Robinson to serve on Crime Lab board

The Houston Chronicle reports that Anthony Robinson, a former City Council candidate, has been appointed by Mayor Parker and confirmed by the City Council to serve on the city’s Crime Lab oversight board. Robinson, as some might recall, was falsely convicted of rape many years ago and spent over a decade in prison before proving his innocence and ultimately being exonerated and pardoned by then-Governor George W. Bush.

Parker said of Robinson, upon his confirmation, “He’s going to be an even better board member because he has skills as an attorney and his being very familiar with the criminal justice system. And community contacts and ties, as well.” He will specifically serve on the board of Houston Forensic Science LGC, Inc., a government-run corporation recently created independent of the Houston Police Department amidst charges of ineffectiveness and incompetence.

Click here to read more!

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Chronicle runoff endorsements

Over the past few days, the Houston Chronicle has offered up its endorsements in each of the five runoff elections. In At-large #2, District A and District I, the paper’s original selections (David Robinson, Brenda Stardig and Graciana Garces, respectively) advanced into runoffs. However, in At-large #3 and District D, the paper’s original selections (Rogene Calvert and Anthony Robinson) did not advance. Accordingly, much like Texpatriate has been doing, it has revisited these races to select another candidate.

First, the Chronicle endorsed frontrunner Dwight Boykins in District D. The editorial lauded his strong ties within the district, as well as his ‘second chance program,’ which aims to alleviate both unemployment and crime by putting former (non-violent) convicts back to work for the City within the District. The rationale was similar to what the Texpatriate Editorial Board said not too long ago, when we endorsed Boykins.

The editorial also gave a favorable shout-out to Boykins’ opponent, Georgia Provost, writing that she would make a decent Councilmeber. What was not mentioned, however, were some of Provost’s recent –and rather distasteful– ads and campaign tactics.

Click here to read about who the Chronicle endorsed in At-large position #3!

Texpatriate endorses in District D

There are no municipal elections this year with more candidates than District D. After serving the district well for six years, Councilmember Wanda Adams will be forced out by term limits. Though this board made our best efforts to reach out to the dozen candidates, we were only able to receive responses to our interview questions from a handful of candidates. Instead of depending too heavily on this board’s interview materials alone, we strongly recommend checking out New Media Texas, where Durrell Douglas conducted video interviews with most of the candidates. Additionally, we recommend consulting this blog, specifically about the District D election, which is being run by TSU Students.

This election features a plethora of well-qualified, well-intentioned candidates that this board believes would be remarkable additions to the City Council. However, we disagreed sharply about who was the best candidates, who earned our support the most. While none of the members of this board reside in District D, Texpatriate‘s office is located within the district. Accordingly, we feel a special connection to the district.

Texpatriate will not endorse a candidate in District D, as each member of this board instead selected the candidate he or she supported, which turned out to be all unique selections.

Read these selections below…

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.

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Texpatriate’s Questions for Anthony Robinson

Editorial note: This is the twenty-second 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.

http://nebula.wsimg.com/81a7e0a35f7ffde0ee85edbe1e2409f6?AccessKeyId=7D88C0304ED372B873F5&disposition=0

Anthony Robinson, Candidate for the Houston City Council District D

Texpatriate: What is your name?
AR: Anthony Robinson

T: What is your current occupation?
AR: Attorney

T: Have you run for or held public office before?
AR: No.

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)?
AR: Democratic Party

T: Open seats typically attract countless candidates. Why are you specifically running for this seat?
AR: In losing the leadership of CM Adams, the City and District deserves an advocate who understands how to work to improve the delivery of services and resources to the residents and offer effective guidance to the City at the same time. I have a personal interest in improving the Public Safety situation in the District that will allow the fostering of both development and economic opportunity. And, because I live in the District, issues such as the constant flooding, illegal dumping and inadequate service deliver affect me and my family directly.

T: Are you in contact with the incumbent Councilmember for this position? Would the two of you have a good relationship for a possible transition?
AR: Yes. I have a great deal of respect for the contribution CM Adams has made in improving the Quality of Life for District residents and will work to continue her current initiatives as well as expand upon some to achieve our mutual goal of a higher Quality of Life for residents.

T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
AR: The honor of having achieved something concrete to further improve the lives of my fellow District resident and Houstonians. My service is to make a difference, and to accomplish that in a positive way would be my greatest ‘take away’ from having served.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
AR: An ordinance has a City-wide impact. I have a idea of what I would like to introduce, but would need to do further research to examine the possible ‘unintended consequences’ of such a change to City-wide ordinances. That being said, I would prefer not make a premature suggestion of an ordinance which may become problematic in the future.

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?
AR: A group that I have a strong interest in as a candidate would be the elders/seniors in the District. A weaker interest group would be those who have dogs that are not properly secured or kept confined.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
AR: The most important thing I have learned so far, it is hard to work for a change when people have almost given up on thinking change is possible. Making a difference must start with knowing a change can be made and spreading that knowledge.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on how I would work to make a difference in District D. Together we can make a difference.-Anthony Robinson, Esq. Candidate for Houston City Council-District D. Vote–Anthony Robinson for District D.

State of the Municipal Races

Daily Commentary has a somewhat exhaustive list of municipal candidates, but I felt like I needed to do the due diligence myself. Accordingly, this morning, after I left the Federal Courthouse for the day, I walked across the street to City Hall and visited Anna Russell’s office to see the Campaign Treasurer files for myself. Luckily I got out of both buildings before things went to hell. But you can watch the 6 o’clock news about all that. Anyways, I want to list the candidates and discuss each of the candidates’ financial records.

Mayor
First up, the two new candidates for Mayor. Keryl Douglas, the homophobic, bigoted unsuccessful candidate in last year’s campaign for Harris County Democratic Party Chair, has thrown her hat into the ring.  Douglas’ website is still a shell, containing nothing about the infamous Douglas Plan or her supporters. Like Eric Dick’s entrance into this race, I do not think this is really going to affect Parker’s chances. Douglas is just going to turn votes away from Ben Hall, because none of the Parker’s voters would go for the homophobe. Pardon my tone, but I will be pulling no punches against candidates for Mayor on this issue.

The other new candidate for Mayor is Victoria Lane. I found a telephone number on her from the treasurer form, but no website and no hits from I Googled her name.

The self-proclaimed Green Party candidate, Don Cook. Cook raised a little more than $10k, of which a negligible amount is still on hand. The self-proclaimed Socialist Worker, Michael Fitzsimmons, did not submit a form. I guess private campaign donations are sort of anathema to the glorious proletariat revolution, or what not. The self-proclaimed Republican, Eric Dick, did not file a form delineating his donations. He did, however, have about $11k in expenses. Victoria Lane raised about $4k.

Annise Parker’s campaign, meanwhile, raised a total of $2.2M, and only spent a fraction of that amount. But the real story is Ben Hall’s farce of a campaign. Hall raised a measly $300k or so, going significantly in the red, including a $1.5M loan. This is a far cry from his claims to be raising so much money. Oh well.

Controller
No new candidates for this race. Still a classic one-on-one fight between Green and Frazer. In this race, Green has raised about $70k, with most of it still on hand. Frazer, a Republican CPA, raised about $50k and spent close to 80% of the total.

AL1
Costello is still unopposed, as of now. The Councilmember raised a whopping $156k. Perhaps he has higher ambitions. Speaking of Costello, what the heck is his political affiliation nowadays? Once upon a time, I remember thinking he was a Republican, but between his common alignment with the Mayor and liberal takes on social issues (pro-choice and pro-gay marriage), I do not think the GOP would ever support his candidacy in this State.

AL2
Councilmember Burks has three opponents: David Robinson, Trebor Gordon and Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. Burks, for his part, raised $41K and only spent a fraction of it. Robinson raised over $80k, but, as Dos Centavos points out, he probably has to retire some old campaign debt. Accordingly, he only has about $50k fit for spending. Still more than the incumbent.

Trebor Gordon is not a name I had heard in connection with this race before. He has a website as http://www.treborgordon.com/ and is an avowed Republican. It will be interesting to see what he does. The other name is Carolyn Evans-Shabbaz. A cursory Facebook search reveals a deep dissatisfaction with the Trayvon Martin case and close frienship with Assata-Nicole Richards, both tell-tale signs of a Democrat. Gordon raised about $1500, while Evans-Shabbaz did not submit a return.

AL3
Here comes the mess.

First up is Michael Kubosh, who raised over $100k ($108k, to be exact). Right next to this total is Rogene Calvert, who raised $84k and retained most the cash.

Roland Chavez raised about $27k, and only spent a couple thousand. Chris Carmona is completely destitute. Roy Morales raised $37k and spent $35k of that. This is surprising, and not just because Dos Centavos originally called him broke as well. Morales did not run for anything in 2011 or 2012. That’s like a new record for him or something.

Jenifer Pool, who seemed to have filed late, raised $34k and spent most of the total. Al Edwards, who still in unofficially officially in the AL3, did not file a return.

AL4
Bradford, presumably running for re-election, raised $54k with most of it still in the bank.

AL5
Jack Christie raised a whopping $95k, with over 2/3 still on hand. Even worse, he has not a single opponent. Personally, I think Robinson should run against Christie. Sure, Burks is a little odd and sometimes frustrates progressives, but Christie is legitimately a Conservative Republican who goes on anti-vaccine rants.

