Texas Liberal

All People Matter

If Indians Can Go The Polls While Under Attack By Maoist Rebels, Why Can’t Houston’s Hispanics Vote In Greater Numbers?

 

Even facing attack from Maoist rebels in some places, voters in India went to the polls yesterday to begin the month long process of the Indian national election. 

These attacks killed 17.

Above is a picture of women waiting to vote in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

(Please click here for an overview of the Indian election.)

Turnout in India, despite the violence and all the poverty in India, is expected to be 62% when all the votes are counted. 

Now why is it that Hispanics in Houston and Harris County can’t vote in greater numbers? What are the reasons? 

Turnout in many mostly Hispanic state legislative districts  in Harris County was between 40% and 45%  of people eligible to vote in 2008.

Where are the leaders in this important community? Where are the people?

Here is a great article from the urban planning magazine Next American City that details the history of Hispanic political activism in Houston.

When will Hispanics in Houston find the leadership that their numbers and potential merits?

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Reason I Disliked School & Notes On Art And Sharks

My in-laws are in town and I’m busy being a good son-in-law. This post will just be some notes. Still—even on busy days— I make time for the blog reading public.

At the Houston Museum of Fine Arts yesterday I got a reminder of why I disliked school so much. Some kids, maybe fifth or sixth grade, were on a field trip to the museum. They were touring the galleries. The chaperons were repeatedly telling the kids not to speak. I’m not sure if the adults were teachers or parents. Though it makes little difference. (Above— One room school in Alabama 1935.)

Why not instruct the kids to offer reactions to what they were seeing? Why not ask questions of the kids? Why not tell the kids to talk to each other about what they were seeing? Other visitors to the museum were speaking in the galleries. If the adults did not feel they could control the kids, then they should not have been leading the trip.

I can remember field trips like that when I was in school in Providence, Rhode Island. We’d go to the Boston Science Museum or the Boston Aquarium–over and over we would go to those places—and get no input from our teachers about what we were seeing.  The high point of the day would be the visit to the gift shop. It was just a day to screw around.  

If you have kids, maybe you could tell them to listen to teachers who have something to say, and tune out the others. There is possibly nothing at all wrong with a kid who does not like school and who is wary of his or her teachers. Maybe the only thing wrong with that kid is that he or she is smarter than the teachers and the other kids.   

 

At the art museum today I bought the book Movements In Art Since 1945 by Edward Lucie-Smith. It looks like a good book.  I’ve lately been wanting to learn about Alex Katz.Above – A sketch by Katz.)

The first paragraph of the book, as far as I’ve read so far, talks about contemporary art as more widely popular than was art before World War II. I would imagine that this wider popularity comes with the usual trade off  a bigger public following against a more uncertain level of quality. Depending on my mood, I’m generally in favor of the wider public acceptance. People can make the effort to find the good stuff if it matters to them enough.

I read yesterday that fishermen in the Philippines caught a very rare Megamouth Shark and went on to eat it even though they were asked not to eat the creature.  Below you see a picture of a Megamouth Shark. The picture was taken by a Tom Haight.   Here is  some very good information about this sea beast from the Florida Museum of Natural History. It says that Sperm Whales have been known to attack this type of shark. I’d sure like to put film of that taking place on the blog. 

Time now to go pick up my in-laws and go to the deli to pick up the food for Passover.

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Art, Books, Houston | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Houston Council Candidate Noel Freeman Reponds To This Blog

Blogger’s Note—Last week I made a post about Houston City Council Candidate Noel Freeman. Please click here to read that post. Mr. Freeman is running for at-large place #4. Here is his campaign web home.

Mr. Freeman has been kind enough to respond to the questions I asked in my post. He has even highlighted my questions in bold lettering. What I like most about Mr. Freeman’s reply is his very first line where he says “Thank you for the wonderful post about me.”  These are the words of a great statesperson. I’d liken the insight involved  with such words to De Gaulle’s decision to grant independence to Algeria. ( Above–De Gaulle)

At some point soon I will comment on what Mr. Freeman has had to say. At the moment though my in-laws are in town and we’re going to the art museum.  

Mr. Freeman’s reply—

Thank you for the wonderful post about me. I enjoyed meeting you, and wish I had been able to dedicate time to responding to your questions earlier. Be warned, my post is a long one.

