Who Are The Democrats In Houston Council Runoffs?—Vote Out Of Respect For Yourself And Respect For The Man In The Picture
Today is Election Day for the final four unresolved Houston City Council spots on the 2011 ballot.
Please consider voting. Turnout in this election is likely to be 3% or 4%.
I’m not going to tell you that these are Earth-shattering elections on the ballot today or that anybody running is a consistent champion of progressive values.
Vote today out of your best conception of yourself.
The Democrats in the At-Large races are Kristi Thibaut in #2 and Jolanda Jones in #5. Both candidates are Democrats in District B. Neither candidate is a Democrat in District A.
Below is a picture of a gentleman who is always out promoting Democratic candidates at the West Gray Multiservice Center for early voting. I took this picture when I voted a few days ago.
It was a cold miserable day–but that man was there as always supporting his candidates. If he can sit out in the cold for hours, you can go out and vote.
Vote for the candidates of your choice tomorrow, and then give them hard time as an involved citizen after Election Day.
Bill White Says Jolanda Jones Only Represents Certain People—I Wonder What He Might Be Implying With This Assertion?
Democrat Bill White’s offensive letter endorsing Republican Jack Christie in the runoff for Houston Council At-Large #5 says “As an At-Large member of City Council Jack will represent all his constituents…he will listen to every point of view.”
(Above–Councilwoman Jones with citizens she’ll be representing to your detriment.)
When you are publicly and brazenly ditching one of the core constituencies that got you elected Mayor of Houston and who supported you strongly for Governor, why bother with code words in any respect?
And just so you don’t think I’m making this line of attack up by former Mayor White, here is what he says on a mailer sent out by the Christie campaign-
“Jack understands and values the diversity of Houston. As an At-Large member of City Council he will represent all his constituents, not principally those who voted for him on election day.”
If it is not racial, than what is it? Economic status? Certain neighborhoods in Houston?
In any case, Mayor White says you are getting short-changed at City Hall by these unnamed others.
Mr. Christie makes things up. As I’ve learned first hand, you can’t trust the things he says.
Early voting in this election is over. General Election Day is Saturday, December 10.
Who Are The Democrats In Houston City Council Runoff Elections?—Andrew Burks Is On All Sides Of The Aisle
It is time for Houston City Council runoff elctions.
Early voting begins on November 30 and runs through December 6. General Election Day is Saturday, December 10.
Who are the Democrats in these races?
For Houston Council At-Large #2, Kristi Thibaut is the Democrat.
For Houston Council At-Large #5, Jolanda Jones is the Democrat.
In Houston Council District A, both candidates are Republicans.
(I’ve got little interest in a race between Republicans, but endorsed Republican Helena Brown is an very extreme right-winger.)
For At-Large #2, Andrew Burks is taking the support of the Republican Party. You see at the bottom of this post what I am saying.
Here is what it says about Mr. Burks on his website—
“Burks has been a life long Democrat and has worked with the Democratic Party in voter education and outreach as well as has improved and implemented policies and procedures for the Harris County Democratic Party.”
Mr. Burks is a Republican if you are a Republican, and he is Democrat if you are Democrat.
And if you are a Green or Libertarian, I’m sure that can be worked out as well.
I’m not telling you I have a great deal of confidence in Kristi Thibaut or Jolanda Jones. Ms. Thibaut will play it safe and likely never champion the disenfranchised in Houston. Ms. Jones will allow her conduct to get in the way of her advocacy for the people she represents.
The issue is that you should not be allowed to play all sides as Mr. Burks is seeking to do. Beliefs matter. Party matters. Houston was a 61% Obama city in 2008. We should not give away an advantage.
Kristi Thibaut and Jolanda Jones best represent the political and policy beliefs of the people of Houston. This is the issue. Not skin color. Not how people dress for Council meetings as Jack Christie would have you believe.
Nothing matters but the bottom line of public policy and partisan advantage as the high stakes election of 2012 draws near.
What I’ll be doing is voting for Ms. Thibaut and Ms. Jones in the runoff, and then giving them a hard time after the election.
We should expect more of candidates for office and of the people that we elect.
More importantly, we should expect more of ourselves. We don’t have to accept candidates for office who are on every side, and we don’t have to accept Democrats who take our support on Election Day but who are not on our side after Election Day.
Republican Jack Christie Promises Elevated Tone For Houston City Council—Yet This Is Not How He Conducts Himself
Republican Houston City Council At-Large # 5 candidate Jack Christie recently sent out a campaign mailer in which I am quoted. Mr. Christie is in a runoff election against incumbent Democrat Jolanda Jones.
(Above–Smiling Jack Christie.)
