Peter Brown Stumping For Annise Parker In Runoff Race For Mayor
November 25, 2009

After finishing  third in the general election, Houston City Council Member Peter Brown endorsed Annise Parker over Gene Locke for Mayor in the runoff.

Brown is doing more than just giving speeches, he is also hitting the trenches: raising money, block walking and taking part in strategy meetings.

Brown has recently sent an email to those who supported him in the first round, to get behind Parker in the runoff.

Dear Friends and Supporters, As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to thank all of you for supporting my vision for an even better Houston. Although we did not prevail, we worked hard and made a real difference. Now, after lengthy discussions with the two remaining candidates, I am wholeheartedly supporting Annise Parker as our next mayor. I urge you to do the same. Annise Parker, I am convinced, will pursue the quality of life agenda important to us all. Just as she has done for the past 12 years as a Council Member and City Controller, Annise will continue to make government more efficient, to reduce crime, create jobs, and deal effectively with traffic, air quality, infrastructure and flooding. She knows how to get results at City Hall, and has the experience and the track-record we can count on. This past weekend I block-walked for Annise in the East End and in Kingwood, talking to voters about the important issues facing our city. This experience, like many others, confirmed that Annise and I share a clear vision for our great city. Therefore, I hope that you will support Annise Parker, by going to her website where you can make a donation, or sign up to volunteer. As well, I urge you to email your friends to support Annise. This is an important election – about a real commitment to a more prosperous, greener and livable Houston, with a commitment to open,

Parker Releases Campaign’s First TV Political Ad
September 24, 2009

Houston Mayoral Candidate Annise Parker is jumping into the TV political ad war.

Her campaign’s  new ad titled “Annise Parker Delivers” focuses on the crime problem in Houston, and discusses Parker’s record and vision for the city.

The ad begins running today, and it also  touts Parker winning the endorsement of  the Houston Police Patrolmen’s Union. 

Most political analysts  say that Parker already has the highest name  identification among all of the major mayoral candidates, so going up on TV  a few weeks before the start of  early voting can only help boost her name and ideas. 

Council member/Mayoral Candidate  Peter Brown was the first to begin advertising on TV.

Brown now has two campaign commercials and he is also running radio ads.

That  means that attorney Gene Locke is the only major mayoral candidate who is not up on TV, spreading his message to viewers and voters.

I spoke with a Locke campaign aide, who would only say that the campaign plans to launch its first  TV ad “very soon.”

No word on when or if  Mayoral Candidate Roy Morales will launch a TV political campaign.

Stay tuned!

A Mayoral Forum That Wasn’t Cancelled
September 17, 2009

On Thursday night, the top four candidates for Mayor of  Houston participated in the Forum on Quality of  Life Issues, which was held at the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park.  

Peter Brown, Gene Locke, Annise Parker and Roy Morales answered questions about water quality, visual blight , trees, landscaping, flooding and city parks.

It wasn’t a fiery debate, but more of a discussion about how the candidates would prioritize and fund these projects if  elected the city’s next mayor.

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Moderated by  Nancy Sims of  Pierpont Communications, the forum was sponsored by the Bayou Preservation Association, Houston Parks Board, Quality of  Life Coalition, Scenic Houston, and Trees For Houston.

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Perhaps, more importantly than the topics discussed, the event could be one of  the few remaining opportunities that voters will have to see all of the candidates on one stage , leading up to election day.  

As 2 On The Beat reported earlier, the candidates have decided to cut back on the number of joint appearances.

Locke, Parker and Brown, have already held more than forty joint appearances, and not all of  the events have attracted big crowds.

The candidates say they’re tired of talking to each other, and they want to spend more time campaigning directly to people in the community and raising money. 

Are the candidates short-changing voters by limiting the number of  debates and forums?

We’ll have to wait and see, but if you are really interested in learning about the candidates you can always visit their websites, instead of waiting for them to show up at a forum in your neighborhood!

A Low Key Filing Day For Mayoral Candidate Peter Brown
September 1, 2009

Houston City Council Member Peter Brown is filing paperwork and paying the required fee today to get his name on the ballot as a candidate for Mayor of Houston.

Unlike  Annise Parker and Gene Locke, Brown is not holding a big rally with his supporters on the steps of   city hall. 

He isn’t asking members of the few organizations that endorsed him to applaud and hold campaign signs in front of the TV news cameras.

I spoke with Brown campaign manager Lucinda Guinn, who says that “Brown wants to focus on the substantive issues facing the city.” 

Guinn was referring to the questions surrounding the $25 Million to $103 Million shortfall.

This morning the fiscal affairs committee is being briefed on the problem.

Of course, Brown is the first major mayoral candidate to launch a TV political ad.  Last week Brown told 2 On The Beat that he plans to keep a heavy presence on TV, and continue to reach out directly to the voters.

Locke Hosts Live Social Media Summit
August 29, 2009

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In a sign of  how much political campaigns have learned to embrace  the on-line social network of  blogs, twitter, facebook and you tube, Houston Mayoral candidate Gene Locke hosted a live-streamed Social Media Summit  on Saturday.

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While he was chatting on-line and in person with the group,  Locke also unveiled his business plan for the city of Houston, which focuses on ethics, accountability, job growth and entrepreneurship.

The interactive discussion was moderated by Matt Nathan, with Houston Technology Center, and lasted about forty-five minutes to an hour.

Locke appeared to be at ease while he sat at at a table , in front of a camera, and fielded questions from people in the room and over the Internet. 

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Each time Locke answered a question or  talked about his vision for Houston, the bloggers were able to update their followers instantly, via facebook, twitter and other methods of instant messaging.  

This is another tool that campaigns are using to effectively get their message directly to the voters, without always having to rely on the mainstream media.

During the discussion, Locke stressed that social media now gives candidates like him an opportunity to, ” talk directly to the public in ways that were not dreamed of  before.”

His campaign has hired a social media strategist, and if elected, Locke promised to utilize social media at city  hall. He also vowed that his  administration would be transparent and accessible. 

Certainly Locke isn’t the only Houston mayoral candidate to recognize the power of new media.

Mayoral candidates Annise Parker and Peter Brown have both hired social media managers. 

Their campaign information is constantly being updated on-line  to make it easier for supporters and volunteers to stay informed.

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.

Mayoral Candidates Staying Busy
May 17, 2009

It’s tough being a candidate for mayor  of  Houston this time of year. 

 The  voters are not paying much attention and the media isn’t ready to commit to covering your campaign.

That hasn’t stopped the people  who want to  be your next mayor from keeping a busy schedule on the campaign trail. 

Brown Opens Headquarters: 

On Saturday, City Councilman Peter Brown held a block party to officially open his campaign headquarters.

 About 200 people showed up to hear Brown talk about  his plans for Houston’s future. 

 I couldn’t make it, but his campaign sent me these photos of  Brown posing with his supporters, which include Rev. Bill Lawson and community  activist  Mary Ramos.

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A Birthday Party filled with Politics

City Controller Annise Parker celebrated her 53rd birthday Sunday by hosting a political fundraiser  at her home near downtown. 

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Her media aide told me that the campaign has set a goal to raise $1 million dollars by June.  That’s  when all  of  the mayoral  candidates are required to file their first  campaign finance reports, and we’ll finally get a peek at  how much money the candidates are raising and who is contributing to each of the campaigns.

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The election is in November.

Most political analysts  say it will take a runoff  between the top two vote getters  to pick Houston’s next mayor.

The Race for Mayor of Houston: Locke In – Hall Out
February 9, 2009

In an unusual development Monday morning,  Houston  attorneys  Gene Locke and Ben Hall , both rumored to be candidates for Mayor, appeared  at a joint news conference to announce that one would run for the top job at city hall and the other would stay on the sidelines.

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Who else showed up?   Congressman Al Green who says he “facilitated” a series of meetings  between the two men that ended with Hall deciding to withdraw from the race and endorse Locke for Mayor. 

The three men say they held a series of meetings over the past few weeks. The most recent took place on Sunday at at undisclosed location.

Locke and Hall say they discovered that they shared a similar vision for the city.  They believe  it would not be in the best interest of the city if they fought for the same constituency.

2 on the Beat will have more details on this story coming up on KPRC Local 2, including reaction from mayoral candidates Annise Parker and Peter Brown.