Mayor’s race goes national

CNN has a video clip that discusses the Houston mayoral election.

The report by John King begins by discussing how Democrats can win nationwide despite winning only a tiny fraction of counties, and winning huge in the big cities. The discussion then moves to Texas, and if Democrats can win by just taking the cities. King lists the cities: El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and the pauses before noting “the biggest of them all,” Houston.

Annise Parker is then interviewed by CNN, and discusses the changing demographics and diversity of Houston, followed by why she thinks Texas can be won by the Democratic Party in the future.

Then, in my favorite part of the video, the shot cuts to a gym where the Mayor and First Lady Kahty Hubbard are exercising. Hubbard is wearing the famous orange “Stand with Texas women” shirt, a nice touch for the Mayor’s liberal credentials. Parker then discusses her support of gay marriage, and her desire to get married in Houston.

CNN then interviews Jared Woodfill, the Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party, who doubles down on bigotry and his opposition to any form of recognition for gay couples. Perhaps the most noteworthy part of the all-too-brief yet all-too-long interview with Woodfill is that gigantic portraits of George W. Bush and Rick Perry are erected on the wall  behind him.

Only at that point, over 3 minutes into the 4 minute video, does CNN even mention the Mayoral election. The coverage begins with “But Republicans don’t even have a top tier candidate…it is fellow Democrat Ben Hall who says he will deny Mayor Parker a third term.” Interesting to note the media outlets, such as Channel 13, who gave the distinction of “top tier” to Eric Dick, while the big national institutions do not.

King gives Hall a few seconds of air time, and closes with a teaser about where Parker’s political career will go next, discussing the possibility of Parker running for Governor.

I, for one, have no earthly idea what CNN was trying to do with this report. The title of the video was “Houston mayoral race a sign of a political shift?,” but the video barely even touched upon the election. Instead, the video seemed much more like a friendly interview for Parker than anything else. Still, I have no doubt the video will bring greater exposure to the election.

Parker goes on the offensive

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.

Texpatriate’s second attempt with Eric Dick

On Tuesday evening, we published an article labeled ‘Texpatriate’s Questions for Eric Dick,’ in our installment of municipal candidate interviews. We received legitimate answers from bona fide representatives of Dick’s campaign. However, these answers consisted of poor grammar and, often times, nonsensical ramblings.

Eric Dick himself contacted one of the other members of this board, Noah M. Horwitz, to announce the answers were not a sincere representation of either himself or his campaign. Allegedly, Dick was never able to review the answers before submission.

Horwitz attempted to assuage the issues brought up by this unfortunate miscommunication by working with Dick to formulate a three-part solution.

First, new answers would be accepted and reprinted if Dick answered a further question explaining how in the world a campaign could have such an error in oversight. Second, the old article would include a disclaimer pointing the reader to this interview. Third, the old article would be preserved.

While I was not personally inclined to support such an arrangement, this board soon deemed it to be in the best interest of all involved parties. Further, we received no negative feedback from both the Hall and Parker campaigns, respectively, for this decision.”

~Olivia Arena, Texpatriate Editorial Board

=================================================================================================

Editorial note: This is the fourth in our series of electronic interviews with City Council, City Controller and Mayoral candidates. We have sent 10 questions based on seven different templates: (1) incumbent City Council, (2) challenger City Council, (3) open seat City Council, (4) challenger Controller, (5) incumbent Controller, (6) challenger Mayoral and (7) incumbent Mayoral. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.

531830_10151612810388843_786798978_n

Eric Dick (left), Candidate for Mayor of Houston

Texpatriate: Your campaign has sent a set of previous answers, which you have since disavowed. Why did you disavow these previous answers, and why did you submit these new answers in their place?
Eric Dick: For various reasons, I didn’t have the chance to review said answers.  Furthermore, I’m not a millionaire nor is my campaign funded by special interests, so we run on tight budget.  Sometimes we make mistakes.  Nonetheless, we are candid as to who we are and what we are about.
T: Would you mind delineating the reasons you did not have the chance to review the answers?
ED: A mixture of the following:
1.  A shoe-string budget
2.  Communicating with the entire city
3.  Fighting insurance companies all over the state
4.  My beloved three-month old daughter
5. Campaign coordinator is out of the country
T: Okay thank you. Let’s start the interview over again.

T: What is your name?
ED: My name is Eric Dick.

T: What is your current occupation?
ED: Insurance lawyer.  Specifically, I sue insurance companies.

T: Have you run for or held public office before?
ED: Yes.

T: What is your political affiliation? We understand that City Council elections are nonpartisan, but this is a point many voters find important. If you are not comfortable currently identifying with a political party, what was the last Political Party’s primary election you voted in (a matter of public record)?
ED: Proudly a Republican.

T: Typically, this board will defer to incumbents unless we are convinced the incumbent has failed in some way. Do you believe the incumbent has failed at her or his job? If so, why?
ED: Yes

  1. Made it criminal to share food with the poor

  2. Questionable priorities with the city budget as follows:

    1. Has no plans to cover next year’s shortfall in budget of $80 million

    2. Has no plans to deal with Houston’s $14 billion deficit

    3. Has increased the Mayor’s budget four times to that of Bill White

T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
ED: Because I cannot sit and watch as this administration takes away our liberties and puts Houston more in debt.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce as Mayor?
ED: An ordinance that would repeal the feeding ordinance as I believe it a violation of religious freedoms.

T: Obviously, an officeholder strives to maintain a diverse core constituency and political base, but all candidates have interest groups they have been traditionally strong with and traditionally weak with, respectively. For you, what would be one example of each type of group?
ED: I represent all of Houston and have diversity in constituents.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
ED: That Houstonians are passionate about their city, care deeply about their freedoms, and have serious concerns about the Houston’s financial wellbeing.

Texpatriate’s Questions for Eric Dick

PLEASE SEE THIS LINK FOR A NEW INTERVIEW.

Editorial note: This is the fourth in our series of electronic interviews with City Council, City Controller and Mayoral candidates. We have sent 10 questions based on seven different templates: (1) incumbent City Council, (2) challenger City Council, (3) open seat City Council, (4) challenger Controller, (5) incumbent Controller, (6) challenger Mayoral and (7) incumbent Mayoral. The following are verbatim copies of the questions sent out and the answers received.

Further note: Dick’s campaign requested we ‘spell check’ the answers they sent us, but out of respect to other candidates who may request similar treatment, we are reprinting the answers they sent us exactly as we received them.

Eric Dick, Candidate for Mayor of Houston

Texpatriate: What is your name?
ED: My name is Eric Dick.

T: What is your current occupation?
ED: Threw a small law firm I earn my living as a lawyer.

T: Have you run for or held public office before?
ED: YES.

T: What is your political affiliation? We understand that City Council elections are nonpartisan, but this is a point many voters find important. If you are not comfortable currently identifying with a political party, what was the last Political Party’s primary election you voted in (a matter of public record)?
ED: Republican.

T: Typically, this board will defer to incumbents unless we are convinced the incumbent has failed in some way. Do you believe the incumbent has failed at her or his job? If so, why?
ED: Yes Candidate annise parker has failed houston and heres why=she out right lied about the fee “tax” amount on the drainage fee,she misled the general public to believe that everybody would have to pay 5$ and she out right lied when she said it would be only used for this specific purpose,when houstonians began to recieve bills up to 14$ to 18$ a month,this was an injustice,the people of Houston deserve a Mayor that will lead with the truth,not a Mayor that acts on “its better to ask for forgiveness than for permission”,when Candidate mayor parker launched an all out collateral attack against our fire fighters pay plans with utter disregard to state law with out first sitting down with   an open mind,she failed houston.When she was notified at council that sidewalks needed to be placed in Blueridge subdivide in Sunnyside,she refused even when she was provided proof that the annexation from 1956 clearly states that sunnyside and blueridge and reedwood should have receieved sidewalks  over 55 years ago,she failed sunnyside as well as all of houston,to date she continues to force blueridge school children to walk to JR reynolds elementary in the city roads, offering her only on record response  “i am not sure i can do anything about  something that was in place before i was born”.She continues to force all taxi drivers  to  wear an over abundance of clothing in the  hot houston heat,dissallowing even a small seasonal reprive so that taxi drivers can wear shorts in the hottest parts of the summer,shes failed houston.When she decided that it would become unlawful and a jail offense  for one houstonian to feed 6 others,even when the hungry searched our city dumpsters,she jailed em,shes failed houston time and time again,and lets never forget the huge bonuses she gave her friends,correction her dept staff,while she kicked 747 of our city workers out the back door,while secretly lining the pockets of her “team”.shes failed houston and Houston deserves better.

