Throughout this campaign season, I have been asking for Ben Hall to bring up some concise issues, and explain how he is specifically different form the Mayor on those issues. Over the past two days, for the first time, I have seen Dr Hall’s campaign do this.
First, Hall’s campaign sent me a press release on the topic of animal control in the City. Writing for the campaign, Hall’s press secretary noted three important facts. First, Annise Parker was an unapologetic supporter of making BARC (the pound) a no-kill shelter when she first ran for Mayor. Second, “save-rates” (that is, how many animals are not euthanized by the pound) have actually declined during Parker’s tenure in office. Instead of moving towards being a no-kill city, the Parker administration has actually moved away from that goal. Third, Ben Hall announced his support for making Houston a no-kill city.
In fact, at Wednesday’s press conference, Hall announced the support of “No Kill Texas Advocates,” an organization dedicated to pursuing this goal. Hall’s proposed solution to the problem, however, is somewhat divergent from other traditional no-kill advocates. Hall wished to implement increased privatization of the animal shelters. While it is a novel idea, I fail to understand why or how this would really solve the problem.
If you are a single-issue voter on this issue, vote for Hall. Annise Parker has had nearly four years in office to solve this problem, and she has not even started to reverse it. I tend to remain somewhat skeptical about Hall’s ideas, and this whole move reeks of desperation, so I am not especially swayed. That being said, Parker has failed on the issue, so a change is warranted if it is truly your top priority.
One wonders how Hall’s campaign would have been different if he would stay on track about issues like this. Not wanting to see dogs die is not a red issue or a blue issue, it is an issue that everyone agrees upon. It is a very strong issue for Hall to bring up, but like the crime issue, he offers painfully few specifics.
As for me, I voted this morning (for Annise Parker, amongst others). I believe many others will continue to do so. In hindsight, this may be remembered as too little, too late for Hall.
In other news, Hall’s campaign slammed Parker on two city audits that revealed, not wasteful spending but, underpaid city contracts, specifically for rental cars. The Isiah Factor covered this issue somewhat comprehensively. I find it interesting that the audits, which were performed by City Controller Ronald Green, are now being turned as evidence against Mayor Parker. Green, an ally of the Mayor, is bragging about uncovering taxpayer savings.
At the end of the day, this is really the system working instead of the system failing. Government will always have fraud and inefficiencies, and the City of Houston caught them. However, many low-information voters might not see the distinction. A good political move from Hall, though not one I can really comment for being filled with integrity.