Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Where in the World is Melissa Noriega?

It has been awhile since I have posted anything about Melissa Noriega’s campaign for the Houston City Councilman At-Large Position 3 seat. I have mentioned some interesting bits of information on some of her opponents, but really, nothing about the campaign. So I thought I would mention a few things, make a couple of observations and pass on something interesting I heard about the campaign.

First, let me say right up front that while I am quite partisan, I think I can dissociate myself from my political leanings and just look at the race from the standpoint of a casual observer. As a casual observer, I just can’t see how anyone would want to vote for one of her opponents. Melissa Noriega is a smart articulate woman with her heart in the right place. You don’t believe me, listen to her interview at Kuff’s place, or read what her father says about her.

It looks like the campaign finally has their headquarters up, and none too soon. Do you realize that it is now only 40 days until early voting begins on April 30th? If you want to help celebrate the campaign headquarters’ opening, they are having a headquarters opening party on Saturday, March 24th from 4 to 7 PM. Go there. It’s at 7401 Gulf Freeway in a two-story yellow building. Get a map here. Bring friends. Find out how you can help. I’m going to be calling GOTV phone lists. You should, too.

OK, I can’t help but make a couple of observations about Melissa vis-à-vis some of her opponents. Look at this announcement on her website. Melissa recently got an endorsement from the GLBT Political Caucus PAC. If you don’t want to click over there, here is what was said of Melissa:

“We had excellent candidates vying for our endorsement. It was a very difficult choice, but we believe we have made the right choice in endorsing someone who will defend us and work towards our eventual full equality in this city. We are proud of our endorsement of Melissa Noriega," said Jenifer Pool, president of the Caucus.

Now this is truly a startling endorsement. And I say this because they made the decision to endorse Melissa Noriega at a candidates’ forum that they held. Melissa attended the forum as did at least two of her opponents.

Both of them openly gay men.

Melissa is not gay, but she garnered the endorsement of the Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual-Transgender PAC. Over two gay opponents. I see this as a trust issue. No one would doubt that either of her opponents would work for gay issues in the Houston City Council, but they, instead, endorsed straight as an arrow Melissa Noriega, because, in my opinion, they see her as being the most effective candidate.

And speaking of endorsements, take a look at this announcement on the campaign website. Here we have Melissa Noriega, who is not a policeman, but who has an opponent who actually was a policeman, and she gets the endorsement from the Houston Police Officers’ Union. I kid you not. Tom Nixon, who actually was on the Houston police force, and even has a photograph of himself in police uniform at his campaign website, was not endorsed by the Police Officers’ Union, but Melissa Noriega was. I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with the fact that the last time anyone saw Nixon on the news it was a story about him being a loose cannon on the force when he openly criticized his superiors on police pursuit policy. Perhaps they see that Nixon has a special agenda, and that Melissa can be trusted to be more even-handed.

So if you have been clicking over to Melissa Noriega’s campaign website, you may have noticed how they keep it so current and up-to-date. That is really appreciated by news-hungry people like me. It is hugely informative on campaign events. Actually it is so informative that even her political opponents stop in from time to time to find out “Where in the World is Melissa Noriega?”

This announcement of a meeting of the Alief Democrats last March 13th was apparently read by one of the opposition, and who should show up to the meeting but the aforementioned Tom Nixon. He came in, sat down, listened to Melissa’s words, then got up afterward and delivered his own 25 minute long speech. So the Alief Democrats, who invited Melissa to come speak at their club meeting, had their club meeting turned into a candidates’ forum. I am told that he delivered a “red meat Republican diatribe” to a room full of Democrats attending their regular club meeting, Democrats who must not have appreciated his imposition, especially after they turned their deaf ears toward him.

And finally, as a kind of special gift to you, I have this You Tube video embedded below in case you missed it. It’s an interview that Roy Morales gave when he showed up in support of The Minutemen. You know, those right-wing nutjobs who play at being in a militia to keep our borders safe? “Doing the job Congress won’t do”? A big thank you for Dos Centavos for uploading the video.

So is it just me or is everyone else who actually watches this race simply convinced that there is just no other viable choice, no other viable candidate in this race but Melissa Noriega?


Anonymous said...

I tend not to trust endorsements. Most of the time, organizations endorse who they think is going to win, not always the one who does the best job for them. That way, they get on the good side of the future politician. While I will acknowledge that Mrs. Noriega is a strong candidate, her husband's accomplishments and existing organization have gotten her where she is today. This just shows that being the most capable leader does not always make you winner, most of the time, its about who you know. While most of the time this is just part of the game, I really believe that the low turnout in May's election will allow the best candidate to win. I guess the question I have to ask is, would Noriega be in this position if it wasn't for her Husband?

Hal said...

I think that you are underestimating Melissa Noriega and also underestimating the regard that those in the Texas House have for her.

Melissa Noriega is impressive in her own right. Anyone who has spent any time talking to her, or listening to her, knows that this is true. That she got a leg up by standing in for her husband, Rep. Rick Noriega, while he was deployed in Afghanistan doesn't hold water if she did a bad to mediocre job. She didn't. She earned the respect of her fellow State Reps while serving in Austin. Her endorsements by other state reps are earned - to assume otherwise is to cheapen the good opinions of her former colleagues.

I reiterate. Given the opposition, Melissa Noriega is just quite simply the best person for the job.

I really can't see how you cannot agree. Unless, Anon, you are one of the oppos, in which case I understand your angst.

Texas2 said...

In response to "anonymous" who suggests that Melissa Noriega is where she is today because of her husband's accomplishments... consider that her husband might not be where he is today without HER.
Obviously, "anonymous" does not know either of the Noriega's. Having worked in the political arena for many years, including with Melissa, I can report that she is one of the most astute observers of people and politics that I've ever known. She is incredibly smart, perceptive, disciplined, thoughtful but decisive, and "gets it".. whatever "it" is... faster than anyone I've ever known.
At the same time, she has a keen, clearly defined sense of justice, of what is right and wrong. Melissa also is one of the most humane, compassionate people in the world... I have seen her moved to tears more than once by the plight of a poor soul in need or distress. But she is not one to just wring her hands and cry "Woe is me!", Melissa asks "What can I do about it?" And she takes action, personally, to do whatever is in her power to do to alleviate the problem or suffering, even if all she can do is offer a prayer.
So, to "anonymous" I say, Houston will be blessed to have Melissa on the City Council... just hide and watch... with awe.

Hal said...

What Texas2 said.