Archive for October, 2009

Former Mayor Whitmire Backs Annise Parker For Mayor
October 30, 2009

Former Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire held a fundraiser for Annise  Parker Thursday night in an effort to help her good friend get elected the next mayor of  Houston.   

New Image 

Current polls show that Parker has a good chance of making it into the runoff election,  to face either Peter Brown or  Gene Locke.  

(The New York Times has an interesting article about Parker’s hopes of making history in this election:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/us/30houston.html?_r=2)

In one of  the many   interesting twists  in this mayoral election,  Locke is being supported by former Mayor Bob Lanier, who succeeded Whitmire as Mayor of Houston.  

According to a news release sent to 2 On The Beat by the Parker campaign,  Whitmire mingled through a well attended event  and explained why she supports Annise.    

 “I support Annise because she has the values to recognize what this city needs and fiscal responsibility which have been proven in her time as the City Controller to take this city through tough economic times,” said Whitmire.

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Holm vs. Green – Will You Tune In or Out?
October 29, 2009

City of  Houston Controller candidate Pam Holm is taking her campaign to the radio airwaves on Friday, and she’s challenged one of  her opponents to show up for a joint appearance!

 Holm plans to broadcast her political message from  the studios of   KCOH Radio, which is   located in Houston’s third-ward.

According to her media alert, Holm will not only talk about why she thinks she should be elected controller, but she has also invited her opponent Ronald Green to join her for the last half-hour of the show.

Holm says she is giving council member Green an opportunity to explain why he the owes the IRS more than $120,000 in back taxes on his home.

Will Green show up?  I don’t know, but I’ve put in a call to him and his campaign staff   for  reaction.

City Council member M.J. Khan is also running for controller, but I guess he didn’t get an invitation to the showdown.

In the meantime, here is more information from Pam Holm campaign:

Greetings!

Our campaign is giving Ron Green 30 minutes of radio airtime tomorrow to explain his more than $120,000 federal income tax debt to you and to Houston voters.

Tune in tomorrow morning at 9:30 to KCOH 1430 AM and learn whether Green shows up.

Among the topics we will ask Green to clarify for voters are:

* Why didn’t he pay his income taxes completely, honestly and fairly between 2002 – 2007?

* If he is now admitting to having additional income, why hasn’t he amended his city ethics reports to clarify the source of that income?

* An independent opinion from a CPA in Houston says Green has been evading the IRS for many years. How does he justify his qualifications for city controller in light of this?

* How does he justify paying for a Cadillac Escalade, a BMW and a Mercedes while owing the IRS more than $120,000?

* How does he justify remodeling his home but not paying his overdue income taxes?

* How does Green expect voters to trust him with taxpayer dollars?

* How does he square his campaign claims to have “strong grounding in financial policy” but owing the IRS more than $120,000 on unpaid income taxes?

* With his credit trouble and the IRS liens against his home, won’t taxpayers have to pay for a large liability protection plan to allow a controller with such poor financial management skills to handle their taxes and spending?

Our campaign challenges Green to come clean. If he wants to be a transparent public servant, tomorrow he can join us on the air, in studio, to set the record straight.

Feel free to call in with your questions or comments.

 

Will Peter Brown Take The Hayride To City Hall?
October 29, 2009

Does Peter Brown have a new strategy to get his  supporters to the polls?  Why in the world did his campaign put together a hayride?

“Some volunteers were really excited, and tons  of  people want to help Peter out on the campaign,” said campaign manager Lucinda Guinn. 

hayride 

I find these photos both odd and funny at the same time. (I didn’t take them, but they’re  making the rounds on the internet and have been sent out by local bloggers.)

hayride 2hayride 3

What do you think?

Gene Locke Responds To Peter Brown’s New Attack Ad
October 29, 2009

I keep missing it on TV, but  I’ve heard from several people about Houston Mayoral Candidate Peter Brown’s  new TV political attack ad that accuses Gene Locke of  fiscal mismanagement.

Locke’s campaign issued this statement in response:

“Peter Brown is running an outrageously expensive campaign on outrageously cheap lies and he can’t be trusted.  Peter is learning that Houstonians cannot be bought and his eleventh-hour desperate campaign attacks won’t work.  Voters in Houston are learning that Peter Brown can’t be trusted.”

The War of Words Continues: Locke vs. Brown
October 28, 2009

After accusing Mayoral Candidate Peter Brown of  trying to buy votes in the African-American community, today Gene Locke released a new radio ad that calls Brown’s truthfulness into question.  This is not a surprise. Even the Annise Parker campaign has raised questions about Brown’s alleged history of  evading questions and not being truthful about different issues.

This strong attack comes days before the end of early voting and election day, Tuesday, November 3rd.  With polls showing Locke running in third place, is this ad effective enough to get him into the runoff?

Here’s the release I received from the Locke campaign: 

LOCKE CAMPAIGN RELEASES NEW RADIO AD
All Assertions Backed by Facts  
 

Houston, TX – The Gene Locke campaign today released a new radio ad that will begin airing on several Houston radio stations.
 
The sixty-second radio ad, “Trust”, points out a number of questions that have been posed to Peter Brown that he has refused to answer, as well as illustrates how out of touch Brown is with most Houstonians.

“It’s time for Houstonians to get to know the Peter Brown behind the TV commercials,” said Locke Senior Advisor Kim Devlin. “From the inconsistencies between his words and his actions, to his refusal to answer questions, a pattern emerges of someone you just can’t trust.”

The Locke campaign has released a Fact Sheet accompanying the transcript of the radio ad that backs up all claims made in the ad.

The transcript and fact sheet for the ad are below:
 
“Trust”
:60 radio spot

NARRATOR: In this year’s mayoral race let’s look at the facts.

We know Peter Brown’s already spent more than three million dollars to buy this election but it’s more than that.

Can we really trust Peter Brown?

When asked what he paid in property taxes he refused to answer, maybe that’s because he paid $55,000 last year, more than most of us make in a year.

And he won’t disclose family’s financial interest. How do we know if he’s padding his family’s pockets? He’s done it before.

Brown voted against low-income housing here but owns a vacation home in France.

The Houston Chronicle noted in 2007 that Brown expressed amazement at the cost of milk. And quoted Brown saying, “I don’t know much about the daily lives of people I represent.” Clearly he’s out of touch.

How can we trust Peter Brown?

It’s a good thing we have Gene Locke.

He’s been endorsed by the Houston Chronicle, over 100 Pastors, Reverends and Bishops, and most of our community leaders.

On November third, vote Gene Locke. A leader we can trust.

LOCKE: I’m Gene Locke, this political ad is paid for by Gene Locke for Mayor

THE FACTS:

 

• “We know Peter Brown’s already spent more than $3 million dollars to buy this election” (Houston Chronicle, October 27, 2009)

 

• “When asked what he paid in property taxes he refused to answer, maybe that’s because he paid $55,000 last year, more than most of us make in a year.” (KUHF/KHOU Debate October 24, 2009; Harris County Tax Records, 2008; City of Houston Planning Department)

 

• “And he won’t disclose his family’s financial interest. How do we know if he’s padding his family’s pockets? He’s done it before.” (Texas Watchdog, September 17, 2009; Houston Chronicle, December 28, 2009)

 

• “Brown voted against low-income housing here but owns a vacation home in France. (Houston City Council Minutes, October 31, 2007; Houston Chronicle, January 6, 2005)

 

• Brown expressed amazement at the cost of milk. And quoted Brown saying, “I don’t know much about the daily lives of people I represent.” (Houston Chronicle Blog, http://blogs.chron.com/cityhall/archives/2007/10/survivor_povert_1.html#comments)

 

Former Congressman Lampson Making Calls For Peter Brown
October 28, 2009

I was a little surprised to read that former U.S. Congressman Nick Lampson is getting involved in the race for Mayor of  Houston.

Congressman Nick Lampson phone banking 
(photo courtesy of the Brown campaign)

According to a news release sent out by the Peter Brown for Mayor campaign, Lampson stopped by Brown’s campaign headquarters Tuesday night to take part in a phone banking push for Brown.

What’s the  connection between Brown and Lampson?

I’m not sure how far back their relationship goes,  but I know that one of   Brown’s campaign staffers, Mike Malaise, also worked on several congressional campaigns for Lampson. 

You may recall that Lampson was defeated last November by Republican Pete Olson in the race to replace Tom Delay in the 22nd Congressional district.

Anyway, Lampson is well-respected by liberal democrats, and his phone calls could help Brown shore up  support in that area.

Lampson was quoted in the news release saying,  “It was great to be here tonight, speaking  with Houstonians about Peter and his vision for an even better Houston, with real solutions to make all areas in our city safer and to grow the economy.  I’m confident that Peter will be a good mayor for Houston and I’m proud to support him.”

Houston City Hall: The Next Battleground Over 287(g)
October 27, 2009

On Tuesday morning, protestors gathered outside the Harris County Commissioners Court building to speak up about the volatile issue of  immigration enforcement inside the county jails.

287g287 g 1

 

County Judge Ed Emmett joined with the majority of commissioners (commissioner Garcia voted no) to extend the 287(g) program for another three years.

