Just bonds, school board and HCC races, and the mostly boring constitutional amendments. Oh, and Heights Alcohol 2.0, if you live there.
Houston voters will face $1.5 billion in city bonds and nine community college or school board races this November, but will not be asked whether to give firefighters a pay raise or change the pension plans given to new city employees.
Monday was the last day on which candidates could file for the November ballot, and on which local governments could call an election. That means the clock ran out on the citizen-submitted petitions seeking the change in city pensions and backing the firefighters’ push for pay “parity” with police officers of corresponding rank.
There are exceptions to Monday’s deadline. Houston ISD trustee Manuel Rodriguez’s death in July means candidates looking to fill his seat have until Sept. 6 to file for office. Candidates who meet today’s filing deadline also can withdraw from the ballot as late as Aug. 28.
In broad terms, however, the fall election campaign is set.
State law sets no deadline by which petitions seeking changes to a city charter must be tallied.
“We’ve always done first one in, first one out,” City Secretary Anna Russell said late Friday. “We are still working on the 401(k) (petition) as we do our regular work.”
The petitions, if validated by Russell’s office, could be included on a May ballot.
And I think that’s fine, and will likely allow for a more focused discussion of that issue as there won’t be anything else for Houston voters to consider; the 401(k) item no longer has anyone advocating it, so the pay parity proposal would be all there is. Given the lack of city elections on this November’s ballot, it’s not clear that a May 2018 referendum would have much less turnout, especially if both sides spend money on it. I’m sure the firefighters wanted their issue to be voted on now, but having to wait till May is hardly an abomination.
I hope to have a finalized list of candidates for HISD and HCC soon. HISD has some candidate information here, but there’s not a similar page for HCC. I’ve got a query in to find out who’s running for what and will report back later. I’m starting on the interviews for 2017, and will have an Election 2017 page up in the next week or so.