There are only two days left to vote - today, the last day of early voting and of course Tuesday, Election Day, November 5th - which means conservatives have only two days to change the direction of the city of Houston. It goes without saying that the importance of this election starts at the top with the mayor's race where we have the opportunity to replace Sylvester Turner with the much more conservative Tony Buzbee. For a complete analysis of this critical race, please refer to TCR's Mayoral Preview edition and most recently our 2019 Voter's Guide.
Buzbee has a good chance to beat Turner in a runoff, but it is critical that conservatives get out and vote to keep Turner under 50%, thus forcing a runoff. In recent polls, Turner has been in the mid-forties, which means there is a chance that Turner could win without a runoff; which would be devastating. So far, voting has been anemic. As of Wednesday, only 70,291 votes had been cast within the city of Houston; at this rate, total votes in the city election could fall short of 200,000. This is certainly not an historic low, but definitely not an historic high, nor what would be expected from the Buzbee vs Turner slugfest that has been raging for a year now. Conservatives haven't been rushing to the polls either - only about 38% of voters are classified as Republicans, based on their vote history. The bottom line is that conservatives must do much better over the two remaining days.
The opportunity to make a change at the city doesn't stop with the mayor's race though. A good mayor will need a good City Council to help pass his agenda; if the city re-elects this bad mayor however, a good City Council will be critical in slowing the pace of his agenda. This also applies to electing a competent and independent City Controller; which in this election is Orlando Sanchez.
Conservatives, the stakes have never been higher. You must get out and vote or risk another four years of the worst mayor in decades, possibly ever. Yes, this election is that important.
Bellaire Election Guide 2019
The City of Bellaire in Harris County is a small, basically single family home community, which has unfortunately gotten the tax and spend disease from the City of Houston. This year Bellaire voters have a chance to elect new councilmen who can change things for the better.
TCR sent its questionnaire to the Bellaire candidates. The questions were all related to responsible tax and spending and infrastructure as follows:
- Do you support a sunset review for all City programs and projects?
- Do you support the proposed increase in Bellaire property taxes by 7% for fiscal year 2020?
- Do you support an 8% increase in water and waste water rates?
- Do you believe that Bellaire's proposed tax rate per $100 evaluations ($.4540) should exceed the tax rates of West University ($.31908) or Southside Place ($.318765)?
- Do you support the sidewalks plan for Bellaire even if it adversely impacts many Bellaire tree-laden streets?
- Do you support spending limits for Bellaire no increase beyond inflation and population growth?
- Would you support privatizing city services, such as street repair, if it were determined that private contractors could deliver those services at a lower cost while maintaining or improving the quality of those services?
- Do you support a requirement that the city not raise taxes without a supermajority of at least 60% of City Council?
- Do you support establishing an independent commission to identify ways for the City to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, incompetence and operating efficiencies?
- Do you support the consolidation of City functions with Harris County where practical?
- Do you support zero-based budgeting, which would require city departments to justify their budgets on an annual basis?
- Would you support a budget amendment requiring that all revenues above projected levels be used to pay down city debt?
- Do you support compliance with federal law and cooperation with federal law enforcement including ICE?
- Do you support capping residential property tax appraisal increases at a maximum 5% increase per year?
Only three candidates bothered to respond: Jim Hotze in Position 6, Nathan Wesley in Position 4 and Catherine Lewis in Position 2. All got a grade of "A" and deserve your support this election.
These three candidates can get Bellaire back on track. Two thoughts of why we need new leadership: (1) Bellaire's tax rate is $.4473 per $100 of valuation, our sister cities of Southside Place at $.3188 and West University at $.3191 are considerably less, and Bellaire has significantly more commercial properties; (2) Bellaire last week almost bought a new ambulance for $280,000 while Houston recently bought a similar one for $180,000, so we were about to overpay by $100,000!
Who is minding the store? New leadership is needed so Bellaire can get on the right track.
