Red, White & Blue

Mayoral Candidates Debate On Houston Public Media’s ‘Red, White And Blue’

The first of two episodes on the candidates features Adrian Garcia, Chris Bell and Steve Costello.

 

The discussion included the usual talking points of this mayoral campaign, like pensions, public safety and road conditions.

But the candidates were also asked some less common questions. Chris Bell got to explain what he means when he calls himself the most progressive candidate in the race.

“It’s an openness to new ideas,” Bell said. “It’s not going backwards – going backwards has never been the Houston way. It’s focusing on modernization and a willingness to embrace the advancements in technology.”

And Bell cites his opposition to the city’s revenue cap and support for a cite-and-release policy for marijuana violations as some concrete examples of progressiveness.

Adrian Garcia was asked about not receiving endorsements from several law enforcement unions. They instead went to Sylvester Turner – despite the fact that Garcia was Harris County sheriff.

Garcia blamed his stance on municipal pensions.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m running four campaigns,” he said. “And that’s one for Houston, one against municipal pensions, one against police pensions, one against fire pensions.”

Garcia said the city’s pension deals are unsustainable and need to be changed.

Houston City Councilmember Steve Costello, who is against raising the revenue cap, was asked about allowing for an exception to pay for more police officers.

He said that was done a few years back, but the city is now again hitting the cap.

“The problem that we have on the police force side is that less than 70 percent of the police force is actually doing work out on the streets,” Costello said. 

The Councilman said if fewer officers were assigned to administrative work, the level of cops on the streets could be raised significantly.

Red, White and Blue is scheduled to talk to more candidates next week.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter.Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club.Florian is a native of Germany. His studies in Leipzig...

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