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Two for I

Yeah, we’re still two weeks out from the start of early voting for 2012. But that hasn’t stopped two people from announcing their candidacies for City Council District I next year.

Leticia Ablaza

Graciana ”Graci” Garces, chief of staff for District I Councilman James Rodriguez, is running to succeed him next year when he’s termed out.

If Garces wins, she would continue an intra-office line of succession. Rodriguez had been the chief of staff for his predecessor, Carol Alvarado, who is now a state representative.

Leticia Ablaza, who challenged Rodriguez last year, is also running, she confirmed. Ablaza served as chief of staff for District A Councilwoman Helena Brown for four months before resigning to work on the campaign of Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina. Ablaza, 39, lives in Glenbrook Valley and has lived in District I for 37 years.

Garces doesn’t live in District I yet, but she will next week, when she moves from Humble into a loft on the edge of Glenbrook Valley. That’s just in time to give her the year’s residency requirement to run for the seat.

Ablaza got less than 30% of the vote in her challenge to CM Rodriguez last year, but she was a first-time candidate and filed late. She certainly has room to grow, and I daresay she’ll be better funded this time around. Garces’ experience in the office and her connections to CMs Rodriguez and Alvarado is the sort of thing that’s usually a big asset, except in those times when the people are in a mood for a fresh face, in which case it’s not. We’ll see how it goes. Other open Council seats will be in At Large #3 and District D; District E would have been open, but CM Sullivan is resigning effective January 2, so his replacement will be elected this year. Finally, as we know, there is already chatter about a challenge in District A. Any other candidate scuttlebutt out there that you’re hearing? Leave a comment and let us know. Campos, who will be working with Garces, has more.

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18 Comments

  1. joshua bullard says:

    For me the jury is still out as to which person would be best for this district-its my old district untill the remapping put me in district D-respectfully i sway over 700 votes in district i,maybe more maybe less,i will certainly impact the outcome of this race,once we determine all the candidates which i suspect will be 9 in total.Untill then i will ask all parties to hold back on any camp contributions in feb 2013 untill i look at the race at that time-so even in feb-DONT GIVE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS UNTILL WE LOOK AT IT-PLEASE,THANK YOU

    joshua ben bullard

  2. Houstonian says:

    Joshua, you’re a legend in your own mind.

  3. Greg Wythe says:

    I’m picking the under on this one. WAYYYYYY under.

  4. Hobby Lobby says:

    Robert Gallegos has thrown his hat in the ring & I have heard from a very reliable source that Bo Fraga is living in Eastwood now and will enter the race. Each has their strengths. Graci Garces certainly knows the ropes at city hall and would not require any “on the job training.” She has worked well with a lot of the leaders in the east end & would know how to get things done. Robert Gallegos has certainly been very active in the community, lots of volunteer work, being President of the Houston Country Club Civic Club, Cage school preservation, and so on so forth. Leticia Ablaza, on the other hand, lacks that history of community service. She touts herself as a leader fighting for property rights, which means she didn’t want a historic district in her neighborhood, Glenbrook Valley. That and the association with Helena Brown seem to be her only claims to fame, and I don’t think either will boost her this go round. I disagree with her growing this time. Last time she was the only alternative to Rodriguez. Anyone who didn’t want an incumbent, was mad at the council office because something or another didn’t get done to suit them, or wanted a conservative, she was the only alternative to the incumbent. There is supposed to be a conservative Hispanic entering the race as well, which will dilute her support on the right. Garces will have a lot of support from people who have dealt with her, Gallegos has been active in the community and will also get a lot of support from his accomplishments, Bo Fraga, if he truly enters will further split up the vote and the entry of another conservative will keep Ablaza from getting those right leaning endorsements by default. Ablaza has also burned some bridges on the right as well. It is no secret the e-mail blast Elizabeth Perez put out blasting Ablaza. Perez seems to have more influence and position on the right than Ablaza, so Perez is probably not a good enemy to have for a conservative candidate. Those still loyal to Helena Brown credit Ablaza with funneling negative info about Brown to the press. It will be interesting to see how those play into things, but in the end, it will probably be a run-off between Garces & Gallegos. I don’t think Fraga’s last name, if he truly enters, will carry him and a conservative probably won’t get it either.

  5. Erik Vidor says:

    That has to be one of my favorite posts from Mr. Bullard of all times. Four stars….and Greg, you are wise beyond your years.

  6. Jesus Morones says:

    During the historic district debate in Glenbrook Leticia Ablaza went on any local station that would give her 30 seconds and called her neighbors liars, racists, and forgers. Then she found another TV camera in the Heights while protesting the Walmart and told them she was a Heights resident. She ran for Democratic Precinct Chair 850 even though she is a known tea party republican. She also created a slanderous facebook page for conservative CM Mike Sullivan called “CM Mike Sullivan is a sham”. She has now taken that down since she decided to run for office again, just like in 2011 when she took her “Seething Republican” website down. Leticia, never fear, there are electronic copies of your shrill babblings floating around every where. This woman has no class. NONE. Council doesn’t need an insincere idealogue like Ablaza.

  7. Mainstream says:

    While it may be true that Ms. Ablaza’s spouse is a Republican precinct chair, and that she is unabashedly pro-life like many Catholics, what is the evidence that she is not a Democrat? In Texas, your party affiliation is fluid; there is no party registration. Anyone who votes in a Democrat primary is for that time period a Democrat. Even the amorphous “tea party” has members who claim affiliation with the Democrats.

  8. Hobby Lobby says:

    Now Mainstream, certainly you can do better than that. The woman held a high-ranking position in Helena Brown’s administration. There is no mistaking Brown’s administration as anything short of very conservative. Following that she was a campaign coordinator for a very conservative Judge. The list goes on of Ms. Ablaza’s affiliations on the right, but it is a rather silly conversation to engage in. No one could possibly accuse her of being a Democrat with a straight face.

  9. Jesus Morones says:

    Mainstream: the evidence that Ablaza isn’t a democrat is her previous job as COS to the biggest tea partier of all, Helena Brown. Also her posts in her blog (that she has taken down) “The Seething Republican”. Google her name an you’ll find recordings to call in shows hosted by right wingers. But I really don’t care what party she is affiliated with. She’s trash and I wouldn’t vote for her for anything.

    If she should get elected it will be interesting to see how she serves her constituants that she previously called liars, racists, and forgers.

  10. Mainstream says:

    I don’t know her prior voting history, but I believe she voted in the most recent Democrat primary and even sought election as the Democrat precinct chair for her neighborhood.

  11. Hobby Lobby says:

    No one is questioning her running for a Dem precinct chair. It is just unfortunate that it appears Ms. Ablaza’s supporters have to bury her true convictions & positions and reinvent her depending upon what district she is in.

  12. Jesus Morones says:

    If Leticia Ablaza voted in the democratic primary that would explain 1 of the 2 votes she received for precinct chair.

  13. Hobby Lobby says:

    One other thing Mainstream, you posted this about the Ablazas in the comments section of Big Jolly Politics less than a year ago:

    “…..The Ablazas come into GOP politics through tea party activism and opposition to a proposed historic preservation district in their neighborhood….”

    Now you are confused as to whether or not Ms. Ablaza is a Democrat? Interesting.

    http://www.bigjollypolitics.com/wp/2011/12/20/stardig-staff-pulling-a-clinton/

  14. Jason Baldwin says:

    Kuff,

    City of Houston, COUNCIL MEMBER, DISTRICT I, Vote For 1
    Leticia Gutierrez Ablaza 35.54%
    James Rodriguez 64.46%

    That is the true results of her race. Not “Ablaza got less than 30% of the vote in her challenge to CM Rodriguez last year”

  15. Leslie says:

    Once again, Jason Baldwin comes to the defense on Ms. Ablaza. From the rumors I hear he needs to make up his mind as well. Is he moving into district I to push her over in this race or is he running against Allen Fletcher in State District 130? Ms. Ablaza only three supporters are Jason Baldwin, Fernando Herrera and her Husband.

  16. Mainstream says:

    Hobby Lobby, the point I have attempted to make, apparently inartfully, is that being Democrat or Republican is not always so clear cut, or immutable. Who gets to decide whether a voter is a D or R? The voter? Current party insiders? I can remember when Noel Freeman was a Republican and Rick Perry was a Democrat. As I understand Texas law, a Democrat is anyone who shows up at the polls in a primary and requests a D ballot.

  17. Hobby Lobby says:

    “….a Democrat is anyone who shows up at the polls in a primary and requests a D ballot.”

    No, that is a political stunt pulled by someone pretending to be a Democrat just to improve their chances in a heavily Democratic district. It is dishonest at best.

  18. [...] to get a judge’s opinion about whether Jolanda Jones can be among them. There are already two candidates for District I; if history holds, there likely won’t be too many [...]

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