Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bill White, Jack Christie, and Jolanda Jones


Former Mayor Bill White has endorsed Jack Christie for the At-Large 5 City Council seat. It is the only endorsement the ex-mayor has made in this year’s city elections.


White, last year’s Democratic nominee for governor, passed over two Democrats in the At-Large 5 race to endorse Christie. 

The reaction from the Khronically Konservative Kommenters seems to be the same as mine. Namely, WTF?

If Bill White so disliked Jolanda Jones that he had to endorse a Republican over the other African-American Democratic woman in the contest ... then I really doubt whether Bill White considers himself a Democrat any longer. Of course, if you have read this blog for very long, you know that my position is that the former mayor and loser to Rick Perry in 2010 is just coming out of the closet here.

Christie narrowly lost to JoJo two years ago in a runoff for At Large 5, and as Charles has noted, the Chron has not announced an endorsement in this race yet, moving on to propositions as of today.

Jolanda Jones has fought for every little guy in sight -- from the po' folks to the union men and women -- and she has paid the price for it: pointless investigations, vendettas from HPD, and even mockery by other city officials. She is by far the strongest progressive on Council and earns the enmity of her detractors as much for that as for her fighting spirit. (Of course, Houston voters can add a couple more progressive fighters to Council -- starting next Monday as early voting begins -- by replacing C.O. Bradford with Amy Price and Steven Costello with Don Cook, but that will be for another post later this week).

Conservatives who seriously think that White's endorsement damns Christie with faint praise have another option in AL5: Bob Ryan. Bob's a longtime friend of my family, and earned some renown as the Harris County grand jury foreman that in 2008 indicted Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina on arson charges (that former DA Chuck Rosenthal refused to pursue). Ryan's about as principled a Republican as they come.

In the interest of noting the widely differing opinions in this contest, I will observe here that my friend Neil, with whom I agree on nearly everything, does not agree that Jones has been an effective council member.

Personally I am going to walk my precinct for Jolanda this weekend, and work hard for her re-election.

Update: Nice job here by the Chron.

The defense attorney and former track star campaigned for office on the promise to serve as "the voice of the voiceless" at City Hall. Over the past four years she has more than fulfilled that commitment, winning a devoted following in the low-income communities of Houston while irritating and sometimes enraging critics and colleagues. She has rough edges, and certainly does not represent business as usual.

The Chronicle believes that on balance, Jones has served a valuable function on a City Council that has historically played a subservient role in Houston's strong-mayor form of government. She speaks out frequently, questioning administration proposals and demanding more information. That lengthens council meeting times and often delays action, but it also provides additional scrutiny and the impetus to improve legislation.

"I'm responsive to the people who put me in office," says Jones. "If I have to push, I will, but I do a lot behind the scenes. I don't brag about it, I just get things done."

Damn straight.

Update II: And a nice rejoinder to Bill White from Chris Bell:

Jo doesn’t mind ruffling feathers and obviously has made some people mad along the way. But if you’re just going to go around City Hall trying not to make anyone mad, you’re not going to get much done. Personally, I’m glad she’s willing to ask tough questions and stand up for people who otherwise might not have anyone in their corner. [...]

There are a lot of powerful people in Houston who would like to see Jolanda Jones off City Council. They don’t like it when someone stands up to them and refuses to go along to get along. But City Council Members aren’t supposed to just be voices for power brokers; they’re supposed to stand up for average citizens. That’s exactly what Jolanda Jones does and that’s why I’ll be standing with her on Election Day.

Update III: And a 4 bars of soap, walleyed, snot-nosed screamin' hissyfit from Juanita.

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