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Archive for November 6th, 2015

To HERO or Not

The Big Puma is still in good standing with the ‘Stros despite his recent involvement with the anti-HERO campaign according to the Chron. Oh, well.

Commentary said yesterday that The Big Puma was a five time All Star as a ‘Stro. He also played with the Yankees, San Luis, and Rangers. Did he ever make it to the All Star game with any of the other three teams?

I kind of was thinking the next five weeks in the mayoral runoff would be about balancing the budget, fixing the streets, catching the crooks, getting back to basics, and pensions.

Maybe not. Check this from Chron.com:

After the failure of her nondiscrimination ordinance at the ballot box, Mayor Annise Parker said she may try to pass similar or related protections before leaving office at the end of the year.

Some of the 10 council members who voted with her in passing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in 2014, she said, have suggested bringing the protections in segments, such as banning discrimination in employment, then housing, then public accommodations. But Parker said she has no set plan and must speak with council members.

“I’m going to sit down with the council members and see how they want to proceed,” Parker said. “We will also, of course, evaluate what the national and international response from the business community is, because that certainly will make a difference.”

Parker said she had received calls from business interests given pause by the ordinance’s rejection but refused to elaborate.

“You may have noticed that I’m trying to clear as many things off my desk as possible. I don’t really want to leave a whole lot of contentious items for the next administration,” Parker said. “I’m going to try not to leave this one, as well. I think we have a responsibility to try to be thoughtful and figure out a way to bring those protections back.”

And:

Councilman Dave Martin, who opposed the ordinance, said the strong opinions generated by the campaign make it illogical to reintroduce the law this year, particularly for the four incumbent council members facing runoffs.

“To talk about bringing it back this year doesn’t sit well with me because it’s almost like a slap in the face to the voters who overwhelmingly decided that HERO was not an ordinance they wanted to have within the city of Houston at this point in time,” Martin said. “I think you have to walk away from it a little while letting the emotions die down and then maybe look at this under a new administration.”

Cohen said the options of what precisely to bring back could, in theory, resemble closely the ordinance that was rejected, could mirror some other cities’ wording to exempt bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities from coverage under the “public accommodations” section of the ordinance, or could come piecemeal, as Parker discussed.

Parker stressed that any proposal she brings forward will include all 15 protected classes – including transgender residents – and said she is not interested in advancing a measure that exempts changing rooms or related areas.

University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray said it may be politically difficult for Parker to reintroduce the item, noting that the mayor pulled off an unfortunate and unusual “hat trick” by uniting three of Houston’s four voting blocks (blacks, Hispanics and conservative whites) against the proposition. The ballot measure gained only the support of liberal whites; of the city’s 11 council districts, only progressive, urban District C voted yes.

“This mayor has expended so much of her political capital on this and basically come up empty,” Murray said. “For her – having lost an election decisively – to try to bring it back, opponents would be suspicious and leery and saying, ‘The voters have spoken; you lost, move on.’ ”

If the Mayor moves forward on this, how does HERO impact the runoff? The Mayor is certainly not going to ask Bill King for his two cents. I wonder if she will ask Sylvester.

I am thinking that most city council members will want to take a pass on this for now. Stay tuned!

The Big Puma was an All Star in 2011 and wore the San Luis uniform of course.

The ‘Stros will start looking at free agents in the coming days and weeks.

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