The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Friday, May 19, 2006

Believe San Antonio

Jason Terry? Out.

Mark Cuban? Crazy. As usual.

Dirk Nowitzi? "Oh it's already been brought it."

Devin Harris? Just needs to be laid out on his back. One time. Put me in coach, I can do that if Nazr and Rasho can't.

Three rings to none/one (if you count AJ's).

The only thing good about Dallas and the American Airlines Arena/Center/Fieldhouse/Park? The background eye candy.

This is the game that matters. Elimination game, on the road, against the second best team in the conference.

Tim/Manu/Tony against Dirk/Devin/Jerry (When'd this guy learn how to knock down clutch shots? You think the other 37 NBA teams he's played for want to know the same thing too?).

Give me the men in black over the boys in blue any day, any time, anywhere.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Oh TJ, Why Must You Lie?

I've been pushing forward with work ever since I heard this rumor a couple of hours ago, but now that the day is (almost) over it's time to write about it:

It was the kind of headline you might find in a tabloid newspaper, but it was in an e-mail: 'Mayor Phil Hardberger Tells Confidantes: I Will Not Run Again'

The missive was distributed widely this afternoon to Express-News reporters and editors by local pundit T.J Connolly, and it was accompanied by a statement that the advisory would be forthcoming in the online publication, San Antonio Lightning.

Below it is a postscript noting that former mayoral candidate Julian Castro is gearing for another mayoral run in next year's council election.

Unfortunately, Christian Archer quickly dismisses these claims. Too bad TJ. Of coure this isn't the first time Connolly has been wrong on Hardberger info (see: Mayoral Election and Run-off predictions)

I've heard alternate stories on whether Mayor Phil likes the office and whether or not he'll seek another term. And at this point and time I don't know which to believe.

But I think it comes as no surprise when I say it would please me greatly to see him serve another two years. But let's let him finish his first year before we get ahead of ourselves. The man has the money, the fundraising ability, the incumbency, and the approval ratings to put this decision off for several months now.

Just let him keep doing the good job he's doing. All this will sort itself out in the end.

And if you want to know TJ Connolly's side of the story, just head on over to the San Antonio Lightning's (another SA Current "Best Of" winner I might add) page around 9 pm tonight.

Tom Craddick, Scion of the mid-19th Century

From the Express-News blog, Strange Bedfellows (which, I might add, is kicking my ass in blog cred over the past coupla months):

"They ought to try a phone call, or something," said Craddick, R-Mdiland(ooh,
sic on the E-N!!!). "I don't do e-mails. I'm sure we get 'em in the office. But
I don't do 'em. I don't have a computer in my office. And I don't do e-mails."

Next thing you know, he'll be extolling the virtues of the Iron Horse.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

CHIP In The Paper... Again

Much like the song that never ends, this issue goes on and on my friend:

Tim and Judy Zulewski were handed an etched glass trophy Wednesday for dutifully maintaining their family's enrollment in the Children's Health Insurance Program for more than six years.

The problem was that their children just got dropped from coverage.

Alexander and Amanda Zulewski were the first to enroll in Bexar County's CHIP program in 2000. Their coverage never lapsed until a letter from the state arrived Friday stating it would end Sunday.

"I really wanted to sit down and cry," Judy Zulewski said. "My kids need this so bad."

After learning of the situation at the annual "Breakfast of Healthcare Champions," local health advocates and state officials scrambled Monday afternoon. They determined that the Zulewskis weren't given enough time to provide clear proof of income under a new CHIP eligibility system.

The article goes on to state that the Zulewskis, like every other family whose income is tagged as too high (too high, of course, being a relative term as the maximum income a family can make and still qualify for CHIP is about $40,000), were given three whole days, only one of them a business day, to resolve this issue. Three whole days for working families to respond. Or their children lose coverage.

30,000 more children have been cut off of the rolls since last month- a number that would've doubled had the HHS Commissioner not intervened a few weeks ago. Nearly 9,000 children in Bexar County alone have been kicked off of the CHIP roster since December.

I have no sympathy for anyone who voted for these cuts at any point and time and have no reservation in slapping those pols over the head with this issue time and time again.

