Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Houston City Elections—Vote Even If You Are Not Enthused

I’m overdue to blog extensively about the upcoming Houston municipal elections. Early voting starts on October 24 and Election Day is November 8.

I’m embarrassed to claim these elections are relevant. The energy and optimism of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Houston movements in recent weeks has made our Houston city elections seem even more irrelevant.

The narrow ideological range of the issues discussed in city elections—and of the candidates themselves—helps explain and perpetuate the chronically low turnout in Houston.

I don’t care about red light cameras. I am so tired of hearing about the red light cameras.

However, there are reasons for hope and ways to make your views known even within the paltry options provided on the 2011 Houston municipal ballot.

Karen Derr and Josh Verde are progressive options to the Ellen Cohen money machine is Council district C. I live in Distrct C.

Amy Price is a great new voice for At-Large #4.

And while Democratic Mayor Annise Parker is the only credible candidate for Mayor—Progressives and liberals have the option to leave the ballot blank for Mayor.

You don’t have to reward Mayor Parker for attending Republican fundraisers, or for raising a $2.3 million campaign warchest while doing nothing to register voters or strengthen the Democratic Party for the fights ahead in 2012.

The near 50% child poverty rate in Houston? It’ll be a cold day in July in Houston before you hear Mayor Annise Parker address that topic with any intensity.

Houston city elections often seem to be little more a taxpayer-financed subsidy for a political class of consultants, city contract seekers, and all-purpose opportunists who all have little do with everyday life in Houston.

We’ll have to make the best of this election, and then work with Occupy movement to bring real hope and change to our politics.

I’ll be blogging more on our Houston elections over the next couple of weeks.

The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area has a voter’s guide online in pdf form to help voters learn more about Houston city candidates. 

October 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

City Of Houston Campaign Sign Crackdown—My Two Favorite Signs

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the city will be cracking down on campaign signs that are placed improperly.

Having a campaign war chest  of more than $2 million helps you take the high road when dealing with candidates who have far less money.

That’s a measure of sarcasm on my part.

In fact—I’ve been on the patrol for improperly placed campaign signs myself. I’ve contributed a number of pictures to the Empty Lot Primary blog of signs in vacant lots and in the public right-of-way.

You might ask—“Which two pictures have you enjoyed the most?”

I will show you.

Below is a Bolivar Fraga sign that I took a picture of just yesterday. Showing this sign on the blog allows me to also show you all that fine public art on that blocked-up storefront.

Showing you this picture also permits me to say again that Houston City Council At -Large #2 candidate Bolivar Fraga tells Democrats that he is a Democrat and tells Republicans that he is a Republican.

And then– of course—we have this classic Eric Dick sign.

The Republican Mr. Dick is running in the same race as is Mr. Fraga.

We’ll see in the weeks ahead if the City of Houston is really serious about this effort.

(Both photos copyright Neil Aquino 2011) 

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Eric Dick Running For Houston City Council Position # 2

Last week I had dinner with Houston At-Large Position 2 Houston City Council candidate Eric Dick.

Eric is a Republican running for an open seat.

Above you see Eric eating some type of Korean stew.

While I will not be voting for Eric, he is willing to meet and talk with people all over our city.

He sat and talked with me even though I have criticized him in a previous post.

Eric is out on the campaign trail and has an enthusiasm for Houston.

Eric and I talked about his race and about his views on city issues.

Eric is conservative and I don’t think he is the best person running for seat #2. I regret the large number of campaign signs he has placed all over Houston.

But I do appreciate the effort Eric is making.

I wish Eric safe travels as he meets with a wide cross-section of Houston voters.

July 28, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | 4 Comments

Does Houston Mayor Annise Parker Live Up To The Words In Her Campaign Advertising?

Above and below are icons created by the campaign to reelect Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

You can find these icons on the Annise Parker Facebook page.

Does the Mayor’s record warrant the use of the words you see in these icons?

Of course—This is advertising. The Mayor wants people to donate and volunteer for her campaign.  She has every reason to make a pitch for people to come and help her out for the 2011 election.

I’m glad that the Mayor supports fun and good karma.

I’m very sure that she supports victory. Her own victory at least.

Let’s please consider some of the other words used here—

* Grassroots— Mayor Parker gained election in 2009 by winning 53% of the vote in a runoff where 16% of Houstonians voted. Since 2009, I’m not aware of voter registration efforts the Mayor has supported.  Nor am I aware of her calls and efforts for more people to become involved in the political process. I don’t see how an election won with the votes of so few people in Houston is grassroots.

* Justice– Mayor Parker has now many times demanded that our police and fire departments act in a correct way towards citizens and towards employees of these departments. She has done this despite the political risks that can be involved with taking on public safety unions. These actions should give people confidence that Mayor Parker believes in fair treatment for all.

*Community Spirit— If leading by example matters, the Mayor has been involved in public affairs as a citizen activist and an officeholder for much of her adult life. If more citizens were to follow her example in this regard, we would have a better city.

* Changing The World— The Mayor was silent on Healthcare Reform that will help so many people in Texas and in Houston who do not now have health insurance.  Her  voice has not yet been heard of the forced sonogram bill moving towards the Texas Legislature.

Many people in Houston need the strong bully-pulpit advocacy of someone in power. There is very little progressive infrastructure  in Houston to help people use politics as a pathway towards a better life.

If the Mayor is going to talk about changing the world, than she should be ready to address issues that go beyond Houston. She should work to empower people.

* ProgressiveWell.…. I’m still giving that matter thought when it comes to Mayor Parker. In her last campaign she ran as a “fiscal conservative.” Social justice and economic justice are connected. Mayor Parker should not be allowed to have it both ways in this regard.

Mayor Parker does merit credit for working to exclude city employees making the lowest salaries from the impact of mandatory furloughs.

It would be good to know what Mayor Parker is doing to address the severe budget cuts in health and education coming from the Texas legislature in 2011. If she is not able to make behind the scenes efforts to fight these cuts, than she should be working to rally citizens to fight these cuts. Some type of response from the Mayor should be offered.

I hope the Mayor will not try to “out-Republican” her 2011 opponents.  In 2009, it sometimes felt that this is what she was seeking to accomplish.

Election Day 2011 is now a little more than eight months away. Mayor Parker merits strong consideration for a second term.  Her 2011 opponents are not yet known. Frankly, I’m not aware of any liberal or progressive who may be considering the race.

Taking a page from the Mayor’s own record of self-starting public service, let’s work to insist that Mayor Parker both campaign and govern as a progressive for the good of our great city of Houston.

February 18, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments