Archive for February 2nd, 2015

City Politics

Commentary can’t add anything to say about the stunning end of last night’s game and the call. Postgame I will say that Gisele wears Patriots red and blue plaid the best.

Best halftime entertainment tweet goes to the Chron’s Nick Mathews when Katy Perry made her entrance:

Nick Mathews @Nick_Mathews • 13h 13 hours ago
The closest the Lions will ever get to the Super Bowl.

I wasn’t really impressed with the ads last night. Always did right with run and throw like a girl and Ted 2 with Gisele’s hubby was cute. After four hours of excessive horsepower, should the Fiat call a mechanic? That’s all!

Hall of Fame great Joe Morgan wore four different numbers playing in Colt Stadium and in the Astrodome. What were the numbers?

Commentary has said it before. If folks really want to make major changes to the City’s term limits, get organized and take it to the grass roots. Half arse efforts aren’t going to cut it. You need to get out there and engage the voters and lay out the arguments. The Chron has another piece behind the paywall on the latest effort on tinkering with term limits. Here it is: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Like-clockwork-City-Council-debates-term-limits-6055671.php.

Here is what Kuffer said about the current effort:

Given the abolition of the fundraising blackout period, it’s even harder for me to see the justification for four year terms. Any incumbent that doesn’t go into their re-election year with a six figure-plus campaign treasury will have committed political malpractice. How exactly is this going to make things better? We’ll see how it goes when it comes up for a final vote.

Bill King continues to engage #HoustonPotholes. Here is what the HISD Superintendent tweeted:

Terry Grier @tgrierhisd • 15h 15 hours ago
@BillKingForHou Saw another pothole flat this morning at corner of Sage and Woodway!


Bill King retweeted
Terry Grier @tgrierhisd • 15h 15 hours ago
@charbq @BillKingForHou Why doesn’t Houston police officers report them–or city employees; bus drivers, etc.?

I am thinking Bill King owns the pothole issue.

Yesterday the Chron E-Board yesterday drew up a job description of sorts for mayoral candidates. If you want the E-Board endorsement, pay attention to the following:

Nine candidates have signaled they will likely enter the field to replace term-limited Mayor Annise Parker. The public benefits when voters have a choice of candidates who hold diverse experiences and views, so we regret the fact that the field holds no women candidates.

There is much at stake in this election. Houston has a strong-mayor form of government, and our mayor can set a tone that affects the region as a whole. Citizens should listen carefully to the candidates as they decide whom to vote for. Everyone is entitled to his or her own criteria, but the following factors – in no particular order – may be a helpful starting point:

Uniter, not a Divider Houston is the most diverse city in the United States. The new mayor’s biggest challenge will be bringing people together. People from diverse backgrounds and different partisan views need to unite to get things done for the city as a whole. In state and national politics, there are more than enough politicians who relish gridlock and condemn those who do not share their views. That kind of sound-bite politics, which ignores the fact that we are all neighbors, destroys our sense of community.

Managerial and Financial Experience As Houston lacks a city manager, its mayor should have strong managerial skills. It takes more than glib speeches to be a good manager, and management skills are not intuitive. A mayor must know how to motivate a vast work force, attract and retain talented employees and know how to earn the respect of employees while holding them accountable. Our city will not be served well by a mayor-elect who has to learn management skills on the job. With a city of Houston budget of more than $4 billion, the mayor must be able to understand a complex budget and explain city finances clearly to the public.

Attention to the city’s neighborhoods and basic services The mayor’s race is a nonpartisan race, and a large part of the job concerns basic services rather than ideology. A mayor should be more interested in fixing potholes, efficient garbage collection and reducing crime than in addressing national issues or traveling abroad. A mayor’s willingness to listen and to respond at civic club meetings is more important than his views on hot-button issues such as ISIS and presidential politics. Voters should look for a strong connection between the candidate and the community and a familiarity with local issues.

Public Servant. Some men and women seek office as a public service. If so, they will be givers, not takers in their personal lives. Voters should look for candidates who have played important roles in faith organizations, schools and non-profits. People who contribute to the community quietly – before or after holding public office – are more likely to have a servant’s heart.

Pride in task We place high demands on those who run for office. Candidates will likely need to raise $2 million before November to be competitive. The time-consuming tasks of fundraising and campaigning can discourage candidates who have excelled outside of the public arena from seeking office. But it’s fair to ask: Has the candidate excelled in his prior career? Someone who has excelled in prior jobs is more likely to hold himself and others to a high standard after the election.

Integrity Last but not least, look to the reputation of the candidate. Have his actions always demonstrated integrity? Houston needs a mayor who will bring high ethical standards to the office and who will make employment and contractual decisions based on the public interest rather than rewarding “friends” or supporters. In this connection, it’s worthwhile asking: Who are the candidate’s top contributors? On the flip side, citizens who contribute or work for campaigns should expect fair but not preferential treatment after their candidate is elected.

As with any interview process, we are most likely to choose the best person for the job if we judge them against well-defined criteria, rather than based on their slogans, political ads or popularity. The campaign season is a long job interview, and voters need to pay attention. May the best candidate win.

The E-Board also put out a couple of thumbs downs this past weekend. Here they are:

(Thumbs down) Speaking of hate, we’re embarrassed by those protesters – and state Rep. Molly White, R-Belton – who insulted a peaceful group trying to celebrate Texas Muslim Capitol Day in Austin. Many new Texans are Muslims who have fled brutal governments. Now they’re getting to see, as one supporter framed it, “Democracy is messy.”

(Thumbs down) Gov. Abbott’s reaction to the Muslin Day spectacle was perplexing. “We must have civil open debate of hotly contested issues in the state,” he said. The Muslims were pilloried because of their religion. A leader should have said, “This is wrong.”

I too was disappointed in the Governor’s reaction.

Joe Morgan wore the 8, 12, 18, and 35 of course playing for the Colt .45s and ‘Stros.

Now are you ready for ‘Stros baseball?

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