The openly gay Annise Parker has been elected Mayor of Houston.
Also, gay folks were elected to two of the five city council seats that are elected by the entire city.
(Correction–-A reader points out I am mistaken about the number of city at-large spots won by a gay candidate. It is one instead of two. Please see the comments below. Thanks to blog reader Horwitz for the help. One less solider for the gay takeover! )
Some on the right had warned of a “gay takeover” of Houston if these people were to be elected.
The gay takeover is here.
It seems to be going okay so far.
I’ve made myself a cup of tea and later I’ll do some reading before bed.
I think I can used to living in our new “gayocracy” here in Houston.
I hope these gay folks do a better job than straight folks have done of running this city.
Houston has had a black Mayor in recent years despite being the largest Jim Crow city in the U.S. in 1960.
Ms. Parker and her partner adopted black kids. You see the kids, now adults, in the grainy picture above that I took off of my T.V.
It really is all something of a miracle—Though a miracle that many worked hard to make happen.
Houston has plenty of problems. We have a lot of poor people in Houston.
But we must also be glad for the progress that has been made since Houston was the largest Jim Crow city in the United States.
Let’s now work for economic justice as well to match the ongoing process in our social relations.
I promise—This is my last pre-election post about Houston City Elections.
Thank you to regular readers from outside of Houston for sticking with me as I write about his stuff.
I’ve got somewhat of a voice around here—Maybe— so I guess I should use that voice.
Runoff Election Day is Saturday, December 12.
Without hope,what do we have?
The theme of my endorsements post is gambling.
What is a bigger gamble than democracy?
Today I got a political mailing from local Houston gay-basher Dave Wilson.
Mr. Wilson says we should not “elect a lesbian for Mayor.”
The mailing also says—”Vote For Gene Locke For Mayor.”
Why not return this money? Mr. Wilson’s views are well-known.
Above is a picture of George Wallace—-Because how is one form of bigotry any different from any other form of bigotry?
Houston Mayoral run-off candidate Gene Locke has denied any part in anti-gay mailings directed at his opponent Annise Parker.
Yet what Mr. Locke asserts may not be the case.
From the Houston Chronicle—
“The finance chairman and a finance committee member of Gene Locke’s mayoral campaign helped bankroll the conservative political action committee that sent out an anti-gay mailer targeting City Controller Annise Parker and other municipal candidates earlier this month, according to Texas Ethics Commission documents….The revelation immediately drew accusations of illegal coordination from the campaign of Parker, whom the mailer urged voters not to choose because she was endorsed by the “gay and lesbian political caucus.” Parker is openly gay.”
It seems we cannot trust Gene Locke to admit what types of people he is willing to toss under the bus to win this election.
(Above–One of our Houston city buses as photographed by Brian Reading. Gene Locke will —in a symbolic regard—run that bus over anybody!)
He’ll sell out one bunch of folks one day, and then maybe some other group of folks another day.
Regular readers of this blog–Thanks mom!!–will note that I’ve not criticized Annise Parker nearly as much in recent days as I have in the past few weeks.
Don’t worry! We’ll get Ms. Parker elected and then have two years to take after her.
As I never weary of telling people, this blogger was in 1997 a Stonewall Cincinnati endorsed candidate for the Cincinnati Board of Education.
Just how low can can Houston Mayoral run-off candidate Gene Locke go?
Given a chance in a debate last night with rival Annise Parker to reject the endorsement of anti-gay hatemonger Steven Hotze, Mr. Locke did not do so.
( Above–Death Valley, California. The lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. Gene Locke is even lower than Death Valley. Here is information about Death Valley National Park.)
If one form of bigotry is acceptable, why all not forms of bigotry?
Mr. Locke is a black man and you’d think he’d know better. All people should know better.
Can you really picture Annise Parker seeking the endorsement of racists?
Ms. Parker is flawed.—Though we are all flawed.
Yet I just can’t imagine Ms. Parker going out and looking for the endorsement of hateful people just for the purposes of winning an election.
Mr. Locke did not limit his offensive comments last night to bigotry. He struck a strong note of selfishness as well.
