Last year when observers urged Mayor Sylvester Turner to reduce nonessential city jobs to balance the budget, we were told it wasn't necessary. Turns out, we should have.
The city ends 2016 with $95 million in debt, the first time in the city's history!
Turner blames not the city's excessive spending, but the runaway growth in pension obligations, which continues to be a problem. Speaking of the city pensions, they have been underfunded since June 30, 2016, to the tune of $7.7 billion.
Which brings us to the Turner secret plan. No significant details have been revealed, nor has the proposed legislation been drafted and released to the public.
So at this point, it's "Turner's Secret Plan." It would be nice if all the details could be revealed for public review and scrutiny. It may be great or may be more of the same postponing the day of reckoning. One thing is a certain issue, one billion dollars in new pension bonds will be paid out of the city's future operating budget when the bonds come due plus interest. There should be no bond issued without a public vote.
The Coming Threat To GOP Majorities In U.S. House of Representatives And State Legislatures
Unless you follow politics closely, you might have missed the founding of the organization called the "National Democratic Redistricting Committee" (NDRC). This group's goal is to set up the Democrats to win through redistricting in 2020 and onward to make the GOP a permanent minority party.
The NDRC is a "527" group that aims to support Democratic efforts to impact redistricting following the 2020 census. According to the organization's filings with the IRS, its mission statement is "To build a comprehensive plan to favorably position Democrats for the redistricting process through 2022."
In October 2016, President Barack Obama identified the NDRC as his primary political focus following his final term in office. "Where he will be most politically engaged will be at the state legislative level, with an eye on redistricting after 2020," per White House political director David Simas.
The NDRC aims to maximize the Democratic Party's impact on the redistricting process following the 2020 census. The group seeks to increase Democratic representation in state legislatures and governor's offices in order to strengthen the party's influence over the creation of new legislative and congressional district maps. The NDRC will work to "coordinate campaign strategy, direct fundraising, organize ballot initiative and put together legal challenges to state redistricting maps." The NDRC will also endeavor to build cohesion between Democratic groups, recruit candidates, coordinate advertising resources, and support get out the vote (GOTV) efforts.
So we need to be prepared to do battle on this redistricting battlefield. Forewarned allows us to be prepared.
TCR Comment: Fascinating fact about the last election, of the nearly 700 counties throughout the country that voted for Barack Obama in the past two elections, a full third voted for Donald Trump this time around. Still, it makes one wonder, what happened in Harris County?
Immigration Must Do's For Reform And Progress
With illegal immigration being a big topic in the last Presidential election, it seems there are a number of things we can do that can make a difference and some may surprise you:
- Require the use of the complimentary online E-verify system for all new hires, which helps to better confirm that a person has legal status to be hired;
- Strict VISA enforcement as 60% of the illegal aliens settling in the U.S. are VISA overstays. We need to have a strict check in and out system;
- Cancel all of Obama's "executive orders" on immigration;
- Deport all aliens convicted of felonies; and
- Build a barrier with Mexico, and pay for it via a tax on remittances from the U.S. to Mexico.
Now if, and only if, we can do all of the above effectively, we can then explore what to do with law-abiding illegals who want to be Americans, work hard, and learn our language and culture. The betting here is that most Americans would say "let them stay."
Obama-Kerry, 16 Days Left In Their Term
And They Dump On Israel
Just when you thought that the Obama-Kerry foreign policy had sunk as low as it could get, not so. As a Christmas/Chanukah present, the U.S. failed to vote "No" on a resolution that makes it against international law for Jews to live in the suburbs of Jerusalem and in East Jerusalem, which includes the western wall of the Great Temple. These areas are critical to Christians and their history too.
This stupid act by Obama was one of a retaliating child getting back at the Israeli Prime Minister he doesn't like. And not only does it not advance peace, it impedes it. There can be no peace deal with recognition of Israel as a Jewish homeland and without direct negotiation between the parties.
And the good news, look for a 180-degree shift in U.S. policy when President-elect Trump is sworn in, and it won't take long.
As for Obama and Kerry, goodbye and good riddance. The U.S. and the world will be a more secure and safer place with you out of power.
Term Limits Lawsuit Update:
1st Court Of Appeals Must Make A Decision
By Contributor Karen Mullinax
Republican Precinct Chair 323 of Harris County
The City of Houston has a rich history of using deceptive ballot language to hoodwink voters.1 2 In 2015, The City of Houston used deceptive ballot language to trick voters into expanding term limits. Oddly enough, The City of Houston's Mayor at the time, Annise Parker, publicly admits that voters didn't know what they were voting on.3
Tired of the shenanigans and outright lies, Phillip Paul Bryant filed a lawsuit to overturn the corrupt election that expanded term limits. At the trial level, Phillip Paul Bryant won in part. Both he and The City of Houston appealed. On September 21, 2016, the appeal was set for hearing in front of Justices Terry Jennings, Harvey Brown and Evelyn Keyes. To date, these Justices have failed to make a ruling. It is rumored that these Justices are delaying a ruling to avoid Houston municipal elections occurring in 2017.
Having the Term Limits lawsuit undecided creates havoc if it is not finalized timely. I am not asking the Court of Appeals for a specific ruling, just for the case to be heard and a ruling be made - that way the process can continue either through acceptance by the parties or appeals to the Supreme Court of Texas. The Term Limits lawsuit might affect the timing of the next City of Houston election and every Houston voter may be impacted if the First Court of Appeals does not proceed in a timely manner.
