Texas Liberal

All People Matter

No Union Bug, No Party ID—Why I Won’t Be Voting For Zaf Tahir For Houston City Council

I got a mailing the other day from At-Large position #5 Houston City Council Candidate Zaf Tahir.  So far, I’ve not focused on this race.

Based on the mailing, it wasn’t hard to decide I won’t be voting for Mr. Tahir.

First of all, no union bug on the mailing. 

The union bug is the small mark at the bottom of a political piece showing that what you have in your hands was printed at a union printer. Just about every Democrat will have a union bug. Most Republicans will not

There was also no party identification on the mailing. People have a right to know what party a political candidate represents. This is basic in our democracy. ( Please click here for my post on why Houston City Council races should be more aggressively partisan.) 

I then went to Mr. Tahir’s web site. He mentions crime and the tax burden as big issues.

I know they all mention crime. But what about the causes of crime? How about helping people? We have no income tax in Texas and yet we have a high tax burden? 

On the mailing in big letters it says Mr. Tahir is “A proven business leader for a smart Houston.”

Government is not a business and smart is not a moral value. Being “smart” does not tell me anything. Plenty of no-good politicans are “smart.”  

I could have simply trashed the flier when I did not see the union bug. People need some shorthand in a busy world. 

Many voters are simply left confused by people hiding their political identity while running for an office with silly six-year term-limits and a musical chair membership.        

October 20, 2007 - Posted by | Houston, Houston Council Election '07, Politics | , , ,


  1. I am a proud Democrat and have been one since the day I arrived in Houston 27 years ago. I have been active in the Democratic Party on a local, state and national level.

    I started the first Democratic club for South Asians in the Houston area. I have served the Democratic Party as:
    a precinct chair
    general secretary of the county party
    Precinct delegate and county delegate in 2000, 2002, 2004 & 2006.
    a state delegate to the Texas Democratic Party Convention in 2000, 2004 and 2006
    A Senate District Chair in 2006
    a national delegate in 2000 and 2004

    Being a Democrat and a businessman is not contradictory. I believe the most important thing you can do for people is to provide them jobs so they can provide for their families. I also believe that business should give back through community service and that is what I have dedicated my life to. We are the party of working class which includes business owners and operators.

    I am a union supporter and believe that unions are and should be platforms for education, training, effeciency and negotiation.

    I also believe City Council races should be non-partisan. This is a municipal job—providing services, building roads, providing parks and libraries. It’s not a lawmaker’s job in Austin or Washington.

    Houston should be a dynamic world-class metropolitan city with a thriving civic community based on compassion and service.

    Comment by Zaf Tahir | October 22, 2007

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Where is this stuff on the mailing I got at home? You say it here but what about the where the bulk of voters will be learning about you? This is a majority Democratic city and you are running citywide. Why not make this clear?

    I don’t think being a Democrat and a businessperson are at odds. I think you stress your business background and not so much else. It’s a campaign tactic and that’s fine. But please don’t expect Democratic base voters such as myself to respond well to your emphasis.

    City Council members decide what kind of wages and benefits the people who build the roads will earn. They decide what the scope of government will be. These are quite often partisan questions having to do with the outlook towards government held by the different parties.

    In any case, thank you again for your comment and I’m glad you’re a Democrat. Anyone who reads this post between now and Election Day will know this about you as well.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 22, 2007

  3. Neil, as another Houston liberal and Democrat, I received your post via Carl Whitmarsh’s email list. I like your blog, and I’ll be blogrolling you the next time I get around to the tedious chore of adding everyone I’ve recently discovered. 🙂

    As best I recall, it is illegal under Houston city law to run a Council race explicitly representing oneself as a member of a particular party. Perhaps that has changed without my noticing, but that is my recollection. That said, most people are tacitly known as being a member of one party or another.

    I do not know Zaf Tahir, and haven’t made my decision in At-Large 5, but knowing now that he is an active Democrat, I will give him due consideration.

    As to the Union bug, I look for it as well (I’m a member in good standing of AFM Local 65-699), but some lower-budget campaigns use wholly volunteer labor on their mailers… and say so explicitly on the mailer… and I’m OK with that. It’s not as if they’re going to non-union shops for the work.

    (For clarity: my WordPress blog is my nonpolitical blog. I blog politics at The Yellow Doggerel Democrat.)

    Comment by Steve | October 23, 2007

  4. Steve—I’m not aware it is illegal to offer a Party ID, though, to mirror your remarks, I don’t know for sure. It had never occurred to me. Mr. Tahir does not mention this in his reply. I don’t see how it would pass 1st Amendment muster. I will see if I can figure this out.

    I just can’t imagine that if Mr. Tahir had said he had organized a South Asian Democratic club or had been a national delegate that he would be in any trouble. If I find I’m wrong on this matter I’ll correct it in a future post before Election Day.

    As for the Union Bug, all I can say is that I ran for the Cincinnati Board of Education in a very low-budget campaign in 1997. Despite the lack of funds, I used a union printer for my bumper stickers and my flier. Mr. Tahir seems to have money for a glossy multi-color mailing.

    It’s great to get a comment from you. I’ve seen The Yellow Doggerel Democrat and I’ll add it to my blogroll today. Please keep in touch.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 23, 2007

  5. My friend forwarded me a email about zaf tahir, i met zaf tahir three times , last time i met him at clear lake in (Bay area new Democrats) meeting and i had a chance to listen to him.He made it very clear that he is not only a democrat but a proud yellow dog democrat.Now everybody knows it ,the people of houston knows it, when can we move the discussion on issues

    Comment by David stien | October 24, 2007

  6. Mr. Tahir’s party ID is an issue. It provides voters with a clue to his values. Mr. Tahir made a comment here showing he is a Democrat. I don’t doubt it at all.

    His mailings though, which may be the only way many voters get to know him, do not show him as a Democrat. That is Mr. Tahir’s call to make.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 24, 2007

  7. Thank you for identifying yourself as a Democrat. I will NOT be voting for you.

    Comment by Romeo | November 5, 2007

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