Today we learned that the Chron is apparently not endorsing in uncontested elections, as they skipped over CM Mike Sullivan in District E, and we got our first endorsement of a challenger over an incumbent.
After a series of controversies involving incumbent Al Hoang divided his Vietnamese-American base, Hoang indicated he would not stand for re-election. Though he later changed his mind, we think his initial decision was the right one. The district, which has demanding infrastructure and economic development needs, requires new, focused leadership at City Hall.
Fortunately, voters have the opportunity to elect such a person, businessman and community activist Peter “Lyn” René. Born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, René came to Houston in 1979 and graduated from Westbury High School and UH-Downtown.
René promises to be a strong voice at City Hall for street repair and district beautification. To counter budget cuts that have closed community centers and after-school programs, he says he would use his skills as a grant writer to solicit funds from corporations and foundations to continue vital municipal youth services.
With his technical skills and record of community service, René is, from our point of view, the best choice on the ballot to represent District F constituents.
I’m going to step out on a limb here and infer that the Chron is telegraphing its forthcoming endorsement in At Large #5 for Laurie Robinson. Who disagrees with me about that? In any event, you can listen to my interview with René, who was a deadline day filer, here.
The Chron stayed with incumbent CM Oliver Pennington in G.
Pennington is a retired lawyer who spent much of his career at Fulbright & Jaworski working on issues related to municipal governance. That familiarity with the ways of City Hall has allowed him to tackle complex issues with knowledge and experience that benefit his district and the city as a whole.
Pennington well understands the need for Houston officials to work with our state lawmakers to better manage employee pension expenses that threaten to bankrupt city coffers. There is no more pressing long-term fiscal issue.
Finally, Pennington also backs important quality-of-life difference-makers, such as preservation of our city’s architectural heritage and green spaces.
The Chronicle recommends that District G voters return Oliver Pennington to City Hall.
My interview with CM Pennington is here. Of note in that endorsement is the Chron’s complimentary mention of Pennington’s late-filing opponent, Clyde Bryan. As you’ve seen in earlier endorsements, they don’t usually bother to do that.