One member of this board lives in District G. The District, long held by Councilmember Pam Holm, most recently featured an open election in 2009. At that point, a longtime attorney active within the district, Oliver Pennington, was elected to lead it without a runoff.
Pennington, a Republican, is somewhat more conservative on many issues than the preferences of this board. However, Pennington is not elected citywide. Nor does he represent a district that leans Democratic or even centrist. Pennington’s District G is one of –if not the most– Conservative Council district in the entire City.
This board was appalled last year, when Councilmember Pennington voted against a mere $160k earmark for food stamps. Such a position, this board believes, is a harmful one that is detracts from the quality of life of many Houstonians. It is the opinion of this board that, when one impedes social services for the most needy among us –the hungry– that government has failed in its core function. The great seal on the floor of the rotunda at City Hall bears the words “Government Protects the People,” and in this case, Councilmember Pennington neglected the opportunity.
Other than his unfortunate history with such overzealous parsimony, Councilmember Pennington has, in many invaluable cases, put his nose to the grindstone to benefit both his community and the city. In addition to his myriad appearances at local civic club organizations, this board has been pleased to see Councilmember Pennington fight in earnest for budgetary matters affecting his district. Both of these traits are needed within an effective public servant.
Apart from these issues, Councilmember Pennington has also been extraordinarily receptive to his constituents. When problems have arisen among those living in his districts, Concilmember Pennington has often been there to help and offer his advice with sincerity not usually seen from politicians.
Additionally, this board was pleased to see Councilmember Pennington vote against a bill to criminalize sharing food with the homeless on public plots of land; though this board objected to his vote against a measure meant to reverse the increasing criminalization of homeless by decriminalizing dumpster scourging.
Councilmember Pennington has only one opponent this election, an individual named Brian Taef. This board believes that Mr Taef has run a well-meaning and respectable campaign, though we disagree with many of his political positions. This board regretted not seeing Mr Taef not submit a Texpatriate interview, but we have otherwise not heard any compelling arguments from him as to why Councilmember Pennington’s tenure has been unsuccessful.
Among the issues we find with Councilmember Pennington, this board finds no solutions evident among Mr Taef’s proposals. In fact, it would appear as that Mr Taef seeks an even more austere role of City Hall, providing few services. This board believes such a policy position is not wise in a fast growing city that approach numerous hurdles regarding a rapidly changing infrastructure.
Accordingly, this board believes that Councilmember Oliver Pennington is the best choice for the voters of District G, and we endorse him for a third term in office.