An unusual election night for yours truly. The early part of the day was focused on the first half of a football game, then work, then church, then getting home late after the votes have been counted and the commentary been added.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the usual mix of good and sad that comes from a hefty ballot of active campaigns. On the positive, there’s seeing Annise Parker being elected Mayor.
I started off as a leaner for Gene and have a few friends on the professional side of that fence. Unfortunately, candidates tend to be defined over the course of their campaign and Gene did a lot to define himself in a way that made it impossible for me to support him at the end. I’d like to believe the best in him, but it wasn’t a good season to run with the combined effect of being both an insider and a first time-candidate. It would seem that the out-of-fashion-ness of the latter combined with the learning curve of the latter to produce a lethal dose of electoral reality for him this time around.
As for Annise’s future as Mayor, I obviously wish her the best and hope that she serves as effectively as Mayor as she seems to have done as Controller. As one who’s leaned most often toward the reformer/outsider wing of local politics, it’s been rather refreshing to see her run in this mold without the rest of us suffering through the anguish of another candidate hitting the Greanias line. My concerns with her at the outset were modest and clouded largely by the lack of comparison to the current inhabitant of the position she sought. There are some timely updates I’d like to see in the way that the City of Houston allows citizens to interact with local government that technology enable far more than they did in 2004. Here’s hoping that Mayor Parker has enough interest in building some of those bridges.
For the office of Controller, I’m content to see Ronald Green win the job for two reasons: he’s on enough of the same page with Parker to work constructively with the Mayor; and he’s independent enough that I think he’ll speak up where he sees the most need to highlight a problem … as opposed to highlighting a politically opportune issue. His tax issue should be treated more forthrightly … not to mention quickly. This was a race between two candidates trying to determine which one would be the luckiest politician in Houston: the Muslim with a funny name who doesn’t live in Houston; or the guy who can’t raise funds to communicate meaningfully with voters and owes back taxes. Houston deserves better in this office. For now, Ronald Green has up to six years to prove his capability despite running on luck. I won’t mind if he succeeds and becomes a formidable candidate for Mayor in six years, but I’m only cautiously optimistic about that happening.
Among the At Larges, there wasn’t really a shocker of the bunch. I hope to see Stephen Costello serve as a constructive-style Republican on Council. To the extent that his path models Anne Clutterbuck, I’d say that’s pretty good. To the extent that it tracks with the past few members from District G and E … not so much. Of course, I’m most eager to see Jolanda Jones return to Council. Not that her own episodes of un-constructiveness are good things, but I can’t say I’d mind seeing her combativeness aimed at her fellow members who put their own names on the line against her. They deserve the grief that I feel confident she’s capable of giving them.
And lastly, the District races. Watching Al Hoang serve on council for the next two years should be embarrassing for the city. That Hoang is another candidate – now elected official – who doesn’t even live in District F makes for an enormous running joke. Redistricting may answer whether I have to take a personal concern in the 2011 election for Hoang’s seat. I’d love for him to be more Alief’s problem than Sharpstown’s by then.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve had the very discomforting pleasure of counting the “last time” I have the luxury of doing a number of things based on working in a certain part of town one day, and another the next; based on having one type of employer one day, and another the next. And along this line, this is the last real election I’ll get to cover as the pause buttom is a bit closer for this little blog. It’s been interesting, primarily for noticing how different the campaigns operate in the “New Blog Order” of 2009 compared to 2003 and 2001. Eight years is not really a huge amount of time, even in politics. But the changes in campaign methods around what used to be known as “new” media has been a significant change. All I have to look forward to now is to hopefully wratchet things up a notch or two for the coming year.
Anyways, congratulations to Mayor-elect Annise Parker. I’ll be sure to keep up on how things go … even if I don’t have my own two cents thrown into the conversation about how they go.