The Battle For Houston Council District A
by: Laurie Johnson, November 28, 2011 5:11:00 am
District A sits just north of I-10, encompassing areas like Spring Branch, Garden Oaks and stretching nearly all the way out to Katy.
The district has 200,000 constituents, so for people who think city council positions aren't very important, consider that District A is larger than many Texas cities.
Councilmember Brenda Stardig is running for a second term in the district and did not expect to end up in a run-off race.
"I think that a lot of the folks, you know, just took for granted that the election would be taken care of and that we would win the election. That was part of the issue with the low voter turnout. And the day after the election, my phone basically blew up with folks wanting to help and they're still calling every day. People are pouring into our campaign headquarters offering help and I'm confident we'll prevail on December 10th."
Stardig won 41 percent of the vote in the general election. Her opponent, Helena Brown, took 47 percent of the vote.
Brown says she never planned to run for office and didn't enter the race until three months prior to the election.
"I guess I was chosen and once I made that choice it has been beautiful, it's been great. I'm very much a people-person, I love service and what helped me make this decision to run for city council is my experience working at the city of Bunker Hill."
Brown worked in the Bunker Hill City Manager's office and says she thinks the City of Houston could learn a few things from smaller municipalities. Brown is challenging Stardig based on what she calls a lack of leadership in District A.
"Basically we have an empty seat at the table here. We need someone that is very much engaged with the people and committed to representing them and their desires on city council."
But Stardig takes issue with the suggestion that she hasn't done enough for the district. She says her office responds to an average of 40 calls a day from constituents and she says she has attended more than 250 community meetings in her two-year term.
"The time on council has been a great opportunity to be a champion for my constituents in District A and capturing tax dollars back into capital improvement projects and neighborhood matching grants and demolishing dangerous buildings. As a champion for the District A constituents, I've been able to work with my colleagues and the mayor and others to work really hard to negotiate through the system and to capture those dollars and that's evident in the performance in District A."
District A is one of four Houston city council races on the run-off ballot, along with District B and At-Large Positions 2 and 5.