You know ultra-leftist Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo is having a bad week when her close friends on the Houston Chronicle editorial board gently called her out for an $11 million COVID contract it looks like she arranged for a Democratic political operative that once worked for Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia.
The Chronicle was somewhat critical of Hidalgo for the controversial contract that went to a firm called Elevate Strategies - a one-woman political consulting shop run by Democrat operative Felicity Pereyra, who worked on Garcia's failed bid for Houston mayor in 2015 and has labored for scores of other liberal campaigns and causes.
After pressure in the local media over the secret backroom deal that involved Hidalgo's staff dominating the procurement committee that championed Elevate Strategies, the County Judge said this week she was going to cancel the contract for COVID vaccination outreach because it has become "politicized" and is based on a "conspiracy theory."
It's murky as to whether Hidalgo can cancel the deal without a vote of Commissioners Court, but this was hardly the stuff of conspiracy theories.
Public documents and media reports showed Hidalgo's three staff members who examined the bids on the contract, including her own chief of staff, pushed Elevate Strategies into the job by changing the criteria on experience, costs and by not examining the one person's financial fitness.
It appears clear Hidalgo's staff members essentially steered the contract to the Democratic firm even when scoring of the proposals submitted for the job indicated it should probably go to the University of Texas Health Science Center (UTHSC).
UTHSC had also bid on the job and the two public health employees on the procurement committee indicated UTHSC was the better choice. They were steamrolled by Hidalgo's people.
Clearly, TCR believes, if the outreach effort had to be carried out, UTHSC was the best choice of those who wanted the job. Elevate Strategies had no business handling a health-related outreach effort.
What TCR believes is that the contract was a way for the Democratic firm to gather voting data under the guise of pushing vaccinations.
Elevate Strategies had put a long list of subcontractors together to carry out the outreach effort and that list included left -wing, leftist woke groups and activists and other Democratic firms. TCR believes this was clearly meant as a big payday for supporters of Hidalgo, Garcia, and Commissioner Rodney Ellis.
Fox 26 News stayed on the story, as did local commentator and former mayoral candidate Bill King. Who despite the Chronicle's characterization is not a conservative, but a moderate and a leader in a new middle of the road party. The pressure on Hidalgo and her pals was also built via the leadership of Republican County Commissioners R. Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey, who have often been outgunned at the Commissioner's Court table because of the 3-2 leftist dominance of county government.
Cagle has firmly been questioning the contract from the beginning and calling attention to the scam deal it is. He's been strong on this issue.
Questions about the contract resulted in a bizarre tantrum by Hidalgo last week at a recent Commissioners Court meeting where she falsely called Cagle "a liar" and told her opponents to "bring it on." TCR misses the days when all of county government was steered by serious and mature leaders who cared more about results. Hidalgo is not such a leader.
During her juvenile tantrum, Hidalgo denied she pulled strings for Elevate Strategies and said nothing improper was done to help the Democratic firm. Clearly though, as documents emerged about this bid process and reporting intensified, the fingerprints of Hidalgo and her senior staff were all over the deal to push the contract to the firm.
That brought us to this week. Hidalgo said she was canceling the contract and the Chronicle editorial board lightly slapped her on the hand for the whole affair.
TCR believes the liberal newspaper could have been stronger in its criticism, but better than nothing from a newspaper whose readership numbers are in decline. TCR also believes Cagle and Ramsey should keep showing strong leadership and asking questions and pushing on this contract and other issues. We also hope law enforcement authorities at all levels are watching and will be asking questions.
Here are a few: (1) Why was the majority of the committee reviewing proposals political appointees from Hidalgo's office? (2) Why did the Hidalgo staffers grade down a respected institution UTHSC? (3) Why did the request for bids exclude from the notice almost every respected public relations firm in Harris County? (4) Will Hidalgo apologize publicly to Commissioner Cagle for falsely calling him a liar? And finally (5) What did Hidalgo know and when did she know it? (6) Did Hidalgo, our 30 year old County Judge actually come up with this scheme on her own or is she being manipulated by other forces?
One thing we know, Hidalgo and her allies - Garcia and Ellis - will continue to be sanctimonious and dismissive as they keep draining county coffers, mismanaging taxpayer business, and using the COVID epidemic as an excuse to push business to friends.
County Dems Put Constables/Public Safety
In The Crosshairs
TCR has recently learned Lina Hidalgo, Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis might soon continue their attacks on local law enforcement through recommendations being pushed by a uber leftist consulting firm - PFM - brought in specifically to gut the fight against crime.
As we were going to press, Adrian Garcia, responding to pressure from the pro-public safety community has now backed off supporting what the PFM consulting firm is pushing as detailed herein. Of course, he hasn't told us why we are spending county taxpayer money for yet another left-wing consultant to tell us how to run our county.
PFM, a giant firm run by consultants who advocate defunding the police and is being paid millions of taxpayers dollars for questionable work, is recommending Harris County's eight constables be defunded even further by stripping them of their law enforcement duties and limiting them to serving civil papers and security in justice of the peace courts. The radical anti-law enforcement firm is also peddling a scenario where the number of constables is cut from eight to four and where law enforcement positions be shifted to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, which is controlled by Garcia.
TCR has previously reported to you about the rising crime and murder rates and how Democrats on Commissioners Court have ignored and dismissed crime victims and their advocates as they defunded constables.
