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Archive for March 7th, 2013

On my way to check out the author of “The Searchers:  The Making of an American Legend,” Commentary drove by Tony Mandola’s and witnessed a traffic jam as folks were trying to get in to the Ben Hall for Mayor announcement. It looked pretty crowded.  I asked an attendee to send me a report and here is what I got:

This is no sh_t – over 400 showed up. All types – Rs, Ds, every ethnicity, engineers, etc. He is going to kick ass! Its 8:20 and there are still 100+ here. Crazy!

And:

Matthew Knowles, Ruben Davis, Steve Flores, Peter Brown, Robert Talton, and more. Lots of west side ministers. They had to shut down parking we had a traffic jam on Waugh Drive.

Name the former ‘Stro with the most Opening Day starts in right field?

I kind of find it odd that as of now (I could be wrong), the Ben Hall announcement story is only available to Chron subscribers.  So I went ahead and slapped it down here:

March 7, 2013

Former Houston City Attorney Ben Hall formally launched his mayoral campaign against incumbent Annise Parker Wednesday night, decrying the burden of taxes and fees he said are driving city residents to the suburbs, and saying Houston’s mayor must have a grander vision.

Parker, also on Wednesday, accepted the endorsement of the Houston Police Officers Union and a $10,000 check from its political action committee, as Hall welcomed the endorsement of the African American Police Officers League.

Hall, who served as city attorney from 1992 to 1994, emphasized the need to incentivize business growth, particularly from international markets. He derided Parker’s focus on issues such as red light cameras and a proposal to allow food trucks downtown, saying, "This city is grander and bigger than those kind of trivial items."

‘Choose a different way’

"A mayor must do more than simply balance a budget," he said. "A mayor must do more than simply dream of ways to tax and penalize residents. We need more than just a manager, we need a leader. And we need more than just a leader, we need a leader with vision, someone who sees a way out of this morass. You can continue the strangulation hold on the taxpayers and residents, or we can choose a different way forward … by opening up the city to the international marketplace."

Parker said Hall seemed to be describing "an alternative universe." Parker said she has led the city through a deep recession without raising taxes, and said the major fee imposed under her watch was a voter-approved drainage fee. As for international efforts, Parker said, the city recently has added direct flights to Turkey and China.

"I don’t think I’ve ever heard any political candidate, but most especially a candidate for mayor, imply that it wasn’t important to have a balanced budget," Parker said. "He clearly sees a different city than I see. The city of Houston is one of the best cities in America to live and work and raise a family. It is a magnet for the best and brightest from all over the world, and it continues to get better as we pull out of the recession. I see a city of growth and optimism."

Hall, who holds a law degree from Harvard University and master of divinity and doctoral degrees from Duke University, entered the 2009 mayor’s race, but withdrew and supported Gene Locke, who lost to Parker in a runoff. Hall also considered running in 2011, when Parker narrowly missed a runoff against a group of unknowns, leading some to speculate she would be likely to draw a challenger this year.

Hall was flanked at his event not only by the Rev. William Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and national NAACP board member Howard Jefferson, but also by GOP consultant Jeff Yates and conservative City Council candidate Michael Kubosh.

Hall’s substantial wealth from his law practice makes him credible, said Houston political consultant Mustafa Tameez, but there is no precedent for an incumbent mayor losing since the advent of term limits in Houston. Parker is seeking her third and final two-year term.

Hard to beat incumbent

"If you’re a self-funded candidate, can you get the mayor in a runoff? Yes. Do you have a path that gets you into City Hall? Very, very tough," Tameez said. "There’s not a case to be made that she’s an awful mayor and that if she was around for two more years it would be detrimental to Houston’s future. The Houston economy has done well, there have been no major scandals and, for the most part, Houstonians like Annise Parker."

No candidate has formally filed for mayor; filing begins July 29 and ends Aug. 26.

One other candidate has filed a campaign treasurer form indicating he may run: Green Party candidate Don Cook, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2009 and 2011.

I like the Mayor but I have to point out that she just got over 50% in her last race against a bunch of nobodies so Ben’s challenge is serious business.  Stay tuned!

Last night’s presentation by Glenn Frankel, author of “The Searchers:  The Making of an American Legend” drew a packed house.  Most folks there were my age or older. 

Frankel was introduced by a local journalism professor who said he first saw “The Searchers” at the old Santa Rosa Theater that used to be on Telephone Road.

Frankel compared the Ethan Edwards character to Maya of “Zero Dark Thirty.”

He said the film honors John Wayne but also defeats him.

He pointed out that there has been no other book on “The Searchers.”

It was a great evening so go check out the flick if you have not seen it.

As great as the film is, it didn’t get a single Oscar nomination when it was released back in 1956.

Macy’s Downtown is closing its door manana.  That’s the way it goes.

I don’t have anything to say about Vince Young saying he’s better than most NFL QBs because every NFL GM doesn’t think so.

Terry Puhl of course has started in right field eight times on Opening Day.

The ‘Stros just put out their list of this season’s giveaways and I’m not impressed.

 

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