Texpatriate endorses for County Treasurer

Upon first glance, the office of County Treasurer is useless. It is rather compelling, even, to argue for its abolition. What does it do? We’re not even completely sure. Something involving fiscal stewardship and being a direct intermediary between the government funds and the people. Our confusion is prompted by the fact that the incumbent, Orlando Sanchez, has done a rather lackluster job in office. For the past eight years, he has done little of consequence. As far as we can tell, the only time he has ever come out of the woodwork was to bluntly grandstand against METRO Buses that portrayed pro-Houston Texans messages. Nothing about fiscal prudence, nothing about transparency and nothing about working together with the public in a more effective way.

Granted, following the tumultuous tenure of former County Treasurer Dom Sumners in the 1990s, the County Commissioners’ Court stripped the post of many of its powers, rendering it comparably feckless. And the process to abolish the office would be long and costly. A Texas constitutional amendment would be a necessity, requiring 2/3rds votes of the Legislature and a statewide referendum. It would be a hard process, but left to our own devices, we’d probably see it through none the less.

But David Rosen, the Democratic challenger for this post, insists that the office is salvageable and that it can do good things nonetheless. He touts a plan to make county expenses accessible to the general public and to be an ally for all those who wish to examine the government’s coffers. Under current practices, the county expenses are buried amid a massive PDF file. These are the same tactics used by elusive attorneys looking to bury information during the discovery phase of litigation; it is unbecoming of the county’s ostensible fiscal watchdog. Rosen promises to streamline this process, making it easier to navigate and more search friendly. He also wishes to rescind the reforms taken by the Commissioners, and allow the office to audit, budget and forecast.

Rosen also wishes to use the office as a bully pulpit to advocate for domestic partnership benefits for county employees, irrespective of sexual orientation. While we wholeheartedly agree with his position, we do retain some concerns about if it is the proper role of the County Treasurer to be advocating for such positions.

Sanchez, on the other hand, has been completely silent on the campaign trail. We don’t what he would stand for or what he would do. Judging by his track record in office, not much. He also opposes abolishing the office, but he doesn’t support doing anything productive with it either.

Thus, even though we believe the office would be better off a relic of the past, Rosen is the right choice. His heart is in the right place, and he would implement reforms that would give the office a fighting chance of relevance and effectiveness. He would even go above and beyond to retain some important auditing and budgeting responsibilities. Giving the office some real power would justify its existence, and we would gladly like to see Rosen do this.

Accordingly, this board endorses David Rosen for Harris County Treasurer.

The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised Noah M. Horwitz & Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey of Boston, Luis Fayad of College Station and Andrew Scott Romo of New Orleans. Editorials represent a majority opinion of the voting board.

Bill Frazer to run against Ronald Green

Welp, Controller Green won’t get the free ride this year he got in 2011. Bill Frazer, a Republican CPA, has officially thrown his hat into the ring for City Controller. Big Jolly breaks the news, and informs me there is a press release (why I am never included in these things, I’ll never know).

Why not zoidberg? - sending out press releases? why not horwitz?

Anyways, Frazer, in an extended interview with Big Jolly, lambasted Ronald Green and everything he stands for in loquacious fashion. I’m looking forward to the race, personally, because I believe Green to be quite a formidable opponent. Remember, he’s the lone Democrat who took 36% in November, and somehow managed to win the runoff. Green is in the unique position to be poised to ride both Parker and Hall’s coattails. He both appeals to the African-African community, and is satisfactorily supported by Parker’s middle-class white intelligentsia base. Either way, he’s got an advantage going into this race, that is, unless he @%&#s up again. No word on what this means for Don Sumner’s hypothetical campaign.

 

Ronald Green; Cohen to run for re-election

I don’t think this comes as much of a surprise to anyone, but I got an email about the City Controller’s upcoming re-election fundraiser. I guess that solves that.

Green had been in the news, for some…well, less than admirable  reasons, recently. Don Sumners, the now-former Tax Man, is still rumored to challenge him in November.

For what it it’s worth, his website hasn’t been updated yet.

UPDATE: I got a very similar email from Ellen Cohen about a fundraising event. “Join Ellen as she kicks off the 2013 season,” it reads.

Green draws a challenger…maybe

I pride myself for keeping up on the news and rarely missing a story, but I goofed up and totally overlooked this one from the Chronicle.

Don Sumners, the (as of January 1st) former Tax Collector and former County Treasurer, is musing a run for City Controller. Ronald Green, first elected in 2009, ran unopposed in 2011.

Sumners is very, very Republican, enough that I would almost go so far as to call him unelectable in Houston. Houston, unlike Harris County, does not include all those predominantly White suburbs, so it does not swing from left to right, not even a little bit. Also, Ronald Green is a master campaigner. In 2009, before the runoff, he got 36% of the vote against two other Republicans. He then translated that into 53% in the runoff. Also, Sumners is not especially a well like politician by either party.