Three members of this board attended Eric Dick, Clyde Bryan and the Kubosh brothers’ press conference yesterday morning. We went into the event without any biases, equipped with open minds. However, we were not adequately convinced that any wrongdoing occurred on the part of the Mayor, as was their allegation.
Each and every member of this board either currently or historically has served as the leader of an organization. This board has long known that, whenever any individual feels slighted, he or she will always directly and personally assign blame to a person of power. This is what we fear has happened with both Mr Dick and Mr Bryan’s allegation.
Pink signs simply labeled in large font “DICK,” were a ubiquitous feature of the 2011 election. They were rampantly littered across the city, both along public right-of-ways and placed atop utility poles. If you have ever wondered why you rarely see candidates with such an advertising presence, the reason is because it is illegal to do so. The City of Houston has a bandit sign ordinance which prohibits erecting signs, for political campaigns or for other reasons, along public thoroughfares. Additionally, a power pole is private property (in Houston, typically Centerpoint Energy). Accordingly, it constitutes trespassing to place signs thereupon.
Eric Dick’s campaign was fined for all of these allegations, as was Clyde Bryan, another unsuccessful City Council candidate. Dick and Bryan, represented by Kubosh brother attorneys, now argue that they were maliciously targeted by Mayor Parker’s administration because they are Republicans. They alleged, as well, that the Mayor ordered similar charges against Councilmember C.O. Bradford to be dismissed, because he is a Democrat.
This board finds a number of issues with that. First, as Mike Morris of the Houston Chronicle noted in a question (before our Noah Horwitz could do the same), Councilmember Bradford and Mayor Parker are not allies. To this, Dick simply responded that they were both Democrats. However, Bradford has endorsed Mayor Parker’s opponent (Ben Hall, not Dick). Such a comment on Dick’s part, in this board’s humble opinion, represents a troubling ignorance of this City’s politics and an overzealous tendency to retreat into partisan talking points unfit for the decorum of municipal politics.
This board does believe, however, from court information provided to it, that Dick and Bryan were treated unevenly compared to Bradford. Paul Kubosh, when discussing this, noted the group’s opinion was that the Courts were correct in dismissing charges against Bradford and they now recommended doing the same for their clients. This board takes the opposite view. The City and the Courts were and are correct in prosecuting campaigns that violate the bandit sign ordinance, and were wrong in dismissing charges against Councilmember Bradford’s campaign, if he indeed violated the ordinance. Paul Kubosh talked at length about Mayor Parker’s oath to uphold the Constitution, but municipal officers also take an oath to follow the law. The horrendous disregard for the law, specifically the bandit sign ordinance, shown by both Dick and Bryan is, in this board’s opinion, unbecoming of an aspiring public officeholder.
Dick made many references to the recent IRS scandal involving the improper targeting of conservative groups. This board agrees with Mr Dick and finds the supposed scandal to be a perfect metaphor. Both Dick and Bryan were treated unfairly when their bandit sign ordinance violation charges were dealt with differently than Councilmember Bradford’s campaign. Such a wrongdoing, similar to the wrongdoing visited upon conservative groups by the IRS, was the work of some overzealous bureaucrat, who should be dealt with properly. It is not, however, the malicious doing of the Mayor or the President, respectively. This board finds such a connection to be highly unlikely.
This board wishes Mr Dick good luck in his Mayoral campaign. Morris has his own take at HoustonChronicle.com (behind that stupid, asinine paywall).
The Texpatriate Editorial Board is comprised of Noah M. Horwitz of Boston, Olivia Arena of Austin, George Bailey of Boston and Andrew S. Romo of New Orleans.