I have worked for in the Public Works Department for nearly five years and have been dedicated to resolving problems and making our City work better for my fellow Houstonians. Simply put, I’m not running to just get elected to something; I’m running to make a difference in the way our City operates and to make a positive impact on the lives of others and to build a stronger future for our City.

Every candidate has their stump speech, sound bites and usual rhetoric, but many of them don’t have the extensive knowledge of how our City functions on a daily basis or the experience getting results across our City’s government that I do.

With that, I will get to your questions.

“What will he do to make the Democratic party in Houston more responsive to the needs and hopes of all Houstonians?”

Let me start by saying that I really do appreciate the officially non-partisan nature of our elections for City Council. There are so many issues that transcend political party affiliation, and I intend to be a strong representative of all Houstonians, not just Democrats.

However, I think that the Democratic Party here in Houston has struggled for a very long time with getting certain parts of its base out to vote. The demographics of those who vote do not reflect the demographics of the City as a whole. I want to work with the party to find new ways to engage communities with historically low voter turnout and get them engaged in the political process. We have to take ownership of our future, and the only way to do that is to be actively engaged in the process.

Continue reading

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Let’s Deport Everyone In Houston & Harris County Who Has Employed Or Benefited From The Employ Of An Undocumented Person

Harris County Texas District Attorney Pat Lykos wants to stop the practice of cutting any deals or plea bargaining with undocumented persons who show up in our county courts.

Houston is part of Harris County.

Here is the Houston Chronicle story on the issue.

That should satisfy the nutball population of our county. 

We’re just going to lock these folks up and send them back.  (After any number of months of expensive proceedings.) I guess our jails will be full of people arrested on the most minor offenses.

I say that what we do is deport any person in Harris County who has hired an illegal alien, or who has economically benefited by shopping at a business or eating at a restaurant that was able to hold down prices because it hired an undocumented person.

That would be just about everybody who lives in Harris County.    

When I come up for deportation under this new law, I’m going to be asked to be sent to Corfu. (photo below)

(Off of the request in the comment space,  here is a Corfu link. And here is another.)

April 3, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Houston Council Candidate Noel Freeman

Noel Freeman is running for At-Large position 4 on the Houston City Council. Mr. Freeman is a Democrat.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Freeman. He is in front of Houston City Hall. Mr. Freeman works for the Department of Public Works in Houston.

What was Mr. Freeman thinking while posing for this picture? He looks serious enough, but he might have been thinking of something silly.

I think Mr. Freeman was thinking about this truck full of puppies you see below.

File:Pupsinavan.jpg

Mr. Freeman first attracted my regal notice by making a friend request on Facebook. Blogging is an act of vanity and I’m glad for all attention.      

Mr. Freeman and I later exchanged messages on Facebook regarding the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library  in College Station, Texas. I’d mentioned I was thinking of visiting the library and Mr. Freeman said such a visit would be worth my time.

Reading about Mr. Freeman on Facebook, I learned he is a graduate of Texas A & M in College Station.  

Checking out his campaign web home, I learned he is a member of the Houston Area Stonewall Democrats.

I never get tired of telling people that I was a Stonewall Cincinnati endorsed candidate for the Cincinnati Board of Education in 1997.

Mr. Freeman is a former Republican who supported Barack Obama in 2008. He had a conversion. 

Below is how Michelangelo painted St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.

File:4paul1.jpg

 Mr. Freeman addressed his political switch in a comment on the Houston blog Dos Centavos.

I’ve linked to Mr. Freeman’s campaign web home up at the top of this post. You can see what he is saying. Of course what Mr. Freeman is saying at his web home is what many candidates for office in Houston say.

Mr. Freeman loves Houston. Mr. Freeman is for safe streets. Mr. Freeman is for a strong economy in Houston.

And that’s great—I’m glad Mr. Freeman has these views.  

Regular readers here know I have a longstanding concern that the Democratic Party in Houston—and in cities across the nation— use minority voters without offering much in return for the loyalty at the polls. I’ve also said that the concerns of Houston’s many poor people are ignored at election time.   

I’d like to see Mr. Freeman please address these issues. What will he do to make the Democratic party in Houston more responsive to the needs and hopes of all Houstonians?   

