It’s only been a few days since Ed Gonzalez beat Maverick Welsh in the run-off election for District H.
Gonzalez is not a career politician. He’s an 18-year HPD veteran who has lived in the district for most of his life and now finds himself the de facto leader of his home turf.
“It’s probably been my greatest honor that I’m a product of this community, I’ve attended area schools, I’m a native to the district. So seeing the changes and the growth throughout the years has been tremendous and I’m very humbled to now be serving in this capacity to give back to the community that has given so much to me.”
Gonzalez sits in the dining room of Spanish Flowers, a popular restaurant just north of downtown in the heart of his district. It’s a district plagued by a perception of inequalities. High-end million-dollar homes in the Heights juxtaposed against low-income immigrant conclaves.
“And sometimes people have the perspective of only their neighborhood sometimes. But it’s funny because we’ll go into some of the more prominent neighborhoods that you mentioned and they’re asking for a greater storefront presence on behalf of the police and some of the more marginalized communities actually have a nice storefront system in place there. So it’s kind of interesting, you know at the end of the day everybody feels they’re neglected somehow. But you know we need to make sure we’re going to get in there and try to elevate all our communities and see what their needs are.”
Some of the needs are already known. Things like drainage, dumping, crime hot spots — those are the obvious things to undertake.
And Gonzalez says he wants to tackle any issues that may have been neglected during the several months the district went unrepresented.
“You know I want to make sure that we are going to catch up on any unresolved issues that are pending and making sure we bring some type of closure to those unresolved issues. And then of course just the bigger picture issues such as public safety and more comprehensive planning for our district. You know those are things that we also need to be paying attention to, the short-term and the long-term issues affecting the district.”
But before he can really begin to do that, Gonzalez must be sworn in and learn the complicated protocols inside city hall. Then he’ll get to do it all over again when he runs for a full two-year term in November.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.