Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Squiers endorsed by none of the three Democrats who lost already to Culberson"

Thank goodness for small favors. From the Cargas campaign e-mail earlier today:

In the upcoming May 29 Democratic primary all three prior Democratic candidates for Congressional District 7 have endorsed James Cargas, a Houston public servant, as the person who can defeat the incumbent congressman and serve in Congress with honor and distinction.  John Martinez, who ran in 2004, Jim Henley, who ran in 2006, and Michael Skelly, who ran in 2008, have all thrown their support behind James Cargas. 

I feel certain that the Cargas campaign simply forgot to note that Lissa Squiers ran as a write-in candidate for Congressional District 7 in 2010, because no Democrat dared to relive the woes of Martinez, Henley, and Skelly. Thus no one filed.

As the demographics and views of Harris County change, each democratic (sic) candidate earned more than the person before.  Martinez received 33.3%, Henley received 38.5%, Skelly received 42.3%, and, if a Democrat had run in 2010, that person would likely have received 46.8%.

Uh, no. No, that mythical Democrat wouldn't have come close to 46.8%. Because 2010 was a wipeout for Democrats, and most of those who ran in Harris County and across the state of Texas got well under 40%. But let's not spoil the fantasy.

If the same trend continues, Cargas will cross the winning threshold and earn 51.3% of the vote. It’s time for Congressional District 7 to turn blue, and James Cargas is the person who will make it happen. 

You can wake up now.

James Cargas isn't likely to pour millions of his own money into a Congressional race like Skelly did, nor does he have the warmth and personal appeal of Jim Henley -- a man whom I respect a great deal, but is simply mistaken this time around. Mr. Martinez is provided here as the third of the three-for because he has a Latino surname. Thus the continuation of the Cargas campaign as a 'stealth Latino' goes on, despite the campaign e-mail's disclosure in the very last line...

Cargas and his wife, Dr. Dorina Papageorgiou, are members of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

To be fair, James Cargas is probably a very fine gentleman. I don't know him, haven't met him. I've heard far more about him from others than I ever wanted to know from people who do, and most of it is as far from the definition of 'public servant' as it can be. Recall this data from one of my very first posts on the topic:

In January of 2007, Illumina Energy (the new name of PowerSol) un-registered James Cargas as a power marketer and replaced him with Hector Carreno. The contact addresses and phone numbers remained the same, although the email address changed. Why swap out Cargas? Because it was time for him to go to work for the city, advising them on who to buy power from. Let’s see, a power broker hires you for awhile, then sends you off to advise city hall on buying what he sells. How convenient!
How did Cargas get linked to Carreno this way? We have to roll back the calendar to introduce a pivotal player to the story; Emil Pena. Pena is a lifelong lobbyist; he’s good at it and has an impressive list of clients. He has lobbied for beer, cigarette, oil, and gas companies. But he made his name in the energy arena. He participated in the energy regulator/lobbyist revolving door, while also funneling money from energy companies to candidates they’d like to buy. This was noted by Texans for Public Justice in their report on PACs active in the 2000 election cycle, in a sidebar titled Stealth PAC.

James Cargas, Hector Carreno, Emile Pena. Google them for yourself if you think I'm being biased.

Since 2008, James Cargas has worked for the City of Houston as their energy advisor. However, he continues to use advocacy groups and local clubs to push his insider agenda.
Cargas is a past Deputy Director of the North American Energy Standards Board, and is still a member. At a recent meeting, Emil Pena presented the idea that “system safety” might apply to shale gas, and explained how it could be implemented quickly. Now, as a lobbyist for oil companies, this advice probably seems quite reasonable to Pena: profits first, safety later … as PR damage control, maybe? For his part, Cargas proudly claims his involvement in NAESB, and seems perfectly content with their worldview. This is far from the “public service” attitude I expect in a city employee!
Cargas is also on the Board of the Energy Bar Association, where he basically says “alternative energy will not happen in Texas, due to existing regulations”. (.pdf, page 3) One might interpret this as “don’t bother trying to compete with my partners; we’ve got the market sewed up.” Again, not the attitude I would hope for from someone advising the city on energy purchases, but all I could expect from an energy trading insider.
James Cargas deserves to lumped with his partners, Carreno and Pena: fossil fuel fans, shills for Big Oil & Gas, profiting off pushing their poisonous products, pinching OUR pennies for their pockets. No law against any of that … this is America, after all. But is this who we want making the law of the land, our land, our water, our air? No! Cargas is undeserving of our respect, much less a Democrat’s endorsement or vote.

If you think we need another energy lobbyist and attorney representing us in Washington, then you've got your man. If you would rather support a conservative Democrat than an actual one, you've a better choice: Phillip Andrews. I've met Phillip twice, both times at Sean Hubbard events, and dined with him at one of those. From what I can tell he represents an improvement over Cargas (albeit barely).

But if you want to vote for a Democrat who represents the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, who will represent the people and not the powerful, who owes nothing to any special interests, AND who can defeat John Culberson without pie-in-the-sky projections, then your choice is Lissa Squiers.

That's as plain and simple as I can make it.

Update: In another indication that the Cargas campaign either doesn't understand much about percentages, or is engaging in a fudge-up with the numbers that would make the people who valued Facebook at 38 envious, yet another e-mail is circulating which purports to divine the results of a straw poll -- taken over the weekend among 78 people who attended the HCDP Club Carnival -- as indicating Cargas has "overwhelming" support.

I'm starting to be embarrassed for them.

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