Garcia and Ellis, along with Hidalgo, have done all that while continuing to push so-called bail reforms that put repeat offenders back out on the streets to victimize more people. TCR has long known that the Democrats running county government, especially Garcia, wish to hurt our constables.
The constables do a great job protecting our community and have long been an incredible asset in the fight against crime. They are also more accountable to voters because they practice real community policing and are in touch with what various neighborhoods need in terms of protection. Dems like Hidalgo, Garcia, and Ellis believe in bureaucratic monsters that get nothing done. Anything that makes it easier on criminals.
The PFM constable-killer proposal could wind its way to Commissioners Court through the county's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council or go straight to Commissioners Court. Be on the lookout.
PFM has been peddling its various studies and reports, which are full of inaccuracies and a basic lack of understanding of Texas laws. The brazen move by radical leftists here would be to try going after the constables even considering recent state legislation aimed at preventing defunding the police.
We know Republicans Cagle and Ramsey are all over this issue and TCR urges them to remain vigilant and to be ready to join constables and their long list of allies to fight more defunding of police if Garcia and his crew carry out this insane plan.
Garcia has been pushed back on this issue before by public outcry. TCR knows this could happen again and we will be watching also. Is he with the law-abiding citizens or the dangerous criminals? His record says with the criminals but watch him slither to the ant-crime side as he senses his reelection efforts are in trouble.
Gold Star Families Abused By Biden Administration
It was a pathetic performance by President Joe Biden with the families of the 13 heroes killed by Islamic terrorist in Kabul last week.
I was moved by Biden's disappointing bad behavior:
- He was caught repeatedly looking at his watch; did he have something more important to do?
- Multiple parents said he was more interested in talking about his son, (who died of brain cancer) than he was in talking about their sons and daughters who died trying to clean up the mess in Kabul Biden authored.
- One mother who challenged President Biden says he rolled his eyes at her and walked away, throwing up his arms up in disgust.
All this from the alleged kinder and gentler President!
The Federal Government Covid Stimulus,
Success Or Failure?
The Federal Reserve according to its own reports has spent (created via bookkeeping entries) $4 trillion dollars in the last eighteen months. The impact? GDP (Gross Domestic Product) grew only by $1.2 trillion. Tax receipts grew by $150 billion and only 39% of eligible taxpayers were paying any federal income taxes in 2020.
It seems we clearly did not get much stimulating.
What The Texas Media Failed To Cover,
Antifa/Right Wing Riots In Portland
Did you read in the Dallas Morning News, the Austin American Statesman, or the Houston Chronicle about new riots on a recent Sunday in August in Portland?
Here is what happened, for two days political gangs roamed freely, beating up men and women and firing off guns in downtown Portland. Yes, there was a massive breakdown of law and order. The police, not surprisingly, were ordered by Portland's reckless politicians to not interfere. You could compare what happened in Portland with the collapse in Kabul.
Is this the future you want for Texas?
Warning: Abandon Natural Gas And
Look Forward To More Blackouts
Those pushing the elimination of fossil fuels are setting us up for less reliable electricity. Think about it, the grid is already stressed and the climate do-gooders want us to all use electric cars. They use electricity to charge their car batteries. So what happens when we have electricity issues? Blackouts. Natural gas is a clean and reliable fuel. So you like solar, wind etc., we still need natural gas to balance our power needs and to be a backup when the grid is stressed.
Judge Michael McSpadden RIP
Mike McSpadden had a life to be celebrated. An outstanding scholarship tennis player at Oklahoma University, he went on to have a distinguished career as a prosecutor in Harris County. He was elevated to the District Court bench back in the 1980's. He was in the first group of a new generation judges appointed by Governor Bill Clements. Judge McSpadden was highly respected and a fair jurist. The politically correct/woke attacks on him later in his career were just the precursor to what we all see happening regularly today and are as specious as the current efforts by radicals to cry racism everywhere as a way to shut off any intelligent discussions. He was and is an example of how Judges should perform their critical duties.
The Eyes Of Texas Woke Attack Part 2
Here we go again. Last year, the woke left attacked "The Eyes of Texas," alma mater of my university, the University of Texas at Austin. The song was studied and it's fair to say the song, even if it was used in a minstrel show in the early twentieth century, has been repurposed. The Texas NAACP to it's shame and unnamed students are suing in Federal court. Let's review the words of the song and you tell me, is there anything offensive here except if you are an Aggie?
"The eyes of Texas are upon you, all the live long day. The eyes of Texas are upon you, you cannot get away. Do not think you can escape them, At night or early in the morn - The Eyes of Texas are upon you til Gabriel blows his horn."
If the litigants don't like the song there are plenty of fine universities that have different ones you might like better, so please go. But take your hands off my alma mater.
TCR on the Air
Gary Polland is now a regular on "What's Your Point?" hosted by Greg Groogan on Fox 26 Houston, appearing every other week. Tune in or set your recorder for 7:00 am Sundays.
Gary has recently undertaken the hosting duties on a new interview show, Tell It Like It Is. The show is available at American Star TV and at its YouTube Channel. Currently on hiatus.
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 & Blue returns in September, better than ever.
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-sixth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last twenty years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 18 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 21st 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.