Houston City Council gets facelift

December 12, 2011 3:35:57 PM PST
The Houston City Council will have a few new faces when it meets for the first time in the new year. In addition to two new positions, two incumbents have lost their seats after this weekend's runoff elections.

The outside of Houston City Hall will look the same, but inside will be a very different picture.

Jerry Davis is soaking up the good will on the first Monday after the election. His margin of victory was just 98 votes.

"I feel excited, not for me, but for the people of District B. They finally get the representation that they so deeply deserve," Davis said.

Davis beat out Alvin Byrd, an aide for term-limited Council Member Jarvis Johnson, and promises his constituents of District B a fresh start.

Across town in northwest Houston, Helena Brown is also promising something new in District A. She wants to repeal the controversial drainage fee.

"My priorities are the district's priorities, and so I know they want to revisit the Prop One drainage tax and see if we maybe can reverse it," Brown said.

Brown's victory is especially unusual because she defeated an incumbent Council Member. But Council Member Brenda Stardig wasn't the only elected official sent packing by the voters.

"I think there was bi-partisan support. And I think City Hall was ready for a change too," Councilman-elect Jack Christie said.

Backed by everyone from the police union to former Mayor Bill White, Christie, a chiropractor, defeated Jolanda Jones, with a promise to be less confrontational.

"I think the whole country is tired of fighting," he said.

Perennial candidate Andrew Burks won the At-Large 2 race, meaning City Council come January will look very different with seven new faces and two incumbents gone.

KTRK political analyst Dr. Richard Murray says even though voter turnout was low, those who did vote were angry.

"You saw the continuation of that anti-incumbent move that almost put the mayor in a run-off, that made (Houston Councilman Stephen) Costello just squeak by, so the more established candidates, including the two incumbents, this was a bad Election Day for them," Murray said. "With a handful of people voting -- six percent -- the six percent were mostly the people who were unhappy about city government in general."

Unhappiness could certainly be seen in the election results. Inauguration for City Council is scheduled for the first week of January 2012.

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