Texas

2016: Number 1

 photo Loera_zpsmyqfplfn.jpgMonica Loera was shot and killed on her front doorstep on January 22.

Although police have made an arrest in the case and a suspect has been charged, there’s been no public acknowledgement of her death or the community that has been further traumatized in its wake. And that’s wrong.

Reading the arrest affidavit or local news reports about the death, you’d have no idea that the victim was a transgender woman. The wild curls and wide grins from her Facebook page – and above all else, her chosen name – have been omitted to a staggering degree. Instead Loera has been described using her birth name and masculine pronouns.

--Nina Hernandez, Austin Chronicle

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Confused Christian staff members dismissed from Texas Learning Center

There is a six-year-old boy in Katy, TX who is transgender. His parents, who happen to be a gay couple, informed the Children's Lighthouse Learning Center that their child now should be referred to as a boy and disclosed his new name.

The school administrators were okay with that. Indeed, they appear to have been prepared for their first transgender child. A set of guidelines entitled How to Handle Transgender Students was distributed to staff members.

Two "Christian" staff members objected. They were fired.

As you might imagine, this has caused an uproar from certain sources.

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How much could her life have been worth anyhow?

 photo Tovar_zps2xutybhn.jpgJanette Tovar was a 43-year-old transgender woman. She was said to be a popular nightclub promoter.

Tovar had been in a relationship with Jonathan Stuart Kenney, 29, for over a year and were living together in October of 2012. From all reports, however, it was a "very turbulent relationship." According to the apartment manager, who dived on the floor below their apartment, the couple were always fighting and were at it again between 8am and 9am on October 15, when he heard Tovar yell, "Get off me." The couple left the apartment at that time...still fighting.

Kenney now admits to slamming Tovar's head into the pavement before they returned to the apartment. Kenney then beat Tovar again.

Around 4pm Kenney called 911 to report that Tovar was unconscious and unresponsive...but not before he posted the following on the Book of Face:

I love you my baby Janette, your my love my everything and I will miss you so much. Your the best thing that ever happened to me girl kisses!!!!!! I hope you can see me down here even though I can’t see you I feel your spirit still living in me. Rest in peace mi amor mi vida.

Tovar was determined to have died from blunt force trauma.

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Judge, jury uphold HERO

A state judge in Texas ruled that opponents of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) did not gather enough signatures to force a repeal referendum.

After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling counts of the valid signatures, adding and subtracting voters as Schaffer responded to motions. By early this week, the counts were closer together than ever before, fewer than 1,000 signatures apart.

Ultimately, Schaffer on Friday ruled the final count of valid signatures was 16,684, leaving opponents short of the threshold required in the city charter of 17,249 signatures, or 10 percent of the ballots cast in the last mayoral election.

(As) a matter of fact and as a matter of law the Referendum Petition is not valid or enforceable in all respects.

--Judge Robert Schaffer

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State House Republicans hijinx

Yesterday all three of the the republican members of the Colorado State Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee voted to defeat House Bill 1265, the Birth Certificate Modernization Act, a bill which would have brought the state into accord with federal policy for transgender people born in Colorado who wished to update their birth certificates.

It was our hope that at least one Republican senator on the committee would side with the six Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives who voted in favor of House Bill 1265 because it upholds the Republican ideals of freedom, privacy, and limited government.

This much-needed legislation would simply have brought Colorado law in line with existing policies at the federal level, and in doing so would have protected the privacy of transgender Coloradans and protected them from discrimination. Every transgender Coloradan is someone’s son or daughter and deserves to be treated with respect. We will continue to work in the legislature to reduce the many barriers transgender Coloradans face every day.

--Dave Montez, One Colorado

The final vote was 3-2.

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Sunday Train: Is There A Beam of Hope for Texas Rooftop Solar?

A few weeks back, I teased that I wanted to take a bit of a look at Texas Rooftop Solar in the Sunday Train (which is, recall, focused on Sustainable Transport & Energy, and so both not just about trains, and also not in favor of trains when the trains are advancing climate suicide) ... and then the California budget passed and I went on a two week binge on California HSR.

But now its time to take that glance over at Texas Rooftop Solar. After all, you'd think that Texas would be an ideal state for rooftop solar, and for years we've been seeing articles about how Lone Star State Rooftop Solar would hit big "real soon now". For instance, this, from 13 Jan, 2013: Solar Power Could See Explosive Growth in Texas over Coming Decades:

Still, solar is just a tiny sliver—less than 1 percent—of Texas’ electricity mix, which is dominated by coal (34 percent) and natural gas (45 percent). Wind, with a 9 percent share, is a giant compared to solar.

Yet, the economics are becoming increasingly favorable for solar to take off in a big way. The question is probably when, not if. And a recent analysis by ERCOT—the industry-funded, technocratic grid operator—has some very rosy projections for the future of the solar industry in Texas. (And some very sour news for nuclear, coal and maybe even natural gas.)

The analysis, first flagged by Colin Meehan of Environmental Defense Fund of Texas, looks at potential transmission needs in the next two decades. But, as Meehan wrote, ERCOT "found that if you use updated wind and solar power characteristics like cost and actual output to reflect real world conditions… wind and solar are more competitive than natural gas over the next 20 years."

But if the future doesn't start arriving, it might never get here, brought crashing down by the catastrophic impact of runaway climate crisis. So, what are the prospects that rooftop solar might really start hitting its stride really soon now?

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Sunday Train: The Solar Fight, Is Going Right, Deep in the Heart of Texas ...

Well, what do you know? I look around, and see a story saying Solar power gains momentum after long struggle in Texas. And not in "Grist" or "Solar Energy News!" or any such ... but in the Dallas Morning News Business section from Wed, 4 June 2014.

According to the story,

Recurrent announced plans last month to build a 150-megawatt solar farm in West Texas after signing a 20-year power purchase deal with Austin Energy. That comes just months after First Solar, one of the world’s largest solar companies, began construction on a 22-megawatt farm near Fort Stockton with plans of eventually expanding to 150 megawatts.
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And an even more dramatic acceleration could be ahead. Solar developers have been flooding the state’s grid operators with applications for more solar farms, close to 2,000 megawatts worth, said Warren Lasher, director of system planning for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. “It’s hard to say how much will actually get built,” he said. “It’s been this way for more than a year. But it’s a significant increase from before.”

Join me for utility scale solar PV, utility scale solar thermal, onshore wind, offshore wind, and grid integration ... below the fold.

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Teaching while transgender

Lumberton, TX Independent School District substitute teacher Laura Jane Klug has been suspended for being transgender. The school district says they are "looking into the matter"...and that Klug has not been terminated...yet. Klug is supposed to hear about the resolution of the school board today, after the school board met on Thursday.

Klug substituted for a teacher in a fifth grade class last Thursday, which was the first day she discovered that someone might have "issues".

Parents of some of the students at the school say, of course, that they don't have any problems themselves with the teacher being transgender, but that the teacher may be confusing the 11-year-olds who are in her charge.

Within an hour of them being exposed or dealing with this, there's a few issues here, I think these kids are too young for this issue, so that's our main focus is, if it happens in older grades, high school, ok but too young for this.

--Roger Bread, parent

Other parents say there has not been an issue before with Klug and they don't see why it is an issue now...and that they have no problem explaining to their child what a transgendender person is.

My son knows who he is and I don't think any outside influence is going to change that, I'm more concerned about straight predatory teachers rather than I am someone who lives an alternative private alternate lifestyle, I don't worry about my son.

--Jammie Marcantel, parent

Texas, of course, has no employment protections for transgender people.

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Hellraisers Journal: Calumet WFM Women's Auxiliary #15 Planning Children's Christmas Eve Party

You ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes.
-Mother Jones

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Sunday December 20, 1903
From The Labor World: The Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America

TEXAS FARMERS ORGANIZE UNIONS

Emory, Texas, Dec. 17.-The farmers of Texas are being unionized at a rapid rate. There are today some 3,000 unions in Texas with a total membership of 40,000 or more. It began at Emory, Rains county, about ten months ago, under the name of the "Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union of America," and is now established in nearly every populous county in the State. About the middle of February next a meeting will held for completing a State organization and it is believed that the movement will spread to other States, as the Farmers' Alliance, which organized in Texas, did a few years ago. The purpose of the union is to buy and sell in bulk, to educate along agricultural lines and to eschew politics, but to, nevertheless, discuss political economy. Several North Texas lodges during the past few days have made extensive purchases of supplies in carload and are greatly encouraged by these savings.

SOURCE
The Labor World
(Duluth, Minnesota)
-of Dec 19, 1903

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Jeydon only wants his photo in the yearbook Update: It's in!

 photo jeydon2_zps51796b67.jpgLa Feria, TX high school senior Jeydon Loredo just wants to have his picture in his high school yearbook. But La Feria Independent School District Superintendent Rey Villareal has a big problem with that. You see, Jeydon was born and raised to be female. But, like transgender people everywhere, that didn't take.

Villareal has told Jeydon's mother that Jeydon can have his picture in the yearbook only if he wears stereotypically feminine attire, like a blouse or a drape. The superintendent does not take responsibility for this decision, however. Having only been in the job for four months, he says he is deferring to Jeydon's principal. Villareal says the student handbook is clear: the suitability of each photo which appears in the yearbook is subject to the judgement of the principal. Jeydon's family says that in fact Villareal made the decision, not the principal.

 

 

 

Jeydon has everything right in his statement:

 

 

 

I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve grown up with the kids here. I’ve seen those in my community go through troubles, and denying my tuxedo photo would be a way for the district to forget me and everything I’ve brought to this community. The yearbook is for the students, not the faculty or the administration. It is a way for us to remember each other.

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