A few more Mayoral names

Theodore Schleifer, the new political reporter at the Houston Chronicle (welcome, fellow millennial, to the addicting world of Houston politics), wrote a front-page article yesterday about the huge fundraising advantage in the upcoming Mayoral election held by former State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Harris County). It is a good piece of journalism, and I highly recommend reading it all the way through. However, what I found most interesting about the article was the new names put in print on who would be running for Mayor. I had heard most of the names, but never with anyone willing to go on-the-record.

Bill King, the former Mayor of Kemah, was listed as “waiting to assess the field.” This is notable, as King is a biweekly columnist for the Chronicle, and thus works a few doors down from Schleifer. Accordingly, there must be some truth to that allegation. The concept of being the Mayor of different cities has always struck me as rather improper, though. The connection to the city can’t help but look superficial.

Another name mentioned was City Councilmember C.O. Bradford (D-At Large 4). As astute followers of this publication will likely know, I am a big fan of Bradford, and would be very happy to see him run for Mayor. He has a unique ability to cut through the bull in politics, and is without a doubt one of the smartest people sitting at the horseshoe. If there is anyone excited about him running, it would be me. But, as I have understood it, Bradford decided against a Mayoral bid about a year ago. Maybe he changed his mind?

Finally, the name Marty McVey was included. The Chronicle article describes him as a “private equity executive.” He also serves on the Board for International Food & Agricultural Development (BIFAD) for the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Politically connected both locally and in Washington, McVey is the wealthy businessman this race has been waiting for. A Democrat, cursory research will show that he donated about $100,000 to progressive political causes in recent cycles.

Susan Delgado, a political gadfly, also announced via her Facebook that she would run for Mayor. She ran in the Democratic primary against State Representative Carol Alvarado (D-Harris County) earlier this year, as well as in the special election for the State Senate District 6 last year. A one-time mistress of the late State Senator Mario Gallegos (D-Harris County), she first entered the limelight about ten years ago.

The Chronicle article also very heavily assumed that Sheriff Adrian Garcia would run for Mayor. Obviously, the Sheriff, as a county officer, must resign his office in order to run for Mayor. I am still skeptical he will end up running, but you all know I’ve definitely been wrong before. To see my previous overview of the field, please click this link.

What do you make of this all?

Council update 3/26

The Houston City Council accomplished three major actions today: (1) implementing a tax break for developers who raze buildings, (2) approving a tax credit for affordable (family friendly) apartments in District A and (3) a rewrite of the City’s animal control laws. Among the other actions taken, the City unanimously decided to both offer a bigger incentive to police academy recruits and amend ethics/disclosure rules for the municipal governance. I will have more on each and every one of these issues, complete with analysis and commentary from pertinent sources, including Councilmember C.O. Bradford on the dog issue.

First, on the minor issues, the Council unanimously voted to offer a $5000 incentive to new police academy recruits. As Mike Morris, a Houston Chronicle reporter/writer, noted on Twitter, this will hopefully make cops’ salaries somewhat more competitive in the marketplace. The cost is estimated to be about $350,000. The other minor action taken was loosening ethics rules, specifically by easing how many employees must annually file fiscal disclosure forms. Morris wrote an article in the Chronicle, slated for publication Thursday, dealing with this in greater detail. The only specific facet of any importance is that while elected officials, their personal staff and department directors were previously required to file disclosures, this has now been changed to simply the officials, their top staff and department directors.

Click here to read more, including analysis of the new affordable housing and dog code!

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!

Bob Perry, 1932-2013

The Texas Tribune reports that GOP super donor Bob Perry died this morning in his sleep. He was 80.

Bob Perry had amassed a large fortune over the years from his large development company, Perry Homes. Eventually, the focus turned to philanthropy of a political nature. Perry was one of the biggest donors to politicians in the State, mainly giving to the GOP. Among his recipients were George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Sylvester Turner, Mario Gallegos, George P. Bush and Carol Alvarado. A Houston resident, he worked tirelessly to support candidates, both left and right (but mainly right), from his hometown.

Additionally, Perry was invaluable in silencing the far-right from dominating the Republican Party’s immigration policy. He was one of the key reasons the cruel Sanctuary City bill did not pass, and for that, liberals like me will always be grateful.

I do not believe I ever had the pleasure of meeting Mr Perry in person, but I wish I did. He will be missed and I was saddened to hear of his passing.

Texpatriate endorses Sylvia Garcia for SD06

It is with a heavy heart, and much contemplation, that I decide, against some of my better judgment, to weigh into this election. I vote in SD17, so I don’t really have a dog in this fight, thus I decided, at first, to stay out of the election. Before the initial election, I made no picks, and simply hoped that a Republican would not meander his way into the runoff. Well, that didn’t happen, and now, we have the ultimate runoff election on Saturday.

The two candidates, Carol Alvarado and Sylvia Garcia, are both Democrats, and most voters, counting myself at one time, thought of them as indistinguishable. Alvarado, as a State Representative and former City Councilmember, had the backing of larger proportion of the Hispanic community, including the deathbed endorsement of the late Senator Gallegos. Garcia, meanwhile, a former County Commissioner and City Controller, has the heavy support of much of the City establishment, as well as a few State Reps that must be dissatisfied with Alvarado.

Anyways, I didn’t see much in the part of differences between the candidates–that is, until today. Today, I read a startling article in BOR about Alvarado and Garcia’s donors. Naturally, I am dubious of anything coming out of an Austin blog, so I double checked. It’s legit. Alvarado’s money is coming from Bob Perry, the GOP mega-donor; Tort-reformers, and; loan sharks (aka payday lenders). Garcia’s money comes from typical Democratic sources, the Mostyns and Unions.

This reminds me of the 2008 Democratic Primaries, when Barack Obama was being underwritten by the big banks and insurance companies, but that is neither here nor there. Anyways, this, along with the fact that anti-Semite Larry Taylor is block-walking for Alvarado, is enough to turn me off from her completely.

If I lived in SD06, I would gladly vote for Garcia, to keep another elephant in donkeys’ clothing out of the Senate. It is my hope enough people agree with me.

Poll day

All those lucky citizens in SD06, make sure to hit the polls today! The special election to succeed the late-Senator Gallegos is now underway. I believe the polls close at 7PM, so I will be posting some live results as they filter in. So, without further ado, one final look at the candidates.

Carol Alvarado
Endorsed by Senator Gallegos on his deathbed, as well as the late-Senator’s widow, Alvarado, a State Representative and former City Councilmember, has the backing of much of the Hispanic establishment, including Councilmember James Rodriguez.

Sylvia Garcia
Endorsed by Mayor Parker and State Rep. Jessica Farrar, Garcia, a former County Commissioner, City Controller, and Judge, is the favorite of most City Hall aficionados.

R.W. Bray
The Republican in the race. Also the Republican who lost in November. Now, I know SD06 is really liberal, and it made sense to posthumously elect Gallegos so that there would be a special election, but losing an election to a dead person just destroys your political reputation.

Now, I live in SD17, so I don’t have to vote in this race, thus, I am not endorsing. I don’t especially care which Democrat wins this seat, I just like to watch the game. I suppose, then, you could say this is like the Superbowl for me this year.

Voting now open for the Texpatriate Person of the Year

I have, in some way or another, been awarding “Person of the Year” for Houston politics for a few years. From the vaults, let me bring up some of the editorials from the past:

2009–Annise D. Parker
This is a real no-brainer. Even though my original allegiances were, in fact, for Gene Locke, I have no ideological quarrels with the Controller, and am certain she will do a fantastic job in office.

Additionally, even though this was not a major theme of the campaign, no one can doubt the historical significance of Controller Parker’s election to be the Chief Executive of a city of Houston’s size. For the first time in many years, we have been getting national coverage for a good reason
.” –Published 12/29/09

2010–The Houston Public Employee
The decision would have been clear if Mayor White would have won the election, or at least not suffered the shellacking he did. At any rate, even though I have always opposed abstract designations for “person of the year”, I find it necessary today.

So, in giving this award to the civil servant, we stand in solidarity with their struggles. We stand with HOPE, the local AFSCME and SEIU, we stand against furloughs for the working class while our city and county wastes their money, our money, on outlandish parks.
” –Published 12/26/10

2011–Andrew C. Burks, Jr.
The 2011 gave mixed messages to the perennial candidates among us. Griff Griffin, after his umpteenth campaign, finally called it quits, while Andrew Burks, after his, finally claimed victory. Though I supported Representative Thibaut, and am cautious about just how liberal Mr Burks is, it is a milestone for our city that a candidate, once dismissed as not serious, has finally won.

In closing, I wish Mr Burks luck in this pursuit of his, and for a city with a newly re-elected Mayor.
” –Published 12/31/11

So, therefore, I introduce the candidates for Texpatriate Person of the Year, 2012:

Ted Cruz
While probably despised by the vast majority of my readers, no one can doubt just how amazing Mr Cruz’s primary victory over Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst was. In addition, he will now be the first Latino Senator from Texas, and is set to become a national figure.

Julian Castro
Much like Mr Cruz, Mayor Castro thrust this state into the national spotlight, though with good effect. As the first Latino keynote speaker at the DNC, he showed the nation a new face for Texas.

Sylvia Garcia
After being one of the many casualties of the Republican landslide of 2010, Commissioner Garcia has come back from the political dead to run for the late-Senator Gallegos’ seat. If she wins, this will be much more pressing, if she loses, it will be moot, and if the election does not occur until next year, I would probably also advise against the selection.

Mario Gallegos
Senator Gallegos unified the entire Houston-area Democratic establishment at the time of his death, something not easily done. While in office, he was a tremendously powerful figure, looming larger than life.

Annise Parker
Parker once again was a major figure in the news this years, providing over a non-contentious start to her second term. Considering the issues abound throughout her first term, that is quite an accomplishment.

Lane Lewis
After surviving a nasty, bitter fight to be the Chairman of the HCDP, Chairman Lewis has been unbelievably successful at his job, keeping Judicial losses this year to a minimum, while loosing neither Countywide office up for election.

Adrian Garcia
Speaking of countywide offices, the Sheriff did an impeccable job of fending off his re-election battle. Rumors of higher office are already abound.

Mike Sullivan
Being one of the few big Republican successes in Harris County this year, Councilmember Sullivan was the first CM to make the successful switch to higher office in nearly four years, on the heels of aborted or failed quests by Lawrence, Johnson, Adams, and Khan. Sullivan, as the new TAC, also did quite an admiral thing in his early retirement announcement, which set up a cheap, concurrent special election.

The “Dead” Voter/Voter Fraud
In honor of all those invisible people who commit voter fraud, and, according to the King Street Patriots, showed up to steal the election for the Democrats.

Also, add your own poll option. To stay in the style of Houston politics, we may or may not have a runoff poll.

https://texpate.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/poll-link/