Tag Archives: district I

Kuff Interviews District I Candidates

I’ve got to hand it to Kuff. He always comes through for the voters by interviewing the major candidates for races. The District I race has been one of the busiest, and it’s even been the topic of discussion in my and Rey’s first podcast. Here are the links to Kuff’s interviews of District I candidates that DosCentavos has been following.

Ben Mendez

Robert Gallegos

Graci Garces

There are a lot of substantive questions and enough variety in the answers for those voters who have yet to decide for whom to vote. If you want to know who supports the Mayor, or who does or doesn’t support Meet and Confer for the Firefighters Pension, or who has a better understanding of the district and its needs, you will find this information here. Give it a listen.

Some Action in District I

Leave it to a college paper to scoop the bloggers on this , but it is definitely worth a read. Many of my fellow bloggers, me included, posted fundraising totals from candidates, including those in the running for District I. I had noticed a few individual snarks on Facebook toward some of the candidate totals, but nothing newsworthy or in a press release from other candidates. The college paper, The Venture, found something.

“As you can see from the finance reports, Mr. Mendez has a number of overvalued in-kind donations, lots of self-funding and he only has $12,000 cash on-hand. To that end, alarm bells are ringing throughout District I because it appears he burned through the cash he allegedly raised. The hard working men and women of District I don’t spend money like that,” said Robert Gallegos who is one of the candidates running against Mendez in District I.

Mendez’s campaign manager, Joaquin Martinez, did not provide a response for this story before deadline.

Looks like a well-worded direct hit by Gallegos on that one, stating that fundraising will not make the difference, rather, experience in the district will–a theme on which he is running.

I agree that fundraising doesn’t win races (but it helps); it’s how you effectively deploy all of your resources–field, mail, visibility, volunteers, and especially rapid response. I can’t say what the Gallegos team was thinking, but it seems to me they saw a a soft spot and took a stab at it. I can’t say I wouldn’t have done it, since I really like finding soft spots, too.

But like any race, there is always some return-fire and the Ben Mendez Campaign took a different approach with a big announcement today filled with Union endorsements.

  • International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • Association of Flight Attendants (AFA)
  • The American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Local Union 988

And a pretty VIPish quote:

City Council District needs someone that is not afraid to stand up for the needs of the community. Ben Mendez is that person. His experience, dedication, and knowledge make him the best candidate.” Gayle Fallon, President, Houston Federation of Teachers.

With less than 100 days out, we can expect to see plenty more volleys, direct hits, near misses, and outright bad shots. And this is just one district!





Kuff Looks at COH Races

Thanks to Kuff for taking a look at City of Houston races that will be upon us before we know it. The Summer campaign season will hopefully arrive soon and we’ll all get to talk more on the back-and-forth between campaigns.  That said, I think Kuff’s take deserves some commentary on a per-race basis from my end, since he did all that work.


Other than seeing signs and signs of Facebook activity from Ben Hall and Eric Dick, not much else has caught my eye. There’s no doubt that Mayor Annise Parker has an edge provided by incumbency, so, the recent positive news items in the form of “Top” whatever lists and “best city” articles continually point to her mayoral tenure. Finally, there’s no doubt that we also look to our leaders for a sense of comfort and hope during tragedies, and Mayor Parker and her administration have provided this since the Southwest Inn tragedy, in my opinion.

At this point, any well-funded opponent should have already been on the airwaves (regular and virtual) introducing themselves to Houston. Simply relying on, as Kuff mentions, the pincer strategy, will not be enough to generate excitement for kicking out an incumbent. Finally, while Kuff mentions the parody Hall twitter, there’s also a parody Hall for Latinos twitter, whose tagline is:  “No se porque estoy corriendo para alcalde. Tambien, porque mis empleados no registraban esta cuenta?” or “I don’t know why I’m running for Mayor. Also, why my employees didn’t register this account.”

So, at least us Twitterers (Twitteritos in Spanish) will have fun with that one.


