District I troubles

Among the many City Council races that have descended into runoff elections, District I has arguably received the least press of any contest, certainly the least of the open races. The Houston Chronicle recently ran two pieces, one on who former candidates in District D were endorsing in the runoff, and the other on ongoing legal dispute in At-large 3. Coverage of District I seems few and far between.

That is not to say nothing has been happening in this race; in fact, far from it. Recently, former candidate Ben Mendez endorsed Robert Gallegos in the runoff. Additionally, the Harris County Young Democrats, originally Mendez supporters, endorsed Gallegos. While it is certainly helpful to have the assistance of any former candidates, Mendez has a long history of doing especially strange things, including allegedly making low personal attacks against another candidate and defending child-rapists. Gallegos should tread lightly in receiving his support.

Additionally, the remaining candidate in the runoff election, Graciana Garces, has penned published a confrontational letter against Gallegos. In [T]he letter (which is reprinted in its entirety at the link),  she accuses Gallegos of intentionally misrepresenting himself as a family member and favorite son of Mario Gallegos, the former State Senator for the region.

Click here to continue reading!

Hoang vs. Vo

The Houston Chronicle reports that Al Hoang, the two term member of the Houston City Council recently defeated by political newcomer Richard Nguyen, will be continuing his political career in a new way: running for the Texas House. Hoang will reportedly challenge incumbent Hubert Vo, a Democrat and the only Vietnamese-American member of the legislature, in District 149. Hoang, an ostensibly moderate Republican (he endorsed Mayor Parker), is waging much more of a partisan campaign this time.

Interestingly, some made veiled accusations that it was Vo and associates of his who originally propped up Nguyen to run against Hoang. However, this makes little sense. Nguyen mentioned in his interview with us that he is a Republican, and for rather unapologetic conservative rationale (…because I believe strongly in the US Constitution). Even Morris’ article notes that Hoang received some negative publicity for supporting deescalation with Vietnam.

Click here to read about Hoang’s campaign strategy!

More attacks on Boykins

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Last night, I came across this advertisement for the Georgia Provost for District D  campaign on my telephone. The over-the-top display really goes all out against frontrunner Dwight Boykins.

The astute will remember two attacks focused on Boykins over the summer, largely criticizing the candidate for voting once in a Republican primary and sometimes giving meager sums of money to unopposed, incumbent Republican officeholders. The two perceived transgressions were enough to label Boykins as a “Republican.” The dirty tactics, which were condoned by multiple minor candidates, featured imagery of Boykins photoshopped next to prominent Republican politicians.

Now it appears that Georgia Provost, Boykins’ opponent in the December runoff, has given into these unsubstantiated attacks.

Click here to read more about this ad!

Die another day

…for the Astrodome, that is.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Astrodome might not be doomed after all. The Houston Historical Commission has “voted unanimously” to discuss awarding historical landmark status to the Astrodome. If the commission further votes to give the distinction to the dome, a “90-day hold” will be placed on any effort to destroy the facility.

However, more notably, the City Council could vote to confirm the designation, thus preserving it from destruction. Such a move would be sure to pick a huge fight between the City and the County. While the dome is owned by Harris County, it is located within the City limits. This is exemplified by the fact that while 53% of Harris County voters opposed spending money to save the Astrodome, a majority of City of Houston voters voted to save it.

The Commissioner’s Court will make a further decision about the Astrodome on December 12th, most likely demolition. (Editorial note: See update) The City, while it may ostensibly block demolition, could not force the County’s hand to do something –anything– productive with the dome. Accordingly, the prognosis for such a strategy is a game of stalemate that could continue until someone blinks.

Click here to read more!

Texpatriate: Why Ben Hall lost

Note: The following Editorial was written wholly by Noah M. Horwitz.

Longtime readers of this blog will remember that I was no fan of Annise Parker’s first term. The Mayor tried to continue in her predecessor’s style of moderation and consensus-building. However, for whatever reason, Parker was not very successful down this path. Whether one attributes this to her leadership style or outside variables such as the economy, Parker was only able to cobble together a bare coalition of the middle that garnered her a mere 50.8% in her 2011 re-election.

Accordingly, Parker was very vulnerable as the clock ticked towards the 2013 election. While her shift to the left in her second term carried favor with individuals such as myself, it decimated her support amongst Republicans/Conservatives. Continued policies of limited austerity, as well as an asinine ordinance criminalizing giving food to the homeless, caused many Democrats/Liberals to lend only unenthusiastic support.

