Incredibly, and probably the first time in modern history, an incumbent Mayor in Houston is seriously challenged by four significant candidates.
Tony Buzbee, Bill King, Dwight Boykins, and now Sue Lovell are in the race and all bring strengths and weaknesses. But let's be clear, Sylvester Turner is in trouble and clearly can be beaten.
Houston is not operating successfully or efficiently. The problems we face today are similar to four years ago and do not seem to make progress. Look around for yourself - are our roads better than four years ago? - clearly no, are we better prepared for flooding than four years ago? - clearly no, are our public safety departments operating better than four years ago? - no, as we are understaffed, underequipped, and using outdated work rules while crime continues to be a problem, and we could go on and on regarding every critical issue regarding the City of Houston. Clearly, Houston needs a change.
Houston Mayor's Race Finance Reports
Tells Us A Lot
If the July 15th campaign finance reports, which cover the period from January 1 - June 30, are a reliable indicator, then the race for mayor of Houston is shaping up to be a two-way contest. With the power of incumbency favoring him, Mayor Sylvester Turner reported raising nearly $1.7 million, which left him $3.2 million cash on hand after expenditures of just under $1.7 million. Turner's closest rival, attorney Tony Buzbee, spent a little over $1.8 million in the same period and reported a staggering $5.1 million cash on hand. Buzbee remained true to his promise to not accept outside contributions, choosing instead to self-fund, so that he "remains free from the influence of special interest groups."
Bill King, who lost to Turner four years ago, came in a distant third in the numbers game, reporting contributions of $684,000 and expenditures of $580,000, which would have left him with a paltry (compared to Turner and Buzbee) $100,000 if not for two loans totaling $210,000. Some pundits opined that cash on hand under $250k of this stage of the campaign would signal a campaign in distress, which might explain the $100,000 loan King took out at the end of the reporting period to boost his cash on hand to $318,000. At this rate, it appears doubtful that King can become competitive, unless he borrows significantly more funds.
Houston City Council Member Dwight Boykins raised $140,000 and spent $93,000 during the entire report period; however Boykins has only been a candidate for Mayor since June 8th. Boykins had just under $70,000 when the reporting period ended on June 30.
Candidate Kendall Baker spent nearly all of the $15,810 he raised, leaving just $260 in the bank.
Sue Lovell is also a candidate for Mayor, but filed after the reporting period ended, thus did not have to file a July 15th report.
Rick Perry Weighs In On Mayor Candidate Bill King
What Does It Mean?
If you have been following the Houston Mayor's race you noticed former Governor and now Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry weighed in a second time on candidate Bill King. Perry's comments were:
"I have spent my career fighting for more effective and efficient government and against waste and public corruption. When it comes to corruption and pay to play politics, unfortunately Mayor Turner isn't the only bad apple in the mayoral field. Bill King also has a long and sordid history of making millions off of taxpayers by influencing government regulators to be favorable to his law firm's tax collections business."
"Bill King and his firm kept their racket afloat by treating council members, state reps and state senators to fancy trips, golf outings, sporting events, and even hired them as "advisors" - including Sylvester Turner. Bill King is not credible on ethics reform, he cannot be trusted, and I urge you to join me in rejecting both Bill King and Mayor Turner.
"Tony Buzbee is the clear choice for Houston Mayor. He's a Marine Recon Captain, a businessman, accomplished attorney and someone I'm proud to call my friend. Tony's an honorable man who has served his nation and community - I trust him to deliver as your mayor."
So what does this mean? Clearly, Rick Perry is not a fan of King. King himself wrote a book called "Unapologetically Moderate" so clearly he does not consider himself a conservative, nor is he exclusively seeking Republican votes. The fact is to win the Houston Mayor's office it takes a coalition where Republicans are just a part of any victorious coalition in the city. So Rick Perry has effectively thrown cold water on the idea that Bill King is "the" only candidate that Republicans should support which means Republicans are in play this election like so much of the electorate.
Boycott Nike: It's Easy
By Neland D. Nobel, Contributing Editor
Just before the July 4th holiday, the Nike corporation publicly pulled a shoe that had the Betsy Ross Flag logo emblazoned on the back of the shoe. Ostensibly this was done to placate their corporate advisor on all matters cultural, Colin Kaepernick. We can only imagine the expense of pulling from the shelves a run of shoes already produced. Clearly, shareholders don't play much of a role in Nike's marketing calculations.
The Founding and its flag are said to be racist and thus offensive to an important portion of the population. Which portion? That portion of the population raised on Howard Zinn and the Progressive view of American History. That it is a crude and an unnuanced view of history, and blatantly false, does not seem to matter. But given the state of our public schools and universities, should we be so surprised?
Mr. Kaepernick, adopted by white parents, raised in an intact family, and educated in good schools, is surely a product of white privilege if such a thing exists. Yet he buys into the narrative that America is, and always was, a racist enterprise. No other feature of American History need be included in the analysis. Forgotten is that Betsy Ross was a Quaker, a religious order in the forefront of opposing slavery. In fact, Quaker influenced Pennsylvania, banned slavery in 1780, the first act ending slavery in a democracy in all of history.
The contradiction between his views and his own family history and experience, and the views of Betsy Ross, seems lost on the media and on him.
In a very short period of time, a massive amount of ink has been spilled on the subject, prompting some to suggest this was once again, a clever marketing gimmick by a craven corporation. If it is such a marketing gimmick, it likely has backfired badly. More likely, it's the view of management. They after all, chose Kaepernick as their point man and have paid him handsomely. He will keep doing this kind of thing and so will Nike.
The Governor of the State of Arizona retaliated by ending some tax subsidies to the corporation, which is a good thing since such subsidies should not occur in the first place. But it was a nice gesture.
It would appear that at least a good slice of the American people is finally getting tired of seeing the Alinsky politicization of sports, music, and even everyday products like shoes.
At first, most Americans looked the other way. Sports in particular is a way to relax and escape some of the tensions of the day. We did not take kindly to constant injections of radical politics into the genre and felt if we ignored the trend that would signal disapproval, and sports teams and corporate sponsors would quietly get the message. This was a mistake. Corporations and teams continue to tolerate, if not encourage, the politicization of entertainment.
A string of American companies from Penzey's, Yeti, Levi Strauss, Dick's Sporting Goods, and others; have decided that pissing off at least three quarters of the US population, that identify as either "conservative" or "moderate" is a good marketing ploy. The ease by which American corporations can be bullied by Leftists, is truly astounding.
Some call this "virtue signaling", although at times it is hard to find the virtue in what they are signaling. Spreading lies about American History does not seem to qualify. Intensifying racial divides and playing into the hands of radicals is pernicious, not virtuous.
So, for those of us who don't buy into the lies of the Black Lives Matter movement as Kaepernick clearly does, and by extension Nike, what can we do?
We can drop our passive distaste for the politicization of everything and start making political judgements ourselves. After all, the politicization of all things is a fact, with or without our participation.
Does this mean they win? We, are now going to act like them? We too are going to look at sports, popular entertainment and even shoes through a political lens? Isn't this the kind of societal division that we don't want to get pushed into? Revolutionaries want to divide us and aren't we falling into their trap?
The answer is unfortunately yes, but we really have no choice in the matter. The only path back to "normalcy" is to make the price so high, at least corporations don't go along. Expecting the Left to give up is romantic but with corporations, at least we have a chance because they respond to market signals.
A management that deliberately destroys its own customer base will not long exist. Shareholders get cranky when management decides to take their money on a suicide mission.
Progressives are dividing the country and fomenting hatred while we have been standing by anyway. Don't feel guilty about playing their game. They play by Alinsky rules while we play by Emily Post. Quiet resistance has failed to stop this trend in the politicization of everything. It is time to push back and push back hard.
Fortunately, the marketplace allows us to vote instantaneously with our money, and offending corporations will feel it. This is one ballot box that can't be rigged. And, results are not posted every four years, they are posted every quarter. Once they get stung badly, then we can have a discussion about what role politics should play in our lives. So, it is time to pick a target in a target rich environment.
Even that may not be enough, it should be admitted. The NFL for example, took about a 17% decline in viewership, and still largely acquiesced in the politicization of football. That is sad, but not fatal. Our household quickly adjusted to no football. It is the same with women's soccer if current obnoxious trends continue. It is no longer entertainment if it is a constant irritant, so what's the loss?
Some say the decline of the NFL is not all attributed to the "take a knee" gestures that Kaepernick pioneered, but clearly it played a role. Interestingly, from a corporate marketing perspective, if the decline in viewership stems from other causes, why would you go out of your way to aggravate the decline further?
But ESPN did get the message and reversed course on injecting left-wing politics into their product so there is hope.
Some corporations that have become recently more political like Facebook and Google are problematical. They have established monopoly positions in some products. Sometimes finding alternatives in the marketplace is either difficult or inconvenient.
