The Campaign for Houston’s Vacant Real Estate: Who Will Win the Empty Lot Primary?

Ever wonder what’s behind all the political endorsements made by so many vacant lots in Houston? Why is it that the weedy site shown above at the corner of Heights Blvd. and Center St., near the future West End Walmart, for example, appears to be supporting Jenifer Rene Pool in her bid for an at-large city council seat? Among the empty lots of Washington Ave, there seems to be a lot of support for another candidate for the same position, Eric Dick. What’s up with that? Political consultant Greg Wythe, who’s long studied the demographics and political opinions of Harris County’s human population, has begun a new website devoted to exploring the campaign preferences of Houston’s vacant properties — as expressed by the various signs and banners they’re regularly festooned with.


“The aim,” Wythe writes, “will be to highlight the use of visual clutter in the form of political campaign signage in locations where no human being at that location endorses a candidate. So this would cover everything from signs placed on empty lots, vacant buildings, and freeway overpasses.”

The fun part: You get to participate. If you come across a little political rally from some local empty lotters, just snap a photo. If you tweet it or post it to your Flickr account with the tag #emptylotprimary or #elp, Wythe promises to scoop it up into his blog. You can also submit your own photos directly here, or email him directly. “Some locational info is always good to include,” Wythe writes, “but the photos should pretty much speak for themselves.”

Already, the Empty Lot Primary website includes vacant political speech by council candidates Pool, Dick, and Brian Cweren, as well as a quick public telephone-pole retraction by former state rep and current council candidate Ellen Cohen.

Photos: The Empty Lot Primary

4 Comment

  • Funny, I thought the Eric Dick signs popping up around the ‘hood for the past several months were the work of another prankster/ wheatposter pulling our “leg”. Guess I won’t be calling the Dick headquaters to ask if their refrigerator is running.

  • What a great name for a politician! No publicity is bad publicity, especially if you’re a Dick.

  • I refuse to vote for these jokes. They put these illegal signs on private property hoping owners don’t notice fast enough. Houston is so lame and lax in its enforcement of fining these sign bandits. Houstisns should fine them by voting for another candidate, since Dick is clearly a ….

  • Somebody needs to outlaw this and all of the other bandit sign crap that seems to be taking over Houston.