Council update, 12/11

The Houston City Council took no major action this week, as Councilmembers high and low tagged proposals to delay them for one week. Instead, the only updates we have are those that seek to prognosticate towards the future involving existing proposals, almost all of which were pushed back by the dilatory tactic.

First, KPRC is reporting on a proposal to relax the City’s alcohol sales ordinance, which bans any store from selling beer or wine within 1000 feet to a school or a church. Mayor Parker has now proposed easing the regulation to 300 feet, applying only to “larger grocery stores.” I have no idea what the cutoff between a small store and a large grocery store is, and I am in no small part concerned about the possibility that this is an olive branch to Wal-Mart and the like. That being said, perhaps I am just misreading all of it.

The proposal is meant to attract more grocery stores to low-income areas, where very small churches are often ubiquitously located in strip-malls alongside shopping centers. These low-income areas are often called Food Deserts for the scarcity of healthy eating and shopping options nearby. The Houston Chronicle recently cataloged these problems, citing efforts by the City to help alleviate the problems.

Click here to read about the Payday Lending ordinance and why it is in jeopardy!

Early voting begins

The Houston Chronicle notes that early voting for December 14th’s municipal runoff election has officially begun. I have yet to receive my absentee ballot, though I have three layers of confounding incompetent bureaucracy (Harris County Clerk, US Postal Service and my university’s mailroom) to deal through, so I have faith it is somewhere between Houston & Boston at press time.

The incumbents in the top two municipal elections (Mayor Annise Parker and City Controller Ronald Green, respectively) were both re-elected outright last month, meaning that only an assortment of City Council races will be on next Saturday’s ballot. Specifically, at-large Positions #2 and #3, as well as Districts A, D & I. There are also a few HCC Trustee races with runoff elections, though these only cover a portion of the City.

Click here to read summaries of all the runoff elections!

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!

More attacks on Boykins

gdp

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!

Texpatriate endorses in District D runoff

Last month, this board made four different selections in the preliminary race for the Houston City Council, District D. Among those four selections, we all similarly believed that Dwight Boykins would be a well-qualified and effective member of the City Council. Accordingly, we unanimously endorse him in the the District D runoff election.

While we think that Georgia Provost, Boykins’ opponent in this runoff, would be a good member of the City Council, this board has serious concerns about her lack of an effective online presence. As we have stated before, our sojourning outside of Houston makes social media and internet communication paramount in our ratings of similarly-positioned candidates.

On the other hand, it was Boykins’ strong social media foundation that first drew members of this board towards his candidacy. In March, Noah M. Horwitz lauded the strong communication skills of the campaign, writing “For a City Council candidate to have such an awesome Social Media infrastructure this early is noteworthy, especially from a District candidate.” We are also impressed by Boykins’ strong allegiance to his community, evident by straying away from typical out-of-touch opulence seen by most politicians. While many other candidates held $250/plate events to announce candidates or hold watch parties, Boykins held both at parks, completely free and open to the public. The campaign even gave out free food to attendees.

Click here to read the full endorsement!

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!

Council commercials

The Mayoral candidates have released a combined total of five television ads (3 from Hall, 2 from Parker), which Texpatriate has covered in some detail.

Over the past few days, I have encountered somewhat updated YouTube accounts representing many of the other candidates for municipal office, whose videos merit recognition and discussion. Obviously, I am not especially adept about what is actually airing on Houston television, since I live in Boston, so I do not know how many of these are actually television commercials. However, I can vouch that all of the videos highlighted will include the hallmarks of a TV ad, which include professional footage and a respectfully short length (either 30 seconds or 60).

Three candidates in particular have published these advertisements: Dwight Boykins, Ron Hale and Michael Kubosh. Kubosh’s ad is obviously for radio, but the other two candidates ostensibly are intending for the videos to be aired on television. Boykins, for his part, actually produced two videos.

The videos are embedded in their entirety below, and discussed:

Click here to see the videos and read the analysis!

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…

Texpatriate’s Questions for Dwight Boykins

Editorial note: This is the twenty-ninth 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.

395967_186197561513104_921969070_n

Dwight Boykins, Candidate for the Houston City Council District D

Texpatriate: What is your name?
DB: Dwight Boykins

T: What is your current occupation?
DB: President of d Boykins Consulting Firm, LLC

T: you run for or held public office before?
DB: Yes, I was also a previous candidate for Houston City Council

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)?
DB: I am a Democrat

T: Open seats typically attract countless candidates. Why are you specifically running for this seat?
DB: I have an engrained desire to better my community. I have the knowledge; passion and skill set needed to make a difference in District D.  I want to put District D residents back to work, ensure community safety and assist the elderly in the community.

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?
DB: I have known Council Member Adams for many years and I am certain we would have a great relationship for possible transition.

T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
DB: I hope to bring new and creative jobs to District D, address issues concerning senior citizens, recruit brand name retail to District D, reduce crime and most importantly focus on our infrastructure, street and drainage issues.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
DB: The creation of a long-term permanent sustainable fund used for the development of jobs and the development of a 2nd Chance program. This program is an initiative to provide long-term employment opportunities, economic development, crime reduction and sustainable income for those looking for a second chance, including non-violent ex. felons.

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?
DB: I have traditionally been strong with community-based organizations such as TIRZ 13 and as a Commissioner for ReBuild Houston Oversight Committee. I aim to gather more knowledge of certain interest groups concerns and needs in District D.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
DB: The massive need of assistance for senior citizens, high unemployment rate and public safety issues.