TLCQ 2013: Endorsements in City Council At Large Races

Though he’s drawn one challenger in perennial candidate Mike “Griff” Griffin, Council Member Stephen Costello is looking strong for reelection in At Large Position 1. Costello is a Republican, but his style of politics is far-removed from the grand-standing hyper-partisanship of Washington. As head of the Budget Committee, Costello has become an important ally to the Parker administration and helped to garner much consensus among his council colleagues (no government shutdown in H-Town). He has chosen to go after some of the city’s biggest issues, including the municipal pension fund, the continuing struggle with food deserts and Rebuild Houston. To the latter, Costello has been a leading voice for not only the passage of Rebuild Houston, but also worked hard to monitor its implementation and see that tax dollars are spent wisely. For all these reasons, Council Member Costello deserves a final term. The pick for At Large 1 is Stephen Costello.

Though only in his first term, At Large 2 Council Member Andrew C. Burks has already left a dramatic impression on Houston municipal politics. In many instances, he has been an important voice to issues that previously had little focus in government, especially those relating to the city’s minority communities. He has continued to remind council of the vast poverty and inequality we see in our underserved neighborhoods, and at times has even lodged political power to ensure that these issues are addressed. For Texas Leftist, fighting for Houston’s most vulnerable citizens is something to be admired. This is Burks at his best. But for all of these moments, Council Member Burks has also publicly berated constituents appearing at City Hall, openly threatened his opponents, and done other things that are counter to the mission of good governance. For all of these reasons, it is time for a change in At Large 2, and that change David W. Robinson. As an architect, President of the Super-Neighborhood Alliance and committed civic leader, Robinson will lend a wealth of experience to some of the next great challenges. He was an important leader of the passage of Chapter 42, and like Council Member Costello, I suspect Robinson would be just as committed to seeing the new density requirements implemented successfully. The pick for At Large 2 is David W. Robinson.

In At Large 3 Texas Leftist will not be issuing an endorsements a I am already supporting candidate Jenifer Rene Pool’s campaign as a volunteer. But I highly recommend that readers consult other endorsements in this race, all of which are conveniently compiled on Off the Kuff’s 2013 elections page.

At Large 4 Council Member C.O. Bradford is not without his dramatic moments, but on the whole he has done a good job of representing the views of a diverse constituency. For all of the vocal opposition he gives to the Parker Administration, ultimately Council Member Bradford works to find good compromise and keep the city moving forward. As a former Police Chief, his tireless advocacy for our public servants is a voice that needs to be heard in local government. The pick for At Large 4 is C.O. Bradford.

Eccentricity is a word that comes to mind with At Large 5 Council Member Jack Christie. As the Chronicle endorsement points out, Christie’s sensationalist remarks are still mostly rhetoric, and have not caused any genuine harm around the Council table. When it comes time to vote, Christie has shown much willingness to work with his colleagues and get the business of the city accomplished. Texas Leftist is grateful for that, but the whole purpose of having elections is to find the BEST persons for the job. Why can’t Houstonians have both a good role model on City Council and someone that espouses more sound judgments in his public views? It’s what we deserve. Amongst two strong opposing candidates, the standout in this race is James S. Horwitz. The Houston attorney has a strong record of community service, and Progressive views that would be a great asset to council. As the city continues to grow with bold new initiatives like Rebuild Houston, Chapter 42, rail line expansion and complete streets, Houstonians need stability within our municipal leadership. Unlike the Chronicle staff writers, Texas Leftist does not believe that Christie’s behavior should just be ignored. The pick for At Large 5 is James S. Horwitz.

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