The irascible, independent, effervescent Open Source Dem writes the following:
Thanks for noting these developments.
I would rank these ideas as follows:
1. No Change
2. Merge Voter Registration w/ Clerk’s Office
3. Independent Elections Administrator
First: The no change option is compatible with vigorous political competition and responsibility. The way to defeat a Bettencourt, or now a Vasquez, but also to make fundamental changes of every sort is for the Democratic Party to actually compete for county offices from a position of strength in city government. Come on people! Surely we need at least one party that actually stands for republican democracy.
Sadly, there will be no such competition so long as the slum-lord wing of the Democratic Party collaborates with the land-speculator wing of the GOP for the favor of the rentier class and against the interest of a popular majority. That would be the patriotic majority that Barack Obama has described as “post-partisan” or just as “us”.
A lack of principled competition constrained by uniform application of constitutional law -- not awash gratuitous and notorious racism -- is the very essence of “Jim Crow”. That term applies to the post-Reconstruction regime of cross-partisan concession-tending and coalition government Houston and Harris County still reflect. In city and county government, Jim Crow is euphemized as “economic development” or even “bipartisanship”. Look at Pam Holm, Bill White, and Peter Brown whoring after Ed Wulfe and the Hanover Company. Jim Crow actually consists of using public credit for private gain and financing the resulting municipal government with discriminatory, regressive, or indirect taxation. This is all propped up by a “property-qualified”, now a “credit-scored”, franchise and promiscuous application of “police powers”.
Second: Republican Ballot Board Judge Jim Harding is quite correct that moving the VR functions into the CCO would streamline matters and very likely improve them marginally. But that would be what economists call “sub-optimization”. Specifically, it would leave voter registration in the actual hands of an emerging police-state administered from Austin, not from the Harris County Courthouse. And, it would leave tax matters even more obscure than they already are. Now that Democratic voters have a reliable majority in City Hall and a potential one in the courthouse, look for all manner of schemes from rentier-class “goo-goo” organs to move more and more core responsibilities of government into federal/state/local/public/private “partnerships” answerable only to what the Soviets -- who set the standard for all of that -- called a “nomenclature”.
Third: An independent elections administrator would be, at best, a least-common denominator between the two parties; at worst, even more refractory than what we now have. I have seen these in operation elsewhere in the state. They are wholly unaccountable and by far the worst option.
Who will stand for republican democracy, if there is neither a republican nor a democratic party here -- just colonial administrators installed and propped-up by foreign creditors?