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Do we have an opponent yet for the Mayor?

Probably not.

Houston Fire Department Deputy Chief Fernando Herrera has filed papers appointing a treasurer for a mayoral campaign fund-raising committee. He was the Republican candidate for District 148 state representative in 2010. He lost to incumbent Jessica Farrar.

However, Herrera said today he’s 95 percent sure he won’t run for mayor.

“It’s a difficult race to win, and one of the things that is very important, of course, is financing,” he said. “I’ll be starting from scratch and it’s already April.”

According to Noel Freeman, there is another person who has filed a Treasurer’s report for the office of Mayor, a person who may not be 18 years old yet and who lives in Houston’s ETJ and thus isn’t technically eligible.

As for Herrera, HD148 is my House district. His campaign had some visibility, by which I mean I saw some yard signs here and there. I was told at one point that he had people out there knocking on doors as well, but I personally did not see any evidence of that. Let’s take a look at the 2010 election returns in HD148 and see how he stacked up.

Candidate Votes R/D % Vote % ================================ Herrera 9,790 41.3 41.3 Dewhurst 10,281 45.0 43.0 Abbott 11,056 47.6 46.4 Patterson 10,023 44.2 42.7 Staples 9,808 43.8 42.3 Porter 9,379 42.4 40.3 Lehrmann 9,755 43.1 41.9 Green 9,510 42.2 41.0 Guzman 10,685 47.4 45.8 Keasler 9,751 43.9 42.6

“R/D %” is the straight-up two-party vote percentage; Herrera was the only candidate listed here who did not have at least one third party opponent as well. He outperformed only David Porter and Rick Green on an absolute basis, and lagged behind every statewide candidate on a two-party basis. In other words, nothing to write home about.

He said he differs from Parker in the way he’d attack the budget deficit. Herrera says he sees the mayor looking for cuts, while he’d look for revenue. Among his ideas is to sell advertising on emergency vehicles. He envisions a series of NASCAR-like decals promoting the tire, belt and oil companies that sponsor fire engines and other department vehicles, he said.

Herrera also said he’d consider charging non-city residents a higher fee to use recreational amenities within the city such as the zoo, museums or golf courses.

Another idea: Use of a font that uses less ink from city printers. Eco fonts save ink by leaving tiny holes in letters that are invisible in standard-size fonts.

As one who has championed the idea of selling ads on school buses and light rail cars, I’m certainly not going to turn my nose up at the idea of transforming fire engines into billboards. I can’t imagine there’s a whole lot of revenue to be had there, certainly not enough to make a noticeable dent in the projected shortfall for 2012, but hey, knock yourself out. Every little bit helps. As for charging visitors more to use the zoo and museums, um, how exactly would that work? Will people be required to show ID to buy a ticket to the zoo? What if they have a membership at another zoo where reciprocity applies? What about people who buy CityPass tickets? After we’ve been touted as a nice, cheap place to visit, I don’t see how that would make enough money to overcome the hit to our image. And the font thing, other than reminding me of a Dilbert comic, I have no problem with it. But as with these other “big ideas”, I also have no illusions that it would make any real difference.

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4 Comments

  1. Noel Freeman says:

    I’ve spoken to both Bradford and Bettencourt. Bradford confirms he is seeking re-election to At-Large 4, and Bettencourt won’t say what he’s doing. One other rumored opponent is Benjamin Hall. I tried contacting him by email, but the email address on his website is no longer active.

  2. Garwood says:

    The more on-point criticism of the increased fee idea is that the City doesn’t own any museums or the zoo. Private foundations do. The museums forever and the zoo for at least the last eight years. I have a hard time taking a Mayor candidate seriously who doesn’t even know what the City does and doesn’t do.

  3. They do charge more at other zoos for nonresidents – they just look at your driver’s license and check to see if it’s out of state or whatever the criteria is. I’m not necessarily in favor of it, though. Charging even $2 for parking would be vastly more profitable than any nonresident surcharge could ever be.

  4. [...] Fire Chief Fernando Herrera, who had previously said he was 95% sure he wasn’t running for Mayor, has now decided that he will in fact run for Mayor. Houston Fire Department Deputy Chief Fernando [...]

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