Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Opinion Needed

I received the following message, which I believe warrants posting on the Houston Metroblog.

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The University of Texas School of Public Health (SPH) Student Association would like to call your attention to an important public health matter currently under active consideration in the Houston area.

Possible workplace exemptions to the smoking ban in Houston are up for debate among City Council – with voting scheduled to take place on TUESDAY of next week (Oct 24th). Current proposals up for debate concern (a) bar & restaurant exceptions to the ban, (b) bar-only exceptions, or (c) no exceptions (100% smoke-free workplace ordinance).

The community’s voice is a crucial element in such decision-making processes. To voice your opinion on this matter, call the office of Mayor Bill White at 713.247.2200. You will likely be asked for your name and address, just as a certification, but you do not have to give it. Once you have voiced your opinion with the Mayor’s Office, ask to be connected to the office of your council representative (determined by zip code).

To make your voice count, make sure to call before Tuesday, October 17th!!! Visit the Houston Chronicle’s website for recent articles about the ban.

October 10th voter registration deadline – don’t forget!

Voting day on November 7th is quickly approaching. Have you registered yet? Get a move on if you want to vote it (vote it good) as tomorrow October 10th is the voter registration deadline.

Registering is simple:
Visit the Harris County Tax Office site, print and fill out an application and mail it. As long as your application is postmarked by Tuesday, the 10th, you should be a-okay.

This year is a pretty interesting election year, even though there aren’t any presidents on the ballot. The Texas 2006 gubernatorial election brings us some pretty interesting candidates with a Jewish cowboy/country singer, grandma and incumbent Republican in play for our political affections. Read more about last week’s debate or watch it and make your own conclusions.

For more info on the Harris County names on the ballot, Charles Kuffner has some great interviews on his blog .

Libertarian Governor?

governor06.jpgLibertarian Gubernatorial Candidate James Werner appeared on one of Houston’s oldest podcasts – Riding with the window down… to talk about his candidacy to become the next Governor of Texas. This is the first installment of a three-part conversation and Werner is the first of the top five candidates to come on the show. Invites have been sent to the rest and hopefully more will respond.

Normally, I wouldn’t promote my own podcast on here, but the Governor’s race is of interest to all Houstonians. This does not constitue an endorsement of this or any candidate.

From comic to the stage – Get Your War On comes to life

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Feel like watching something irreverantly funny, bitingly honest and uber-political? Get Your War On, the Rude Mechanicals’ adaptation of the online comic, is performing at DiverseWorks September 21-30 with a workshops scheduled for September 25 and 26.

Political theater is fun! Check out the Austin Metblogs’ review of this Austin-based group’s show and buy your tickets asap as they will most definitely be sold out and you will be left home crying into your pillow.

Fernando Cardoso, former President of Brazil, visits Houston

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Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Former President of Brazil, was in Houston today to speak to the Houston World Affairs Council. promoting his new autobiography The Accidental President of Brazil. Janet Moore interviewed Cardoso for her blog International Lawyer Coach. Cardoso had just visited the UT campus Wednesday.

Political figures such as Cardoso are the kinds of public figures and intellectuals the Houston World Affairs Council is designed to attract. It’s a great resource for anyone interested in understanding life in the wider world. Former Secretary of State and General Colin Powell is speaking Sept. 20th and Houston’s own eminent statesman James Baker on Oct. 17th. Check the calendar or sign up for the newsletter to be notified of upcoming events.

Schools: Motives and Motivation

In response to the news this past weekend (you can also read the article here) and an article I came across earlier today, I’ve written a short piece on my approach to a good education at my journal. Interestingly, it seems like a few people have joined in on the discussion and pointed out the things I see that are sort of political. I, myself, will not get into politics or avoid it as much as possible, because a) it gives me a headache, b) I’m a peacemaker, and c) I just don’t like politics as much although we live with it everyday. But other than that, I’m a good citizen and when I see a problem, I try to fix it.
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Kinkster to stump in Houston this weekend

H-Town gets Kinky!
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Houston welcomes Gubernatorial candidate, Kinky Friedman to town Saturday, July 29th at 3:00pm. Join Kinky at Hans’ Village Bier and Vino Haus for a campaign meet & greet. Kinky will speak to the crowd at 3:30pm and campaign merchandise will be available for purchase. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet the often-crass, frequently-rowdy, and always-opinionated independent candidate, Kinky Friedman!

