Tag Archives: Houston municipal elections

TLCQ 2015: Moe Rivera

In the Third installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire, we hear from Moe Rivera, candidate for Houston City Council, At Large position 2.

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?

MR:  Moe Rivera


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

MR:  Negative, this is the second time I have run for 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?

MR:  Government is extremely important since it represents it’s  citizens and has the power to enact  and enforce laws.  Government is necessary to manage its people’s affairs, offers rights and protection and certain services without City chaos would exist. We need to elect officials that look out for everyone’s interest.


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

MR:  Promote a balanced budget and insure that expenses do not exceed its collected revenue (Tax, services and other revenues). I plan to do this by influencing other members of Council of our responsibility not to be in debt.  I plan to offer solutions to the city pension issue by offering the 777 contributory plan.  I will only approve responsible and reputable construction projects and service contracts that will not over burden our citizens or debt structure.


 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.  

MR:  Rebuild Houston plan prioritizes worst first let’s continue since the administration has promised certain neighborhoods that are next in line the allocation of those funds and it would be unfair to start over again.


 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.

MR:  Agree with coalition of six Council Members to place Council agenda without prior consent from the Mayor. This way we place the interests of all districts rather than the next mayor’s home district.


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?  

MR:  Agree we owe it to disabled citizens and cyclists.


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

MR:  Education; I have three degrees, Trilingual, I have lived here in Houston since 1984 and have a feel for its needs and have a passion to serve this city.


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

MR:  Free time is spent exercising (biking, swimming, racquetball playing) assisting church, family events and attending local sports events.


Thanks to Mr. Rivera for the responses.

Moe Rivera

HCDP Chair Lane Lewis To Run For Houston City Council

In the realm of partisan politics, Harris County Democratic Party Chairman Lane Lewis has proven himself one of the most influential and effective Democrats in the state of Texas.  Under his leadership, the state’s largest county voted majority Democratic in 3 straight electoral cycles.

But this week, Houstonians have learned that Lewis will turn his attention to the non-partisan arena in 2014.  Here’s the story directly from the Houston Chronicle

Harris County Democratic Party chair Lane Lewis will run for an at-large city council position, he told Democratic activists Wednesday evening.

Lewis, who has led the county’s party operation since 2011, is running to succeed Stephen Costello in At-Large Position 1, one of two open-seat at-large races next year. Lewis will remain party chair during his campaign.

Several other candidates already have appointed campaign treasurers in advance of runs for at-large positions, though only Philippe Nassif, a local Democratic activist, has specified that he will run for Position 1.

The announcement will almost certainly cause some significant changes to dynamics in the City Council races.  Like fellow bloggers Texpatriate, Dos Centavos and Off the Kuff, I too am left to wonder why so many candidates are leaning towards the At-Large 1 seat as opposed to At-Large 4.  Both seats will be open for the 2015 election cycle.  But with Lewis in the hunt for AL-1, there is no doubt that many Democrats will steer towards AL-4 to avoid potential conflicts.

As for Lewis himself, he benefits from a strong record of accomplishments, city-wide name ID and a massive infrastructure that would readily support his campaign.  Indeed a world of difference from 2009 when he last ran for the District A seat and was beaten by current Council Member Brenda Stardig.  Of course anything can happen in the next eleven months, but at this point, chances look good for Lane Lewis’ run at City Council.

Election Results

“As we build our city, let us think that we are building forever… ” …for a couple of years, enjoying and abusing for a few decades, leaving to rot without a smidge of maintenance and upkeep for a decade, then bulldozing to the ground to make way for ANOTHER hot, crusty gargantuan parking lot (as if there aren’t enough here already).

If you don’t get the reference, this is the centerpiece sculpture of Main Street Square in Downtown Houston. Despite many pre-election polls to the contrary, Harris County residents displayed their true colors last night, and voted against the proposal to save the Astrodome through raising taxes. The bond measure failed by a decisive 53 percent of the vote. As disappointed as preservationists may be about this decision, I think it’s important to realize that voters had very valid concerns with the proposal. 217 million dollars is a lot of money to pay for a plan that was not thoroughly marketed or well understood. Perhaps a rejection will now serve as motivation for the private sector to step up and save the iconic landmark, as Houston Mayor Annise Parker suggested at a recent press conference. But voters did narrowly pass the measure to build a city-county joint processing center, which is a good thing. All Texas state constitutional amendments passed. 
And now for the interesting municipal election news… 
 == Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker was reelected to a third term. It was a decisive victory, with Parker obtaining 57 percent of the vote against 8 challengers. Lead contender Ben Hall, for all of his money and exposure, only garnered 27 percent. This was truly a great night for the Parker campaign, and should be an example worth study for other aspiring Texas politicos. 
 == City Controller Ronald Green was reelected in a close race to challenger Bill Frazer. 
 == Some really interesting lessons to learn from the City Council races… 
 -Of course Council Members Ellen Cohen (C), Dave Martin (E), Ed Gonzalez (H), Mike Laster (J), and Larry Green (K) were all reelected as unopposed candidates. It’s tough to imagine how good a feeling it is to not have to stress out about the rigors of campaigning. Must be nice. District A ultimately turned out as expected, with Council Member Helena Brown being forced into a run-off with former Council Member Brenda Stardig. As promising as challengers like Amy Peck and Ron Hale seemed, they were unable to garner much traction with the voters. Prepare for a bitter runoff fight here. Council Member Jerry Davis won a decisive victory in District B. For the District D race, Dwight Boykins’ well-financed and well-organized campaign earned him the top finisher in the race, far out-pacing the other candidates. But it wasn’t enough to avoid a runoff, where he will face challenger Georgia Provost. Richard Nguyen defeated incumbent Council Member Al Hoang in the District F race. Most political analysts were not expecting that. Some have to wonder if voters were more approving of Nguyen, or if they were just expressing dissatisfaction with Hoang. In District G, Council Member Oliver Pennington was reelected as expected. But District I, on the other hand, was a total fight to the finish. Graci Garces finished slightly ahead of the pack, and a mere 20 votes nudged Robert Gallegos into the runoff over 3rd place Ben Mendez. That’s a razor-thin margin if I’ve ever heard of one.  
In At Large races, Council Members Stephen Costello (1), C.O. Bradford (4) and Jack Christie (5) each handily won reelection, garnering enough votes to comfortably avoid a runoff. But in At Large 2, Council Member Andrew Burks was not so lucky, finishing three percentage points below challenger David W. Robinson. Expect a fierce battle here for the runoff. Perhaps most implicative was the At Large 3 race, where strong Jenifer Pool and Rogene Calvert split the Progressive vote down the middle. This gave just enough room for the race’s top two finishers to be Conservatives Michael Kubosh and Roy Morales. Losing Council Member Melissa Noriega’s seat to a Conservative will be a true blow to Houston Progressives, though thankfully with Parker at the healm, it shouldn’t do too much substantive damage. 
I sincerely hope that At Large 3 teaches an important lesson to Houstonians, and Texans as a whole. If Democrats hope to ever gain a foothold in this state, we cannot afford to “Tea Party” our ticket like what was witnessed here. The second that we do, the Republicans will come up and swallow us whole. Even in an assumed “Blue dot” like Houston, we must never forget the red surrounds us on all sides, especially in a light turnout election. Races like this one should serve as even more motivation to the Left that voter registration and turnout has to be job number one. Otherwise, we better just enjoy being a Red State forever. 
More analysis will follow soon.