This issue isn't going to stop bleeding for a long, long time. The Chet Edwards campaign in 2004 showed how to successfully push on this issue and Carlos Uresti and several others have made good use of HB 2292 since then.

Placing this issue right alongside school finance makes for a heavy one-two punch on the Democratic side headed into November.

A Voice Of Reason And Facts On Immigration

Well what do you know, we actually get some real facts on the immigration debate:

A carpenter told National Public Radio that he was tired of competing against undocumented workers.

"The government needs to do its job instead of pulling the wool over the eyes of people that there's no problem," the carpenter said in a broadcast aired Monday. "I pay taxes."

The carpenter apparently believes that because he pays taxes, he's entitled to protection from
foreign competition.

...

Plenty of foreigners are invited to work in the United States, and many others are welcomed — even if they're not documented. Perhaps as many as 12 million foreigners don't have the documents they need.

We should regard them as friends. The carpenter may not know it, but all undocumented workers pay taxes, some more than others. What does that entitle them to? Almost nothing beyond the police and fire protection, national security, public school education and access to emergency rooms that everyone receives.

As Trinity University economics department Chairman Jorge Gonzalez says, many undocumented workers hold jobs where their employers withhold income taxes. Do they receive a refund the next year? No, because filing a tax return would invite deportation.

Armed with phony Social Security numbers, undocumented workers also pay Social Security taxes, also withheld by employers. Noncitizens do not qualify to receive Social Security benefits. The unclaimed money will pay other retirees.

Undocumented workers pay sales tax with their purchases. If they own a house or, more likely,
rent an apartment, they pay property taxes, which supports the school, local government, hospital and community college systems.

...

When they buy gasoline and pay the gasoline tax, they receive the same benefit as everyone else, roads to travel on.

Welfare benefits? Little is extended to undocumented workers. Even if they qualified, few want their names on a government list.


Thank you, David Hendricks. Even better though is, finally, some thought on just what would happen should we round up the 12 million undocumented immigrants and send them home:

On top of all that, undocumented Mexican workers sent an estimated $20 billion to their families in Mexico in 2005. That's more than the country receives in foreign industrial investment each year.

In effect, the remittances constitute Mexico's welfare system, and it works with incredible efficiency. The money goes directly to the people who need it most without passing through government channels.

If all or most of the undocumented workers were evicted from the United States, the loss of those remittances would destabilize Mexico to the point that it would harm the U.S. economy, not to mention send larger waves of workers into the U.S. market.

Lastly, undocumented workers are not entitled to vote, even though they pay taxes. A term for that was invented more than 230 years ago — taxation without representation.

Hendricks is absolutely right about this. If we can look past the end of our noses for just a second, we'd realize that the Republican bill to kick out all the undocumented immigrants would incredibly destabilize our neighbor to the south. Not to mention a few other Latin American countries.

This, of course, would be in addition to the higher produce, construction, maintenance services, etc costs born by the American public.

It's nice to see that finally getting put in the Express-News. In the Business section no less.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

More Parks

Wonder if this is what this commenter meant by Hardberger's free-wheeling and free-spending ways:

City officials want to acquire a new 311-acre park on the North Side, with the $40 million to $45 million purchase price benefiting local medical research, Mayor Phil Hardberger told the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board on Tuesday.

Called a win-win situation by city and civic officials, the deal would add badly needed parkland to the densely populated North Side off Lockhill-Selma Road while adding the Voelcker family name to the city's honor roll of charitable contributors.

"It is the only property of its size in San Antonio left undeveloped that is this close to downtown," Mayor Phil Hardberger told the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board on Tuesday. "We have to move, and I think we have to move quickly on it. This is the chance of a lifetime, it won't come again."

The $40 million-plus acquisition by the city, would halt the complete development of the area between Lockhill-Selma and Blanco roads.

The city's plan is to move forward with the purchase of 107 acres bordered by Wurzbach Parkway, Blanco Road and Voelcker Lane, which could cost around $15 million, Sculley said.

The remaining 204-acre tract would be bought with money from a proposed $550 million bond package that could before voters as soon as May 2007.

The details of the bond referendum, which will include streets and drainage improvements, have not been ironed out. Sculley said it will not require a tax rate increase. Hardberger said the 204-acre tract would be kept off the market pending voter approval of the bond package.

