This board did not support Councilmember Burks when he ran for the City Council two years ago, but we extended a clean slate to him upon his inauguration, giving him a fresh start to prove his leadership skills and ability as a public servant. Sadly, after nearly two years in office, Councilmember Burks has little to show for his tenure besides a string of sometimes bizarre actions and unfortunate votes.
In September 2012, Councilmember Burks infamously opposed relaxed restrictions on food trucks. The reason he provided was an irrational fear that conglomerations of food trucks (specifically, their propane tanks) could be used by terrorists. The faulty logic, which was repeatedly debunked, has been reaffirmed by Councilmember Burks on multiple occasions.
This board was also saddened to see Councilmember Burks’ support of a bill that criminalizes sharing food with the homeless on public property. However, more importantly, Councilmember Burks has reaffirmed this position as well, declining to speak out against the excesses of the new ordinance.
However, above all else, this board has been disturbed to see the unprofessional way Councilmember Burks has conducted himself at recent City Council meetings, including an “interrogation” of a constituent expressing grievances at a Public Forum meeting this past April. In another recent City Council meeting, Councilmember Burks admonished those delinquent on their taxes, while he owed over $100,000 to the Internal Revenue Service himself. The hypocrisy was lost on the Councilmember, however.
Councilmember Burks has been challenged by three other candidates: Trebor Gordon, Moe Rivera and David Robinson. This board has found both Mr Gordon and Mr Rivera, respectively, to be good candidates with their hearts in the right place, but with inconsistent positions on many important issues to represent all of Houston.
Mr Rivera, in his interview with Texpatriate, declined to use many specifics in explaining his political positions. Mr Gordon, for his part, does include very detailed policy prescriptions on his website, which this board has been impressed by. However, we strongly disagree with his suggestion that typical pension plans be privatized for municipal employees.
Mr Robinson, on the other hand, has wowed this board by his meticulous attention to complicated issues, as well as his technocratic campaign style. Mr Robinson, an architect by trade, is not a typical politician. Instead, he got his start in local government by being appointed to the Houston Planning Commission by Mayor White just a few years ago.
However, Mr Robinson’s recent entrance into politics has not diminished his grasp on the issues compared to the other candidates. This board has been impressed by his pragmatic positions on pension reform, food trucks and infrastructure, among other issues. But above all else, this board believes Mr Robinson will be a fair representative for the entire City.
Accordingly, this board endorses David Robinson for the Houston City Council At-large position #2.
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey & Noah M. Horwitz of Boston and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans.