Political Thoughts On a Monday Morning

District J

District J is not a Hispanic opportunity district; it was labeled as such in 2011, but that was untrue.

There were a bunch of Latinos in the district, but the vast majority were not registered voters; a large majority were not citizens. But the city, in cooperation with the elected Spanish-surnamed individuals, wanted to create the illusion that they were creating another district where a Hispanic could win. Theoretically, a Latino can win in any city council district with the right coalition.

I once ran for District J and did reasonably well without spending much money, but I had some help from Republicans, albeit no money support. I received nearly 21% of the vote.

Below is a chart indicating the percentage of registered voters by district. Latinos are only 28% of the voters in District J.

Lina Hidalgo

Lina Hidalgo lucked out and did not have primary opponents that year, probably because no one thought Ed Emmett could be beaten. I also heard that a deal was struck with leaders of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party that no one would run against Emmett. I told two women I knew that year that they should place their names for County Judge; they replied that running a campaign would take a million dollars. I told them that it would not if the stars lined up right. They did for Lina Hidalgo.

Hidalgo was in the right place at the right time. Call it luck or divine intervention. Beto O’Rourke brought out more voters than anyone anticipated enough that his coattails carried Hidalgo and other Harris County Democrats to elected positions.

She has since built a coalition of Blacks, progressives, and Gays. Lina won without the so-called elected Latinos who do nothing for the Latino Community. For example, a former sheriff and now a county commissioner used to be the sheriff who deported more Latinos than any other sheriff in the United States. That same person when a council member used to tell Parking Officers not to issue parking tickets in the Heights; however, it was okay in Northside, Denver Harbor, and East End to issue citations.

For many years, I would tell people that if they wanted to win, they should kiss the rings of the Spanish-surnamed elected officials. Without their approval, their chances were very slim. Then there are the unions, which were and may still be the most discriminating group of white people I ever interviewed with. I asked them if they had more than one token Latino representative; I did not get their endorsement. Unless their endorsement comes with a lot of money, it is much cheaper to campaign without union printers.

Orlando Sanchez

Sanchez is Cuban, and maybe being Republican is an inherited trait of Cubans.

But, in my opinion, he has been the most successful Latino in Harris County history. He almost became the first Latino elected as Mayor. I heard that busing homeless people to vote and his belief that he would win made him quit campaigning before the election cost him the election. Those were chismes that I heard.

I promised myself after the orange man got the Republican nomination that, I would never vote for a Republican again. But for that promise, I would support Sanchez; he has always been a friend of the Latino community.

Coalition building

For years, I would tell Latinos that if they wanted to win county-wide or city-wide, they should build a coalition with Republicans, as the groups in the Democratic Party were not likely to let them get in. I still believe that to be true. There is some friction between that coalition so a coalition especially with the Black Community may be possible.

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