Hall 2.0

I will preface all my remarks with a full confession that, once upon a time, I greatly respected Ben Hall, the former City Attorney, as a politician of honor and integrity. In fact, about two years ago, when he first announced his candidacy in the 2013 Mayoral election and made his first appearance on this publication, I noted that “in an open election, I probably would have supported Ben Hall.”

Over the next year, Hall ran what could generously be called the worst campaign I have ever bared witness to in municipal politics. He was scattered, dishonest and unnecessarily abrasive. I strongly urge you to read through some of my archives tagged under “Ben Hall,” and you will find someone whose patience grows thinner and thinner as time went on. Hall spent a 12 month campaign without bringing up any concrete issues. He merely spoke in broad platitudes, or with unsubstantiated claims about his opponent, Mayor Annise Parker. The few times that he did open his mouth, Hall sometimes contradicted himself, such as his hypocrisy on a proposed non-discrimination ordinance.

Hall’s campaign was also marred by myriad controversies involving his integrity. The Parker camp honed in on Hall’s nasty little problem with not paying his taxes, while Sophia Arena and I published a lengthy exposé on some other conflicts of interest in the past. Simply put, when Hall announced today that he would run for Mayor again next year in the open election, and would immediately begin running radio ads (as reported by the Houston Chronicle), I was not pleased, to say the least.

Hall joins an already crowded list of prospective mayoral candidates, including but not limited to State Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Harris County), former Congressman Chris Bell, Sheriff Adrian Garcia, METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia, former Kemah Mayor Bill King and City Councilmembers Stephen Costello (R-At Large 1), Jack Christie (R-At Large 5), Oliver Pennington (R-District G) and Ed Gonzalez (D-District H).

In Hall’s 60-second radio spot, triumphant music plays as he narrates. “Last year I promised to have a conversation with you about the things we needed to do to improve our city,” he says. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

Hall’s ad appears to glance past the fact that he chose to ignore those important issues, and he spends about the next 50 seconds speaking once again in broad platitudes. The one exception, however, is getting in a cheap shot about “Subpoena-gate,” when the mayor’s office made a bone-headed decision to go after the sermons of pastors who railed against the non-discrimination ordinance. As I referenced above, Hall has — at one time — both supported and opposed that ordinance. Ambiguous banalities aren’t doing much to clear up the confusion.

In other news, HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson officially announced his candidacy for City Controller. Robinson, a former member of the City Council, already has a great deal of community support. His likely competitors will be Dwight Jefferson (current METRO Board member and former District Judge) and Bill Frazer (an unsuccessful 2013 candidate).

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5 thoughts on “Hall 2.0

  1. I think bill frazer is the conservative tea party republican trying to go at the city of houston controllers office,I just dont see the city democrats electibg a tea party republican like bill frazer. Warmly joshua bullard

  2. Hall seems to think getting an early start in the election will net him better results, especially without an incumbent. Sadly for him, the opposite is true. He doesn’t like to be questioned on anything aside from approved questions and if someone goes one step beyond that, his legendary temper starts to flare readily. By announcing early, he will screw it up all over again, Ogg making a similar mistake over this past year.

    That he thinks people will forget his comments how “68% of the homeowners aren’t paying their share of taxes” and his attacks on HFD’s pension, the best funded pension in the state (in the top 1% nationwide) as well as a dozen or more statements where he catered to a specific crowd in contradiction to what he said for a different group (many were on Youtube too) just shows that rich lawyers bank on voters with short memories.

    King is going to be DOA too, neither political party thinks much of him courtesy of his editorials in the Chronicle, that million dollar condo he bought on the west loop not likely to impress voters any more than Hall renting a place he barely visited while his multi-million dollar mansion outside the city limits saw him all the time.

    None of the current city council members have a snowball’s chance in hell either, Adrian unlikely to run since he’d lose his well paying county position before earning a pension. As it stands, and the field is still wide open, Turner and Bell seem best positioned to make a runoff and actually win. Over the next 6 months, anyone interested in the position is going to be jockeying like crazy to convince peers to drop their bid, the best a weaker candidate like Christie, Costello, or Gonzalez able to do is help act as a partial spoiler for someone else.

  3. Pingback: Ben Hall 2.0 – Off the Kuff

  4. Pingback: Carroll Robinson announces for City Controller – Off the Kuff

  5. Pingback: Texpatriate | Is Ben Hall running as a joke?

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