T: Why are you specifically running against this incumbent?
ED: I am running against candidate parker because she has lied, to many times ,to way to many people and the people have had to suffer,their familys have suffered and its unjust and its unfair.Her sit down and shut up,my way is the highway style of governing this city must end.

T: What do you hope to get out of serving as the Mayor?
ED: I have run a fair and just campaign,a camp i am very proud of,giving the deserving position of campaign manager to one of Houstons most  active in the community joshua ben bullard,to see this individual rise from houstons homeless community 15 years ago to become an elite political strategist,is beyond amazing for our camp staff,as mayor, i wish to help all houstonians achieve their dreams threw a smaller sized local goverment  but at the same time allow the private sector more involvement  with the comminity,together we can grow in a positive direction.

T: What is an ordinance you would introduce as Mayor?
ED: As Mayor i would first introduce an ordinance to dissolve the feeding ordinance so that houstonians that wish and have the desire to help their fellow man with a meal can do so with out the threat of parkers police jailing them.

T: Obviously, an officeholder strives to maintain a diverse core constituency and political base, but all candidates have interest groups they have been traditionally strong with and traditionally weak with, respectively. For you, what would be one example of each type of group?
ED: I will not stand for any level of discrimination with in my administration,nor will i stand for anyone to engage in such acts,i am a human and i love  houston,and i do not put my self in a box ,nor my campaign,People in houston deserve and have a right to  local goverment services that they fund,when elected officials start moving the money out the back door,then i eric dick have a problem with that.

T: What has been the most important thing you have learned in your campaign?
ED: I learned that candidate parker hasnt really fixed these roads since shes been elected,i learned that shes lied to most of southpark and sunnyside and blueridge for the last 3 years, since she said she would have sidewalks put in,ive learned that people in houston can still fight with their vote even when she tried to discount their vote when she turned the red light cameras back on when mike kubosh had  fought so very hard for all houstonians freedoms,, after they voted to have the cameras removed,parker turned them right back on,ive learned that people still have a voice and a right to say who will lead them in their city,and that years ago annise parker forgot what got her elected 16 years ago”the people are the city”..I am Eric Dick and would like to work for you,for each and every one of you,I may make some mistakes,but unlike parker ill never lie to you and when the times get tough,I will be right there with you every step of the way,I am the candiate for mayor that wants to work for everybody,all the time #charge the mound,Eric Dick for Mayor 2013…….

Mayoral tax returns

The Houston Chronicle, albeit briefly, reports on the challenge made by Annise Parker to her opponents, namely Ben Hall, to release a few years of tax returns. At some point recently, I have been added to the press release lists, so I actually have the full text of what Parker’s campaign said:

Today, Mayor Annise Parker publicly released her personal tax returns for 2012 – 2009. Parker has previously released tax returns for 2006-2008.

“I call on my opponents in the mayor’s race to release six years of their personal tax returns,” said Parker. “The mayor is responsible for billions of dollars of spending decisions. This is a minimal standard that mayoral candidates should meet.

“Our democracy works best when voters can determine that elected leaders are making decisions free from bias and conflicts of interest,” continued Parker. “That’s why I’ve made my tax returns public and I call on my opponents to do the same.”

Parker’s returns are available at: www.AnniseParker.com/tax-returns.

A businesswoman, community leader and mother, Annise Parker is completing her second term as Mayor of Houston – with a strong focus on growing our local economy, keeping Houston safe and improving the quality of life for every Houstonian. Annise has also served for six years as a city councilmember and six years as controller. She worked for 20 years in Houston’s oil and gas industry after graduating from Rice University and served in a variety of community leadership roles before her election to public office. Learn more at www.AnniseParker.com.

I found it interesting that Parker did not release tax returns in preparation for her 2011 campaign. I suppose her opposition in that election did not merit what she pushes so hard for now? For the life of me, I could never figure out why tax returns are such a big deal, but evidently our Mayor agrees with our Governor on the point of them being, indeed, a big deal.

It is easy for any incumbent to make such a demand. When you have been working for the Government as long as Mayor Parker has, everyone with a working keyboard and this website can know exactly what your income has been.

Ben Hall, on the other hand, is the wildcard. Not being on the public payroll since the 90s could expose a whole can of worms for his personal finances, especially considering his problems in that field over the last year.

At the end of the day, I don’t really care about tax returns, but a lot of people do. What I probably found the most entertaining from the entire story is the Chronicle only mentioned Hall’s tax returns. I wonder why they did not call out Dick on the tax returns as well (Please, PLEASE, that is not a suggestion for another press release filled with lewd puns).

Eric Dick’s robocall

Nearly a week ago, Ben Hall launched a television ad. In response, Annise Parker released her own commercial, a startling attack ad on the Hall record as opposed to Hall’s charming/ominous introductory video. Not to be outdone by both of the better-known candidates, Eric Dick, the token Republican in the race, has released his own tv commercial radio ad robocall that is being dialed in to neighborhoods across the city.

Dick’s campaign contacted me directly to share the good news on their part, redirecting me to the above YouTube video, ostensibly a recording of the robocall received at a supporters’ house. I was told on the phone that this robocall has been sent out to thousands and thousands of homes, but am just slightly dubious to this assertion, as the video is about 3 weeks old already and has exactly 48 views as of press time. I transcribe the text of the robocall below:

“This is Houston attorney Eric Dick and I wanted to tell you that, last year, Annise Parker made it a crime to give food to the poor. She then turned around and tried to put poor people in jail for digging for food out of dumpsters. Doesn’t it seem wrong to you that the City, it can pay for Mayor Parker to drive around in a limousine, yet it is a crime to give food to the homeless. This is Houston attorney Eric Dick. I’m running for Mayor, and I need your help. You can find out more about me at EricDickForMayor.com, that’s EricDickForMayor.com. Once again, EricDickForMayor.com. With your help, we’ll restore decency back to City Hall. Thank you.

Paid for by the Eric Dick, a Republican for Mayor, campaign. Clyde Bryan, Treasurer.”

For some reason, this robocall has been uploaded to one of Dick’s relative’s YouTube accounts, rather than the campaign’s. I find that somewhat peculiar in and of itself. But most of my comments have to do with the content itself of Dick’s message.

It is no secret that I largely agree with Dick’s take on the food sharing ordinance, I agreed with a majority of my fellow Houstonians in believing that an ordinance which criminalized giving food to homeless people on public land was asinine and just plain wrong. Although I would have still dissented from the measure, I do note that the final bill passed, was significantly better than earlier drafts. Most notably, it does not apply to feeding five or fewer people. Accordingly, it is somewhat misleading to insinuate the points that Dick made.

More significantly, however, is an absolute misstatement of the facts to say Mayor Parker is zealously supportive of the “eating-out-of-dumsters” ordinance. That could not be further from the truth. Dos Centavos has a great story back from March when the Mayor announced she would be pushing a repeal of the dumpster diving ordinance. The next month, in April, the vote to repeal the 1950s dumpster diving ordinance passed the City Council in a very close vote. The Mayor herself was out-of-town and thus did not cast a vote, but would have most definitely voted to repeal if present. I talked about this at length at the time.

