Tag Archives: TLCQ 2013 endorsements

TLCQ 2013: Endorsement for Mayor of Houston

The race for Mayor of Houston is big business. Whether that be from the standpoint of running the government equivalent of a $5 Billion dollar corporation, or from the nearly $2 million dollars needed to wage a credible campaign, having a serious shot at winning the office takes some serious commitment.

When I first met Ben Hall back in April, that serious commitment was on full display. He spoke with careful eloquence and clear conviction about why he was entering the Mayor’s race. He proved to be very knowledgeable about the Bayou City, and spoke of how he’s been disappointed in the work of “the incumbent” over the past 4 years. Hall offered little in the way of specifics, but his vision for the city was truly grand. I knew that Mayor Parker had drawn a real challenge for the 2013 elections.

That was then, and this is now. Ben Hall has not lived up to a very promising first impression. Instead of offering a different vision for the city, he instead chose to berate the incumbent as “small-minded”, when in reality it is Hall’s campaign that has proven to be so.

While Hall has spent his time being small-minded, Mayor Annise Parker has mostly done the work of the city in an admirable fashion. After four years of weathering a difficult economic storm, Houston businesses are doing better than any place in the nation. This is partly due to the good fortunes of Texas’ strong energy sector, but make no mistake, the city would be in a worse position if not for Parker’s dedication and meticulous planning. Programs like Hire Houston First gave contracts to local businesses in a time that they were needed the most, helping to quicken the Bayou City’s lift out of the Recession. Parker led major trade missions Brazil and Turkey, planting the seeds for important economic opportunities in the city’s future. Though we may not see all of the progress yet, the Rebuild Houston initiative created a long-term, fiscally responsible plan to fix city streets, and decrease debt. None of these things are paying immediate dividends, and none of them can be held up as some shiny political prize. But the long-term investment in Houston is going to make for a better city, and Parker is doing it the hard way. She’s tackling big issues, one day at a time and seeing how we can make things better.

For all of the things she’s tackled head-on, there are still a host of issues where Annise Parker has been far too risk averse. Texas Leftist is hopeful that her third term will finally bring some significant legislation to protect GLBT citizens from discrimination, and to address the troubling discriminatory practices within Houston’s law enforcement agencies. But for 2013, Annise Parker has proven that she deserves to win reelection. I look forward to what the 3rd term brings.

The pick for Mayor of Houston is Annise Parker.

TLCQ 2013: Endorsements in City Council Districts F-K

Bolstered by unprecedented growth and diversification in Houston’s Asian community, District F is rapidly becoming a second epicenter of the Bayou City. The Asia Town area is exploding with new businesses and entrepreneurial ventures, and needs a council member with the energy, vitality and commitment to voice all of these interests within city government. After a tough campaign in 2011, current incumbent Al Hoang reclaimed his seat. Council Member Hoang’s primary focuses have been crime reduction throughout the district, and to bring in more public investment. Efforts to reduce crime have yielded significant success. While the increased public investment has been much slower, this element is finally coming into the picture. As he seeks a final term, I am hopeful that Hoang will realize what a critical role he has on Council, and fight even harder to bring investment dollars to the area. The pick for District F is Al Hoang.

As home to some of Houston’s wealthiest residents in the River Oaks, Galleria and Memorial areas, District G is not short on power and influence within city government. But even with such affluence, the district also has its fair share of challenges. Conservative Council Member Oliver Pennington has represented his constituents very well. Far-removed from the Teapublicanism of Washington, Pennington has exercised common sense judgment and good stewardship for the needs of Houstonians. Even when voicing reservations of some projects he considers “spending”, he always shares a well-reasoned opinion before casting his vote. As a Liberal blog, Texas Leftist have not agreed with all of Pennington’s actions on council. But he is respected for always being willing to all sides of an issue and acting in good faith for his constituents. Though his opponent Brian Taef has run an impressive campaign, Council Member Pennington deserves another term. The pick for District G is Oliver Pennington.

The pick for District H is incumbent Ed Gonzalez, who is running unopposed.

Though District I may have seemed a more simplistic neighborhood community in previous years, the area has really began to heat up. With massive new investments underway in Downtown, EaDo and in other areas, Texas Leftist agrees with the Chronicle that whoever represents this District ‘should have no learning curve’. All four candidates in this arena have a wealth of experience and qualifications, and any would probably be a good addition to City Council. So much so that it’s quite surprising that none of them (particularly Graci Garces) thought to run for an At-Large seat. But one person in particular seems the best fit to represent District I. Robert Gallegos’ decades of service as a Civic Club President and Founding member and President of the Eastwood/ Lawndale Super-neighborhood have given him a proven record of success for the area. One of his most recent accomplishments was the building of an extensive coalition to support an underpass for the East End rail line. He’s also been proven in the political arena, working as a critical community liason for then-County Commissioner (now State Senator) Sylvia Garcia. With such disparate interests set to converge within District I, Gallegos the person with the skills to bring everyone to the table. The pick for District I is Robert Gallegos.

