Archive for November 9th, 2015

The Leader Man

Commentary actually picks up The Leader (the neighborhood/community weekly newspaper) and runs through it to see if there is anything going on in the ‘hood that I need to know about. I have said it before, the fella that runs The Leader doesn’t like the Mayor. What did City Hall do to this fella?

Here is how he ends his take on last Tuesday’s election:

Why did voters do this, and why did they speak so forcefully to the outgoing mayor? For starters, the campaign against HERO worked – controversy sells. More importantly, in my opinion, people have tired of Parker and her brash manner of dictating to the city rather than working for the city.

No better example could be found than on Tuesday night, when Parker stood before a room and repeatedly referred to the opponents of HERO as “small” and “deliberate liars” and, my favorite, “a calculated campaign by… right-wing ideologues and the religionous (sic) right.”

I don’t know what Parker meant by “religionous” and I don’t know if I’m even spelling that correctly, but the outright “angrous” arrogance and political ineptitude of our current mayor was on full display Tuesday.

What Parker seems to forget is that, for almost two decades, she has worked as a servant for our city. She has made a great living in a great city that has, thrice, elected a gay mayor. Yet when her pet project failed, she stood for all the world to see and basically begged businesses and major sporting events to punish her city for not supporting an ordinance that could have easily passed.

“I fear this will have stained Houston’s reputation as a tolerant, welcoming, global city,” she said. “And I absolutely fear there will be a direct, economic backlash as a result of this ordinance going into defeat.”

Parker was elected three times to care for this city, and she has been given a pass by the major media in Houston for leading an administration that has left our infrastructure rotting and our finances in peril.

On Tuesday night, Parker’s feelings were so hurt that she cast our entire city in a negative light. She was the retiring CEO who tried to ruin her company on her last day. She was the pitiful example of why politicians are so scorned today – they care more about personal agendas than service to you and me. And instead of being gracious in defeat, her screams and vitriol toward our city – the largest city to ever elect an openly gay mayor – are reason enough to look forward to either a Turner or King Administration.

Here is the entire Leader take: http://theleadernews.com/opinion/election-analysis-easy-predictions-so-long-parker/.

I think it is a bit too harsh if you ask me. I think we all just need to cool it. Oh, well.

This Hall of Fame great is 84 today and is in the Hall wearing a San Luis lid. This Hall of Fame great is 80 today and is also in the Hall wearing a San Luis lid. Who am I talking about?

Commentary believes in transparency in campaign contributions and expenditures reporting. I want to know who is giving and how it is being spent.

There is a growing practice where campaigns and PACs write a big check to a consultant and the consultant does not report if some of the bucks are going to vendors.

I want to know who the vendors are – mail, signs, phones – you get the picture.

Some consultants who defend the practice say they are entitled to protect trade secrets. That is a bunch of BS.

The Texas Ethics Commission is looking into this and on HoustonChronicle.com there is a story and here is how it starts:

Wading into the hush-hush world of political operatives, Texas’ campaign finance regulator is considering how to get more details disclosed when a consultant spends a candidate’s money to shape state and local elections.

The Texas Ethics Commission has set its sights on large lump sum payments to consultants from campaigns and political action committees – six-figure totals, on occasion, that are disclosed on campaign finance reports only as “consulting” or “consulting fees.”

Those expenses can be payments for actual consulting services.

However, regulators say they believe campaigns and PACs are increasingly writing big checks to operatives for a wide range of activities to influence elections – hiring boots on the ground, purchasing mailing lists, production costs for ads – and the details are never reported. That allows a campaign or a PAC to essentially mask who and what it’s paying for by outsourcing expenditures through a consultant, they argue.

It’s proven to be a touchy subject for political operatives who consider their strategies, including pricing agreements and even the names of third-party vendors, akin to classified material.

In meetings over the summer, several commissioners appeared fired up, describing the lump sum payments with no details as defeating the requirements of state disclosure laws. The commission even came up with a catchy name for the practice: “campaign in a box.”

However, months after airing the issue in meetings, and taking public comment in a series of letters, the state regulator has yet figure out a path forward – and it’s not clear anything will result from the effort.

One reason: pushback from consultants has been strong. Consultants and PAC treasurers have written to the commission with a largely unison message: back off.

Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Campaign-in-a-box-fires-up-commissioners-6618678.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Put me solidly on the side of transparency. There is nothing wrong knowing where every penny is spent.

Happy Birthday today to Hall of Fame greats Whitey Herzog (84) and Bob Gibson (80) of course.

The ‘Stros made an offer to #ColbyJack.

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