I found the comparison between the Mayor riding in a limousine and the homeless feeding ordinance to be a little far fetched. Like, Rick Perry far fetched, actually. Dick employs a special type of logical fallacy known as an “ignoratio elenchi,” more commonly referred to as a Red Herring, to make the comparison. Whether or not the Mayor should ride in a limousine is a budgetary issue, whether or not to criminalize feeding the homeless is a ethical/moral issue. The two issues are not related.

For what it is worth, I actually do enjoy Dick’s first video, a 30-second YouTube video, I was told may or may not grace or televisions at some point in the future. This video simply is a montage of people saying what the like about Houston, followed by Dick himself saying he is running for Mayor. Nice and positive, though lacking in substance.

Mayoral Debate set

Brains & Eggs reports, via a confidential source, that all the Mayoral candidates met in a smoke-filled room and hammered out a tentative deal on Mayoral debates: Just one, including all candidates. In other words, exactly what Mayor Parker wanted. B&E continues, enumerating the conditions of the debate and such:

This past week a meeting was held to negotiate a mayoral candidates’ debate among the seven declared candidates running for Mayor of the City of Houston.  This debate will take place on October 8, 2013, at 7:00 pm.  It is to be sponsored by the Bethel Family Church Empowerment Center.  The debate will take place at Willowridge High School, 16301 Chimney Rock, and Houston media will be invited to cover it.
Candidates and/or campaign staff from seven campaigns were invited to the meeting: Don Cook, Eric Dick, Keryl Douglas, Michael Fitzsimmons, Ben Hall, Victoria Lane, and Annise Parker.  Two candidates (Douglas and Fitzsimmons) were not present and were not represented by any of their staff at the meeting.
Judging from the intensity of the negotiations, it seems unlikely that there will be more than one scheduled debate, at least one that includes all of the candidates.
It was proposed that any subsequent candidates other than the seven already identified should be excluded from debating. In the discussion that followed, most participants seemed to feel that the elimination of any later candidates who were “not viable” or “not serious” because they had not declared early enough or not raised enough money was appropriate.
It was agreed that a drawing would take place ten minutes prior to the event with all candidates present to determine the order of candidates’ initial statements, and opening remarks would be 90 seconds each (in a fifteen-minute window).  Thirty minutes was allotted for the debate itself and a total of ten minutes for candidate closing statements.
I find this a little bit ridiculous. Only 90 minutes of actual debating between seven candidates? That is utterly preposterous and an insult to the intelligence and attention span of the average Houstonian. As I discussed in great detail in my previous writings on the Mayor’s debate position, more than one debate is simply a necessity for a competitive Mayoral election in the nation’s fourth largest city.
It is no secret that Ben Hall is a big proponent of the multiple-debates position, but Eric Dick is as well. The other candidates are too insignificant to make a difference one way or another on the issue. Accordingly, it is obviously the Mayor who is pushing back and forcing a single debate.
The list of multi-debate supporters in the press/blogosphere is somewhat long, though. I’ve long taken that view, and have been joined by the Texpatriate Editorial Board, Texas Leftist, Brains & Eggs, Off the Kuff and the Houston Chronicle (although everyone disagrees about how many candidates to include).
Mayor Parker is obviously not an opulent, aloof, elitist politician laughing at the peasants while riding around in a fancy limo, no matter what Eric Dick would have you believe. But the defamatory comment is still in the back of everyone’s minds, and when the Mayor does something even slightly reminiscent of it, like refuse to debate with her opponents. As Texas Leftist reminded us all, it reeks of a page out of Rick Perry’s playbook.
I’ll have more on this story when the Chronicle picks it up and we can learn more details about it.

