Interview with Ellen Cohen

Ellen Cohen

We move now into District C, where a newly-drawn inner Loop district has drawn a fair amount of interest. First up is former two-term State Rep. Ellen Cohen, who represented a fair piece of this district while serving in HD134. Cohen’s candidacy drew some national attention early on, but really, this is just another open seat Council race, with the usual assortment of candidates vying to define themselves. Cohen has the advantages of name recognition and strong fundraising, but she has the same task as all of the District C hopefuls, to introduce herself and let them know what she’s about. With that in mind, here’s her interview:

Download the MP3 file

You can find a list of all interviews for this cycle, plus other related information, on my 2011 Elections page.

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12 Responses to Interview with Ellen Cohen

  1. Mike in Oak Forest says:

    So, she wanted schools to be charged the drainage fee (don’t disagree on the churches)even as schools in District C are laying off teachers and shutting down because of the state budget shortfall. (Around 7:35 minute mark) Incidentally, she brags about writing the 2009 budget that covered up the true nature of the Texas budget deficit and left Texans blindsided in 2011.

    So she doesn’t know how the drainage fee was calculated and stated that it was $5 per square foot and has to ask Kuff for clarification. (Around 8 minute mark)

    She equivocates on Wal-Mart which threatens small business owners in District C and agrees with the use of 380 agreement. Probably because she loves that developer money, they’re funding her campaign.

    She states in the interview that District 6 ends at 610, which ignores about 20,000 voters. She states from stem to stern, Meyerland to TC Jester and the 610. (Around 13:19)

    She thinks District C is spectacular, but doesn’t even know the boundaries of her district.

    District C can do better than Ellen Cohen.

  2. joshua bullard says:

    she changed for the better,when you get put out of office by a mere 800 or so votes,you tend to do some soul searching,she did,shes perfect for this district and shes the best canidate in this race-by far.i understand some peoples frustrations with the current economic times,what i disagree with is people taking those frustations out on canidates that are yet to be elected officials-its a cheap shot to say the least.district c is a newly drawn district-this is fact,its got brand new boundaries now,i dont think anyone has the boundaries perfect by memory at this point.

    its clear,canidate ellen cohen showed well with this interview and i would suspect 87percent of the newly drawn c is with her alll the way.respectfully submitted joshua ben bullard

  3. Jules says:

    Charles, when was this interview done? Thanks, Jules

  4. Jules,

    This interview took place on July 25. I schedule interviews in advance – there are so many to do, and things happen to affect the calendar, so it’s what I have to do.

  5. Jules says:

    Thanks, Charles.

    I wonder if she has changed her mind on the Ainbinder (Walmart) 380 being a good deal since then?

  6. Mike in Oak Forest says:

    Last I heard she still hasn’t changed her mind and she’s just going to tell you what you want to hear. Look at her campaign finance report, she’s bankrolled by the developers.

  7. Joshua bullard says:

    one final footnote pertaining to ellens campaign manager dave bonem wonder if this guy has lost his marbles-he asked 30 volunteers to show up for block walking at ellens office on a saturday and told them to be ready for dozens of doughnuts and starbucks coffee-dave delievered 6 individual doughnuts to the volunteers and spent the budget on the staff to stuff their face of his choice of bagels. recentlyy to taunt me even more dave of ellens campaign has emailed me an email from ellens office asking if i will come to the campaign offices to feed the staff including him-well i got news for you dave bonem-when the election cycle is done i am going to advice lonstar as well as my group to discontinue use of your services and that itS best you never work on anyones campaign in the future.your a discrace to the local political process-so go ahead and keep lying to the voluteers and keep stuffing your face full of that food.

    this is my name

  8. Concerned says:

    I think Cohen makes runoff because of her base and name, but it would be nice to see Derr in there. A real person with common sense.

