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Randy Locke

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?

Filing deadline today

Today is the last day to file for the November 2011 election, which means that today is the day we separate the contenders from the pretenders and see which perennials will bloom on the ballot. There are no surprises so far, but as always it ain’t over till it’s over. As of the close of business yesterday, the following announced candidates had not yet officially filed their paperwork:

Jerry Davis, District B

Randy Locke, District C

Alexander Gonik, District K

Chris Carmona, At Large #3

Louis Molnar, At Large #4

Jack O’Connor, At Large #5

I expect most if not all of them will submit their applications by the end of the day today, but you never know. At times like this, it’s best to remember Ray Jones and ask yourself whether it was really necessary to wait till the last minute.

Anyway. I’ve been making updates to the 2011 Election page to match the City Secretary’s list of candidates. Not too surprisingly, most of the late entrants do not have webpages that I can find; if you know better about any of them, please let me know. I’ll be back to discuss the lineup once it becomes official. In the meantime, what you see is what we’ve got.

UPDATE: The 7 AM update of the City Secretary’s list of candidates shows that Randy Locke, Louis Molnar, and Alex Gonik are officially in. In addition, CM Al Hoang has drawn two opponents, and there’s a third entrant for District K.

The non-filers

We are now more than a week beyond the deadline to file campaign finance reports for City of Houston elections. The following candidates for city office have not yet filed a campaign finance report for July:

Michael Williams, At Large #2

Griff Griffin, At Large #2

Joe Edmonds, At Large #5

Kenneth Perkins, District B

Randy Locke, District C

Edmonds sent out a press release announcing his intent to run in May. That’s the last I’ve heard from him. He has no website or Facebook page that I can find. If he’s since decided not to run, he wouldn’t be the first person to follow that path.

Edmonds is a first time candidate. Everyone else on that list has run for office before; Griff, Perkins, and Locke all ran for Council in 2009, while Williams is an incumbent HCC Trustee. Griff managed to file all three finance forms last time, while Locke filed his 30 day and 8 day reports (he may not have been officially in the race as of July 15, 2009), and Perkins never filed anything. At this point, I doubt any of them will file anything for July. I don’t know why this is – with the possible exception of Edmonds, it’s not because they have not engaged in any campaign activity. I’m not a stickler for certain things in candidates. You don’t have to live in the district (unless the law requires it), and you don’t have to have a spotless voting record for me to consider your candidacy. I’ll break a tie against you if it comes down to that, but I won’t disqualify you. But I have to say, anyone who wants to have some say in the city’s finances had better damn well be able to explain why they were unable or unwilling to file this form on time. I really don’t think that’s asking for much.