Archive for December 3rd, 2014

Tomorrow the Houston City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee will meet at 1 PM at City Hall Council Chamber to discuss proposed City Charter changes. Here is one that may be discussed:

Change term limits to two four-year terms beginning with the 2015 City Election.

I am curious to know the reasons why folks want to change the two-year term to a four-year term.

First of all, nobody gets “drafted” to run for office or gets selected to be a candidate against their will. You have to be somewhat ambitious and have a healthy size ego. You have to want to campaign to do it. If you don’t like campaigning or think campaigning takes too much time away from other stuff in your life – DON’T DO IT! Remember, you are putting yourself out there to serve. The argument that two-year terms forces Council Members to always be in campaign mode really doesn’t hold up with me because campaign mode means being out in the community and neighborhoods – God forbid – and talking to folks about their issues and concerns. Public service and campaigning isn’t for everyone.

I have heard that some folks think that going to a four-year term will mean Council Members will have to spend less time fundraising. You have to be careful here. H-Town already has the more restrictive fundraising rules in the area. Members of Congress and County Commissioners can fundraise 24/7 and they have no blackout dates. Members of the Texas Legislature have a fundraising blackout period for about seven months every two years. City Council Members have a blackout period for about ten or eleven months every two years plus an additional period for agenda item matters. We start adding more restrictions and we may be handing over a political campaign advantage to the independently wealthy and that is never healthy for the system.

I was there way back in 1979 when we switched from an all at-large system to nine single member districts and five at-large positions. (In 2011 we added two more single member districts.). Single member districts brought City Hall closer to the people and empowered neighborhood and civic organizations. I witnessed first-hand candidates attend civic club meetings and meet one-on-one with the folks that care most about their neighborhoods. Neighborhood organizations hold Council Members’ and candidates’ feet to the fire and keep them on their toes. They are the ones that help identify key infrastructure and other priority needs. I believe that the two-year term is a major contributor to neighborhood empowerment.

If you switch to a four-year term you might risk having City Hall losing some contact with civic clubs and neighborhood leaders particularly in the second or final term. I don’t need to explain human nature on this but if you don’t have to run – well, you get the picture. I would prefer a lame duck Council Member slacking off their final two years than their final four years.

No system is perfect but I am a long way from being convinced a four-year term is an improvement. Right now the current system strengthens our neighborhoods so why risk diminishing them.

Name the top five ‘Stros with the most career at-bats as ‘Stros?

Congress held hearings yesterday on the President’s actions on immigration while Jorge Ramos tweeted the following:

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 3m3 minutes ago
Look at this. 89% of Latino voters support executive action on immigration. http://www.latinodecisions.com/blog/2014/11/24/new-poll-results-national-poll-finds-overwhelming-support-for-executive-action-on-immigration/ … Repubicans: Think of 2016 and then move

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 5m5 minutes ago
Do Republicans really want to move against executive action on immigration? 89% of Latinos support it. Their risk is to look anti-Latino

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 2m2 minutes ago
Historically, the Republican candidate needs at least 33% of the Hispanic vote to win the White House. (89% of Latinos support exec action)

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 32m32 minutes ago
If Republicans want to lose the Latino vote in 2016, they just have to go against Obama’s executive decision. (89% of Latinos support it)

What else can I say?

B-G-O with 10,876 career at-bats as a ‘Stro, Baggy with 7,797, Cruuuuuz with 6,629, Cesar Cedeno with 5,732 and The Big Puma with 5,560 of course are the top 5.

I hope the team isn’t thinking about trading Dexter Fowler. That would be a dumb move.

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