Tag Archives: Jenifer Rene Pool

Texas Leftist 2016 Endorsements

For those interested, here are the Texas Leftist endorsements for 2016.

Texas Leftist has chosen to endorse candidates because they have demonstrated a commitment to advancing public policies that will improve the lives of Texans.  Though each person’s individual positions vary, they are generally candidates that stand for equality, social justice, healthcare expansion, living wage and economic prosperity.

Election Day 2016 is Tuesday November 8th, and Early Voting runs from October 24th through November 4th.  For Houston area voters, here’s early voting information for Harris CountyFort Bend County, Brazoria County, Montgomery County, and Galveston County.  For other areas, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s Elections Page for your county information.

 

 

Federal Races

U.S. President:                                                 Hillary Rodham Clinton (D)

U.S. Rep. District 2:                                       Pat Bryan (D)

U.S. Rep. District 7:                                      James Cargas (D)

U.S. Rep. District 9:                                       Al Green (D)

U.S. Rep. District 18:                                    Sheila Jackson Lee (D)

U.S. Rep. District 22:                                    Mark Gibson (D)

 

State Races

Railroad Commissioner:                             Mark Miller (L)  [TLCQ 2016]

State Board of Education, 6:                     R. Dakota Carter (D)

Justice, Supreme Court Place 3:            Mike Westergren (D)

Justice, Supreme Court Place 5:            Dori Contreras Garza (D)

Justice, Supreme Court Place 9:            Eva Guzman (R)

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 2:      Lawrence “Larry” Meyers (D)

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 5:      Betsy Johnson (D)

Court of Criminal Appeals Place 6:      Robert Burns (D)

 

State Senator, District 13:                            Borris Miles (D)

State Rep. District 126:                                 Joy Dawson- Thomas (D)

State Rep. District 127:                                 Joseph McElligott (G)

State Rep. District 134:                                 Ben Rose (D)

State Rep. District 135:                                 Jesse A. Ybanez (D)

State Rep. District 137:                                 Gene Wu (D)

State Rep. District 147:                                   Garnet Coleman (D)

State Rep. District 149:                                  Hubert Vo (D)

State Rep. District 150:                                  Michael Shawn Kelly (D)

 

District Races

Chief Justice, 1st Court of Appeals:          Jim Peacock (D)

1st Court of Appeals, Place 4:                       Barbara Gardner (D)

14th Court of Appeals, Place 2:                   Candance White (D)

14th Court of Appeals, Place 9:                   Peter M. Kelly (D)

11th Judicial District:                                         Kristen Hawkins (D)

61st Judicial District:                                          Fredericka Phillips (D)

80th Judicial District:                                         Larry Welman (D)

125th Judicial District:                                      Kyle Carter (D)

127th Judicial District:                                      R.K. Sandill (D)

129th Judicial District:                                      Michael Gomez (D)

133rd Judicial District:                                      Jaclanel McFarland (D)

151st Judicial District:                                       Mike Engelhart (D)

152nd Judicial District:                                      Robert K. Schaffer (D)

164th Judicial District:                                      Alexandra Smoots-Hogan

165th Judicial District:                                      Ursula A. Hall (D)

174th Judicial District:                                      Hazel B. Jones (D)

176th Judicial District:                                      Nikita “Niki” Harmon (D)

177th Judicial District:                                      Robert Johnson (D)

178th Judicial District:                                       Kelli Johnson (D)

179th Judicial District:                                       Randy Roll (D)

215th Judicial District:                                       Fred Shucart (R)

333rd Judicial District:                                       Daryl Moore (D)

334th Judicial District:                                       Steven Kirkland (D)

337th Judicial District:                                       Herb Ritchie (D)

 

Harris County Races

District Attorney:                                                 Kim Ogg (D)

Sheriff:                                                                         Ed Gonzalez (D)

County Attorney:                                                  Vince Ryan (D)

County Clerk:                                                          Ann Harris- Bennett (D)

County Commissioner, Pct. 3:                      Jenifer Rene Pool (D)

County School Trustee Pos. 2:                      Sherrie L. Matula (D)

County School Trustee Pos. 4:                      Marilyn Burgess (D)

Constable, Precinct 1:                                        Alan Rosen (D)

Constable, Precinct 6:                                        Silvia Trevino (D)

Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5, Place 1:          William “Bill” McLeod (D)

HISD Proposition 1:                                            AGAINST

 

The following resources were consulted for the 2016 Texas Leftist endorsements:  Project Vote SmartHouston Association of Women Attorneys, The Texas Tribune, The Houston Chronicle Endorsements, The Dallas Morning News, Houston GLBT Caucus, Off The Kuff, and Ballotpedia.

 

2016

 

 

Pool Condemns Radack’s “People Enjoy Floods” Comment

In a state as divided and gerrymandered as Texas, it’s easy to assume that many of the state and local elections to be held this November are just about decided after the Primaries.  Districts are drawn to be so heavily Republican or Democratic, it is highly unlikely to see any sort of “surprise” happen on Election Day.  Even with candidate Jenifer Rene Pool‘s much celebrated and historic victory in the Primaries, the odds of defeating 6- term Republican Incumbent Steve Radack were always assumed to be long.

But where there’s a microphone, a politician and a video camera, there is inevitably room to challenge assumptions.  Here’s the story from Jennifer Bauer of KPRC news

HOUSTON – A video recorded on August 4 has upset some Houston residents, especially those affected by the widespread floods in 2015 and 2016.

The short video clip shows Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack, of Precinct 3, giving a presentation.

“There are some people, frankly, over the years and the many years I’ve been doing this, that enjoy floods,” Radack said. “They like to see a flood about every seven years because they want new cars. They want their homes redone.”

Someone in the audience recorded the video and posted it online, and now some flood victims are speaking out.

“It upset me. It upset quite a few people,” said Carlos Goenaga, a Meyerland resident whose home flooded in both the Memorial Day flood of 2015 and the Tax Day flood of 2016. “He’s either inexcusably ignorant or just extremely cynical.”

Given his long and well-respected tenure nearly three decades in office, the comments not only surprised many Harris County residents, but were deeply disturbing to those that have suffered from the area’s devastating floods.  Democratic challenger Pool was quick to respond to Radack via Twitter…

Pool v Radack

For some livid Houstonians, “out of touch” is an understatement.

It would be easy to think that Pool is simply ceasing the moment on this one issue, but her long record of experience on infrastructure issues proves otherwise.  Posted last month on her campaign website (and well before Radack’s comments), Pool has made the challenge of flooding a central part of her platform

“We can lessen the impact of flooding and provide a more safe and secure future for our residents with common sense changes.”

As Off the Kuff rightly points out, Steve Radack not only has the advantage of incumbency on his side, but also has an insurmountable fundraising lead over Jenifer Pool.  But of course anything could happen this November.  Like a true Houston summer, this race is officially heating up.

TLCQ 2015 Responses

For information purposes only, here are all of the TLCQ 2015 Respondents.  Hopefully this will serve to increase the available information for Houstonians as we head into Early Voting next week.

Endorsements soon to follow.

Houston Mayor

 

Houston City Council

 

At Large Position 1

At Large Position 2

At Large Position 3

At Large Position 4

At Large Position 5

 

District B

District C

District G

District H

 

If you live in the city of Houston, this election matters.  Houston is a growing city that will face many challenges over the coming decades.  It is the next Mayor and City Council which will decide how we handle them.  Get informed, and V-O-T-E!!

 

 

(if you like this Texas Leftist post, please consider a donation!  Help us encourage Progressive, common sense ideals in the Lone Star State!!)

TLCQ 2015: Jenifer Rene Pool

In the Nineteenth installment of the 2015 Texas Leftist Candidate Questionnaire we hear from Jenifer Rene Pool candidate for Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1.

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?

JP:  Jenifer Rene Pool

 

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

JP:  No.

 

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

JP:  Government is the people’s way of acting collectively for the betterment of the community and its citizens.

 

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

JP:  1.  Improve the services at the Permitting Center by instituting solid business principles to make the process more efficient.

2.  Make sure our TIRZ agreements are following their mandates and spending money for the good of all citizens.

 

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 Houston program. 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.

JP:   Yes.  I believe that the principle of “pay as you go” represented by ReBuild Houston is the best way our city can invest in infrastructure and not continue borrowing on the future to pay for today.

 

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.

JP:  Yes.  A Strong-Mayoral government may have been the best in years past when Houston was a much smaller city.  However we are a different city today, and Council Members represent a quarter million people.  Their contributions should be heard.

 

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?

JP:  Yes, I am in full support of the administrations’ Complete Streets policy.

 

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

JP:  I am a successful businesswoman with years of experience serving the people of Houston as a liason between citizens and the city government.  I was appointed by Mayor Bill White to the Buildings and Standards Commission in 2009, and to the Police Advisory Commission by Mayor Annise Parker in 2010.  With expertise in political activism, infrastructure repair and and construction management, I have an intimate knowledge of what needs to be done to improve city services and how to accomplish the best outcomes for all Houstonians.

 

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

JP:  I work with women recovering from physical and drug abuse to empower them to succeed and build a better future.

 

Thanks to Ms. Pool 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.

 

Jenifer

Candidates Gravitate To Houston At Large 1 Race

Though we are still a long way out from the high campaign season, Houston City Council races are already starting to get complicated… especially for Progressive, Pro-Equality voters. As John Wright reports via Project Q Houston, two of the city’s most notable political forces are now in a crowded field for City Council…

 

After narrowly missing a runoff for Houston City Council in 2013, Jenifer Rene Pool hoped 2015 would be her year.

