Runoff Q&A: Roy Morales

Note: As we know, the runoff election in At Large #3 is not what many people were expecting. In particular, Democratic voters have been trying to make a choice in that race. While both candidates have been busy reaching out to a broad range of constituencies, I thought it might be a good idea to ask them each a few questions that reflect current issues and concerns. The following are the answers I received from Roy Morales. I sent a substantially similar set of questions to Michael Kubosh, and I will run his answers when I receive them.

Roy Morales

Roy Morales

1. What distinguishes you from your opponent?

Honesty, Integrity, Education and Transparency. When I give my word, I keep it. My opponent says one thing in one community and says something different in another. He even has different push cards depending on where he is. I have one push card that I have used across the city with the same message. My bottom line is this; we need to keep Houston moving forward. That means everyone needs to work together to make that happen. If elected, my obligation and responsibility is to the citizens and that means all of our citizens. We need to ensure there is opportunity for all of our communities, the creation of more jobs and that everyone’s city services run smoothly and effectively.

2. Mayor Parker recently made an executive order granting health insurance benefits to all spouses of legally married city employees, including same sex spouses, in accordance with the wording of the 2001 charter amendment, the Supreme Court decision on DOMA, and changes in federal policies resulting from that decision. Do you agree with this action?

I’m not a lawyer and this is a legal issue that has yet to be decided. The questions are: Is Texas required to recognize legal same sex marriages from other states under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution? Is Texas’ Defense of Marriage Act superseded by federal actions, including the ruling by the Supreme Court that the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional? How does the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution affect this issue? All of these questions are on the table and should be discussed.

3. The Houston Chronicle and Texas Observer have written several article recently documenting issues with HPD’s disciplinary process and its oversight of the use of force by police officers. What steps would you like to see taken to improve the process?

More openness and transparency in the process.

4. Some people have been calling for a comprehensive review of Houston’s city charter, with the possibility of putting major changes to how city government operates up for a vote. Do you support this idea? What if any changes to how city government operates would you like to see proposed?

We should strive to bring better government and better performing government to our citizens and one way we can accomplish this is by continuing to examine and update our City Charter.

5. You have taken issue with the way the Chronicle characterized you in their endorsement of your opponent in the runoff. Why were they wrong about you?

First, let me say that I was not extended the same invitation as my opponent was with regard to meeting the new editor of the Houston Chronicle at a small gathering of insiders. Second, I am proud of my military career. I enlisted in the Air Force and received an officer’s commission. I was given many great opportunities to work on exciting projects. With that came security clearances and even though I am retired, I honor those requirements. People want to make fun of such things and that was obvious in the Chronicle’s characterization. In fact, Assistant Chief of Police (Ret) Jerry DeFoor has endorsed me and issued a statement why the City of Houston hired me as the Chief Technology Officer for the Houston Emergency Center.

“I am proud to endorse Retired Lt Colonel Roy Morales for Houston City Council At-Large Position 3. As a retired Assistant Chief of Police and former Director of the Houston Emergency Center, I hired Roy to be our Chief Technology Officer. Roy possessed the technology and management skills and military experience we required to activate the new Houston Emergency Center. Most importantly, Roy also had active security clearances that would be of great value in protecting our city and citizens. Only after a short time I awarded Roy the Director’s Commendation for his outstanding work performance. Roy was also assigned as our liaison to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security because of his active top security clearances. Roy’s dedication and exemplary performance reflected great credit upon him, the Houston Emergency Center, and the City of Houston.”

The topic the Editorial Board chose to criticize me with has been written about extensively in their paper and I indicated that to them in my response. I certainly don’t dwell on this, but we would all be foolish to think that our city is somehow immune to the threat of terrorism especially in this post 9-11 country we live in and with the assets our city has. My philosophy is a prepared city is a safe one and I believe those in city government strive towards that goal. What I find most interesting is my opponent’s answer on profiling during that Chronicle interview, something the Chronicle chose to ignore. My opponent believes that police officer when stopping someone for a traffic violation should have the right to ask the driver if they are a U.S. citizen. I am against racial profiling and have always been against racial profiling.

6. Many Democratic voters are wary of their choices for this runoff. Why should a Democrat who voted for one of the other candidates in November support you in this runoff?

As I have already stated in a previous answer, my message is the same across the city. My message does not change depending on what community I am in. If elected I will have an open door policy for all of our citizens…nothing less is acceptable. As an elected official for the Harris County Department of Education, I represented a Democrat district and I worked to keep taxes down, ensure our teachers had fair wages and promoted the Head Start program. I will work with the mayor and all of our council members. We need to keep our great city moving forward and we need to continue to work on quality of life issues with more green space including parks. I will work to ensure city services are delivered effectively to our citizens and the creation of more jobs will continue to define us as a top tier city and why we see so many new people coming to Houston.

UPDATE: Super Neighborhood 22 will host a candidate forum tonight for both At Large runoffs. All four candidates have committed to be there, so you can hear what Morales, Kubosh, CM Andrew Burks, and David Robinson have to say for themselves. The event runs from 6 to 8 PM at the West End Multi-service Center, 170 Heights Blvd. My thanks to Tom Dornbusch for the reminder.

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4 Responses to Runoff Q&A: Roy Morales

  1. Doug says:

    No reply (yet) to my email sent to Mr. Morales office December 3.

    “Dear Mr. Morales;

    As an advocate for safer cycling as a commuting and recreational option, I value and endorse Mayor Parker’s actions for Houston cyclists.

    Your opponent, Michael Kubosh added EVEN GREATER DANGER for area cyclists and pedestrians with his successful effort to end the red light camera program.

    Where do you stand in your priorities to support Mayor Parker’s efforts for safer non-motorized options as an adjunct to Houston’s infrastructure?
    Do you have specific ideas to implement safer roads for ALL users?

    I bike, I vote, and I share cycling advocacy through social media with thousands of area cyclists.

    Cycle Safely,

    Doug House, M.Ed.
    A Healthcare Professional

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Good God, man! Answer the questions asked of you here rather than give general platitudes and lip service.

    Do YOU agree with Mayor Parker’s same sex spousal benefit EO? This is a simple yes or no answer. Pick one.

    Do YOU support letting the citizens vote on major changes to how the city operates? This is a simple yes or no answer. Pick one.

    And while we are at it, why not expound on your “don’t racially profile” thoughts. What exactly DO you want that beat cop to do when he pulls over someone with no license? Let him go on his way? That really isn’t fair to me, you, and everyone else who goes through the hassle of getting and maintaining a driver’s license. In non sanctuary cities, people get arrested for driving without a license, and what is the jail supposed to do when booking an illegal alien? Look the other way?

  3. Steve Houston says:

    Considering how much Morales causes “Big Jolly Jennings”, the ultra rightwing nut, to go crazy in his Chronicle blog is reason enough to consider him as a good choice. IIRC, the Houston Emergency Center had a great deal of trouble when it started up thanks to low bid contracts and poor decision making. Morales fixed much of that in a way Kubosh would have looked on like a dumbfounded kid from the sidelines would do. In that sense, he has actual skills, connections, and competence that most generally aren’t going to get from a bail bondsman that initially ran for office as a scheme to get more business.

    Bill Daniels, the city is moving heaven and earth to get out of the jail business that has been under federal scrutiny for decades and you want local police to be arresting people for class C misdemeanors?!? Perhaps the person has a valid ID, left their wallet at home as many of us have done from time to time, or other means of proving who they are. Morales doesn’t want a group singled out because they “look” like they are from south of the border, not an unreasonable contention given lawsuits against major cities across the country. That doesn’t mean upon discovery of a status crime nothing is to be done, the stretch in logic smelling like an agenda driven attack.

  4. Doug Hunter says:

    Good call on Jolly. He routinely violates the Chronicle’s policy regarding comments when he disagrees with them to the point where he could lose his blogging status with them per a staffer. No big loss to be sure though I stopped reading his blindly partisan BS early on.

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