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Houston Councilman James Rodriguez—Should We Trust Him Or Not?

Houston District I Councilmember James Rodriguez (Mr. Rodriguez  is the gentleman to the left of the center in the photo above.has been in the news of late. With the election of Adrian Garcia to serve as Harris County Sheriff, Mr. Rodriguez, who says he is a Democrat, is now the only Hispanic member of Houston City Council. This despite the fact that we have at least 850,000 Hispanic persons here in Houston.
( Here is a most forceful rebuttal to this post from a local Democrat.)
(Here is a reply that is a little more useful.)
Here is Mr. Rodriguez’s campaign web home.  
Here is a map of Council District I
Should we trust Councilman Rodriguez? Will he be an effective representative of Houston’s Hispanic population, and for all persons in his district and in our city? 
In Houston, it can be hard to pin down just where our political leaders stand.  Party identification is easily obscured in our so-called non-partisan municipal elections. (Voter turnout is always low. And once elected, incumbent councilmembers are nearly unaccountable at the ballot box  until term limits force them out.) Take, for example, the photo above. In the center you see Republican Bill King. On either side of Mr. King are members of his so-called issue study group.
Mr. King has been considering a run for citywide office in 2009. So why is a Democrat like Mr. Rodriguez sitting with Mr. King? Seated to the right of Mr. King is Democratic State Representative Senfronia Thompson and, next to Rep. Thompson, one Jessica Colon. Ms. Colon is identified as “national chair of the Young Republicans.”      
Now I’m certain the conversation to get Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Thompson to serve on Mr. King’s issues committee went just like this–
Mr. King—Hey James and Senfronia, I’m really concerned for the future of Houston and I need your input. Would you please serve on my issues committee so we can work for a better city?
Mr. Rodriguez & Ms. Thompson—Why sure Bill. Let’s get going!
Of course, this kind of stuff is just how Houston is politically. So we’ll keep hope alive for Mr. Rodriguez until we see him in action a little longer. 
Below you see a picture of Mr. Rodriguez that recently ran in the Houston Chronicle. You see that Mr. Rodriguez is pondering the future. (That or he’s trying to remember if he turned  his stove off at home.)
What is Mr. Rodriguez  pondering?
Is he wondering when leadership in Houston’s Hispanic community will finally pass from yesterday’s men who wasted years fighting amongst themselves while people in the community needed help and political power? Is he wondering what he can do to help give Houston’s Hispanics the seat at the political table their numbers, energy, and abilities merit?….. Or is he thinking he’s got six years to serve as a councilmember, and he’d better make the right people happy so he can be well-postioned for higher office when term limits knock him off council?
I’ll wager Mr. Rodriguez is thinking about both helping people and about his own ambitions. We’ll see which side of that equation comes out the winner. Here’s hoping he is an okay person.      
( Below the photo of  Councilman Rodriguez is Gene Kelly in Singing In The Rain.)   

January 12, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Houston Political Consultant Marc Campos Rips Me, But Fails To Provide Link

Houston political consultant Marc Campos has blasted me, but, lacking a true sense of sportsmanship, failed to provide a link. This is in sharp contrast to the nice folks at the right-wing blog Lone Star Times who once mocked a poem I wrote with a link that generated a lot of traffic. 

Here is the link to Campos Communications. Here is the link to his Daily Commentary.

Below is what Marc said in his Daily Commentary today—

“Commentary’s recent takes on local Latino voter turnout has definitely ruffled a feather or two. The liberal blog fella has been suspicious of Commentary’s motives from the outset. He was the one that said I might be more interested in looking for a “gig” plus he threw in that dig questioning H-Town CM James Rodriguez’ political party affiliation. Hey, that’s his right. Here’s what he sent me yesterday:

“Are Hispanics in Houston and Harris County unable to vote without extra prodding? At what point does this become the fault of the community in question?”

Commentary thought about having a discussion with him to talk about how to get out the vote and what is involved but I decided against because I think he had already made up his mind on this issue so here’s what I sent him:

“Look, I don’t want to get into it with you because folks like you are determined to undermine a point I have been making for over a decade now – sorry.”

I think I hurt his feeling because here’s how he responded:

“Folks like me? You hardly have any idea who I am or what I think. I sure have never had great relations with my fellow bloggers. I’ve agreed with a number of things you’ve written over time. Often agreeing with some your views about statements of bravado by bloggers.

Between my own blog and my space on the Chronicle, I’ve got a bigger audfeince than any progressive Houston blogger than but Kuffner. I was open to a discussion and you chose to make an enemy. You’re a fool.”

Marc has the story half right. I did call him a fool. It seemed a good response to anybody who says “folks like me.”  (Though I guess it is better than a Ross Perot “you people.”) Marc leaves out where I apologized to him. Lincoln (Photo Above) said it was always wrong to speak in anger. I’m happy to apologize to Marc right here again. Though I will say Marc is a bit misguided to regard me as a player around here when I don’t really see myself as such. Thanks for the promotion. 

Marc is nice to highlight my traffic. I’ve run 889 page views a day for 2008. And over 2,100 a day for November so far. These are good numbers and I’m proud to discuss them. They reflect a lot of work and time for not a dollar’s worth of pay. I’ve told Kuffner I’ll catch up with him. Self-promotion is the coin of the realm for bloggers. If I don’t do it, who will? (Besides Mr. Campos. I hope he’s not going to charge me a fee for the plug. I hope he spends the same time on his paying clients.

Here is the link to Kuffner. Here is a link to Julie Pippert at Momocrats. She also has very good traffic. Maybe higher than mine.


As for Councilman Rodriguez, here is the link to where he is a co-chair of the issues committee for Republican Bill King. (Picture Above. Mr Rodriguez is to the left of Mr. King. ) Mr. King is a former Mayor of Kemah who may well run for Mayor of Houston. According to the Chronicle, Mr. King has voted in Republican primaries for the last decade.  I’ve never posted on this issue before today. I might never have gotten around to it if not pressed. 

(Yes–I know Lincoln was a Republican as well. But that’s different.)

As for the question of Hispanic turnout in Houston, at what point does the Hispanic community itself bear some fault for the poor turnout? That was my question and it was a good one. Anyone got a thought?   

Mr. Campos gets it wrong in one big respect. I had not made my mind up about anything or anybody. I wanted to learn from the guy. That’s why I asked him a question. He seems unable to look past a George W. Bush black or white view of the world of are you with me or against me? If Marc is about outreach, doesn’t that mean talking to people?

In the year ahead I intend to post more than I have in the past about City of Houston politics. There are a number of people I figure I can learn from as we move ahead. If Marc would like to share his wisdom with me, I’d be more than happy to listen. I’ve e-mailed him saying that I would be happy to talk. I’m open to anybody who would like to talk.

As a matter of fact, I’ll give Mr. Campos and Mr. Rodriguez space on this blog to reply to anything I’ve said or to make any case they would like to make.

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Houston, Politics | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments