Friday, February 20, 2015

Houston 2015 elections: Of conflicts, and conflicts of interest

-- Sly makes it official.  Still the betting favorite, IMHO.

-- Via Charles, the grumbling about Harris County Democratic Chairman Lane Lewis juggling party politics and a city council bid has gone public.

There's enough at both those links to absorb, but what slipped mostly under the radar was this complaint in Project Q last month from AL1 entrant Jenifer Rene Pool.  Actually Wayne mentioned it in cautious tones when it broke, and TransGriot seemed a little irritated about it, but other than that, nothing else written about it since.  A lot whispered below the level of my impaired hearing, I'm sure...

Repeating myself, I'll support Lewis in AL1 and suggest that every other Democrat would be wise to run elsewhere, lest a repeat of AL3 in 2013 -- a runoff between Mike Kubosh and Roy Morales after the Dems canceled each other out -- occurs again.

As to whether he should hurry up and quit his chairmanship, that would be perilous at this time for the local Democrats.  Lewis' chief of staff, Diana Patino, just left this week to go to work for Sen. John Whitmire.  The ugly self-inflicted wounds from 2014's debacle barely have scabs, and with the lingering resentments over Battleground Texas' promises/effort/coordination with the county party, less disarray and not more is what is needed now.

So I think Lewis should stay where he is and make the call himself when to hand off to someone else, an heir not being readily apparent to me at the moment.  Much jockeying regarding that is undoubtedly happening outside my view.

Update: Texpate doesn't agree, and wants him to quit as a condition of supporting his council bid.  This is too harsh a demand, in my opinion.

-- Frankly I am delighted to see Jew Don Boney run for city controller against Carroll Robinson.  They have squared off before, and it wasn't pretty.  No matter his own bumpy history, I will be pleased to support former councilman Boney's campaign -- unless I vet the potential candidates for a better one -- because Robinson is not only shady himself but also aligned with the absolute worst political mafia in Houston politics.  I'm looking at you again, Hector Carreno, you slug.  And Reps. Miles and Thompson, you should know better.

But this "lesser of two evils" option once again might let the Republican slip into office.

-- This fellow seems like a qualified individual, but he's playing that "give me money while I decide which seat I want to run for" game.  He also drew hosannas from some of the most conservative Democrats I know, which makes me instantly suspicious.  I'll give Mr. McCasland the benefit of the doubt for now, as his early years suggest he has empathy for the poorest among us.  All of the Bill White connections -- his and those speaking in his favor -- rub me the wrong way, though.  White, for his part, is already (allegedly) supporting Adrian Garcia for mayor.  Big fat red X.

The best source for following what's going in Houston politics is Teddy Schleifer's Twitter feed.

Update: Mimi Swartz's take in Texas Monthly is a good place to catch up if you didn't get on in the beginning, with a couple of tasty morsels like this.

And what about Houston’s large and well-organized LGBT population? “(Chris) Bell has the money gays, Turner has the activist gays,” one observer told me.  [...]

Then there are the white power brokers, those guys who used to call the shots. They remember nostalgically the one-call-away days of mayors Lanier and White, particularly the latter, whose Harvard degree, financial acumen, and sophistication seemed so neatly matched with their vision of a modern city on the rise. Torn now between a questionably loyal (Bill) King and a foot-dragging (Stephen) Costello, the bigwigs are turning from disappointment to despair. Their inability to come up with a world-beater of their own is striking.

Put another way, this race has the potential to evolve into something akin to Bonfire on the Bayou, with the city’s diverse factions warring with one another and within their own ranks.


... (Annise) Parker’s endorsement might be of questionable value. One day she is said to be leaning toward longtime ally Turner, another day toward Councilman Costello, whose practical, just-show-me-the-numbers approach to city government is closest to her own.

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