Mayor Annise Parker,
running for a second term
I asked each of the six people in the race for Houston mayor, why they were running.
Kevin Simms is a former educator & volunteer in Councilman Jarvis Johnson's office.
"We plan to bring $4 billion to this city. The relationship with Washington, the relationship internationally is not good with this mayor, because of the lifestyle. I don't know what's going on, but what I'm hearing is that we don't have a relationship with this city because of the leadership."
Amanda Ulman of the Socialist Workers Party, is a production worker at a local factory. She says she represents a working class alternative to the two parties of capitalism.
"To effectively put an end to the deepening economic crisis, to the wars that's spread around the world, working people need to get together in our millions, and take political power. (Then) hold and use that power to advance the interests of humanity worldwide."
Electrician Dave Wilson first ran for mayor against Bob Lanier in 1995. He wants to fix the moral and financial crisis that he says is affecting the city.
"There's gonna be a lot of sacrifices that everybody's gonna have to make. First thing I would do is cut the mayor's salary in half and the mayor's budget in half. Leadership starts at the top, and the cuts are gonna have to start at the top, and come down."
Houston Deputy Fire Chief Fernando Herrera says controversy has kept the city from advancing economically, like the red light camera issue, the drainage fee, the crime lab controversy and basic property rights.
"I want to provide those essential city services first: fire, police, EMS, trash and drainage. And that's included in a basic city service. I would not tax additionally for that. Because my message is simple: We envision Houston being safe, clean, prosperous and operating on budget."
Annise Parker has a new appreciation for how all-consuming being mayor of the country's fourth largest city can be. She says her experience the past 2 years has prepared her to complete the agenda she started.
"(I) wanted to support public safety, wanted to really focus on fiscal responsibility within the city of Houston, and I wanted to work on jobs and economic development. I have done all of that. At the same time, I've implemented one of the most massive public works infrastructure projects in City of Houston's history."
And finally, manufacturing businessman Jack O'Connor says he wants to decrease the drainage fee and taxes that he claims are keeping companies from moving here, and to retool Metro's rail project to better fund the infrastructure.
"Reason I'm running is this: that the city government, Metro, the pensions are about to go off a cliff. Our finances and our pensions will be taken over by the state, and I don't think we want that."
>election 2011 information, including a sample ballot