Texas Liberal

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Conservative Houston Mayor Annise Parker Keeps After The Homeless And Says That Public Is Private—A Progressive Challenger Is Needed In 2013

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has been pushing an anti-food sharing ordinance in Houston that would criminalize  many acts of kindness towards those most in need in our city

(Above–The type of sharing with others that may soon be illegal in Houston.)  

Beyond that, Mayor Parker, in explaining her support for the anti-giving ordinance, has some strange views about the public’s right to use public space.

From the Houston Press

“Mayor Parker argued that City property is, indeed, private — it’s owned by the City, she reminded people — and that the owner of City property should have the same rights as any homeowner or other private property owner…. “It’s a mistake to conflate city property with my front yard,” said Raj Mankad, editor of Rice University’s Cite Magazine, as he addressed the Council in response to Mayor Parker. “They’re completely different kinds of property. City land is public space; there’s a different history and a different body of laws that apply in public space.”

( Here is the website for Cite Magazine.) 

Mayor Parker views our public resources as somehow private.

No surprise from somebody who received an A- in fiscal conservatism from the Texas Conservative Review.

The anti-food sharing ordinance is not dead. It may well be back before council–in a watered down but still obnoxious fashion–On Tuesday, April 3.

Call the Mayor and members of Council to make your voice heard.

In Houston, the homeless get three laws in nine months directed at them, while millions of city dollars go to dog shelters to win the dog-owner vote, while soccer stadiums and so-called arthouse movie theaters get tax dollars, and while tailgating Downtown at the soccer stadium is encouraged so we can have more drunks driving on–of all places–Houston highways.

Funny how the fiscal conservatism the Mayor asserts when appealing to the right does not seem to preclude these panderings and give-aways.

Everybody is having a great time! Folks are out at the movie theater, or are drinking in public so they can hit the highways and drive drunk. The developers and the private concerns are feasting on taxpayer dollars.

It is big whoopee for all but the homeless who are getting moved along and arrested, and for those helping the homeless who will get a ticket from the police.

Mayor Parker won a fraction over 50% of the vote in 2011 against 3 minor candidates despite raising over $ 2 million dollars. She did this in an election where something like 10% of eligible voters cast a ballot.

The Mayor is hardly democratically legitimate. Her real support in Houston is maybe 6% or 7% of the whole city.

I hope a progressive candidate emerges in 2013 to oppose this conservative Mayor.

How long do we go along being afraid that we can’t do better than folks like Annise Parker?

Why don’t we try for once try reaching out to all of Houston, and try a hopeful inclusive  message in our diverse and optimistic city?

(Below–The address for a great Facebook site that has been working hard to defeat this cruel ordinance.)

March 28, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,


  1. IMO, Neil, you are correct. Anise Parker is a fraud. There is NO excuse to ABUSE any portion of your constituency. How does Mayor Parker reconcile the ambiguity of wanting and working for equal access and rights for our LGBT citizens, yet, working to disenfranchise our homeless and needy? Because she favors one group and disfavors another, she makes herself only a partisan hack, showing favor for her own selfish interests over and above the needs and interests of the citizens she is sworn to serve. Her idea that the City property is a “private” property is beyond comprehension. Has she never heard of PUBLIC ASSETS or, is she like other republicans who believe that while THEY hold the office, they are the “deciders” and they are the “owners” – IOW, the boss of YOU!

    While we are at it – how and WHY do you CRIMINALIZE a NON-CRIMINAL act? I understand completely the signs at the zoo, “Please do not feed the animals.” The animals are, after all, the property of some corporation or person and that person has a specific right to protect and control his own property. If you become homeless or extremely needy, do you somehow become the property of the City of Houston, to be protected and controlled as are the animals at the zoo?

    Legal definition of a criminal act: Any crime, including an act, omission, or possession under the laws of the United States or a State or unit of general local government, which poses a substantial threat of personal injury, notwithstanding that by reason of age, insanity, intoxication or otherwise the person engaging in the act, omission, or possession was legally incapable of committing a crime.

    How does it injure someone to feed them if they are hungry?

    I wish someone would identify, publish their pictures, the people who are pushing this agenda. I certainly would be interested in what the people who want to criminalize feeding the hungry look like. I would certainly want to know EXACTLY who these mean-spirited and hate-filled people are. Why are they not standing up and showing themselves proud of their demands?

    Comment by RockheadedMama | March 28, 2012

  2. or, is she like other republicans

    She is a Democrat. The “Best Democrat,” according to the Houston Press.

    I wish someone would identify, publish their pictures, the people who are pushing this agenda.

    The following council members voted in favor of it.

    Jerry Davis (D)
    Ellen Cohen (D)
    Wanda Adams (D)
    Ed Gonzalez (D)
    James Rodriguez (D)
    Mike Laster (D)
    Larry Green (D)
    Stephen Costello (Who knows)
    Andrew Burks (Who knows)
    Melissa Noriega (D)

    I urge their ouster at the first opportunity.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | April 5, 2012

  3. I’ll have more tio say about all this in the days ahead. But the fact is that it was Democrats who provided the votes for passage.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | April 6, 2012

  4. This issue upsets me so much it puts tears in my eyes. Regardless of party, if someone wants to share food with the less fortunate we should let them. There is no excuse for this law. Kick them all out.

    Comment by Eric Dick | August 18, 2012

  5. Who’s running? I’m having a hard time finding a list, but I’m willing to go for it myself. I have ideas for ending homelessness and poverty in Houston that I believe can become popular with all but the most extreme fringes of the political spectrum and ideas for making Houston thrive independently of state or national politics. Or I’ll partner with someone if necessary and help them run. I’m new to Houston but I’m willing to do what’s necessary to make it the best it possibly can be.

    Comment by Scott Keller | November 2, 2012

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