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Chron overview of District C

The Ashby Highrise is casting its shadow over the race for the open seat in District C.

Even with substantially redrawn boundaries, which in January will extend from north of Loop 610 down through the Heights and south to the Braeswood area, District C still is ground zero for the battle over height regulations. After a two-year dormancy, plans for the 23-story Ashby high-rise have been revived as apartments instead of condos.

[Ellen] Cohen called the Ashby high-rise a “poor idea,” but said the city must be fair to developers who follow city rules and not “move the goalposts” by changing rules midstream. She also produced a 2007 “Dear Neighbor” letter she wrote as a legislator in which she urged then-Mayor Bill White and the council “to do everything within their power to stop this development.”

Most of the other candidates followed Cohen’s two-pronged answer of personally opposing the project, but warning against being arbitrary with development regulations.

The Ashby sure is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? If by “gift” you mean “political pain in the ass for which there is no solution”, anyway. Barring anything unusual, this thing is going to get built one way or another. The only thing for a candidate to talk about is what if anything they’d do to affect or prevent the next such unwanted-by-its-neighbors project.

Anyway. I did interviews with four of the five candidates in District C:

Ellen Cohen
Brian Cweren
Karen Derr
Joshua Verde

The conventional wisdom on this race is that it’s Cohen’s to lose. She’s got a lot going for her – strong fundraising, name ID, etc – but her opponents are pretty good too, and they’re certainly not conceding anything. I see a lot of yard signs in the district – most of them in actual yards, thank you very much – and I’d say Cohen is winning that competition, at least in the parts of the district I tend to travel through, followed by Derr and then Cweren. The 30 Day reports are up for the four that I interviewed: Cohen, Derr, Verde, and Cweren; as noted before, Cohen once again lapped the field. What are your thoughts on this race?

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8 Comments

  1. Joshua bullard says:

    My thoughts are brian cweren has an axe to grind and he is gotten wrapped up in matters that effect him personally and this is the wrong reason to get into a big city race,its sad that every time the polls show hes nearing the bottom he is so quick to attempt to throw dirt at the other canidates and then take off running.
    Heres the deal,if you compare karen derr and josh verde to ellen cohen,theres a few things that come to mind,with ellen cohen district c has a leg up on having a voice in austin texas and in a lot of times in the city of houston this is often needed.
    If i lived in district c,which i dont,but if i did,i would load the old wagon up with a few friends and go cast my vote for ellen cohen,quick ,fast and a in a hurry…

    respectfully joshua ben bullard

  2. Eric Weinmann says:

    Charles,

    The yard sign battle is being won by different candidates depending on the neighborhood – You’re right that in your neck of the woods, the Heights, it’s Cohen, Derr, Cweren. Around Rice U, it’s Cohen then Cweren; Cweren is in the lead in Meyerland and Maplewood, followed closely by Cohen with the others no where to be found. You see a pretty even mix in Washington Avenue, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest. Cohen leads in Montrose, while Cweren leads in Greenway. There’s a sprinkle of Verde signs north of I-10 as well. It is certainly and a close race.

    Insofar as Bullard – As I wrote a few weeks ago, Bullard has an axe to grind himself. Foremost, no scientific opinion polls have been taken in this race. I am unsure which polls Bullard refers to. But more to the point, Bullard is saddened that he failed to meet the rental qualifications to lease a home owned by one of Cweren’s relatives a few months back. I am not sure of any other dealings Bullard may have, but I know he has taken a business transaction personally and to the blogs, for some reason.

  3. Erik Vidor says:

    Eric,

    “no scientific opinion polls have been taken in this race”….

    Just for the record, there is at least one expenditure in Ellen’s latest report that indicates she spent money on scientific polling from Lake Research…so I’m pretty sure there are some valid data points floating around out there

  4. Eric Weinmann says:

    Correct. The poll from Lake was a voter name ID survey and not a scientific electoral projection poll. These are two different concepts in the world of quantitative research. She released the findings – it shows something like 60 percent of people in District C who are also in 134 are familiar with her name.

  5. Joshua bullard says:

    eric weinmann- for the love god man,were talking about a 200 sq foot oversized dog house in the back of an old vacant house on blocks that should be demolished by the city,now i dont know if you keep bumping your head on something but will you please tell the people for the love of god what special rental qaulifications does the family of brian cweren demand for the rental of this 200 sq foot over sized dog house???????????

    please tell all of us what are the rental qaulifications for a 200 sq foot outhouse in the back-the fact is,this,brian cweren is a terrible choice for city goverment at this time for a number of reasons,it doesnt have anything to do with the fact that he descriminted against me-he did and he will do it to others and we dont need this type of discrimination coming from a canidate on council-now why dont you run along and call the cwerens and ask them to tell you the specicfics as to what are the specfic qaulifications for renting the cweren outhouse in the back that brain cweren has mysteroiusly been trying to so call rent out for almost two years-or maybe just maybe mr “eric weinmann” maybe theres a video out there of my cweren around the area of this so called rental house and maybe it shows mr cweren engaged in inapproipriate activities that he shouldnt be involved in-why dont you ask him if he ever told me that his car was parked at the house but that he was visiting with a “cabinet maker”-funny i didnt notice any other cars in the drive that day only his-maybe canidate cweren isnt trying to really rent out the small house in the back at all-maybe thats just a front for other activities,after all, its been for rent for over two years now.

    keep it up,and ill call wayne dolecifino to sort it all out,
    “how you like them apples,eric weinmann”
    joshua ben bullard

  6. Concerned says:

    Cohen and Derr in runoff, Derr wins!

  7. Joshua bullard says:

    concerned-its late,put the wine drink down and hit the sack,your prediction comes true in your dreams.joshua ben bullard……

  8. randy locke says:

    Hi, I’m Randy Locke for District C Houston city Council.

    I am flexible in my decision making processes. I propose that the 2.5 Million in 10 year tax abatements, being offered to the proposed Kroger expansion near the Heights in District C instead be offered to the Ashby high rise dilemma.

    By adding the5 million the city offered in 10 year tax abatements and the 500K in cash incentives from 2008 to the 2.5 Million we can offer a total compensation package of 5.15 Million.

    The city paid 8 Million last year in the Inwood area of the new District C, to buy property because the residents did not want additional developments of low rent housing in their neighborhood.

    In my opinion, we should not be giving incentives to anyone without strings attached ever. Job proximity clauses should be least we should add to these contracts. I believe there are kickbacks and bribes somewhere along the chain, in the proposed new Kroger project and the Wal-Mart Heights 6 Million project from last year.

    Kroger already owns the land in the new proposed project and they should spend their own resources on drainage and all other infrastructure. We already supply them with ample lighting, streets, police, and fire protection.

    Smarter uses for incentives would be to create smaller packages that will create JOBS and NEW BUSINESS. The small and medium size business sector fuel 90% of the job growth.