The Dome: TBD

In the 21st century, indoor sports isn’t that big of a deal in many American cities, or throughout Europe. Millions of attendees take in Soccer, Baseball, American Football or other large sporting events within the confines of an indoor facility where they don’t have to worry about temperature or inclement weather. You go to the game and have a great time.

But 48 years ago, that wasn’t the case. No one had ever thought to hold what most considered an “outdoor sport” like football, and put it indoors. No one did, until Houston did it. On April 9th, 1965 with the President of the United States, the Governor of Texas and a host of other major dignitaries in attendance, the Harris County Domed Stadium–the Astrodome– opened its doors to the general public. And with that opening, the world of professional sports changed. Here’s more from Jere Longman of the New York Times

The Eighth Wonder of the World, as the Astrodome was nicknamed, with its 200-foot-tall roof and nine-acre footprint, became the most important, distinctive and influential stadium ever built in the United States.

It gave us domed, all-purpose stadiums and artificial turf and expansive scoreboards. It gave us seminal respect for women’s sports when Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs at tennis in 1973. It gave us the inventor of the end zone dance in 1969, Elmo Wright of the University of Houston. It gave us the first prime-time national television audience for a regular-season college basketball game, with the famed 1968 meeting between Houston and U.C.L.A.

Whether you’re in Houston or New York, passions run high when people discuss the future of the famed Astrodome. The fate of the historic structure will be decided this Fall by Harris County voters, which is why many have turned to some interesting news this week. In the inaugural poll for the 2013 municipal elections, KHOU/KUHF found that 45% of voters surveyed favor the bond issue to save the dome (and raise property taxes to do it), 35% are opposed and 20% are still undecided. By most accounts, this is viewed as good news for supporters of the Astrodome, because they have less people to convince than the other side. Plus with less than one month to go before early voting, there is still no formal opposition to the bond measure.

Which leads to this impressive video released by The New Dome PAC… a political action committee founded specifically to help with the bond measure’s passage. The video finally details the County’s plans for the Dome in a way that even average voters can understand. It’s a big first step in this process. Texas Leftist formally endorses Proposition 2… the plan to save and update the Astrodome. As an exhibition hall, the Astrodome conversion would turn Reliant Park into the largest Convention Facility in the state of Texas, and one of the largest and most interesting in the country. All in all, a good plan.

The Astrodome ‘changed the game’ of the 20th century, but it’s up to Harris County voters to see it live in the 21st century.

TLCQ 2013: Zeph Capo

In the Sixth installment of the 2013 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Zeph Capo, candidate for Houston Community College Board of Trustees District 1.

Please note: Responses have been received directly from the candidate, and have been posted verbatim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but will be considered during the endorsement process.

TL: What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?

ZC: Zeph Capo

TL: Are you a current or former elected official? If so what office(s)?

ZC: I have not held public office.

TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?

ZC: Government is a direct reflection of our greater society. It is a picture of what works and does not work. We get out of government what we put into it. I believe voting shouldn’t be considered a right, but a responsibility because government works best when the governed are involved in the process. Government defines us as a people and we should never take for granted that we are defined by the democratic principles that make up our society.

TL: If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.

ZC: My top priority would be to pass a stronger board ethics policy that results in more transparent business practices by the community college. I would welcome citizen advisory oversight by accounting/financial professions to review the colleges practices and make recommendations to the board. I would work to build a coalition of board members that wanted to increase the public trust in the board by passing better policy after a thorough review of best practices nationwide and an opportunity to take input from the community.

TL: As our nation’s educational and professional landscape continues to evolve in the 21st century, institutions like HCC stand to be a critical part of that important process. In your opinion, is HCC ready for the monumental changes coming to education? What can the system do to best prepare?

ZC: HCC is a leader in distance education and has begun innovative new programs to meet the needs of our local workforce. We must improve our business practices to ensure the 425 million dollar bond program is executed with fidelity and efficiency. Additionally, we must ensure that our tax dollars allocated by the bond are used in absolutely the best manner to accommodate the needs of a 21st century workforce.

TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?

ZC: I have almost twenty years experience in public education as a classroom teacher and policy advocate. My experience with grassroots community organizing and school reform will be an asset to the HCC Board as we begin to rebuild connections with the community and reform board practices for the 21st century. I have extensive experience working with individuals from diverse and often competing backgrounds where consensus is required to be successful.

TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?

ZC: I enjoy spending time outdoors, especially on the beach. I volunteer with the Miniature Schnauzer Rescue Society as often as I can. I really enjoy cooking and enjoying the company of friends.

Thanks to Mr. Capo for his participation.