Four vying for City Council At-Large Position 1

November 3, 2011 2:59:21 AM PDT
It's your voice, your vote. As Election Day approaches, ABC13 Eyewitness News is introducing the candidates running for an opportunity to represent you. today we're talking to the candidates in the race for City Council At-Large Position 1.

The At-Large Position 1 has a strong incumbent who's well known for his support of Rebuild Houston -- the voter-approved, pay-as-you go flooding improvement program. Opponents are hoping to use that issue for an upset.

The thousands of water main breaks over the summer only reminded Houstonians that our infrastructure is in dire need of repair. But the voter-approved Rebuild Houston program that includes a drainage fee has been controversial; though its chief architect remains supportive.

"I am actually proud of the program. I did support it financially, and publicly, and I think long term it's best for our community," said Council Member Stephen Costello.

He is committed to the program, and to getting re-elected for another term on City Council. His three opponents have other ideas.

"The drainage fee is nothing more than a regressive tax; the regressive tax is like a sales tax and hurts more the middle income and the poor," said candidate Don Cook.

He says the city has raised too many fees and laid off too many workers, but admits the city needs to balance its budget somehow.

If lawyer Scott Boates gets elected, he would repeal the drainage fee and find another way to raise the money.

"I'd repeal the drainage tax, we'd stop raising fees, and we'll pull back on water rates. The ways we make up for that is through the traditional ways, the honest ways of taxation and sales tax, Boates said.

Then there's perennial candidate James Parsch-Galvan, whose unusual campaign style includes writing on the street in front of his house, and promising not to spend more than a $100 in the whole campaign.

"I'm not voting for none of those on City Council. You're fired, fired, fired. I want a revolution and a big change in the city of Houston," said Partsch-Galvan.

Our political analyst says the three challengers don't pose a serious threat to Costello, but one never knows until Election Day.

"Most of these incumbents are in great shape, unless there is a tsunami of anti-incumbent. Maybe it's there; that's why we have an election next week," said KTRK political consultant Richard Murray.

He says even though there are four candidates, because Costello is much better funded and well known compared to the others, it's possible that this race may not go to a run-off.


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