Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Primary Election 2012 Picks

I don't know about you, but I have not yet voted in The Woodlands Texas or elsewhere. Tomorrow or Thursday I plan to cast my vote in the this year's Primary. Those running for Montgomery County precinct 3 Commissioner, ordered by position on the ballot are: Paul Cote, James Noack, Kenny Speight, and Brian Dawson. This is a very strong Republican county, and the local issues are clear in the Republican election. In some of the more contested races, such as County Commissioner #3, there are driving forces that will probably influence the outcome. In the Commissioner 3 race, I see the County Judge's endorsement and rationale for endorsement to be fairly accurate. As far as likability goes, I am inclined to vote for Kenny Speight. However and unfortunately as much as I would like to endorse him, he is supported by influential party people here (see Conroe paper article). To me, that implies in-position control issues, with a high risk to being acquiescent to others, similar in nature to what some suspected of The Woodlands Directors this past year. There is considerable money in his campaign, and he has resided in this precinct for very little time. If I thought the entire Board was behind him, I would likely change my mind. I am uncomfortable endorsing him. He is considered to be hand picked by a few influential people from the heart of the old time Republican party. So I am rolling with James Noack, because it is a tossup to me between him and Brian Dawson, but James has got a slight edge. I do expect there to be a runoff election in this contest.

For Montgomery County Precinct 3 Constable, I favor Lt Dan Norris. He is an exceptional hard worker, has met an incredible number of people and had a long term strategy to be elected. He has stuck to his goal over a year and has won my vote with hard work, consistency and people engagement. His appreciation of diversity will bring ideas and best practices from a number of places. Minorities will be treated fairly. He has sound strategies in place for staffing and training and has a good education and career background to qualify for this position.

I support the re-election of Tommy Williams and Rob Eisler to the Texas legislative bodies. Both will help The Woodlands advance with next step governing needs. I expect both to move forward with legislation to solve our need for ordinances and their enforcement.

The relentless negative campaign from David Dewhurst has driven me to pick Ted Cruz over him for US Senator. In my opinion, he who casts the stone in politics is more likely to be guilty and even pious. Spending so much money on advertising what is wrong with Ted Cruz has an evil flavor of egotism and piousness that is not the mark of a true Texas gentleman, which I demand in Washington from those representing me.  

Kevin Brady should be re-elected to the US House. He has done a great job for us and will continue, by seeking support from all factions of conservative Republicans and conducting Grass Root Town Hall meetings.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Montgomery County Commissioner 3 Primary Election 2012

There are two very significant races in the Texas Montgomery County’s Republican primary that should be on everyone’s agenda of concern and contemplation. One is County Precinct #3 Commissioner. With the retirement of Ed Chance, this position is open to be filled by a newcomer. There are many key issues connected to the 2012 election. So, I am focusing on this very important election to the voters living in The Woodlands, Texas, and in nearby areas. Currently local laws, road maintenance, trash recycling, county parks, wildlife refuge, traffic lights (including camera enforcement), permits, and stop signs and county parks are governed by the commissioner. He represents the area covered by precinct #3 for all county services, including the services provided by the county Sheriff’s department. The commissioner has a vote in every meeting of the County Commissioner’s Court, presided over by the County Judge. Until The Woodlands becomes a city or acquires law making powers by the Texas Legislature, The Woodlands will continue to be governed under the county ordinances. Currently the honorable Ed Chance has a background of engineering and road maintenance. He has expressed strong interests in forestry conservation and amenities for nature lovers. With the tremendous growth of Montgomery County, we must have someone competent to fill those shoes.  Two resources that might help the voter understand the responsibilities of Commissioner Precinct 3, is to review the precinct’s website and the Montgomery County ordinances website.
I asked all Republican candidates to answer these questions below, because they weigh heavily on my mind. Some of these may not be an issue with you.  Some depend on where you live. I ignore the obvious questions, which relate to budget and taxing strategies (responsibility: Commissioner’s Court and County Judge), and instead turn my eyes instead toward actual near-term and long-term issues where one person will have significant control or local influence. If I get answers from any candidate, I will share them with you here.

Candidate Questions:

1. Is our Commissioner Court’s meeting place appropriate, considering the aggregation of population in South County? Do you have any ideas to make the court more accessible?

2. Should county taxes be lowered as The Woodlands assumes more responsibility for self governance, including law enforcement and possibly road maintenance?

3. What do you propose as governance responsibilities for precinct 3, as The Woodlands assumes its own law making and enforcement (should that happen in the next legislative session)?

4. What outcome do you see regarding the traffic stop light enforcement by camera during the next commissioner’s term? And strategically?

5. What is your view of speed enforcement using traffic cameras?

6. How should the roads be maintained in The Woodlands? What strategies do you have?

7. Are county taxes too high or too low to maintain the quality of life in The Woodlands?

8. What is your position on noise? Motorcycles, trucks and domestic animals?

9. Do you support the traffic stop sign “California Crawl“?

10.What specific changes in organization do you propose in the services and staffing of our county precinct?

11.What is your position on The Woodlands Parkway being extended to the west? Do you feel The Woodlands should be a conduit of traffic, expanding the road as the traffic increases, to be good neighbors to those of the west? This includes SH 242, SH 2978, The Woodlands Pkwy, Kuykendahl and Gosling.

We could ask other questions, but I peeled these from the top of recent discussions on the role of county government in our community.

Montgomery County Election website

Candidates and their websites
Ordered by ballot position + Website link. Facebook Page

1. Paul Cote , Facebook
2. James Noack, Facebook
3. Kenny Speight, Facebook
4. Brian Dawson, Facebook

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Montgomery County Women's League of Voters The Woodlands Debate

Each year the League of Women's Voters of Montgomery County conducts a question/answer session with candidates for The Woodlands Township Director election. Last night, all candidates participated except for Margaret Chavez. I will share my impressions below.

Position 1 
Claude Hunter won points by his typical "service oriented" pitch to the voters and he demonstrated that he understood some of the issues from experience. Claude's simple summary of the incorporation issue won him points. However, Gordy Bunch has arrived on the scene and offers a fresh look at what is needed and how to solve some of the issues. "We should not copy other communities" but rather be ourselves. New blood in the position continues to be my preference.
Position 2
Mike Bass was the clear leader for this position. His city council experience and his matter-of-fact approach to the questions was the mark of confident experience. He sees opportunities to reduce taxes and has a clear vision of managing the convention center funds. The signage issue is a strength also. He is a "can do" person. Ted spent a lot of time defending himself from some email that perhaps some voters saw, but I sure didn't see it, so I saw that approach as a personal thing for him, and nothing for the voters. He also slipped up on misquoting something Bass had just said and that did not go over very well.
Position 3
This was the least clear of the positions to assess. We have four excellent candidates vying for this position. I appreciate some of the answers from  all of them, but lean towards Borey's views of The Woodlands most of all. As he stated, "We came here to the invisible city." That pretty well  describes what we are and how we do or need to perceive this place. Insight and common sense go to Borey. He was the only candidate that said it is possible to change the covenants. "Think outside of the box." That is a "can do" fresh attitude, so I am 100% in his court. His doctorate in Biology and environmental experience would go a long way to help us in our ecology and tree issues. It also helps to have the Chevron Oil value system in his blood. That emphasizes  integrity, excellent capital stewardship and protection of the environment. Of particular mention from Nutt was his humor and his view of politics.    
Position 4
Two years ago, Ed Robb was unable to attend this forum. This time, he had some things to say to win some points. For example, a sign ordinance needs to be consistently enforced. His introduction was a simple thank you to the organizers of the forum. He however in his closing remarks made claims that "he" accomplished the lowering of crime. Crime has been lowered in all municipalities and the entire area, so if we are to be fair to his challenger, the truth of crime in Southeast Texas needs to be weighed in with the stats. I should point out that apparently nothing has been done about excessive noise and speed on our roads by any Board Director. I wish some humility in what was not done right would also be stated, and then he would have made some points with me, but not the case. I liked the statement by John Risher "I am not a proponent of outside studies" in his response to the question "What steps need to be taken before incorporation occurs?"  He advocates decision making for a roadmap that states clearly what we intend to do, so our partners know how to plan their future (county especially). I continue to believe we need a change in this position and now endorse John Risher for this position, even though I do not perceive that he understands some of the services and who administers them (based on one answer about maintaining green areas).