Archive for June, 2009

AFL-CIO Endorsements for City Elections
June 26, 2009


The Harris County AFL-CIO Council has made it first endorsements in the City of Houston Mayor’s race and in some At-Large and Single Member Council Districts. In the Mayor’s race, the Council has made a triple endorsement for Peter Brown, Gene Locke and Annise Parker. In the At-Large Council races, the following incumbent candidates have been endorsed: Sue Lovell, Position 2, Melissa Noriega, Position 3 and Jolanda “Jo” Jones, Position 5. In the Single Member Council Districts the following have been endorsed: Jarvis Johnson, District B, Wanda Adams, District D and James Rodriguez, District I.

“The triple endorsement in the Mayor’s is very unusual,” stated Richard Shaw, Secretary-Treasurer. Our Unions liked what they heard from all three of the candidates and they were split among them. All of these candidates have been supportive of our issues and of working families for many years. When you have three friends in a race, you have to support your friends,” continued Shaw.

The triple endorsement will allow individual Unions to support the candidate of their choice through the November 3, 2009, election. If a run-off occurs, the endorsement process will be re-visited by the AFL-CIO Council.

“We are very proud to have had the opportunity to endorse our City Council Member incumbent friends,” continued Shaw. “They have all been outstanding in their support for issues important to our neighborhoods and to working families in Houston. You cannot find a harder-working group of elected officials who care so deeply for our City as these folks,” concluded Shaw.

Additional endorsement announcements for other City Council and in the City Controllers race will be forthcoming as the candidates are screened by the Council’s COPE Screening Committee following action taken by the Delegates from the Unions of the Harris County AFL-CIO Council.

The Harris County AFL-CIO Council represents 77 Unions in Harris County, Texas. The Council and its Unions engage in get out the vote activities among Union households for endorsed candidates through its Labor Neighbor Program.
Harris County AFL-CIO Council represents 77 Unions in Harris County, Texas. The Council and its Unions engage in get out the vote activities among Union households for endorsed candidates through its Labor Neighbor Program.


Changes in One Mayoral Campaign
June 24, 2009

People who follow Houston politics have been whispering about it about it for weeks: Mayoral candidate Gene Locke really needed to pump some new energy into his campaign staff.

It looks like Locke was listening to that advice, because  on Wednesday he announced that he is shaking   things up.

As a first time candidate for office, Locke is better served by an experienced  team that knows how to run a successful campaign from day to day management and messaging.

Here’s the announcement from the campaign:

Locke Adds Senior Members to Campaign Team


Brings on Veteran Political Professionals

Houston, TX – Houston mayoral candidate Gene Locke today announced the addition of two senior aides to his campaign staff.

Joining the Locke team are Christian Archer, a veteran of numerous winning political campaigns, as Campaign Manager, and Kim Devlin, a seasoned political professional and native of Houston, as Senior Advisor.

Archer has a strong history of creating winning campaign strategies for many Texas campaigns. In addition to helping former Austin Mayor Will Wynn and Houston Mayor Bill White get elected, he was a key force in the landslide win of former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger. Archer’s most recent victory was for Julian Castro, the newly elected mayor of San Antonio, who won his campaign in May without a run-off in a field of nine candidates.

Devlin who will be advising Locke on media and press, has over a decade of experience serving as campaign manager, senior strategist, advisor and communications consultant on numerous winning national, state and local campaigns across the country. Kim is a native Houstonian, who began her career working with many Texas candidates, including former Houston Mayor Lee Brown’s campaign in 1997. She most recently served as a senior strategist for communications and outreach for Media Matters for America, the nation’s premier progressive media watchdog.

“The addition of these two well recognized professionals at this stage of the campaign affords us an important opportunity to take advantage of the momentum our campaign has garnered,” Locke said. “Christian and Kim will bring an increased sense of excitement to the whole team and I am thrilled to have them on board.”



Annise Parker Gets Big Campaign Boost
June 23, 2009

2 on the Beat received the following news release from the Annise Parker for Mayor campaign.

It’s a big deal when you can get the endorsement of precinct chairs, the folks who work in the communities and neighborhoods to get people to the polls. 