"A park like this will have such instant acceptability," Hardberger said.

The plan reflects city government's reawakened desire for parkland, said Henry Flores, a political scientist and dean of graduate studies at St. Mary's University.

"What we've done in the past is just have a very pro-development posture," Flores said.

The drive for development, he said, started in earnest under former Mayor Walter McAllister and later gained speed under former Mayor Henry Cisneros. Setting aside parkland was not a top priority.

As a result, the far North Side in particular is well below the national average for parkland in large cities.

The city's Parks and Recreation Department identified 7.9 acres of park per 1,000 residents in this area; San Antonio's overall average is 14.4 acres per 1,000 residents. The national average is 16 per 1,000.

Flores credits former Mayor Ed Garza, an urban planner, with starting the wheels of change.

"It was no longer development for development's sake," Flores said. "It's been more carefully planned."

About Hardberger, he noted: "This seems to fit in with how he thinks about these issues."


I now live less than a mile away from this area. So this is cool.

The fact that the North Side of San Antonio is at less than half the national average of number of acres/1,00 residents, however, is horrendous. No matter what you think about any side of San Antonio, and let's be honest here- a whole bunch of people have some pretty strong feelings about various portions of SA, adding green space is always a good thing.

Coming on the heels of the opening of Crownridge Canyon natural Area, it seems that Mayor Phil is honoring at least one of his campaign promises- more parks.

Only 28 More Days

Until Frank Madla leaves office. Thank God for that.

Once again, Frank Madla left the Democratic party behind. His yes vote to bring HB 3 to a floor vote in the state senate keeps him firmly in the DINO category. It's not that HB 3 is a bad bill- it's not- but Senate Democrats could've stalled it's passage until they got some sort of movement on teacher pay raises and more money for maintenance and operation.

Instead Frank Madla pulled the ultimate, "eff you, eff you, you're cool, I'm out" moment. Is this why you needed Madla in the State Senate, Senator Van De Putte?

NBA Playoffs

I'm not sold on this Spurs team yet. Which is why we've had a dearth of Spurs posts this season. Having said that I think the only team that can beat them in a seven-game series is the Pistons. So they've got that going for them. Which is nice.

But there's a chance the Spurs could be whupped in 5 games by the Pistons in the Finals. And we all know how much of this game is won or lost in the minds of the Spurs (see Lakers, 2000-2004). A shellacking like that could cost them the next two titles too. And with the future of the franchise being now- before Duncan really starts to decline and the wheels come off of Manu's reckless abandon- we can't just wait around anymore.

But the Mavs aren't gonna beat the Spurs and whomever comes out of the bottom half of the Western Conference bracket, Clippers, Suns or Lakers, won't be able to beat the Spurs either. On the Eastern Conference side, we're probably looking at another Pistons-Heat matchup in the Conference Finals. Except with Shaq being another year older and heavier and the Pistons having an even bigger chip on their shoulder than last year. So it's Pistons-Spurs again.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What The Hell Are You Doing Frank/Valerie Corte?

I've been thinking about this for a long while, but I finally got off my lazy ass and did the research to figure this out.

Quick question: Where's Frank Corte's district office? Most of y'all just probably mumbled a quick, "Idontknow." Which is fine. As a brand spanking new resident of HD-122 though, I was curious.

So here's your answer: 2040 Babcock Road, Ste 402, San Antonio, Tx 782something.

There's a sign at the Babcock/Loop 410 Intersection pointing to Corte's office. I always thought that our public works people just hadn't gotten around to taking it down yet. Boy was I wrong.

Now, take a look at this map of HD-122(pdf), Frank Corte's district. Find Babcock on that map. Notice where the district boundaries are. Also take note that everything WITHIN that pretty pink line constitutes HD-122.

If you want you can then google/yahoo/mapquest map it and find out where the exact location of the district office is. Or you can just trust that I've done that for you already. It's just south of the Wurzbach/Babcock intersection. Can't find that on the map? Look all the way at the bottom, it's about where the second "b" in "Babcock" is. Almost off the map.

Let me repeat that. Frank Corte's HD-122 district office is just barely on the map that's supposed to show you were HD-122 is. It's in Trey Martinez-Fischer's district (watch out Trey!), just a hop, skip and a jump away from Joaquin Castro's district. Let me say that again. The people of HD-116 and HD-125 are closer to the district office of HD-122 than the people of HD-122 are.

As a matter of fact, the good, hardworking airmen at Lackland Air Force Base, south of US Highway 90 (the unofficial boundary line for the Southside) are closer to the district office of HD-122 than a good chunk of the residents of HD-122. Lackland AFB is in the southern sector of David Leibowitz' district. And Jose Menendez' district is sandwiched in between Leibowitz and Castro's.

Got that? There are four other house districts whose constituents live closer to Frank Corte's district office than the people who live in HD-122. If you live in the NE sector of HD-122 I'd venture to guess that it would take you a good 30-45 minutes to drive to your state reps office. In the 7th largest city in America. Does anyone not find this ridiculous? How has this escaped the grasp of the Express-News all these years? I think Corte had a portion of that area before redistricting in 2001, but it's 2006 now!

This is what happens when you go uncontested for too long. Not only do you lose touch with the district, in Corte's case, you lose track of it to.

At least we can take solace in the fact that Corte's not a statewide office holder. If he were, Corte might just put his regional offices in New Mexico, Oklahoma (shudder), Arkansas and Louisiana. Hell, Corte might even put one in Mexico.

In related news, Carlos Uresti just announced that his new San Antonio field office will be setting up shop off of Stone Oak Parkway in January 2007 (for you non-San Antonians that's in Corte's house district. On the opposite side of town as SD-19. Pretty funny huh?). No, just kidding. Uresti's not an idiot. Wish I could say that for the rest of the Bexar County delegation.

Standy By Please

I've been busy with a new job for the past three weeks (more on that later) and I just finished moving into a new apartment. So I don't have an internet connection right now outside of work.

Just stand by and we'll get this thing rolling, again, soon.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Charlie Gonzalez, No Friend Of The Internets

"We didn't realize how much we took Henry B. for granted."

That's what I once overheard a high-ranking official of a national Dem organization say about Congressman Charlie Gonzalez and his father, the late Henry B. Gonzalez. His vote against the Markey amendment on this whole Net Neutrality issue only serves to underscore that statement.

It's not that Gonzalez is another Henry Cuellar, it's just that, well, there's a difference between Charlie and Henry B. That's probably the simplest way to put it.

To be fair though the list of Bexar County elected officials- from City Council to Commissioner's Court to State Leg. to Congress- who aren't in the pockets of AT&T is very small.

Making people pay more for using the internet is probably the easiest way to piss off a blogger. It's also bad public policy.

If you don't know what Net Neutrality is, here's a website for ya. For even more information on the issue, go check out Sean-Paul.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Planting Trees With David Leib

From the e-mails:

State Representative David Leibowitz today announced that the first in a series of annual tree-planting initiatives will take place on Monday, May 1.

The First Annual Leibowitz Arbor Day Tree Planting, held in conjunction with the San Antonio Tress organization, will unveil 14 trees and 11 crepe myrtles.

8:50 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Monday, May 1

on city right-of-way between

South San West Campus, 5622 Ray Ellison Dr.

and Alan Shepard Middle School, 5558 Ellison Dr.

Leibowitz will be joined by a broad cross-section of the community and those who have donated trees.

Also attending will be Ms. Linda Hardberger, representing her husband, Mayor Phil Hardberger; City Councilman Richard Perez; Bexar Co. District Clerk Margaret Montemayor; Eloy Rosales of San Antonio Trees; State Forester Mark Peterson; and representatives of South San School District, CPS Energy, Colors of the Wind Stone Fabricators, Keep San Antonio Beautiful, and Southwest Trophy.

Sounds cool. But I gotta tell ya that the more interesting thing for me was that the e-mail was sent from www.ferohewitt.com. I guess Kelly Fero found his new gig.

"And I Was Like Dang, I Ain't Got No Bobblehead?"

This Darius Miles interview is the funniest thing I have read in quite a while. It's really long, but if you've got some time to goof around at work it's worth it.

I Love It

Tim Duncan turned 30 last night. Here's Tony Parker's take on the matter:

"He's the same age as Eva (Longoria)," Tony Parker said. "That's old."
Classic.