Tag Archives: Michael Kubosh

After Camera Repeal, Houston Leads Nation In ‘Red-Light Runner’ Fatalities

It’s likely been a suspicion to residents that Houston has some of the nation’s worst drivers.  As a flat city with several incredibly wide streets, some motorists like to pretend that every thruway is their own personal drag strip.  Sadly, this wild accusation may not be too far from reality, as Katy Fowler of the Sun Times Network reports…

According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads, Houston is the nation’s most dangerous city for red-light running.

From 2004 to 2013, 181 people were killed in Houston as the result of someone running a red light, according to the NCSR report.

In the past year, several Texas cities have installed red light cameras to discourage motorists from running red lights, but the efficacy of red light cameras is iffy.

After a successful petition led in part by attorney (now At-Large City Council Member) Michael Kubosh, Houston voters repealed use of the cameras by a decisive margin.

But new Houston city data provides evidence to strengthen the case for the use of cameras, and may even encourage their use across the nation.  Here’s more on that from Angie Schmitt from StreetsBlog USA


The HPD data contrasted crash figures from 2006 to 2010 — when the cameras were in operation — and from 2010 to 2014, after they were banned and removed. At the intersections that formerly had cameras, fatal crashes jumped 30 percent. Meanwhile, total crashes were up 116 percent. And DWI crashes nearly tripled, increasing by 186 percent.

Statistics like these should alarm anyone, even those that may have originally supported the repeal of red light cameras.  As other Texas cities have done, maybe it is time for Houston to re-visit this issue.  No matter the inconvenience, if these cameras save lives and critical damage from additional accidents, they might be worth the time and effort to be restored.

red light cameras

(photo credit:  On the Beat Blog




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.


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





Houston GLBT Caucus Calls Out Council on NDO

In contemporary times, it’s difficult to win any election without endorsements. Short of spending a fortune on TV ads, they are often the best way to get a candidate’s name out to the voters. But as any candidate is well aware, endorsements typically have to be earned through a record of service and a rigorous screening process.

For Houston and Harris County, one of the most important endorsements that a political candidate can earn is that of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The Caucus endorsement means additional votes, and has been the difference between victory and defeat in several local races. So it’s no surprise that most of the municipal candidates for office, both Democrat and Republican, seek this most esteemed prize.

Yesterday, the GLBT Caucus redefined the brewing debate over Houston’s coming Human Rights Ordinance. Though Mayor Parker made a firm pledge to pass a Human Rights Ordinance in her recent State of the City speech, the planned legislation, to the disappointment of many in progressive community, does not extend to private employment because it wouldn’t have the votes to pass Council. But judging from the GLBT Caucus’ 2013 candidate questionnaire, those votes should already be locked down. Eleven Council Members promised to support a comprehensive Non-Discrimination Ordinance during the Caucus screening process, and now that organization is calling them out on that promise.

Posted on the group’s Facebook page, the Caucus confirms that Council Members Jerry Davis, Ellen Cohen, Dwight Boykins, Ed Gonzalez, Robert Gallegos, Mike Laster, Larry Green, Steven Costello, David W. Robinson, C. O. Bradford and Jack Christie all pledged public support for a comprehensive Non-Discrimination Ordinance.

Eleven votes (presumably twelve including the Mayor) out of a Sixteen-member Council is certainly enough to pass the ordinance, with more potential votes lining up. Noah M. Horwitz of Texpatriate did some legwork on this, and even spoke to CM Bradford directly for a most interesting response. I called Council Member Michael Kubosh’s office, and here is what a staff member had to say…

“Council Member Kubosh is against discrimination in all forms, and is looking forward to seeing the proposed ordinance.”

Even with this cautious response from a staff member, sources close to Texas Leftist say that Council Member Kubosh would be likely to support a Non-Discrimination Ordinance that extends to private employment. Said source worked with Kubosh on this issue prior to his election to City Council, and has spoken with him recently as well.

Of course there is no record of Kubosh’s stance, as he did not seek the GLBT Caucus endorsement. But for the Council Members that did, they deserve to be held to their word. Some questions still remain here… What about the other side? Who in the Business community is pressuring Council to not pass the ordinance? Why do they want to support discrimination, and more importantly, why is their voice on the issue loud enough to counter the voices of citizens?

Those answers need to be discovered. Lone Star Q has much more on the topic.