Tag Archives: Horwitz for Houston

TLCQ 2013: James S. Horwitz

In the Seventh installment of the 2013 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from James S. Horwitz, candidate for Houston City Council At Large Position 5.

Please note: Responses have been received 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 will be considered during the endorsement process.

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

JH: James S. Horwitz

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

JH: I have never held, or run for, public office before.

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

JH: In today’s time, there is an often-repeated metaphor for the role government should play. Some people believe government should stay out of most issues, whereas many others believe the government should be a key player in most issues. Disagreeing with both of these premises, I believe that government should be a referee in our society. The government should be an arbiter of disputes in our society, as well as the provider of certain invaluable services. In the case of the City of Houston, this includes our general welfare, utilities and protection.

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

JH: My top priority is to listen to my constituents, hear their concerns, and try if reasonable to help them. For example, recently, I took my son up to Boston as he continues his collegiate education. While on the plane, I struck up a conversation with the flight attendant—who is based in Houston. She told me that FAA regulations required her to occupy the gateway between the terminal and the plane for hours at a time, sometimes in the grueling heat. The City of Houston controls the air-conditioning in the gateway. They could turn it on for the benefit of the staff required to be in there. Just listening to this Houstonian has brought this issue —adding fans and air conditioning to airport gateways— to my attention, and it is one I will argue to be implemented. I am sure there are countless other issues that Houstonians have that I can learn about. In addition, strengthening public transportation, developing an comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people as well as expanding recycling service to all corners of the city are major concerns of mine.

TL: With the exception of city government and some other select businesses, Houstonians can still be fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender because we do not have a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance for general employment. This lags behind other Texas cities such as Dallas, Austin, and Ft. Worth. Do you support a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance for the city of Houston? If not, please explain why. If so, please explain how you would work to pass such a measure.

JH: I strongly support a non-discrimination ordinance, domestic partnership agreements and same-sex marriage (including a symbolic resolution by the City Council supporting it). Recently, Mayor Parker announced her intention to make this issue a priority for her possible third term. If elected, I will work closely with the Mayor to pass this ordinance out of the City Council, as well as strongly support a charter amendment to achieve this action.

TL: There have been an alarming number of complaints filed against officers in the Houston Police Department, accused of unwarranted police brutality towards citizens. A disproportionate amount of this violence occurs in minority communities, and in the vast majority of these cases, officers have gone unpunished. As a result, these incidents cause a cycle of mistrust between Houstonians and the very officers sworn to protect them. What can you do to increase oversight of the Houston Police Department, and help ensure that these incidents do not continue?

JH: I would work closely with the Houston Police Department to help the department conduct internal investigations of its officers. Unfortunately, these incidents have been going on since I moved to Houston in my teens in the 1960s. At that time, racist and corrupt police officers generally got a free pass from the City Government and Herman Short, the Chief of Police. However, today, I would like to think the situation has improved. I do believe that Mayor Parker and HPD Chief McClelland have been doing great work to punish brutality and oppression from HPD officers. I am reminded most vividly of the case of Andrew Bloomberg, a HPD officer recently acquitted of the videotaped senseless beating of a minor. After the verdict, both Parker and McClelland stood firm in ensuring Bloomberg would never again have a job with the Houston Police Department. Still, there are issues we must deal with to stop these miscarriages of justice.

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

JH: Many people may agree with my positions more than any other candidate. For example, I am the only candidate in this race who, in a recent election dialogue of the League of Women Voters, unequivocally supported a non-discrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people. I am the only candidate to go on-record supporting the pending Wage Theft ordinance in the City Council. There are countless other issues such as this one, where I stand alone in my position. While the other candidates in this election certainly have many honorable personal characteristics, I believe I have distinguished myself from them on the issues. If you agree with me on the many issues I have discussed on my website, “horwitz4houston.com,” then I believe I am the ideal candidate for you to support.

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

JH: I have a big family, and thoroughly enjoy spending as much time with them as I able to do so. I was extremely lucky, many years ago, not only to marry my amazing wife, Deborah —who raised our two sons, Geoffrey and Noah, with me— but to marry into her great family.

Thanks to Mr. Horwitz for his participation.

James S. Horwitz Challenges Christie for At Large 5

In something of a last- minute surprise, Council Member Jack Christie now has a serious contender. Houston attorney James S. Horwitz has officially filed for the At Large 5 seat. Here’s the official press release…

HOUSTON––James S. Horwitz, a local attorney, has officially filed his candidacy for the Houston City Council, at-large Position #5, against incumbent Councilmember Jack Christie. Horwitz, who has practiced law as a general practitioner for over 35 years, stated that it is time to restore ‘common sense’ to City Hall solutions, in an effort to carry out the will of the power.

“Over the past one and a half years,” Horwitz said, “the people of Houston have seen a startling departure from reality, and especially from common sense, on the part of Councilmember Christie. To start things off, he campaigned heavily in 2011 on falsehoods, perpetuating a false narrative that he received immense Democratic support.”

Horwitz continued to delineate the reasons Councilmember Christie is unfit for his position, and mentioned punitive –if not bizarre– positions and votes the Councilmember has taken in the last few months. “Councilmember Christie was the sole no vote on an ordinance to receive Federal assistance on juvenile immunizations,” Horwitz said. “I wish this was just a fluke, but it wasn’t. He continued at length at the time, railing on further against flu vaccines. The Texas Medical Center is the largest employer within the City of Houston, and it does not help the City to have such a high level representative who is ignorant of one of the benefits of modern medicine”

“As a ten year cancer survivor, and therefore beneficiary of modern medicine” Horwitz continued, “I find it irresponsible that such a high level representative of our city would take such a position.

Councilmember Christie even voted with some of his colleagues to retain a punitive ordinance against rummaging through refuse for food. In the Councilmember’s world, Horwitz said, the homeless are simply nothing more than common criminals.

Horwitz pledged to be a consensus-builder at City Hall, specifically between the sometimes opposing factions led by Mayor Annise Parker and Councilmember C.O. Bradford. “I think both of these individuals have very good plans for our City,” Horwitz said. “But ultimately, this City works best when we work together towards comprehensive solutions that encompass multiple points of view.”

“Given that Councilmember Christie was unopposed thus far in the general election,” Horwitz said, “I felt it my duty to give the City of Houston’s voters a choice in the election.”

Horwitz may have entered the fray late, but his campaign wasted no time creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, and is planning to launch a website in the near future. The candidate came out swinging, denouncing Christie’s stance on marriage equality, and reminding voters of his misinformed views about influenza. The Council Member voted against allocating funds for child immunizations, and actually stated that people “don’t die from the flu.” Needless to say, the comments were quite controversial, and Christie received harsh criticism from members of the Texas Medical Association.

For a viable run, Mr. Horwitz has an uphill battle to get the word out about his candidacy, and raise some funds against an incumbent with the (assumed) weight of the Republican establishment behind him. One has to also wonder how Horwitz would’ve faired in the early endorsement cycle, especially considering that Christie earned the GLBT caucus nod even though he’s publicly opposed marriage equality in the past. It will be interesting to see how this race plays out.