Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rey Flores Announces For Collin Co. Justice Of The Peace, Pct 3, Pl 2

The Rey Flores Campaign today sent out a press release announcing his candidacy for Collin Co. Justice Of The Peace, Pct 3, Pl 2. The precinct 3-2 seat is held by incumbent John Payton who has held the seat since 1990. Payton has announced he is running for re-election to a 3rd four year term and will face Mr. Flores in the November election. (Picture right - Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin County Chair, accepts the filing form from Mr. Flores.) [Flores campaign website / Click map right to enlarge to see precinct 3 location - from maps.collincountytx.gov]

The Flores Campaign press release follows:

Rey Flores Files for Democratic Party Nomination to Become Justice of the Peace for Collin County Precinct 3, Place 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 29, 2009


Rey Flores, a 17 year Collin County resident with 27 years of experience in the criminal justice system,announced today that he is running for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 2 in Collin County.

“Today, I am announcing my candidacy for Justice of the Peace. I do so for a number of reasons:

First, I have 27 years of experience working within the criminal justice system. As a former Adult Probation Officer in Dallas County, I have been deeply involved in the court process negotiating with both prosecutors and defense attorneys in recommending possible case dispositions. My criminal justice career has included holding positions requiring me to not only supervise those that go outside the law, but also to manage officers charged with supervising the adult probationers.

Second, I have great interest in young people that too often fail to see the value of education and become truants. Unfortunately, the result of such behavior too often ends up in misdemeanor and felony courts later, at great expense to the taxpayer.

Third, I believe Collin County residents should have a qualified choice in deciding who will best serve them in the position of Justice of the Peace.

I believe the Justice of the Peace position is one that provides the opportunity to intervene early and to change the course of young people’s lives. I have the work and life experience, the education, and maturity to serve Collin County well as Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3, Place 2.”

Upon coming to Dallas in 1978, Mr. Flores was hired by the Dallas Adult Probation Department (now known as the Dallas Community Supervision and Corrections Department). He conducted casework on adult probationers on supervision for cases that varied from murder to criminal mischief and everything in between.

In 27 years as an officer, Flores rose in position and responsibility from caseworker, to assistant supervisor, supervisor and finished service as Unit Manager & Administrator.

Rey Flores has an impressive professional background in criminal justice that is well suited to the position of Justice of the Peace that he is seeking, as Flores has the following experience:

  • As an administrator, Flores had supervision and oversight of staff conducting work in 15 felony courts and 11 misdemeanor courts.
  • Served on the initial taskforce charged with creating the first drug court in the State of Texas, and then went on to supervise and create programming for that court and a subsequent felony re-entry court.
  • Supervised staff conducting internal counseling programs, inpatient drug treatment programs, a restitution center and a reporting center geared to provide education and numerous living skills.
  • Supervised the internal officer training program and conducted the State required officer training certification.
  • Served as a facilitator for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, providing instruction and direction to judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and other court staff interested in developing their own drug courts.
Rey Flores has an exceptional history of community involvement:
  • Dallas County Community Action Board
  • Dallas County Youth Services Advisory Board
  • El Centro College Hispanic Advisory Board
  • Promise House Board of Directors
  • Metroplex School Advisory Committee
  • Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration Board
  • Dallas County DWI Taskforce
  • Eastfield College Social Work Substance Abuse Advisory Board
  • Criminal Justice Work Group of the Coalition for the Mentally Ill
  • Dallas County Charitable Campaign Employees Committee
Contact:
Judy Conover
972.422.0455
www.floresforjp.com
rey@floresforjp.com


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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Collin Co. District Attorney Candidate De La Garza Files For Democratic Primary

Updated December 22, 2009 @ 7:05 P.M.

This morning former Assistant Dallas County District Attorney and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John Eric Reed, announced that due to family considerations he would not seek the Collin County District Attorney's office.

In a significant development in the District Attorney's race, Rafael de la Garza announced on Tuesday morning that he had withdrawn his name from the Republican ballot for the March 2, 2010 primary election, and switched his primary filing, to have his name placed on the Democratic primary ballot for Collin County District Attorney, with the encouragement and full support of Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin County Chair.   (Photo Right - John Eric Reed (D) Congratulates Rafael de la Garza (R/D) - free use photo)

Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin County Chair, immediately announced his endorsement of, and full support for, Rafael de la Garza II for Collin County's next District Attorney.  Rafael de la Garza is a former Assistant Dallas County District Attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for Texas. 

Rafael de la Garza had been one of several Republicans to file for the office of Collin County District Attorney, while no candidate had yet filed for that office on the Democratic Primary Ballot. Stevens actively recruited Rafael de la Garza for the Democratic primary ballot.   De La Garza has previously endorsed, contributed to, and supported Republican Party candidates for public office.   (Photo Left - De La Garza and Stevens - free use photo)

During comments to the press at the Democratic Party of Collin County office on Tuesday morning De La Garza said, "Citizens of Collin County deserve a choice between good quality candidates in our two party system. Instead of just a single Republican candidate for District Attorney at the end of the March 2010 primary election, Collin County will now be guaranteed a choice between a Democratic and Republican ballot candidate for the November 2010 general election."

When asked why he decided to run in the Democratic Party primary De La Garza answered, "Chairman Stevens and the party has welcomed me and I am confident that the Democratic Party of Collin County will strongly support my candidacy." 

Mr. De La Garza are the five men who have expressed interest in running for the soon to be vacated Collin County District Attorney's office. Last September long time Collin County District Attorney John Roach (R) announced he will not seek re-election in 2010. According to Mr. Roach's old campaign website, his last day on the job as Collin County's District Attorney will be December 31, 2009.

(Photo Right - John Eric Reed, Shawn Stevens and Rafael de la Garza - free use photo)

Mr. Reed had filed earlier in December to run in the Collin County Democratic Primary, but filed papers to withdraw from the race this morning. Reed said that he did not want to leave the race without a qualified candidate to represent the Democratic Party in his place. Reed also said he was very happy that his good friend Ralf (Rafael) that the Democratic party could best represent the strong community and law enforcement values they both share.

Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin Co. said, "We welcome all who want to build a stronger community in Collin County to the Democratic party. Democrats have been making great progress in Collin County and we continue to build for the future." Stevens further commented, "Comparing 2008 to 2004, there were 20,000 more straight ticket Democratic voters in 2008, while the Republicans’ straight ticket votes were virtually unchanged. Also, the raw Democratic vote in Collin County went up by 40,000 votes, while the raw Republican vote went up by only 10,000, a 30,000 net gain for the Democrats, reducing the vote gap between the Democratic and Republican vote by around 17.5 points. There are huge numbers of Democrats in Collin County, and we have a real opportunity to re-engage our local Democrats to effect change."

Rafael De La Garza II, an eighth generation Texan, says his interest in criminal justice was sparked by his grandfather, Rafael De La Garza Sr. who was elected Sheriff of Jim Hogg County Texas in the early 1950's. Mr. De La Garza Sr. was a rancher all of his life and ran the family's South Texas Randado Ranch, which was established in the year 1767. The De La Garza Randado Ranch has been the subject of published books, articles, and documentaries on South Texas history and it continues as a working De La Garza family cattle ranch to this day. The chapel on the ranch property was awarded the Texas Historical Medallion in 1958.

De La Garza established his own Plano-based private law practice in 2001 and has been single out as one of the top "Texas Superlawyers" in 2007, 2008 and 2009 -- an honor granted to only the top five percent of Texas lawyers.

Mr. De La Garza, age 45, graduated from Temple High School in 1982, received his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in 1986 and graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1993. De La Garza is married and has two sons age 11 and 9. [De La Garza campaign website]

Republican Party Primary candidates running for the District Attorney's office include:
  1. Former County Court Six Judge Greg Willis.
  2. Senior Legal Adviser for the Plano Police Department Jefferson (Jeff) Bray.
  3. Former Dallas Police Officer James (Jimmy) Angelino.
Also see DMN "GOP candidate De La Garza to run as Democrat in Collin County DA race" by Ed Housewright - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

--- Press Releases from the Reed and De La Garza Campaigns ---
After The Jump

 
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE JOHN ERIC REED CAMPAIGN FOR COLLIN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Good Morning my name is John Eric Reed.

For the past 15 years, I have devoted myself to the practice of Criminal Law in North Texas. Throughout the course of that practice I have continually strived to use my education and abilities to stand up for the weak and protect those less fortunate from oppression and abuse. My desire to help the ordinary citizen stems from the moral values that I learned many years ago from my parents and from my years of service in Boy Scouts. In filing to run as a candidate for Collin County District Attorney, I sought to continue my representation of the common citizen and hoped to stimulate all of the citizens of Collin County to get involved in their local community. After analyzing the political landscape of the county, I decided that my campaign would r se above simple partisan politics and seek to involve every voter in choosing the best course for the District Attorney's office. Last week, I filed to run for Collin County District Attorney as a fiscally conservative Democrat. My goal was to bring to the District Attorney's office an aggressive and efficient approach to administering criminal justice for all of the citizens of Collin County. Shortly after launching my campaign, my wife and I learned that our son has developed a condition which will require ongoing medical treatment. Due to my commitment as a father and husband, I must withdraw my name from the ballot as a Democratic Party candidate for the office of Collin County District Attorney. Withdrawing my candidacy was an extremely difficult decision, but one that was made without regret as my first responsibility is that which I have for my family.

When I determined that I would be unable to run for the office of District Attorney, another great candidate, Raphael de la Garza, transcended partisan politics and will now represent the Democratic Party in this election. I have known Mr. de la Garzas since he and I both served as Assistant District Attorneys for Dallas County. Mr. de la Garza is an 8th generation Texas native who is board certified in criminal law. In addition to his experience as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County, Mr. de la Garzas served many distinguished years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Texas. Please join me in welcoming M r. de la Garza as the Democratic candidate for Collin County District Attorney.

John Eric Reed Biography:

I am a lifelong Richardson, Texas Native. I am an enrolled member of the Choctaw nation. My family is 5 generation Texans of Reeds. I graduated Richardson High School in 1984. My father owned a business for the last 50 years in Dallas. My mother was a school teacher and home maker. I graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BS in Economics Finance, BA in Anthropology/Archeology and minor in Business Administration. I was awarded a work study fellowship scholarship to Iowa Law School at the University of Iowa. I worked as a clinical prosecutor in the Bernalillo County District Attorney in Albuquerque, NM. I was a special prosecutor to the Isleta and Laguna Pueblo Tribes in New Mexico. I served as the tribal prosecutor for the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Nation over a jurisdiction 1/4 over the state of South Dakota. I was also the Special Assistant United States Attorney in South Dakota assigned to the Cheyenne River regarding non-Indian Criminal Activity on the Reservation. I have published articles on Criminal Law. I am a charter member of the Native American Law Enforcement Association. I have edited and published works in the field of Law and Terrorism with Dr. H. H. A. Cooper. I prosecuted the first murder case on the reservation by asserting concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal government since the case of Crow Dog and passage of the Federal Major Crimes Act in 1885. I then moved to Dallas and served as an Assistant Dallas County District Attorney. I then went into private practice of law specializing in criminal trial and appellate law since fall of 1996. I teach as a part time lecturer at UTD with Dr. Anthony Cooper in the topics of Terrorism, Negotiations, Organized Crime, Law & Ethics and Law and Psychiatry in the Inter-Disciplinary Studies Department. I have handled international, federal, military court martial cases and was selected as a Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2003 and 2004. I live and practice criminal trial law and appellate law in Collin County since going into private practice.

# # #

-------------------------------------------------

RAFAEL DE LA GARZA CAMPAIGN FOR COLLIN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Rafael De La Garza
December 22, 2009

Former Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant Dallas County District Attorney Rafael De La Garza announces today that he has switched parties and filed for the Democratic nomination for Criminal District Attorney of Collin County. Earlier this morning, Mr. De La Garza submitted to the Collin County Republican Party a certificate of withdrawal of his previously submitted candidate filing for the Republican nomination for Collin County District Attorney.

Encouraged by his family, including his wife of 17 years, Marina, and their two sons, Rafael and Cristian, and a broad cross section of Collin County citizens, Mr. De La Garza is ready to work hard to seek justice for our rapidly growing county as Collin County Criminal District Attorney. “My family and I have felt welcomed and appreciated by the leadership of the Democratic Party of Collin County and I have decided to run as a law and order conservative Democratic candidate, who believes that justice is not a partisan matter.” Mr. De La Garza also said, “In my position as a Collin County elected official, I will make it clear that all of Collin County’s law-abiding citizens should have confidence that justice is being served.”

An Eighth-Generation Texan, De La Garza has strong and deep family roots in Texas going back to 1767, when his family established the Randado Ranch in South Texas. De La Garza’s interest in public service was sparked by his grandfather, also named Rafael De La Garza, who served as Sheriff for Jim Hogg County in the 1950’s. “Hearing my grandfather’s stories about law enforcement brought a sense of pride for me and my family,” he notes. “I believe he is the reason that I became attracted to public service at a young age.” After receiving his law degree, De La Garza worked as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County under Judge John Vance for more than three years. He was selected to attend the coveted “Top Gun” Prosecutorial School in Huntsville, Texas and successfully prosecuted hundreds of state criminal cases as well as over 250 criminal jury trials.

After his tenure at the Dallas District Attorney's office, De La Garza was named Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District where he was recognized for handling tough drug and gang prosecutions and for his leadership and keen ability in coordinating multi-agency federal investigations, serving in that capacity for three and a half years. De La Garza handled over 25 federal jury trials while a federal prosecutor.

In order to round out his experience, De La Garza decided to enter private practice in 2001. Having gained the experience of a prosecutor and the ability to see both sides of cases, De La Garza recognizes the right to legal counsel guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution for those that stand accused, and has defended hundreds of criminal cases. Mr. De La Garza considers the patriotic work of John Adams, one of our founding fathers and the second President of the United States, as a criminal defense lawyer in colonial America to be an example of how the criminal justice system can only function properly when all parties are adequately represented. “However, I look forward to being a prosecutor once again,” said De La Garza.

“It’s not an easy decision to eventually forego my successful law practice, which I will have to do upon the conclusion of this campaign,” De La Garza said, “but I strongly believe in public service, following my grandfather’s example, and serving as District Attorney is a good fit with my professional background.”

“I plan to use my experience as both a federal and a state prosecutor to uphold high standards in the office of District Attorney and seek justice as job number one,” said De La Garza.

As a conservative, Mr. De La Garza knows that government’s first responsibility is the protection of its citizens. When citizens do not feel safe in their homes and their neighborhoods little else matters. “As a Collin County resident, I care deeply about the issues facing our community and our citizens. As a father and husband, I also care deeply about protecting our families,” said Mr. De La Garza.
Additionally, Mr. De La Garza and his family seek to help safeguard the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, and he and his family actively support various charities in the community.

De La Garza acknowledges that campaigning for District Attorney and keeping up with the demands of his law practice will be a challenge. He added, however, that he is doing so with the full support of his family, and his track record running a successful private practice shows that the community has confidence in his abilities as a lawyer. “I will judiciously maintain my professional obligations to my current clients as I seek to represent Collin County citizens in prosecuting criminals.”

De La Garza is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and serves on the School Advisory Board for St. Mark Catholic School.

# # #
--- End Press Releases from the Reed and De La Garza Campaigns ---

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

Changing Voter Demographics In Collin County

The National Journal Online posts an interesting article detailing the growth of minority populations in congressional districts across the nation. The article includes an interactive map that shows the breakdown statistics of each district.

Collin County holds most of Texas Congressional District 3, currently represented by Republican Sam Johnson, in the county's densely populated southwest quadrant. A small corner of District 3 spills over to Dallas county too.


Data for TX Congressional Dist. 3
Non-hispanic white Americans have decreased in Johnson's district to 54.9 percent while the district's minority American makeup has increased 8.4 percent to 45 percent. (pie chart right)

The remaining three quarters of Collin County's geographic area is included in Texas Congressional District 4, currently represented by Republican Ralph Hall. Hall's District 4 geographic area also includes the entire northeast corner of Texas, so the district's demographic numbers mask the true makeup for Collin County's portion of the 4th congressional district.

The 1990 census listed over 80% of Collin County's citizens as "White" non-Hispanic. The population makeup has changed greatly since Johnson and Hall were first elected to office. By 2007, census estimates showed that white, non-Hispanics made up only 67 percent of the entire population of Collin County. According to 2007 census estimates 14 percent of the county is Hispanic-American, 10 percent of the county is Asian-American and not quite 8 percent of the population is African-American.

Most experts believe the demographics continue to shift in favor of minority Americans in Collin County. Indeed, the Census Bureau's recently released annual three-year (2006-2008) average American Community Survey data reported in the National Journal article suggests the county's overall population of "White" non-Hispanic Americans may soon be nearing parity with minority Americans.

Yet, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans hold zero elected offices in Collin County government or in any of the county's city governments. African-Americans fare only slightly better with one African-American serving on Plano's City Council and one African-American serving as a trustee on Plano's ISD board. However, the ongoing demographic shift almost guarantees that minority Americans will soon be running for office in Collin County. And, when they do run for office, a '(D)' will mostly likely appear by their name on the election ballot!

You will be hearing more and more about the official 2010 U.S. census results and redistricting in Texas, and particularly in Collin County, over the next two years! See Collin Co. population charts after the jump.


