You may or may not have heard Ben Hall’s request that the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board meeting between Hall and Mayor Annise Parker be made public:
Thursday, September 5, 2013
The Houston Chronicle has extended an invitation to mayoral candidates Annise Parker and Ben Hall to meet together with the editorial board staff on October 11, 2013. We confirm Ben Hall’s attendance and request that the meeting is made open to all media outlets and is allowed to be streamed live on both TV and radio.
Considering the lack of transparency in this election and the fact that voters have been denied the opportunity to have their candidates meet face to face in formal, televised, and moderated debates, we believe this meeting could serve as a unique opportunity to hear from the mayoral candidates.
This is a rare meeting where the two candidates will sit side-‐by-‐side, being scrutinized by an impartial audience and challenging one another’s positions. Voters have a right to be part of this.
By opening this conversation to members of the media and giving them the opportunity to share this meeting with Houston’s voters, we will be able to improve the transparency of the election. This will help voters make an informed decision on November 5, 2013.
Julia Smekalina Press Secretary
Ben Hall For Mayor
I’d have to disagree with Ms. Smekalina on this statement:
being scrutinized by an impartial audience
As I’ve shown, the Chron e-board is anything but impartial – they are basically serving as an extension of the Parker campaign. But if the e-board were to agree to Hall’s request, it would be a worthwhile event for him to attend. But Mr. Cohen says no way:
“The Chronicle’s editorial board is a traditional forum where members convene to ask questions of the candidates and debate the issues,” Cohen said. “It is not something we share with other news outlets. However, if the candidates can agree on another day to come together, we will happily host and moderate a public debate.”
Of course the problem with Cohen’s statement is that the mayor refuses to sit down and debate Hall. In light of Cohen’s decision, Hall should refuse to participate and spend his time elsewhere. Hall has as much chance of getting the e-board’s endorsement as a snowball has of not melting when placed on a sidewalk in Houston’s August heat.
If you want yet another example of the Chron e-board supporting Parker, read the editorial titled “A Houston Question“. In it, the e-board notes that pensions are a huge problem for the city’s finances, notes that Parker refused to testify on the subject in front of the legislature this year for political reasons, and then gives her a complete pass for that behavior. And yet they support her lock, stock, and barrel. Bizarre.
As for the campaign itself, something strange is happening. The Parker camp is running as if they are the underdog, attacking, attacking, attacking. It’s almost as if their internal polling is showing what Hall pointed out months ago about her base of support. Interesting.
Meanwhile, someone is having fun projecting Ben Hall Batman logos on buildings close to freeways: