I got a number of press releases from Parker’s campaign today, including one I found especially interesting on education. Some may remember that, just a few days ago, Ben Hall floated the idea of the Mayor’s office taking over HISD. Today, I received the official response:
On the first day of school, local education leaders have come together to call out Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall for hypocrisy on the issue of education.
Debra Kerner is a leader of the Board of Trustees of the Harris County Department of Education. Speaking as an individual, she said, “I was really taken aback when I heard that Mr. Hall was bragging about what he would do for education, when he couldn’t do the most basic thing – pay his school taxes. He doesn’t pay his taxes on time, but he wants to be mayor?”
Educator Alma Lara, retired after 35 years as a teacher and principal at HISD, said, “Ben Hall clearly thinks he is above the law when it comes to paying his school taxes and now he wants to be mayor? That’s a terrible example to set for our kids.”
Blake Ellis, Ph.D., Community College Professor, said, “Hall clearly hasn’t done his homework when it comes to education. He hasn’t offered one, single, solitary idea that would improve education. Worse, he claims that state law would give him the power as mayor to take over HISD schools. That’s not just wacky, it’s dangerous.”
Normally, I’ve liked Debra Kerner as an Education Trustee, but I was somewhat disappointed that she played so cautious with these comments. While Ben Hall’s tax problems are absolutely endemic of a larger problem –and I have certainly criticized him for it before– this does not automatically poison any ideas he has about schools.
Further, Ellis’ comments about Hall’s plans being “dangerous,” offer absolutely no substance to prove such an assertion. While I do agree that the City of Houston taking over HISD is not a very good idea (& Off the Kuff has a more ambivalent take on the matter), the Parker campaign must explain why in order to be taken seriously.
Parker, for her part, has explained in some detail what she has done on the topic of education. The page, which is part of her campaign website, is an overall positive post that reflects on the Mayor’s experience and trackrecord in office. Basically, exactly what she should have been doing all along.
In addition to the education comments, Parker’s campaign went the more discourteous route in publishing a new attack website, “www.AlltheFactsonHall.com”
The website is a hodgepodge of all the (mainly Parker campaign-perpetuated) negative press against Ben Hall. Mainly the whole Tax Cheat issue, in addition to the residency issue, Parker’s commercial, and the refusal to show tax returns. All of this is expected from a negative website, but what I did not expect was what I found under the “Worth a Look” page.
The campaign embedded tweets by the fake Ben Hall twitter (@benhall4mayor) account. Historically, the campaign has distanced itself from the account, especially after Eric Dick made the accusation of the two being related. At press time, Parker’s campaign had not responded to my requests for comment on the matter.
UPDATE: The campaign still maintains the account is not run by the campaign, though I still find the cozier attitude somewhat perplexing.
As I have said many times before, the Mayor will always be in the best position by running a positive campaign on her record. Unfortunately, she did not even come close to doing that today.