Hans’ Village Bier and Vino Haus is located at 2523 Quenby in Houston.

This is the first of several appearances by Kinky in the Greater Houston area, so if you can’t make it out on Saturday, check www.kinkyfriedman.com/events for all the latest news & events.

Kinky? (Yes!)

According to a recent ruling by Texas’ own Secretary of State Roger Williams, Carole Keeton Strayhorn will not be allowed to use “Grandma” on the November ballot, but Richard Friedman will be listed alongside his nickname, Kinky.

Strayhorn, who remarried after her last election win and now sports a different last name, wanted to include Grandma on the ballot alongside her name because of the slogan (“One Tough Grandma”) she frequently includes in advertising for her gubernatorial campaign.

The ruling is said to have gone down the way it did because Kinky is more of a nickname, while Grandma, in addition to being what her grandkids call her, is more of a slogan.

Only in Texas do you get to choose between a Kinky and a lady who almost got to be called Grandma on the ballot (or you could choose someone else alltogether, as there are a few options with less nicknames.)

UPDATE (7/13): According to the Chronicle, Strayhorn has filed a lawsuit against the Texas secretary of state in a further attempt to allow her to be called “Grandma” on the ballot. Strayhorn contends that grandma is a nickname, not a slogan, while Secretary Williams maintains that she has never used it as a nickname during previous elections or on her petition to run as an independent in this particular election.

Muralist demo cancelled due to graffiti laws

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We drove over to the SouthSide Skatepark (501 Iowa Ave) yesterday to check out their Hawaiian Punch sponsored Summer Jam skate, music and art experience…. three things that go very well together, especially when hyped up on sugary punch drinks.

The idea was that we would take a peek at the skateboarders’ mad skills, listen to some tunes from the DJs spinning and try our hand at some of the live mural demonstrations.

Sadly, the rainy drive to South Houston wasn’t really worth it as city government pressure forced the cancellation of the muralists’ demo, after being deemed inappropriate in light of the recent controversy over graffiti.

This frusturates me – it could’ve been a really cool art expo and a fun event. Skating, music and funky art are things that the younger crowd that was there at the skatepark really connect with. Guess I’m still pouting…

What is art? Could Houstonians decide between desirable graffiti and trash?

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There has been a lot of local controversy over the recently proposed law to fine business owners for not cleaning up graffiti on their buildings quickly enough (see Shawn’s previous Metblog post). Personally, I think this is unfair.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do get that there has been an increase in gang and racist graffiti in the Houston area (see Chronicle article here) and I do think it’s a problem.

But can citizens and business owners really be expected to pony up the funds and the time to paint and re-paint tagged buildings and fences? Talk about pricey… especially when in some parts of Houston chances are the tag will be back up there by sunrise the next day.

But that’s not my point — the real question I have here is do we have to classify all graffiti in the same lump category as gang, racist and homophobic graffiti? What about the good stuff? The murals? The pieces of urban art that sprout up from time to time?

The City Council is Bristol (England) has come up with a novel idea – let the people decide for themselves what is art and what is trash…. what should be kept to appreciate and what should be removed.

Case in point, Banksy (a really amazing artist) recently put up a stencil on the wall of a sexual health clinic in Bristol. By law, it is vandalism – but the building tenants adore it!

Dr Annie Evans, who works at the Brook Young People’s Sexual Health Clinic, said the team there were ‘bouncing with joy’ about the stencil on their building.

She said: ‘The latest “Banksy” is on the side of our clinic building… Did you realise how utterly appropriate your latest subject matter was, given what goes on in the building? ‘Thanks a bunch and we will do our best to look after it.’

No word yet on how successful Bristol’s citizen vote has been — but do you think that this is something that could work in Houston? Thanks to Wooster Collective for the story tip.

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