The only one I’ve given some attention is District I, and only because it has a few good candidates. Sure, there’s been controversy along the way, but for the most part, it’s all about the campaigns working away at fundraising and pressing the flesh. The biggest obstacle to winning, other than a possible run-off, will be lack of voter excitement.

I’m hoping District J is unopposed so I can keep Mike Laster without worries. As diverse as District J is, so are the issues that affect the various areas of the district. I’m glad that Harwin is finally getting the concrete and pipes it deserves, but I do hope more of my own neighborhood’s streets get some paving/flooding/ponding issues taken care of in the future (cough-Marinette-cough- Clarewood-cough-Bellerive).


More than likely, this will be the most interesting of the at-large races. There are at least three candidates  who have caught my eye:  Jenifer Rene Pool, Roland Chavez, and Rogene Gee Calvert. Others who have signed up are mostly bad, but these mentioned have some sort of base from which to begin; not to mention real campaigns. I supported Pool in her 2011 run for At-Large 2, and she showed up to the 2013 Kingwood Area Democrats’ brunch which I emceed, so, that’s points for her, thus far, in 2013.

HCC District I

This will be an interesting one, too, given that there are two progressive candidates trying to unseat a long-time incumbent, Yolanda Navarro Flores. Community activist Kevin J. Hoffman returns for another try after coming close in 2007, as well as Teacher’s Union leader Zeph Capo. The difference this time around is that what was once a Latino opportunity district has become a lot more iffy for a Latino to win. During the recent redistricting of 2011, a good bunch of Latino-voter heavy precincts which had gone heavily for Navarro Flores in the past were switched out with a swath of precincts in Gulfton, which, although Latino-heavy, do not necessarily have much of a voter participation rate. While some of us were arguing over Commissioner’s seats and a lack of a Congressional seat, Latino voting strength in this district got a bit diluted. Oops.

Houston ISD District VII

And speaking of messed-up districts, I keep hearing of an opponent for incumbent Harvin Moore in my district, but nothing official. My district almost seems to be part of some “cracking” expedition because somehow it has a nice swath of minority-heavy SW Houston (my part of Sharpstown and Gulfton) stuck in a district which includes Memorial and River Oaks. Meanwhile, other minority-heavy parts of SW Houston (Bellaire and the southern part of Sharpstown) are placed in a couple other districts. Another, “oops,” I guess. Anyway, I hope there’s a viable and hard-working opponent that I can support.

Those are the ones that have the eyes of DosCentavos on them. By all means, check out Kuff’s post on the rest. I do agree with Kuff that we are looking forward to the first campaign finance reports to be published. They always give a better snapshot of things.

Ben Mendez Makes It Official for District I

Local businessman Ben Mendez made it official Thursday night and announced his candidacy for Houston City Council District I–and he did it in grand fashion. Hundreds of supporters packed the Talento Bilingue Houston facility for quite the production which included all sorts of community VIPs, a biographical video, a reception, and, of course, the candidate.

Mendez touts almost two decades of experience as an engineer, project manager, budget manager, educator, and community activist in various public-private ventures. Among his various community projects is serving as founder of the National Hispanic Professional Organization and its Leadership Institute which has helped develop various current and up and coming community leaders. Currently, Mendez serves as Chair of the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). And, of course, this blogger has enjoyed a couple of appearances on a local public access show Mendez co-hosts, LatinoTalk TV.

Mendez is centering his campaign on two points, among other issues:  Improving the delivery of city services and strengthening services to Seniors. He states he is especially committed to making District I a community its residents will take pride living in after he leads it through much needed infrastructural and neighborhood improvements. Economic and small business development are also among his commitments, as he further touted his TAMACC experience.

Mendez took the opportunity to talk about the diversity of District I and pointing to the diverse base of support he has been able to establish. Joining him on stage were notables, such as HCDE Trustee Erica Lee, Houston Sports Authority Chairman Edgar Colon, and recent Texas Senate Candidate Joaquin Martinez, to name a few.

For all intents and purposes, it looks like activity for this East End council district is taking off. Once the SD-6 election is done on Saturday, expect more to formally announce their respective candidacies.