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!

Texpatriate endorses in At-large position #5

Editorial note: Noah M. Horwitz did not assist with the deliberation or compilation of this editorial.

Back in August, three members of this board attended a meeting at City Hall. We were consulted to represent the interests of young people in Houston as a delegation from Brazil visited the city. The meeting, which featured a diverse selection of City officials, was led by Councilmember Jack Christie. The present members of this board could not believe their ears as Councilmember Christie berated the merits of modern medicine time and time again during the meeting.

Councilmember Christie, of course, is no stranger to this controversy. We remember last January, when Councilmember Christie voted against Federal earmarks for childhood immunizations for asinine and utterly untrue reasons. The allegations that vaccines were ineffective and caused a “synthetic immunity” are bizarre statements typically attributed to likes of Jenny McCarthy, not a powerful public servant.

But the people of Houston have seen Councilmember Christie double down on these positions time and time again, whether it has been in private (such as our meeting) or even public statements he has made, such as a recent interview with Charles Kuffner.

This board is also somewhat irked to see Councilmember Christie advocate for sensationalist Conservative positions throughout his campaign. Whether this has been his harsh opposition to any form of social welfare program such as Medicare or Medicaid, his opposition to gay marriage or his espousal of the Texas Republican Party’s war on women, this board finds a plethora of traits in Councilmember Christie unbecoming of a public servant.

Continue reading

Texpatriate’s Questions for Carolyn Evans-Shabazz

Editorial note: This is the twenty-seventh 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.


Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Candidate for the Houston City Council at-large Position #5

Texpatriate: What is your name?
CE: Dr. Carolyn Evans-Shabazz

T: What is your current occupation?
CE: Real Estate Broker, Retired educator

T: Have you run for or held public office before?
CE: 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)?
CE: Democrat

T: Typically, this board will defer to incumbents unless we are convinced the incumbent has failed in some way. Do you believe the incumbent has failed at her or his job? If so, why?
CE: The incumbent will not be endorsed in this race and neither will I, due to the familial relationship of an opponent to the person(s) that run(s) this blog, unless that opponent gives me his endorsement which I would gladly accept.

I believe that the incumbent is somewhat out of touch with the needs of his constituents such as voting against flu immunizations for children and saying that people don’t die from the flu. Being a medical professional, I would think that he would know differently. He is also unwilling to acknowledge the benefits of traditional medicine in a city with mega medical facilities. I believe that there should be a collaborative approach to wellness. To impact the health of millions of children and people because you choose naturalistic methods is irresponsible. I am sure that some of his supporters take issue with this stance.

I don’t plan to spend a great deal of time discussing where the incumbent fell short. Even if someone does a good job does not mean that someone else can’t do it better. Terms are not promises to continue but opportunities for others to begin.

T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
CE: I am not running against anyone, I am seeking a seat at the table and as mentioned in the previous response, the incumbent is somewhat out of touch in view of some comments and votes taken.

T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
CE: I hope to facilitate the equitable delivery of city services to all areas of the city.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
CE: I would like to review and possibly introduce an ordinance to require security cameras in high crime and high occupancy apartment complexes to help deter crime. These high crime areas house a lot of school aged children and exposure to crime has been shown to physiologically change the brains of children thus impacting their ability to learn. This would also help another vulnerable population and that is the elderly and really people in general. This technology has proved to be an effective deterrent to crime. Although it is not a cure all, it is an excellent start.

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?
CE: I was a late filer in this race and in fact I contemplated filing in other races but found that Position 5 needed a common sense candidate. I am humbled to have received endorsements from the Houston Black American Democrats (HBAD), Harris County Tejano Democrats, and Democracy for Houston. I am a member of the Texas State Teachers Association as well as the Harris County Retired Teachers Association and a former member before retirement of the Houston Federation of Teachers. I am a professional member of the Houston Association of Realtors and the Black Real Estate Association. I am active in my sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., treasurer of the National Association of Spelman College-local and regional chapters, treasurer of the Tierwester Civic Association, member of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church and co-founder of the Now Faith Christian Center in Pearland, Texas.  I am also a board member with Angel Outreach a Christian outreach organization.  I volunteer with grief groups at a facility called Bo’s Place. I also am also an Executive committee member of the NAACP and chair of the Education committee. There are many other coalitions of groups primarily directed toward providing equitable city services and the education of children that I take a special interest in. Finally, I take a special interest in housing as per my profession and education. These are my strong interest group affiliations. As a weakness and one that I would like to become more active with are groups with multi-cultural populations.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
CE: I learned that this is not an easy road and it requires both stamina, passion, and commitment which was not really a surprise but it is a daunting challenge to move about this large city and meet and greet. I learned unequivocally that all people have the same basic needs regardless of race, age, gender, gender preference, or creed.

I have also sadly learned that people will make false statements to progress their political agendas even nice guys (also not a surprise). “In a recent panel of the League of Women Voters, I was the only candidate for this seat who definitely supported same-sex marriage and a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance.” (Horwitz, 2013)

As a person who was interviewed by the League of Women Voters, I was not questioned about same-sex marriage and I stated that I opposed discrimination of any kind when questioned about the non-discrimination ordinance. Please review the taping for accuracy. Also, at the recent endorsement meeting of the Harris County Young Democrats, the statement was made by an opponent that he was “the only progressive democratic in this race.” I am aware that this is called puffing but this opponent has not always voted Democrat and has in fact voted in a Republican primary previously. I can say unequivocally that I am the only consistent progressive Democrat in this race. I am also the only candidate that has supported by marching with the people, immigration reform and higher minimum wages for workers (in fact my picture is in the Chronicle chanting). If either of my opponents were there, I certainly did not see them. I believe that standing with the people is important and meeting them at their point of need. My slogan is “It is about the people and not the position” May I add that is also not about the party. IT IS ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE”

Final comment, I do not intend to participate in mudslinging but I will point out inaccuracies. “I believe that you don’t have to call a glass dirty; you just have to put a clean one next to it. I will always strive to be a clean glass.”

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your questions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.