Campaign $$

There is a new sheriff in town. The new HISD Superintendent certainly isn’t messing around.  He is cleaning the house.  See this from today’s Chron:

Houston ISD Superintendent Mike Miles announced Wednesday that he is removing the principals from Jack Yates, Worthing and Sharpstown high schools. 

“New leadership was necessary to drive the kind of improvement these high schools need to start preparing their students and graduates well for the workplace and world that waits for them after high school,” Miles said in a statement.

Miles said he informed the principals directly and sent letters to each school’s community Wednesday morning. The affected principals will be reassigned to other roles in the district. 

The reassignments come less than a week after Miles announced up to 600 positions would be cut from the district’s central office.

Former Superintendent Millard House II had already tried to reassign beloved Yates Principal Tiffany Guillory twice last year, and then unsuccessfully attempted to fire her from the historic Third Ward school in mid-school year. The move sparked outrage from the school’s tight-knit alumni and parent community, and the elected Board of Trustees voted 6-3 in January to keep her at Yates. 

Here is the entire Chron read: HISD removes principals from Jack Yates, Worthing, Sharpstown schools (

Like I said. Miles is not messing around. As they kind of say, and miles to go before they sleep, and miles to go before they sleep.


The Chron came out with a piece yesterday on the H-Town mayoral candidates and their campaign fundraising to date. Commentary was not surprised at the dollar numbers.  See this from the Chron:

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee topped the mayoral field in the latest fundraising period, as state Sen. John Whitmire struggled with the constraints of the Legislature.

The quest for Houston’s top job got off to its earliest fundraising start in history, with top candidates already raking in millions by this time last year. Since then, however, the arrival of new contenders like Jackson Lee and the subsequent dropoffs of others have caused a reshuffle in the race.

As November’s election draws near, five of the key contenders for Houston’s top job — Jackson Lee, Whitmire, former Metro chair Gilbert Garcia, attorney Lee Kaplan and City Council member Robert Gallegos — offered the Chronicle an early look at their 2023 fundraising results ahead of the official July 15 reporting deadline.

At this stage of the race, where polls mean little and all tout a diverse voter base, money alone often distinguishes real contenders. Here are the candidates’ fundraising sums and cash on hand so far, according to their campaigns:

  • Whitmire: raised $1.5 million since October 2022; account balance at $9.9 million.
  • Jackson Lee: raised $1.2 million since April 2023; declined to disclose her account balance.
  • Garcia: raised about $170,000 from donors since March 2023, plus $3.1 million of his personal contribution; account balance at $2.9 million.
  • Kaplan: raised about $2 million since January 2022 and lent $300,000 of his own money to the campaign; account balance at $1.2 million.
  • Gallegos: raised about $60,000 since February 2023; account balance at around $160,000. 

Sheila Jackson Lee

Since the last fundraising round, Jackson Lee’s entry into the crowded race in April has caused a shakeup, prompting two competitors — former Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins and former Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards — to bow out.

In the past three months, she said she has managed to raise $1.2 million from a diverse group of donors including local business leaders, teachers, health care workers and engineers. Her fundraising success is proof of her broad support base but she declined to provide further details about her campaign spending or current cash on hand, she said.

“This mayor’s race is a race that I am ready to run, and I am excited that so many people in such a short time committed to our campaign,” the congresswoman said. “These people have come from all backgrounds and they share my belief in the future of our city that embraces good ideas that make our neighborhoods safer and lays the groundwork for an expanded future where all Houstonians can thrive and sit at the seat of opportunity.”

John Whitmire

In the first half of 2023, Whitmire only had 11 days to accept donations, due to Texas’s rule against state lawmakers taking political contributions during or near a legislative session.

While Whitmire had reported raising a total of $1.1 million for the mayoral race in January, this amount only grew by $370,000 over the past six months. Still, his balance includes most of his massive $10 million war chest accumulated over the decades in the Legislature, despite debates over how much he can use under the city’s campaign finance laws.

Notably, he added another $1 million to his campaign coffers since January from investment interests and gains, which helped offset his $1.6 million spending this year. This left him with a current fund balance of $9.9 million, just under what he started the year with.

The pressure of the race comes at a time when Whitmire’s duties at the Legislature have surged unexpectedly, causing his campaign team to scramble to reschedule events. But Whitmire said this is part of his job.

“Of course, our fundraising has been affected by the legislative session, but my duty comes first,” Whitmire said. “We’ve been running a strong campaign and will continue to do so. At the end of the day, all the money in the world won’t help if you don’t have a good record and solid ideas to share with voters.”

Gilbert Garcia

Garcia, a bond investor and ex-chairman of Metro, hasn’t raked in substantial outside donations — only about $170,000 since March — but he has self-financed his campaign with over $3 million of his own funds and hinted at possible further investments.

While ​​Garcia is no stranger to municipal politics, this race marks his first run for office. His outsider status will allow him to challenge entrenched interests, he said, which have dominated the city’s political landscape. He pointed to multiple federal investigations and corruption accusations, unresolved pay disputes with firefighters, and the city’s shaky financial outlook as reasons Houston needs fresh leadership. 

“I don’t have a funding apparatus, but what I do have is a desire to help Houston and to bring more transparency and more accountability to City Hall on behalf of the taxpayers,” Garcia said. “If need be, we’ll invest more.”

Lee Kaplan

Attorney and political newcomer Lee Kaplan was among the first to declare his candidacy in January 2022. He has pledged to be singularly focused on the mayor’s job and not use the position as a stepping stone for other ambitions.  

At the start of the year, Kaplan’s significant cash balance rivaled all but Whitmire’s. The attorney’s campaign has since collected roughly $700,000, bringing his campaign fund to over $2 million. To support his bid, Kaplan also loaned his campaign $300,000 of his personal funds.

“The strong outpouring of support we are seeing from Houstonians is a clear sign that voters want a successful small businessman with the common-sense leadership I offer to make our city safer and make sure our government delivers for people,” Kaplan said. “We’ve raised $2 million without any corporate PAC money because I’m focused on addressing our city’s problems and I’m not beholden to special interests.”

Robert Gallegos

District I Councilmember Robert Gallegos, the lone Hispanic member of Houston’s City Council, has raised about $60,000 since he announced in February and has $160,000 cash on hand, mostly from his council account.

He said he has struggled with fundraising, partly because his current role kept him from getting an early start. He was also put at a disadvantage, he said, because potential donors are wary of upsetting Jackson Lee and Whitmire, who might continue to hold their current offices after the mayoral election. 

“Unfortunately, it was difficult raising money,” Gallegos said. “When I make my calls to try to raise money, there’s individuals that say they support me, but they’re hesitant to donate because they don’t want their name to be shown on my campaign report. … It’s not a fair playing field.”

We will find out next week the names of the donors, how the money is being spent, and how much money they are sitting on.

FYI: Commentary is working for the John Whitmire for Mayor Campaign. I can say it has been a challenge not being able to fundraise or solicit for over six months.


News like the following is always a bit sad. Here is from AP:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco’s 127-year-old Anchor Brewing Co. will shut down and liquidate after years of declining sales, citing tough economic conditions.

Anchor was a trailblazer in the U.S., brewing craft beers in the 1970s when most Americans were loyal to a handful of major brands. Its unique brewing techniques ignited demand beyond the city borders of San Francisco, and it quickly became a sought-after prize by beer geeks everywhere.

This is one of my favorite brews whenever I go to Northern California. Oh, well. I guess it will have to be Sierra Nevada Pale Ale then.


I hope the team is getting some much-needed rest.

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