Runoff endorsement watch: One for two

The Chron revisited their HCAD endorsements for the runoff, with one needing a change since their first choice finished third last month.

Pelumi Adeleke

For the Place 2 runoff, voters have a choice between two qualified candidates, Kyle Scott and Melissa Noriega. Scott, a 46-year-old Republican and entrepreneurship professor at Sam Houston State University, lost a 2022 election for Harris County Treasurer and was among the Republicans who challenged vote counts in court. All but one of those cases were dropped or thrown out by the judge. He received our endorsement for his ideas on auditing tax abatements and regularly evaluating the chief appraiser. Noriega, 69, is a Democrat and former state representative, Houston City Council member and non-profit leader who’d make an excellent board member as well.

Our pick for Place 3 didn’t make the runoff but another candidate who impressed us did. Pelumi Adeleke is a 39-year-old Harvard Business School graduate and leader at Amazon Web services. At a minimum, she wants greater transparency. How do appraisers decide how much a house or skyscraper is worth? “I have training in accounting and taxes, and I didn’t understand the process,” she told us. A Democrat backed by the AFL-CIO, her idea is to use basic information on when a building was built and its square footage to calculate the appraised value, but not to incorporate the underlying land value. That kind of dramatic change could bring about more fairness in some cases, and unintended negative consequences in others. We doubt that a single board member could bring about such a change, but even raising the idea could help the appraisal district learn how to explain to property owners how the current system works.

The other candidate for Place 3, Ericka McCrutcheon ran unsuccessfully twice for Houston City Council. The 62-year-old owner of a construction and remodeling company, and a church co-pastor, she is endorsed by several Republican lawmakers including Bettencourt and state Rep. Valoree Swanson. Her website states that she wants to “ensure that taxation is clean, level, and uniform according to the law,” but she did not attend either of two candidate screenings or speak to us by phone to share a specific approach with us. In contrast, Adeleke’s professional expertise is relevant and the big questions she’s asking could improve appraisals over the long-run.

See here for the Round One endorsements. Maybe it’s just me, but endorsing election deniers seems like it’s bad for democracy. Having some possibly interesting ideas about auditing tax abatements shouldn’t be enough to erase that stain. Call me old-fashioned, if you must. As a reminder, here are my interviews with the candidates you should vote for:

Melissa Noriega, HCAD Position 2
Pelumi Adeleke, HCAD Position 3

Early voting continues through next Tuesday. Don’t miss out.

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in Election 2024 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.