Here is what Mr. Christie quotes me as saying about Ms. Jones—
“Her story on Council seems in good part to be of an opportunity missed.”
I did indeed write that. What is not mentioned, however, is that I also endorsed Ms. Jones in the very same blog post Mr. Christie used to get that line you see above.
“Only you know if you want to support Jolanda Jones for one last term. She is always involved in some type of fuss. Sometimes it seems to be her fault, while other times it is not her fault. In any case, you wish that Ms. Jones was a more disciplined and effective advocate for the poor and disenfranchised in Houston. Her story on Council seems in good part to be of an opportunity missed. After some thought, I’ve decided I’m going to vote for Ms. Jones. Ms. Jones made a recent visit to Occupy Houston and I appreciate that fact. I’m not aware of any other incumbent city official who has done the same.”
That is not a ringing endorsement. But it is an endorsement. If you are a liberal, or a Democrat of any stripe in our majority Democratic city of Houston, Jolanda Jones is a far better choice than Jack Christie.
It is fun enough to get your mail and see your name being used to oppose a candidate you support. That is how it goes sometimes in these type things and I got a good laugh out of it. But the fact remains that what Mr. Christie is conveying in his campaign literature is simply not the case. I support Ms. Jones.
I saw Mr. Christie speak at the Meyerland Democratic Club meeting last week. The club’s president, Art Pronin, was gracious enough to allow Mr. Christie to address the group for a few minutes.
Mr. Christie repaid this kindness with rudeness. Instead of addressing issues, Mr. Christie spoke about how Ms. Jones dresses for Houston City Council meetings. What he was talking about had nothing to do with City Council business. Why is what a woman wears part of the debate? In what other ways does Mr. Christie have antiquated views about the place of women in our society?
It is Ms. Jones rather than Mr. Christie who best represents the political and policy views of the people of Houston.
Mr. Christie says he will bring a new and allegedly better tone to Houston City Council. Yet he uses campaign materials to convey false impressions, and on the campaign trail he offers obnoxious behavior in return for decency.
At least Ms. Jones tells you upfront who she is as a person. She gives you the chance to take it or leave it. Mr. Christie, in sharp contrast, is a phony. He does not merit your support.
Runoff Election Day is Saturday, December 10. Early voting is November 30 through December 6.
Below are the Harris County Green Party endorsements for Houston City Council in 2011.
Green Party members:
Don Cook, for Houston City Council At-Large Position 1
Video interview on Greenwatch
Amy Price for Houston City Council At-Large Position 4
Video interview on Greenwatch
Jenifer René Pool (At-Large 2)
Jolanda Jones (At-Large 5)
Karen Derr (District C)
Who Can Liberals & Progressives Support In 2011 City Of Houston Elections?—Who Is Running For Houston City Council?
It is time for our Houston municipal elections.
(Above–Houston City Hall.)
Early voting runs October 24-November 4. General Election Day is November 8.
Who can a liberal or progressive support in these elections?
As is so often the case in Houston, the pickings are slim.
Houston city elections are low-turnout affairs in which an electorate not representative of Houston’s demographics chooses from candidates who discuss a very narrow range of issues. Just how much is it that can we hear about red light cameras?
The credibility of the candidates on the ballot is often judged by how much money they have raised.
Here is my look at the Houston city ballot and, also, some additional links to help you figure out how you’d like to vote.
Houstonians merit liberal and progressive options at the ballot box.
While we should vote in every election, the energy and hope we are seeing from the Occupy Wall Street movement is more positive and hopeful than anything occurring in our municipal elections.
Here are my endorsements—
Mayor-–I’m leaving my ballot blank for Mayor. I simply don’t believe Mayor Annise Parker has any consistent commitment to progressive values. Good people will disagree, but the Mayor has had two years to offer leadership on pressing issues of poverty and on the lack of broad political participation in Houston. She seems to have little interest in these subjects.
Mayor Parker is likely to win reelection in 2011. The absence of competent and credible opponents, and her campaign war chest of more than $2 million helps make this so. Yet despite her good electoral outlook for 2011, the Mayor is concerned with winning a strong majority of voters in 2011 so as to strengthen her hand with City Council, and to help her fend off challengers in 2013.
I’ve no desire in helping the Mayor accomplish these goals. No matter what percentage of votes cast in 2011 Annise Parker ends up winning, it will be done with an overall turnout of somewhere between 10% and 15%. There is no way the Mayor will have a credible mandate from an involved public. Why should Mayor Parker be given the illusion of a mandate when she has never engaged in serious grassroots efforts to expand voter turnout in Houston, and when she does not pursue policies that are inclusive of Houstonians of every economic status?
