Moving away for the moment from ridiculous homophobic scare tactics in the Mayor’s race runoff to an issue of actual substance, we have the matter of the Dynamo Stadium deal and where the respective candidates stand on it.
[Annise] Parker supports the deal as structured by [Mayor Bill] White — in which, her campaign says, the city will recoup some costs for the land.
“She remains firmly opposed to any additional taxpayer dollars going to the Dynamo project, and will not entertain any new stadium projects, especially during these tough economic times. If the county does not do its part, then all bets are off,” according to a statement released by her campaign.
[Gene] Locke, too, pledges not to use property tax money, but he argues that a stadium built with mostly private money is something the city can’t afford not to pursue.
“This stadium will anchor development on the east side of town and help improve Houston’s economy at no additional cost to taxpayers,” Locke said in a statement released by his campaign. Locke supports the three-way $80 million plan, according to the statement, and also intends to negotiate for the city to be reimbursed for land costs.
I wouldn’t go quite as far as Bob Stein does in saying that the difference between the two is “politics, not policy”. As I see it, the place where they do differ is in the event that the county fails to pick up its share of the tab. My interpretation of their stated positions is that Parker may or may not pursue a different deal of some kind, whereas Locke would. One can certainly make the case that Locke, who has an extensive background with this kind of dealmaking – for good and for not so good – and who has the so-far-not-committed-to-Mayor-White’s-deal Commissioner El Franco Lee firmly in his camp, is in the stronger position to close this thing once and for all. That’s kind of a nuanced argument to make on a flyer handed out at a soccer game, and given the public’s limited understanding of the status of the actual deal, which if the comments on this Houston Politics post are at all indicative basically boils down to “Locke wants to spend money on a new stadium and Parker doesn’t”, it’s far from clear that this would be a net positive for him anyway. Be that as it may, I think it’s fair to say that if you really want to see a Dynamo Stadium get built, Locke is your candidate, and if you don’t really care all that much you probably prefer Parker.
That’s assuming the issue is critical to how you vote, of course. The Chron quotes one devoted fan for whom it is, and it’s certainly possible there are others like her. Whether there’s more of them than there are people who would vote the other way is not clear to me. It’s still worth a shot for Locke, and it’s certainly a preferable way to try to win than some other approaches.