Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mayor Bill White Must Hold a Special Election for Silly Shelley’s Seat

Way back before the election, I noted here that for the privilege of sitting in a US congressman’s Texas CD-22 office over a lame duck session of congress, and then over the winter holidays, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs was going to have to step down from her Houston city council At-Large office, trading the remainder of her term for 51 days in DC. Speculation was that she would refuse to accept the job, thus making her the 2nd Republican in a year to quit that office. But the idea was, it would save the city at least a couple million dollars that it would take to hold a special election.

Well, she didn’t and we all know what happened just as soon as she hit town.

And now Mayor Bill White, who wanted the Legislature to alter the rules so he wouldn’t have to hold the election, has bowed to the intransigence of State Senator John Whitmire (D- Houston) who opposed any rule change.

Quoted in The Chron, Whitmire said:
"The city should not arbitrarily call off an election. Sometimes democracy costs. I'm sorry about all the circumstances, but I didn't create them."
Nope, he sure didn’t, but we are safe in the sure and certain knowledge of who did.

Now they’re talking about it costing up to $4 million. Well, yeah, it’s an At-Large seat in the election is city-wide.

So a recalculation is in order. Assuming a 7 day work week and an 8 hour day, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs’ tiptoe down the hallowed halls of Congress is going to cost taxpayers $4 million, which comes out to $78,431.37 per day, $9,803.92 per hour, $163.40 per minute, and $2.72 per second.

And I know darned good and well that she was home for Thanksgiving and Christmas so the per unit time costs are even higher.

The silver lining in this otherwise dark cloud is that now Melissa Noriega can do what she has promised to do, run for the seat in the special election.

Melissa Noriega is a former Special Projects Manager at HISD. Her husband, Texas State Rep. Rick Noriega (D-Houston) was called up to serve a tour in Afghanistan fighting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, then on border patrol duty in south Texas.

Melissa Noriega, in a time-honored tradition, served in her husband’s place in the Texas Legislature while Rick was on military duty. Rick Perry ruled that she would have to leave her job at HISD to do this – I don’t know, hoping she wouldn’t? Well she didn’t and word is she did an excellent job.Well as first reported by Kuffner last December, Melissa Noriega indicated that she would run for Sekula-Gibbs’ vacant seat. Now it seems the field is filling in rapidly as hats get thrown into the ring. Along with Melissa, we have

  1. Roy Morales, a retired Air Force officer who ran for an at-large position in 2005
  2. Andy Neill, a business consultant
  3. Noel Freeman, a city employee
  4. Tom Reiser, a businessman who tried to buy himself a seat in Congress in ’02.

Morales benefits from an Hispanic surname and the support of the GOP. Andy Neill is known in the Houston business community, and has recently become entranced with Las Vegas, Nevada, and what it holds. Noel Freeman is an Administrative Assistant in the Houston Public Works and Engineering Department, and current president of the Log Cabin Republicans, nailing him the gay Republican vote. Tom Reiser ran for the CD-25 open seat when Ken Bentsen ran for Senate, and was defeated by Chris Bell. Bell was attacked by Reiser for sexually harassing a woman on Mayor Lee Brown’s staff – a totally fabricated accusation. The man plays dirty.

So the really nice thing is that Democrats and Independent voters have a real candidate in this election. Someone to vote for, not settle for.

Oh, and by the way, you can personally meet Melissa Noriega and her husband Rick next February 16th when they both show up to speak at the Fort Bend Democrats’ winter gala:

“A Tribute to an American Family: An Evening with Rick and Melissa Noriega”

Friday February 16th 7:00 PM
Quail Valley Country Club, Missouri City, Texas
Tickets: $35.00

Click on The Noriega family at right for a PDF of the flyer.

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