Archive for October, 2008

Down to The Wire – Last Day to Early Vote
October 31, 2008

The West Gray Multi-Service Center was so THE place to cast your ballot AND campaign on the last day of early voting.

2 on the Beat spotted several candidates standing on the sidewalk shaking hands and asking people for their votes. 

The  candidates included: Republican District Attorney candidate Pay Lykos. Democratic Candidate for Sheriff Adrian Garcia. Democratic state representative Ellen Cohen. Republican Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and his son. Republican State District Judge Martha Hill Jamison and her son.

Earlier in the week 2 on the Beat also ran into Harris County Incumbent Republican Sheriff Tommy Thomas who was campaigning in Tomball.


Pat Lykos



Images of Early Voting
October 31, 2008

On the last day for early voting in Harris County 2 on the Beat is talking to voters and analyzing the numbers at the West Gray Multi-Service Center.

This is the busiest early voting location in Harris County, and today the line is unusally long: stretching out the door and down the sidewalk. 

According to the Harris County clerk’s office, 34,370 people voted early by noon Friday.

Overall 625,521 people have voted since the first day of early voting. The clerk’s office will release updated numbers late Friday.

Meanwhile – these are just some of the images of early voting that 2 on the Beat encountered over the past two weeks.

Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman

Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman

Republican GOTV
October 31, 2008

 U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (and future contender for Texas Governor?)  led Republican candidates on a bus tour through the Houston area on Wednesday. 

 Senator Hutchison is leading the Get Out the Vote effort for a party that is struggling to maintain seats in several county and statewide elections.

During stops in Houston and Fort Bend County, Senator Hutchison urged the crowd to vote early and to support the republican ballot from top to bottom.

Joining the senator on the campaign swing were: Appellate Judge Adele Hedges, Texas Supreme Court Justice Dale Wainwright, 22nd Congressional Candidate Ted Olson, along with Austin Furse and Grant Harpold, who are both running in the special election to fill the state senate district 17 seat.

Mayor White defends Adrian Garcia
October 29, 2008

2 on the Beat has reported about the nasty war of words being waged between republican incumbent Sheriff Tommy Thomas and democratic challenger Adrian Garcia.

Today, Mayor Bill White defended Garcia, who is a member of the Houston city council and a former Houston Police officer.

During his opening remarks at Wednesday’s city council meeting, the mayor said a new attack ad by Sheriff Thomas represented the “politics of personal destruction.”

As I’ve reported, Sheriff  Thomas has launched a new TV political ad accusing Garcia of using marijuana. The ad says Garcia also lost drug evidence and wrecked a police cruiser while he was on the force.

The sheriff says he is simply fighting back with the truth after weeks of being attacked by the democrats.

Garcia says he admitted smoking pot when he was sixteen, and says he was honest about it on his application to the police academy.



Will “Negative” Ads Shakeup Race for Sheriff?
October 28, 2008

The gloves have come off in the race for Harris County Sheriff.

Do you think the incumbent republican Sheriff Tommy Thomas will be reelected?

Or do you think he is going to  be tossed out of office by voters who want new leadership?

Challenger Adrian Garcia, a Houston city council member and former police officer, believes that he is running ahead in the polls.

In a negative TV political ad, Garcia has tried to tie the 3 term sheriff to a “culture of corruption” that has tainted other countywide republican leaders.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Thomas on Monday released a new ad accusing Garcia of smoking marijuana and having a sloppy record as an HPD cop.

Garcia told 2 on the Beat that he admitted used marijuana when he was sixteen years old and was honest about it on his application to the police academy.

So what do you think about the war of words and controversial campaign  commercials?

Which candidate will they help, and which one will the ads hurt in the battle for Harris County Sheriff?

Wings Over Houston Air Show
October 26, 2008

KPRC Local 2 was a proud sponsor of the 2008 Wings Over Houston Airshow.

2 on the Beat had a chance to attend on Sunday, and met some really nice people who are also big fans of the Channel 2 news team.

Me and a Channel 2 Viewer

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the crowd enjoyed watching the reenactments, vintage warplanes and of course the famed USAF Thunder-birds.

To be honest, I was impressed more with my colleague Anchor Bill Balleza.

Balleza signed a bunch of autographs, posed for pictures and talked to everyone who stopped by the tent.

Anchor Bill Balleza

Anchor Bill Balleza

Bill's twin Brother???

Bill's long lost twin?

Later Balleza took the time to visit the show grounds with his war buddy Leo Perez. 

Balleza and his Marine Budy

Balleza and his Marine Buddy

 Balleza and Perez are former U.S. Marine sniper partners who met in Vietnam.

Perez said that after finishing his tour and making it home to Houston, he was surprised to turn on his TV and hear that someone named “William Balleza” was anchoring the news.  

After contacting Balleza, the two became reacquainted, and their bond has remained strong.

Time Out for Sports
October 26, 2008

It’s one of the perks of the job.

2 on the Beat sits right next to the KPRC Local 2 Sports Department, and every once in a while I look up and see a professional athlete.


Sunday night I was thrilled to meet All American offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam of the Houston Texans.

Salaam appears on Sports Sunday with KPRC Sports Director Randy McIIvoy.  

After demolishing the Cincinnati Bengals, Salaam brought his wife and parents who were visiting from Atlanta, to watch him tape his segment.

Salaam is a personable guy. He’s talented on the field and very friendly off of it!

2 on the Beat is sure that once his playing days are over, he will have no problem getting hired as some networks sideline or in-studio sports analyst.

Palin Power
October 25, 2008

2 on the Beat told you several weeks ago that the Harris County Republican Party was launching a fund raising effort to establish Governor Sarah Palin billboards.

Well, it looks like the party was successful because earlier this week I got a glimpse of one of the billboards.

The message is about making history and electing the first female vice president.

It’s clearly aimed at the republican faithful, independents and  woman voters,

2 on the Beat still thinks it’s  a little strange that Senator John McCain – who is on top of the ticket – is not pictured on the billboard. 

But let’s face it, Governor Palin is the one considered to have more star power.

While many accuse her of dragging down the campaign’s poll number,  others say Governor Palin has energized the base, inspired some women, and is drawing bigger and more enthusiastic crowds than her running mate.

Standing up for Acorn
October 25, 2008

State Senator Rodney Ellis and State Representative Garnet Coleman joined with members of ACORN on Friday to praise the grassroots organization for the work it does in the community.

They also voiced concern about all of the national attention focused on allegations of voter fraud.

For years, Acorn has been primarily known for the work it does on issues like promoting  home ownership and fighting for affordable health care.

Lately, ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been accused of engaging in voter fraud.

2 on the Beat has not heard of any specific allegations against ACORN in Harris County, but across the country some ACORN representatives have been under scrutiny for alleged improper completion of voter registration cards.

Some ACORN volunteers across the country have admitted they may have broken some rules in order to meet their quota for registering new voters.

Senator Ellis pointed out  ACORN has been responsible for registering 1.3 million new voters nationwide.

Most of those have been investigated and certified as valid new registrations.

Getting Out the Latino Vote
October 24, 2008


Local Latino Elected Officials Getting Early Vote Out!



We have been hearing about record turnout throughout Harris County during the first week of early voting.

Some community leaders are concerned that turnout is lower in the traditionally Hispanic areas.

There could be a number of reasons for that, but on Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 9:30 a.m. elected officials, lead by former Houston city council member  and candidate for State Representative Carol Alvarado , will be gathering on the corner of Harrisburg and Wayside inside an East End’s local Blockbuster to encourage their constituents to Vote Early.

They will be visiting various beauty salons, bakeries, restaurants and retail outlets.