Thursday, December 12, 2013

Houston municipal election turnout anemic, and other local updates

-- Early voting concluded Tuesday, and a bit more than 20,000 Houstonians have cast ballots.

The total number of early voters was lower than the 2011 runoff elections for city council seats. More than 23,000 people voted early that year.

How embarrassing is that?  Forty thousand votes is going to be a stretch for this runoff.  The total will probably be closer to thirty.  Update: Charles' spreadsheet makes it look as if 50K might be reachable.

This Saturday is your last chance to be counted.  Kuff has the info you need, including the links to the runoff particulars, if you still need help deciding.  Just keep in mind that money doesn't matter, no matter how many times the political consultants say it.  All that counts is you.

-- Annise Parker opposes the attempt by the Houston historical commission to designate the Astrodome as an historical landmark.  Even though the Dome is outside the city's juridiction -- it's always been the purview of Harris County -- the Dome needs friends in high places and this doesn't help.

After all the good she'd done lately, she was bound to disappoint me in some fashion.  There was no need for her to weigh in publicly on this small detail, whether she supported the effort or not.

-- City council members are furiously and repetitively tagging (delaying via parliamentary procedure) the payday lending ordinance.  Once the elections are passed, you start to see the real people and their priorities.  Al I can say here is: 'remember their names'.  Stace and Noah have more.  Update: And also Burnt Orange.

-- The most-watched television station in Houston (by number of viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic) is... the local Univision affiliate.

Univision 45 announced this week that it is now the No. 1 station in the Houston market beating out local ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates.
With two days remaining in the November 2013 sweep period, KXLN Univision 45 is Houston's No. 1 broadcast station among Adults 18-49 in major dayparts including: daytime, early news, primetime and late news, regardless of language.

The tide has already turned, and (almost) no one noticed.

-- Finally, there's going be a great documentary next week about the tumultuous 1993 football season experienced by the Houston Oilers.

“A Football Life: Houston ’93,” which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday on NFL Network, begins with audio/visual doom and gloom: a shot of the deserted Astrodome and, amid NFL Films composer Dave Robidoux’s ominous musical score, the voice of narrator Josh Charles recalling the team that broke the collective spirit of Houston football fans 20 years ago.

“It sits crumbing in the Texas sun, dwarfed by Reliant Stadium,” Charles says. “The Houston Astrodome, once dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World, now looks like a practice bubble.

“Trapped inside this portal to the past are the ghosts of the Houston Oilers. Here in 1993, they were one of the most talented teams in NFL history – and, perhaps, the most dysfunctional.”

That was the year that two of their coaches got into a fistfight on the sidelines, that an offensive lineman missed a game to attend the birth of his child and was criticized by the team's owner, and that a defensive lineman shot and killed himself after he wrecked his car, killing his childhood friend.  I can still remember hearing the 911 tape, with the sound of the gunshot.

Makes this year's Texans travails seem piddling, doesn't it?

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