Like I’ve said before, I love getting press releases and such from political campaigns because so many of them are outright hilarious. I received one this morning from the folks that opposed the Prop 1 “rain tax” (The Problem with Prop 1) and it is funny as heck. Designed as a mailer, this is the text:
If you are receiving this mailing it is because you are a city voter with a lot size of 7,200 sqft or greater. In November of 2010 voters went to the ballot box to vote on Proposition 1 which purported to prevent flooding. There were a number of Republicans who tried to use the issue to garner support for underserving candidates or misspent money given to them to promote their own self-interest. Some thought they could manipulate the anti-prop1 effort to line their pockets with money, others wanted to use the effort in shameless self promotion. Paul Bettencourt endorsed Pro Prop1 District C candidate Brian Cweren, a gay liberal plaintiff’s lawyer with a history of being sued for slander and defamation of character, police bashing, and endless fruitless litigation and ambulance chasing. Cweren bamboozled several Republican Party precinct chairs and paid others to help him garner support for his campaign like gay wannabe political consultant Eric Weinmann. Unsuspecting Republicans saw his Police Academy decoder ring and thought Cweren was pro-police/law enforcement, none knew of his long documented history of police bashing and attacks on the police department. Cweren’s affiliation with Houston Cop Watch and promotion of the now defunct organization which has morphed into the Houston Peace and Justice Center which endorses and supports Occupy Houston. The Problem with Prop 1 group is pleased that Paul Bettencourt has taken the big step in endorsing a gay candidate and Anti-gay activist Dave Wilson showing diversity in this year’s City elections. However, Mr. Cweren is Pro-Prop 1 who never campaigned against Prop 1 in any fashion and is confused by this endorsement. When asked his position Cweren answers in the Engineering canned response of “the voters voted for it and now we just need to implement it”. Never once has he ever mentioned this was the largest tax increase in Houston history with no cap on the amount. Cweren has never supported the effort to repeal Prop1 through a new Charter Amendment?
The mailer includes an endorsement of one of Mr. Cweren’s opponents, Karen Derr.
Mr. Cweren is a candidate in District C and I have to admit that I scratched my head the other day when I got an eblast from HCRP Chairman Jared Woodfill stating that the party had endorsed Mr.Cweren but my puzzlement was because his positions on the issues seemed at odds with the party’s goals – I had no idea he was gay, nor would it have mattered to me. But I don’t remember a time when the party endorsed an openly gay candidate. What makes it amusing is that at the same time, the party elders continue to criticize Houston Mayor Annise Parker because she is, well, gay! She’s a lesbian, dontcha know! And then on the radio, I hear uber Republican Paul Bettencourt endorsing Dave Wilson for mayor because, well, Mayor Parker is promoting a homosexual agenda!
Ya can’t make this stuff up! Ain’t politics a blast?
UPDATE 6:45 pm 11/4/11: The Brian Cweren campaign is very upset that I posted this information. In fairness this is their official response to the flyer text that is listed above, sent to me by campaign consultant Mary Sergesketter and written by campaign consultant Eric Jared Weinmann:
Let's set the record straight.
First and foremost, Hooper's comments are false, malicious, slanderous and a full misrepresentation of the truth. Hooper, the author of this press release, is simply trying to get out of a story currently posted on the Houston Chronicle blog explaining his illegal actions using a special purpose PAC. The real scandal is the unethical behavior of Hooper and his illegitimate candidates slate endorsing liberal Democratic candidates.
Brian Cweren is a strong Republican candidate, and, like myself, is not of an alternative lifestyle. Brian Cweren has been dedicated to Republican his entire life. Brian has worked toward lower taxes and fees, stronger police and conservative budgeting. Cweren is running a strong campaign. In fact, our campaign is the only non-incumbent Republican campaign which has raised sufficient money and has real internal organization. Brian is campaigning on a strong message of cutting taxes, regulation and red tape at City Hall – they very activities which are suffocated economic growth in our city. I feel confident of Brian's chances and we are conservatives should work hard to make sure Brian Cweren is successful. I find it strange that anyone would bash a candidate who has volunteered so much time to the Harris County Republican Party and his family.
Paul Bettencourt commented, "I am proud to support the only conservative in this race who will beat Ellen Cohen," in response to this article and is upset at Hooper's unstable activities. It is worth knowing that Bettencourt's group is the recognized anti-prop 1 group. Paul is proud to be supporting Brian Cweren.
Brian Cweren is proud to be endorsed by the Harris County Republican Party, and is the only candidate this cycle to be successful in this regard. At the summer meeting of the Harris County Executive Committee meeting, supportive precinct chairs presented a resolution calling for Brian's endorsement. The Executive Committee voted to endorse unanimously. The HCRP joined a number of conservative organizations and individuals supporting Brian Cweren, including the C-Club, former councilmembers Toni Lawrence, Martha Wong, Mark Goldberg, in addition to Commissioner Jack Cagle, Harris County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez, Roy Morales, Mills Worsham, Greg Meyers, as well as SREC and SD Chairs and over 50 Republican precinct chairs.
The activity which has prompted this odd press release from Hooper is an illegal operation to endorse liberal candidates. Hooper has taken money from Democrat City Council candidate Scott Boates to print a slate card on behalf of the PAC Taxpayers for Accountability. This PAC is a Special Purpose PAC. Under Texas law, this type of organization cannot support, endorse or spend money on behalf of a candidate. I have filed an official complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission in this regard. After consulting with attorneys at the TEC, our conclusion is that Hooper and PAC treasurer Robert Glasser's activities violate campaign law and have been assured of tough penalties when found in the wrong. It is interesting to note that Glasser is himself a liberal Democrat with a big government agenda.
I am also saddened by the decision to republish false and misleading information. There should be a strong code of ethics preventing such unsubstantiated claims from being published in a journalistic context. I am honored to be working with Brian, and many other wonderful candidates. Any attack on my or Brian's character is salacious and slanderous and deserves great disdain.
It is time for Republicans to stand behind strong conservative candidates and put petty personal politics aside.
UPDATE 2 7:00 pm 11/4/11: I asked Cweren campaign consultant Mary Sergesketter about the core issue here, the rain tax. This is the official response from the campaign:
Brian Cweren voted against Prop 1. District C voted for it and he respects the will of the people. Brian Cweren pledges to work to make sure that promises made to the voters of Prop 1 are kept and the money spent as promised. Brian is against any increases in taxes or fees. Brian is against the new proposed police fee. Brian Cweren will work to cut waste and to decrease property taxes to offset the drainage fee.
UPDATE 3 11:30 am 11/5/11: For clarification, in the original post above, I was not adopting the press release as being accurate when I published it – I published only to show how sometimes our party leaders will take inconsistent positions when it suits them. I did not intend to express or imply anything about Mr. Cweren or Mr. Weinmann or the truth of any accusation about them contained in the press release. As soon as the accuracy of the press release was questioned by Mr. Weinmann, I provided the campaign with an opportunity to respond and published that response within minutes after receiving it from Ms. Sergesketter. I have no reason to question the truth of those responses. To the extent anything I posted could be construed otherwise, I retract such statements and defer to the responses from Mr. Weinmann and Ms. Sergesketter.
Felicia Cravens says
My head hurts thinking about politics in Houston. Because apparently issues of "teh gays" are more important than, oh, say, the pension mess coming or the massive increases in fees. Yeah, it must be the gays.
It appears to me that Big Jolly published some sort of Halloween hoax. This points out one of the problems of blog journalism. It is too easy for unsubstantiated rumor and sheer viciousness to get repeated without proper vetting.
David Jennings says
No, not a hoax as far as I can tell – it was sent by the PAC. What is interesting is that I guess this is still your daddy’s HCRP. I made fun of Bettencourt, you guys are all outraged that someone called Brian Cweren gay – I thought that we were moving beyond that to issues. Obviously not from the reaction I’ve received. I guess it will remain tabu to be a gay Republican in Harris County as we swim around in debt up to our ears, streets that are full of potholes, broken water mains,etc.
BTW, if someone had called me gay, I would have laughed about it. No big deal.
In 2005, Cweren was one of 5 candidates who worked full time to get elected. Anne Clutterbuck came in 1st and Cweren came in 6th. That is because the undervote was larger than his vote. It seems unlikely that District C will view him any differently this time around.
Alvin Walker says
This is part one of a two part comment. Part two will be made after election day. Knowing most of the players in this Soap Opera, my thought is we can not allow Ellen Cohen to win this race. I've endorsed Brian because I don't think Derr will win due to lack of funds. Either one would be much better than Cohen. Brian has put a LOT of his money into this race, which sometimes makes for a more engaged candidate. He's even got "boots on the ground" in San Antonio. My "cowboy logic" says we need to make sure Cohen is defeated.
Karen Hooper says
I am proud to call myself a friend and supporter of Brian Cweren. I have contributed to his campaign and will be working for him at the polls. Eric is correct when he states that Don Hooper's comments are false, malicious and slanderous. I am saddened that you posted this defamatory material.