My Very Good Phone Conversation With Melissa Noriega
With the constructive input of a fellow blogger, a post I made critical of Houston City Council candidate Melissa Noriega’s campaign has been turned into a more positive thing.
A few days ago I made a post criticizing the campaign being run by Ms. Noriega. I said Ms. Noriega was ignoring or glossing over critical issues in Houston. I said her campaign was failing to challenge or respect Houston voters and might well be taking voters for granted.
My views elicited a measure of disagreement. Fellow blogger Greg Wythe suggested my concerns would be addressed if I called Ms. Noriega’s headquarters. In frankness, this simple enough idea had not seriously occurred to me before. Houston has two million people (Some of who may even vote in next month’s special election.) and I did not figure I’d get anybody who would listen.
I made the call Greg suggested. A very nice lady answered. After I told her why I was calling, she passed the phone to Ms. Noriega. Ms. Noriega and I talked for about 20 minutes.
Ms. Noriega, who was friendly from the start, said she had read my post and asked me to talk a little more about my gripes. I restated some of the points I’d made on the blog and also talked about a general frustration with a Democratic Party in Houston that rarely addresses some of our worst problems.
Ms. Noriega said, (I’m paraphrasing when I describe what Ms. Noriega said in our call), that it might be so that her campaign homepage does lack some specifics.
The most interesting part of our conversation was Ms. Noriega telling me that she is talking to people to help her define the role of a city council member should she be elected. She said she had a firm commitment to the daily nuts and bolts operation of the city. She also said that she understood there are important issues in Houston beyond what some might see as the core functions of municipal government.
Since Ms. Noriega was nice enough to listen, I told her that I view public office to be in many ways an act of or a province of the imagination. I said public officeholders can define their responsibilities as they see fit.
Or, at the least, officeholders always have the option to mix day-to-day issues of governance with other issues that may at first appear to be removed from the business at hand, but are in fact also directly linked to the lives of citizens. Ms. Noriega seemed open to this concept.
Ms. Noriega was both friendly and direct in our talk. I think it’s fair to say that she won me over in some respects. I asked her for a bumper sticker and I’ll put it on my car.
I’m going to vote for Green Party candidate Alfred Molison in the May 12 special election. I’ll do so because I’ve said I would and because there is value in supporting candidates calling for things not yet advocated by the major parties. (Here is a link to a post I made about supporting Greens sometimes as a buffer against being used by Democrats.) I’m also going to send both Mr. Molison and Ms. Noriega a $20 donation.
I’m appreciative of Greg telling me to pick up the phone and I’m appreciative of Ms. Noriega’s time and her willingness to listen. If elected, I think Ms. Noriega will do a good job for Houston.