Chronicle endorsements in ‘D,’ Controller

The Houston Chronicle fielded its first two municipal endorsements over the weekend, which included Anthony Robinson for District D and Bill Frazer for Controller.

I have previous interviewed each of these candidates, and was somewhat impressed by their answers. That being said, the Chronicle endorsement of them really surprised me.

Starting with the post of City Controller, it is worth noting that the Chronicle endorsed Green in 2009. Though he ran unopposed in 2011, the paper also was quite content to see Green be re-elected. The similarity of the 2009 editorial compared to yesterday’s is somewhat amusing, as it includes nearly identical language on the role and responsibility of the Controller, with both noting Kathy Whitmire as the gold standard later Controllers should be measured against.

Differing itself from four years earlier, however, the Chronicle scrutinizes the office and all the responsibilities thereof. They allege that incumbent Ronald Green has not been a very effective “watchdog.” Further, the Chronicle lambasts his seemingly endless scandals over the last year. Therefore, by the process of elimination in the very uncrowded race, the Chronicle supports the challenger, Bill Frazer. Specifically, the enjoy his credentials as both a CPA and promise to be more of a watchdog.

My biggest problem with this is that it is based on the presumption that the city –specifically the Mayor– requires a watchdog at current time. Kathy Whitmire is a painfully easy piece of anecdotal evidence for the Chronicle to regurgitate, but she served under a Republican Mayor diametrically opposed to her. Green & Parker largely agree, so there is little sense for a disagreement for disagreements’ sake.

Frazer is a Republican with some views that could be easily considered “austere,” so if he is elected, it would not surprise me if he actively tried to make Annise Parker’s life hell. The last time there was an ugly dispute between the top two offices was the 90s between Bob Lanier and George Greanias. That spat wasn’t good for anyone, especially considering that most Houstonians agreed with Bob Lanier predominantly. Just like the unpopular House of Representatives blocking the progress of the people’s will in the White House today, we may soon see a similar result between the Mayor and Controller.

Next, onto District D, I do not have much to say beyond that I am extremely surprised. Surreptitiously, my father and I actually shared a long talk last weekend about Anthony Robinson (he does want me to note that he is not endorsing any other candidates). Among the many candidates running for office this November, the two of them always seemed to end up sitting next to one another at the forums. He said that Robinson, beyond his amazing story, seemed especially sincere and dedicated to issues that he heard about when meeting prospective constituents. It appears that the Chronicle had nearly the exact same thoughts.

The Chronicle has a history, for what it is worth, of endorsing idealistic if not unfeasible candidates. Herman Litt was supported in 2009, as a prime example. Perhaps this is what went through the paper’s mind again this year. Bonus points to Durrell Douglas, who got fellow candidate Assata Richards to compliment Robinson.

Off the Kuff has more on both endorsements.

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2 thoughts on “Chronicle endorsements in ‘D,’ Controller

  1. Pingback: Texpatriate | More Chronicle endorsements

  2. Pingback: Texpatriate | Robinson to serve on Crime Lab board

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