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Endorsement watch: For HCC bonds

Apparently, the Chron has decided to get into the endorsement business early this year, certainly earlier than I’d have expected them to get into it, as they come out in favor of the HCC bond referendum.

“We can either train and educate Houstonians to provide the skilled work force Houston businesses need, or we can import people from other states and countries,” notes HCC board member and former board President Richard Schechter. “We’d like to educate Houstonians.”

We agree. But doing so will require taxpayer investment. On the Nov. 6 ballot, HCC is asking voters to approve a $425 million bond issue to support the system.

Over the years, HCC has had its share of political controversy at the board level. This has harmed the community college’s reputation in the eyes of some taxpayers. We get that. But we also come away from a detailed discussion with board members and administrators persuaded that the bond issue deserves voter support. We believe the steps taken to change methods and policies at both the board and administration levels, and those taken to create a firewall between contractors and elected officials and administrators, are well-conceived and will do the job.

This is a high-stakes vote for Houston’s future. In these tough economic times, education creates winners.

A final, important thought: In a time when college tuitions put higher education out of reach for many Houstonians, HCC offers affordable access to the skills training that can open the doors to a more prosperous future.

Voters can swing those doors open wider by approving the HCC bond issue on the November ballot.

I don’t know if they really are getting an early start or if this just happened to be on the top of their queue right now, but we’ll know soon enough. I’m generally inclined to support bond issues, and I don’t have any reason not to support this one. This is likely to be the lowest profile bond issue on the ballot, as HCC Trustee races tend to be the lowest profile races. Whether that works in its favor or not I couldn’t say. I’m not really sure how much people associate one bond issue with another, and I’m not sure how much I accept the conventional wisdom about “ballot fatigue” or “bond overload” or whatever the heck it is we’re calling it. I also don’t know how much voters will have been told about this referendum by the time they get to it on the ballot. In short, I don’t have a good guess about this item’s prospects. What are your impressions?

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