Houston Mayoral candidate Ben Hall is having a most excellent summer, primarily thanks to Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Parker’s oversteps and missteps on the Houston UNequal Rights Ordinance has propelled Hall into the thick of the race.
As I noted here, conventional wisdom from conventional Houston political pundits said that Hall didn’t have a chance in this years race. But like most conventional wisdom, it only takes one unconventional act to undermine it. And that is exactly what Parker has done by trying to force the HUNERO down the throats of Houstonians.
Hall is the ONLY candidate to come out against the HUNERO. If you don’t believe me, will you believe longtime Houston political commentator Nancy Sims?
Ben Hall remains the only candidate stridently opposing HERO and continues to garner support from the Hotze family and other religious conservatives while Costello remains popular with many centrist voters.
I don’t know about the Hotze angle but this was a coup for Hall:
Within the walls of Mt. Hebron Missionary Baptist church against the backdrop of a Houston Equal Rights Ordinance many consider morally offensive, mayoral candidate Ben Hall welcomed the wholehearted support of African American ministers representing dozens of congregations.
“An end has come to open warfare between the Mayor’s office and the church. I invite you gladly, to have and assume your right position in the leadership of this great city,” said Hall to members of the Baptist Ministers Association, representing more than 300 congregations.
The pastors say they’re backing Hall because he backed them in the battle to allow the HERO ordinance be decided by the City’s voters.
“When others ridiculed us. When no one thought we would stand for what was right in the eyesight of God, it was this man, this preacher, this candidate who stood with us and did not care if it cost him his candidacy,” said Rev. Max Miller, President of the BMA.
And if you don’t think that’s a big deal, click on over to see what Brainy has to say:
Now that is a big deal considering that Brainy is one of the better prognosticators on the “progressive” side of the Houston punditry. And he absolutely HATES Ben Hall and is not happy about this turn of events.
But, but, what about Bill King? Surely the newly minted “conservative” is standing against HUNERO! Right? I mean, heck, he has the Kingwood Tea Party’s support! And KWTP was all in on putting HUNERO on the ballot. But, no, Mr. King is not standing for what is right. From the Houston Chronicle’s Rebecca Elliott recap of a Mayor forum:
1. Will you vote for the equal rights ordinance?
Yes: Bell, Costello, Garcia, McVey, Turner
Ms. Elliot tweeted this during the forum:
Asked to take a position on #HERO, @BillKingForHou says he won’t vote for either side #houvote
How’s that for courage and leadership? Boy, with a backbone like that, he’d sure stand up to the unions when it comes to pensions, wouldn’t he! Maybe conservative organizations need to take a second look before jumping on the King bandwagon.
But Hall isn’t resting on that single issue, although it is huge and will probably remain his biggest focus. Last week I attended a press conference where he announced a plan he called L.E.A.P. -Law Enforcement Accountability Policy. This ten point plan is designed to improve trust between the community and police. I doubt the police union will like it but I’m certain that most citizens, particularly those in the inner city minority areas, will. A few highlights:
- An effective and independent Citizen Police Review Board will be empaneled.
- Confirmed excessive force complaints against officers will be posted on-line by badge number, along with a summary of the complaints and findings.
- Any Houston Police Officer who covers up for another officer’s wrongdoing will be held accountable for the same violation as the offending officer for whom he or she covered up.
- Sworn complaints against any Houston Police Officer may be filed at any public library or public city building. Citizens who file false complaints on law enforcement officers will be investigated and charged with the crime of filing a false report.
That last point is the biggest one to me. One of the primary reasons citizens do not file complaints is that they have to go to a Police station and file it under the watchful eyes of police officers. But also note that Hall balances it by saying, “file a false report, go to jail”. I don’t think this issue should be overlooked.
Is Brainy right and Hall is in the top two right now? I don’t know but I do know that Hall and his wife Saundra would bring class and fresh air to the mayor’s office.