According to Sheriff Adrian Garcia, about one thousand illegal immigrants have been processed and turned over to ICE in the year since the program has been operating.

This is how the program works: when someone is arrested for committing a crime, they are questioned and fingerprinted inside the Harris County  Jail by trained deputies. If  they get back information that the suspect is in the country illegally, that person is turned over to ICE for likely deportation.

On Wednesday, some members of  Houston City Council plan to hold a special called meeting in an effort to begin enforcing 287(g) in the jails.

Council Members Mike Sullivan, Toni Lawrence and Anne Clutterbuck, won’t have a quorum, but they hope they can pressure Mayor Bill White and their council colleagues into taking action.

Mayor White is out-of-town and has no plans to attend the meeting.

Council member Sullivan told me that he believes the majority of   Houston Police officers and his constituents in district E support 287(g), and that is why he is participating in the meeting.

 

 

Police Officers Union Targets Voters For Gene Locke
October 27, 2009

The Houston Police Officers Union has endorsed Gene Locke for Mayor, and now it is sending nearly ninety  thousand direct mail pieces to voters in hopes of boosting Locke’s chances on election day.

locke flier 2locke flier 1

The flyers tout Locke as the only candidate who has a strong  plan for public safety issues in the city of  Houston.

HPOU executive director Mark Clark told me that the mail pieces are aimed at independent and republican voters.

The two page mail piece that  you  see here is already hitting mailboxes throughout the city of  Houston, but HPOU has plans to send a second piece before election day.

At this point, Locke is fighting to  make the runoff.   No candidate is predicted to win it all on election day.

Every vote counts, and it never hurts to be known as the candidate that  police officers believe is the strongest on public safety issues.

Locke has also been endorsed by the Houston Professional Firefighters Association.

Houston’s First Woman Mayor Wants To Help Elect The Second.
October 27, 2009

Former Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire will be in Houston this weekend, and has announced plans to hold a fundraiser Thursday night benefiting Houston Mayoral Candidate Annise Parker.

The minimum $250 per person charge at the door will help Parker raise funds for her campaign, and will help her continue an aggressive strategy to reach voters between now and election day.

Whitmire and Parker have a connection that goes back several years. 

When I googled both names, I came up with this story from OutSmart Magazine. 

OutSmart is backing Parker in her bid to become the city’s next top leader and first openly gay mayor.

http://www.outsmartmagazine.com/cms-this_issue/200906–Annise+Parker+Aims+High.html

Parker was a volunteer in Whitmire’s early bid for elected office, so now it appears that Houston’s first woman mayor is doing her part to help a friend, and elect the city’s next mayor of Houston.

The polls look good for Parker.  Most independent polling shows Parker  running a close second to frontrunner Peter Brown, and slightly ahead of  Gene Locke.

Early voting ends Friday, October 30th. Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd.

More Controversy In The Race For Controller
October 27, 2009

(The following is a news release sent to 2 On The Beat. I will try to get a statement from the Green campaign)

Pam Holm Challenges Opponent Ron Green
to Answer Voter Questions about His Malfeasance

Houston CPA Concludes Green Ignored His Income Tax Debts for Years

HOUSTON After skipping a public candidate debate, Ron Green has some explaining to do to Houston voters, according to the Pam Holm for City Controller Campaign.

Since Green admitted last Friday to owing the federal government more than $120,000 for unpaid income taxes and admitting that he had to forfeit his company’s name because did not pay his state franchise taxes for his corporation, Green has not made a public appearance to answer voter questions about his pattern of mistakes in dealing with taxes.

Our campaign challenges Green to come clean, said Bethel Nathan, manager for the Pam Holm for City Controller Campaign. As it stands his more than $120,000 debt gives voters more than 120,000 reasons to question his integrity and qualifications. If he wants to serve the public, he needs to answer to the public.

According to an independent analysis of the IRS tax liens filed against Green, his tax problems have been ongoing while he has been serving on the Houston City Council.

The independent analysis from Donald M. Clanton, CPA, shows Green is dodging the IRS, taking income without reporting it and misleading the public on his ethics disclosure statements, Nathan said.

In the analysis, Clanton writes, the IRS decided to take more aggressive collection steps because Green was not making payments on his overdue income taxes and Green was not filing accurate income tax statements. The full Clanton analysis, the IRS tax liens filed against Green and Clanton’s resume are available, http://pamholm.com/DonClanton.pdf.

Green’s behavior is not becoming of a candidate for Houston City Controller, Nathan said. Houston wants and deserves a controller who will honor their responsibilities and who has a record of integrity and ethics. We work for Pam because we know she has integrity, honor and the best intentions for all of Houston. Her record proves it.