COUNCIL RACES, continued from page 9
Two other women candidates in council races are running against incumbents.
Helen Hopkins (District E) received an
endorsement from the HCWPC and Ginia
Wright (At-Large, Position 1)was endorsed
by the HCD. Anne Wheeler (District H)
won endorsements from both groups.
Helen Hopkins says she is getting her old
yard signs out of the garage where they've
been stored "just in case" she got the urge
to take on Frank Mancuso, again.
In 1975, Hopkins was the only one to
run against the former major league baseball player and familiar face on council
since 1962. She polled 40% of the votes
in a city-wide race and won over 60,000
votes, a fact she says the local media have
"scrupulously" avoided mentioning.
"That's an impressive figure,"she says.
"If someone was looking for a potential
winner, they could pick up on that fact
and say, 'Hey, she does have a chance.' '
Hopkins feels the media have "fought
hard to make us all sound alike" in their
reporting on the District E race.
Hopkins has been a leader of Citizens
for Flood Control, a group of homemakers
and residents who have protested the
lack of adequate drainage and the lack of
responsiveness of city and county governments to their problems. They called a
mass meeting back in 1975 to get the attention of local officials. "We filled a
church with 500 people - angry and distressed homeowners -but it had no effect
on our office holders."
That's when Hopkins first decided to
run against Mancuso. She raised $20,000
for that at-large race. This year her
friends in Citizens for Flood Control
raised her $500 filing fee and the $5000
in her campaign chest.
"I'm only $12 over budget at the
moment," she says. Her funding has come
in donations of $10 or less. She's had
only one $25, one $50 and one $150 contribution. "To me, democracy should not
cost a lot of money."
Hopkins obviously has no budget for
billboards but says she wouldn't put them
up even if she did. "I'm against billboards.
I think they should all come down. They
are so ugly. Here in south-east Houston
we have enough of a blithe along the Gulf
On another matter, Hopkins points
out of the campaigns' little ironies
"Isn't it interesting, that the Chamber of
Commerce, the police and fire fighters and
the labor unions are all backing the incumbents. Isn't it interesting that both
labor and big business are backing the
same people. I can't understand how they
both figure they're their men.
Ginia Wright was past president of the
Houston City Council of PTA's, an experience that she says "politicized" her.
Anticipating the stereotypes people
have of PTA workers, Wright is quick to
say, "We were not cookie baking types.
We learned about the legislative process
by preparing for and participating in
hearings in Austin and in Washington.
If it had not been for the PTA, I would
not be running for city council today."
This is Wright's second bid for office.
She lost an HISD board seat two years
ago by 196 votes. She spent $5000 on
her race, her opponent spent $20,000.
She likes to tell him his 195 votes cost
"You don't need the money if you
have the votes," Wright feels. She is confident about unseating Jim Westmoreland
and took on an at-large race against him
rather that a District A race against Mc
Kaskle because she felt Westmoreland
was the most "vulnerable" of the two.
"People know his name, but they don't
know what he does." // anything, she
Wright calls her opponent "The
Phantom." She has not met him out
campaigning. He shouldn't be so sure of
himself, you think she's thinking.
Ginia ( as in Vir-ginia) Wright feels she
has spent 12 years grooming for an elected
position. One Austin legislator, impressed
with her ability as an expert witness, encouraged her to seek office. "When I told
him I was running against an incumbent,
all he could say is You've got guts.' "
As head of the PTA, Wrights spoke up
for returning schools to the semester
system, programs for pregnant teenagers
("I am pro-choice, she adds"), and was a
strong advocate for sex education in the
schools "with appropriate teachers and in
an appropriate setting, not just in the gym
class on the bleachers on a rainy day."
She is proud of the fact that through PTA
efforts "we have gotten home and family
living courses down to the sixth grade."
Like Hopkins, Wright is astounded to
see the incumbents endorsed by unions
and even the minority groups. On their
questionnaires, these groups seemed to be
looking for change candidates. Yet they
are backing the old order," she says with
"I want the endorsement of the
people," she says. "If they really want a
change in city government, they should
Anne Wheeler's six and nine -year -old
daughters each say they want to be a
"tax lady" when they grow up. That's
because their mother, a school teacher
by profession, is such an effective spokesperson for the tax reform movement.
As chair of the Taxpayer's Political
Action Committee (for the record, their
activities bear no resemblance to the
Proposition 13 antics), Wheeler says her
group took up the tax fight for the inner
city — for the low to moderate income
groups and to bring about a fair tax
system since the city had no tax system.
"They just go around and hot spot
certain areas, like West End-Cottage Grove
— raise the taxes 1000% and force those
on fixed incomes to sell. The developers
run this city," she says emphatically,
"and they want this land for expensive
townhouses, condiminiums, and businesses."
Her group tried for over a year to
work out the inequities through City Hall.
"They just laughed in our face. They said
we didn't have a tax problem (despite the
fact that certain areas hadn't had their
taxes raised in 25 years). So, her group
went the City Charter route and effected
a change through legal means to bring
about a re-evaluation for the whole city.
They came up with a formula that
wouldn't put a burden on poor neighborhoods. "It evened things out. The only
thing that gave us this power was to effect
a charter change. Now, they're not
laughing at us any more and they're all
talking about fair and equitable taxes in
Because of her work in the forefront
of the tax reform movement, Wheeler has
attracted everyone from the "very, very
conservative to the very, very liberal" in
She's running against a state legislator
whom she feels has name recognition, but
not all of it is positive, she feels. People
remember Herman Lauhoff as the one
who sponsored a bill to raise the City of
Houston's Mayor's salary to $72,000,
making him the highest paid mayor in the
country and he proposed legislation increasing the salaries of city council members. Her opponent also was responsible
for the MTA bill that called for the appointment rather than the election of
MTA board members.
"I argued against a Mayor being able to
appoint his cronies. He told me electing
them would just bring politics into it.
Then, 'let's have the governor appoint all
state legislators,' I told Lauhoff.
We support Eleanor Tinsley
for City Council because she has a
proven record of leadership and
accomplishment for women.
As President of the Texas
Council of Child Welfare
Boards, she secured passage
of legislation to fund foster
care for neglected and
abused children not previously covered by AFDC.
As President of the
Houston School Board,
she initiated project EVE to
vocational training for
women. She had the Deans
of Women raised to the
rank of assistant principals,
equal in pay and status to
their male counterparts.
She was a strong supporter
of the High School for the
Perfc Mining Arts, the Young
Mother's Program and she
chaired the committee that
Melba Ann Barr
Rema Lou Brown
Martha N. Coats
Betti Rose Driscoll
Diane W. Kilpatrick
Nikki Van Hightower
Alice E. Whatley
AT LARGE POSITION TWO
Pol. adv. paid by Eleanor Tinsley Campaign Committee, Dick and Dianne Bynum, Craig Washinton, Treasurers.
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