Demographic Data for TX Congressional Dist. 3, Represented By Republican Sam Johnson



Demographic Data for TX Congressional Dist. 4, Represented By Republican Ralph Hall

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Collin County District Attorney Candidates For 2010

Last September long time Collin County District Attorney John Roach announced he will not seek re-election in 2010. According to his old campaign website Mr. Roach's last day on the job as Collin County's District Attorney will be December 31, 2010.

Local publications have reported over the last several weeks that several candidates are known to have an interest in running for the soon to be vacated Collin County District Attorney's office. The list includes:

  1. Former County Court Six Judge Greg Willis. Mr Willis (R) resigned his former position as County Court Six Judge in order to run for District Attorney. [campaign website]
  2. Senior Legal Adviser for the Plano Police Department K. Jefferson (Jeff) Bray. Mr. Bray (R) is a former Collin and Dallas County prosecutor. [campaign website]
  3. Former Dallas Police Officer and former Denton Prosecutor James (Jimmy) Angelino. Mr. Angelino (R) is currently a private practice attorney. [campaign website]
  4. Former Dallas prosecutor Rafael de la Garza. Mr. De La Garza (D) is currently a private practice attorney in Plano. [campaign website]

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mandate Without Option?

Updated December 15, 2009 @ 5:23 PM
In light of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to give in to demands from Sen. Joe Lieberman, a few blue dogs and every Republican in the Senate that the Senate must scrap the Medicare compromise, in addition to the public option that was scraped last week, many ardent supporters of health care reform have now giving up on the current version of the Senate's reform legislation.

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean said in a radio interview Tuesday that he agreed,

"This is essentially the collapse of health care reform in the United States Senate," Dean said. "Honestly the best thing to do right now is kill the Senate bill, go back to the House, start the reconciliation process, where you only need 51 votes and it would be a much simpler bill."
"Insurance companies win. Time to kill this monstrosity coming out of the Senate," wrote DailyKos founder Markos Moulitas on his Twitter feed.

Updated December 14, 2009 @ 6:58 PM
Senate Democrats have apparently agreed to axe the "Medicare buy-in down to age 55" proposal, as well as any "public option" proposal. The Senate health care plan is now essentially the bill proposed by Sen. Max Baucus last September -- a mandate for all Americans to buy health insurance, primarily from private health insurance companies, or face a civil penalty. [Bloomberg]

As this blog has been posting since mid-2009 this is what private health insurance companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying money to buy. [see Insurance Industry Pushing For "Private, For Profit" Mandate In Reform]

This would force up to 40 million people to buy health insurance from private for profit health insurance companies, an unprecedented mandate -- long sought by insurance companies -- that would mark the first time the federal government has compelled consumers to buy a single industry's product, effectively creating a captive market.

Originally posted on September 25, 2009
Via FDL - The Los Angeles Times has a must-read piece today on the problems of an individual mandate without cost controls attached:
In the drive to bring health coverage to almost every American, lawmakers have largely rejected restrictions on how much insurers can charge, sparking fears that consumers will continue to face the skyrocketing premium increases of recent years.

The legislators' reluctance to control premium costs comes despite the fact that they intend to require virtually all Americans to get health insurance, an unprecedented mandate -- long sought by insurance companies -- that would mark the first time the federal government has compelled consumers to buy a single industry's product, effectively creating a captive market.

"We are about to force at least 30 million people into an insurance market where the sharks are circling," said California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, a Democrat who served as the state's insurance commissioner for eight years. "Without effective protections, they will be eaten alive."

Soaring premiums coupled with millions of new customers forced to buy policies would likely mean higher costs for taxpayers to cover government subsidies for lower-income families and individuals...

..."If the government is going to require people to buy an insurance policy, they have to guarantee it is affordable," said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog. "It is unconscionable not to."
The Baucus bill is a mandate with no price controls, because it lacks a public health insurance option to increase competition with private insurance.

First read the article at Fire Dog Lake and then read the Los Angeles Times article.

Related posts:

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Climategate" Exposed

IS GLOBAL WARMING A TRICK?


Click here to go to part 2
That is what some saw in a large batch of e-mails and documents stolen from servers of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, in England, and put up anonymously on the web.

The result has been a field day for those intent on discrediting the idea of man-made climate change. Climate change skeptics have combed through the stolen emails, pouncing on isolated and out of context snippets that can be spun into some claim of scientific malfeasance. The spin climate change deniers are putting out is that the stolen emails reveal what they always claimed, an evil global liberal conspiracy.


"It's cold. So there's no Climate Change"


Facts From The National Snow
And Ice Data Center
The emails stolen from University of East Anglia servers reveal climate scientists discussing the perils of freely sharing their climate research with activist climate change deniers.

Climate scientists have become wary of activist climate change deniers because they consistently distort, misrepresent and deliberately falsify interpretations of climate research data and scholarly discussions.

The stolen emails, read in their entirety, reveal only that climate scientists have discussed issues related to protecting their research from false distortion and how to effectively and convincingly present their conclusive climate change data.

So, climate change deniers have used the stolen emails to distort, misrepresent and deliberately falsify climate research - thus proving why the stolen emails include discussions among climate scientists about protecting their research from activist climate change deniers and their dishonest tactics.

As Judith Curry, a climatologist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, observes, attacks [from activist climate change deniers] on climate scientists, sometimes paid for by carbon-emitting industries, have made many researchers in the field nervous and defensive. [The Economist]

Read fully and in context the stolen emails do not support claims that the science of global warming is faked, according to reviews by growning numbers of truly fair and balanced journalists.

[See The Economist "Climate Change Mail-Strom" and the AP "Science not faked, but not pretty, "Climategate" Exposed]

The current decade likely ranks as the hottest since temperature records began in the 1850s, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization announced today. On December 8th 2009, at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), reported that 2009 was likely to rank in the top 10 warmest years since 1850. He added that since 1980 every decade has been warmer than the previous one. He also stressed that greenhouse concentrations were highest now than at any time over the last 800,000 years.

While conservative Republican lawmaker continue to strongly deny all evidence of climate change, Military planners in the Pentagon have concluded that “global warming is now officially considered a threat to U.S. national security.” In its upcoming 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, Pentagon planners will report that climate change could result in food and water scarcity, pandemics, population displacement, and other destabilizing events that could create conflict.
“The American people expect the military to plan for the worst,” says retired Vice Adm. Lee Gunn, a 35-year Navy veteran now serving as president of the American Security Project. “It’s that sort of mindset, I think, that has convinced, in my view, the vast majority of military leaders that climate change is a real threat and that the military plays an important role in confronting it.”

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Election Precincts For The 2010 Election Cycle

Beginning in late December 2009 the Collin County Registrar's Office will begin sending out new Blue and White 2010-2011 voter registration cards to every "active" registered voter in the county.

Because Collin County's population has grown since the 2008-2009 orange registration cards were issued two years ago, a few of Collin County's election precincts have been split into two or three election precincts. As of January 1, 2010 Collin County will have sixteen new election precincts. (see table below) Voters living in the "redistricted" election precincts will find new precinct numbers on their new Blue 2010-2011 voter registration cards. (Collin County's interactive district maps tool / Redistricting Plan PDF / Click on image below for enlarged picture.)Here is a description of some of the fields on the voter registration card:

  1. VUID – This is your 10-digit statewide Voter Unique Identification Number issued by the Secretary of State’s office. This number remains the same as long as you are a registered voter in the State of Texas regardless of the County in which you reside or if you move from one County in Texas to another.
  2. Prec. No. – Your precinct is based upon your residence address and determines your Election Day polling location.
  3. Valid from January 1, 2010 thru December 31, 2011. Upon expiration, new certificates are automatically mailed to voters with active registrations.
  4. Name and Permanent Residence Address – Your name and address of residence as provided when you registered to vote. Your election precinct (polling place) is based upon this address.
  5. X signature line. The "fine print" below the signature line says, "VOTER MUST PERSONALLY SIGN HIS/HER NAME IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT, IF ABLE."
  6. Voted in the ________ Party Primary. When voting in a primary election, you must state in which political party's primary you will vote. Your selection will then be stamped in this space on your registration card. This also helps ensure you will receive a ballot from the same party should a runoff election be required. If you did not vote in the initial primary but would like to vote in a subsequent runoff, you will be able to make your party selection at that time. You must vote in a party's primary election to qualify to attend that party's precinct, county and state conventions. You will present your stamped registration card when you check in for the precinct convention as proof that you did vote in the primary election.
  7. Various Election Districts
    • CONGRESS - U.S. House of Representative District Number
    • STATE SEN. - Texas Legislature - State Senate District Number
    • STATE REP. - Texas Legislature - State House of Representatives District Number
    • COM - Collin County Commissioners Court Precinct
    • JP - Justice of the Peace District
    • CITY - City
    • CITY DIST. - City District Subdivision
    • ISD - Independent School District
    • ISD DIST. - Independent School District Subdivision
    • SBOE - State Board of Education
  8. Cert No. - This is your Collin County Voter Unique Identification Number.
  9. BARCODE – This is an internal tracking number which should be electronically scanned by poll workers at a polling location to check-in voters. Please DO NOT cut the bar code off of the card!!
  10. Mailing Address – Just below the Bar Code is your Mailing Address provided by you indicating where you wish to receive your mail. This address is not used in determining your precincts or in which races you will be eligible to vote.
Old Pct Comments Split Into New Pct
006 Along ISD lines 168
014 Along major roads 167
017 Along major roads 172
025 Along ISD and City lines 165-Parker
166-WISD
027 Along major roads 174
029 Along major roads 178
045 Along ISD lines 179
055 Along City of Dallas lines 164
056 Along City of Sachse lines 170
111 Along major roads 177
116 Along major roads 176
126 Along McKinney ISD lines 169
140 2 splits - top absorbed into 155 173
157 Along major roads 171
159 Along major roads 175
Texas election code (Section §42.006) says that a county election precinct may not contain more than 5,000 registered voters.

Last spring the Collin County Commissioner's Court approved a request made by the County Registrar's Office to split several existing election precincts to form new precincts, effective January 1, 2010.

The table (right) shows the old precincts that are giving part of their 2008-2009 geographic area over to the new 2010-2011 election precincts.

If you do not received your blue 2010-2011 Voter's Registration Card by late January 2010, call the Collin Co. Registrar's Office to check on your voting status.

If have moved or you have not voted in an election in Collin County during the past two years, your voter registration record may have been suspended or even canceled. Check your registration status here.

If your voter registration record has been suspended or canceled, or you have never registered to vote in Collin County you must take action to be properly registered by February 2, 2010 in order to vote in either the Democratic or Republican Party March 2, 2010 Primary Election. Voter Registration Applications must be post marked on or before February 2, 2010 in order to become properly registered to vote in the primary.

Have you ever registered to vote? In general, you are eligible to vote in Collin County if you are a United States Citizen, a resident of the county, will be 18 years old before election day, are not a convicted felon and have not been declared mentally incapacitated. For specific information and to determine your eligibility, click here to visit the Secretary of State’s web site and read the pamphlet on Texas Voting. Check whether you are already registered to vote here and if you are not yet registered to vote, get your Voter's Registration application here.

Please remember to take your Voter's Registration Card with you to the polling place when you vote. Several forms of identification (in place of your voter registration card) are acceptable, but early voting election clerks can use the bar code on the registration card to electronically verify your voter registration status. This makes the early voting lines move much faster for everyone!!! Please DO NOT cut the bar code off of the card!! Click here to find forms of identification, other than your voter registration certificate, that you may use to vote.

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Insurance Coalition Bribes Internet Users To Oppose Health Bills

HuffingtonPost — Internet users looking for gift cards and other free merchandise are being steered to Web pages inviting them to send e-mails to Congress expressing their views on President Barack Obama's push to reshape the country's health system.

In one instance, people looking for rewards are taken to a Web page run by Get Health Reform Right, a coalition of 10 insurance industry groups that opposes Obama's health overhaul effort. That page lets opponents of the Democratic drive quickly generate a letter to their member of Congress expressing their view.

In another, those applying for gifts can end up on the Web page of the American Medical Association's Patients' Action Network, where they can express support to lawmakers for expanding health care coverage.

The ads could give the impression that someone has to send an e-mail to Congress to get free goods. But based on fine print appearing in the ads, it appears sending the e-mails is optional and would not affect whether people receive the gifts they are seeking.

The ads attracting letter writers with incentives, first reported by Gawker.com, were provided to a reporter by Dan Porter, CEO of OMGPOP, a company that runs a Web site that combines multiplayer Internet games with social networking.

The ads are aimed at people seeking a reward, such as a gift certificate to a retail chain, that they would receive after providing their e-mail addresses and other information. Such ads could also be aimed at people who play online games and would like to earn virtual currency they can use to purchase items they can use in games, Porter said.

After people provide information about themselves, they are taken to a series of Web sites that ask them questions. One of the pages asks people if they want to "tell Congress to get health reform right!" If they check "yes," they are taken to GetHealthReformRight.org, where they can quickly send a prewritten e-mail to their member of Congress expressing opposition to a government-run insurance plan. Another asks people to answer "yes" or "no" to the statement, "Now is the time to make your voice heard on health system reform."

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letter To The Editor From Alicia Bergfeld

Barbara Oldenburg, who has served on the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee as one of the two Senate District 8 Representatives for several years, has resigned effective January 1, 2010. (Dist. Map PDF) As specified in the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party, "When a vacancy occurs on the SDEC, the vacancy shall be filled by the majority vote of the members of the SDEC. The new member shall be an eligible person of the same sex and from the same senatorial district as the vacating member. The Senatorial District Committee of the affected district shall meet to nominate a person for such position." The following letter to the editor of the DBCC is from Alicia Bergfeld, who has announce her candidacy to fill Ms. Oldenburg's vacancy:


Letter To The Editor
by Alicia Bergfeld
My name is Alicia Bergfeld and I am running to be the State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) member from Senate District 8. I will be the first to admit that I am not very well known in Collin County…yet.

When I first heard about this vacancy, I was given a brief description of the SDEC and its responsibilities. I was interested immediately: A chance to be involved with the State Democratic Party? Sign me up, I thought. Conveniently, the SDEC was having a meeting in Austin five days later. I traveled to Austin to attend this meeting, and while there, I solidified my desire to join the SDEC.

While in attendance at the SDEC General Meeting, I was struck by a very interesting visual. I was sitting in the back of the room facing the entire SDEC, and I noticed that my demographic, young and female, was not fully represented. Yet those like me are the future of the party, a party that is on the edge of real change. I am committed to engaging the younger generations and bringing them into the fold because whatever change is starting now, my generation will be the ones to continue the progress. I can bring new energy to the state party, and I can help move this party forward into its exciting future.

The Democratic Party in Texas, and in Collin County in particular, is on the cusp of a really important breakthrough. It is truly a tangible feeling among many Democrats. The SDEC is such an important part of the momentum in the County and in the state as a whole. As a member, I would support the Democratic Party wholeheartedly. I would devote as much time (and more) as is necessary to propel Texas Democrats into the forefront. I want to support the Party from the inside. I want to serve Texas well by building the Democratic brand and putting Collin County on the map. I will b e there every step of the way to make sure our party continues to be the party of the people.

I would like to think I have always been a Democrat. I always seemed to be aware of the needs of others and I would try to help in any way possible, even if that meant giving the shoes off my feet (literally). I grew up knowing that I could be anything that I wanted to be, yet at 12 years old, my father told me there were two things that I could never be: a method actor or a Republican. I did not pay much attention to this edict at the time, but as I attended high school and college, I realized that I could not be a Republican. I cared too much about the wellbeing of others. I would absolutely not pass their Reagan-esque litmus test, nor would I want to.

And so I have made it my goal in life to help people and to make a difference in this world. I cannot think of a more appropriate avenue to accomplish this than to help crank the wheels inside the Texas Democratic Party. I may not have been born a Texan, but it is my chosen home. Help me make it the best home it can be.

Alicia Bergfeld currently resides in Plano, TX and works for a non-profit in Dallas that has served the community for nearly 35 years. Alicia earned a Masters of International Relations from Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland. She is an active member of the Texas Democratic Women of Collin County, as well as a dedicated volunteer for Planned Parenthood of North Texas. She is actively trying to establish a Young Democrats group in Collin County, and recently participated in the Campaign Training Series held at Collin College Frisco Campus.


Disclosures: The editor of this blog is an active member of the Democratic Campaign Development Coalition that sponsored a Democratic Campaign Training Education Series, which Ms. Bergfeld attended.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tom Daley Endorses Linda Magid For SD 8 SDEC

Barbara Oldenburg, who has served on the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee as one of the two Senate District 8 Representatives for several years, has resigned effective January 1, 2010. (SD 8. Map PDF) The State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) is a special body created by the Texas Democratic Party (TDP) to effectively serve as the TDP governing body. As specified in the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party:

"When a vacancy occurs on the SDEC, the vacancy shall be filled by the majority vote of the members of the SDEC. The new member shall be an eligible person of the same sex and from the same senatorial district as the vacating member. The Senatorial District Committee of the affected district shall meet to nominate a person for such position."
The following letter was release by Tom Daley, 2008 candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, supporting Linda Magid's candidacy to fill Ms. Oldenburg's SD 8 Democratic Executive Committee vacancy. Ms. Magid served as Mr. Daley's campaign manager during his 2008 run for the Texas 3rd Congressional District Seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Mr. Daley's letter:

By Tom Daley
2008 Democratic candidate
U.S. House of Representatives,
TX 3th Congressional Dist
rict
January 4, 2010

I am writing regarding the now-vacant position on the State Democratic Executive Committee that Barb Oldenburg so capably filled. It is important that battlegrounds such as SD-8 be represented by active and committed Democrats who have the time and energy to represent our area in SDEC proceedings.

When I ran for US Congress in 2008, I soon found myself in need of a campaign manager. That presented me with two challenges: First, I wasn’t sure what a campaign manager should be doing. Second, I didn’t know where to find one. What I did know was that I needed an energetic person who was willing to take on an ill-defined job, for less than minimal pay, and work extensively with a candidate who was not very experienced.

Fortunately, I didn’t look long. Linda Magid met my wife at a TDWCC meeting. Linda told Ava that she heard I was running for Congress and that she wanted to be part of the fight to bring energetic, effective representation to the Third Congressional District of Texas.

Linda quickly identified what needed to be done, worked tirelessly to set measurable goals and helped me focus on meeting those goals. She worked hard to do whatever task needed doing, whenever it needed doing, and helped keep our campaign on track. She didn’t just execute—she was also an important source of ideas and never let her enthusiasm be overcome by the challenges of the day.

Democrats in Texas are nearing a tipping point. We are poised to become the majority party and thereby bring good governance to the people of the state of Texas. But this won’t happen by fiat, luck, or wishful thinking. It will happen because we continue to work together doing the right things the right way.

I believe Linda Magid is the perfect person to represent us on the SDEC. Her combination of drive, organizational skills, and willingness to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work required to help us be all that we imagine we can be is exactly what we need today.

Please share my endorsement of Linda Magid with those who will vote in the election.

Wishing us all success in 2010,
Tom Daley, Attorney at Law

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Letter To The Editor From Linda Magid

Barbara Oldenburg, who has served on the Texas State Democratic Executive Committee as one of the two Senate District 8 Representatives for several years, has resigned effective January 1, 2010. (Dist. Map PDF) As specified in the Rules of the Texas Democratic Party, "When a vacancy occurs on the SDEC, the vacancy shall be filled by the majority vote of the members of the SDEC. The new member shall be an eligible person of the same sex and from the same senatorial district as the vacating member. The Senatorial District Committee of the affected district shall meet to nominate a person for such position." The following letter to the editor of the DBCC is from Linda Magid, who has announce her candidacy to fill Ms. Oldenburg's vacancy:


Letter To The Editor
by Linda Magid
The State Democratic Executive Committee (SDEC) is a special body created by the Texas Democratic Party (TDP) and effectively serves as the TDP governing body. The State Democratic Executive Committee's mission is to: "Carry on the activities of the Party between State Conventions in compliance with the law and with the directives of the Convention." The SDEC is composed of elected TDP officers, one female and one male representative from each of the 31 Senate Districts currently defined in Texas.

Rather than voting during a Texas Democratic State Convention, as normally happens, SD8 precinct chairs in Dallas and Collin County will vote for one precinct chair each to serve on a committee that will then recommend one person to the SDEC to fill the vacancy left by Ms. Oldenburg's resignation.

With the current vacancy of the Senate District 8 female SDEC member, I am asking SD-8 Precinct Chairs in Collin County to support my candidacy for this position.

As Campaign Manager for Tom Daley, the Democratic Congressional Candidate running against Sam Johnson in 2008, I understand the challenges we Democrats face in Collin County. I am by no means deterred by those challenges; in fact, I am only bolstered by them, ready to take on more responsibility and leadership to elect Democrats to county and state office.

I see this SDEC position as not just an opportunity to participate in the TDP leadership but as an opening for bringing knowledge, ideas and experience from around the state to our work here. Our Collin County Democratic Party Chair, Shawn Stevens, has shared that the State Party sees Collin County as an important ingredient in winning in 2010. I want to work with Shawn to remind the State Party of our growing numbers, our needs and our determination.

Three months after I moved to Texas in 2007, I joined the Texas Democratic Women of Collin County and almost immediately joined the Board of Directors as Events Chair. I successfully organized (with the North Dallas Texas Democratic Women) bringing Arianna Huffington to Collin County, a speaking engagement the Dallas Morning News said would be a flop. The event raised $2000 for each women's group.

When the Primary Caucus came, I had the privilege of running Precint 135's caucus and was elected a Delegate to our County Convention and served on the Resolutions Committee. By the State Convention, I was already Tom Daley's Campaign Manager and was elected as an alternate delegate to the State convention.

Once the election was over, I was elected Vice Chair to the Democratic Campaign Development Coalition (DCDC), a group committed to creating a pipeline of Democratic leadership in Collin County. Shortly after that I was promoted to Chair, which I serve as today. When the former Collin County Democratic Party Chair stepped down, the DCDC organized a successful County Chair Candidate Forum, providing a platform for Precinct Chairs to hear what the three candidates had to offer. Recently, the DCDC organized a seven session campaign training program to jump start possible candidates and campaign workers. Out of 44 unique attendees, we have 3 new Precinct Chairs and 4 new candidates for 2010, with more people considering a run in 2012.

I believe my experience, my effort and my passion are evidence that I will fulfill this SDEC position with the County in mind. I want us to win. I want you, the precinct chairs, to win. Vote for me, and I promise to do all I can to make that happen.

Disclosures: Ms. Magid is a guest author for this blog. The editor of this blog is an active member of the Democratic Campaign Development Coalition, which Ms. Magid chairs.

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Bill White Files For Texas Governors Race

Official press release from the White campaign: Today, after listening to thousands of Texans from all backgrounds, Bill White filed to run for Governor, pledging to fight for Texas' future.

