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A tale of two Orlandos

Orlando Sanchez, speaking last week in a Statesman article about the statewide ambitions of Houston Mayor Bill White, who beat him soundly in the 2003 runoff:

He doesn’t discount him but suggests White has gotten a free ride in his hometown.

Lately, Sanchez has questioned a lack of promised light-rail construction under White, a failure to add council seats in response to Latino population growth and White’s decision not to fill a vacant council seat until a May election.

Emphasis mine. Here was Orlando back when he was running against White:

Former City Councilman Orlando Sanchez on Wednesday became the only major mayoral candidate to oppose a Nov. 4 transit referendum, claiming the rail portion of Metro’s plan won’t reduce traffic congestion.

Sanchez announced his position two days after City Councilman Michael Berry, who had been the only announced rail opponent among major candidates for Houston mayor, dropped his mayoral aspirations amid sagging polls to run for another council seat.

“We need a 100 percent plan, not a 1 percent solution plan,” Sanchez said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

The reference was to a road-oriented plan being developed by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, which it calls a 100 percent solution and which Sanchez supports.

Well, hey, at least he eventually wound up on the right side of the issue. In that article, Sanchez said he’d support rail if the referendum passed. I don’t know about you, but I cannot recall a single instance since then in which he’s publicly addressed the topic. Even in the two years of Sanchez’s tenure as an elected official, during which time his opinion presumably would have meant something, he’s had nothing to say about light rail. Admittedly, he’s had nothing to say about much of anything else, either, but still. As such, I trust you’ll forgive me if I don’t put any stock in his criticism of Mayor White for being insufficiently pro-rail expansion.

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8 Comments

  1. Kevin Whited says:

    ** his criticism of Mayor White for being insufficiently pro-rail expansion. **

    Our thin-skinned mayor surely doesn’t like it and isn’t used to it, but his record is going to be scrutinized as he runs for statewide office.

    It’s hardly shocking that publications based outside Houston would talk to locals about that record — or that fanboys would talk about locals talking about that record.

    Ain’t political journalism in Texas grand? 😀

  2. Why Kevin! How delightful to hear from you again. It had been so long, I was beginning to think you didn’t care any more. So nice to know there’s still some bait that can lure you in.

    Just to clarify here: are you saying that Mayor White should be criticized for being insufficiently pro-rail-expansion? Or is this just another example of you cheering for any criticism of him, regardless of the subject or substance of it? I’d hate to misattribute your motives.

  3. Bill says:

    I’m hoping it is a celebration of seeing Orlando Sanchez’s name in the paper.

    I’m sure bloghouston will undoubtably give the same coverage to a guy pulling a six figure salary (who has in all press accounts has done absolutely nothing in his role)from your county tax dollars as they do for bike rider Bob Stein’s mention in the Chron.

    So come on, Kevin, let’s hear it for Orlando, the six figure straw man!

    I’m sure you’ll be objective and cry out about this, right????????

  4. Pete says:

    Or is this just another example of you cheering for any criticism of him, regardless of the subject or substance of it?

    We have a winner.

  5. KTS says:

    Orlando Who? Why is this guy relevant? He certainly wasn’t then and isn’t now.

  6. jmvaughn says:

    *Sanchez has questioned a lack of promised light-rail construction under White*

    Perhaps Sanchez’s criticism is simply based on that fact that White has not delivered on his promises?

    If so, would that not be a legitimate criticism — regardless of Sanchez’s previous position on the issue?

  7. JMVaughn – Yes, the criticism is legitimate. I’ve lamented the slow pace of rail expansion myself. I just find it humorous and more than a little disingenuous for rail opponents like Orlando Sanchez and Kevin Whited to make that criticism when they’d be perfectly happy to see the whole thing come to a screeching halt, and in Kevin’s case at least have actively cheered those who have tried to stop it. There’s no good faith here – had Mayor White been pushing for more rail expansion, they’d have been screaming about it all along. This is all just opportunism.

    Having said that, those who actually want to see a more robust rail infrastructure in Houston should by all means critically examine the Mayor’s record. There’s still time for him to help get some things moving a little faster, and it couldn’t hurt for him to feel some pressure to do so.

  8. Dale says:

    Well-designed rail should be built as expeditiously as possible. At-grade rail does not fit that definition; I am terrified every time I drive across Main because in many places there are indeed no warning, and the rail is (otherwise) impressively quiet.

    If going slow means finding a way to make rail not at-grade, I say great. If it’s definitely going to be at-grade, I don’t care how long they take to build it; never would be fine with me. Having seen the Main Street Line in action, I will never again vote for a rail referendum unless it explicitly promises to not be at-grade.