  9. David Johnson says:

    I am a retired teacher. I have owned property in the museum area since 1976. Last year I learned that business and rental property (over 4 units) were to be placed in a “West Montrose Improvement District” and would be subject to an ADDITIONAL property tax of $1.4 million. Property owners were appalled. But the West Montrose Improvement District went forward with $1.4 million in new tax money at the disposal of this new group. This group, it turns out, acts independently, can borrow and indebt us, and act with no voter approval. The group claimed it would “attract business” and clean graffiti and beautify esplanades. But first, this august body had to pay Vincent and Elkins $250,000 for “legal fees in setting up the district.” How did an independent group get $1.4 million in our property tax money with no controls placed on them by any voter?
    Simple. When Ellen Cohen was in the Texas House of Representatives, she wrote a bill sponsored with Rodney Ellis to create the West Montrose Improvement District. (An East Montrose Improvement District had been established in 2006). In previous attempts, it took 51% of the assessed property owners property owners to approve the plan. Cohen couldn’t get 51%. But Ellen Cohen is not restrained by concepts like majority rule. The requisite number was then reduced to 50 signatures from assessed property owners and when they couldn’t locate 50 to sign the enabling petition, to get the bill moving in Austin, they HAND PICKED 25 assessable property owners to request the proposed Service Plan-the West Montrose improvement district. Cohen’s bill and the $1.4 million in yearly additional property taxes creating the West Montrose Improvement District was passed and signed by Rick Perry. (who said liberal democrats and conservative republicans couldn’t both work together when clever new ways to pick the taxpayer’s pockets could be devised?)
    A year ago, angry property owners got their Montrose Improvement District tax notices. Forty some owners spoke against this new district having uncontrolled taxation powers. No one spoke in support. Guess what? The Board of Directors of the West Montrose Improvement District didn’t listen to any of them. When property owners began a petition drive to dissolve the new taxing district, they were told that they didn’t need 25 or 50 property owners or even 51% of the affected property owners to dissolve this new taxing authority. No, Ellen is a great bill writer. To dissolve her district created by 25 people, we had to have 75% of the assessed property owners sign the petition to dissolve. That represented many hundreds of property owners. The work began and hundreds of property owners signed the petition to dissolve the Ellen Cohen property tax piggy bank . Hundreds signed. Virtually no one supported this tax grab. But when petitions reached 62% of the people involved signing on to dissolve Cohen’s new money-maker we learned that these special districts don’t die easily. The “groups” running the East and West Montrose Improvement Districts merged. Now the petition drive had to get 75% from BOTH districts! You have to appreciate Ellen Cohen’s sense of democracy. And do you want to know the wonderful thing about this? The petition drive continued until it reached nearly 80% of the affected property owners IN BOTH IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS -Petitions to dissolve and break up Ellen’s tax grab game.
    I wrote Ellen Cohen and asked her to come to the meeting today (October 14) to see democracy in action-the presentation of the petitions to dissolve the district. She didn’t show up. I wish she had. After crafting a multi-million dollar tax scam, she should have been there to see the board she created go into executive session to decide if they were going to fight the petition that had overcome Herculean odds. I just wish Ellen had seen the “group” she created going into closed session to decide if they were going to hire attorneys (with our tax money) to fight our petition with a thousand signatures to stop their enrichment scheme from taking MORE of our tax money. I guess there is a point where even she could be embarrassed.
    Why vote for someone who takes tax money in near-secret meetings, changes the rules, provides a huge slush fund for all the usual suspects and more fundamentally thwarts basic concepts of democracy? Behavior like this gets campaign contributions and she has the most!
    I called Ellen Cohen and this is what she told me, “The majority of my constituents wanted the improvement district.” She knew that wasn’t true when she said it. And with a thousand property owners signing petitions against her tax grab, it has proved to be profoundly false and self-delusional.. Even some of HER 26 petition signers wanted their names erased from the enabling petition. She and her buddies wouldn’t let them take their names off.
    If you do vote for Ellen Cohen, don’t ever talk about “politics as usual”. Ellen Cohen IS politics as usual.
    David Johnson

    (409) 621-1679

  10. Joshua bullard says:

    in all fairness to canidate ellen cohen,she was long gone from the texas leg when this mismangement incurred-its unfair to attack someone whos vision was misconstrued by the district-

    its fact-ellen cohen had great intentions with this concept,

    it is also fact that david johnson would rather have you not focus on the fact the she wasnt with the state leg when this took place…

    ellen cohen is the right canidate for district c,shes not perfect and has never claimed to be,but for her opponents to attack her in the end should enrage her supporters to load the wagon and run for the ballot box

    cohen 2011-no doubt in it

    the real joshua ben bullard

  11. David Johnson says:

    To Joshua Bullard-
    I hope that people read what I wrote and that you read what you wrote.
    it was her bill
    it was a rigged anti-democratic process where she changed the rules
    it was passes as she was leaving-she DID IT
    it is a tax scam
    the disgusting payola to the usual suspects are HER doing.

    I hope her supporters are enraged. She did everything I described in my letter.

    What you and Ellen Cohen hope is that NO ONE finds out about her unethical action and ,
    importantly, she did not tell the truth. She said her constituents supported the bill. That was false.

  12. David Johnson says:

    Ellen Cohen’s supporters will have a lot of trouble “loading the wagon” and heading for the
    ballot box. The wagon is already overloaded with pay for play contributions from all the vendors and special interests she willy-nilly votes for. What do you expect when she has the most campaign money in the history of a council race? Popularity. NO. That is called selling out.

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