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!

More filings

I’d like to apologize for some inactivity recently, I have two finals and a 18 page paper due on Monday, so my blogging has had to take a little bit of a backseat. Anyways, with just two more days left in filing, there is a lot news to report upon both Statewide and at the Harris County level with the introduction of new candidates.

Most notably, the Dallas Morning News reports that Kesha Rogers will throw her tinfoil hat into the ring and seek the Democratic nomination for US Senator. Rogers, who has twice been the nominee for Congress in Sugar Land’s 22nd Congressional District, is a member of the Lyndon LaRouche political sect cult. This organization has little cohesive or consistent message besides revering LaRouche in a cult of personality. This organization is not really reminiscent of the Democratic Party in any way, spouting utterly nonsensical and conspiratorial views. Even the Morning News article notes of Rogers, “As an acolyte of perennial presidential fringe candidate Lyndon LaRouche, she believes the U.S. economy is secretly controlled by a cabal of London financial institutions.”

Also included in the Senate slates are Harry Kim, a dentist out of Odessa. I can’t really find much information one way or another on him. Brains & Eggs also counts Roman McAllen,  local architect, among the Senatorial candidates (though he has yet to file).

Click here to read about new candidates for Railroad Commission and County offices

More attack ads in District D

I received this lovely message in my inbox at 11:53 this morning, from an organization labeled “Say No To Dwight Boykins“, complete with the email address of “SayNoToDwightBoykins@politician.com” The email contained another poorly created advertisement and went as follows:

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“Say No To Dwight Boykins

Fellow Democrats:

District D will be destroyed if Dwight Boykins is elected. Dwight Boykins and his City Hall Insider friends are only in it for themselves. Ask anyone who has talked with Republican Dwight and they will tell you that he is implying that once elected he will GIVE THEM CONTRACTS.  That sounds like a page out of the Book of Rick Perry and Tom Delay! J.R. “Bob” Jones donated THOUSANDS of Dollars to his fellow Republican. You remember Bob Jones don’t you?

Bob Jones’ disrespectful email to Council member Adams when she refused to support Double Taxing our community.

Now Republican Dwight is taking money from the same man who disrespected our Council member and Boykins was SILENT when this woman was attacked.TYPICAL REPUBLICAN!
 

District D can’t afford to elect a REPUBLICAN Insider. Dwight Boykins is BAD FOR OUR COMMUNITY BAD FOR OUR NEIGHBORHOODS Say No To Dwight Boykins!”

Notice the link about “Bob Jones’ disrespectful email” goes to a note by Jolanda Jones. It is about something the megadonor sent to Councilmember Wanda Adams in the aftermath of the Prop 1 kerfuffle. The astute will remember the previous attack ad against Dwight Boykins, which I wrote about at that time. Unlike this ad, the previous one was created on Facebook by an individual named “Dennis Glenn” and shared by another candidate, Larry McKinzie. This ad has not been connected with any individual, nonetheless any candidate, although they are remarkably similar in format and message.

Previously, Glenn had gone after Boykins for donating to the GOP and voting in a single Republican primary. These attacks were much less substance-based, although the previous advertisement contained mostly half-truths as far as substance goes.

I immediately noticed the difference in the token Republicans juxtaposed alongside Boykins in the advertisement, and how they differed from two weeks ago.  Originally, the photo included serious posed photos of Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, George W. Bush and Mitch McConnell, alongside a silly photo of Boykins that could easily have been photoshopped. This photo, however, includes a more serious photo of Boykins that I have seen before, along with sillier photos of the Republicans. This time it is Ronald Reagan, John Boehner, Rick Perry, Eric Cantor, Mitt Romney and Clarence Thomas. The presence of an African-American Republican in this ad immediately caught my eye.

The photo on the bottom, of course, in that infamous image from Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. An interesting jab against Republicans since the State of Alabama was run by the other party at that time. Yes, yes, I know they were Conservative Democrats and shortly thereafter they fled en masse to the GOP, but it would not have been my first suggestion for an image of why Republican politicians are bad.

No idea who is behind these, I will be conducting an investigation shortly if anyone has filed a d/b/a for “Say No to Dwight Boykins.” My hunch is that it is someone from the junior varsity squad (i.e., the fringe candidates).

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.

Mayor
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.

Controller
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.

AL1
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.

AL2
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.

AL3
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.

AL4
Bradford, presumably running for re-election, raised $54k with most of it still in the bank.

AL5
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.

Dialogue in “D”

This is actually from that same Chronicle article as last night, but for some reason I failed to mention it.

A local politico named Dwight Boykins is already in for District D. Boykins does not have a website or any press besides the Chronicle article, but the article claims he has endorsements from Lee Brown and Jew Don Boney. The article also claims Councilmember Adams is not endorsing, at least yet. As I have stated before, this election will be tougher than Jones may think.

Jones to return?

I have a few comments on this, straight from the Houston Chronicle.

Jolanda Jones is reported to be considering a return to 901 Bagby, but by attempting to replace Wanda Adams; not run against Christie for her old seat. There is, of course, a convoluted term limits statute that may or may not prohibit certain people who have served two terms from seeking a non-consecutive third one. David Feldman obviously has an agenda to push, right or wrong, so I would take all of his comments with a grain of salt.

First, I know this comment may be irrelevant, but these segment of the term limit law is truly stupid.  Draw a line in the sand about how many years a City Hall politician can serve, but quit with all the exceptions. If anything we should encourage non-consecutive terms, as it allows for the politicians to not have to campaign while in office.

Second, the ordinance says “No person, who has already served two terms, shall be eligible to file for that same office”. It is worth noting that unlike Peter Brown, Jones did not resign before the end of her term (even by a few days). However, there is something to be said about the distinction between a District Councilmember and an at-large Councilmember. My first year working at City Hall (2009-2010), I worked for Toni Lawrence/Brenda Stardig, while one of my better friends worked for Ronald Green/C.O. Bradford. I can say from experience the two positions are extremely different, similar, in my views, to the relationship between the House and the Senate.

Third, I hold the belief that David Feldman has an axe to grind against Jones, and Brown likewise (he insinuated both would be ineligible at City Hall). Parker did not always get along with Jones, and certainly did not get along with Peter Brown (he ran against her). I do not mean Feldman holds any malice or what not, but he is biased.

District D may be the best opportunity for Jones, but it will not be easy. There will be a dozen candidates and getting into the runoff may not even be guaranteed. I endorsed Jones with a heavy heart in 2009, and endorsed her with an even heavier one in 2011, for a simple premise: a bad Democrat beats a Republican–especially a Texas one. She will have a lot of explaining to do if she wants my approval next year though, because I suspect there will be plenty of other Democrats in the race.

Jack Christie is most likely running again in 2013, but his website, “http://www.christieforhouston.com/”, now suggests otherwise (it is for sale and in Japanese). There have been few challengers proposed for the Councilmember and it is forgone conclusion that, as Jones did not resign early, she may not challenge him. That is probably a good thing.