Fight Between Council Members Exposes A Political Double Standard

Houston City Council member and mayor pro-tem Sue Lovell’s  campaign has sent out a political mail piece attacking  city council member Jolanda Jones.

Jones, who is seeking her second term, is in a runoff against  former State Board of  Education Chairman Jack Christie, a staunch conservative who has been endorsed by Dr. Steven Hotze.

You have likely heard  Hotze’s name a lot lately. 

 He is the mastermind of the political mail piece that was sent to thousands of conservative voters supporting Gene Locke for Mayor and attacking Annise Parker because of  her homosexuality.

I’m a little surprised  that all  of   the  “progressive democrats and bloggers”  who support Parker for mayor, have remained silent on what appears to be a  political double standard.

I guess it’s ok to criticize Locke, but not Lovell  for aligning with republiclans and appearing cozy with a conservative anti-gay political leader?

First, Lovell (who is openly gay like Parker) is in her own runoff race against Andrew Burks(who is African-American)  for a city council at-large  seat.

 Hotze has endorsed Burks and also criticized  Lovell’s gay lifestyle in the mail piece sent to conservative voters.

Second,  it’s very unusual for a sitting council member, who is also in a runoff race,  to  exhaust energy and money fighting against an incumbent colleague who shares most of the same progressive  and gay supporters.

So why the beef between two former close friends and colleagues?

Two years ago,  Jones recruited someone to challenge Lovell’s  position as a Democratic National Committeewoman from Texas.

(UPDATE: I received a call from a  Jones’ supporter. He said Jones did not recruit, but only  supported Rozzy Shorter who ran as a Obama delegate)

Jones, who supported Barack Obama, was upset that Lovell was backing Hillary Clinton in the party primary.

Also,  Jones’ style on council that has been described as “combative” by city hall staffers and elected officials.

Jones has also been a very vocal critic of the Houston Fire Department following an outcry  of  racism and sexism made by two female firefighters at Station #54.

Her tactics have angered many including  Jeff  Caynon, the President of   the Houston Professional Firefighters Association.

Canyon has  accused Jones of  calling him a “house Negro”  when he tried to defend the men and women of  the fire department.

Who knows what impact the flyer will have on the Jones vs. Christie matchup?

I do know that if  both she and Lovell are reelected, and Annise Parker is sitting at the mayor’s seat,  city council is going to get a lot more interesting to cover.

No one seems concerned about what appears to be a huge political double standard.

12 Responses

  1. Ahem:

    Be careful about making overly broad statements that aren’t true.

    • Charles,
      Thanks for the clarification, but I stand by my post.
      The tone isn’t the same. The number of attacks doesn’t compare.
      People have every right to support the candidates of their chose, but I’m stunned by the silence or mild criticism of Lovell’s actions from her fellow democrats, progessives and gays.
      That said – I enjoy reading all of your work.

  2. Fair enough, but I think you’re vastly overstating the parallel. Jack Christie isn’t Steven Hotze. Christie actually rejected Hotze’s endorsement, and you’ll note that Lovell’s piece never mentions his name. Lovell is letting a personal dispute cloud her judgment, and she is acting in a vindictive fashion, neither of which speak well of her. I’m not sure what else you’re looking for here.

  3. I’m proud that Council Member Lovell would stand for firefighters! They put their lives on the line everyday and deserve the utmost respect from our city and especially our elected officials. Good for Sue, it’s appalling the names that Jo used. Go HFD!

  4. I agree with Kuffner and note the piece does not mention Lovell supporting Jack Christie at all. Maybe it is just very simple that Lovell supports our firefighters and thought Jones had attacked them unfairly?

    Christie=Hotze? Come on Mary?

  5. Mary I think you are looking into this a little too much. All the piece looked like to me was an attempt by Lovell to educate voters on extremely inappropriate comments Jo allegedly has made about HFD and their leadership in the past.

  6. Mary thanks for this post.. it is a double standard.. it funny how if one group can dish out they dirt they cant take it.. hum a council member that let’s personal issues clout her judgment FLAG on the PLAY.. Does she let personal matters cloud her judgement when she votes on council i wonder? Thanks MARY for reporting the new and raising those hard questions…

  7. Anne Clutterbuck, Pam Holm, Toni Lawrence and Mike Sullivan, all sitting councilmembers, 2 of which are returning to council in January have publicly endorsed Jack Christie over their colleague Jolanda Jones – and have sent out mailers urging their districts to vote for Christie.

    Lovell’s piece makes no mention of Christie at all.

    So speaking of double standards Mary, why aren’t you adding that information to your posting?

    A coordinated campaign by 4 current councilmembers to oust Jolanda Jones seems a little more newsworthy than Lovell’s mailpiece.

  8. To suggest there is some sort of moral or ethical equivalancy is offensive and you should be ashamed.

    Lovell’s actions I feel are petty, mean spirited and politically dumb, but they do not even begin to compare with the anti gay campaign waged by Hotze and financed by Locke’s key supporters. That you are so insensitive to the scale and scope of the latter’s attacks speaks volumes about you. Why is that?

    Your own biases are being revealed and you want others to carry water for you. How lazy. How dishonest. How disappointing.

  9. Ryan,
    thanks for the comments.
    in fact I never stated or suggested that either Locke or Lovell is guilty of any moral or ethical lapse.
    Voters can decide that.
    My point – if people are criticizing Locke for associating with a particular group of people, then Lovell should also be criticized for being cozy with that same group!
    Otherwise, there is a double standard, no?

  10. Please don’t distort my words (or at least just break out a dictionary) I said you made equivalancy, nothing more, between the actions of the two. Lovell’s was a dumb political move, motivated by her smallness of character. She did not fund a hate group to do so. Lovell’s actions didn’t target a whole segment of the community. Lovell’s actions were just petty and stupid. For you to imply her support for Jones’ opponent is the same as being cozy with hate groups is really insulting and nonsensical. People can support Christie and not be part of a hate group…or perhaps you’d like to broaden your smear to include all of Christie’s supporters? Or is it just when it suits your agenda?

    Gene Locke’s support for Hotze is entirely different. Two key Locke supporters bankrolled Hotze in a move that may well be illegal. Locke lied about this connection repeatedly, and has been constantly having to step back from his own statements. Locke courted the gay community and then paid Hotze to attack them. This isn’t a squabble between two council memebers, this is an attack on a large part of the community.

    Gene Locke is getting deserved criticism, he has been caught in lies and his chief supporters are more than just cozy with Hotze, they funded him. Lovell is guilty of being a petty mean spirited figure…not someone you’d want to pal around with, but far from supporting hate groups. There is a huge difference and if you can’t tell the difference then perhaps your bias has blinded you.

    PS I voted for Jones, so there 😛

  11. Ryan,
    I personally do not care who you voted for in this or any election.
    My bias? It’s all politics to me.
    I have a great reporter/elected leader working relationship with both Lovell and Jones.
    I call ’em as I see ’em, without regard to political party, sexual orientation or race.
    God bless you and good night.

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