Houston is a Democratic city. Many council races this year will be fought out between Democrats. I’d like to know what Mr. Freeman sees as the role of the Democratic Party in Houston. 

Politics is at core an act of imagination. You envision something that does not yet exist and you work to make it real. What does Mr. Freeman see as undone in our city? There people in our city who are not on the agenda at City Hall. What will Mr. Freeman do to get them on the agenda?     

I recently met Mr. Freeman for the first time. He seems like an okay guy. He said if I had any questions I should get in touch. All righty—I can do that. I’m going to place the link to this post on his Facebook page and see what he says in reply. I’ll keep the blog reading public updated on this matter.  

(Below—The Bush Library in College Station.) 

File:BushLibrary.JPG

March 26, 2009 Posted by | Art, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Do-It-Yourself Exiting On Houston Highways

200903221026.jpg 

The picture above of a Houston highway is a scene familiar to anybody who has spent time on Houston-area roads.

The picture shows cars leaving the highway because they are stuck in traffic or stuck behind an accident or some other delay.

Maybe this is something going on around the nation, but I sure don’t recall such actions in the years I lived in Cincinnati. I’ve not seen this anywhere else.

The highway has marked exits for a reason.  I was never aware that getting on or off the highway at some other point than the marked exits was an option.  

This picture is courtesy of a blog called The Houghs.  I don’t know the Hough family, but they were nice enough to let me use the picture. Here is the link to the Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Overland Park, Kansas. This church seems to play a large part in the life of Hough family.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , | 3 Comments

Cincinnati NAACP Hires Right-Wing Attorney With Poor Civil Rights Record—Can’t Black Folks And Gay Folks Get Along Better?

The Cincinnati NAACP has hired conservative lawyer Christopher Finney to serve as it’s Director of Legal Redress.

The Cincinnati NAACP has done this despite Mr. Finney’s record of opposing the rights of gay folks in Cincinnati.

(The links above are to my blogger friend at Queer Cincinnati.  Texas Liberal is always glad to be listed at that shop as a Queer Cincinnati blogger.) 

Mr. Finney had a large hand in the passage of the terrible Issue 3 in Cincinnati back in 1993. This measure denied legal protections to gay citizens of Cincinnati that were extended to all other Cincinnatians.( It has since been repealed.)

The rights all people are connected.

I’ve long had the frustration that some advocates of gay rights don’t look behind their own interests. They don’t always seem to see the link between their rights and the rights of all people. Sometimes they come of as elitist and looking for more of a kind economic empacipation rather than looking for the freedom of all people.

Yet what impression can be left with gay rights advocates and with all freedom-loving people in the Cincinnati area when  Christopher Finney is hired to work for the Cincinnati NAACP?     

Why can’t black folks and gay folks get along? When will leaders in the black community speak more forcefully about accepting all people as they were born? Black folks and most gay folks came together to vote for Mr. Obama last November.  Can’t this fact be used as a starting point for better relations between the two groups?  

Writing about this issue and seeing that Chris Finney is still causing trouble after I’ve been away from Cincinnati for 11 years reminds me of the Jean Sartre play No Exit. The same people year after year after year afflicting each other by dredging up bad memories and the inability to leave the room even though they may in fact have the option to go elsewhere.

It’s not really different anywhere else. Though in a big spread-out place like Houston, with a young and often transient population, fewer people make the pretense of caring.  I don’t advocate widespread apathy, though sometimes I see its virtues. 

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Books, Cincinnati, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Reading Malcolm X In An Old Black Cemetery

The new video on the blog is called Reading Malcolm X In An Old Black Cemetery. It runs just over two minutes and 30 seconds.  

I filmed this in Houston’s College Memorial Park Cemetery. This cemetery, now in some disrepair, began in 1896. It was a cemetery for the burial of black people. There are 6000 people laid to rest on the grounds including some former slaves.

The book I read from is Lend Me Your Ears–Great  Speeches In History. It is edited by William Safire. 

A good book to read to learn about Malcolm X, as you may have already, is Malcolm X’s Autobiography.

Two other good titles to learn about Malcolm, and that are also listed that are also listed on my Martin Luther King Reading & Reference List, are the second of Taylor Branch’s three volumes of Martin Luther King, called Pillar of Fire, and Martin & Malcolm & America — A Dream or a Nightmare by James Cone.

Pillar of Fire has a lot about Malcolm and the Cone book is a first rate compare and contrast of Rev. King and Malcolm.

We all merit respect. All people matter.

Below is Malcolm X’s grave from a photo taken by Jim Tipton. The grave is at Ferncliff Cemetery in Westchester County, New York 

Malcolm Malik Shabazz X

March 10, 2009 Posted by | Books, History, Houston, Martin & Malcolm | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What Does Congressman Gene Green Need With All That PAC Money?

What exactly does Houston-area Congressman Gene Green (above), a Democrat, need with$842,656 in PAC money? This is the amount of PAC money Congressman Green raised in 2007-08.  This PAC money was 78% of all the money Mr. Green raised in this election cycle. Overall, Mr. Green was fifth in the entire U.S. House  in 2008 for money given by PACS as a percentage of all campaign funds raised.   

Mr. Green serves the 29th U.S. House District of Texas. The district includes, among other places, much of the Houston Ship Channel and other parts of Houston, portions of Pasadena, Baytown and Humble, as a well as South Houston and Jacinto City. Here is a profile of the district from Mr. Green’s office. 

These PAC statistics are from a recent USA Today story. 

Two Texas Republicans, Joe Barton and Kevin Brady were the PAC champions. Mr. Barton, of Ennis, got 88% of his money from PACS while Mr. Brady, of The Woodlands, came in next at 86%.  Overall PACS spent $416 million on federal elections in 2008.

You can click here and get a picture of where the money Mr. Green raised in 2008 came from. Below is a list of various industry groups that donated to Mr. Green for the most recent election. 

Health Professionals $168,396
Oil & Gas $84,500
Lawyers/Law Firms $77,472
Electric Utilities $57,949
Industrial Unions $52,750
Building Trade Unions $52,000
Chemical & Related Manufacturing $50,538
Transportation Unions $40,500
TV/Movies/Music $40,500
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $34,600
Automotive $19,000
Beer, Wine & Liquor $17,500
Lobbyists $17,250
Telephone Utilities $17,000
Sea Transport $16,500
Misc Energy $15,000
Public Sector Unions $15,000
Telecom Services & Equipment $14,000
Misc Unions $13,500
Retail Sales $13,000

Just what does Rep. Green need with all this money from all these groups? His 2008 Republican opponent raised just over $14,000. Mr. Green has won reelection with almost 75% of the vote in the last two elections. In 2004 he won with 94%.

Maybe what Mr. Green wishes to do is scare off any potential Hispanic primary challenger in a district that is two-thirds Hispanic. Now I know it would be shocking if Mr. Green was taking advantage of money from the alcohol industry and the pharmaceutical industry to scare off potential Hispanic opposition in a two-thirds Hispanic district, but these things do happen.

(Local gasbag Marc Campos has been trying to stir-up a primary fight   for Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee. That’s his right and I don’t care one way or another, but if his goal is to increase Hispanic representation in the Houston-area, a subject he often discusses with varying degrees of bluster, the 29th might seem his better chance. C’mon Marc– Find a candidate for this one! )  

Mr. Green has, according to the 2008 Almanac of American Politics, voted  for a bill to roll back subsidies for the oil industry. It’s not that Mr. Green is at the total beck-and-call of the groups that give him money. It’s rarely that simple with these guys. (At least in any way you can pin down.)  Though I wager campaign contributions may well gain access to speak to Mr. Green and senior members of his staff.

Here is some information on Mr. Green’s voting record.

The issue is that Mr. Green uses his incumbency to scare off challengers and that he is such a willing participant  in a system that, while legal, is rotten. This should not be the program. It would be of value for a primary opponent of any ethnicity to take on Mr. Green in 2010 and to bring these issues to greater public attention.

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ron Paul Joins The Socialist Movement—Welcome Aboard!

So-called libertarian Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican from the Houston-Galveston area, is now happily part of the Obama Socialist movement. (Above are logos of the Socialist Party of Portugal. This is what party Rep. Paul would be a member of if he lived in Portugal.)

Here is the Houston Chronicle reporting on Congressman Paul’s adding of earmarks to the recent stimulus bill —“Rep. Ron Paul vehemently denounced the $410 billion catch-all spending bill approved last week by the House of Representatives. But although the libertarian-leaning Republican from Lake Jackson cast a vote against the massive spending measure, his fingerprints were on some of the earmarks that helped inflate its cost. Paul played a role in obtaining 22 earmarks worth $96.1 million, which led the Houston congressional delegation, according to a Houston Chronicle analysis of more than 8,500 congressionally mandated projects inserted into the bill. His earmarks included repair projects to the Galveston Seawall damaged by Hurricane Ike and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway.”

It’s easy to say you oppose the bill and vote against the bill when you know it is going to pass. What would have been the real test for Rep. Paul would have been to not  add any projects to the bill. If you know it is going to pass, you know that by adding projects you will be increasing the cost of the package.

I’m glad to see that big government is on the move in the United States and in Texas. People can whine and moan, but in the end they know that it is only government that can do big things such as fixing the Galveston Seawall and the Intracoastal Waterway after a hurricane.

With the support of people such as Representative Paul here in Texas, I know that this movement of big government will be very hard to stop even after the recession ends.

Also, in addition to Congressman Paul, let me please thank former President George W. Bush for messing up so bad that he made this all possible. I’ve been waiting really all my life for a government that works for average folks and now finally it seems we have that chance.   

(Below–The Intracoastal Waterway at Bolivar and entering Galveston Bay)

March 1, 2009 Posted by | Barack Obama, Galveston, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Eleanor Tinsley Thought Houston Was Important

photo

It can be difficult to take Houston seriously. Our  people and elected leaders often do not seem to feel the place has much value. The population is transient—of course a lot of the transience has to do with the need to make a living—voter turnout in city elections is low, poverty is accepted as simply part of Houston’s natural condition, there’s little sense of history, and the few civic-minded citizens sometimes don’t seem to care about the place outside of the inner-core of the 610 loop.

For all these reasons, I read with some interest the obituary of former school board member and Houston city councilmember Eleanor Tinsley. Ms. Tinsley died on February 10 at age 82. This was a person who seemedto really believe  that Houston was important.

(Above–Ms. Tinsley watching a billboard being torn down in January of this year.  Ms. Tinsley despised billboards.) 

From her obituary in the Houston Chronicle–

“The former Houston school board chair and city councilwoman died of cancer…. at 82, a dozen days after she was honored at a fundraising luncheon for the local branch of Planned Parenthood. There, she told the audience why friends frequently brought her turtle-shaped objects from around the world. Turtles were her personal symbol, she said, because they only get things done when they stick out their necks.

The critics who portrayed Tinsley as the raging queen of liberal causes, government over-reaching and the “nanny state” were hardly the most venomous of her enemies. Unidentified people threw grease, garbage and black roses on her southwest Houston lawn during school integration in the early 1970s, friends and former aides recalled Tuesday. Death threats forced city officials to remove her name from a reserved City Hall parking space in the early 1980s as she pushed for fluoridization of the east side water supply.”

If Ms. Tinsley could risk all that harassment over integrating Houston’s schools, why do we accept our city leaders today who are silent on so many basic questions of quality of life and social justice?

However, since I can only control my actions, maybe the message of Ms. Tinsley’s life is that I should take Houston more seriously despite it’s many many flaws and absurdities.

I’ll think that issue over.

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , | 4 Comments

Light Rail In Houston And The Chimpanzee I Don’t Want To Be

It is difficult to know how to feel about the proposed extension of light rail in Houston.

(Above–Transportation in Minsk, Belarus.)

Four new lines, all in the inner loop as far I can determine, are on the table for a vote of the Metro Board in March. The cost of this project is said to be $2.6 billion. 

On one hand, I support mass transit. On the other hand, I support mass transit for all the people. Not just inside the loop.

For example, there is no bus on Highway 6 in-between 1960 and Westheimer. Yet many people live and work in this area and Highway 6 gets more busy each day.

How can we commit $ 2.6 billion for transit inside the loop without addressing all of Houston and the suburbs? (And when will all our Harris County suburbs grow up and incorporate and elect mayors and city councils and establish a police force beyond the Harris County Sheriff? Maybe these folks would get better services if they’d incorporate and find a coherent voice. )

A regional transit authority is clearly needed. Please click here to see my previous post of the likelihood of a regional transit authority in the Houston-area.

Then you have the issue of the folks on each side of the debate.

Seemingly against any extension of mass transit are folks who reflexively oppose government, hate taxes more than they value the future, and who think that if only they can stop the bus from coming their neighborhoods will be able to keep out “undesirables.”  I have supported light rail in Houston so far because it annoys conservatives to such a degree.

On the other side of the rail debate are what are often the most annoying folks of all. Liberals that I share 90%  in common with, but that remaining 10% is a difference in sensibilities that makes me want to send a check to the National Rife Association. An inside-the-loop focus that in the end values pragmatism and order over imagination and justice. These are the kind of folks I see getting most excited over these train cars. 

( And the idea that some have of streetcars for Houston! Oh!  As it says in Ecclesiastes– “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities…..”  Must we spend public dollars to remake a small portion of the county in the imagined self-image of a narrow few? )

Here is part of the Phil Ochs song Love Me I’m A Liberal

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

It’s like how I can’t stand chimps and monkeys. I despise them for being so like myself, yet being something I very much don’t want to be.  I don’t want to be a nasty chimp. I don’t want to be a process-orientated  liberal who gets excited about boondoggle train cars in my neck of the woods while folks out in county can’t get a ride to work. Mass transit should not be about what seems cool or neat. It should be about getting people where they need to go. 

So where do I come down on the question of light rail for Houston?

When all is said and done, I’m for it as an extension of government in a small government region and state, as a job creation project, and because of the people it frustrates. It’s not like we’ll spend the money on something useful if we don’t build the trains. As for light rail being part of a coherent transit policy for the entire region, that is not part of the debate at this point. 

Light rail, so far, seems more an inner-loop vanity and a conceit to try to turn Houston into something it is not. But since it’s opponents offer nothing more useful than more highway building and endless government bashing, I say build the damn thing and let them stew. I’m with the chimps on this one. (Because, as I  sometimes face up to, I’m one of the chimps more than I’d like to admit. It can take so much effort not to revert to a less developed state. )

Now if we want to be serious and plan for light rail across the county and region, that’s something I could be on board with.

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shopping In Houston–1943

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

Above is a photo of people shopping in Downtown Houston in 1943.

This picture is from the American Memory project of the Library of Congress. The photo was taken by John Vachon.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , | Leave a comment

One Islamic Baseball Player

This afternoon I ate lunch at Jamillah Gardens in Suburban Houston. This is an Islamic-Chinese restaurant. 

I was reading a book on baseball as I ate. The owner of the place, Jamillah, commented on my book. I told her I was not aware of any Islamic baseball players. She said she did know of any herself. I said I would look up the question.

It does seem there has been at least one Islamic baseball player. This was Sam Khalifa who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates between 1985 and 1987. Mr. Khalifa was of Egyptian descent.

Mr. Khalifa was not a great player. But he does have this claim to fame.

( The picture and the link to Mr. Khalifa are from Baseball Almanac.com)

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , | 1 Comment

Houston Voting Rights Suit Filed In City That Does Not Respect Right To Vote

A voting rights suit has been filed in Houston. The contention is that the city should immediately draw new district lines and add two new city council seats to reflect growth and changes in Houston’s population. These new seats would possibly boost minority representation on council to better reflect Houston’s demographics.  

Here is the Houston Chronicle story on the matter.

Since the 2010 census is not so far away, I can’t say this matter moves me one way or another.  The issue will be resolved soon enough in any case.  

What strikes me is the irony in filing a voting rights suit regarding municipal elections in a city where most citizens don’t respect the right to vote in municipal elections. Please let me clear that I mean this for voters of all colors in Houston. My favorites are the runoff elections for at-large city council seats that attract 2% or 3% of voters.

And how about minority legislators who serve in Austin who come from terrible turnout districts and who rarely– if ever–open their mouths about the turnout? Want to file a voting rights lawsuit?  How about filing it against urban Democratic parties across Texas and the nation who acquiesce and enable this kind of stuff year after year?

How about filing this suit against the electorate as a whole in Houston?

February 13, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , | Leave a comment