It would be so easy to sit this election out and wait till the run-off. With
almost 100 candidates and only a month between the filing deadline and
the election on November 6, the selection process could seem to be overwhelming. In anticipation of the confusion over this particular election,
we worked to develop a questionnaire keyed to women's issues. Of course,
all issues are women's issues, but we felt our readers would be able to learn
the views candidates have on mass transit, tax reform, annexation, and
other city problems from other sources. Breakthrough readers are voters.
Ninety-four percent of our subscribers voted in 1977. Read this before
you vote in 1979. - Eds.
1. City Problem. To begin, what do you consider to be the single most
important problem in the City of Houston? How would you deal
with it? Would this mean additional tax dollars?
2. Battered Women. Currently, there is only one shelter for battered
women in Houston. Studies have shown that one shelter is needed
for every 10,000 in the population. A number of other cities
support battered women shelters through various public and private
funds. Do you see a need for funding more shelters? YES NO.
Should the City of Houston provide funds for more shelters in
3. Affirmative Action. There were no women department heads
appointed in the McConn administration until the departure of the
city's purchasing agent. Based on December 1978 statistics and
excluding the city's police and fire departments which are not
required to report to the Affirmative Action Division, only one-
third of the city's employees are women. Of employees earning
$25,000 or more, only 13.9% are women; of those earning between
$16 - 25,000 only 16.4% are women, whereas 72.2% of those
earning below $8000 a year are women. Do you perceive this
situation as inequitable? If elected, what action would you take?
4. Rape. In 1978, 1126 cases of rape were reported in Houston. (FBI
statistics estimate only 1 rape out of 10 is reported). Currently,
there are two employees in the city's health department responsible
for rape victim services. Do you think the city is adequately handling this problem or do you feel more services are needed?
5. Sexual Harassment. New York City's Women's Institute found that
70% of women are sexually harassed at some point in their careers.
A number of complaints of sexual harassment have been made by
women city employees in the last few years, yet no city employee
has ever been fired as a result. Will you take complaints of this
nature seriously, if you are elected?
6. Women's Advocate. During the Hofheinz administration a women's
advocate position was created and funded. Would you support such
a position? With what responsibilities?
7. City Jail. Have you ever visited the City Jail? YES NO. Do you
consider the facilities for women and men adequate? If not, how
would you improve them?
8. Police/Fire. Should all police officers and fire fighters perform the
same duties or do you see specific areas for men only?
9. Child Care. Should the City of Houston provide child care for its
employees? Please elaborate.
10. ERA. Do you feel the Equal Rights Amendment is needed? Why or
11. Women in your Campaign. What positions are held by women in
12. Additional Comments. Do you have any additional comments on
issues of particular concern to women?
Candidates designated NS if they felt they needed more information before responding to any question raised.
Breakthrough does not endorse candidates. We hope the information we
bring you about the candidates will help you make a more informed decision when you vote. We wish to bring your attention to the endorsements of the Harris County Women's Political Caucus and the Harris
County Democrats. (See story on page 8).
Louis Macey, incumbent council member and businessman.
NO RESPONSE RECEIVED
Debby Leonard, refinery worker at Atlantic Richfield, member of the Oil, Chemical,
and Atomic Workers Union, former president of the Houston Coalition of Labor
Union Women and leader of the Socialist Workers Party. Ran for Mayor in 1971.
1. City Problem. The misleadership of the Democratic and Republican politicians who
serve the interests of the big corporations is the chief problem. They are responsible
for sexism and the attack on women's rights. We propose a party of working people,
a labor party, organized by the trade unions to help lead in the struggle for women's
equality, a solution to the energy rip-off; etc. 2. Battered Women. Yes. Yes. 3. Affirmative Action. A living wage is a basic human right. Workers need unions to fight for
cost of living escalator clauses. They should rise with the real rate of inflation as determents consumer Price Index which deliberately underestimates price increases. All
wages should be raised to union scale. Affirmative action should be strictly enforced.
Quotas are needed in hiring and job up-grading to provide equal opportunities for
women as well as blacks and chicanos. 4. Rape. No. We demand the elimination of
the judicial process predicated on the assumption that female rape victims are the
guilty party; establishment of centers-independent of the police and courts—designed
to welcome, counsel and aid. 5. Sexual Harrassment. Yes. 6. Women's Advocate. Yes.
Position should bring women together and bring them out of their domestic isolation
and their lack of confidence in their own abilities, intelligence, independence and
strength. This position should, also, help lead the struggle for women's rights. This
leadership should penetrate into all layers of society and not be tied to any particular
political (group). 7. City Jail. Yes. No. We support prisoner demands for better conditions. However, prisons are not the answer, regardless of how many reforms are
realized. The majority of prisoners are the poor while the real criminals such as the
police who murdered Reggie Lee Jackson go free. The society must be reorganized
so that all people will have a right to a decent job, housing, etc. and are part of the real
decision making process of the economy. 8. Police/Fire. Yes, all fire fighters should
perform the same duties. We believe that the police exist to protect the interests of
the rich and should be eliminated. Justice cannot be administered at the point of a
gun whether it is held by a man or woman. 9. Child Care. Yes, women need twenty-
four hour childcare centers and schools conveniently located and open to all children
from infancy to early adolescence, regardless of parents' income or marital status,
with trained male and female personnel and elimination of all sexist practices. 10.
ERA. Yes. There are a host of laws that deny women equality. Ratification of the
ERA would make these laws unconstitutional and strengthen existing anti-discriminatory legislation. 11. Women in your Campaign. The campaign manager is a woman,
as is the treasurer. 12. Additional Comments. LERN (Labor for Equal Rights) has
launched a march and rally for the ERA in Richmond, Virginia on January 13. This
action was endorsed, recently, at both national conventions of NOW and CLUW.
Women's and civil rights groups, trade unions in Houston should use this opportunity
to turn the Virginia effort into a massive national drive for the ERA.
Rev. C. Leon Pickett, an ordained minister in the World order of the Deist Church, and
editor o/The Pickett Line, a free newspaper.
NO RESPONSE RECEIVED.
Lawrence Andrew Sims, a law student and a file clerk with Fullbright and Jaworski.
NO RESPONSE RECEIVED.
Larry Robinson, a salvage company owner and mayoral candidate in 1977.
NO RESPONSE RECEIVED.
Jewell Davis Lemons, a lawyer and active member in Citizens Against Pornography.
NO RESPONSE RECEIVED.
Jim McConn, incumbent mayor and builder.
1. City Problem. Transportation is probably the most important problem in the City
of Houston and by establishing the MTA last year, I think citizens have taken a step
toward solving the problem. 2. Battered Women. Yes. The city has a responsibility toward battered women because we are the first point of intervention. The police need
to make sure that the women know where to go and that they get help in filing charges
of assault against whoever is beating them up. The city should help organizations to
find funds and also to possibly help fund such facilities through Community Development and/or revenue sharing funds. 3. Affirmative Action. I have appointed Mary Etta
Jackson as head of Purchasing and Erie Callaway as head of the Affirmative Action
division. I have also appointed four women judges. Five high level member of my executive staff are women. I intend to hire and promote more women in my second term.
4. Rape. One of my first endeavors for women was to prepare and distribute from the
mayor's office the booklet How to Avoid or Cope with Rape. This book is now in its
third printing and is being used as a model for other cities. We are working both to prevent rape, through our rape squad, and to help those who have been raped by making
health services available. 5. Sexual Harassment. Reports of any kind of harrassment
may be reported to the Affirmative Action division where they are judged to be ot
probable cause or no cause. If there is probable cause, Affirmative Action goes to the
department head and proceeds with an investigation. On-site interviews are conducted