I drove into Houston this morning for a productive weekend to take care of some personal and professional business. Needless to say, one of the first things I did was to go to the West Gray Multiservice Center and fulfill my civic duty to vote. Regardless of what I may have said about the value of voting in the Republican Primary, I voted in the Democratic contest. I voted for the following candidates in contested races, which I have enumerated bellow the jump. Additionally, I cannot help but to note the good feeling I got out of voting for a fellow Horwitz for the second time in my life. My father, James Horwitz, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination in County Probate Judge #4. These are only the races I personally voted in, and they may feature races Texpatriate has yet to field an official endorsement in.
Noah M. Horwitz published a weekly column, “Civil Affairs,” in a Boston newspaper from 2012-2014. He has since transferred the column’s home to ‘The Daily Texan’ in Austin.
The first time I voted in a general election (2012), I was shocked at just how long the ballot was. The presidential election had obviously garnered a fair amount of coverage, as did local races for Congress, sheriff and the state Legislature. However, what took up the vast majority of the ballot were the myriad judicial contests. Pages upon pages of district and county benches were to be filled by the voters, in partisan elections. Democratic and Republican nominees had been selected in their respective parties’ primaries to run for the posts: civil, criminal, family, juvenile and probate courts.
As many may remember (the article got a lot of views), I broke the news late Wednesday that Councilmember James Rodriguez, after getting hammered in the Houston Chronicle, went on an epic Twitter temper tantrum, in which he made disparaging comments towards both the Mayor and Lisa Falkenberg, as well as especially vitriolic remarks towards another Chronicle writer, Jose Ortiz.
I noted all of these tweets, and wrote a post about it, providing photographic evidence. Councilmember Rodriguez responded by hurling repeated personal attacks against me and my family (as well as, at least once more, towards Ortiz). I may have egged him a little bit, but he was incessant in trying to belittle both me and my family in an extend that was wholly uncalled for. The news must have gotten around, because before I knew it, the Houston Press was interviewing me about the incident. Hair Balls wrote up a full incident report on the subject, complete with the screenshots I sent to them.
Laziness heralded the day for the Texas Democrats shooting themselves in the foot at the close of the filing deadline, but it is unbridled stupidity carrying the banner for the Harris County Democrats next year. Again, not from the leadership, but from the average people. I will post a full list at the bottom of the post, but would like to talk about a few things first.
There will be six Court of Appeals slots up for election to a 6 year term, between the seats on the 14th Court of Appeals and the 1st Court of Appeals. These elections were remarkably close in 2008, meaning that changing demographics should probably make them just as competitive –if not more– in 2014. But will they be competitive? No. Because the Democrats, once again, were too LAZY to contest half of the slots. One candidate, Jim Sharp, actually won in 2008. He will be running for re-election, and Kyle Carter, a good District Judge, will run for another post. These two men will be great candidates! Another candidate, Gordon Goodman, has filed but I do not have any info on him yet, nor do any of my attorney sources have information on him.
When it comes to District Courts in Harris County, there are a full 36 posts up for election, between Civil, Criminal, Family and Juvenile courts. In 2010, every single one of these posts had a Democratic candidate, and as I recall most every candidate was well qualified and overall competent. Only 27 of these will be contested by the Democrats this time around, including four races where Democrats will be fighting one another instead of the incumbent Republican judges.
I’d like to apologize for some inactivity recently, I have two finals and a 18 page paper due on Monday, so my blogging has had to take a little bit of a backseat. Anyways, with just two more days left in filing, there is a lot news to report upon both Statewide and at the Harris County level with the introduction of new candidates.
Most notably, the Dallas Morning News reports that Kesha Rogers will throw her tinfoil hat into the ring and seek the Democratic nomination for US Senator. Rogers, who has twice been the nominee for Congress in Sugar Land’s 22nd Congressional District, is a member of the Lyndon LaRouche
political sect cult. This organization has little cohesive or consistent message besides revering LaRouche in a cult of personality. This organization is not really reminiscent of the Democratic Party in any way, spouting utterly nonsensical and conspiratorial views. Even the Morning News article notes of Rogers, “As an acolyte of perennial presidential fringe candidate Lyndon LaRouche, she believes the U.S. economy is secretly controlled by a cabal of London financial institutions.”
Also included in the Senate slates are Harry Kim, a dentist out of Odessa. I can’t really find much information one way or another on him. Brains & Eggs also counts Roman McAllen, local architect, among the Senatorial candidates (though he has yet to file).
We’re working on trying to abridge the hours and hours of livestreamed Texpatriate election return coverage into about 20 minutes of the top hits. Yesterday, our all-time view record was demolished as thousands of people appeared to come to our website to read up on candidates before they voted. Additionally, Richard Nguyen, the victor in District F, had little impact on the internet besides his interview with Texpatriate.
First and foremost, Mayor Annise Parker was decisively re-elected to a third and final term as Mayor of Houston. She cruised to over 57% of the vote, far outpacing the amount of the vote she received in 2011. Meanwhile, Controller Ronald Green also was re-elected, albeit by a much smaller margin. The only surprises amongst City Council races were in At-large 3 and District F, respectively. Otherwise, most incumbents cruised to re-election.
All nine Statewide propositions passed, as did Harris County Proposition 1 (the joint processing center/jail). The Astrodome referendum, however, did not pass, as the iconic 8th Wonder of the World now looks condemned to demolition.
When I voted last Friday in Houston, I had to cancel the absentee ballot that was sent to be on the account of my sojourning in Boston. I was desperately worried, given the law voting restrictions, that there would be some issue with the casting of my ballot. Fortunately, there was no issue. When my father went to vote, however, that was a different story.
His driver’s license bears his full middle name, whereas his voter registration merely contains the middle initial. Evidently, this creates the risk of voter fraud, but since the names are “substantially similar,” he signed an affidavit confirming his identity and was allowed to cast a ballot. As Burnt Orange Report reminds us, the original bill would have required these individuals to cast provisional ballots, meaning they would be forced to return to the polls to produce a different ID in order for their ballots to be counted.
The Houston Chronicle has made its picks in the final four City Council races, as well as for the Constitutional Amendments. All the amendments were endorsed, and the Chronicle backed two incumbents (C.O. Bradford & Jack Christie), as well as made two selections in open seats (Graciana Garces & Rogene Calvert).
First, in this editorial, the Chronicle’s board summarizes the nine constitutional amendment, offering up absolutely no commentary on the matter besides “the Chronicle endorses all nine [amendments].” If you want a little more discussion on the matter, though agree with the editorial line of the Chronicle in this specific instance, I recommend consulting Texpatriate’s endorsements on the amendments (1-5;7-9 and 6). Burnt Orange Report also announced its endorsements in Constitutional amendments yesterday, though it is relevant to mention that they disagreed with both Texpatriate and the Chronicle in opposing Proposition 3 and Proposition 7.
First up, the Chronicle endorsed C.O. Bradford for a third and final term at At-large position #4. The editorial board goes out of its way to compliment Bradford’s recent commitment to changing the City Charter on certain items such as giving At-large Councilmember specific portfolios. He was also lauded for drainage issues, as well as providing an acceptable response on the Chronicle’s pathological obsession with pensions (specifically, “meet and confer”).
Editorial note: Noah M. Horwitz did not assist with the deliberation or compilation of this editorial.
Back in August, three members of this board attended a meeting at City Hall. We were consulted to represent the interests of young people in Houston as a delegation from Brazil visited the city. The meeting, which featured a diverse selection of City officials, was led by Councilmember Jack Christie. The present members of this board could not believe their ears as Councilmember Christie berated the merits of modern medicine time and time again during the meeting.
Councilmember Christie, of course, is no stranger to this controversy. We remember last January, when Councilmember Christie voted against Federal earmarks for childhood immunizations for asinine and utterly untrue reasons. The allegations that vaccines were ineffective and caused a “synthetic immunity” are bizarre statements typically attributed to likes of Jenny McCarthy, not a powerful public servant.
But the people of Houston have seen Councilmember Christie double down on these positions time and time again, whether it has been in private (such as our meeting) or even public statements he has made, such as a recent interview with Charles Kuffner.
This board is also somewhat irked to see Councilmember Christie advocate for sensationalist Conservative positions throughout his campaign. Whether this has been his harsh opposition to any form of social welfare program such as Medicare or Medicaid, his opposition to gay marriage or his espousal of the Texas Republican Party’s war on women, this board finds a plethora of traits in Councilmember Christie unbecoming of a public servant.
Yesterday, the Harris County Young Democrats met for their endorsement meeting. I must say that it was the closest I have ever followed a breaking political event exclusively on Twitter.
The organization’s executive board recommended a slate of candidates, which a lot of opts to not endorse, many of which were overruled by the general body of the organization. The body began by endorsing Annise Parker for Mayor, followed by supporting the unopposed Democrats on the council: Ellen Cohen, Ed Gonzalez, Mike Laster and Larry Green. They went on to support some more Democrats in races where they were the only Democrat, specifically Ronald Green and C.O. Bradford.
The organization decided not to offer up endorsements in all seats where only Republicans were running, At-large 1, District A, District E, District F & District G. They then, after contentious fights, decided not to field endorsements in half the races involving multiple Democrats, namely in At-large 2, At-large 3 & District D. Although, in District, Dwight Boykins received plurality support, though still shy of the threshold to receive the endorsement. Similarly, David Robinson and Rogene Calvert received the pluralities, respectively, in AL2 and AL3.
The HCYD did, however, make some endorsements in races with competitive Democratic presences, specifically endorsing James S. Horwitz in At-large 5, as well as Jerry Davis in District B and Ben Mendez in District I.
The endorsements are somewhat noteworthy, as the group has taken a far-less cozy relationship with the Conservative members of the City Council, unlike, for example, the LGBT Caucus (I do know the caucus is officially non-partisan, but I also know its members are overwhelmingly Democratic) or the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats.
Further, the lack of an endorsement in AL2, AL3 or District D is somewhat surprising, given they could make up their mind on AL5, District B & District I. Plenty of liberal groups have supported Assata Richards in the past, so it is somewhat surprising to not even see her in the plurality there. Similarly, the straight-up endorsement of Ben Mendez turned a lot of heads, including Stace Medellin of Dos Centavos.
Overall, I thought the endorsement process was very open to the group, though many Democrats are probably disappointed by the lack of recommendations in the hard, crowded races. The Texpatriate Editorial Board has yet to begin discussing endorsements, but given our rules requiring 3/4 of the members to agree, I would not be surprised if we decline to formally endorse in some of the races.
I don’t know about my colleagues, but speaking for just myself, I know that, if any such situations arise, I will write an individual endorsement in that race.