In his closing statement, Mr. Locke suggested voters should ask “What’s in it for me?”
“What’s in it for me?”
Ms. Parker, in great contrast, used her closing statement to say the first decent thing I have heard said in this campaign.
Ms. Parker used her closing statement to say “I want your commitment to our city.”
I hope Ms. Parker builds on this concept of obligations citizens have to the larger community.
Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke puts his campaign signs everywhere.
Above are some that have popped up like mushrooms.
( Here is a link to a U. of Illinois horticulturist writing about how the limit the spread of mushrooms on your lawn. Gene Locke could stop of the spread of his signs by simply being a good citizen of our community.)
The signs in the picture may well be legally-placed. However ,the Locke campaign has signs on highway overpasses all over the city.
I saw such signs last week on 45 South headed to Galveston.
I saw them again today on 45 North headed to the airport.
I wish I had a picture of the highway signs, but it did not seem a good idea to take pictures while driving on the highway.
Though if you have been on our highways in Houston, maybe you have seen these signs.
Such signs are illegal and will cost taxpayer dollars to remove.
It is not just that Mr. Locke has campaign signs where they should not be, it is also that he consorts with gay bashers.
Is there anything decent and hopeful about the Locke campaign?
If there is, Mr. Locke has kept it well-hidden.
If only he would keep his campaign signs well-hidden.
I went to the Annise Parker web page today to see if she had moved ideologically to the left in her campaign for Mayor now that she has released a poll saying she has a 13 point lead on Gene Locke in the Mayoral runoff election.
I thought that maybe being ahead in the polls would free her up to speak a little more truth than she has so far in the campaign.
Ms. Parker’s campaign has been touting Ms. Parker, a Democrat, as a so-called “fiscal conservative.”
It is obnoxious and disheartening that a Democrat is making this claim in a majority Democratic city.
If I want a so-called fiscal conservative, I’ll vote for a Republican. Given the absence of a Republican in the runoff in our majority-Democratic City of Houston, maybe what folks in Houston want is a government that helps people and that has a place in people’s lives.
While visiting Ms. Parker’s web home, I checked out the list of supporters her campaign team has complied.
Below is the link to that list. (You’ll have to cut and paste it–Sorry. I’ve got this new Apple computer and it is giving me fits. I can’t get links inserted into the blog that you don’t have to cut and paste. I’m sure I’ll figure it all out with time. Maybe.)
My blog is on the list!
I have indeed endorsed Ms. Parker. It is correct to put my blog on this list.
Though if you read the post, it was not a fully flattering endorsement.
Nor is this more recent post 100% supportive of Ms. Parker–
The comment beneath the 11/15 post is one of my fellow Houston progressive bloggers suggesting that I was smoking weed while writing the post.
Ha!–Nope. Maybe just drinking some carrot juice.
I give the Parker people credit for putting my blog on the list of supporters.
Maybe they are thick-skinned—That is a good trait to have.
Maybe —To paraphrase the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign—in their hearts they know I’m right.
Maybe it is a small joke on me. You can’t click though to my blog from the Parker site. So as far as anybody knows, I’m 100% on-board.
I hope it is to some extent a joke at my expense.
Better than playing a joke on others, is a joke at one’s own expense.
All the world is a stage.
I just hope that Ms. Parker recalls I was a supporter even before the first round of voting two weeks ago.
I’m looking for an appointment as city alligator commissioner. I’m hoping the city will give me a boat to cruise up and down the bayous and a net to catch the gators.
With some hesitancy, I’m supporting Annise Parker for Mayor of Houston.
Ms. Parker, our current Houston City Controller, is the best bet to address issues of importance to Houston’s poor and working class. Ms. Parker is the candidate most likely to pursue anything approaching a liberal and progressive agenda that involves social, environmental and economic fair play.
Though all three serious candidates for Mayor of Houston are Democrats, each has run to the right so as to appeal to Republicans. It is not the fault of Democrats, and of people in Houston who could use help from government, that no credible Republican thought Houston important enough to run for Mayor.
Into this vacuum , Ms. Parker and the other leading candidates have talked at length about crime and so-called fiscal conservatism.
