Take an interest in local
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
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.