The HISD bond opponents get a big story in today’s Chron.
African-American political and religious leaders have been on the front lines opposing HISD’s proposed bond package, which, if approved, would build 24 new campuses and renovate 134 others. It also would consolidate several historically black campuses.
While churches and other nonprofit organizations are prohibited from campaigning on behalf of politicians, they are allowed to take stances on issues and bond referendums, said Robert Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Pastors at the churches on Sunday’s route said they were happy to pause from prayer and song to let members of Concerned Citizens For School Equality, the political action committee opposing the bond, speak to their congregations.
”They’re on a bus. They’re doing it old-school style,” said the Rev. Dewayne Cook, pastor of the Greater Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
For what it’s worth, Marc Campos notes that turnout at early voting sites in African American neighborhoods is running much higher than at those in Latino areas. We know that the opposition to the bond is not monolithic, but that’s something to keep in mind.
At Windsor Village United Methodist Church, hundreds of parishioners stood and applauded when the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell spoke against the bond. It is not a race issue or a class issue, just a matter of what is best for children, he said.
Caldwell told parishioners to ignore HISD’s argument that voting down the bond would delay construction and much-needed repairs by years.
“It can come back next year, y’all. We can vote again on this in May ’08,” he said. “Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.”
Can we get a judge’s ruling on this, please? I’ve got HISD people saying if the bond gets voted down we can’t do another one for four (or five) years, and here we have Kirbyjon Caldwell saying if it goes down we can try again next May. One of these statements (possibly both) is wrong, and each side has some self-interest in making it. Can someone please point me towards a relevant statute so we can clear this up once and for all? Thanks.
HISD trustee Larry Marshall, an avid supporter of the bond, said he was not worried by the opponents’ Sunday effort.
“That’s the beauty of this country. You have the right to disagree,” he said. “I think there will be more folks from the pews voting for this issue than voting against it. I’m optimistic.”
I think it passes by a slim margin. What do you think?