Hispanics Will Help Trump
Triumph In Texas in 2020
Orlando Salazar, Guest Columnist
President Trump is right about Texas - Hispanics in the Lone Star State will never give up their newfound prosperity by voting for the Democrats in 2020.
When the President visited the beautiful city of Dallas recently for a Keep America Great rally, he came with a simple message for his political opponents: Texas will stay red in the next presidential election. "Donald Trump isn't going to lose Texas," he promised a crowd of more than 20,000 supporters.
The President has every reason to be optimistic about his chances of comfortably winning Texas again next year. For the past two and a half years, his policies have helped grow the Texan economy, generating even more job growth and wealth creation than we already enjoyed.
The state unemployment rate, for instance, has dropped by 1.4 percentage points since Donald Trump first took office, and is now slightly below the 50-year-low national jobless rate. Although Texas managed to reduce its unemployment steadily from a post-Great Recession high point of 8.3 percent through smart internal investments and pro-growth economic policies, we faced headwinds in the form of job-killing, enterprise-stifling federal policies implemented by the Obama administration. Since Donald Trump took office, we've been able to take our jobless rate from "tolerable" to "spectacular."
All told, Texas has added nearly three-quarters of a million new jobs since the start of 2017 - an eye-popping figure that was made possible thanks to President Trump's commitment to cutting taxes for middle-income Americans and eliminating job-killing regulations.
These policies have also noticeably improved economic conditions for minorities across the country, including millions of Hispanics who live and work right here in Texas.
"After years of stagnation, wages for Hispanic Americans are rising fast, up nearly eight percent since my election and everybody in the fake news would have said that's absolutely impossible," the President said during the rally, adding that "Median income for Hispanic Americans has surpassed $50,000 a year for the first time ever."
But that's not all - thanks to President Trump's pro-growth economic agenda, the unemployment rate for U.S. Hispanics has reached an all-time low of 3.9 percent nationally, and Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at a phenomenal pace. In fact, a recent study found that Latino business owners enjoyed a whopping 46 percent increase in revenue this year, directly contradicting the Democrat Party's made-up claim that minorities are missing out on our ongoing economic renaissance.
In contrast to the progress we've made under President Trump, the Democrats are pushing a big-government agenda that would burden workers and business owners with higher taxes and costly regulations, preventing us from continuing along our current trajectory.
Even if they ultimately proved unable to get their destructive policies approved by Congress, the leading Democrat presidential candidates have all clearly expressed their goal to eliminate Donald Trump's middle-class tax cuts, which they could accomplish by simply letting them expire. Yes, no matter who would be president from the Democrat side, ALL Americans would face large tax increases In so doing, they would instantly punish millions of workers across Texas who saved an average of $1,325 on their federal income taxes last year.
The Democrats may think that a rising population of Hispanics in Texas will help them in 2020 - but they are falling into a trap that's been set by Donald Trump's success. Texas Latinos are among the foremost primary beneficiaries of Donald Trump's economic policies, and we won't give up our newfound prosperity without a fight.
That fight includes not taking for granted a single vote and working hard from this day forward to remind our Hispanic people that a fall to socialism and a crippling overbearing government is only one generation away.
Orlando Salazar is a second generation Mexican American and business owner, born and raised in Texas.
TCR on the Air
Red, White, and Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland on Fridays at 7:30 pm on Houston Public Media TV 8, replaying Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Monday at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
About Your Editor
11-01-19 - Urban Affairs includes interviews with Vanessa Sampson, Executive Director of 4th Ward Development Authority; William Fulton, Director of Kinder Institute for Urban Research; and Algenita Scott Davis, Program Manager for Center for Civic and Public Policy Improvement.
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his twenty-second year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last eighteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 16 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 18th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on Houston Public Media TV 8 PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary serves on the Board of Directors of American Values, a national pro-family, pro-faith, conservative organization supporting the unity of the American people around the vision of our founding fathers and dedicated to reminding the public of the conservative principles fundamental to the survival of our nation. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.