Incumbent David Robinson faces four challengers for At-Large Position 2 on Houston City Council.
Community Impact Newspaper invited candidates to provide the responses below to help voters weigh their options. All candidates are listed below in the order they will appear on the ballot. Responses may have been edited for length.
Occupation/experience: I am an architect and the Council Member for At-Large Position 2. I am a second term incumbent running for my third and final term on Houston’s City Council. Additionally, as the son of a political scientist who instilled in me a strong sense of civic pride and duty at a young age, I’ve volunteered on a number of campaigns throughout my life and have worked with various elected officials in my role as a public servant, engaged civic leader and commissioner.
The Rev. Willie R. Davis
Website: Not provided.
M. “Griff” Griffin
Occupation/experience: Private Investigator over 25 years and counting.
Emily Muñoz Detoto
I have been a lawyer for the people for the last 23 years I have traveled all over the State fighting for people’s rights: one case at a time, one client at a time. I have earned a reputation of being the, “go-to,” lawyer who solves complex problems. I teach all over the Country and am a born advocate I am running for City Council to restore the public’s faith in city government and fight for all Houstonians.
Occupation/experience: Originally an Electrical Engineer, more recently Caregiver and High School Math Teacher
What issues do you want to be a lead advocate on?
Robinson: Public Safety: We must ensure that our communities are safe for everyone, by encouraging and funding community oriented policing, and supporting our police, firefighters and first responders.
Improving Communities: As Chairman of the Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee and Vice Chairman of the Quality of Life Committee, I have advocated for ensuring that Houston’s neighborhoods are livable for all Houstonians. I was instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Houston Bicycle Master Plan and the Bayou Greenways Initiative.
Wise Investments: As an architect, urban planner and owner of a small business, I understand that we must utilize resources wisely and in an environmentally fair and fiscally responsible manner.
Davis: The issues that I advocate are (1) Safety and Increase of Police Officers (2) Flooding and Drainage (3) Infrastructure
DeToto: Transparency and restoring the public trust in city government. On day one as a council member I would urge each council member to sign a pledge to be a transparent government and to let the citizens know, to the cent, where their tax dollars are going. I would push to hire more police officers, and to find a solution to properly compensate our firefighters.
Griffin: Traffic, Flooding, Change culture for Inspections Fees and Fines.
Honey: My top 3, among others: (1) Convincing TXDOT to COMPLETELY RETHINK their NHHIP (I-45 Project) and design it to meet Houston’s needs or simply LEAVE IT ALONE. (2) Balancing the CITIZEN’s needs vs. those of vagrants and homeless who are occupying sidewalks and tent camps to met the needs of all using new efforts, methods, and solutions. (3) Special District (e.g., TIRZ and Management District) cleanup and reform.
What role will you play in improving Houston’s budgeting and fiscal planning?
Robinson: As a member of the Budget and Fiscal Affairs (BFA) Committee, I will push to implement numerous ideas and initiatives to realize cost-savings and better efficiency in city government, including zero-based budgeting.
Davis: When I’m on Council I plan to improve Houston’s Budget by pushing for Zero Balance Budgeting and Eliminating Waste in the budget of certain line items.
DeToto: I would push for an audit of each and every department to see where there is waste. I will be a dogged advocate and watchdog ensuring that monies paid for certain projects, actually go to said projects.
Griffin: Being a Private Investigator affords me the ability to look closely at budgeting and fiscal planning.
Honey: Personally, I support the tax caps but will support what taxpayers want. In general, I don’t feel we need to raise taxes since I feel there are too many projects the CoH paid for to serve special interests and the budget suffers because of them – not because taxpayers need to be hijacked for more taxes. The budgeting process would be better controlled if we could change the CoH charter from a “strong mayoral” form. At least one mayoral candidate has pledged to change the charter from this form at the outset of their term.
What is your take on improving mobility in the city?
Robinson: I have always been an advocate of mass transit in Houston and use my role as Chairman of the Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee (TTI) and my leadership on the Houston Galveston Area Council board to continue to push for more equitable public transit in our city.
Davis: Improving Mobility in Houston can be accomplished by Synchronized Street Lights and Increase of Metro Buses throughout Houston.
DeToto: There can be no real improvement in mobility unless and until we improve our crumbing infrastructure and make our streets safer, smoother and easier to drive on. I am in favor of finding sensible solutions to our growing traffic problems, and will work with various agencies to come up with common sense and economical solutions.
Griffin: Griff’s Common Sense Traffic Plan is being implemented right now, by METRO.
Honey: We must get people out of cars as much as possible – not just everybody else, but both you and me. I am a life-long cyclist and for several years it has been my primary mode of transportation. Cycling is exploding in Houston and we need more bike lanes. I have supported Metro’s development of rail and feel we need more of it. We are at the cusp of getting to the point of critical mass of having enough rail to be much more usable. Why can’t we be like most major cities in the rest of the world with a rail system that is usable?