Archive for January, 2009

Locke Makes His Mayoral Bid Official
January 31, 2009

 

**The following is the official News Release from the Locke Campaign**

HOUSTON – January 30, 2009 – Prominent Houston attorney Gene Locke today officially designated a campaign treasurer. The official filing clears the way for his entrance into Houston’s 2009 mayoral race.

“I took the step of designating Jacob Monty so I could begin using money for my campaign to succeed Bill White as Mayor.  With a background as diverse as Houston’s – and a work ethic that has helped me cultivate the many opportunities citizens here are afforded – I am confident and ready to lead this city into a new era of prosperity,” says Locke.  “This is a time for Houston to prepare and respond – if it becomes necessary – to challenges. We endured and learned from the oil bust of the 1980s,  and more recently handled devastating hurricanes with heart, muscle and optimism.  I intend to exemplify, and hold high, these elements of our community’s winning spirit as I roll out a successful campaign.”

The son of a teacher and grandson of farmers, Locke graduated valedictorian from his high school in Marshall, Texas. He was accepted to the University of Houston shortly after the school integrated.  There he became known for his leadership and attentiveness to social issues and civil rights.  Later, he entered South Texas College School of Law, working days at the Shell refinery and attending classes at night.

After receiving his law degree Locke moved to Washington to serve as Chief of Staff to Representative Mickey Leland.  His influence and reputation grew as he returned to his chosen city.  He served as Houston City Attorney under Mayor Bob Lanier from 1995-1998.   A partner at Andrews Kurth LLP law firm, Locke remains General Counsel to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority where he has been instrumental in putting together contracts that brought Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium and the Toyota Center to fruition.

Gene Locke is a devoted husband and father. His wife, Aubrey Sampson Locke; daughters, Tembi and Attica; sons, Nicholas, Douglas and Thomas – are among his biggest supporters. Locke notes, “This race has been a long time coming. I feel like I have been preparing for this all my life. I am now at a point where I can do whatever is necessary to achieve my goal of being the best mayor to ever serve this great city.”

 

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Another Candidate For Mayor?
January 31, 2009

Stay tuned Monday when City of Houston Comptroller Annise Parker reveals her big  political  secret!

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Her campaign aides have scheduled  time for reporters to interview Parker to hear details about what they are calling “a major political announcement.”

Let’s see….the former city council member is  rumored to be considering a run for Mayor of Houston. 

Could she have a surprise up her sleeve?

No Meeting With the Mayor About Controversial AD
January 30, 2009

Mayor Bill White, who says he regrets the controversial ad that displays his photo between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack  Obama, apparently has  no plans to meet with community activists  Quanell X or Deric Muhammad.

The two are trying to set up a meeting with the Mayor.

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A spokesman for the mayor told me he doesn’t know of  any plans for the two sides to meet today, or in the near future.

As 2 on the Beat reported Thursday, some critics of the newspaper ad say the Black community was angered and insulted by the image of  Mayor White wedged between the two respected figures.

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The mayor told the media that he regrets if anyone was offended by the ad. He says “it was his intent to honor the achievements of  Dr. King and President  Obama and  that he wasn’t trying to elevate himself to their stature.”

Not So Fast Mr. Hall
January 29, 2009

2 on the Beat made a quick stop Thursday night by the law offices of  prominent Houston Attorney Ben Hall.

There were a lot of excited people, TV cameras and newspaper reporters waiting for the big announcement from  Hall that he is jumping in the already crowded race for Mayor of Houston.

Mr.and Mrs. Ben Hall

Mr.and Mrs. Ben Hall

Instead Hall told the disappointed crowd that he is still mulling over his options, and would make a decision sooner rather than later.

Hall later told me that he received a phone call Thursday from someone who asked him to hold off  on announcing his plans.  Hall and the mysterious caller plan to meet soon!

The wanna be mayor would not identify the caller, but he said he agreed to wait out of   “professional courtesy.”

(Journalists are supposed to report facts and not speculate,  but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the caller was likely another Mayoral Candidate  who wants to talk Hall out of running. )

A four way race with Hall, City Council Member Peter Brown, City Comptroller Annise Parker and former City Attorney Gene Locke would split the vote and complicate everyones campaign strategy.

Anyone entering the tough  race will need enough money and name identification to finish in one of the top two spots in November, and then sustain the energy, voter support and fund raising efforts to win in a runoff election.

