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 #2

This board did not support Councilmember Burks when he ran for the City Council two years ago, but we extended a clean slate to him upon his inauguration, giving him a fresh start to prove his leadership skills and ability as a public servant. Sadly, after nearly two years in office, Councilmember Burks has little to show for his tenure besides a string of sometimes bizarre actions and unfortunate votes.

In September 2012, Councilmember Burks infamously opposed relaxed restrictions on food trucks. The reason he provided was an irrational fear that conglomerations of food trucks (specifically, their propane tanks) could be used by terrorists. The faulty logic, which was repeatedly debunked, has been reaffirmed by Councilmember Burks on multiple occasions.

This board was also saddened to see Councilmember Burks’ support of a bill that criminalizes sharing food with the homeless on public property. However, more importantly, Councilmember Burks has reaffirmed this position as well, declining to speak out against the excesses of the new ordinance.

However, above all else, this board has been disturbed to see the unprofessional way Councilmember Burks has conducted himself at recent City Council meetings, including an “interrogation” of a constituent expressing grievances at a Public Forum meeting this past April. In another recent City Council meeting, Councilmember Burks admonished those delinquent on their taxes, while he owed over $100,000 to the Internal Revenue Service himself. The hypocrisy was lost on the Councilmember, however.

Read more for our selection…

Texpatriate’s Questions for Modesto Rivera

Editorial note: This is the seventeenth 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.

Modesto Rivera, Candidate for the Houston City Council at-large Position #2

Texpatriate: What is your name?
MR: Modesto (Moe) Rivera

T: What is your current occupation?
MR: Accounting Supervisor-Airport Service Contracts

T: Have you run for or held public office before?
MR: Negative.

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)?
MR: Affiliated with the Republican Party but will vote for individual Democrat or Independent if they are best qualified.

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?
MR: Correct,

The incumbent has not protected the best interests of his constituents and has not properly conducted himself.

T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?

A. Advice from my political team.

B. Need fresh new ideas on how to generate additional funds and reduce costs.

C. Balance the (CAFR) budget.

D. Globally promote Houston.

E. Improve the City’s image as a Global Leader in Energy, Medical Center, Space Travel, Real Estate, Sports and Entertainment.

T: What do you hope to get out of serving on the City Council?
MR: Serve this City with integrity, fairness and dignity while affording a better future for its citizens.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce in your next term?
MR: Propose a new funding source for the improvement of its infrastructure.

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?

A. Traditionally strong with conservative groups.

B. Weak with Liberal groups.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
MR: It takes full energy, commitment, persistence, unity on behalf of all team members to include myself.

Fringe Candidates

In less than a week, I will be back in Boston, spending my days writing op-eds for my college’s newspaper, mainly pertaining to big, national issues. Today, however, I talk about the fringe candidates for the City Council.

First and foremost, I have noticed an unbelievably small sliver of ostensibly declared candidates have actually turned in their signatures/filing fees to the City Secretary’s office. You can see all the official candidates on the Houstontx.gov website. At first, I simply assumed the computer updating was a few days behind, but I have spent enough time at City Hall this summer (& visited the City Secretary’s office enough recently) to know this is not the case. Most of the time, they have been pretty good about doing things on time.

Anyways, I have been meticulously checking this list for about the last month now, and have gotten a little bit worried, considering only three business days remain to file. I suppose that everything is delayed this year compared to 2009, when everyone was a tad bit rushed after Gene Locke filed on Day 1.

But back to 2013, two fringe candidates have emerged: one a retread and one a new contender. Both are running for at-large positions and have very minimal media surrounding their candidacy.

First up, J. Brad Batteau is running for At-large #3. I recently saw one of his signs erected in an empty lot at Travis & West Alabama (adjacent to a plethora of Eric Dick signs), but it was not specific to any one election year. Batteau ran for the same position in 2011, against Melissa Noriega. He came in last (3rd) with about 18% of the vote, mainly in protest. Before that, he ran in 2009 for At-large 1 (then an open seat), coming in seventh with about 6%. In 2007, in what I think was his first run for office, he ran in the open District I election to a pitiful result.

Batteau provides the key exception to the rule that “all publicity is good publicity.” Back in 2007, during Batteau’s first run for the City Council, YNN Austin had a wonderful story explaining his extensive criminal record, including a felony robbery conviction.

Then there is Modesto Rivera-Colon. A cursory Facebook search reveals he is a Republican, and works for the City of Houston (and formerly for the Houston Chronicle). Very little media otherwise, but I suspect the fact that he has any online presence means there may be a website to come.