I climbed the steps of City Hall today for the first time in a couple months. I did not have a surplus of time, so I only got to peak my head into the very beginning of the public session. For those unfamiliar, the City Council is required by law to listen to members of the public on agenda and non-agenda items weekly. Anyone in the city may call the City Secretary and receive at least 60 seconds of speaking time before the Council. This week, the discussion centered unanimously around the non-discrimination ordinance being considered by the Council, which I have written about extensively in the past. In short, the ordinance codifies existing Federal regulations against discrimination into local law, as well as expand them to protect both sexual orientation and gender identity.
There were over 80 speakers on this ordinance, with over 4/5ths of them being supportive thereof. Elected officials, such as State Senator John Whitmire, Sheriff Adrian Garcia, State Representative Garnet Coleman and State Representative Carol Alvarado lent their support in person. Other elected officials, such as State Senator Rodney Ellis, State Senator Sylvia Garcia and State Representative Sylvester Turner, have also been quite supportive, but did not make an appearance in person. Another who did, however, was former Congressman Chris Bell, a likely Mayoral candidate in 2015 (along with Turner and, possibly, Garcia). A number of other stalwarts in the community spoke up today, though perhaps my favorite speaker was Sissy Farenthold. Simply put, she was Ann Richards before there was Ann Richards, serving at one time as the only female member of the Legislature and coming heartbreakingly close to winning the Democratic nomination for Governor in the 1970s.
Click here to read about more supporters, opponents, and the Councilmembers’ reactions!
The Houston Chronicle (stupid paywall) reports on the recent grassroots rally Annise Parker held to start off her heavy campaign. I went to the rally myself (I’ve gotten a few calls–evidently I was on the news), and I have a few thoughts of the top of my head.
First, I truly did like Parker’s speech. Often times, politicians (even ostensibly good ones, like the President) have to, well, act like useless politicians and simply use a bunch of buzz words in rah-rah speeches that lack any real substance. Parker’s speech yesterday was not like that. She very clearly, competently explained what she did in the past. She did not run from her record. It was quite refreshing to see a politician do that. Unfortunately, Parker did not offer many specifics, and might have dismissed her opponent, Ben Hall, too much. I am not someone who often thinks a politician should have attacked her or his opponent more, but this might have been an example. The tax fiasco of Hall is sort of a deal-breaker for me and a lot of people, Parker should use it. Go for jugular.
I was disappointed, however, to see how few elected officials were at the rally in solidarity with the Mayor. Vince Ryan was the only elected official there, and there were only a handful of candidates there.
Parker’s list of supporters did not have any surprises either. The typical liberal, white intelligentsia (Chris Bell, Kristi Thibaut, Glen Maxey and Scott Hochberg) are always a staple of the campaign. Repeat endorsers from 2009, Jessica Farrar, Garnet Coleman and Borris Miles, were not developments as well. Al Hoang’s endorsement was probably the most surprising.
Off the Kuff and Brains & Eggs have more.
Carol Alvarado will face off against Sylvia Garcia in the race to succeed the late Sen. Gallegos.
National news hopped onto this affair, mentioning that the Gallegos family will be supporting Alvarado. The Chronicle article which mentions Garcia’s candidacy also mentions that Rick Noriega is considering throwing his hat into the ring. Meanwhile, each side is touting some of its endorsements, with Garcia picking up State Reps such as Jessica Farrar and Garnet Coleman, and Alvarado picking up Sen. Ellis, Mayor White, and Ronald Green. This will be a fun primary.
UPDATE: The Chronicle says this might happen in December, but I still suspect it will occur in 2013.