I’m not much of a candidate forum attender, but I wish I had gone to this one.
Half-a-dozen candidates in runoff City Council elections each made his or her case as champion of the downtrodden before a mostly black and Latino audience at a Fifth Ward church on Saturday afternoon.
Council aide Alvin Byrd faces nonprofit director Jerry Davis in District B; pastor Andrew Burks faces former state Rep. Kristi Thibaut for the At-Large Position 2 seat; and chiropractor Jack Christie is challenging incumbent Councilwoman Jolanda Jones for the At-Large 5 seat in the Dec. 10 elections.
At the forum sponsored by a coalition of labor and civil rights groups, the lead-off question prompted candidates’ positions on whether they would oppose changing public employee pensions from the guaranteed benefits they now offer to a 401(k) system in which the payouts are determined by how well retirement investments perform.
Burks generally did not answer questions directly but used the floor to complain that not enough police officers and firefighters live inside the city limits and that Mayor Annise Parker does not want him to defeat Thibaut in the race. He even responded to a question about providing birth control in city health clinics by calling for issuing tickets to young men who wear sagging pants that reveal their underwear.
That may be the most awesome thing I’ve heard from a candidate forum. I only wish the story had indicated how the audience reacted. Please, someone tell me you were there and can answer that.