Community Leaders Endorse Annise Parker for Mayor of Houston  

56 Houston Precinct Chairs Make Early Endorsements of Parker for Mayor

Houston, TX – Today, the Annise Parker for Mayor Campaign announced endorsements from 56 Houston precinct chairs. These local leaders have stepped forward to support Parker for her leadership and experience, long-time commitment to neighborhood and community development and ability to manage Houston’s economy during troubled economic times.
“It is critical that we have a mayor who understands city departments and finances as we work ourselves through the recession.  Without question, Annise has the leadership skills, analytical ability and the right vision for the City of Houston.  She is the kind of mayor we need for Houston,”  said Sherrie Matula, Precinct 721 Chair and Senate District 11 Chair for Harris County.

“These endorsements are especially significant to me as they come from communities throughout Houston,” said Parker.  “It will take all of us to keep our city moving forward in these tough times, and I am grateful to have the support of these local leaders.”

“Annise has represented all of Houston for nearly 12 years, first as council member at large and then as city controller.  She is a forward-thinking leader with a proven track record.  I appreciate her common-sense, common-ground approach to government and am confident that she is the candidate we need to move Houston forward,” stated Richard Cantú, Precinct 105 Judge (since 1996).


Radio Battle Heats Up – Protests and Public Meeting Planned
June 19, 2009

Protestors are expected to show up Saturday at a town hall meeting organized by U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee.

The Congresswoman and several artists will give their perspective on H.R. 848.

If you listen to certain radio stations, including those in Houston that are owned by Washington D.C. based Radio One, then you have heard all of the attacks on Congresswoman Jackson Lee and  Represenative John Conyers (D-MIchigan).

Station owners claim that the elected leaders support of a plan to pay fees to artists could bankrupt their businesses and force them off the airwaves.

Sheila Jackson Lee

Mayor White Celebrates Birthday With Cake and Campaign Cash
June 16, 2009

Houston Mayor Bill White celebrated turning fifty-five  Tuesday night by cutting two birthday cakes,  and collecting campaign donations for his anticipated race for the U.S. Senate.

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Several elected officials  and long time supporters of the Mayor attended the party,  which was held at his new campaign office near the Galleria.

White is term limited at city hall, and has six months left in office. It’s clear he is  spending a lot of time focusing on his future political aspirations.

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 In recent weeks, he has started juggling a hectic schedule:  taking care of the city’s business, while traveling the state on nights and weekends, shaking hands and meeting people to lay the ground work for the election.  During his speeches around the state White is focusing on his record of creating jobs and his experience dealing with natural disasters.

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Speaking of the election, the date will be decided whenever U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison decides to step down.  She has already announced plans to challenge  Governor Rick Perry in the March 2010 GOP primary.

Sources say the Senator wants to stay in Washington long enough to have input on  some proposed legislation. 

Herb Butrum, White’s chief fundraiser, says he thinks the election will be held in May 2010.  He didn’t say how much the Mayor raised at his birthday party, but White and his wife Andrea plan to match every dollar contributed to the campaign in June.

Judicial Election Fight Heads To Court
June 16, 2009

 Goodwill Pierre, the former Democratic candidate for state district judge in Harris County, is about to have his day in court.

 As 2 on the Beat has reported, Pierre challenged sitting Republican Judge Tad Halbach  for the 333rd  court seat  in November.

Pierre lost the election by fewer than 300 votes.

He  filed a lawsuit against the Harris County Tax Assessor Collectors office, claiming that provisional ballots were improperly rejected, and that other  “various irregularities” make it impossible to know “who really won the election.”

A hearing is scheduled on this matter for Friday, June 19, at 10:00 am at the Harris County Civil Courthouse.

Here’s the release from Pierre’s supporters: 

I know this is an important issue that needs to be resolved so that voters in Harris County have faith in the election system, but I think the reference to Juneteenth is a bit of a stretch.

After Democratic judicial candidate J. Goodwille Pierre narrowly lost his Nov. 4 bid to unseat 333rd District Judge Joseph “Tad” Halbach of Houston, a Republican, Pierre filed a petition in state district court in Harris County on Dec. 11 contesting the election. In Goodwille Pierre, Contestant v. Joseph “Tad” Halbach, Contestee, Pierre alleges that “various irregularities” make it impossible to know who really won the election. According to final election results, Pierre lost the election by 230 votes. Pierre alleges in his petition that more than 5,000 provisional ballots were not counted by the Harris County voter registrar. Now Republican Judge Cara Wood called a hearing on Juneteenth, the day Black Slaves in Texas got the word that they were free 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Lincoln, to rule on a Motion for Summary Judgment. Come one and all on June 19, 2009 for Justice on Juneteenth

Governor Perry on The Mend – In Houston Tuesday
June 15, 2009

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Governor Rick Perry, with his arm still in a sling  after he injured himself  while riding a mountain bike, was in San Antonio on  Monday , to sign legislation strengthening the state’s eminent domain laws.

Looks like Perry  found a kindred spirit in the crowd.

Little Devin also has a hurt arm and is sporting a not so fashionable sling.

Meanwhile,  The Governor will be in Houston Tuesday to sign legislation designed to give a major tax break to the state’s forty-thousand small businesses.

The Competition for City Controller Heats Up.
June 10, 2009

Add one more name to the list of term limited city council members planning to run for City Controller.   On  Monday, District F  councilman M.J. Khan made it official. 

 He will be campaigning for the job  against fellow councilman Ronald Green and Councilwomen Pam Holm,  to become the city’s  next fiscal watchdog.Locke 001thursday 001

In a letter to supporters  officially announcing his candidacy, Khan said he is running to, “take my knowledge and message of  responsible fiscal management to the next level.”

While the race for mayor will likely get most of the public attention, the office  of  controller is also important to the city’s economic future.

Check back with the 2 on the Beat blog, and I’ll let you know where you can see and hear the candidates for controller talking about their vision for Houston.

Planned Parenthood Mayoral Candidates Forum
June 9, 2009

It was technically closed to the press, but representatives of   Planned Parenthood,  and the candidates for Mayor of  Houston allowed me to have a few minutes to take pictures at the mayoral forum.

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Annise Parker, Gene Locke and Peter Brown  were invited to  speak to the crowd about their position on women’s reproductive rights and health care.

Their comments were off the record (since it was closed press) but it’s safe for me to report  that Planned Parenthood, like any other  organization, wouldn’t invite candidates to speak unless they are considered friendly to their cause. 

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In this case, I’m not sure what impact and influence the Mayor of  Houston has on issues like annual exams, counseling and abortion services.

I suppose Planned Parenthood wants to make sure that the next mayor takes a stand in support  of  women’s reproductive rights and promotes the need for accessible and affordable health care. 

The forum was sponsored by the Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas Action Fund, which is  the political action committee for Planned Parenthood.

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Meanwhile,  the election is still five months away  and it seems like the candidates are out  every night speaking to different groups or attending political fundraisers.

By election  day, November 3, 2009,  there is going to be no excuse for you  to say that you aren’t voting  because you don’t  know enough  about the candidates.

Money and the Race For Mayor – June 30th is Approaching!
June 8, 2009

The people who want to represent you in the top job at Houston City Hall are in the final stretch to raise money by June 30, 2009.

The first campaign finance reports are due on July 15, and that’s when we should get a better indication of  who is and isn’t raising the kind of serious cash they would need to run a viable campaign, possibly through a runoff election.

On Monday three of the people who have filed to run for mayor,  attorney Gene Locke and city controller Annise Parker, and City Councilman Peter Brown launched  new initiatives to raise money from different sources.

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Parker’s Plan is called the “I Can Make a Difference Campaign.”   (you can read  more about it here:

Parker is taking a page from the Barack Obama campaign handbook  for President, by asking Houstonians to contribute $5 or more to her  bid for Mayor.annise parker 007   is the leading force behind the Parker fund raising effort,  although Parker has certainly held more traditional fundraisers, including a birthday party at her home last month that doubled as a campaign event. 

Ladies for Locke:

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Also on Monday , Mayoral candidate Gene Locke unveiled a new team of  financial contributors.

Calling themselves “Ladies for Locke”  the diverse committee   held its first event at the Ensemble Theatre on Main Street near downtown.

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Nearly 200 women each paid a  minimum of  $100  to join the  group and work to get Locke elected Mayor of Houston.

The chairs of the event were Diana Davila,  Diedra Fontaine,  Ellie Francisco and Georgia Provost.   Rhonda Arnold, Tissy Hardin and Gene Locke’s mother also attended the event.

Build a Better Houston: One Brick At A Time

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In an email to supporters Houston City Councilman Peter Brown is reminding them that the June 30 deadline for campaign contributions is fast approaching.

Brown is asking people to donate to build a better Houston, one brick at a time.

You can contribute , or learn more about Brown’s campaign for mayor of Houston by clicking this link: