Sunday, October 16, 2005

Houston Elections coming up November 8

I picked up a Voters' Guide at Lee's church, presuming it was going to be inintentionally hilarious. It turned out to be a non-partisan guide published by the League of Women Voters. Other than the little sign on the table reminding me about the Defense of Marriage Amendment being on the ballot but not making a voting recommendation (vote NO to hate, folks), there wasn't anything else. Unexpectedly classy.

Mayoral candidates:

Bill White: incumbent, definitely going to win again easy. Best use of office time: enacting stronger Steer-It-Or-Clear-It program. Best sound bite: immediately prior to Hurricane Rita, when asked what Federal assistance he expected to receive, "None at all."

Gladys M. House: Carpet Depot manager. Very short entries on her positions. Eeh, not likely.

Luis Ralph Ullrich, Jr.: Very strongly resembles Santa Claus, and is a mechanical engineer. He's for improved bayous and against tazers and red light cameras. Unlikely that he will win, but I may vote for him anyway.

Jack Terence: Appears to have strong opinions on a number of topics. Supports lowering the MTA tax and increase commercial property taxation. I like his feisty tone, and his attack on the Houston Chronicle's land not being raised tax assessments in the last 8 years. We need more people like this, but I'm not sure the mayor's office is the best place for them.

Anthony M. Dutrow: Socialicious! Ooh, and he's fighting both parties' imperialist war, racism, and economic depression. Supports "a massive federally funded public works program to put millions to work at union scale" which would, of course, have to come from the federal level, not be something he could accomplish from the mayor's office. Plus, that money would have to come from somewhere. Pie-in-the-sky ideas to extend lifetime health care to everyone without cutting present or future Social Security benefits, Medicade, or workers' comp. Very pro-union, which doesn't work in Texas, or, really anywhere, anymore.

There are about 50,000 City Council candidates, so I'll skip analyzing them.

I don't even know which district I'm in, so I don't know if I need to care about the replacement person for Joe Moreno, who died in a traffic accident a few months ago. He was a great guy, by all accounts. If I am voting, it'll be for Laura M. Salinas, who is a U of H graduate like myself, and as she points out, the only candidate who's actually a resident of the district. She's also the only female candidate.

Propositions to amend the Texas Constitution:

Ah, the good stuff. Nothing like good, old-fashioned Texas politics.

Prop 1: Create a dedicated Rail fund. I am for this. The I-10 construction corridor proves, absolutely, that there is no way to keep increasing the density of Houston traffic without marking ourselves indelibly as a car-only city. The I-10 project encourages commuting from Katy and points west. That's great, except it will only fuel greater and greater congestion inside the loop. We need better solutions, and we should borrow money now-it's not going to get any cheaper.

Prop 2: Marriage Amendment: "marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing any legal status identical or similar to marriage". I am against this amendment, since: 1. there is already a state statute prohibiting such unions. 2. It's just going to polarize people in the wrong way. Like me: I'll say it right now: If you want to defend marriage, stay married.

The two PRO "arguments" listed in the voter's guide:
1. Oh, this will keep the current law from being challenged in court. Uh, sorry, I thought the current law was bad law, and shielding it via adding it to the Texas Constitution is only going to make reversing it more satisfying.
2. Oh, this won't actually prohibit same sex couples from continuing their lifestyles. Gee, thanks! Seriously, all the analogies I come up with for this involve either Nazi Germany or the Jim Crow South.

Grrrrr, this kind of vile, over-the-top hatred isn't Texan. It's a big state, and there are lots of people in it. Some Texans are gay. Get over it. You got over some Texans being women, and some Texans being black. You can do it, Texas. I believe in you and your giant belt buckles of freedom.

Proposition 3: Clarifies that certain development programs do not constitute a debt. Against. Government attempting long-term programs must be fiscally responsible. If they're writing checks on future income, even grants, they need to cover their future requirements up front.

Proposition 4: Authorizes denial of bail to a criminal defendant who violates a condition of the defendant's release pending trial. Against. I agree, put criminals in jail. Specifically, convict and imprison the actually guilty. This looks like a good way to clog up both the jails and the courts.

Prop 5: Ooh, the legislature wants to be able to set rates on commercial loans! Against. Removing these restrictions will increase legislative cockmongery and promote predatory lending. It's also a bad precedent that could lead to repeal of the other interest rate limits, which would hurt consumers.

Prop 6: Adds people to the State Commision on Judicial Conduct. Against. It attempts to add a county judge to a judicial oversight committee. This removes checks and balances, and encourages corruption.

Prop 7: Would allow Line-of-credit advances on reverse mortgages. Against. This is a blatant, sickening attempt by predatory lenders to speed the theft of seniors' homes.

Prop 8: Something complicated involving land titles in Upshur and Smith County. For. This looks headache-inducing, but if I follow it correctly, some application was filed attempting to steal mineral and property rights from thousands of Texans. The Commissioner called these attempts bogus, and this amendment clears the titles on these Texans' land. Clearing the titles helps the would-be victims of the claim-jumper to move on.

Prop 9: Increases term of Regional Mobility Authority board member from 2 years to 6 years. For. Likely to decrease cost of borrowing by increasing stability of staff, as well as consistency of projects. Also, making this a more powerful position is likely to draw higher-quality candidates.

It's late, and I have to work.


Blogger Rod said...

Hey, this is pretty helpful, Todd. I didn't know you were smart at politics and stuff!

7:45 PM  

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