Nike it would seem, is a perfect test to see if conservative blowback can be applied to a major corporation. There are lots of good companies that make shirts and shoes, at even better prices than Nike. It is not either difficult or inconvenient to stop all purchases from this corporation immediately. It takes only a few moments to get to the dumpster. No great sacrifice is needed here, just the will to stop buying their stuff.
In addition, peruse your stock portfolio and be sure either you or your managers do not own Nike stock. If you do own it, sell it, the market is up at all-time highs anyway.
For this writer, I am currently wearing a pair of Nike shoes. They have some good wear left on them, but what sacrifice is it to put them in the closet and use them only when mucking out the garden or painting? I will not ever wear them in public again. I don't want to promote the logo or brand in any way.
As for my shirts and gym shorts, I thought of taking them to Goodwill. But then again, someone else might wear them and display the logo in public. No, most will go in the trash immediately. The sole exception will be the t-shirts made of cotton. I can use them for cleaning guns.
In short, dealing harshly with Nike will not be any kind of burden of time or money and you will feel much better about yourself. Just say to yourself, "I will never buy another Nike product for the rest of my life". Conservatives can virtue signal too.
Now the more difficult task. All of this is basically coming from our educational institutions. The glassy eyed corporate whiz kids have been brainwashed. If we want to take the culture back, we need to start thinking long and hard about breaking up the public-school monopolies that miseducate our children. This will be a long and hard slog. The progressives have been at this for almost a century.
But we can start with Nike. Boycott them now. It's easy!
Neland D. Nobel is an Arizona based free market economist and a contributing editor for TCR.
Harris County Commissioners Court Passes
"Ban the Bible" LGBT Policy
Ignores Voters Rejection of "Bathroom Bill"
By Jared Woodfill, President, Conservative Republicans of Texas
The Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday voted in favor of new government policy that adds the highly controversial and litigation charged words "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" (SOGI) as special protected classes in the Harris County Personnel and Procedures handbook. With a 3-2 vote on party lines, the commissioners voted to add sexual orientation or gender identity under sections previously reserved for no discrimination or harassment, 3.01 and 4.012 of the Personnel and Procedures policies. Democrats Rodney Ellis, Adrian Garcia and Lina Hildalgo voted for the LGBT language and Republicans Jack Cagle and Steve Radack voted against the new language. It appears three members of the Court do not remember when Houston voters overwhelmingly rejected similar language in 2015, i.e., the Bathroom Bill by a vote of 61% to 39%. During the last legislative session the same type of language was presented in the "Ban the Bible" style bills and was rejected by state legislators. Like the language adopted by the Harris County Commissioners Court, these bills could have been used to punish people who have strong biblical beliefs regarding homosexuality and that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Conservative Republicans of Texas President Jared Woodfill stated, "Democrat County Commissioners seem to have forgotten what Houston voters said in rejecting Mayor Parker's Bathroom Ordinance in 2015. They also seem to be ignoring the will of the people as demonstrated through their duly elected state representatives. We will move forward in our efforts to undue this discriminatory language that tramples on the religious freedoms of millions of people who live in Harris County. It is time to take a stand against elected officials who would sacrifice our religious freedoms on the altar of political correctness." Dr. Steven Hotze, Chairman of Conservative Republicans of Texas added, "It is time for the people of Harris County to take a stand against the radical homosexual agenda. We cannot sit on the sidelines while the radical left hijacks our values and our government." Additionally, this controversial LGBT policy was crafted behind closed doors, hidden from the people of Harris County. The people of Houston have consistently said "no" to these Bathroom bills and Ban the Bible bills. Enough is enough!
Because of the lack of transparency of the agenda, there was no real notice for Harris County residents to testify at the meeting. The vote was taken after only four people addressed the issue.
Adding sexual orientation/gender identity language into law will create threats to religious liberty and allow men into women's bathrooms and locker rooms. Similar policies were also used in the firing of Atlanta Police Chief, Kelvin Cochran and Georgia Health Department official, Eric Walsh, for their religious beliefs on marriage. There have been no record of complaints of gay or transgender persons facing discrimination by Harris County.
Below is the policy adopted:
Contact County Commissioners and the County Judge today and let them know that religious discrimination is not acceptable in Harris County. Ask them to reverse the Harris County Personnel and Procedures handbook language they adopted.