If you’re a Republican reading this please be clear—Annise Parker, Peter Brown and Gene Locke are Democrats.
Nobody wants to be a victim of crime and it is the poor who are most likely to be victims of crime. Yet it must be noted that crime rates have been going down in Houston.
It is one thing to address an issue that all people are concerned about. It is another thing to use that issue to obscure the facts and to deflect attention from the wide range of critical issues that have been ignored in this empty campaign.
On economic issues, Ms. Parker’s occasional embrace of the “fiscal conservative” label has been disheartening.
I was ready to write in support of Ms. Parker last week. However, I was given pause after the Parker campaign circulated a blog post written by my fellow blogger Martha Griffin. Ms. Parker’s campaign used Ms. Griffin’s post to appeal to so-called fiscal conservatives.
Ms. Griffin’s post discussed how Ms. Parker had saved the City of Houston taxpayer dollars in her capacity as City Controller.
That’s good. That is what Ms. Parker should be doing as Controller.
However, fiscal conservatism is a philosophy of governance. It is about far more than how one executes the duties of City Controller. To confuse the two is to confuse the voter. Ms. Griffin was saying that Ms. Parker has done a good job as Controller. Yet it is hard to think that this is what the Parker campaign was trying to convey in circulating the post.
Did Ms. Parker pitch herself as a fiscal conservative when she won the endorsements of the Houston Federation of Teachers, the Harris County AFL-CIO Council, HOPE Local 123 and the Service Employees International Union?
Is this what we have come to in our majority-Democrat City of Houston? If I want a fiscal conservative, I’ll vote for a Republican. The fact that no credible Republican is running suggests that voters in Houston are not as receptive to a Republican message as our 2009 Mayoral candidates seem to believe.
Still, the union endorsements and some aspects of Ms. Parker’s record provide hope that Ms. Parker offers more to the people of Houston than she’s been advertising in her campaign.
Ms. Parker has done great work in helping low income residents of Houston gain access to banks.
Ms. Parker has supported efforts by janitors in Houston to be better paid and to receive benefits.
Ms. Parker has a personal history of fighting for the political and social rights of people seeking a rightful place in society.
The Houston of 2009 is not of Ms. Parker’s making. We’re all trapped to some extent in a world we did not create. Ms. Parker must run a campaign that is mindful of Houston’s political climate.
That said, there is also a place for courage and for leadership. This is not a place Ms. Parker has yet realized in this campaign.
My hope is that Ms. Parker wins the chance to serve as our Mayor, and that her tenure is one dedicated to the aspirations and needs of all citizens of our city.
This post can also be found at the Houston Chronicle where I am a featured political reader-blogger.
(For those seeking a better understanding of the social, environmental and economic landscape of Houston, the book Energy Metropolis–An Environmental History of Houston and the Gulf Coast connects many of the dots.)
I got a card in the mail yesterday from the Harris County Tejano Democrats. This group wanted to let me know who they were supporting in our 2009 Houston City elections.
Here is the web home of the Tejano Democrats. The web home could use a little work. Go to where it says “endorsed candidates” or “meet the officers” and you’ll see what I’m saying.
People make mistakes all the time. I make mistakes all the time. Yet if you have a political website up two weeks before an election, please get it right.
I’m happy to hear from the Tejano Democrats—But I think I’ve been racially profiled.
Though my last name is Aquino, I’m not Hispanic. The name is Italian.
On the side of my family not from Italy, I’ve got people off the Mayflower.
Maybe the Tejano Democrats sent out the card to all people in Houston who are of immigrant stock.
The Tejano Democrats endorsed Gene Locke for Mayor of Houston.
Who knows? It does not say at the Tejano Democrats site why they endorsed Mr. Locke.
Could it be they endorsed Mr. Locke because he has been addressing issues of great importance to the Hispanic community in Houston?
No—The idea that Mr. Locke has been addressing issues of great importance to anybody is as likely as is me being Hispanic.
Mr. Locke, a Democrat, has been running around trying to get Republicans to vote for him in this election.
I’m not sure I want to know why the Tejano Democrats endorsed Mr. Locke. It is quite possible that the process was not very inspiring.
Anyway, if there is a meeting of the Very Liberal Italians of Harris County taking place anytime soon, could someone please get in touch with me. I’d be happy to attend.
So-Called Democrat Gene Locke Solicits Republicans—Locke Seeking To Trick And Bamboozle Black & Republican Voters
Houston politics blogger Martha Griffin has a post up this evening at her blog Musings reporting that Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke, a so-called Democrat, has solicited Republican Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman to annoy citizens of Houston with robocalls.
From Ms. Griffin’s post—”This is the same Beverly Kaufman who is on record as being against the pre-clearance portion of the Voting Rights Act. Pre-clearance is in place for nine Southern states that have a history of discrimination or suppressing minority voting, including Texas.”
Here is the link to the entirety of Ms. Griffin’s post. Ms. Griffin has an audio of the robocall that you can hear.
In the call Ms Kaufman talks about the support Mr. Locke has gained from “conservative business groups.” Ms. Kaufman makes it clear in the call that she is a Republican.
Mr. Locke assumes black voters in Houston will support him for Mayor because he is black—But black support may not be enough to reach a runoff. To get the extra votes he feels he needs, Mr. Locke will engage in low-down tactics
He’ll sell out his core supporters in a heartbeat.
Mr. Locke thinks black folks in Houston are stupid. He thinks he can trumpet the support of people who don’t at all share the beliefs of his most important voters, and that people won’t catch on that he is a fraud.
People will indeed catch on to the fact that Mr. Locke is seeking to trick and bamboozle them on Election Day.
If you’re a Republican, please recall that Gene Locke is a Democrat. He is looking to trick and bamboozle you as well.
How can anybody trust this man to stick true to any belief? He is loyal only to his own ambitions.
Recent stories in the Houston Chronicle detail tough conditions for people in Houston and all of Harris County.
These stories have reported…
All these concerns are directly connected to the economic distress that is inherent to much of Houston even when we are not in a recession.
You’d think that with all three serious candidates for Mayor of Houston being Democrats, that these issues and concerns about poverty in our city would be part of the discussion as we approach Election Day.
Health care reform is clearly a local issue and it is an issue currently on the table in Washington. When you’re a Democrat and you’re running for Mayor of a city of two million people, you’d think the prospect of health care for all would be a matter you’d address.
How can liberals, progressives and people in Houston who need some help count on any of these three Democrats when they are silent on such a big question?
Don’t believe the lie that City of Houston elections are non-partisan. Party identification can’t be made known on the ballot, but candidates are certainly free to identify themselves with a political party during the campaign. All three of the main candidates are Democrats.
If Republicans in Houston want to vote for one of these Democrats they are clearly free to do so—But these folks are Democrats.
Ms. Parker, Mr. Locke and Mr. Brown are making calculations about who matters based on who they expect to vote in November. Other people, no matter how much in need they may be, don’t seem to count.
Liberals, progressives and loyal Democrats need to be sure they are not pushed aside in a race that they should in fact be defining.
All Three Candidates For Houston Mayor Are Democrats—Where Is Comment On Senator Kennedy And Health Care Reform?
Despite the fact that these candidates are all Democrats, none I’m aware of have yet to comment on the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. None have offered any support to health care efforts that might well help many uninsured citizens of Houston get coverage. Health care reform was a lifetime concern of Senator Kennedy.
Health care reform is an issue with a direct impact on Houston.
These three candidates have actively sought out the support of local Democrats in Houston. I hope that these Democrats running for Mayor see party affiliation as more than simply something to be used when it suits them and ignored when inconvenient.
Not one serious Republican in Houston thought his or her city was worth putting forth a Republican vision for the future of Houston. Democrats should fill this void with strong leadership that puts the values of the Democratic Party at the center of where Houston should move in the years ahead.
The lie is that our Houston city elections are non-partisan. The fact is that candidates for city office can and often do make note of their party affiliation. It is time for the Democratic Party in Houston and Harris County to assert control of Houston City Government that voters of Houston seem prepared to allow at the ballot box.
(Update–Gene Locke has made a Twitter comment on Senator Kennedy’s death. That’s a small start.)