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Runoff rundown

Both Mayoral candidates got front page coverage in yesterday’s Chronicle as the runoff campaign enters its final week. (Aside: Early voting ends tomorrow, so get out there and vote while you still can!) The side-to-side articles were in the “contrast what the candidate says about himself to what others say” style, and as noted before with the Houston Press profile of Bill White, no one had anything negative to say about the frontrunner.

Compare, from the Sanchez overview:

“As a council member, he was definitely above average,” said Rob Todd, who served with him on council from 1996 to 2001 and is supporting Sanchez’s opponent, Bill White. “But the average council member is not qualified to be mayor.” (ed. note: Todd is a Republican)

[…]

“I just can’t think of anything that I can specifically point to in terms of an ordinance or a policy item that he really championed,” said County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat who served as city controller for four of Sanchez’s years on council and who is supporting White.

[…]

Former Councilman Joe Roach, a Republican who served with Sanchez on council and is endorsing White, blasted Sanchez as being “unable to even articulate the city’s bond rating.”

Now look at the White profile. Though the story mentions the failed Frontera deal and the pending lawsuit against Chicago Bridge & Iron, the only negative comments about White come from Orlando Sanchez. Make of that what you will.

One more thing, from the Sanchez article:

“It’s very difficult to be an effective member of City Council when we have such a strong mayor system,” said [Former Harris County Republican Party Chairman Gary] Polland, who served as the head of the GOP during Sanchez’s council tenure. “If you’re not in bed with the mayor, it’s very difficult to get anything done.”

Councilman Mark Ellis, a Sanchez supporter who led the push for the 2000 tax cut, explained that Sanchez could not take the principal role because of a personality clash with then-Councilman Chris Bell — now a Democratic U.S. representative — who provided the swing vote in the 8-7 rollback decision.

“We had to get Democrats’ votes,” Ellis said. “I was the guy who could go and articulate the position to Chris Bell.”

Translation: We’re not so good at working with the other team. Maybe if they had Larry Craig on City Council, they could get stuff done.

Meanwhile, John Williams lays out Sanchez’ last hope, a get-out-the-vote drive to counter White’s continued saturation of the airwaves. I’m pretty sure White has that end of it covered, too, but what else are you gonna do? Two items of interest here. First, Williams says that “Sanchez trails by as many as 18 points in one recent opinion poll”. Much as I enjoy reading things like that, I have to ask: What opinion poll? When was it conducted? What are the actual numbers? I like inside baseball stuff as much as the next guy, but let’s not go overboard here.

Second, the obligatory mention of Sanchez’s most prominent feature:

Don’t expect to see Orlando Sanchez’s deep-blue eyes gazing from your television screen this week outside of newscasts and debates.

Whether they’re piercing blue, steel blue, or just plain deep blue, it’s against federal law to write a profile of Orlando Sanchez without fawning about his eyeballs. It’s a good thing the election is nearly over, I think the Chron’s writers were about to start recycling adjectives here.

UPDATE: Greg furnishes the poll data that Williams alluded to. All I’m saying is would it have killed Williams to say “Sanchez trails by as many as 18 points in a recent opinion poll commissioned by KHOU” instead of “Sanchez trails by as many as 18 points in one recent opinion poll”?

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3 Comments

  1. Do you think William is a bad writer, Mr. Kuffner?

  2. Actually, I think John Williams is a good writer, which is why I’m annoyed that he omitted any identifying detail about the recent survey. He’s usually more thorough than that.