By Marc Campos

The Vacancy Factor

Just ask. Commentary has been involved in politics for years. My base is Houston. Local Latino politics is something I know a little about. There are only a handful of us that are still around - that have been doing this for this long - 30 plus years. A former city council member, a former state legislator, an attorney, and a Heights/Northside Democratic Party activist. Survivors?

Dr. Tatcho Mindiola of the University of Houston Mexican American Studies Program used to teach a class on Houston Latino politics. The class focused on key political campaigns that shaped the local Latino political landscape. A 1982 state legislative race, a 1988 state legislative race and constable race, the 1992 congressional campaign, and a 1999 city council election. The '82 and '88 contests splintered key Latino alliances and personal relationships.

The '82 and '88 breakups involved not being on the same page on who to support for a vacancy. Things were never the same after the '82 and '88 affairs. According to friends of Commentary, some folks are wondering if the '05 District 143 race is on track to divide certain alliances in the local Latino political community. Yes.

To be honest, things were already on shaky ground. The vacancy created by Joe Moreno's death just moved up the timetable so to speak. If my buddy Tatcho still teaches that class, he may have to add '05 to the class syllabus. Rumor has it '08 ought to further alter the landscape.

June 24, 2005, 9:00AM

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