Name: Troy Gabriel Houston (T. Gabe Houston)
Birth place: Washington D.C.
How long have you lived in Huntington Beach? 21 years
Occupation: attorney, Houston Law of California
Education: Chapman University School of Law; UC Berkeley (bachelor’s degree in political science/economics)
Previously elected or appointed positions: Currently appointed to the Huntington Beach Finance Board
Community organizations you belong to: American Bar Assn.; California Bar Assn.; Orange County Bar Assn.; Orange County Trial Lawyers Assn.; Orange County Criminal Defense Bar Assn.; California Public Defenders Assn.; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn.; Cessna Pilots Assn.
What do you think are the biggest issues facing Huntington Beach right now? budget, fiscal sustainability, infrastructure and electing proper representatives
What is one decision in the last year the city attorney got right and why would you have supported it?
I support my opponents’ decision to attempt to conduct herself appropriately when in the public domain. Within the past four years our city attorney was convicted of driving under the influence while in office and filed for bankruptcy while receiving an 11% ($21,000) increase in pay. This is not meant to be a commentary related to her character. I respect that my opponent is well-liked within her circle. I am merely recognizing these instances as past examples of poor judgment. As the top legal official and the second highest paid employee in this city, we the people expect our city attorney to conduct herself appropriately, responsibly and on the correct side of the law in her role as our elected legal representative. It does not appear that our city attorney has had any additional arrests, convictions or probation violations since her conviction in 2006 and she appears to have a handle on her other issues.
What is one decision in the last year the city attorney got wrong, or partially wrong, and why would you have ruled differently?
I disagree with my opponent’s legal opinion she provided to the City Council in which she ignored the specific intent of Section 617 of the Huntington Beach City Charter. In 2002 the voters approved a measure which required the creation of an infrastructure fund. This fund was to be used only for direct costs related to maintenance and improvements of infrastructure. My opponent’s position permitted general fund revenues to be spent on debt service obligations instead of infrastructure maintenance or improvement. Our streets and sidewalks are in a general state of disrepair. In February the city attorney settled a case for $30,000 (which I also disagree with) for a kid who was injured while riding a modified skateboard when he fell in the alley behind his own house because of a crack in the asphalt. Lawsuits as a result of injuries caused by infrastructure deterioration will continue to be filed. The potentially exorbitant losses and legal costs will be paid from taxpayer revenue. Proper application of the voter-approved ballot measure would help to prevent such lawsuits and losses to taxpayers instead of encouraging similar lawsuits to be filed.