The pick for District J is incumbent Mike Laster, who is running unopposed.

The pick for District K is incumbent Larry Green, who is running unopposed.

TLCQ 2013: Endorsements- Harris County Bond Election

As the largest county government in the state of Texas, and 3rd largest in the nation, it’s no stretch to assuage that many decisions made within Harris County have nation-wide and sometimes world-wide implications. This is well exhibited among this November’s bond election.

Proposition 1 is for the issuance of $70 million dollars to create a joint Detention Processing Center with the City of Houston. The proposition doesn’t directly raise property taxes at this time, but gives Harris County the flexibility to do so if needed. As our understanding of criminal detention continues to evolve away from locking up as many people as possible, and more to the development of services to help people deal with the issues that lead to certain forms of criminal behavior in the first place, this co-venture of the City and County seems a next logical step. By avoiding redundancy, this will ensure that not only fewer of our future tax dollars are spent to house non-violent offenders, but will allow our law enforcement agencies to do better coordination for the area. Texas Leftist is FOR Harris County Proposition 1.

Proposition 2 for some voters will surely be the “main event”… where we decide if we want to Save the Astrodome. This one ballot initiative is expected to drive some citizens to the polls who wouldn’t normally go as well. Given that it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in all of Texas, and Harris County has created a very practical way for the Dome to utilized in it’s newest stage, Texas Leftist is FOR Harris County Proposition 2. I sincerely hope voters agree.

TLCQ 2013: Endorsements in HCC Trustee Races

As the second-largest College system in Texas, and the 6th largest in the United States, Houston Community College is a pillar entity in Houston and Southeast Texas. Even for Texans that don’t directly attend HCC, they interact with students and alumni on a constant basis. It is an integral part of the educational life of Houston… almost as much as its progenitor the Houston Independent School District. HCC’s trustees are elected by voters in Houston and other cities within the school’s jurisdiction. For all of these reasons, Texas Leftist wanted to examine these races and issue endorsements for the candidates.

In HCC’s District 1, current incumbent Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores is running for reelection. But given a torrid history with the HCC Board, including suing her fellow trustees for defamation, it’s no surprise that she has drawn two challengers in the race. It’s a sampling of many issues that have plagued the Board of Trustees in recent years. Both of her challengers, Kevin J. Hoffman and Zeph Capo, have strong records of public service. But in this race, Mr. Capo’s record in the classroom, especially in dealing with at-risk youth is what makes him stand out. His first-hand experience working with students not unlike many attending HCC would prove a great attribute to the system. The 2013 pick for District 1 is Zeph Capo.

District 3 has incumbent Herlinda Garcia with two respective challengers. Dr. Adriana Tamez is an educator with extensive knowledge of HISD and the K-12 system. But Dane D. Cook also has a wealth of unique experiences, both as a recent student of HCC, and as one of our nation’s veterans that would be of great asset to the school’s governing body. Many of the school’s current Trustees are so far removed from the student experience that their vision for the future of the institution can become uninformed by reality. It’s true he is the youngest candidate, but Mr. Cook’s leadership skills have been proven both in the theater of war, and transition back to American society. This is an experience that will continue to be vital to HCC as the war in Afghanistan draws down and our soldiers come home to face real-world decisions about the next stages of their lives. For many of Houston’s veterans, HCC will be a critical part of that journey. The 2013 pick for District 3 is Dane D. Cook.

District 5 has been mired in difficulty as well, following the resignation of Richard Schechter and later his interim replacement Leila Feldman, so it is certainly the hope that voters can find some stability for this constituency. As a native Houston and lifelong resident of the District, candidate Robert Glaser will be there to provide stable leadership. Bringing his experience in both public education and as a small business owner, he has been able to see the important role HCC plays in training the Houston workforce. As college costs continue to skyrocket, he also sees the benefit of reducing redundancy in college and high school programs to both enrich the student experience and lower education costs for families. Affordability is perhaps the greatest attribute that HCC has, and Mr. Glaser brings that aspect as a central part of his goals for the system. The 2013 pick for District 5 is Robert Glaser.

Though District 7 incumbent Trustee Neeta Sane has drawn one challenger in this race, she has proven her skills as an effective leader and visionary for the system. Like her rapidly growing and diverse district, Ms. Sane brings a wealth of diverse experience as a naturalized US citizen and small business owner. She has demonstrated how HCC can be more than an educational institution, but can really mold and shape a growing community. Ms. Sane has overseen over $140 million dollars of investment in her district, including the establishment of the Alief ISD Early College High School, the HCC Stafford Fine Arts Center, the ASPIRE scholarship program to promote educational opportunities in the Asian community, the Bissonnet workforce building and HCC Missouri City. She has a thorough understand of the growing needs in her district. For all of these reasons, the 2013 pick for District 7 is incumbent Neeta Sane.