Six Debates

35906318

Evidently, the Ben Hall campaign sent out a press release (please see image) this morning challenging Mayor Parker to six –yes, I said SIX– debates between Labor Day and Election Day. The exact text of the announcement goes as follows:

The Honorable Annise Parker
Mayor of Houston
901Bagby Street
Houston, TX 77002

Dear Mayor Parker,

I am writing to propose that you and I share our contrasting ideas and vision for the
future of this great city through a series of debates.

Three debates should be held after Labor Day but prior to the start of early voting
and three additional debates after the start of early voting and before our November
election. Too much is at stake for us not to share our plans for Houston with her
citizens, and I hope you agree promptly to debating six times this fall.

I have instructed my staff to contact your campaign staff to begin discussions on the
details.

Please accept this invitation.

Sincerely,
Ben Hall

I have a few comments on this. First, it makes absolutely no sense to have three debates during Early Voting. That is literally one of the worst ideas I have heard from the Hall campaign this year, and that is saying something. Over half of regular voters cast their ballots before Election Day, so including half of the debates during that time is a bad idea.

Second, and perhaps this is just my own personal preference, but I am disappointed in the no-debates-until-after-Labor-Day suggestion by Hall’s team. I leave for Boston on August 27th, and won’t be back until after the Runoff Election. However, I do tend to recall an August debate in 2009. That splits up the time a little more efficiently.  Cramming six debates into eight weeks reaches a point of diminishing returns.

Finally, the whole thing smells. Not the Texas Senate smell, but you get the point. I recall something similar back in 2008, when John McCain challenged Barack Obama to 10 town hall debates. The debates, of course, never happened, but there was one town-hall style debate between McCain & Obama. As I recall, Obama wiped the floor with McCain in that debate, as the old opponent had nothing memorable to say, with one key exception.

But the main point is that McCain was desperate, and so he blurted out this unrealistic goal of myriad debates, knowing Obama would have no choice but to rebuff his offer. For the record, McCain made the offer in June, not the last day of July. Ben Hall could be employing a similar tactic here.

I am looking forward to the Mayoral debates, though–although I would much prefer three debates: 1 in August, 1 in September and 1 in October. Parker has never been an especially adept speaker or talented debater. Ben Hall, on the other hand, is a somewhat good debater. I supported Gene Locke in 2009, based in large part, to his debate performance. In that election, however, all three candidates were an equal footing when it came to other issues. In 2013, that is simply not the case between Hall and Parker.

One other major point is who will be included within this debate. The 2009 debates included Brown, Locke, Morales and Parker. In that election, only three other candidates existed, and all of them were far fringe. It is arguable that Eric Dick, Keryl Douglas and Don Cook should be included in these debates.

Texas Leftist has more.

State of the Municipal Races

Daily Commentary has a somewhat exhaustive list of municipal candidates, but I felt like I needed to do the due diligence myself. Accordingly, this morning, after I left the Federal Courthouse for the day, I walked across the street to City Hall and visited Anna Russell’s office to see the Campaign Treasurer files for myself. Luckily I got out of both buildings before things went to hell. But you can watch the 6 o’clock news about all that. Anyways, I want to list the candidates and discuss each of the candidates’ financial records.

Mayor
First up, the two new candidates for Mayor. Keryl Douglas, the homophobic, bigoted unsuccessful candidate in last year’s campaign for Harris County Democratic Party Chair, has thrown her hat into the ring.  Douglas’ website is still a shell, containing nothing about the infamous Douglas Plan or her supporters. Like Eric Dick’s entrance into this race, I do not think this is really going to affect Parker’s chances. Douglas is just going to turn votes away from Ben Hall, because none of the Parker’s voters would go for the homophobe. Pardon my tone, but I will be pulling no punches against candidates for Mayor on this issue.

The other new candidate for Mayor is Victoria Lane. I found a telephone number on her from the treasurer form, but no website and no hits from I Googled her name.

