February 10, 2008
Democratic County Judge primary overview

Today the Chron takes a look at the Democratic primary for County Judge, with profiles of David Mincberg and Ahmad Hassan. Here's a bit from the Mincberg story:

Mincberg is in one of many political contests that have illegal immigration as a raging issue. But he approaches the topic only in brief as he campaigns for the March 4 Democratic nomination.

He said the partly taxpayer-funded Harris County Hospital District, which treats county residents regardless of citizenship or immigration status, "is doing what it ought to be doing by taking care of the least able among us."

He added, "I don't know of a broader perspective at this time that the county could bring to the immigration issue."

Instead, Mincberg's campaign pitch is that he can apply hefty experience in business and charity causes to the daily administration of county government and craft long-range plans for what he calls quality-of-life issues, such as mass transit and the environment.

"It's absolutely essential," he said, "that the leader of the county have a vision for where they want the county to be in 20 or 30 years."

He said Commissioners Court's reduction of the property tax rate by 1 cent for $100 of value obscured problems with the operations of the Harris County Appraisal District, which sets the taxable values of properties. He called the appraisal agency "totally out of touch" with the public.

Some of that will be familiar to you if you listened to my interview with him. I don't really have much to add except to say that if you're not familiar with David Mincberg, I hope you'll take a moment to learn more about him. I think he'll do a great job as County Judge.

Obviously, I think Mincberg is the clear choice in the primary. But let's take a little look at his opponent anyway.

The multiethnic stew of suburban southwest Houston is Ahmad Hassan's base for commerce and conversation. On a recent day, he spiced lunch at a Persian restaurant with his everyman's approach to the Democratic race for Harris County judge.


And with chicken kebab: "They keep each other in balance," he said of the Democratic and Republican parties. "They are like cousins."

That last morsel was by way of explaining why he is running for the Democratic nomination March 4 after running as a Republican in 2006 against U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston.

Also, he said, many of his acquaintances and customers told him two years ago that he had to become a Democrat. According to Hassan, they advised him, "Do you see this word 'Republican'? That's why we are not going to vote for you."

So why county judge rather than councilman or president?

In many parts of the county, "it is a big mess, and there are so many local people talking about it," he said. "There are some communities in Harris County, a dog would not live in them."


His prescriptions for improving county government include conducting Commissioners Court meetings throughout the county rather than downtown, concentrating flood-control efforts on traffic intersections that always seem to flood first during heavy rain, and providing law enforcement and other services in the spirit of equal treatment for all residents.

"Fair is fair," the candidate said. "I think they need education in all (government) departments on sensitivity."

He also said that as county judge, he would publicize his personal cell phone number and hardly ever wear a suit and tie so he can be more accessible to average constituents.

Okay then. I welcome Mr. Hassan to the Democratic Party, but this isn't the race for him. Perhaps we can find a better fit for him in 2010. In the meantime, I say stick with David Mincberg,

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 10, 2008 to Election 2008

I completely agree. We are SO lucky to have someone like David Mincberg running for Harris County. His professional and civic credentials are outstanding, and his counsel is sought regularly at City Hall and the Mayor's office. He's a solid dem- When Ellen Cohen was at bat, he was right by her side. Now, we'll be by his side!

Posted by: Southgate Dem on February 10, 2008 3:43 PM