(Update 10/31–Mayor Parker has received a grade of A- for fiscal conservatism from the Texas Conservative Review. I say again that Mayor Parker does not warrant the support of liberals and progressives.)
(Below–Recent picture of ongoing drought in Houston as seen in Memorial Park. The grassroots have dried up. Photo copyright 2011 Neil Aquino)
Council At-Large #1–Incumbent Stephen Costello plays all sides of the political aisle while Green Don Cook does not work hard in his campaigns. Mr. Costello’s Renew Houston plan addresses the serious issue of flooding in Houston, but is also regressive in how it is funded and makes little effort to include green solutions in the plan. I’m leaving my ballot blank in this race.
Council At Large #2–I’m supporting Jennifer Rene Pool in this 10 candidate race. She will occasionally say liberal and progressive things. Maybe she means some of them.
Council At-Large #3–Incumbent Melissa Noriega is a thoughtful person and has my support.
Council At-Large #4–Green Amy Price is an energetic and upbeat. She works hard to learn the issues and will be a councilmember who seeks solutions and who listens. Incumbent Democrat C.O. Bradford has on his balance sheet his terrible administration of the crime lab when he was Houston’s police chief, and his calls for austerity-type budgeting for Houston.
Council At-Large #5–Only you know if you want to support Jolanda Jones for one last term. She is always involved in some type of fuss. Sometimes it seems to be her fault, while other times it is not her fault. In any case, you wish that Ms.Jones was a more disciplined and effective advocate for the poor and disenfranchised in Houston. Her story on Council seems in good part to be of an opportunity missed. After some thought, I’ve decided I’m going to vote for Ms. Jones. Ms. Jones made a recent visit to Occupy Houston and I appreciate that fact. I’m not aware of any other incumbent city official who has done the same.
Council District C-–I live in this district. Karen Derr is a more progressive option than Ellen Cohen. I’m going to be voting Ms. Derr. Ms. Cohen is a fund-raising machine who in the recent past has accepted campaign funds from gay marriage opponent Bob Perry. I’d rather have a fresh voice in City Hall rather than a candidate who seems to have the advantage in part due to her friendship with Mayor Parker, and in part due to her ability to raise a lot of money from big donors. Ms. Cohen gives the impression of being an incumbent even before she is elected.
Council District H–I don’t live in this district. However, incumbent Ed Gonzalez merits mention as a decent person and as someone open to hearing voices on all sides of a debate.
There are also 10 amendments to the Texas Constitution on the ballot. Here is my in-depth analysis of these propositions.
There are 2 resources that stand out when considering our city elections. These resources cover all the Houston district council seats up for election in 2011.
Houston blogger Charles Kuffner has a page at his blog Off The Kuff with his interviews of many of the candidates. This page also has links to the websites of the candidates and listings of selections by the various interest groups that endorse in city elections.
Houston city elections often seem to be a taxpayer-financed subsidy for a political class of consultants, city contract seekers, and all-purpose opportunists who all have little do with everyday life in Houston.
That said, you should still go and vote. I don’t have the heart to tell you otherwise.
The work of freedom and democracy is up to each of us.
Vote in Houston in 2011 and then commit yourselves to making our local democracy better.
Houston City Councilmembers Jolanda Jones and Sue Lovell have been engaged in a public brawl.
This despite the fact that both are reasonably progressive Democrats.
Or so they both assert.
Now that each have won reelection to Houston City Council, maybe it is time for these two to make up.
How about a joint press conference where Ms. Jones and Ms. Lovell outline a progressive agenda for Houston that they will pursue as a team in the new council term?
Though I suppose what they could do instead, is keep on fighting while people in our city go without needed help or advocacy from our Houston City government.
So-called Democrat Councilmember Sue Lovell is letting her personal anger at fellow Democrat Councilmember Jolanda Jones get in the way of what is best for Houston.
The origin of the dispute between Ms. Lovell and Ms. Jones is an inside-baseball political conflict that had nothing to do with City of Houston affairs or public policy.
Why does Sue Lovell care more about her personal anger than about what is best for Houston?
Why should any good Democrat vote for this woman who puts personal anger before core values?
Here are my picks for Election Day, December 12.—-Except that now I might well have to ditch my support for Ms. Lovell and not vote at all in her race with a weak opponent.
Houston Councilwoman Jolanda Jones Should Mention That The Boy Scouts Don’t Let Openly Gay People Join
Houston Councilwoman Jolanda Jones made a Facebook update recently about a Boy Scouts event she attended. Ms. Jones praised the Boy Scouts.
Here is what Ms. Jones wrote in Facebook—
“As member of Internat’l & Protocol Committee, last nite I received letter from Mayor of Chiba, Japan (Sister City 2 Houston), on behalf of Mayor Bill White at Boy Scouts of America, who sent 13 Scouts on exchange program 4 10 days 2 Chiba. These Scouts ROCK & are leaders of future & dedicated 2 service 2 others! “
However, Councilwoman Jones left out how the Boy Scouts won’t allow openly gay kids to join. It seems that Ms. Jones missed a chance to speak out for what is right.
Ms. Jones is a person committed to justice for all. I would ask Ms. Jones to please consider her strong commitment to justice for all when she next interacts with the Boy Scouts.
Ms. Jones is endorsed by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in the 2009 Houston municipal elections.
Here is a San Francisco Chronicle article about how some Boy Scout troops are taking part in clear-cutting forests to help make up for revenue lost, in some part at least, by anti-gay policies.
Ms. Jones represents Houston in At-Large Position 5.
Houston Democratic City Councilmembers Jolanda Jones and Sue Lovell have been at odds of late.
At the Texas State Democratic Convention last week, Ms. Jones supported a candidate running on opposition to Ms. Lovell for a seat on the Democratic National Committee.
Ms. Lovell won this fight.
In the past, Ms. Lovell had donated to Ms. Jones’ campaign.
Why the break?
Imagine if instead of fighting, Ms. Jones and Ms. Lovell offered joint policy initiatives.
Imagine if the Democratic majority on Houston City Council held a weekly or bi-weekly caucus, and offered the public some type of an agenda.
Imagine if the Council majority had already held a press conference offering assistance to the Harris County Democratic coordinated campaign as Democrats try to win county office this year.
In all this, I may be asking for levels of competence and commitment that are simply not present.
I was glad enough to see the runoff election victory this past Saturday of Jolanda Jones as a new at-large City Councilperson in Houston. I voted for Ms. Jones.
And yet—Look at these final results for one of our five at-large Council spots in a city of over two million people.
|At-large Pos. 5|
I find it difficult to view Ms. Jones as legitimately elected. Hardly anybody voted.
In the first round of voting on General Election Day last month, turnout was something near 10% in Houston.
Are any on our City Council legitimately elected?
Beyond that, our local Democratic Party seems to have no interest in using the Democratic majority on Council to address pressing urban issues such as the deep and long-term poverty that should stand as the signature identity of Houston.
Do Council Democrats press any meaningful agenda as a cohesive party unit on Council? Or are they free agents when all is said and done?
This type of circumstance exists in cities all over the country.
I look forward to leadership from Ms. Jones on questions of increasing political involvement and moving the Democratic Party towards relevance in the lives of its loyal poor and minority voters.
I got another mailing yesterday from Houston At-Large Position 5 City Council Candidate Zaf Tahir. I was not planning to write about this again. But I have some questions.
Last week I wrote that Mr. Tahir had no union bug and no party identification at all on his first mailer. Mr. Tahir replied with a comment on Texas Liberal saying he was a loyal Democrat and a supporter of unions. He did not convince me to vote for him, but his reply seemed fair enough.
Now I have this additional mailing that says “Labor Donated” in a blank space just above the address. I’d like a better understanding of what that means. The first mailer did not say that anywhere.
In a comment on my first Tahir post, Steve Bates from The Yellow Doggerel Democrat said sometimes underfunded campaigns will note on campaign materials that all the labor involved in a campaign mailer was volunteer labor and in certain circumstances that might be okay for a Democrat to use.
Okay. (Let me be clear, Steve was not taking any side or criticizing anybody. He was just giving information he had as politically active union man. I cite him because he was more informed on this question than I was.)
Am I to infer that for some reason, Mr. Tahir must cite that he had donated labor on the second glossy multi-color mailing he has sent out within a week? Money does not seem to be an issue for Mr. Tahir.
Or maybe labor donated means something else in this case. Somebody please fill me in if it does.
While I believe Mr. Tahir is a Democrat and that he supports unions as he claims, why can’t he say he is a Democrat and why, if he can afford two fancy mailings so far, can’t he have a union bug on the lit pieces?
Here are questions raised by Matt Stiles in The Houston Chronicle about claims made in a radio ad by Mr. Tahir about how long he has lived in Houston.
Listen to the radio ad on the Chron site. All Republican themes.
Are Democrats supposed to discount the mass appeals being made by Mr. Tahir and just assume he is okay because he’ll tell you in certain settings that he is a Democrat?
Here is a final link to Matt Stiles with questions about other claims Mr. Tahir has made on the campaign trail.
I think some concerns are being raised about Mr. Tahir as we move towards Election Day.
Here is a link to Position Five Candidate Jolanda Jones. Ms. Jones may merit strong consideration.