Once upon a time, I had heard of quite a few possible candidates for this race, from former State Reps, former City Councilmembers, activists to lawyers. I think I even read my father’s name mentioned for this one. Alas, no one will step up. I’d put my own name on the ballot if push comes to shove, but I feel there will be at least token opposition.

District A
This race really boils down to a third-person race between the incumbent, Helena Brown, the former one-term Councilmember, Brenda Stardig, and Amy Peck.  Ron Hale, Mike Knox and Catarina Cron are the other candidates I have hard from in this race. This is still no Democrat in the race.

Brown raised about $67k, spending a little under half of the total. Stardig, meanwhile, did not report raising any money. Peck  raised a pitiful $4k. In this regard, it looks like the incumbent may not have that hard of a time after all.

Ron Hale picked up $2.5k, while Knox took in a whopping $41k. Cron did not submit a report.

District B
The incumbent, Jerry Davis, will be facing some opposition next year within his own party. For his part, he raised about $53k and spent a negligible amount.

He has two declared opponents: Joe Joseph & Katherine Blueford-Daniels. I can’t really find anything on the former candidate, but Blueford-Daniels does come up with a few searches. She is being supported predominantly by Carol Mims Galloway, the former Councilmember and School Board member in that district and NAACP leader. This, of course, begs the question of how much other support Blueford-Daniels has.

Joseph did not file a return, but Blueford-Daniels did. However, she only raised $5k.

District C
Ellen Cohen could very possibly draw some opponents, including Brian Cweren, her biggest 2011 opponent. However, the only other candidate who has filed a campaign treasurer or campaign report is Pete Sosa. For the life of me, I cannot find a Facebook page or other meaningful internet footprint.

Cohen raised $128k, with most of it still on hand. Sosa did not file any sort of report.

District D
The District D race might actually have more people in it than the AL3 one. Dwight Boykins, who is backed by much of the old guard political establishment including Mayor Brown, raised $150k with over $100k left unspent.

There are a few other well-known candidates, Assata-Nicole Richards and Georgia Provost. The former raised $37k with half on hand, while the latter raised $21k with little on hand.

Onto the new candidates, the first is Kirk White. White has a Facebook page for his campaign, but it doesn’t go into very much detail about anything. I have no idea if he’s a Democrat in the Democratic district, or not. He filed a report of less than $1k in contributions.

Then there is a Keith Caldwell. Caldwell is an activist in the Democratic Party, serving positions at both the Precinct and Senate District Level. He has a website and big social media presence already. His campaign, however, raised a measly $2.75k with full expenses.

Travis McGee, the past Sunnyside Civic Group President, has also been conducting a campaign. He’s raised nearly $5k and spent about all of it.

Not filing reports but registered as candidates anyways are Anthony Robinson, Larry McKinzie and Lana Edwards. Robinson just has a shell of a website. Though his Facebook page is more active and suggests he was involved in the big Trayvon Martin protests yesterday. I guess it is safe to assume he is a Democrat.

McKinzie, who now has a website, previously ran against Adams in 2009. Another Democrat.

Edwards has a little shell thing here, but I can’t figure out much else.

District E
At this point I think Councilmember Martin is just running unopposed. He has raised $53k with $23k on hand.

District F
Likewise, Councilmember Hoang has yet to draw any opposition. He raised just $13k with just $11k on hand.

District G
Councilmember Pennington is not unopposed, however. Pennington raised a very impressive $189k for his campaign, so it will probably not be a credible threat.

I had been wondering if Clyde Bryan would make another run for his seat, again with the bandit signs and such. He is not, Bryan will be working on Dick’s campaign. But a candidate named Brian Taef is running. I could not find any trace of him on Google, but Taef did file a campaign report. He raised $150, for the record.

District H
At this point, it looks like Ed Gonzalez will be unopposed for yet another term. He raised close to $80k with most of it still on hand.

District I
We start things off with the pseudo-favorite, Graci Garces, Councilmember Rodriguez’s Chief of Staff. Garces raised about $19k with most of it still on hand. Her main competitor, Ben Mendez, raised a huge $94k.

Robert Gallegos, yet another Democrat in the race, got about $17k. The lone Republican, Leticia Ablaza, got $27k with about $16k on hand still.

As Dos Centavos points out, until March Garces, and Gallegos were competing with the SD06 race for donors. Accordingly, their numbers may have been retarded in comparison with the Republican candidate. Although that does not explain Mendez.

District J
Councilmember Laster, with $66k in donations and $81 on hand, is unopposed.

District K
Councilmember Green, with $93k raised and most still on hand, is likewise unopposed.

That’s all, folks. Off the KuffDos Centavos and Greg’s Opinion all have a lot more. They’ve been doing this stuff since before my Bar Mitzvah, so I highly suggesting consulting their work too.