Should The Mayor Apologize for AD Controversy?
January 29, 2009

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Community groups are calling on Mayor Bill White to apologize for a controversial ad that they say insulted and offended the African American community.

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The ad, which ran as part of an inauguration special in the Houston Defender Newspaper puts White in the middle of  Dr. Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama.

The headline above the three men says. The Dream (MLK)  The Hope (Mayor White) and The Change (President Obama). 

Critics say they Mayor is trying to put his record and image on the same level as these two  men who are deeply respected in the African American community.

The ad was paid for by Friends of  Bill White, his mayoral campaign fund and not out of the coffers of his bid for  U.S. Senate.

Community activists  Quannel X and Deric Muhammad say the  mayor was pandering for political gain, and he should issue an apology to those offended.

Let the Campaign Begin
January 28, 2009

Over the next few weeks you can expect to hear  announcements from the candidates who are planning to run for either Mayor of  Houston or City Council.

The general election is in November, but in the meantime people are lining up to campaign in the special election for the city council District H .

Election day is Saturday, May 9, 2009.

 District H was held by newly elected  Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, and is historically considered a “safe Hispanic” seat, but there are plenty of candidates, including some none Hispanics  lining up to run.  Early  names include city hall aide Maverick Welsh.

Other potential candidates  mentioned include  Hugo Mojica,

along with Houston Police Department employee Ed Gonzalez and Realtor Karen Derr. (I don’t have their photos – but I’m working on it)

Please leave a comment if you know of   any other candidates who plan to jump in the race.

State Rep. Garnet Coleman Slams the Governor’s State of the State
January 28, 2009

Some Texas lawmakers are not happy with Governor Perry’s State of the State speech on Tuesday.

If you watched KPRC Local 2 at 5 and 6,  you heard State Rep. Garnet Coleman criticize Governor Perry for failing to provide real solutions to the  problems facing Texas families.

Coleman also recorded the official Democratic Party response to the Governor’s speech. Watch it and leave a comment. Do you agree with Rep. Coleman or Governor Perry?

Lance Armstrong Promotes a Smoke-Free Texas
January 28, 2009

He  beat cancer  and now seven time Tour de France winner  Lance Armstrong is tackling smoking in public places.

Armstrong is scheduled to join with lawmakers and groups like  the American Heart Association at the State Capitol on Thursday,  to call for a ban on smoking in all public and indoor workplaces in Texas, including restaurants and bars. 

Twenty-four states already have comprehensive smoke-free laws.

The city of  Houston enacted a smoke free ordinance in 2007.

According to a media alert, Smoke-Free Texas is a broad based coalition that will announce the results of a statewide poll  that shows Texans overwhelmingly support  comprehensive statewide protections form secondhand smoke.

Armstrong will stand with cycling enthusiast State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) who is sponsoring the smoke free legislation in the Texas Senate. 

You can find more information about this movement at www.smokefreeTexas.org

Galveston’s Mayor Going to Washington D.C.
January 26, 2009

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She’s juggling the rebuilding of  Galveston after Hurricane Ike, fighting to keep UTMB and Shriners Burn Hospital open, and pleading with Texas Lawmakers to fund the disaster recovery fund.

The next stop for Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas is the Nation’s Capitol.

The Mayor told 2 on the Beat that she plans to travel to Washington D.C. on February 4  to discuss several issues  critical to Galveston’s recovery,

Officially, the hearing will be about transportation and securing funding for a rail line between Galveston and Houston. 

But the persistent Mayor says she plans to meet with the Texas Congressional delegation and Senator John Cornyn and Senator Kay Bailey Hutichsion.

The Mayor is still waiting for more funding to help Galveston rebuild.

 You’ll recall that after Ike devastated the Island she asked for $2.4 Billion.

Mayor Thomas says she and other Galveston residents are still waiting for the federal government to make good on its promise to send more money to help with the hurricane recovery.

Help Save Shriners Hospital
January 26, 2009

Two years ago Mexico City native Norma Bravo was critically burned over 80% of  her body as a result of a gas explosion at her apartment complex.

The paramedics didn’t know whether to take her to the morgue or to the hospital.

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Since then the 19 year old  she has endured more than 40 surgeries at Shriners Hospital in Galveston, which has  announced that is plans to suspend operations.

Norma and her mother are praying for a miracle.  In the meantime, they are asking people to sign their petition to save the hospital.

the website is www.save-galvestonshriners.com