the sequel and we didn't like the first one.
Robin Hood is taking money raised in property rich districts to give to poorer ones. So you could be paying higher property taxes in your area and it goes to a district in West Texas, so locally there is no benefit.
Why The Federal Deficit Is So Large
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
Federal entitlements, which comprise 60% of the budget, have been correctly identified as the root cause of our growing annual deficit. We certainly need to enact significant reforms of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. However, in order to achieve some level of fiscal integrity, there is an equally important change that we must all accept - just saying no.
This became apparent when Congress went home for their August break without an agreement on an FAA funding bill - leaving 4,000 federal employees out of work for 13 days. The center of this dispute - and a pristine illustration of how callously Congress regards our money - is the allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars for construction and operation of airports so remotely located that they are, in effect, rarely used. Our Congress, far more comfortable with trading favors than budgetary discipline, continues to underwrite these pointless expenses when what we need more than ever is the ghost of Susan Powter to descend over our capital, screaming "Stop the Insanity!"
The preceding is just one example of our irrational spending habits. Here are others:
1. The Postal Service. The USPS was transformed in 1971 as an independent, self-supporting entity - which last year was underwritten to the tune of $8 billion. Congress should have dictated a balanced budget for the service years ago, but individual members demand that underutilized post offices remain open and that money-losing services are maintained. Of course, they have a franking privilege (free mailing), so it doesn't affect them personally. If this boondoggle weren't underwritten with OPM (other people's money), this operation would have been either slashed or in bankruptcy years ago.
2. Defense bases. There is a legitimate debate about the cost of our defense, but unfortunately this contains too little discussion about the need to consolidate our military bases (principally because every time this topic arises, a national war breaks out). There's no doubt that federal funds expended to support these bases inject a huge amount of money into local economies. In a time of overwhelming deficits, it's time that Congress put the interests of the nation ahead of those of their individual districts.
Many bases could be reduced in size (or closed). Land could be sold off; excess supplies liquidated, and scrap metal exchanged for valuable dollars. Once again, this generally isn't done because it's OPM.
3. Underwriting illegal aliens. America has struggled with its budget for the last 30 years, with only a brief period where we weren't racking up significant debts. And yet, somehow we've decided that we can provide extensive services to people who enter this country in violation of our immigration laws.
Let's put aside for a moment the immense costs to maintain border patrol and deportation services. Why would a country that doesn't have enough funds to cover its most basic responsibilities take on the obligation for health care and education for those who came here illegally?
We can sympathize with those people who risk their lives to come here from countries that offer them little or no opportunity. However, it is not our obligation to fund their needs - if it were, then we should also be writing monthly checks to the people of Haiti, Cambodia and Sudan. Despite massive deficits, the Obama Administration has chosen to abandon deportation efforts for illegal immigrants who are not convicted felons.
California, which has not had a balanced budget in ten years despite a legal requirement to do so, recently enacted a law to provide college financial aid to children of illegal immigrants. The bill allows access to taxpayer-funded assistance for students who came to the country before age 16, attended a California high school for at least three years, and graduated (a cartoon character could accomplish that challenge.) Ironically, this law was passed in the same session in which the legislature cut funding to the UC and Cal State systems, resulting in fee increases for American citizens of up to 40%.
4. Emergency costs. No one in their right mind would argue that our governments shouldn't help Americans affected by a major calamity such as a hurricane, earthquake or tornado. But where does it say that we should underwrite individual losses?
Saving lives, repairing roads and railways, and providing aid to temporarily displaced citizens is a basic aspect of government. Unfortunately, a significant amount of the losses are due to individuals living or building in hazardous areas. If insurance companies won't insure these people, why should the government step in and cover the cost?
All of these outlays have a common element: parochialism greased by OPM. If elected officials ever thought beyond their own next election and realized that not only is the money not theirs to spend, but it is money we can't even afford, they might actually reconsider their votes.
There is always another need, but do we have to pay for all of them? Leftists are always screaming about how Republicans want to put grandma out of her house and starve children. What the GOP actually wants is for government to cut back where it is responsible to do so.
If the Super Committee looked at these areas, they could save billions of truly wasted dollars. Our new Congress has recently displayed the ability to do the right thing and cut unnecessary programs. If they did it again, America might once more discover the road to fiscal sanity.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former appointee of President Bush.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and replaying Sundays at 5:00 p.m. on PBS Houston Channel 8 and on the web at www.houstonpbs.org.
Upcoming shows on City of Houston municipal races:
10/21/11: Houston City Council – District J with guests Marc Campos, Sue Schechter and Bill King.
10/28/11: City of Houston Mayoral Race with guests Nancy Sims, Orlando Sanchez and Jacob Monty.
For a fun feature go to www.houstonpbs.org and under Red White and Blue, you can see commentary about the show and its guests by Gary and David each week. The current show as well as past shows are also available on YouTube.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his thirteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last ten years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 6 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his ninth year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.