So, now we're down to the local level.
I traded in Mayor John Hietfje of Ann Arbor:
And picked up Annise Parker:
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.
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.
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.
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.
with politics -- future installments will include really important
things, like food. Texas should be able to do better here than in the