Let the gloves come off
Yes, there is a big election coming up this year in Houston. More than one of them, actually. And yes, some of these elections involve people who are currently elected members of city government. Which means that a certain amount of politics will enter into city government business. And you know what? I think that's just fine.
The question seemed simple enough. City Councilman Peter Brown asked City Controller Annise Parker Wednesday why her estimates on Houston's financial health differed slightly from those of another city department head.
Parker, who is running against Brown and two others to become Houston's next mayor, politely explained that the estimates were different because the two offices have their own methods of measuring city financial stability. Then it got a little testy.
"I'm not sure I know of another way to explain that to you, sir," she snapped.
The remark was the culmination of several weeks of political jousting in which the councilman has criticized the controller's management of city finances, both in official city meetings and through mailings from his council office.
Although both say they are only acting as good stewards of the offices to which they were elected, the back and forth offered a prologue to what could be a wild few months at the City Council table. Untangling official duties from political grandstanding may become far more difficult in the coming months as nearly half the council body is running for another office or considering such a move.
Not really seeing what the problem is here. We could stand for city business to gain a higher profile in the public mind. A whole lot of the mayoral campaigning that will be done this year will be done with not many people watching - this is even more true for the City Controller race - so as far as I'm concerned, the more visibility it has, the better. If Gene Locke and Roy Morales want to camp out at Council meetings and speak during the public input periods, that's fine by me, too. If it gets a little silly or overheated at times - I know, I know, I can't imagine that happening, either - that's all part of the process. On my List Of Things To Worry About, this is pretty far down.
UPDATE: Stace has more.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 03, 2009 to Election 2009
She has the gay and "women's lib" vote and he has the Menil-Jung Center-CAM/MFA "nouveau elite" vote and both seem to have caused a little "split personality" among some of their supporters who seem intent on finding a way to support both. Which will be interesting if there is a run-off between the two of them. Perhaps we could have a new ordinance passed by city council allowing a "co-mayor" position and they could just run as one?
Unfortunately neither really appeals to the "mainstream" and they both will more or less cancel each other out in the next seven months with what no doubt will become "Gunfight at the OK Corral" at city council meetings and Gene Locke, who probably will get the major endorsements and already is getting the major money, will win in a landslide.
And he probably won't have to campaign - Annise Parker and Peter Brown will be campaigning for him without realizing it.