Sunday, October 27, 2013

Texas Adjustments Part V

So, now we're down to the local level.

I traded in Mayor John Hietfje of Ann Arbor:

And picked up Annise Parker:

Both are interesting. Hietfje may have overstayed his welcome in Ann Arbor, where he was first elected mayor in 2001. I was frustrated with how he treated city employee unions from time to time, as well as some of his budget-cutting moves toward fire and police protection. On the other hand, I was generally pleased with his environmental and transportation initiatives. The central city, which was already a nice place to live, continued to become much more walkable during my time there under his tenure in City Hall. Some (though not all) of the complaints against him were the result of clubby Ann Arbor townie stuffed shirts who had no clue about urban planning or development. And frankly, the opposition candidates who ran against him were absolutely laughable.

Parker is something of a liberal lion in southeast Texas, though a quietly pragmatic one. Houston is light years behind Ann Arbor in sustainability and livability, but Parker has hired a cracker jack sustainability director from San Fransisco, installed and expanded bike share, gotten curbside recycling off the ground, cleaned up a mess at Metro, worked with the county to improve parks, presided over the expansion of light rail and generally kept the metaphorical trains running on time.

I suspect she would make an excellent state comptroller (her old job in Houston) if Democrats can ever win a state-wide election again.

I'll give the edge here to Texas, just because of Parker's shiny (at least to a new resident) sheen.

I skipped over the state legislature as well -- I trade State Sen. Rebekah  Warren and Rep. Jeff Irwin, both solid progressive Dems (and lovely people) for State Sen. John Whitmere and Rep. Garent F. Colman, who seem at first glance to be quite adequate. Time will tell.

Enough with politics -- future installments will include really important things, like food. Texas should be able to do better here than in the political section.

No comments:

Post a Comment