Editorial note: This is the twenty-seventh 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.
Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Candidate for the Houston City Council at-large Position #5
Texpatriate: What is your name?
CE: Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz
T: What is your current occupation?
CE: Real Estate Broker, Retired educator
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)?
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?
CE: The incumbent will not be endorsed in this race and neither will I, due to the familial relationship of an opponent to the person(s) that run(s) this blog, unless that opponent gives me his endorsement which I would gladly accept.
I believe that the incumbent is somewhat out of touch with the needs of his constituents such as voting against flu immunizations for children and saying that people don’t die from the flu. Being a medical professional, I would think that he would know differently. He is also unwilling to acknowledge the benefits of traditional medicine in a city with mega medical facilities. I believe that there should be a collaborative approach to wellness. To impact the health of millions of children and people because you choose naturalistic methods is irresponsible. I am sure that some of his supporters take issue with this stance.
I don’t plan to spend a great deal of time discussing where the incumbent fell short. Even if someone does a good job does not mean that someone else can’t do it better. Terms are not promises to continue but opportunities for others to begin.
T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
CE: I am not running against anyone, I am seeking a seat at the table and as mentioned in the previous response, the incumbent is somewhat out of touch in view of some comments and votes taken.
T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
CE: I hope to facilitate the equitable delivery of city services to all areas of the city.
T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
CE: I would like to review and possibly introduce an ordinance to require security cameras in high crime and high occupancy apartment complexes to help deter crime. These high crime areas house a lot of school aged children and exposure to crime has been shown to physiologically change the brains of children thus impacting their ability to learn. This would also help another vulnerable population and that is the elderly and really people in general. This technology has proved to be an effective deterrent to crime. Although it is not a cure all, it is an excellent start.
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?
CE: I was a late filer in this race and in fact I contemplated filing in other races but found that Position 5 needed a common sense candidate. I am humbled to have received endorsements from the Houston Black American Democrats (HBAD), Harris County Tejano Democrats, and Democracy for Houston. I am a member of the Texas State Teachers Association as well as the Harris County Retired Teachers Association and a former member before retirement of the Houston Federation of Teachers. I am a professional member of the Houston Association of Realtors and the Black Real Estate Association. I am active in my sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., treasurer of the National Association of Spelman College-local and regional chapters, treasurer of the Tierwester Civic Association, member of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and co-founder of the Now Faith Christian Center in Pearland, Texas. I am also a board member with Angel Outreach a Christian outreach organization. I volunteer with grief groups at a facility called Bo’s Place. I also am also an Executive committee member of the NAACP and chair of the Education committee. There are many other coalitions of groups primarily directed toward providing equitable city services and the education of children that I take a special interest in. Finally, I take a special interest in housing as per my profession and education. These are my strong interest group affiliations. As a weakness and one that I would like to become more active with are groups with multi-cultural populations.
T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
CE: I learned that this is not an easy road and it requires both stamina, passion, and commitment which was not really a surprise but it is a daunting challenge to move about this large city and meet and greet. I learned unequivocally that all people have the same basic needs regardless of race, age, gender, gender preference, or creed.
I have also sadly learned that people will make false statements to progress their political agendas even nice guys (also not a surprise). “In a recent panel of the League of Women Voters, I was the only candidate for this seat who definitely supported same-sex marriage and a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance.” (Horwitz, 2013)
As a person who was interviewed by the League of Women Voters, I was not questioned about same-sex marriage and I stated that I opposed discrimination of any kind when questioned about the non-discrimination ordinance. Please review the taping for accuracy. Also, at the recent endorsement meeting of the Harris County Young Democrats, the statement was made by an opponent that he was “the only progressive democratic in this race.” I am aware that this is called puffing but this opponent has not always voted Democrat and has in fact voted in a Republican primary previously. I can say unequivocally that I am the only consistent progressive Democrat in this race. I am also the only candidate that has supported by marching with the people, immigration reform and higher minimum wages for workers (in fact my picture is in the Chronicle chanting). If either of my opponents were there, I certainly did not see them. I believe that standing with the people is important and meeting them at their point of need. My slogan is “It is about the people and not the position” May I add that is also not about the party. IT IS ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE”
Final comment, I do not intend to participate in mudslinging but I will point out inaccuracies. “I believe that you don’t have to call a glass dirty; you just have to put a clean one next to it. I will always strive to be a clean glass.”
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions.