Still slaving away. Unfortunately, there’s a few media pieces that are really interesting that it looks like I’ll just have to wave at as they pass by. Some of these a now a little dated, so no guarantees that this will be a worthwhile aggregate of fresh hot links that you haven’t already read about elsewhere.
» Sharpstown’s problem? Its image, civic leaders say
Since much of my time these days is in an effort to get a new State Rep elected in my home district, this is a welcome read. I honestly think it takes a bit more than this one look at this sliver of southwest Houston to understand it more fully. But it’s something. And its definitely good to see some meaningful context added to the negative reputation around Sharpstown in particular. Our newly minted Council Member is quoted, as is the latest president of the Sharpstown Civic Association, Peter Acquaro. Stace riffs on the article over at his blog.
One point that I’ll add is that, in slicing and dicing data and walk lists for a political campaign, I’ve had to go over the area with an entirely more granular perspective than I’ve done previously. I was a bit surprised to see a few developments going up in District 137 (a few in Sharpstown and a few on the eastern border, closer to Bellaire and the Galleria). These were townhomes and/or condos selling and/or valued in the $350k-500k ballpark. In the case of the Sharpstown development, these were developments surrounded by a mix of apartments ranging anywhere from “pretty decent” to “maybe not.” To be sure, there were some inevitable foreclosures and some speculative buying of multiple properties. But my takeaway is there are at least people who are betting a pretty penny on a turnaround. That’s a lot more than just boosterism.
» Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem. (Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein)
Honesty for ya. It sure beats the silly “Politifact” approach to determining truths among political claims because the writers and editors of the original stories with those claims are too timid to call a lie a lie.
» Demographics No Longer Destiny for Democrats (Forrest Wilder)
I’m not exactly won over by Wilder as a demographic anthropologist. Sure, he’s got the degree (from UT, however). But I’ll take my “white kid from the ‘hood” cred over his “white kid from the ‘burbs” non-cred in terms of our comparative ability to wrap our minds around the problem … however that’s defined. Be that as it may, he’s the one with the writing gig at the Texas Observer. So the debate that ensues from this article is worth a read.
For all of that, however, I don’t disagree with part of his initial conclusion:
The party recently launched The Promesa Project, an effort to get young Latinos to “promise” to act as “Democratic messengers to their families and social networks,” according to the project’s website. The party is investing $1 million in it. Better than nothing. Yet Promesa, modeled on the “Great Schlep,” a 2008 initiative deployed in Florida to get young Jews to convince their grandparents to vote for Obama, is only a complement, not a substitute, to the dull, block-by-block work needed to enfranchise Latinos. Until that happens, Texas Democrats run the risk of becoming even more irrelevant.
The relevance of any party structure – D or R – is completely worth discussing. I tend to lean toward the increasing irrelevance of both. That’s not going so far as to say there isn’t a role for them. And in the case of the party of my personal preference, I think launching something like Promesa is in line with what they should do. Where Wilder is right is that it is a complement. But I’m biased since I’ve been pushing out blockwalkers for the past several weeks to engage voters in southwest Houston about voting for a quality candidate.
I’m not sure that TDP is of the opinion that they are eliminating the need for such work. Especially since they support the very tool that I’m using to organize with (again, the exact sort of thing that a party should do). In the end, I think its the discussion of relevance that’s irrelevant. Connectivity between a constituency and a political party has less to do with what either party does or says via their spokesfolks or twitter managers and more to do with the effectiveness and resonance that individual candidates on the ballot do to engage those constituencies. But I guess an esoteric argument like that doesn’t create as much friction as simply saying something like “the party is becoming irrelevant” as if there were anything that one person or an improved facebook page could do to reverse America’s growing detachment from pre-existing definitions of political structure.
» My wasted day on Capitol Hill (Vivek Wadhwa)
In short: what he said. In particular:
Government leaders — at least some of those present — actually seemed to believe they could, through legislation and spending, increase entrepreneurship and innovation. They asked questions such as: What legislation can we enact to build innovation ecosystems, facilitate mentorship, and teach entrepreneurship? They didn’t seem to understand that these are things entrepreneurs do—not governments.
Governments routinely build science parks, provide subsidies to chosen industries and set up investment funds — all in an effort to spark economic growth. But hardly any of these efforts bear fruit.