Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Houston’s District H Council Race Makes Me Ill

As part of a determined effort to kill my blog traffic, I’m going to write again about Houston’s Council District  H runoff election.

District H held a special election last week to fill a council vacancy.  In this election, the district’s educated Anglo voters in the Heights neighborhood teamed up with the district’s politically underrepresented Hispanic voters to generate a turnout of something like 5 %. 

( Here is a story about people in India voting despite attacks from Maoist guerrillas.) 

Because who cares?

As long as you can send your own kid to a Montessori pre-school who gives a shit if the Latino kid a few miles away has limited prospects in life?

Just because you’ve been treated like crap for hundreds of years doesn’t  mean you should change that fact. Stay home! Why not?!?  

The District H race last week offered voters the chance to put a second Latino Councilmember on Houston City Council. Houston is a 40% Latino city with one Hispanic Councilmember out of 14 members.

The upcoming runoff offers voters the same chance to elect a Hispanic.

Now one should not vote for someone just based on ethnic group. But ethnic loyalty in minority communities is often a factor in how people vote in these communities. Political representation is a visible and important symbol that ethnic groups have arrived as important participants in urban politics.

Is there unity among Hispanic Democrats in Houston?

That’s crazy talk! 

My fellow blogger Charles Kuffner writes today about a defeated Hispanic challenger in District H endorsing runoff candidate Maverick Welsh over opponent Ed Gonzalez. 

Maybe the endorsement was based fully on a weighing of the merits of each contender, but it seems quite likely that factional disputes among Hispanic Democrats played some part in the endorsement.

These factional disputes go back many years in Houston’s Hispanic community. The people involved in these disputes for all these years should reflect on the harm they have done to a community they say they are serving.

I don’t live in District H. With both candidates being Democrats, I don’t care who wins the June 13 runoff. I write about it because the whole thing makes me sick on a variety of levels.

People should turn out to vote. People should care who governs their city. People should have some sense of loyalty and respect for each other in gaining a political foothold in a city. That’s what people do in a normal healthy city and community.

Here is the link for Maverick Welsh.

Here is the link for Ed Gonzalez 

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

Houston District H Council Race—Nobody Gave A Damn

Last week there was a special election to fill a vacant seat in Houston City Council District H.

Of 93,000 eligible voters, around 4,200 people showed up.

This despite the fact that at stake was the chance to add a second Hispanic to council. There is only one Hispanic on council despite the fact that something like 40% of our people in Houston are Hispanic.

Local bloggers Charles Kuffner and Marc Campos suggested an issue in the outcome of the race was the location of early voting centers.

Here is Mr. Kuffner’s comment. 

Here is what Mr. Campos had to say.

Now in a narrow sense the location of the voting machines may have impacted the outcome of the race. But that is missing the larger story.

When you get 7% turnout the issue is not early voting locations, it is the fact that nobody cared about the election.

It’s a culture within the city as a whole that says who serves on City Council does not matter. It’s years of infighting within the Hispanic political class that have helped hold back the advancement of Hispanic political power.

It is campaigns that fail to motivate voters. It’s minority elected officials okay with low voter turnout because they can be elected every two years without real opposition.

It’s a Democratic Party as a whole that is content with how things are even as they count on strong minority support. It’s a Republican Party that has demonized people because they are different from most Republican voters. 

After 11 years here, I’ve still yet to grasp the acceptance of the terrible turnout in our city elections. Mr. Kuffner does more than his bit to increase civic involvement and improve the quality of life in Houston. But as a general matter—and in many regards— it is remarkable what we accept in  Houston as normal.

The two remaining candidates in District H are Maverick Welsh  and Ed Gonzalez. 

If you live in District H please consider these two candidates and vote in the runoff.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment