Friday, September 7, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 12


 
 









 
Take an interest in local politics

Mary Carradine

It's almost inevitable -- as a Houston driver, you are bound to hit potholes every day. Occasionally you get some really good ones. You know, the
ones that make your CD player skip, the ones that seriously convince you your tire is about to fall off. When this happens to me, a series of
expletives are launched in my mind. And at whom are they aimed? Not at George W. Bush. Not even at Rick Perry, but at several local politicians we
refer to as our city government.

Do you know their names? Who is our mayor? They're "small-time," right? They aren't on national television and they aren't attending United
Nations summits. We could run into them at the grocery store or an Astros game.

They are ordinary people who control so much of our everyday lives, and they are raring to shake your hand and kiss your baby.

Come November, Houstonians will go to the polls to elect a mayor and several city council representatives. These people will control the cavernous
potholes, city taxes, light rail initiatives and essentially everything else our city will need to decide.

In addition to elections, Houston voters will be making a difficult decision on an extremely controversial referendum. Following in the footsteps of
many large companies based in Houston (such as Continental Airlines), Mayor Lee Brown chose to allow domestic partner benefits for city
employees. A whining conservative group called "Houstonians for Family Values" was outraged and collected 22,000 signatures to bring the issue
to a referendum.

Now all of us -- not just Chris Bell and his city cronies -- have the chance to make this important decision. As voters, our education on this matter is
paramount, as it will undoubtedly affect our city's image and its goal of becoming a progressive metropolitan hub shockingly based in the
traditionally conservative Deep South.

And sadly, voter turnout and awareness will certainly slump. 18- to 25-year-olds probably won't even know when Election Day is, much less mobilize
their demographic to help choose their local representatives. We are the sleepers. Apathetic and uninformed, we allow ourselves to be represented
without even choosing our representative. Do we look stupid for not voting? Yes, of course we do -- but you can change that.

Labor Day is the traditional starting gun for the election rush. A mere suggestion: start watching now, because you will certainly be bombarded with
candidate paraphernalia and phone calls the week before the actual election.

I realize that not everyone has time to sift through the novella-like Houston Chronicle for election information, and I promise to serve you the
information in your own Daily Cougar.

Use this time to cultivate an informed decision, and don't wait until the last minute, because at the 11th hour, everybody loves your children, and
everyone wants to shake your hand. No one is a crook, and everyone had pulled a stint in the military.

Carradine, a senior computer 
engineering technology major, can be reached at bcarradine@hotmail.com.


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