Run-Offs on the Radio, Part II

This morning, This Week With Sylvia Garcia featured the At-Large 2 and At-Large 5 candidates. If you missed it, it will re-air on Friday at 8AM on, but I’ll try to get a copy of it to post here to aid voters in their decision, if one has not yet been made.

The At-Large 2 forum went pretty much as planned, with Kristi Thibaut and Andrew Burks giving their priorities, their plans to expand outreach to aid turnout, their thoughts on the budget, etc. I’ll let you listen to those when I get the copy, but when given the opportunity to ask each other questions, Burks took a turn for the negative.

Burks took out a copy of a recent Thibaut mailer and attempted to call-out Thibaut on an endorsement (one of many on the mailer, including many African-American elected officials) she listed that Burks states was actually given to him. I believe it was from a church group. Anyway, Thibaut stated she had not heard from the organization and would have no problem stating something about any retraction.

But if that wasn’t enough, in a moment of weirdness, Burks threw one from left field asking why Thibaut was calling herself “the only black candidate.”  Thibaut stated she had never described herself in that way.

Thibaut’s question was more issues oriented; in fact, she asked Burks why he had campaigned against Renew Houston, but now speaks in favor of it. Burks responded by stating he saw “my members” of Council speak against it and took the same approach, but that he now supports it, but made sure to point out that “it is not a fee, but a tax.”

With AL2 completed, we were hoping for a good debate between Jolanda Jones and Jack Christie. Unfortunately, Council Member Jones was working at the courthouse and arrived at the show’s end. Still, Dr. Christie enjoyed the full time answering the usual questions, but given the tone of his campaign, I wanted to bring him back to issues.

So, I pointed to his most recent mailer–the pink one with all of the Chronicle quotes about CM Jones–and stated that it seemed like he had made the campaign all about personalities and not about issues. I didn’t mention what had occurred at a Meyerland Democrats meeting–a bad reaction from folks who didn’t much enjoy his comments about CM Jones’ fashion choices. In order to make it issues oriented, I asked: “Can you tell me one vote taken by CM Jones with which you disagreed and why?”

Dr. Christie didn’t take too kindly to the question stating he had made the campaign about himself. Still, I repeated the question. One Vote? Here was his shot at making a policy statement of sorts. He chose to state he didn’t like a budget item CM Jones had requested–he stated it was a personal bathroom in her office. Obviously, this was a budget amendment and not an actual council vote, which is what I was looking for.

Christie was given an opportunity to ask a question of CM Jones, too, as if she was in the studio. Christie asked what CM Jones’ relationship was with Constable Ruben Davis in Missouri City, stating that his “friends had told him” that money is exchanged and that the Constable ensures a certain number of votes. Make what you will of that response.

I haven’t made it a secret that I endorsed Thibaut in her race, but I had remained quiet in the AL5 race. So, in asking Christie the question today I think I was fishing for an answer that would bring him toward the issues, rather than the personalities (what has been central in his direct mail pieces)–something that would make the distinction for voters when it comes to the issues. I guess that was a #fail on my part, but I think this interview has given some clarity to voters in one way or another.

I’ll get a copy on here soon, otherwise, listen in on Friday at 8AM.

Early voting begins on Wednesday 11/30. Find your polling location at this link (PDF).

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