Editorial note: This is the twenty-first in our series of electronic interviews with City Council, City Controller and Mayoral candidates. We have sent 10 questions based on seven different templates: (1) incumbent City Council, (2) challenger City Council, (3) open seat City Council, (4) challenger Controller, (5) incumbent Controller, (6) challenger Mayoral and (7) incumbent Mayoral. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.
Trebor Gordon, Candidate for the Houston City Council at-large Position #2
Texpatriate: What is your name?
TG: Trebor Gordon
T: What is your current occupation?
TG: Associate Pastor
T: Have you run for or held public office before?
T: What is your political affiliation? We understand that City Council elections are nonpartisan, but this is a point many voters find important. If you are not comfortable currently identifying with a political party, what was the last Political Party’s primary election you voted in (a matter of public record)?
TG: Republican Party
T: Typically, this board will defer to incumbents unless we are convinced the incumbent has failed in some way. Do you believe the incumbent has failed at her or his job? If so, why?
TG: As a public servant, I believe it is my responsibility to be mindful to care for the needs of the entire city, including those who are not in the position to do so for themselves for whatever unfortunate circumstances. I stood together (and addressed City Council) with many organizations and individuals against the so-called “Anti-Feeding” ordinance. As a Pastor, I am compelled to help meet needs, (including finding resolutions when situations present themselves) therefore; I believe the Incumbent’s vote, which was IN FAVOR of the ordinance, was strictly against the very belief system he purports. He provided no alternative solutions or prospective ideas. At the surprise and dismay of MANY of his former supporters, he simply voted NO.
As leaders, we are tasked to build teams and relationships that enable us to accomplish our community based efforts. The Incumbent has been unable to do so. He had available to himself a veteran chief of staff and a former council member on his staff. This should have been an outstanding team, had he understood and implemented only average leadership skills. However, the evidence of the loss of 2/3 of his staff and the inability to resolve any discrepancies that would have retained such “experience” displays an inadequate ability to properly lead. With simple/basic leadership skills taught in the United States military, this would have been a simple task of “second nature” to perform.
T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
TG: During the 1st 18 months of his 24-month term, the incumbent has not shown or proven an adequate ability to coalesce with his colleges on the level an At Large Councilman should. He has displayed insubordination and insolence at council meetings on several occasions, displayed a lack of comprehension of basic terms of the “meeting process”, i.e. “point of order” and has been an embarrassment to the seat of a public servant.
T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
TG: The heart of a “true” ”Servant Leader” never seeks to obtain any increase from his efforts. It is my desire to work together with the entire team of City Council to be a catalyst of great accomplishments for all the people of Houston regardless of status, profession or level of financial worth.
T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
TG: There have been too many occurrences of pedestrians being hit by motor vehicles (including a close friend and a Houston Police Chief) School zones and crosswalks (throughout the city) are extremely hazardous places for pedestrians. A vast majority of drivers totally disregard the simple requirements of safety in these two areas. I will propose the introduction of stricter requirements of adhering to “pedestrian rights of way” To: Promote a safer environment in cross walks that truly give right of way to all pedestrians and make school zones a place of safety for our children throughout the city.
T: Obviously, an officeholder strives to maintain a diverse core constituency and political base, but all candidates have interest groups they have been traditionally strong with and traditionally weak with, respectively. For you, what would be one example of each type of group?
TG: During the course of the past 12 years, I have had the opportunity to build very strong relationships within the Hispanic community despite the fact that I am not of Hispanic heritage. I am currently building additional relationships within the Black and Asian communities.
T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
TG: While engaging with many organizations and groups, I have learned Houston is more precious than most might realize. Houston is on the brink of epic growth and we need leaders with the desire to facilitate this greatness with rapidity and passionate aim. Maintaining a selfless attitude is essential and accommodates positive progress.