By the time I clicked [REFRESH] a little after 7PM on Tuesday night, I knew most of my picks were going down in flames. Here are my reactions to a few races a few days after sifting through the ashes–in no particular order.
Juliet Stipeche-HISD8: It was pretty upsetting to see her down by 10% the whole night. What was the reason? Her unique name versus a familiar “Hispanic-sounding” name? Her opponent endorsed by anti-Equality bigots? The fact that there were almost 5,000 (29%) undervotes? And what caused the undervote? Interest in smacking down HERO? Interest in voting for Adrian Garcia and pushing [CAST BALLOT]? Or are people fed up with HISD and any incumbent was a target? Or as Campos mentioned, was Juliet’s opponent not taken as seriously as she should have been? One thing is for sure, Stipeche had a good team and partnerships with other campaigns to GOTV. Perhaps all of these reasons are the reason for such a defeat in one way or another. A loss is still a loss, but I expect Stipeche to stay in the game, giving back to her community as she always has, and fighting for the people. What’s next for HISD? I don’t know, I reside in Alief ISD.
Adrian Garcia-Mayor: Garcia started out criticized by most Dems for leaving his post as one of the top Dems in the County. Funny, these are the same people who’d get mad at me for challenging him on 287g and other immigration issues because “we need to re-elect him and then we can work on ‘your’ issues.” So, I threw caution to the wind and decided to support Adrian–a progressive-to-moderate Latino who I thought had the most potential to be a mayoral “first” during the next decade. (I don’t see many other Latin@s with that potential locally, yet.)
Kuff has a good post on what may have happened to Adrian. One “cause” may have been a lack of (or slow) reaction to when the white Dem candidate and the right-winger who made the run-off went on the attack about the jail conditions and jail budget issues, which were mostly inherited by Garcia. I asked myself, “How can we expect a major culture change in a law enforcement agency that is over a century old led by any one Democrat (with no help from a Republican commissioner’s court) for a few years?” At least, that would have been my defense for the purpose of not losing Dem loyalists and moderates, since he needed more of those to make a run-off. Garcia was still a cop at heart, but he made some impressive gains in less than two terms. But he left, so, that left him open to attacks from Dems who weren’t happy he left, I guess. I’d like to think that if he had stayed in the post, the Dem loyalists would have been defending him for a third term. Maybe? Or would he have been primaried? I’m not afraid to say that this part showed a lot of hypocrisy by Dems all because they wanted their guy to win. Sure, you might say I’m a hypocrite for overlooking my differences with Garcia, but at least I embrace my hypocrisy and still criticize those I support (like Adrian), when needed. Ah, politics!
Run-Off: I’ll support Sylvester Turner, as Adrian Garcia has.
Controller: Chris Brown must win. No-brainer.
At-Large 1: There are a lot of upset people because their guy didn’t make the run-off. Well, you can’t run on a sweet resume and wealthy connections alone. You actually have to be personable, talk to people, and make connections with regular people. That’s why I liked Lane Lewis, because he’s been doing that for a while and it would have been a good quality to have on Council. Hell, it’s hard not to support someone who “likes” FB pics of your mom or asks about “Flo,” right? Instead of the DosCentavos nod, perhaps the #FriendsOfFlo nod would have helped more. (Of course, this is just my perspective.) Keep on truckin’, Lane!
In other thoughts, a few more elections and Griff may make it to Council!
Run-Off: [Blank] Anti-Hero BS bothers the hell out of me.
At-Large 2: David Robinson had too many opponents and is left challenged by a right-wing, anti-Equality, anti-Civil Rights preacher. Obviously, we need to keep Robinson.
At-Large 3: Nice try, Doug Peterson. Thanks for stepping up and giving us a choice.
At-Large 4: Amanda Edwards made the run-off against anti-immigrant, anti-Latino Latino Ol’ Roy. Amanda must win the run-off!
At-Large 5: Philippe Nassif ran a good campaign. He’s got more potential in his pinky finger than most office holders have in their entire bodies, so, keep an eye open for this guy. This is another run-off that I’m leaving BLANK. The whole anti-HERO BS just bothers the hell out of me.
HERO: I’ve had conversations with a few people. There’s talk that Mayor Parker will bring it up before she leaves office–and during the run-off campaign. That has a lot of people upset who want to make sure pro-Equality candidates aren’t caught in the undertow of hatred and ignorance in a run-off that will surely bring out the bigots if HERO is still an issue. There’s talk of adding other protections to HERO to make it more palatable to the haters. Well, in that case, add protections for gun nuts and “persecuted” christians. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know I’m not a fan of voting on civil rights protections. They should just exist–even after a fight in the courts. One thing is for sure, there is a hate-slate for the haters that must be defeated on December 12.
District F: I hope my CM Richard Nguyen isn’t in trouble. The results between two anti-Equality candidates and Nguyen scare the heck out of me. Nguyen needs to be re-elected.
District H: Jason Cisneroz must win this one. More than the issue of Latino representation, this is also about ensuring constituents are well-served from day 1, and Jason has that edge.
District I: Congrats to Robert Gallegos. He ran a great race, and stayed classy against an unclassy opposition.
Ramiro Fonseca-HISD3: Ramiro has so much potential and is sincere in what he does. Perhaps getting out of a district and trying citywide is better for him? Maybe I just want the chance to cast a ballot for him.
Final thought: When we look at the numbers, a couple of things will be true: Latinos still aren’t taking their responsibility to vote seriously, and, those that are voting aren’t friendly to Equality issues, even though our community’s history is steeped in the Civil Rights era. All of this has got to change. What’s the answer? I found a recent Noam Chomsky quote that put things in perspective:
“The only thing that’s gonna ever bring about any meaningful change is ongoing, dedicated popular movements which don’t pay attention to the election cycle.”