Nonsense Spewed by Democrat Candidates
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
It became obvious early on during the Democrat Debates that the moderators/press would not seriously challenge any of the ideas proposed by the candidates. This is a press that likes to keep a daily count of what they consider to be President Trump's misleading statements, but question others? As a public service, here are some of the highly questionable statements/policies by the candidates.
Julian Castro is quite a thoughtful guy, but his proposal of how to deal with the three countries in Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) staggers the mind. He questions why President Trump cut off funding to these countries. He has proposed a Marshall Plan for these three countries.
Does he not know we have been providing significant foreign aid to these countries for years? Does he not know that despite that significant aid a torrent of people are leaving, and we are being flooded with citizens from those countries? Does he not know their governments are corrupt and that most aid will not go to the people? Does he know there are corrupt governments on other continents and their people want to come here also? Yet he suggests we provide these countries even greater levels of support.
Elizabeth Warren has proposed reparations for gays. Forget any thought you may have that reparations are stupid on their face. Look at her reasoning. She says that because we stopped gays from being married, they lost the advantage of being married for tax purposes and thus it cost gays tax dollars.
Does she not know that there is a "marriage penalty" in the tax code that has been discussed for years? Does she not know that if two people marry and they both earn significant income (full-time jobs with reasonable wages) that they will pay extra federal taxes beyond what they would have if they could file as unmarried individuals? Does she not know that a major portion (not all) of gays are two-wage earner couples causing them a significant increase in taxes as a result of being married? Does she not know that often CPAs have cautioned gays about marrying because they would pay significantly higher taxes?
After Mayor Pete Buttigieg told us about how illegal immigrants were paying for the healthcare coverage by paying sales taxes and indirectly property taxes, Vice-President Joe Biden jumped in to school us. He told us how illegal immigrants were supporting the social security system with their taxes. The only problem is if they are illegal, they don't have social security numbers. They don't pay social security taxes. What was Biden referring to?
As an aside, whenever Democrats want to raise property taxes, they speak of rich property owners paying the taxes. If you tell Democrats that people will end up paying those higher taxes in their rents and grocery store bills and haircuts and Subway sandwiches they shun you. Now Mayor Pete either intentionally or unintentionally admitted that fact. Or maybe it is just the illegal immigrants who get the pass-through taxes?
Senator Kamala Harris unleashed a corker during her rant about the horrors of immigration. She spoke about the lack of citizenship for our veterans. Veterans get a direct line to citizenship from their military service. Does she not know this?
The whole group of candidates attacked Trump over separating children and caging them. Do they know that the Obama Administration built the apparatus that temporarily house the immigrants? If they do not know they should.
They also talk about the children. Everyone wants to keep innocent children safe. But accusing the Trump Administration of ripping children from their mother's arms? Do these candidates know that 28% of the children crossing the border have no DNA relationship to the adults claiming parenthood for them? It is nice to grandstand on these issues, but know the facts on the ground.
Over half of the candidates were or are members of Congress and have not done a thing to cure the problems at the border through legislation. It is easy to stand on the sidelines now and complain when you have failed to face the problem yourself.
As you know, the Supreme Court ruled that the lower courts must review the process of putting a citizen question on the census questionnaire. President Trump has proposed delaying the census until a final decision on the question has been reached or just adding the question.
If the citizenship question does appear on the census, Democrat candidates for President like Senator Amy Klobucher stated she would require a "recount" and Robert "Beto" O' Rourke called for redoing the entire census to include those perceived to have been excluded. This is total nonsense. There are 635,000 who work on the census. It is estimated to cost $15.6 billion (having cost $13 billion in 2010). And they are proposing a redo to include people who may be here in the U.S. but are not citizens or were afraid to participate because of a simple question of whether they are citizens. Sounds good to some, but nonsense.
We could go on, but this gives you an idea. These are not misstatements or questionable. They are nonsense. It is a sure bet we will hear even more before this election is over.
Then there is the statement by Mayor de Blasio that no one at the debate disputed. "There is plenty of money in this world, and there's plenty of money in this country, it's just in the wrong hands. Democrats have to fix that." Which means you need to hold onto your money because they are coming after it. It is not yours. Now you know their true intentions. The money is only properly used when going through their hands.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can follow Bruce on Twitter @brucebialosky.
TCR on the Air
Red, White, and Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland on Fridays at 7:30 pm on Houston Public Media TV 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
Red, White, and Blue now this summer features the best of Red, White, and Blue. Shows are available for streaming at Houston Public Media.
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 twenty-second year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eighteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 16 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 18th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.