"I am proud of the people of Texas, and as Governor I will move us forward as America's great state of opportunity," White said. "I'll be a Governor who challenges Texans to lead, not leave, the United States."
White highlighted ways of creating new jobs with businesses small and large across the state. He emphasized that Texas could not be its best with skyrocketing insurance and electric rates and college tuition that increases faster than the incomes of Texans.

The son of San Antonio school teachers, White vowed to focus on improving educational achievement in K-12 grade levels, improving high school graduation rates, and reducing the costs of college.

White, a successful businessman, was first elected as Houston Mayor in 2003 and was twice re-elected with margins averaging 88%. He has been hailed as a strong leader and a problem-solver, with the Houston Chronicle noting that he has "deftly steered Houston through fiscal and tropical storms."

During White's administration, Houston led the nation's cities in job growth, adding more jobs than 16 states combined. At the same time, he cut property tax rates five years in a row. After Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike, Bill White mobilized an effective disaster response including first responders, businesses and churches.

"I don't have the polish of career politicians. But as a businessman and Mayor I know how to be accountable for results, not just rhetoric. I have a track record of bringing people together to get things done," White said. "That's what Texas needs now."

Last December, White launched a U.S. Senate campaign that in 11 months attracted more than 1500 volunteers, more than 5500 contributors, and more than $6.5 million. He has visited 70 Texas counties to date.
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Hank Gilbert

With Bill White entering the gubernatorial race, Hank Gilbert today announced he is dropping his gubernatorial bid and has instead filed to run for Agricultural Commissioner.

Hank Gilbert (picture right) ran for Agricultural Commissioner in the 2006 election cycle and received the most votes of any Democratic statewide candidate in that election year.


Farouk Shami
As part of his announcement that he is dropping his gubernatorial bid, Gilbert endorsed Houston hair care magnate Farouk Shami (picture right) for governor.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Conservative Sam Johnson Files For 10th Term In U.S. House

Conservative Republican U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson today announced through a press release that he plans to run for a tenth full term in the Texas 3rd U.S. Congressional District. (Shaded in yellow on map - Your Congressional District Number can be found on your Voter's Registration Card)

Johnson, who is 79 years old, first won his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election on May 8, 1991. Johnson has been reelected to the 3rd district seat in nine regular elections since 1992.

The Texas 3rd District House Seat has arguably been one of the deepest red Republican districts in Texas, or any other state, since 1968 when the Republican Party first took control of the 3rd district House Seat. Johnson ran for re-election unopposed by a Democratic candidate in the 1992, 1994, 1998 and 2004 elections.

Maybe Sam Johnson will snag an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin when she drops by Plano to sign her book, "Going Rogue," at Legacy Books on Friday Dec. 4th. Get-R-Done Sam!

Johnson was opposed by Democratic challenger Daniel Dodd and Libertarian challenger Christopher Clayton in the 2006 election.

Candidate Party Votes Percent
Sam Johnson (R) 88,634 63%
Dan Dodd (D) 49,488 35%
Christopher Claytor (L) 3,656 3%
In the 2008 election Johnson was opposed again by Libertarian challenger Christopher Clayton and a new Democratic challenger, Tom Daley. In 2008 Johnson's margin of victory was trimmed to 59 percent of the vote with Tom Daley receiving 38 percent, even as Daley ran a modest "budget campaign" as compared to Johnson's campaign war chest of money.
Candidate Party Votes Percent
Sam Johnson (R) 169,557 59.8%
Tom Daley (D) 107,679 38.0%
Christopher Claytor (L) 6,300 2.2%
So far, a Democratic challenger to Johnson has not appeared for the 2010 election cycle, but the month long filing period has only just opened.

Johnson has voted against tax incentives for energy conservation, clean/alternative energy development and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Johnson also voted to eliminate "critical habitat" for endangered species and to reduce liability for hazardous waste dumping and clean up. Johnson opposes health insurance reform, supports the privatization of social security, has voted against regulating the home mortgage industry and opposes any repeal of the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. That "Modernization Act" lifted Glass-Steagall regulations that prohibited any one financial institution from acting as a home mortgage company, investment bank, a commercial bank, and/or an insurance company. That single piece of banking deregulation is a root cause of the near collapse of the American financial system in 2008.
Gov. Perry: Federal Government Protecting The General Welfare Of Americans Is Socialist

On the issue of Texans who have lost their jobs; Gov. Perry, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Sam Johnson and every Republican elected official in Texas made headlines for months pronouncing that President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) "socialist" economic stimulus plan was unneeded and unwelcome in Texas.

On the issue of health insurance reform; Texas has the most expensive health care markets in the country, and the least number of people insured and Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) raise his 10th Amendment argument again over federal health insurance reform. [Star-Telegram] Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Sam Johnson and every Republican elected official in Texas again line up with Gov. Perry to reject the idea that Texans need health insurance reform.
To review Johnson's conservative positions all on the issues plus his U.S. House of Representatives voting record, click here.


picture of Ms. Van Auken used with her kind permission
On Monday August 31st of this year Texas G.O.P. Reps. Sam Johnson, Joe Barton of Arlington, Jeb Hensarling and Pete Sessions of Dallas hosted a town hall at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, TX.

During the meeting Barton said. "We do believe the president's proposal is a radicalization and some would say socialization." He said the best option would be to defeat the current plans.

Kelley van Auken (pictured above) attended the Eisemann Center town hall to voice her support for Health Insurance reform.

"Most people [who oppose health insurance reform] were actually quite nice, but there's an abundance of misinformation," said Ms. van Auken. She said that one opponent of health insurance reform told her that she doesn't need health insurance, rather, she just needs to go to church for help with health care costs. Ms. van Auken, who is confined to a wheelchair, commented that opponents of health insurance reform believe, "there are churches that will cover my $72k/year drug costs and other medical expenses." In a CBS 11 news interview Ms. van Auken said, "I've been disabled my whole life and I've been fortunate to have access to healthcare, unfortunately there are a lot of people like me or with less ailments who don't have it and really do need it."

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