City Councilmember C.O. Bradford, an unabashed critic of the Mayor in recent years, was seen as an ideal opponent who would have brought a real chance of defeat to Parker. Instead of Bradford, Parker’s main opponent ended up being Ben Hall, a former City Attorney in the 90s. Hall briefly flirted with the idea of running for Mayor in 2009, but ultimately dropped out and supported Gene Locke (Locke, like Hall, was a City Attorney under Mayor Bob Lanier).

On paper, Hall was the perfect candidate; the kind that would cause Mayor Parker to shake in her shoes. Experienced both at City Hall and in the private sector, Hall had unique perspective as neither a career politician nor a political novice. A moderate, African-American Democrat, Hall was in a unique position to attract the constituencies needed to defeat Parker. Also, Hall is excessively wealthy and articulate. So how did Hall barely win under 30% of the vote? The answer, simply put, is that he ran one of the worse campaigns I have ever seen.

Click here to read more!

2013 results and analysis

We’re working on trying to abridge the hours and hours of livestreamed Texpatriate election return coverage into about 20 minutes of the top hits. Yesterday, our all-time view record was demolished as thousands of people appeared to come to our website to read up on candidates before they voted. Additionally, Richard Nguyen, the victor in District F, had little impact on the internet besides his interview with Texpatriate.

First and foremost, Mayor Annise Parker was decisively re-elected to a third and final term as Mayor of Houston. She cruised to over 57% of the vote, far outpacing the amount of the vote she received in 2011. Meanwhile, Controller Ronald Green also was re-elected, albeit by a much smaller margin. The only surprises amongst City Council races were in At-large 3 and District F, respectively. Otherwise, most incumbents cruised to re-election.

All nine Statewide propositions passed, as did Harris County Proposition 1 (the joint processing center/jail). The Astrodome referendum, however, did not pass, as the iconic 8th Wonder of the World now looks condemned to demolition.

Click here to see full results and read more!

Election Watch Parties

Texpatriate will be offering comprehensive election night coverage tomorrow evening. Noah M. Horwitz will begin the evening at 5:30 (Houston time), live from Boston, offering color commentary and predictions for the final 90 minutes of Election Day. At the conclusion of voting, he will be joined by George Bailey to begin a full program, where the two will switch off between reading results and analyzing numbers. Texpatriate will be calling races and projecting victories in certain races before all votes will be counted.

Bailey & Horwitz will be joined in intermittent commentary throughout the proceedings by Andrew Scott Romo in New Orleans and Olivia Arena in Austin. Additionally, Texpatriate‘s Staff Writer Sophia Arena will be livestreaming from Annise Parker’s watch party in Downtown Houston.

We will provide a link to this livestream coverage on our website. Starting tomorrow afternoon, the first link on texpate.com should be an embedded video. Pre-coverage starts at 5:30, full program begins at 7:00 and the full program will end no later than 11:00. If there are any races still undecided at that time, Horwitz will stay on air as long as they are counting votes.

Click here to read about Candidates’ watch parties!

President Obama endorses Parker

Texpatriate has learned that President Barack Obama has endorsed Annise Parker for a third term as Mayor of Houston. The last minute endorsement comes on the heels of another big-time Democrat, Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio, announcing his support for Parker. The support will be sure to attract increased support in the African-American community, though one must wonder how effective it will be after two full weeks of early voting wherein the majority of the electorate has most likely already cast ballots.

Obama’s last minute nod into the election reeked of similarity to low-effort selections he has made in other major city’s Mayoral races, most notably New York City. However, New York holds partisan Mayoral elections, wherein President Obama simply supported the Democratic candidate. However, in the non-partisan Houston election, the race consists of two frontrunners who are ostensibly both Democrats. However, challenger Ben Hall has recently taken some bizarre positions seemingly inconsistent with Democratic values, most notably a homophobic opposition to a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance. President Obama has shown, for all intent and purposes, this is a typical election with one Democrat. And that Democrat is Annise Parker.

Click here to read the President’s words on Parker!

Parker selected for White House Task Force

USA Today reports that President Obama has issued an Executive Order to begin combating the dangers and effects of climate change. The order creates the “Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience,” which will “advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change.” The task force is made up of State, Local and Tribal leaders from around the country, 26 in all.

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Among those local officials is Mayor Annise Parker. I didn’t actually get the press release from the City of Houston, but quickly found it on the government’s website. The Mayor’s office discussed all the green initiatives the City has been doing recently, including becoming the largest municipal purchaser of renewable energy.

Click here to read Parker’s statement as well as implications for the Mayoral election!