Archive for August 4th, 2014

It looks like the pro H-Town equal rights ordinance folks are going to get the repeal effort signatures disqualified on technical issues. That’s the way it goes.

The ‘Stros are 47-65. What was our record a year ago today?

Kuffer gave mention to the Mayor’s race yesterday but said he really didn’t want to talk about it until after the November elections. Here is Kuffer: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=61987.

Well if folks are talking about and actually running, Commentary is going to talk about them. Mike Morris of the Chron is also going to talk about it. In fact, it is the lead story in today’s Chron. Morris lists ten potential candidates and even names a frontrunner. Of the ten, only one is a woman – Laura Murillo. Here is the article:

Most voters likely are focused on this fall’s gubernatorial race, but at Houston City Hall the political chatter is dominated by talk of next year’s mayoral contest.

Mayor Annise Parker is in her third and final two-year term atop one of the strongest strong-mayor forms of government in the South, leaving the seat open and the electoral intrigue high for the next city election cycle.

“Given the presence of term limits in Houston, it’s only in the years where you have a term-limited mayor that we tend to have the most competitive and vibrant elections, so 2015 is set to shape up as the most interesting and exciting mayoral race since 2009,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “As would be expected in a race for the most prominent and powerful local executive position in the state, we have a field of very high-quality candidates.”

The list of possible candidates thus far includes mainly those who have held or sought public office before, though analysts said the guessing game at this point is difficult.

“There are always people who get in the race who no one expected and people everyone expects to run who don’t,” said Houston political consultant Mustafa Tameez. “At this early stage, rumors are often floated about people as an insider game.”

The list of rumored or confirmed candidates includes:

Chris Bell, a lawyer who was elected to City Council in 1997, to one term in the U.S. Congress in 2002, was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2006, and ran unsuccessfully for Houston mayor in 2001;

City Councilman Jack Christie, a chiropractor in his second term;

City Councilman Stephen Costello, an engineer in his third term who chairs the council’s budget committee;

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who is in his second term, having served on City Council and, for 23 years, in the Houston Police Department;

City Councilman Ed Gonzalez, who spent 18 years with HPD before being elected to City Council in 2009;

Ben Hall, an attorney and ordained minister who was city attorney from 1992 to 1994 and who lost to Parker in last year’s mayoral race;

City Councilman Michael Kubosh, a bail bondsman in his first term who has helped lead several petition drives to overturn city policies;

Laura Murillo, the president and CEO of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce since 2007;

City Councilman Oliver Pennington, a retired attorney in his third term who chairs the council’s ethics committee.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner, a Democrat and a Harvard-educated lawyer who was first elected to the House in 1988 and who is vice chair of its appropriations committee; he ran unsuccessfully for Houston mayor in 1991 and 2003.

Turner the frontrunner

In what is sure to be a crowded field, observers noted a December runoff between November’s two highest vote-getters is assured. Thus, candidates’ must first aim to make the runoff, they said, and that means mobilizing a base that can swing the vote in a municipal election likely to see a lackluster turnout.

Jones and University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus agreed that of the presumed candidates, Turner – who has publicly declared his intentions – is the frontrunner, thanks to likely support from black voters, who are a large base, and many progressives.

Turner’s frontrunner status could change, they said, if Garcia enters the race. The Democratic sheriff has crossover appeal with some conservatives, they said, and solid name recognition. As a county officeholder, Garcia would have to resign his post immediately upon announcing his candidacy.

Lots of angles

As the only female and only Latina to have declared thus far, Jones said, Murillo could enjoy an advantage that, with her track record, might get her into the runoff if she proves an adept campaigner. Pennington seeking to mobilize conservatives is a sound strategy to make the runoff, Jones said, though it’s less clear that approach would succeed after that.

By contrast, Costello’s centrist approach would make him a formidable candidate in a runoff but could prevent him from getting there without an obvious base, Jones said; Republicans dislike his support for the ReBuild Houston drainage fee and Democrats don’t claim him as one of their own.

Political observers had differing views of which candidates are likely to benefit from the issues likely to dominate discussion next year as Houstonians gripe about terrible roads and the city faces a daunting budget deficit and, perhaps, a November vote on whether to alter a decade-old, voter-approved cap on city revenues.

“It probably plays well into the hands of people who’ve been more experienced at dealing with these kinds of crises,” Rottinghaus said. “Other people would have to make a good case that they could step into that role right away, negotiate with all the players and find a reasonable solution.”

Too early to tell?

Jones said financial issues might mobilize conservatives more than would otherwise occur. Tameez downplayed the role of timely issues, however, saying each credible candidate will find a way to argue that he or she is the right candidate at the right time.

The bottom line, Rottinghaus said, is that speculation about next year’s politics are, perhaps, better left to next year.

“It’s like trying to predict what the Texans’ record is going to be,” he said. “It’s shaping up – there’s no doubt there are some blocks that have been put in place here. But we still don’t know about so much of this.”

A year ago today, the ‘Stros were 36-74 of course.

We got notified this past Friday that ticket prices were going up next season. The team reminded us that ticket prices haven’t gone up since 2008, which by the way was the last time we had a winning season. I am sure that the team got push back from season ticket holders this past weekend, so I guess I wasn’t surprised that they invited me to sit in Insperity yesterday. The grub was delicious.

During the homie we got swept by the Fish, took two of three from the A’s, and three of four from the Jays. Go figure!

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