Pool, who’s vying to make history as Texas’ first transgender elected official, decided in early 2014 to run for the At-Large Position 1 seat, which will be open in November because incumbent Stephen Costello is term-limited.

Pool, who ran for the At Large Position 3 seat in 2013, changed her website and Facebook page to reflect the new campaign, in addition to printing business cards and voter pushcards.

“Anybody who knew me knew that I was running for At-large Position 1,” Pool said. “I’d always hoped that this year the community would rally behind my campaign – to win this time.”

But those hopes were dampened during a holiday party for Houston Democratic clubs in December, Pool said. That’s when Lane Lewis, a gay man who serves as chair of the county party, announced he’ll also seek the At-Large Position 1 seat.

 

Wright’s post goes on to state that Pool was not pleased with Lewis’ decision to run for the seat.  Lewis had no comment.

On the one hand, Houston’s Progressive, Pro-Equality community should be glad to have a strong slate of candidates for the 2015 election.  Even with Mayor Parker’s time in office coming to a close, it’s great to see other LGBT leaders, allies courageous enough to join the cause.

On the other hand, it is perplexing that everyone insists on running for one very popular seat when others are available. Strong candidates like Pool, Lewis and newcomer Philippe Nassif have continued to pile into the At Large Position 1 race, while another seat for At Large Position 4 remains noticeably thin on challengers… save for the well-qualified Laurie Robinson. Those unfamiliar with Houston politics may wonder why so many candidates are filing for one seat over another.  Both are At Large, meaning any Houston resident can run for the seat, regardless of where they live.

The short answer?  Many assume that because Council Member C.O. Bradford is African-American, there has to be another African-American take over his seat.  But the assumption is inaccurate.  With 11 district seats and 5 At Large, the Council has plenty of opportunities for anyone and everyone that would like to run.  Saving At Large 4 for candidates that haven’t even filed yet is not logical.

Which brings us to the original post topic. “Opportunity” is also a key term in this equation, because each candidate has a unique set of opportunities that they can leverage in the 2015 elections.  But they don’t all rest in At Large 1.  For example, if Pool were to switch to At Large 3, she would likely have a much larger support base in a head-to-head match up with CM Kubosh than she could attain having to split the “Democrat” vote and donor/endorsement base with Lewis. Given the unique history surrounding Pool, Kubosh and their opposing roles in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, this seems the most logical match up for a 2015 contest.  At Large 4 is also an option for anyone wishing to pursue it, but would seem a much better fit at this point for Nassif.

With months to go before the filing deadlines, we can all expect to see much political jockeying.  When all the dust settles, let’s hope that those changes don’t leave the city’s healthy community of Progressive voters with some tough choices to make.  Unlike past election cycles, 2015 is a year where there seems to be room enough for all.

 

Montrose Residents Mobilize For Better Sidewalks

More than a century old, Montrose is one of the most well-known neighborhoods in Houston.  In that time, it’s been home to American Presidents, world-famous celebrities and various counter-cultural movements. It’s also quite possible that many Montrose residents and visitors are walking on 100-year old, original sidewalks.  One can only imagine the poor condition when many sidewalks haven’t been repaired since the Wilson administration.  As KPRC Local 2 reports, many in the neighborhood are fed up.

Families in Montrose are circulating a petition demanding the city to fix a dangerous problem in their neighborhood. We’re talking about sidewalks, or the lack of them, in some areas of Montrose.

The group has sent out a letter to residents asking them to sign a petition to ask the city for help in getting some repairs to the sidewalks. The sidewalks are chipped, broken or missing altogether, but the city says the repairs are not necessarily its responsibility.

Montrose is one of the trendiest neighborhoods inside the Loop, filed with little shops, restaurants and quaint homes. But now, more than ever, residents say the neighborhood’s aging sidewalks and streets are in desperate need of repair.

“They are always uneven, they are always littered, they’re impassable, so I end up walking in the street,” said resident Anna La Perna. “You can’t use the sidewalk.” The Montrose Sidewalks Coalition, a group made up of residents, sent a letter to neighbors asking them to sign a petition to encourage Mayor Annise Parker and the city to help with the issue.

“I think she is doing nothing and not enough. She is worried about a select few and not all of us,” said La Perna. The group also says people are tripping and getting hurt because of the mess.

Full disclosure… I am both a resident of Montrose and a frequent pedestrian and user of public transportation.  Just like the above, I end up walking on the street rather than risk tripping on large, broken pieces of sidewalk.  That said, I fully share the frustration of my neighbors and want these sidewalks fixed.  But under current municipal law, the City of Houston is not responsible for fixing sidewalks, and instead passes that burden on to property owners.