If you care about the Term Limits lawsuit you can help by calling the court at (713) 274-2700 and encouraging Justices Terry Jennings, Harvey Brown and Evelyn Keyes to make a timely decision.
1 See: Dacus v. Parker, 061215 TXSC, 13-0047.
A case where the Supreme Court of Texas found the proposition misleading because the City of Houston omitted a chief feature - part of the character and purpose - of the measure.
2 See: In re Williams, 081915 TXSC, 15-0581.
A case where Supreme Court of Texas found the ballot language provided by the City of Houston was incorrect and should read as to either accept or reject the ordinance
3 Annise Parker literally stated, "There may have been some voters confusion out there. I don't know that they realized that they were giving council members more time in office."
To hear Annise Parker admit voters didn't know what they were voting on: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2015/11/06/125962/did-voters-know-they-were-approving-extended-term-limits-in-houston/
Also See: http://www.chron.com/news/politics/houston/article/Lawsuit-filed-over-extension-of-city-term-limits-6644410.php
Sure, Let Them All In and Make Them Legal
By Bruce Bialosky, Contributing Editor
There are many unhinged things about the reaction of the Democrats after their disastrous presidential candidate lost, but the one that irks me beyond despair is their immediate and fierce defense of people they apparently know who are in our country illegally.
There have been many reasons to dream that federal authorities would arrest these irresponsible elected officials. The worst being the arrogant and incompetent (the same combo Rob Ford displayed) Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel. This guy is presiding over a city that is beyond bankrupt and a murder zone like areas of Iraq. Yet he has decided to take a stand on defending illegal aliens living in his city, taking jobs from his legal residents and draining community resources they don't have. This is despite President-elect Trump stating he wants to throw out the criminal element of these illegal aliens.
Can you imagine what the illegal alien gang members would be thinking when the Chicago cops are defending them against the federal immigration authorities deporting them? The ones from south of our border would say "I told you these gringos are loco." The Eastern European gang members will talk about how stupid we are in Russian, Ukrainian or Albanian.
But my home area has gone even further than that. Are you shocked the Left Coast would do such a thing? We have plenty of challenges here in Los Angeles as you can imagine about any major city in the U.S. After all, they are almost exclusively run by Democrats and public employee unions. Here is a problem to focus on for our civic leadership – millennials are fleeing Los Angeles at the third highest rate in the country. In fact, 7.4% of millennials have relocated over the last 10 years. The housing costs and lack of jobs have them moving to Austin, Charlotte and elsewhere. The cool, young and hip apparently don't think L.A. is so cool, young and hip.
Yet our civic leaders have a fully-organized plan within a little over a week post-election to protect illegal aliens living in the city from the federal authorities. The Los Angeles Times reported the Los Angeles City Council voted to put this plan together and at the same time request additional funds for transportation and homelessness. You have to admit these city council members have spunk.
They are even going further than that. Council President Herb Wesson said he will move toward hiring an immigrants' advocate. That would be all well and good if he were referring to helping legal immigrants assimilate into our city and country. Instead, what this "advocate's" job will be is to obstruct the immigration laws of the United States. What Wesson said was they were going to work on strategies to keep Los Angeles residents from being deported. No one who is here legally need worry. Wesson is defending the 'rights' of illegals.
Let us remind you that Trump specifically stated at this time they would be looking to deport illegals who had done illegal acts here. Gang members and drug dealers would be the kinds of people targeted. Maybe Wesson's plan will protect them.
The Democrats attacked Trump when he recently stated there was extensive illegal voting. By early 2016, 605,000 driver's licenses had been issued to illegal immigrants in California. That was just in the first year. Figures have not been issued for 2016 yet. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla scorned Trump for his statements, but he knows many of these people voted because there was nothing to stop them once they had a driver's license. They could easily register to vote, but no one cares to even analyze whether they did, which is Padilla's job. Just another aspect of making these illegal aliens de facto citizens.
We have fought this fight before with the Democrats. They are the ones across the country arguing to continue Sanctuary City status even after the election of Trump who promised to end the practice.
You may remember that after the Supreme Court ruling in 1954 (Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas), a fight broke out across the United States. This culminated in 1957 when Orval Faubus, the Democratic governor of Arkansas, attempted to stop the integration of Little Rock Central High School. The governor sent in the Arkansas National Guard to stop the integration. This caused the now-famous order from President Eisenhower to send in federal troops to escort the black students into the school.
Scenes like this spread throughout the South led by Democrats resisting federal law. Another Democrat, George Wallace, actually personally stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to stop integration of that school.
Fifty years later we have a series of Democrats, principally mayors, making their own national immigration policy. Stopping any enforcement of federal law regarding people admittedly here illegally. They believe in their cause just as righteously as George Wallace standing in that school house door.
The Immigration Act of 1986 legalized a group of people who had entered our country illegally. We were promised that they would enforce the laws thereafter and protect the border. That was either a lie or a complete failure. Now we have lawless Democrats defending illegals again to feather their own voting rolls ... while we all pay.
President-elect Trump stated he wants removal of the gang members, drug dealers and criminal element. Yet, Democrats cannot abide that. It is high time we do something to protect our national integrity.
Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee. You can follow Bruce on Twitter @brucebialosky.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
About Your Editor
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his nineteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last sixteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 13 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 15th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.