Texas Liberal

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What Will Houston Mayor Annise Parker Say And Do About 47% of Houston Kids In Poverty?—Where Are The So-Called Progressives And The Democrats?

A few days ago the office of Houston Mayor Annise Parker offered up the following status update on Facebook–

“Forbes Magazine says, “if you want to see a successful 21st century urbanism, hop down to Houston and the Lone Star State.” What do you think?

Here is the link to the article that the mayor was referencing. The Forbes article was written by Joel Kotkin.

Here is one thing the article says—

“Although it also attracts a large number of low-skill migrants, Houston has considerably expanded its white-collar workforce. According to the Praxis Strategy Group, Houston’s ranks of college-educated residents grew 13% between 2005 and 2008.”

Don’t worry folks—Those low-skill migrants are so busy doing our dirty work for us for low wages, that they don’t have time to bother you in any other regard. That is unless you are one of the folks obsessed with the immigration status of the people you exploit.

Houston has good points. There is a feeling that you can come here from someplace else and make a life for yourself and your family.

There is, however, another side. It is a side of Houston that Mayor Parker has never addressed  since she became Mayor earlier this year.

Here is what  a May 27 report from Houston Public radio station KUHF says about the free school meal program in Houston schools

Their (The Houston Independent School District) statistics show 47-percent of Houston children live at or below the poverty level. They say that means more of them are likely to go hungry. However there’s no poverty requirement to receive food with the summer program. They say any child can just show up and he or she will be served. When you combine the parks and school locations, there were 430 sites that served free lunch last summer. They say Texas ranks lower than most states when it comes to feeding its children and they’d like to add even more sites….”

47% of kids in poverty. I’d say that this number is an everyday crisis. We (try to) address an oil slick when it befouls the Gulf of Mexico. We make our dirty air in Houston an issue.

What about nearly half our kids living in poverty? Isn’t that a big crisis?

Mayor Parker must be a public advocate for our City of Houston, yet she must also acknowledge that we have many terrible problems in Houston that go beyond drainage and budget issues.

Mayor Parker is a Democrat who began her career in politics fighting for the human rights of gay folks. Where is her commitment to the best ideals of the Democratic Party and to the betterment of all citizens in Houston regardless of how much money they make?

It is up to liberals, progressives and Democrats in Houston to demand more of Mayor Parker.

The future of Houston involves more than pushing for more bike trails and urban rail lines.

June 2, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,


  1. You know that it took Lyndon Johnson’s approach to federalism, the Great Society, to address poverty. It took someone with power and who knew how to use it to address the problem.

    The problem is people are not leaders, they are celebrities. People do not want to risk fame to address problems. Apathy is our nesting place. We don’t want to be bothered. Look at the federal government. They aren’t going to address poverty and poverty is too big of a problem for the mayor of Houston. Has Mayor Bloomburg, who I don’t dislike, done anything about poverty?

    One difference in New York, better race relations, better educated people, people understand an engaged and involved city government. Here you can’t get a side walk in front of your house because people do not want to have the government “give” them anything. People do not expect government to help them. And the county isn’t any better. People are willing to have the level of corruption of a Chuck Rosenthal, which means that more of your major institutions in the this city/county are as corrupt as the D.A. was, and people don’t really care about it. They expect it and they worship the corporation and not the shining city on the hill. They don’t like government and they don’t want it to be a part of their lives or anyone’s life.

    My students actually believe that wealthy people should pay less taxes. They also think they have a right to be that wealthy person. Wait until life smacks them really hard. It is over for this generation. They believe Limbaugh and Beck and they think that these guys know and understand government. Freedom is ignorance!

    What will have to happen is an event to turn people around. 9/11 wasn’t it because it was not like an economic crash. It wasn’t like JFK where Johnson–Master of the Senate could capitalize and move the Great Society through the horror. Roosevelt only the New Deal because the country collapsed.

    No one cares about these poor kids. And if they did they don’t have a federal government addressing the problem. The president has given up. The Congress is too bought by the interests groups they would have to tax to get it done. November is going to freak people out, but these teabaggers aren’t any different. They won’t have any answers. They are not a real movement. They are astroturf to distract people from the real problem. Corporate greed. They should be taxed at the same rate the middle class is taxed. Then you can have a poverty program.

    Comment by jaye | June 2, 2010

  2. Jaye–Thanks for reading the blog and for your comment.

    Mayor Parker could press Austin and Washington for funds. She could speak up and create a climate for gains in the future. She could use the skills she learned as an advocate for gay folks to help empower segments of our population that are at a political and economic disadvantage. She could call for a “Renew Houston” type of effort to improve conditions of poverty in Houston. She could call for a living wage ordinance for Houston.

    Civil Rights protestors did not wait for an event to come and change things. This is why M.L. King often spoke of the “urgency of now.” Now is the time for Mayor Parker to address the facts that are right in front of her and to work for a better city for all of Houston.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 2, 2010

  3. In response to your question, “Where are all the so-called progressives and democrats?”
    That is an excellent question and if you ever find them will you please let me know?!?!

    I’m having little luck myself trying to find liberal friends or people who are willing to admit they are liberal. It’s frustrating but I can understand if they are uneasy as many conservatives are quite hateful and frankly it’s a bit scary. I’ve had some experiences I’d like to share…

    My current friends are conservative. I’m beginning to realize they are not really friends at all so I’m starting to distance myself from them. I’m very kind and I care for them and do nice things so I don’t think it’s because I’m a bad person. I really think it’s because I’m liberal. One of my friends told me that it was going to be hard for me to find a boyfriend because of my views and there “just aren’t a lot of people like you”. I’ve also been referred to harshly as “you people”-meaning ‘liberals’ when in debate with another so called friend which I felt was a tad degrading. I’ve been called “Godless” and “crazy” before because of my views even though I’m actually very spiritual and intelligent. I’ve had friends ‘de-friend’ me on Facebook because I voted for Obama and am for socialized healthcare.

    I really don’t think my views are all that insane. I believe in “we not me”. I think all people are important no matter what and we should care for each other. Yesterday I tried to leave a waitress a $5.00 tip for a $9.00 meal. My friend looked at me like I was insane and asked, “WHY are you leaving her so much??” I said, “Because she has to live too.” She said, “She doesn’t need that much!” and had the audacity to take my money off the table as we were leaving!! I am still pissed about that and I’d really like to find new friends now.

    I’ve been out at bars and gotten into debates with random people on the issues and such. They talk down to me like I’m a nieve child and they get very angry and hurtful when debating the immigration issue. They really have no empathy for others at all….but *I’M* the evil one. One lady at work truly believes Obama is the anti-Christ and she has treated me less friendly since she found out I voted for him.

    I’ve been looking around on meetup.com and so far no luck for liberal groups in Houston. I’m almost to the point of starting some sort of group myself. There are many conservative groups though. Obama was elected president so I know there have to be just as many liberals as there are conservatives but we just don’t seem to be that vocal. Conservatives will get out there with bullhorns yelling while liberals seem more mild mannered. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but it’s hard to hear liberals over the screaming conservatives sometimes. I think a lot of liberals are just hiding out when really we should be coming together to bring change like we did during the election.

    Anyway-I enjoy your blog and lurk here at least once a week for some sanity. When I get lonely and frustrated, I tend to come here to remind myself that I’m not the only person in Texas who is liberal. Thanks much! 🙂

    Comment by Alison | June 9, 2010

  4. Alison–This is a great comment and I want to reply at greater length when I have some more time. Thank you for your support of the blog and for your kind words.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | June 13, 2010

  5. Mayor Annise Parker has become a career politician. Fighting for Civil Rights is a thing of the past. I wrote Mayor Annise Parker’s Mayoral Campaign about an issue where her Chief of Staff hired two. One lover supervising the other in a Group of 5 employees. I asked Mayor Annise Parker how she felt about this issue, since she has become Mayor I have been constanly retaliated againse. I e-mailed the Mayor and Council persons. I appeared before City Council and each time the Mayor’s Administration retaliated even more.

    Mayor Annise Parker don’t care about the poor, immigrants, or blacks that live in The City of Houston. Our city has become a City of Divisions, the haves against the have nots.

    Comment by Jacquelyn Ballard | June 22, 2010

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