There are now six candidates running in this year's Houston mayoral election:
Raymond Hans Rodriguez jokes about being "the other Cuban-American" in the mayor's race.
Former City Councilman Orlando Sanchez is the Cuban-American most voters know. Rodriguez is not.
But Rodriguez said his decision to enter the mayor's race is no laughing matter.
The artist and restaurant waiter intends to point out that Sanchez won't look after the interests of Hispanics despite angling for their votes.
Rodriguez also said he will push for a minimum wage in Houston higher than the one required by federal law, and fight for other issues that help Hispanic immigrants assimilate.
"I have issues with Mr. Sanchez for not reacting to the Hispanic community," Rodriguez said Thursday.
Other issues he wants to tackle include:
· Non-prosecution of those found with small quantities of marijuana, because he says such cases clog the courts unnecessarily.
· Measures to clean Houston's environment.
· Better access to health care.
LaVerne Crump-Smith is unhappy with the current slate of mayoral candidates. Rather than choosing among them, she's diving into the race.
"There's no one there that would compel me to vote," Crump-Smith said. "I'm putting myself in a position to do it myself."
Crump-Smith, 47, a mother of four and former public housing representative, will formally kick off her campaign at noon today [June 27] at a Midtown restaurant, The Breakfast Klub.
Crump-Smith is a proponent of extending the light rail system the Metropolitan Transity Authority has under construction between downtown and Reliant Park. She says rail lines should be built along heavily used bus routes.
"We're going to definitely look at improving the rail system and making it reach the population," she said.
Metro hopes to include a rail referendum on the November ballot, along with the city of Houston mayoral and City Council races.
Crump-Smith, like other mayoral candidates, emphasized traffic congestion and other problems caused by street construction. She recommends fixing streets in small sections rather than tearing up huge stretches of major roads.