In the Twelfth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Joseph McElligott, candidate for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 3.
Please note: Responses are directly from the candidate, and have been posted ver batim from the email received. This is done out of fairness to all candidates. Publishing these responses does not constitute an endorsement, but may be considered during the endorsement process.
TL: What is your name, as it will appear on the ballot?
JM: Joseph McElligott
TL: As a political candidate, you clearly care about what happens in certain levels of government. In your own words, why is government important?
JM: Government is important, but more important is transparency and cost effective ideas. Many politicians like to use catchy phrases like “revenue cap” or “taxpayer bill of rights”. Houston refers to it as the revenue cap while other cities and states call it TABOR. (taxpayer bill of rights. As is to be expected with most politicians, the current formula used for the city of houston budget is neither a cap nor a bill of rights. Instead it is a corporate hand out and places the city budget on the backs of the veterans, poor and middle class.
The easiest way to solve the city of houston financial issue is to repeal the revenue cap. It would only cost taxpayers $12.27 per year, per home. Colorado is having serious problems in regards to infrastructure, education and revenue in regards to TABOR (taxpayer bill of rights).
TL: If elected, what is your top priority in office for the upcoming term? Describe how you plan to accomplish it.
JM: Educate voters about the stupidity of TABOR and put it on the 2017 ballot to be repealed.
TL: After decades of deferred maintenance and neglect, Houston’s infrastructure is in a critical state of disrepair. Ask any driver, cyclist or pedestrian, and they can readily tell you that city streets and sidewalks are crumbling… some to the extent that they pose significant danger to those that would traverse them. The Parker Administration has attempted to address the problem by the voter-approved ReBuild Houstonprogram. Knowing that the next Mayor has no choice but to invest in city infrastructure, do you support the continuation of ReBuild Houston? If yes, please explain why. If no, please explain how you would address our copious infrastructure needs differently.
JM: I support repealing TABOR. The elephant in the room is TABOR and getting it repealed, the state of Texas already has a TABOR. It’s either present years value or last years value plus 10%, this is more than reasonable. The reason we just now hit the TABOR ceiling is because it was enacted in 2004, the recession started in 2007/2008 and we “came out” of the recession in 2013/2014.
TL: At present the city of Houston has one of the strongest forms of “strong-Mayor governance” in the state of Texas, to the point that the Mayor alone decides what business comes before City Council. If elected, would you support an amendment to the City Charter that would allow any coalition of 6 Council Members to place items on the Council Agenda without prior approval from the Mayor? Whether yes or no, please explain your answer.
JM: I believe this needs to be further explored. There are 16 council members total. I believe a simple majority could also be explored and could be viewed as more democratic.
TL: If elected, would you support and seek to continue the current administration’s Complete Streets policy, which establishes that any new or significant re-build of city streets will work to prioritize and incorporate safe access for all road users, including pedestrians, persons with disabilities and cyclists?
JM: Yes, but again we can’t do this without repealing TABOR.
TL: What makes you the best candidate for this office?
JM: I’m the only candidate in at-large 3 with a public policy platform that discusses each issue in depth and offers 2-3 solutions for each one.
TL: When not on the campaign trail, how do you like to spend your free time?
JM: Spending time with family
Thanks to Mr. McElligott for the responses.
Election Day 2015 is Tuesday November 3rd, and Early Voting runs from October 19th through October 30th. Check out this year’s Harris County Early Voting information for locations and times.