Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Amy Price For Houston City Council At-Large #4—Ms. Price Listens To People

Amy Price is a running as a Green Party candidate for Houston City Council at-large position 4.

(Above–Ms. Price.)

The incumbent in this race is C.O. Bradford.

Mr. Bradford—a Democrat—has offered Democrats an austerity based fiscal message and a council tenure where he has worked with Republicans to undermine Mayor Annise Parker.

Mr. Bradford’s record of service to the people of Houston includes his time as police chief and his poor stewardship of the City of Houston Crime Lab. Mr. Bradford was police chief from 1997 to 2004.

The impact of the crime lab scandal goes on to this day. 

Mr. Bradford is not loyal to the best ideals of his party. Nor is he public official who has done his job well.

Lacking these qualities, what does Mr. Bradford offer the people of Houston?

Ms. Price is working hard on the campaign trail each day not just to defeat Chief Bradford, but to offer the people of Houston a hopeful progressive choice.

It is not enough to simply be someone other than the person you are running against. You have to offer something of value to the voters you are running to represent.

Ms. Price is asking questions and seeking solutions. She is talking to everyday people in Houston, and not to big corporate donors or advocacy groups who often have narrow agendas.

As Houston voters consider the 2011 City Council field, they will find Ms. Price both true to the values she asserts on the stump, and a person who inspires confidence in voters of all ideological leanings that she will be able to do the job.

Here is an interview with Ms. Price that was conducted by Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner.

Here is the link to Amy’s website.

Here is her campaign blog. 

Here is a link to donate to Ms. Price.

Ms. Price is running a daily series of questions and answers on her campaign blog.

Below is a complete entry from one of her recent posts.

As early voting and Election Day approach for our Houston city elections, the work of deciding who will best serve our city is up to each of us.

It is the responsibility of voters to look beyond name recognition and fundraising advantages to see who will do the best job.

I encourage Houston voters to study the options available on the 2011 municipal ballot and to vote as they see fit.

Here is Ms. Price’s blog entry—

Challenge: a big, complex city

Solution: listen to its inhabitants

While block walking this weekend, I had folks share some fantastic ideas with me. Here they are.

For discouraging the sort of cyclic electricity usage that could lead to brownouts (especially in the future, when we’ll have more people crowded into the same space): have more expensive peak rates and lower off-peak rates. Just like your cell phone plan.

For encouraging water conservation when rationing is going on: up the rates during rationing. The surest way of ensuring that folks do what they should do is to make it something they want to do. Continue reading

September 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Houston Council At-Large #2 Candidate Bolivar Fraga On All Sides—He Can Call Harris County GOP At 713-838-7900 To Clear Up The Confusion

Houston At-Large #2 City Council Candidate Bolivar Fraga appears to be playing all sides.

The Harris County Republican Party website lists Mr. Fraga as a Republican.

This would make sense as Mr. Fraga voted in the 2010 Republican Primary.

However, Mr. Fraga told Houston political blogger Charles Kuffner in an interview that  he voted in the Republican primary to support one candidate in particular.

Mr. Fraga told Mr. Kuffner that other than in 2010 he has voted in Democratic primaries. You can find the exchange on this topic in the 11th minute  of Mr. Kuffner’s interview with Mr. Fraga.

At the same time, we find that Mr. Fraga has been endorsed by the conservative C Club of Houston.

The C Club of Houston says right at the top of its website that it has a goal of  “Keeping Houston Politics Fiscally Conservative…”  

Here is Mr. Fraga’s website.  Maybe you see virtues in his campaign and you would like to cast your ballot for him in our municipal elections. That is your call.

What I would say is this—Mr. Fraga is looking to take advantage of the fact that he is a relative unknown to create different impressions with different voting groups.

With this being the case, how can anybody have confidence in the things Mr. Fraga asserts in his campaign?

Mr. Fraga tells Mr. Kuffner that he is a Democrat.

Mr. Kuffner’s blog is strongly on the side of Democratic candidates.

Mr. Fraga tells the C Club that he is on board with a conservative agenda.

The C Club stands with conservatives.

If Mr. Fraga is a Democrat, he can call the Harris County Republican Party at 713-838-7900 and ask them to list him as a Democrat rather than as a Republican.

Many will tell you that Houston municipal elections are non-partisan.

While it is true that party identification is not on the ballot, candidates are free to identify themselves with one party or another as they campaign.

There are partisan differences in how cities deliver basic services.

Cities can decide to work with unions or to fight unions. Cities can decide to layoff people or to value municipal employees. Cities can work hard for green initiatives in how operate on a daily basis, or they can ignore more environmentally friendly ways of operating.

Mr. Fraga’s course so far in this campaign leaves all voters uncertain of where he stands on issues before Houston.

September 26, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Amy Price Running As A Green For Houston City Council in 2011

I met this morning with Amy Price.

Amy is going to run a Green for an at-large seat on Houston City Council in 2011.

She is still working out the details, but what I am certain of is that she is going to conduct a solid and hard hitting campaign effort.

Folks in Houston merit more options than so-called Democrats running for city office who are afraid to even say that they are Democrats.

As a Democrat or progressive following Houston politics, if you can’t afford the endless fundraisers, if candidates don’t call themselves Democrats and they take Republican money, if Democrats do nothing to address the dismal turnout we see year after year in city elections—-Then why not get involved on your own and work and fight for your liberal and progressive values no matter what?

The work of freedom is up to each of us.

There is an Amy Price For Houston City Council page that you can like on Facebook and there will be more to come in the weeks ahead.

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Houston Mayor Annise Parker Raises $1 Million—Good For Her Though Not So Meaningful For Most In Houston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker held a campaign kick-off fundraiser  yesterday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston.

Some Facebook friends who were at the function said that Mayor Parker, a Democrat, announced that the event had raised $1 million for her campaign.

If Mayor Parker raised $1 million, and if she remains without a credible 2011 challenger, maybe she can use some of that money for voter registration and voter turnout in our Hispanic communities. Maybe she can make a real effort to increase political awareness in our big apathetic city.

This would give substance to Ms. Parker’s 2009 claim of a civil rights-based grassroots victory.

In 2009, Ms. Parker proved that an openly gay person can be elected Mayor of the fourth largest city in the nation.

At the same time, it should be recalled that Ms. Parker won the 2009 election with 53% of the 16% of Houston voters who cast a ballot.

In 2011, Ms. Parker  has proven she is a good fundraiser.

While Ms. Parker’s 2009 victory remains an inspiration, there is not much hopeful to be found in the clear feeling of the great majority of Houston residents that city elections are not very important.

There is little grassroots enthusiasm for any politician in our city.

Mayor Parker’s million dollars is great news for her and her campaign.  For most of the rest of us in Houston, it doesn’t mean so much.

Though in the end, we must recall that it is up to the individual to make the call to work with others for a better city.

As that million dollars sitting in Mayor Parker’s campaign bank account reminds us yet again—no matter the claims of civil rights and grassroots—nobody will do the work of democracy for everyday citizens.

( Of course, this all is a two way street. Hispanic leaders in Houston have an obligation to work to increase turnout on their own.)

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

Democrats, Liberals & Others Have The Right And The Obligation To Ask More Of Annise Parker

According the Facebook of Republican Texas State Senator Dan Patrick, Houston Mayor Annise Parker was the only Democrat to attend the Lincoln-Reagan Day fundraiser of the Harris County Republican Party.

How you view this fact could be a kind of Rorschach Test.

(Above–Rorschach Test. I see a polar bear climbing Mt. Everest.)

It could be that Mayor Parker was conning Republicans as she works to fend off possible challengers in the 2011 election.

It could that Mayor Parker is a political moderate and that she is reaching out to voters of all parties.

It could be that Mayor Parker is deserting Democratic voters for political reasons even though she was elected Mayor in 2009 as a Democrat.

In any case, Democrats, progressives and liberals have the right to ask more of the Mayor in what was a  61% Obama city in the 2008 election.

How is that Mayor Parker can attend a Republican fundraiser where Senator Patrick and Mike Huckabee took the stage to play a tune, but she could not attend the rally outside Houston City Hall last week to address the sharp cuts to vital public services being considered in the ongoing session of the Texas legislature.

Democrats, progressives, liberals, and others who would reliably vote for Democrats, merit a Mayor who consistently addresses basic questions of economic fairness and opportunity in Houston.

Given the wide  divide between the two major  parties at the moment, and given the strong divisions between the parties on civil rights questions that Mayor Parker has championed in the past, you have to wonder what the Mayor is sacrificing for the rest of us as she seeks the political support of the Republican far-right in Houston.

(Below–Senator Patrick (left) and Mike Huckabee (right) jamming at the Lincoln-Reagan Day Harris County Republican Fundraiser.)

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I Apologize For Ever Having Voted For Houston Councilmember C.O. Bradford—Bradford Merits No Support From Voters Of Either Major Party

I apologize for ever having voted for Houston City Councilmember C.O Bradford.

(Above–Councilmember Bradford.)

I made this error when I voted for Mr. Bradford in 2008 to be Harris County District Attorney.

Mr. Bradford, a former Houston Police Chief, was the Democratic nominee for District Attorney.

I voted based on party when I should have simply not voted in the D.A. race. Neither candidate was worthy of support in that race.

While he did sound like a Democrat in 2008, Chief Bradford admitted at the time that he did not do all he could have done as Chief to deal with the deeply-flawed Houston crime lab.

As a current member of Houston City Council, Mr. Bradford often makes little effort to sound like a Democrat anymore.  This despite the fact he was happy to take Democratic votes in 2008.

From Councilmember Bradford’s web page

‘The City of Houston tends to over regulate. Understandably, the City must regulate from time to time for health and safety reasons. Even these interventions should be a limited, measured approach with broad substantive input from the citizens and businesses being impacted. Today, businesses and citizens are strapped with too many taxes, fees, and permitting requirements. Why is this so? Well, the answer can be found in one word – “spending. …”

I’m certain many would agree with this statement. Fine. But Democrats believe government has a role in making our communities better, and in making the lives of our citizens better. I’m sure folks who agree with Mr. Bradford’s minimal government views can find a real Republican to support.

You can be a Democrat and favor fiscal restraint. Nobody is in favor of waste. We do not have unlimited cash to run government. Yet what Mr. Bradford is doing here is identifying himself with the extreme and harmful budget cutting advocated by many in the current political climate, and offering nothing constructive for Democrats looking for fiscal moderation, but not looking to be Republicans. If given the choice between a Republican and a Republican—People will pick a Republican.

Mr. Bradford, as a Democrat, has the obligation to offer more than just a reflexive opposition to spending.

Now Mr. Bradford is teaming up with Republicans and others to attack the storm water drainage fee that Houston voters passed at the ballot box last November.

Some are upset that churches will have to pay a fair share of the fees required to address chronic flooding in Houston.

Councilman Bradford will be appearing with conservative Houston Councilmember Mike Sullivan and conservative Paul Bettencourt as panelists at a Houston Area Pastor Council meeting about the storm water fee.

This meeting will be held at Houston’s First Baptist Church. According to the Houston Chronicle, First Baptist is currently spending $12.6 million to renovate a Worship Center and $3 million to upgrade other facilities.

Mr. Bettencourt is best known for being reelected as Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector in 2008, and then quitting the post just a few weeks after the election.

That is some company Democrat C.O. Bradford keeps.

It is not  clear why Mr. Bradford opposes the storm water fee given that he said the following on his campaign page—

“…. Let’s get back to a commitment to basic sanitation (garbage & water), infrastructure issues, police and fire. Core services are the City of Houston’s business!”

What is more basic to a hurricane -prone semi-tropical place like Houston than addressing flooding with new storm water infrastructure?

There has been speculation that Councilmember Bradford may run for Mayor.

Mr. Bradford is not saying one way or another.

Which political party does Mr. Bradford truly support? Which city services does he see as essential? What are his political motives?

The only thing you can be certain of is that Councilman Bradford does not merit the support of any principled voter.

March 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment