My sample ballot, obtained at HarrisVotes.com, contains seven state constitutional amendments, five municipal propositions, and one race with three candidates vying for the seat of the disgraced and convicted Chris Oliver on Houston Community College's Board of Trustees. Here's the Chronicle with the overview of that contest.
David Jaroszewski said he was "sickened" when he saw that a Houston Community College trustee pleaded guilty to accepting bribes connected to system contracts earlier this year.
"This isn't right," the longtime community college instructor remembers thinking. He soon would put his name on the ballot to replace Chris Oliver, the District IX trustee who is awaiting sentencing.
Jaroszewski, 64, is one of eight candidates running for three HCC trustee positions this fall. Candidates must convince voters they are best suited to help lead a system that has seen fluctuating enrollment, lawsuits originating from a board member and Oliver's bribery conviction in the last two years.
Early voting for the Nov. 7 election begins (today).
"The public wants a community college that doesn't waste money. The public wants a community college that educates people. … As a trustee, you look at these and (you) can't say it's not my problem. It is my problem," said Jaroszewski, a self-described conservative who teaches paralegal studies at Lee College in Baytown.
Jaroszewski is running against Eugene "Gene" Pack, a retired auto broker, and Pretta VanDible Stallworth, a business consultant, for the District IX seat that covers southwest Houston.
Oliver, who pleaded guilty to taking $12,000 in Visa gift cards and cash, promising to use his position to help a contractor secure new HCC work, is not running for re-election. His sentencing is in November.
Stallworth, 59, and Pack, 65, did not respond to requests for comment.
Bold emphasis and embedded linkage in the excerpt above and below is mine. Despite her appallingly low online profile -- no website, one Tweet in September, no Facebook except as mentioned by others -- Stallworth's past experience as trustee and her endorsements (listed following and from my state senator and city council member) are enough to earn my vote.
On his website, Pack has pledged to enhance financial aid policies to keep students enrolled after Hurricane Harvey if he is elected.
He also proposed several accountability measures for the board, including shortening trustee term lengths to four years from six and pushing for ethics reform in board contracts and procurement.
Stallworth, a former HCC trustee from 1989 through 1993, was endorsed by the Harris County Young Democrats and the Houston GLBT Political Caucus PAC.
She said in the League of Women Voters of Houston election guide that she would advocate for increased ethics training for board members. Administrators should review employer needs regularly to assess what HCC should teach, she said.
The LWV guide (Adobe Reader files in English and Spanish) is comprehensive, even including an explanation of general obligation bonds for the tireless, most well-informed voter. More on the other HCC races at the Chron link, and more on amendments ('propositions', numbered on your ballot), municipal proposals ('propositions', identified alphabetically), and races here. There is no HISD board race on my ballot, so check the guide above or take the HGLBT Caucus' recommendations (I occasionally pick a bone with them, but not this time).
I'm going to follow Daniel Williams' recommendations and vote against Prop 2, Prop 4, and Prop 6, and for 1, 3, 5, and 7. That's easy enough: yes on the odd-numbered ones, no on the evens.
Finally, with respect to the city's bond issues -- A ($1.01 billion to remediate HPD and city employee pensions), B ($159 million for new and existing police stations and firehouses and equipment) C ($104 million for parks, recreational facilities, bayous, and hike/bike trails), D ($109 million for facilities devoted to public health and wellness and sanitation and the like), and E ($123 million for libraries) -- I will not vote to spite this mayor, who has demonstrated a disturbing animosity toward the city's firefighters on several occasions, including preventing, indirectly or otherwise, their own pay raise proposition from appearing on this ballot.
That would be stooping to his level. Vote 'for' the city's five bond proposals, despite the fact that they enrich the wealthiest bond lawyers in town, provide a convenient excuse to house more free military hardware for the cops (who have too much as it is), and build urban sanctuaries for inner city dwellers of the most comfortable, Caucasian persuasion while doing nothing for the least among us.
As an atheist, I would like to see more Christ-like conduct out of our city leaders -- not just the hypocrisy-riddled Republicans -- so if a cleaner, safer Houston with a few more places for children to play and read is the ever-so-slightly improved result of all this debt ... that's not a bad thing.
Update: The conservative opponents of the city bonds make their case at Texas Monitor, and unfortunately for Mayor Turner, et.al., it's persuasive.