September 08, 2007
The HCCS Trustee elections

Though today's story is more about Jay Aiyer and his potential political future, it does at least correct a gap that I pointed out about Houston Community College System (HCCS) Trustee elections.

Three newcomers will vie to represent [Aiyer's] district, which stretches from southwest Houston to Missouri City. The November ballot includes businesswoman Neeta Sane, a former candidate for Fort Bend County treasurer; Manual Barrera Jr., a former senior Houston City Council aide who now hears complaints from people about parking and red-light tickets for the city; and Lois Davis.

Incumbent trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores will face two challengers: Daniel Barretto and Kevin Hoffman, who is president of his North Houston neighborhood council. He is not the same Kevin Hoffman who serves on the Houston Independent School District's board and oversees facilities for Harris County.

Trustees Bruce Austin and Mills Worsham are running unopposed.

According to the comment he left in my earlier post, it's Manuel Barrera, not Manual. I suppose it's better to be misspelled than overlooked. Which reminds me that I never got a response from either Kristen Mack or Jennifer Radcliffe about their omission of Joe Trevino from the list of City Council At Large #5 candidates. Well, at least you can read about these things here.

As for Aiyer, I agree with Richard Murray's assessment:

The Harris County District Attorney's Office accused Aiyer of removing and destroying a portion of his campaign finance report and putting another document in its place in March 2005.

The charge stemmed from a complaint filed with the Texas Ethics Commission more than two years ago that accused Aiyer of trying to hide expenditures from his HCC campaign account, failing to report payments to political consultants and to itemize credit card payments.

Aiyer originally was charged with a felony, but he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor to avoid a trial.

"This misdemeanor isn't helpful, but it's not a political career-ender," said Richard Murray, a professor of political science at the University of Houston.

"To re-enter, you need to pick your spot carefully."

I think the key to any future Aiyer may have in politics (assuming he chooses to pursue one) is that as yet he has not had the opportunity to offer a defense, or even an explanation, for the charges against him. If and when he chooses to get back into the political sphere, I believe he will ultimately be judged by how he addresses this. Voters are certainly capable of forgiveness if they think it's merited. They're also capable of carrying a grudge if not. We'll have to see.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 08, 2007 to Election 2007

I wonder what ethical breeches could be attributed to Aiyer as a lawyer, former chief of staff, and HCC trustee that did not result in his commission and admission of a crime? If he runs for anything, there will now be even more folks and groups all over him vying for the glory of tripping him up again. Do you think he's got the prudence to step through more crafty and layered minefields?

Posted by: Charles Hixon on September 8, 2007 4:49 PM