Chron on the Jones pileup

Here’s the Chron story about the mailers being sent out opposing Jolanda Jones.

The effort by five council members to oust Jones, arguably the most controversial and well-known figure on council, was virtually unprecedented in the past several decades, according to several City Hall veterans. The only comparable moment came in 1989, when supporters and colleagues of Councilman Jim Westmoreland fled after he made a racial slur during a council discussion on a memorial for the late U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland.

“I’m running my campaign based on issues voters care about and have no comment on the actions of some of my fellow council members,” Jones said Wednesday. “I think voters care about issues. … If the people need for me to speak up for them, then I’m happy to serve them in that way.”

I remember that incident. Westmoreland lost that year to Beverly Clark, who turned out to be a bit of a nut herself. She drew multiple challengers in 1991, and lost in a runoff to Gracie Saenz after leading Round One by a 42-19 margin.

Democratic political consultant Keir Murray said the public repudiation of Jones “is, at best, highly unusual and may prove problematic” for Lovell, an elected statewide member of the Democratic National Committee.

“Council member Lovell is in her own runoff race in which the outcome is not assured for anyone, so it defies logic that she would expend campaign resources on a race other than her own,” said Murray, who is unaffiliated with any council races this year but worked for Lovell’s opponent in 2005. “The rule is, you take care of your own business before you worry about anybody else’s.”

Lovell said the mailer has nothing to do with party politics but is one council member calling out another for making “inappropriate” comments. She also said the piece should not be seen as an endorsement of Christie, only an effort to support Houston firefighters.

All due respect, but that’s disingenuous at best. Jones is in a runoff. Any support she does not get as a result of Lovell’s mailer, which I will note did not mention Jack Christie at all, helps Christie. If enough people follow Lovell’s recommendation, Christie will win. Had this been sent prior to the general election, when there were four candidates running for At Large #5, you could reasonably claim to be not endorsing any specific opponent. In the context of a two-person race, when people are actually voting, saying “Don’t vote for Candidate A” is an implicit endorsement for Candidate B. There’s no two ways around that.

Of course, Lovell couldn’t send her mailer out any earlier than she did, because she knew there would be a backlash against her for doing so. Indeed, I have heard a number of people express regret for having voted for her. You can view her action as a courageous stand against an unworthy incumbent, or you can view it as a crass act of vindictiveness fueled by the feud between the two that Lovell denies but everyone knows about. It’s mostly a matter of how you feel about the two principals. You know how I feel about it, and at this time that’s about all I want to say. More from the Houston Politics blog and from KHOU. You’ll note that they mention my blog in that story. I got a call from Courtney Zubowski yesterday afternoon asking if they could use the images from the mailers, which they had found here, and I said yes. That’s all there is to that.

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6 Responses to Chron on the Jones pileup

  1. CG says:

    Here’s my suggestion for those inclinded to support Jones. You might want to consider more specifically whether Jones helps or hinders the things she gets involved in. My belief on just two matters is:

    1. She has abused and discouraged the city’s housing staff to the point where people who have spent their lives trying to better the condition of low income folks in our city can barely function. My understanding is that, to a person, they refuse to deal with her.

    2. Other council members, such as Melissa Noreiga, want to and could help to get fairly quick solutions to the Fire Department problems if Jones wasn’t grandstanding and making everything worse. I don’t think you would find Noreiga to be a pro-establishment, status quo, ignore the problems type, would you? Do you think she needs a Jones firestorm to get her to do the right thing?

    Find a City Hall staffer who you trust. Talk to a council member you trust on a purely confidential basis. I have every confidence that then you’ll understand what Jones is really about. (And then you’ll appreciate Sue Lovell.)

  2. John says:

    Count me among those who wishes he could take back his early vote for Lovell.

  3. Michelle says:

    Sorry that I was abrupt in my comment last night. I was just knocked off my seat when I heard your blog mentioned the way it was. I should have taken more time before commenting, and for that I apologize.

    I was just so taken aback at the time.

    Thanks for putting it in context. I remember when the whole Westmoreland thing happened, but didn’t last night and thought is was an unprecedented pile on. I’ve experienced that at my own workplace and survived; here’s hoping Jones does as well. She’s an important voice on city council.

  4. JJMB says:

    You go Sue Lovell. Tell it like it is. Stand up and say what the entire City Council and every member of the Mayor’s administration say in private but don’t have the fortitude to say in public.

  5. Michelle says:

    Oh yes, JJMB, you would “love” to have that one voice to be silenced on City Council.

  6. Pingback: How About Jolanda Jones & Sue Lovell Working As A Team For A Better Houston? « Texas Liberal

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