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Sunday, September 23, 2018

City

Propositions on the ballot in Tuesday’s election


Houstonians will be given the choice to vote for or against three local referendums in order to improve the city on Tuesday’s ballot.

”I think one (will) fail, two probably (will) pass because no one is opposing it and … I think Houston voters will uphold and keep (the red light cameras),” political science Professor Richard Murray said.

Proposition 1, also known as Renew Houston, will be among the ballot proposals for the city. If passed, this referendum will help improve the street and drainage problems of Houston with a pay-as-you-go system. The city of Houston currently does not have enough funds for the maintenance and improvements of its streets and infrastructure.

Through an added fee to property owners, the proposition seeks to raise about $8 billion to fix Houston’s flooding problems.

“In the pay-as-you-go plan, we are not spending a huge amount of money at one time. We are basically prioritizing the important problems of our city,” Chinese studies and English junior Connie Tu said. “Proposition 1 will be a good outlet to spend money on.”

Proposition 2 is the government’s way of keeping their part of a deal they made 30 years ago as part of a court case involving the city-wide elections for city council, Murray said.

At the time, the entire city voted for each council position, rather than having the city divided up into districts and district residents voting for their own representatives.

After the city lost the court case, the city was divided into districts and agreed to add more city council districts when the city grew to over 2.1 million people, which experts expect occurred last year.

However, the Houston City Council won’t know for certain until the census information from last year is released early next year, so they won’t be able to draw districts until that information is available.

To fix this problem, they added a proposition to the ballot that will shorten the time period — from a year to 6 months — that a person running for a city council seat will have to have lived in-district.

If passed, Proposition 2 will affect the 2011 elections. The previous time period will be restored after the next election.

“If it fails, everything will be pushed back. Everything, meaning the city will be put to a halt for the next fall election,” Tu said.

Proposition 3 deals with the city’s red light camera systems. Houstonians are voting on whether or not the cameras should be banned from the city’s intersections.

Being caught by a red light camera earns Houstonians a $75 fine, but does not count against their insurance. In contrast, a ticket for running a red light given by a police officer has a much heftier fine and is reported to insurance companies.

Traffic lawyers led the charge against the red light cameras, Murray said. The $75 fine isn’t worth fighting, so the cameras cut into their business.

“The red-light cameras are a multi-million dollar business. The money goes towards community programs such as the hospital trauma systems and HPD,” Tu said.


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