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Why Cindy Vara-Leija Ought Not Be the Constable, Precinct One. Period.

As promised, here is the editorial in the Democratic primary runoff race between Alan Rosen and Cindy Vara-Leija.  As promised, it will be a doozy, and it will make Cindy’s supporters cringe and cry bloody murder.  However, politics, although it aspires to highest ideals of how a society should operate, is also about drawing sharp, clear contrasts between candidates, especially regarding their pubilc records and biography.

WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE NO ON CINDY (VARA-LEIJA) ABERCIA (yes, that is not a typo; it’s deliberate)

On her original website, Cindy indicated that she had over thirty years experience in the Constable One office of Jack Abercia.  The voters of Harris County in general, and Precinct One in particular, recall that Mr. Abercia is the indicted former Constable of Precinct One.

To the extent that Cindy has been at the center of the operation of the precinct, it is fair to question her ethics and her ability to clean up the shennanigans of the prior incumbent.  She can’t run away from her biography.  Not now.  Not never.

Secondly, Cindy believes, in her heart of hearts, that she is entitled to this office because she is a Latina.  Bollocks.  Nobody is ever entitled to anything in public life.  Ever.  You have to compete for a position of public honor.  You have to earn it.  Based on her biography, there is no clear evidence that she has the budgetary or management experience for the position.  Accordingly, a vote for Cindy is a vote for the less competent of the two individuals in this runoff.

Although it is clear that I have backed Alan Rosen from the beginning, I will not explain my reasons for supporting him in this blog post.  That will come later today or tomorrow.

DON LARGE

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Why Cindy Vara-Leija Will Not Be The Next Constable of Harris County, Precinct One

The title says it all, doesn’t it.  I have analyzed the precinct returns for this race, and it is clear that Alan Rosen will win this race by quite a comfortable margin.

I have broken down the Constable One Precinct into ten neighborhood/geographic areas: Acres Home, Aldine, Heights/Washington Avenue, Montrose/Midtown/Downtown, Northeast, Northside, Oak Forest, Southwest/Bellaire/West University Place, Spring Branch, 290 Corridor, West of Shepherd/River Oaks.  I also broke down the race by Texas House district and Texas Senate district, but the neighborhood analysis works a little better and will be more understandable for the general public.

WHERE CINDY HAS SOME HOPE, BUT IT WON’T QUITE BE ENOUGH

Of the eleven neighborhood groups, Cindy won four of them in the primary on May 29th: Aldine, Heights/Washington Avenue, Northside, and Oak Forest.  Let’s take a look at each of them in turn.

ALDINE: Truth in disclosure – this is my home neighborhood.  I grew up here.  I attended elementary, middle school, and high school all on Aldine Mail Route (I just can’t believe its been 19 years since I delivered the MacArthur valedictory address at The Summit the day before I turned eighteen in 1993).   Cindy led Quincy and Alan 34% – 23% – 18%, but total votes here was 751.  Given that Cindy’s two hispanic competitiors and Grady Castleberry have endorsed Rosen, Aldine can flip to Alan in the runoff, especially if Precincts 411, 664, and 792 are worked heavily.  (Side note:  My voting home is 411, Armando Walle’s is 664.  These three precincts are the core of the neighborhood I have lived in for my entire life.  Sorry Cindy, I will work hard to make sure it is closer).

HEIGHTS/WASHINGTON AVENUE:  Very close race here:  Cindy leads 42.9 to Alan at 35.9, Grady at 13.2, Quincy at 12.1.  I suspect Cindy’s totals here are less to Hispanic vote turnout than moderate and independent women desiring a female constable.  Alan has strong strength here for Jewish voters in the area and of course his endorsement by the GLBT Caucus and Houston Stonewall Young Democrats.  I don’t think Houston Area Stonewall Democrat’s endorsement of Cindy made much of an impact (how can it when it was decided by only three people at a meeting).  With expected lower Hispanic turnout, this neighborhood could be flipped to Alan, but I do think it is too close to call unless something major happens in the ground campaign or somebody makes a slip up here.

NORTHSIDE: I would have thought that Cindy would have blown everbody out of the water in this area, being heavily Latino.  Problem is, at least for now, Latinos do not vote in the same proportions as other groups in the County.  Cindy took 32.5%, Grady took 22.5%, Quincy took 15.4%, and Alan took 15.1%.  Close runoff, but I do think the Northside will flip to Alan because of Latino voter projections, especially in a late summer runoff.

OAK FOREST:  Almost a two person race, with Cindy leading Alan 43.2% to 34.9%.  Again, with Alan’s endorsements and the expected drop in Latino voter turnout, Alan should take Oak Forest in the runoff.

WHERE ALAN ROSEN HAS STRENGTH IN THIS RACE – AND IT IS QUITE DOMINANT

Just like Cindy, Alan also won four neighborhood groups: Montrose/Midtown/Downtown, Southwest/Bellaire/West University Place, Spring Branch, West of Shepherd/River Oaks.  Let’s look at these four neighborhood groups more closely.

MONTROSE/MIDTOWN/DOWNTOWN:  More than anything, this show the strength and value of the GLBT Caucus endorsement in its home neighborhood.   Alan triumphed here 54.8% to Cindy’s 28.2%.  He will do so again.  A note of disclosure: I ensured Alan took the GLBT Caucus endorsement.  How, you may ask?  Simple parliamentary procedure.  Somebody had moved to endorse Cindy.  I immediately made a motion to substitute the endorsement, which passed.  Then, a motion to endorse Alan passed 55-47.  A close fought battle for a monumentally important endorsement, but it was the will of the membership that evening.  The GLBT Caucus will ensure a big turnout for Alan in these precincts.

SOUTHWEST/BELLAIRE/WEST UNIVERSITY PLACE: Again, another triumph for Alan over Cindy, 58.0% to 30.2%.  Not a surprise, except that certain precincts were close.  It was a very close race in Precinct 222 of all places, probably because of higher than expected Anglo female support for Cindy.  This is a reminder that politics can be VERY local.

WEST OF SHEPHERD/RIVER OAKS:  There was surprisingly weak turnout in this area, possibly because more people voted in the Republican primary here and some independents and Democrats will return to the fold in November; after all, the Dewhurst – Cruz battle royale (a discussion for another time) was too tempting to vote in.  In this area, Alan won 48.6% to Cindy’s 33.5%.  Expect Alan to win comfortably here this month in the runoff.

SPRING BRANCH:  This was a surprise, as Alan beat Cindy 32.6% to 25.1%.  Two caveats: this area cast only 187 votes, the second weakest neighborhood turnout of the eleven.  But, it shows Cindy’s weakness in certain non-targeted Latino rich precincts.

AND NOW, THE THREE REMAINING NEIGHBORHOODS

290 CORRIDOR: Castleberry took 31.8%, Vara-Leija took 23.6%, Whittaker took 21.3%, and Rosen took 17.3%  However, with only 127 votes cast, it was the weakest neighborhood.  With the runoff candidates likely not campaigning in this area, I don’t expect this neighborhood will have much impact on the outcome.

NORTHEAST: This is primarily Harold Dutton’s House District 142.  Quincy earned top honors, with 35.8%, followed closely by Grady at 35.5%, with Alan trailing at 14.3%.  I expect, because of Alan’s dominant strenghts in African-American endorsements in this race, with no African-Americans on the runoff ballot, Alan will win the Northeast handily.

ACRES HOME: In many ways, Acres Home dominated on May 29, and will likely do so again on July 31.  3871 of the 14444 votes cast in the primary were cast here.  Grady took 40.4% Quincy took 37.1%, Alan took 10.6%, and Cindy took 8.2%.  This is primarily, though not exclusively, Shelia Jackson Lee, Rodney Ellis, and Sylvester Turner territory.  Expect a phenomenal vote for Alan here.  Cindy can only hope that the African-American turnout is severely depressed or curtailed here.

PROGNOSIS

Based on the foregoing analysis, Alan Rosen shall be the Democratic nominee for Constable, Precinct One, shall win the seat in the general election, and will be sworn in as Harris County’s first Jewish constable in history in January, 2013.  I will be looking forward to the returns when they come in on July 31, 2012 to see how well my predictive analysis holds.

DON LARGE

He’s baaack…..or He’s Coming Out to Play….or He’s Commenting About Politics and the Beatles

Today is a good day for starting anew.  I have just formed the Don Large Political Report (with obvoius nods to Charlie Cook), which can be found right here at this here page – donlargepoliticalreport.wordpress.com.  I will be working on putting out a number of items over the next day or two regarding both the Democratic and Republican primary runoff elections in Harris County this month.
Although there will be some people who will love this new blog, there will be others, candidates particularly, who will wish I never wrote a darn word.  Sorry.  That’s democracy.  And, regardless of political party or ideology, I have always believed in the vigorous free flow of information.  So, read on, have fun.  Agree with me.  Argue with me.  It’s all good.
BTW, there will be nonpolitical items also for discussion on the blog.  I don’t think it would be surprising, as a quarter century Beatle fanatic, that there will be Beatle musings on the page as well.
Have a great day, y’all.
DON LARGE
Aldine, Texas