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Endorsement watch: Jewish Herald Voice and African-American News

Here are some last-minute endorsements, for those of you who plan to do your civic duty on Tuesday. First, from the Jewish Herald Voice:

City of Houston, General Election

Mayor Annise D. Parker
Council Member, District A Amy Peck
Council Member, District C Anne Clutterbuck
Council Member, District D Wanda Adams
Council Member, At-Large Position 1 Herman Litt
Council Member, At-Large Position 2 Sue Lovell
Council Member, At-Large Position 4 C.O. “Brad” Bradford
Council Member, At-Large Position 5 Jolanda “Jo” Jones
City Controller Ronald Green

They also give a thumbs up to all of the constitutional amendments, and offer endorsements in a bunch of other area races. Of some interest was their endorsement of the HCC annexation in Spring Branch.

HCC’s tax rate is the lowest among community colleges in this area, and the board of trustees has lowered the rate three times in the past three years. The most recent rate reduction came just recently. In addition, the trustees increased the senior citizen tax exemption from $90,000 to $100,000. At the same time, they have held the line on tuition, which is no easy feat in this tough economy.

HCC has been a good community partner in Spring Branch. Since 1986, HCC has invested $50 million in the Spring Branch campus at I-10 and the Sam Houston Beltway, creating a new set of academic, workforce and continuing education facilities.

As it happens, I received a Facebook message on Sunday from someone who apparently opposes the HCC annexation in Spring Branch. She sent me a press release from an anti-annexation group that touted a rescission of HAR‘s initial endorsement of the HCC plan. I’ve placed that beneath the fold for your perusal.

Elsewhere, African-American News and Issues issued five endorsements in city elections:

Controller Annise Parker for Mayor
Councilmember Jolanda “Jo” Jones for Re-Election to At Large Position 5
Rev. Andrew C. Burks, Jr. for At Large Position 2
Clarence “Brad” Bradford for At Large 4
Otis Jordan for District D

They give their reasons for each at the link. Given the recent squabbles between Peter Brown and Gene Locke over their levels of support in the African-American community, I thought this was most interesting.

Finally, Burka tells us how he voted on the constitutional amendments, and the Chron rounds up all its endorsements into one editorial. I give them credit again for getting to all of these in a timely fashion.

Houston Area Realtors Rescind HCC Annexation Endorsement

Houston, Texas – (October 26, 2009) – Houston Community College counted on the Houston Association of Realtors to endorse its proposed annexation of the Spring Branch Independent School District tax base. After intense lobbying efforts and an elaborate presentation to the HAR Governmental Affairs Advisory Group in July, HAR’s Board of Directors voted at its September meeting to endorse HCC’s proposed annexation of the Spring Branch Independent School District tax base.

But on October 19, the HAR Board of Directors rescinded that endorsement and now takes no position on the Spring Branch annexation issue, according to Dana Kervin, Government Affairs Director of HAR.

“Initially, only one side of the annexation question was presented to our Governmental Affairs Advisory Group and our board,” said long-time board member J.Patrick Luby, III. “So once we began hearing the other side from the community, our realtor members and their neighbors who would be affected by annexation, we felt compelled to revisit the question.”

HAR Chair Vicki Fullerton requested the endorsement be put on hold so that both sides of the question could be reviewed at HAR’s October director’s meeting. Zachary Hodges, president of HCC – Northwest, attorney Richard Schecter, HCC Trustee, and several other HCC consultants appeared before the HAR board to urge endorsement of the HCC annexation plan. Luby presented the opposing arguments. The HAR Board voted unanimously to stay out of the annexation fight, and HAR’s endorsement of HCC’s plan to annex the Spring Branch ISD tax base was withdrawn.

“We think HCC is a fine institution. However, we just didn’t feel like the realtors had any business endorsing a tax increase, especially during these trying times,” Luby said. “Our Spring Branch and North Forest area realtor members already have a hard enough time brokering real estate and pre-qualifying buyers for mortgages without endorsing another layer of taxes.

“Houston, Harris County, Texas homeowners and businesses already pay the highest property taxes in the country” added Luby. “We already fund 100% of public education through local ad valorem taxes, and a large percentage of Texas higher education and junior colleges like HCC through state taxes. At some point, taxpayers simply need to draw the line and say enough is enough.”

Contributions can be mailed to VoteNoHCCTax treasurer, Keith Coulter at PO Box 802712, Houston, TX 77280.

Pol. Ad. VoteNoHCCTax, Keith Coulter, Treasurer PO Box 802712, Houston, TX 77280.

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2 Comments

  1. Baby Snooks says:

    The Jewish Herald-Voice endorsement was expected since it follows the lead of the Houston Chronicle and endorses who they are told to endorse although the Houston Chronicle must not really know who to try to please anymore given their “double endorsement” of Locke and Parker.

    Bottom line, again, is everyone needs to vote. We shouldn’t elect a mayor by “default” on the basis of “voter default.”

  2. Josh Flynn says:

    HCC taxpayers spent a lot of money on the SBISD annexation referendum. This is the kind of mismanagement SBISD taxpayers want to avoid. Kudos should go out to VoteNoHCCtax and the voters of SBISD for seeing through HCC’s slick (expensive) advertising campaign. HCC can say what they want about future plans, but the fact still remains their campus at I10 & The Beltway is prime real estate and they are using it without paying the property taxes they expected everyone else to pay.