As the Montrose Sidewalks Coalition points out in their petition, the current ordinance may also present some bigger problems…

Our community’s children do not have safe routes to school and are forced into the street with oncoming traffic due to missing and broken sidewalks. We have many schools within easy walking distance, however the state of our school routes is appalling.

Many visually and mobility impaired citizens live in or visit Montrose for specialized services available in Montrose. The infrastructure is not ADA compliant and a significant barrier to access. Accessible design for the visually impaired is almost non existent. As older residents age in place, this will increasingly become a safety issue of large proportions.

Several sections of Montrose, suffering from a triumvirate of poor sidewalks, jagged curbs and pothole-ridden streets do not meet basic compliance standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Could the lack of maintenance on Houston’s sidewalks leave the city liable in an injury or death case?  Would it leave property owners liable if someone hurts themselves on a poor sidewalk?

Poor sidewalks are a problem in every corner of Houston… not just Montrose.  A constant complaint shared by Houstonians, it is starting to capture major attention in the city’s  political debate.   Jenifer Rene Pool, a long-time public advocate and candidate for Houston City Council, made sidewalks a central issue of her 2013 campaign, and even recorded a YouTube video to state why these repairs are so important. As Pool points out below, sidewalks should be a cornerstone of the city’s general mobility plan.  For seniors or someone with a disability, it’s just not safe to get around by foot or in a wheelchair.  If other neighborhoods follow the lead of the Montrose petitioners, you can be sure sidewalks will be a hot topic in the 2015 elections.

This is not to say that nothing has been done.  Mayor Parker has made some good faith efforts to address the problem, most notably a complete streets executive order that ensures any future construction done by the city will take into account all forms of mobility, including safe, usable sidewalks.  Even if city government can’t immediately correct mistakes of the past, at least someone has a better plan for the future.  But until this executive order becomes an ordinance, there’s no guarantee that a future Mayoral administration would follow these practices.

Houston is changing rapidly, and perhaps no area has experienced those changes faster than Montrose. But every resident of the Bayou City deserves top quality infrastructure.  After so many decades of neglect and a massive amount of ground to cover, it’s going to be a massive challenge to accomplish and pay for such repairs.  But waiting any longer is also not an option.  If Houston is to be a true national leader in the 21st century, we can’t do it on infrastructure from the early 20th century.  True leadership has to start from the ground up.

 

 

Kubosh Holds Town Hall on NDO

As Houston City Council prepares to vote on a comprehensive Non- Discrimination Ordinance, the focus of the political debate has turned swiftly to Council Members themselves, as everyone postulates to determine how they plan to vote.  But some Council Members are taking this time as an opportunity to hear directly from Houstonians on the issue.

In something of a surprising move, Michael Kubosh whom represents the entire city of Houston as an At-Large Council Member, held a Town Hall to specifically to discuss the ordinance.  The meeting was organized by political activist and business owner Jenifer Rene Pool.  As some will recall, Pool ran against Kubosh in 2013 for his current council seat, At-Large Position 3, but since the election, the two have spoken numerous times about the non-discrimination issue.  Pool served as the moderator for the event.

One of those speakers was Monica Roberts, award-winning transgender activist and author of the Transgriot blog.  She shared her personal story of being fired from her former employer because she is transgender.  She also made an important point about how the lack of these protections could be lessening Houston’s competitive edge…

“Of the 10 largest cities in the United States, this city is one of two that does not have an ordinance to protect all of its citizens.  Those others are cities that Houston competes with to get corporations and high-profile business deals.”  said Roberts.

Mike Craig, the operations and planning director for  Out and Equal Houston, made some related points in his comments…

“The city of Houston is in direct competition with cities all across the country for people to come here and work.  The next generation of young workers… they expect that there is not going to be workplace discrimination.  I want those people to know that they are welcome in Houston.”

Some also took the opportunity to question the Council Member about his past statements on equality.  When he was running for office, Kubosh indicated on several questionnaires that he would not support a “San- Antonio style ordinance” that extended equality protections to citizens regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.  His reply to the questions was direct, saying that since the campaign, he has gotten to know more people affected by these issues and has a better understanding of them from personal level.

Former Council Member Jolanda “Jo” Jones also attended, and shared her insight on why the ordinance should be passed…

“It is important for the city to get on the right side of the Human Rights fight.  To me, this is not a GLBT issue, it is a Human Rights issue.”

Throughout the Town Hall, citizens shared their stories, and worked hard to combat some of the “myths” that have overtaken the right-wing discussions in the equality debate.  I did not ask the Council Member’s thoughts directly following the meeting, but the fact that it was even held is an indication of progress.  Kubosh listened very intently to his constituents, and showed concern for their issues.

The next setting for this debate takes place on Wednesday, April 30th at City Hall, for a Quality of Life Committee meeting.  It’s expected to have a large crowd, so if you plan to attend, get there early.

JRP Kubosh