The self-proclaimed Green Party candidate, Don Cook. Cook raised a little more than $10k, of which a negligible amount is still on hand. The self-proclaimed Socialist Worker, Michael Fitzsimmons, did not submit a form. I guess private campaign donations are sort of anathema to the glorious proletariat revolution, or what not. The self-proclaimed Republican, Eric Dick, did not file a form delineating his donations. He did, however, have about $11k in expenses. Victoria Lane raised about $4k.

Annise Parker’s campaign, meanwhile, raised a total of $2.2M, and only spent a fraction of that amount. But the real story is Ben Hall’s farce of a campaign. Hall raised a measly $300k or so, going significantly in the red, including a $1.5M loan. This is a far cry from his claims to be raising so much money. Oh well.

Controller
No new candidates for this race. Still a classic one-on-one fight between Green and Frazer. In this race, Green has raised about $70k, with most of it still on hand. Frazer, a Republican CPA, raised about $50k and spent close to 80% of the total.

AL1
Costello is still unopposed, as of now. The Councilmember raised a whopping $156k. Perhaps he has higher ambitions. Speaking of Costello, what the heck is his political affiliation nowadays? Once upon a time, I remember thinking he was a Republican, but between his common alignment with the Mayor and liberal takes on social issues (pro-choice and pro-gay marriage), I do not think the GOP would ever support his candidacy in this State.

AL2
Councilmember Burks has three opponents: David Robinson, Trebor Gordon and Carolyn Evans-Shabazz. Burks, for his part, raised $41K and only spent a fraction of it. Robinson raised over $80k, but, as Dos Centavos points out, he probably has to retire some old campaign debt. Accordingly, he only has about $50k fit for spending. Still more than the incumbent.

Trebor Gordon is not a name I had heard in connection with this race before. He has a website as http://www.treborgordon.com/ and is an avowed Republican. It will be interesting to see what he does. The other name is Carolyn Evans-Shabbaz. A cursory Facebook search reveals a deep dissatisfaction with the Trayvon Martin case and close frienship with Assata-Nicole Richards, both tell-tale signs of a Democrat. Gordon raised about $1500, while Evans-Shabbaz did not submit a return.

AL3
Here comes the mess.

First up is Michael Kubosh, who raised over $100k ($108k, to be exact). Right next to this total is Rogene Calvert, who raised $84k and retained most the cash.

Roland Chavez raised about $27k, and only spent a couple thousand. Chris Carmona is completely destitute. Roy Morales raised $37k and spent $35k of that. This is surprising, and not just because Dos Centavos originally called him broke as well. Morales did not run for anything in 2011 or 2012. That’s like a new record for him or something.

Jenifer Pool, who seemed to have filed late, raised $34k and spent most of the total. Al Edwards, who still in unofficially officially in the AL3, did not file a return.

AL4
Bradford, presumably running for re-election, raised $54k with most of it still in the bank.

AL5
Jack Christie raised a whopping $95k, with over 2/3 still on hand. Even worse, he has not a single opponent. Personally, I think Robinson should run against Christie. Sure, Burks is a little odd and sometimes frustrates progressives, but Christie is legitimately a Conservative Republican who goes on anti-vaccine rants.

Once upon a time, I had heard of quite a few possible candidates for this race, from former State Reps, former City Councilmembers, activists to lawyers. I think I even read my father’s name mentioned for this one. Alas, no one will step up. I’d put my own name on the ballot if push comes to shove, but I feel there will be at least token opposition.

District A
This race really boils down to a third-person race between the incumbent, Helena Brown, the former one-term Councilmember, Brenda Stardig, and Amy Peck.  Ron Hale, Mike Knox and Catarina Cron are the other candidates I have hard from in this race. This is still no Democrat in the race.

Brown raised about $67k, spending a little under half of the total. Stardig, meanwhile, did not report raising any money. Peck  raised a pitiful $4k. In this regard, it looks like the incumbent may not have that hard of a time after all.

Ron Hale picked up $2.5k, while Knox took in a whopping $41k. Cron did not submit a report.

District B
The incumbent, Jerry Davis, will be facing some opposition next year within his own party. For his part, he raised about $53k and spent a negligible amount.

He has two declared opponents: Joe Joseph & Katherine Blueford-Daniels. I can’t really find anything on the former candidate, but Blueford-Daniels does come up with a few searches. She is being supported predominantly by Carol Mims Galloway, the former Councilmember and School Board member in that district and NAACP leader. This, of course, begs the question of how much other support Blueford-Daniels has.

Joseph did not file a return, but Blueford-Daniels did. However, she only raised $5k.

District C
Ellen Cohen could very possibly draw some opponents, including Brian Cweren, her biggest 2011 opponent. However, the only other candidate who has filed a campaign treasurer or campaign report is Pete Sosa. For the life of me, I cannot find a Facebook page or other meaningful internet footprint.

Cohen raised $128k, with most of it still on hand. Sosa did not file any sort of report.

District D
The District D race might actually have more people in it than the AL3 one. Dwight Boykins, who is backed by much of the old guard political establishment including Mayor Brown, raised $150k with over $100k left unspent.

There are a few other well-known candidates, Assata-Nicole Richards and Georgia Provost. The former raised $37k with half on hand, while the latter raised $21k with little on hand.

Onto the new candidates, the first is Kirk White. White has a Facebook page for his campaign, but it doesn’t go into very much detail about anything. I have no idea if he’s a Democrat in the Democratic district, or not. He filed a report of less than $1k in contributions.

Then there is a Keith Caldwell. Caldwell is an activist in the Democratic Party, serving positions at both the Precinct and Senate District Level. He has a website and big social media presence already. His campaign, however, raised a measly $2.75k with full expenses.

Travis McGee, the past Sunnyside Civic Group President, has also been conducting a campaign. He’s raised nearly $5k and spent about all of it.

Not filing reports but registered as candidates anyways are Anthony Robinson, Larry McKinzie and Lana Edwards. Robinson just has a shell of a website. Though his Facebook page is more active and suggests he was involved in the big Trayvon Martin protests yesterday. I guess it is safe to assume he is a Democrat.

McKinzie, who now has a website, previously ran against Adams in 2009. Another Democrat.

Edwards has a little shell thing here, but I can’t figure out much else.

District E
At this point I think Councilmember Martin is just running unopposed. He has raised $53k with $23k on hand.

District F
Likewise, Councilmember Hoang has yet to draw any opposition. He raised just $13k with just $11k on hand.

District G
Councilmember Pennington is not unopposed, however. Pennington raised a very impressive $189k for his campaign, so it will probably not be a credible threat.

I had been wondering if Clyde Bryan would make another run for his seat, again with the bandit signs and such. He is not, Bryan will be working on Dick’s campaign. But a candidate named Brian Taef is running. I could not find any trace of him on Google, but Taef did file a campaign report. He raised $150, for the record.

District H
At this point, it looks like Ed Gonzalez will be unopposed for yet another term. He raised close to $80k with most of it still on hand.

District I
We start things off with the pseudo-favorite, Graci Garces, Councilmember Rodriguez’s Chief of Staff. Garces raised about $19k with most of it still on hand. Her main competitor, Ben Mendez, raised a huge $94k.

Robert Gallegos, yet another Democrat in the race, got about $17k. The lone Republican, Leticia Ablaza, got $27k with about $16k on hand still.

As Dos Centavos points out, until March Garces, and Gallegos were competing with the SD06 race for donors. Accordingly, their numbers may have been retarded in comparison with the Republican candidate. Although that does not explain Mendez.

District J
Councilmember Laster, with $66k in donations and $81 on hand, is unopposed.

District K
Councilmember Green, with $93k raised and most still on hand, is likewise unopposed.

That’s all, folks. Off the KuffDos Centavos and Greg’s Opinion all have a lot more. They’ve been doing this stuff since before my Bar Mitzvah, so I highly suggesting consulting their work too.

Texpatriate’s response to Dick’s allegations

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.