Tag Archives: Harris County Texas

Best and Worst Campaign Websites: Harris County Republican Edition

Each election, I am both amazed and appalled by some of the choices of branding political candidates choose to forgo on their campaign signs and websites. While few are excellent, many are notoriously bad. The Harris County Republican slate is no exception.

 

Today, I look at some of the best (and worst) the Harris County GOP has to offer, and a few comments from me to you.  By and large, the Republicans could use a book on CSS for Christmas.

 

The Best

 

Typically, the best Republican websites come from the Congressional incumbents.  They have more money, staff and relevant content on the issues to fill a site.  U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R-7) has the most organized site, featuring top-of-the-page navigation, plenty of social media links and buttons calling voters to interact with the campaign, and an overall clean feel.

 

Of all the Republicans in all of Texas, Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)‘s website is built to inform and engage.  A Twitter link up top provides easy access, which a left-hand navigation is straight forward with sections for issues and videos. The gigantic Texas flag behind him and the red, white and blue nature of this website screams “I AM RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN 2016.”.  Scary thought, isn’t it?

 

Texas Rep. Patricia Harless (R-126) sets the bar for what every House member’s website should aspire to be. Not only is it clean and classy, in a Texas cowboy kind of way, but it offers her constituents and supporters ways to get in contact with her via email and social networks. Furthermore, bonus points for the very cool tagline: “I believe that limited government means limited spending.”
I hope she will run for higher office at some point, and take this website with her. 🙂

 

The Worst

 

I start the bad section with the Harris County GOP’s party website only because it could be better.  Republicans, by definition, are not very good with the Internet to begin with, so I will try to be brief. But, this site is crammed, very modular in its appearance while also looking very disheveled. My eye doesn’t quite know what to look at, and therefore, I am apt to struggle to focus on one thing; for example, the video embedded (congrats on learning how to embed videos, guys!) at left is so “heavy” in weight, even if I want to look at the buttons at right (which are the second “heaviest” item), I have a hard time focusing.

 

Another point I want to make, thus proving the assertion about the GOP and its slow progress online: While viewing the website’s page source, the webmaster (or creator) illustrated how behind they were by not only taking the time to write out metatag keywords (which, for all intensive purposes, lost importance years ago when it came to SEO and search engines), but alternating between capitalizing keywords, as if they were case sensitive.

 

Remember when I said the Congressional incumbents had the best sites? On the flip side of that, Congressional also-rans (in this case, Republicans challenging standing Democratic incumbents, who no matter how bad they suck, always win) have among the worst. Steve Mueller, God bless him for trying, has nice talking points framed by a website my 10-year-old brother could make if he was learning HTML.

 

Okay, I lied. Not all Republican incumbents have the nicest sites.  Rep. Pete Olson shows just how boring, white bread he can get by filling one of the Republican’s nicest websites with big blocks of text from top to bottom. Olsen is highly prolific, and unless you have the time to read Olson blah blah blah about blah blah blah, you will be turned off by this website.  Olson does get points for breaking out of the red, white and blue motifs, however.

Back when I was with the 1960 Sun Newspapers, I met and spoke with Rep. Gary Elkins on a number of occasions.  His policies, especially in terms of small business, are incredibly sound. But, his website looks like something I tinkered with when I was in my freshman year of high school!  It is a very simple HTML site. I wish he’d do something about this eyesore.

 

In the Harris County judicial races, one judge stands out for a weird navigation feature on their website.  Harris County Judge Vanessa Valasquez, of the 183rd Criminal District Court, relies on this crazy Flash menu which changes at a rate of every 4 seconds.  The image isn’t even shaped like the flap, with a corner virtually cut off. It looks pretty tacky, and for an older voter, probably isn’t clear it is a link.

 

Orlando Sanchez is to the Harris County Republicans as Chris Bell is to the Harris County Democrats: He is always running for something.  And when he throws his hat in the ring, Orlando counts on the above early ’90s HTML website to carry him through, time and time again.  In fact, if you look closely, the “for Harris County Treasurer” part appears to be pixelated, likely because they changed it in Microsoft Paint every time he filed for a new campaign.  The left-hand navigation is very simple, and let’s face it, the site is boring.

 

While Harris County Clerk candidate Stan Stanart is busy vying for Beverly Kaufman’s seat, he is also busy as the Harris County GOP’s IT guy.  And yet, despite being the Computer Whiz-in-Chief, this train wreck of a website is supposed to persuade us to “Stand with Stan.”  The alternating red and blue text is bothersome, the artwork is fuzzy, and the faded American flag looks like some Windows Outlook background. Navigation is simple enough, but the end result leaves much to be desired, Stan.

Oh, and when the September 27th Fundraiser was over, you should have removed the flashing yellow banner. I got my hopes up thinking I was going to get to spend a night with you, Chris Daniel and Paul Bettencourt!
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Bill Henderson: Elder Attacks “A Personal Vendetta”

This morning, TL was in receipt of an open letter from CFISD Board candidate Bill Henderson, addressed to Harris County Republican Precinct Chair Ramsay Elder, who is accused of dirty politics in Henderson’s race against incumbent board president, Dr. John Ogletree, Jr.

The letter addresses Elder’s talking points, and calls the attack on his character “a personal vendetta.”  The letter is presented herein in its entirety, sans addresses:

October 24, 2010
Dear Mr. Elder:

I am disappointed that you would wait until 10 days before the election to disclose your negative comments about me; hardly allowing me the time to address your concerns. It is apparent that your motives have nothing to do with the well being of the 100,000 students in the CyFair district but is more about a personal vendetta you have against me.  The beneficiary of your comments is a Democrat that has supported President Obama and who believes that a property tax increase is necessary for the District.

Nevertheless, I will address the issues you have raised about my personal background.  The events that occurred in 1997-98 were a result of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filed in 1992 and a divorce that was filed in 1993.  I am not proud of either event; however, there were several financial circumstances that influenced my decisions and I feel I have learned valuable lessons as a result.
I truly believe that the felony bankruptcy fraud charges were politically motivated because when I agreed not to seek reelection, the charges were dismissed and I plead guilty to a contempt of court charge.  Even the final findings by the State Judicial Conduct Commission did not prohibit me from serving as a district court judge in the future.

I am particularly proud of the job I did as a Family Court Judge and the fact that the Chronicle would label me “one of the worst” judges based upon the evaluation of the attorneys totally disregards the condition of the family courts in 1994 when I was elected.  If you will recall, 1994 was the year Republicans swept to victory in 53 of 55 judicial races.  The family courts were infested with the “good old boy network” of attorneys and  the other Republican judges and I instituted a number of procedural changes, including new scheduling orders and greater use of mediation, to move our dockets more expeditiously.

Lastly, the incident in 2003 involved a deputy constable who was trying to arrest my stepson and several of his buddies in my front yard.  When I tried to intervene and prevent the arrest, I was charged with interfering with a public servant.  No charges were ever filed against any of the boys and, upon the completion of several requirements, including writing a letter of apology, all charges against me were dismissed.  I did not believe the incident justified the expenditure of attorney’s fees to take the case to trial.

My sincere opinion, Mr. Elder, is that my experience advocating for families, and sitting as a family court judge, has equipped me to make the tough decisions that face public school trustees.  For the last 12 years, since returning to private practice, I have limited my practice to family law matters, representing parents and their children and mediating over 500 family law disputes.

Furthermore, for the last two years I have served as President of the Downtown Pachyderm Club and worked tirelessly to help Republican candidates from the Courthouse to the Congress to take back our country.  I truly believe that our school districts need the same kind of conservative leadership.

There are many in this community who are able to speak about my abilities, including Jared Woodfill, Ed Hubbard and Paul Simpson.  And if you want more information about me, please feel free to contact Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison or Judge Paul Pressler, both of whom have known me since 1972.

I have the demeanor and intellect to be a strong advocate for our public education system and I look forward to the opportunity to support with the wonderful teachers and staff of the CyFair School District.  I also believe that my faith has helped me deal with the challenges I have faced and has made me a better person.  I think I will be an excellent role model for the over 100,000 students of our district.

–Bill Henderson
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What’s the Beef Between Ramsey Elder and CFISD Board Candidate Bill Henderson?

Dirty politics is nothing new, but rarely do you see the kind of campaign being waged against conservative Cypress-Fairbanks ISD board candidate Bill Henderson.

NotBill.com, a website launched against Henderson, frames Dr. John Ogletree’s re-election bid challenger as a ineffective one-term Harris County judge with a string of legal and financial problems, including run-ins with law enforcement and deadbeat dad status on child support payments.

The website, paid for by Harris County Precinct 015 Chair and accountant Ramsay Elder, has some conservatives scratching their heads as to why the author would eat one of his own.  Or, why he would be throwing the election for a known “liberal Democrat who voted for Obama in 2008”, says Lone Star College-CyFair Republican Club chairman Matthew Conner.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, Ogletree has made only some $750 in contributions to two Democratic candidates, including U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-18), and Kevin Powell, a candidate for New York’s 10th Congressional District who lost in the Democratic primary.

Claims Ogletree supported President Obama in 2008 could not be substantiated.

Elder’s FEC contributions record looks like any perennial and well-funded Republican contributor’s wrap sheet, with some $23,000 in donations to Republican candidates.

So, what’s with Elder’s beef? And why would he commit an action which would result in the status quo for CFISD?  Talk amongst yourselves.