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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee’

Yesterday on the laptop I watched the Houston City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee meeting. During the meeting I tweeted out the following:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 2h 2 hours ago
Houston City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee recommends putting proposed changes on November, 2015 ballot. #HouNews #houcouncil

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 2h 2 hours ago
CM Kubosh acknowledging 34,000 petition signatures wants to put a feeding the homeless city charter proposal on the ballot. #HouNews

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 1h 1 hour ago
An Asst. City Atty. just gave state definition of Executive Session and that would go down in flames in November. #HouNews #transparency

The committee is going to try to finish their business by the end of next March by holding six meetings – two a month (one during the day and one in the evening) beginning in January. They have decided to consider six topics: terms, term limits, Rev Cap, Executive Sessions, feeding the homeless, and Council Members putting items on the City Council agenda.

They are recommending that any proposed charter changes be placed on the November, 2015 ballot.

If I am Vegas and I have to set a betting line on this, I would say right now all go down the drain. The Rev Cap and Executive Session issues are the ones that arouse the usual suspicions. The hardline Rev Cap supporters probably don’t want any tinkering to the status quo. During the meeting, Council Member C.O. Bradford pointed out that the public’s thinking on Executive Sessions has changed over the past decades – it is the transparency thing. CM Bradford is right. Here is a bit from the Chron:

Other jurisdictions that operate under the state’s executive session guidelines have done so for a long time, Bradford said.

“Other jurisdictions have it, and they have it because they’ve had it for decades and decades,” Bradford said. “I bet they could not get it now.”

He is right.

If Council Member Michael Kubosh’s feeding the homeless proposal is left off of the ballot it may create a voter backlash of sorts against all the other items. On the other hand a feeding the homeless proposal on the ballot could probably help the other items – go figure!

Nobody from the public took the opportunity to address the committee. Not a whole lot of folks showed up at the meeting. Now that we have a timeline and an agenda of sorts, that may all change.

Yesterday I said the MLB leader in saves last season was Fernando Rodney of the Mariners with 48. How many saves did ‘Stros pitchers record this past season?

Sears announced yesterday that they will be shutting down some more stores across the country. I only know of two that are open around these parts. One on North Shepherd and the other on Fannin on the other side of Midtown. I actually went to a Sears last year to buy a set of tires.

Growing up in Baytown the old Sears store on Texas Avenue had the coolest toy department during the Christmas Season. I used to hang there and check out all the neat stuff and newest toys. I also used to have my annual chat with Santa there in the toy department.

The Texans didn’t get a whole lot out of the top draft pick this season. He’s now out for the season.

I admit it. I spent three hours last night watching “Peter Pan.” Hey, it was a major three hour live performance! Plus it had Christopher Walken. I thought Allison Williams came through with flying colors – pardon the pun! It was a great production.

The ‘Stros of course recorded 31 saves this past season.

The new Skipper said last night that he and his family would be moving to H-Town. They want to be part of the community. Let me recommend Chilosos on 20th for some pretty good breakfast tacos.

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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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