Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Many Works Of Judith Zaffirini


I sometimes flip through the many political newsletters that arrive at the Sanbe news headquarters.  I'll scan some sections and see who's included in the photos, before tossing the material in the recycling bin.  But I felt it was my duty to look into the supposed works of one of our illustrious leaders, Judith Zaffirini. To toss it aside like an old sock would be a crime.  Whatever. 

Zaffirini's recent mailer has the headline: Senator Judith Zaffirini passes 106 bills reflecting broad range of issues.  The four-page newsletter includes a sample of the senator's toil up in Austin.  Let's take a look at the highlights.

HB 4477 - relating to the financial exploitation of certain vulnerable adults (TX Legislature Online).  In Z's newsletter it says, Adult Protective Services could not request holds on financial accounts when it suspected exploitation -- HB 4477 eliminates this restriction.  According to TX Legislature Online, Zaffirini was a sponsor of the bill, hence the HB (House Bill) designation, I guess.

HB 3529 - relating to consent for the use or possession of personal identifying information under the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act.  Again, a House Bill and Zaffirini is a sponsor.  In the newsletter, Zaffirini writes about the bill, which amends the definition of identity theft to include coerced debt, thereby allowing survivors to access additional resources.

SB 43 - relating to residential mortgage loans, including the financing of residential real estate purchases by means of a wrap mortgage loan; providing licensing and registration requirements; authorizing an administrative penalty. FINALLY AN ACTUAL SENATE BILL.  But this bill has 8 sponsors, Zaffirini being one of them.  This was Zaffirini's third attempt at passing the bill, according to her mailer.  "It closes loopholes that allowed predatory wrap mortgage lending practices to defraud unsuspecting homebuyers."

Back to the House Bills.

HB 21 - relating to the statute of limitations applicable to a sexual harassment complaint filed with Texas Workforce Commission.  The statute of limitations was extended from 180 days to 300 days.  HB 21 had 14 sponsors.  A House Bill, but chalk it up to Zaffirini's scorecard.  Not a full year for the statute, but still.  

HB 39 - relating to protective orders; making conforming changes.  In Zaffirini's newsletter, it just says, ensure protective orders are enforced adequately and issued timely.  The bill had 8 sponsors: six Dems and two Repubs.  Still, newsletter-worthy.  Thank you, Madam Senator. 

HB 1172 - relating to the rights of victims of sexual assault or other prohibited sexual conduct.  This one was authored by Rep. Donna Howard, according to LegiScan.  The bill had 15 sponsors.  Zaffirini said of HB 1172: These bills will increase opportunities for them to find safety and healing and will incentivize reporting.  House Bill 1172.

SB 45- relating to the prohibition against sexual harassment in the workplace.  The wording!!  This bill came up in 2020; Zaffirini's newsletter points to SB 45 passing on its third try.  It "provides that sexual harassment by any employer, regardless of how many persons they employ, is unlawful.  Not sure we needed this one in writing, but okay.  This bill had 36 sponsors, three attempts and they still couldn't get the bill's title right.  I'll ding LegiScan for that last point.

HB 4344 - relating to a complaint filed with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.  It was authored by Jacey Jetton.  Sponsor: Zaffirini.  The newsletter notes: This bill culminates seven years of determination to increase judicial accountability.  The commission is supposed to "investigate and resolve complaints" in a timely manner.  This took seven years?!

SB 346 - relating to the participation of open-enrollment charter schools in the Jobs and Education for Texans Grant Program.  Authored by Senator Angela Paxton.  This one is from this year.  But in Zaffirini's newsletter, SB 346 (2019) apparently reformed the criminal fees system.  SB 346 propped up SB 41, "which restructures the civil court costs and fees system."  SB 41 had six sponsors.   

HB 290 - relating to the period of continuous eligibility and a periodic eligibility review for a child for Medicaid (LegiScan).  It had 54 sponsors.  In Zaffirini's newsletter, HB 290 is about "authorizing the use of existing funds to provide representation to indigent criminal defendants.  Who's right? 

HB 3009 - relating to child custody evaluations.  Three sponsors.  It's a House bill.  But Zaffirini boasts passing HB 3009, "requiring courts to appoint a bilingual custody evaluator for parents who do not speak English."

Zaffirini, or her newsletter editors, claim that the senator passed FIVE guardianship bills this year.  

HB 79 - relating to associate judges for guardianship proceedings and protective services proceedings in certain courts.  Authored by Andrew Murr.

SB 692 - relating to access to certain financial records by the guardianship abuse, fraud, and exploitation deterrence program.  Two sponsors to the bill. 

Zaffirini goes on to take credit for ten other House Bills and five Senate Bills.  SB 1216 "allows the City of Portland to hold a local election to expand eligibility for retail alcoholic beverage permits."  Good for Portland, TX!  

All of these bills relate to someone.  Not me, but someone out there.  

Earlier this month, Jorge Vela of the Laredo Times wrote that Judith Zaffirini passed 106 bills in the 87th Legislature, 81 becoming actual law in Texas.  How many were actually authored by Zaffirini, though?  She may have introduced tons of bill in the senate, but did they originate in the Texas House?  In her own newsletter she has the courtesy to cite the House Bills she sponsored and voted for.  That doesn't necessarily mean she conjured them up.  

A lot of it is low-hanging fruit.  The laws that have heft, the ones that affect everyone, not in a good way, are the voting laws, the gun laws, the anti-abortion laws.  Zaffirini was inconsequential in those.  It's not her fault, but her putting up her record of bills passed is negligible.    

Zaffirini will be lauded by Laredoans.  Just don't ask them what to applaud her for.  They won't have an inkling what to point to.     

Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Suits Are Wearing Him


Less than 7 months to the primaries and Enrique Cuellar -- south Texas Democrat and liver spot model -- has two challengers ready to unseat him.  Naturally, he's out making the rounds with any media outlet that will listen.  Helping Mr. KWAY-are are well-funded PACs that have money to spend on TV ads and billboards.  

 The energy industry is making a big push for Cuellar and he is returning the favor.  Kike wants to direct federal money towards natural gas big wigs.  It's funny that the energy sector needs any help at all.  But they're apparently in need of a little welfare.  And Cuellar being there to deliver for them is the ultimate irony.  In the past he's badmouthed the far left for their socialist proposals; and he'll do it from now until the results are in in March. 

Cuellar is the ultimate socialist, always posing for the cameras to announce federal funds going to local non-profits.  As a shill for energy companies and for-profit prisons, el compadre goes all Karl Marx on us.  

I don't want to say that Cuellar is rolling in corporate donations.  If he is, he's not spending it on clothing.  But I have to wonder if it's easier to stuff wads of money in his baggy suits.  (insert suspicious look here)


Friday, July 23, 2021

La Cagaron Con El Agua


This newspaper clipping appeared in the Laredo Times on Sunday, July 4, 2021.  It was the day before that the city posted the alert on their social media feed.  I found it peculiar that it was my neighborhood that was being singled out.  I thought that the city was getting back at me since I tweeted my concern for crews flushing the lines and there being low levels of chlorine in the system.  Alas, it's not always about me and my paranoid delusions.  It turns out that the resident who summoned TCEQ about the water's integrity also lives in my area.  Go figure.  

It was a private citizen who found the problem, again.  Like in 2019, he found some sort of slime building up in his home filters.  Being the thoughtful person he is, he called on TCEQ to look into the matter.  His initiative put the wheels in motion, and ultimately the entire city was placed on a boil water notice.  

City officials, including District 3 Councilmember Mercurio Martinez helped to pass out bottled water to the public in the days following the boil water alert.  Unfortunately, people like Martinez turned that into a photo op.  As far as I know, he never reached out to the person who found the problem with the drinking water, even though the neighborhood that Martinez represents was the first to be put on alert. 

In investigating the matter, city staff dismissed two employees at the water plant on Jefferson.  The city manager and the utilities department director both offered their mea culpa.  The public, however, has asked for City Manager Robert Eads to resign.  

The public was told that there was no bacteria in the water.  But we were advised to boil water, meant for consumption, for two minutes.  Doing that is a nuisance in itself, but for businesses that depend on water for their beverages, they had to adjust more than we did.  Fast food establishments were not serving fountain drinks or coffee.  At a couple of places, patrons were served canned soda with their meals.  

I'm pretty sure we'll see another event like this in the future.  Laredo has a way of not learning from its mistakes.     

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Site On Saunders Is Down


The abandoned Whataburger building on Saunders and Bartlett finally came down.  The above photo is from May 21, 2021.  Today the site is all clear of debris.  Commercial spaces are planned for this spot, including a Starbucks shop. 

This image I got from an online source. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Bien Pesudo El

 Mission CISD receives $76M from Congressman Henry Cuellar, so they say.

This game that Enrique Cuellar and the media play is tired.  He doesn't have his own treasure chest from which to distribute at his discretion.  Cuellar has to protect his phoney baloney* job as congressman and doing so requires orchestrating photo ops like this. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Lost Cause Zaffirini

Judith Zaffirini's statement on the Texas House Democrats who fled to D.C. to break quorum in the special session:

Each legislator must determine how to best represent his or her district. I believe the most effective way to represent my constituents is by staying in Austin to vehemently oppose Senate Bill (SB) 1, which, unfortunately, and inevitably, will pass—whether during this special session or the next. I proposed five amendments and co-authored another one that would eliminate some of the most egregious provisions in SB 1 and would mitigate its detrimental effect on persons with disabilities and persons of color, who would be impacted disproportionately by banning 24-hour and drive-through voting and by placing unnecessary restrictions on persons who assist curbside voters.

The amendment that I co-authored with Senator Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, clarifies mail-in vote identification requirements and was adopted unanimously. The following, however, were rejected along party lines, 4-18, with all Republicans opposing them:

• Rescinding the ban on drive-through voting

• Making curbside voting easier

• Rescinding the ban on 24-hour voting

• Requiring poll watchers to be experienced election officials

• Removing ambiguous language from the voter assistant’s oath that could result in well-meaning persons being charged with a crime.

I remain committed to protecting every Texan’s sacrosanct right to vote and to supporting the practices that have enabled Texas to successfully administer fair, honest and secure elections.

Accordingly, I stayed in Texas to represent my constituents at the Capitol and to strongly support my colleagues who chose to voice their opposition to this restrictive voting bill by leaving the state. Although the party in power has the votes to pass SB 1, I will continue to work to improve it and to oppose its final passage.

Someone on Twitter said that Texas Senators may flee the state to break quorum if Governor Abbot calls a second special session.  A tag-you're-it maneuver for TX Democrats, if you will, to prevent the GOP's ultra-conservative policies from passing. 

But Zaffirini would rather use her oratory prowess to counter any proposal from Abbot and company, even if it would all be for nothing.  

In 2003, Judith Zaffirini joined TX senators by going to New Mexico to fight an onerous redistricting agenda.  The lady doesn't have that kind of fight in her anymore.  

Monday, July 19, 2021

The Things We Cherish


Graduate took photo with her parents to honor them and their unyielding support.

Graduates showed pride for their heritage by displaying a Mexican flag during the cap and gown ceremony. 

In Laredo, teenagers co-opt a culture they know nothing about and their families spend untold dollars in the process. 

There is no humility in what the WBCA promotes.  It's all about class and privilege.