Otis King, 1935-2012

A few summers ago, I was doing some work at my father’s law practice, which is located in an office just between the Museum District and Midtown. I was told to mail a few letters, so I drove to the Southmore Post Office on Almeda. Outside, I saw a fascinating plaque.

It commemorated an event which occurred in the 60s, when the Post Office location was the Weingarden Grocery Store, was the site of the first sit-in in the Houston area. The leader of this protest was a local TSU law student named Otis King.

King would later be the dean of TSU’s Thurgood Marshall Law School and the first African-American City Attorney, serving from 1976 to 1978 under Mayor Fred Hofheinz. Hofheinz, upon being reached for comment by the Chronicle in their story about King, called him “outstanding” and “well-respected by everyone.” King died the day before Thanksgiving at 77.

King was one of those pioneers in Civil Rights so avante-garde, that some say he was the inspiration for Barbara Jordan (whom he was a debate partner with during college). He was a fantastic citizen of Houston and will be missed.

Dreams and Achievements

KBH, in one of her last acts as an United States Senator, has introduced a watered-down version of the Dream Act, known as the “Achieve Act.” The bill has been primarily co-sponsored by Hutchison and Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (who is also stepping down in January).

The Achieve Act has some barriers, such as lowering the maximum age at which one could be brought into the country from 16 to 14, lowering the maximum age of participation from 30 to 28. Additionally, it makes criminal disqualification easier, and the pathway to citizenship harder, by removing a grantee. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (yet another lame duck) said this act was “too little, too late.”

One could possibly get a little nervous about the GOP taking to immigration reform. However, John Cornyn has made sure to crush any possibility of this. The Chronicle is reporting that Cornyn has called the act “dead on arrival.”

Perry 14/16

The Chronicle (and the Huffington Post) is writing about Governor Rick Perry’s political future. The HuffPo article mentioned that Perry is getting ready for a big announcement in “July 2013” about the future. Both articles also talk about Grover Norquist taking the Governor under his wing for a possible future run for the Oval Office.

Basically, most people think that Perry will run for re-election to a FOURTH full term as Governor in 2014. I, for one, think that, absent a primary challenge from George P. Bush (unlikely), he will easily win said fourth term. If previous midterm elections are any indicator, then the 2014 election will spell out yet another shellacking for Democrats, as their voters simply do not wander into a poll booths without a presidential election. Therefore, the newly re-elected Governor could very easily preside over another Republican supermajority in the state legislature, and come out of the session in June of 2015 very, very strong, possibly setting up another presidential run.

Of course, this is the worst-case scenario, but unfortunately, that seems to be the only scenario for us Texas Democrats recently. Now, as I have started many times before, I do have trust in the leadership of the TX Dems for the long term, but at the current moment, the demographics just aren’t there. If Obama does comparably well, and the economy recovers, 2014 might not be too bad of an election year, thus depriving Perry of his coveted supermajority. Additionally, he could get knocked off by Bush (or maybe even someone like Abbott) in the primary, and there is always a chance for the dark house Democrat like Tommy Lee Jones beating him in the general election. Again, both are unlikely.

Fortunately, the best case for why “Perry ’16” will be a failure is the reason that “Perry ’12” was a failure: the Governor is not very bright. He would, mark my words, stumble again in the debates and probably give another speech where he gets the election date wrong, voting age wrong, and acts like he is inebriated. Perry could not win, or even come close, in the weakest Republican primary field in fifty years. When the bigshots like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie toss their hats into the ring, Perry won’t stand a chance.

Hoang and Steen

I promise, I was definitely going to break these stories before the Chronicle did, but I had a paper due today. Anyways, Councilmember Al Hoang has been repeatedly threatened by a political opponent of his, Etienne Nguyen. Nguyen allegedly pointed a pistol at Hoang, threatened to kill him and his family, and left a molotov cocktail on his doorstep. Scary stuff. Hoang, when approached by KHOU, stated that he believed Nguyen was after him because of Hoang’s recent support for a trade mission by the mayor to Vietnam.

Nguyen ran in 2011 and received about 10% of the vote.

In other news, Governor Perry has appointed Secretary Andrade’s replacement. San Antonio attorney John Steed has been tapped to take the office of Texas Secretary of State. Steed has been an outspoken Republican bigshot and major donor.

In re Boykins

Anyone who consistently reads my blog knows that I am a freshman in College. Compared to just about all of my contemporaries, I got into local politics quite early. I started working for City Hall and became completely and totally engrossed within local politics just before the 2009 election, at the age of fifteen. To become familiar with the pre-2009 officeholders, I did research on most of the elections in the past few elections before that time, mostly the previous elections involving people who held office at that time.

Anyways, I mentioned in my November 17 article “Dialogue in D” that a man named Dwight Boykins is running for District D. I simply mentioned him in passing, almost curiously wondering why Mayor Brown and Jew Don Boney were endorsing him. Further, I insinuated in another article on that day, “Jones to return?” that Jolanda Jones was free of other establishment politicians. All of that, cross that, Boykins is a big deal–I was wrong.

This is one of those embarrassing moments when my age gets in the way. It turns out that Dwight Boykins has run for the City Council thrice before, once going into a runoff. Unfortunately, I was 3, 5, and 9, respectively, when he ran, so I have no memory of this. But, for the record: Boykins ran in a crowded field in 1997, coming in fourth place. He ran again in 1999, coming in second to Gordon Quan, and losing in the runoff. Finally, he ran in 2003 against Michael Berry in at-large 5, coming in second but failing to grab enough votes from Berry for a runoff.

So, essentially, my ego got in the way vis-a-vis Houston politics and I did not foresee a connection to politics of before my time. This moots most of my commentary about if Jones returns to run in District D. That will be a hard race.

Andrade to resign

Fresh from the Houston Chronicle.

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade is resigning, effective November 23. A recent Chronicle article does not give the reason, but points to the recent controversy involving purging dead voters from the rolls (who weren’t actually dead). The Texas Secretary of State, of course, is not an elected office, so Governor Perry will simply appoint another person to the post. Andrade began serving in 2008.

Green draws a challenger…maybe

I pride myself for keeping up on the news and rarely missing a story, but I goofed up and totally overlooked this one from the Chronicle.

Don Sumners, the (as of January 1st) former Tax Collector and former County Treasurer, is musing a run for City Controller. Ronald Green, first elected in 2009, ran unopposed in 2011.

Sumners is very, very Republican, enough that I would almost go so far as to call him unelectable in Houston. Houston, unlike Harris County, does not include all those predominantly White suburbs, so it does not swing from left to right, not even a little bit. Also, Ronald Green is a master campaigner. In 2009, before the runoff, he got 36% of the vote against two other Republicans. He then translated that into 53% in the runoff. Also, Sumners is not especially a well like politician by either party.

Dialogue in “D”

This is actually from that same Chronicle article as last night, but for some reason I failed to mention it.

A local politico named Dwight Boykins is already in for District D. Boykins does not have a website or any press besides the Chronicle article, but the article claims he has endorsements from Lee Brown and Jew Don Boney. The article also claims Councilmember Adams is not endorsing, at least yet. As I have stated before, this election will be tougher than Jones may think.

Jones to return?

I have a few comments on this, straight from the Houston Chronicle.

Jolanda Jones is reported to be considering a return to 901 Bagby, but by attempting to replace Wanda Adams; not run against Christie for her old seat. There is, of course, a convoluted term limits statute that may or may not prohibit certain people who have served two terms from seeking a non-consecutive third one. David Feldman obviously has an agenda to push, right or wrong, so I would take all of his comments with a grain of salt.

First, I know this comment may be irrelevant, but these segment of the term limit law is truly stupid.  Draw a line in the sand about how many years a City Hall politician can serve, but quit with all the exceptions. If anything we should encourage non-consecutive terms, as it allows for the politicians to not have to campaign while in office.

Second, the ordinance says “No person, who has already served two terms, shall be eligible to file for that same office”. It is worth noting that unlike Peter Brown, Jones did not resign before the end of her term (even by a few days). However, there is something to be said about the distinction between a District Councilmember and an at-large Councilmember. My first year working at City Hall (2009-2010), I worked for Toni Lawrence/Brenda Stardig, while one of my better friends worked for Ronald Green/C.O. Bradford. I can say from experience the two positions are extremely different, similar, in my views, to the relationship between the House and the Senate.

Third, I hold the belief that David Feldman has an axe to grind against Jones, and Brown likewise (he insinuated both would be ineligible at City Hall). Parker did not always get along with Jones, and certainly did not get along with Peter Brown (he ran against her). I do not mean Feldman holds any malice or what not, but he is biased.

District D may be the best opportunity for Jones, but it will not be easy. There will be a dozen candidates and getting into the runoff may not even be guaranteed. I endorsed Jones with a heavy heart in 2009, and endorsed her with an even heavier one in 2011, for a simple premise: a bad Democrat beats a Republican–especially a Texas one. She will have a lot of explaining to do if she wants my approval next year though, because I suspect there will be plenty of other Democrats in the race.

Jack Christie is most likely running again in 2013, but his website, “http://www.christieforhouston.com/”, now suggests otherwise (it is for sale and in Japanese). There have been few challengers proposed for the Councilmember and it is forgone conclusion that, as Jones did not resign early, she may not challenge him. That is probably a good thing.


So I have not been posting very much recently and this is for two reasons. First, I have quite a few papers due soon, so I may not be back until around Thanksgiving. Second, there really is not much local political news right now. If and when either of these situations change, I’ll be back. Rest assured, I was not a fluke for just the 2012 elections.