Posts Tagged ‘Ben Hall’

I’ll be watching MSNBC again this morning and will never forget.

Let’s take off the gloves. Commentary is talking about the H-Town mayoral forums and debates.

At yesterday’s BOMA forum: Ben Hall to Council Member Steve Costello on permitting – “You have no credibility. You have been at city hall for six years and it has gotten worse.”

CM Costello went after Bill King. I think most observers know why.

On the HERO, Ben Hall received applause from a lot of BOMA folks for opposing.

I don’t think there were any older Acres Homes African American voters in attendance at BOMA so that’s why Rep. Sylvester Turner and Adrian Garcia quickly said “I support HERO.”

At last night’s televised debate, CM Costello again called out Bill King. Like I said, I think most observers know why.

Garcia was asked by Marty McVey about the Sheriff Department’s lousy record on solving rape cases under Garcia’s watch. Garcia had that uh-oh look and avoided answering the question. This question is going to dog Garcia for sure.

Commentary was disappointed that Bill King was never asked a question on the city budget, pensions, or infrastructure. I guess that is just the way it played out.

I also don’t think the debate organizers did a good job on their first round of questions. Some got tough questions and some didn’t. That is kind of lazy work if you ask me.

There were a lot of empty seats last night at the venue. I think the sponsors were a bit stingy on ticket distribution. They should have invited more folks.

Here is the Chron’s take on last night’s debate: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/In-first-televised-debate-mayoral-candidates-6497311.php.

Name the MLB club with the most home wins his season?

Here we go again. It kind of sounds like a broken record. Another effort to get more tourists to visit H-Town. Here is from today’s Chron:

It’s time to lay any lingering concerns over Houston as a “cultural wasteland” to rest and start actively promoting the city’s bounty of arts and culinary destinations to tourists, city officials said Thursday, kicking off the latest marketing and image campaign.

“Yes, it’s hot. Yes, we have mosquitoes. Let’s get over that,” Mayor Annise Parker told a group of 700 at Houston First Corp.’s inaugural Tourism Summit on Thursday. “After they get here, people fall in love with the city. They don’t want to leave.”

Houston First, the city’s main tourism arm, hopes to shift visitors’ focus beyond the oil and gas business and to brand the city as the “culinary and cultural capital of the South.” A new advertising and marketing blitz is part of its ambitious goal to boost visitors by 35 percent, to20 million annually, over the next three years.

Television spots feature famous Houstonians – members of ZZ Top, “Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons and singers Lyle Lovett and Kam Franklin – explaining what outsiders may be missing. The campaign includes images of not just the downtown skyline but also Midtown hot spots, fancy sushi bars, world-class museums and more.

Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Tourism-officials-shift-focus-beyond-business-6496986.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Save your money, please. It is not going to work. It hasn’t in the past. It won’t in the future. Not even with the help of Sheldon Cooper. We are who we are.

San Luis of course leads MLB with 50 wins at home. The Royals and the ‘Stros follow with 48 each.

We now have a two and a half game lead with 22 left and we are in Anaheim for the next three. One game at a time.

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I know I shouldn’t be talking this way but I may as well point this out to those of us who love our local politics and love our ‘Stros. If the World Serious goes to a Game 6, the game will be played at the crib of the AL Champion on the evening of Tuesday, November 3 – Election Night. Wowsa! Now that’s what I call a nice dilemma or good problemo to have.

Name the MLB club with the most playoff appearances as a Wild Card Team?

There have been around 30 or so mayoral candidate forums this campaign season and I think I have missed around one or two of them. So I guess I can be called an expert of sorts on how these forums are playing out.

First let me remind folks what Commentary said yesterday:

Tonight’s Mayoral Candidate Forum is hosted by Super Neighborhood #6 and the Old Acres Homes Citizen Council. I am predicting that Ben Hall will go aggressive on Rep. Sylvester Turner. The setting plays to Ben’s style if you know what I mean.

I was right. The crowd was for the most part was older African American voters. Ben went after the HERO and got some folks worked up. During the forum, a member of the clergy asked the candidates where they stood on the HERO.

Now let me back up. Yesterday morning, at a transportation related forum, the candidates were asked to give a thumbs up or down to the HERO and they did. At the Museum District forum, all the candidates clearly said they were for, against, or would abstain.

Back to last night, Ben Hall was again the only candidate to say he was against. Bill King again laid out his concerns. Adrian Garcia talked more about what he did at the jail but never outright said he supported the HERO. Marty McVey said something about how we should love everybody but never said outright he supported the HERO. Rep. Sylvester Turner laid out that discrimination against anyone was wrong but never said the words “I support the HERO.” Council Member Steve Costello and Chris Bell didn’t attend the forum.

I guess you could say Ben succeeded in getting some of the crowd worked up and it having an effect on the HERO supporters. I bring this up because of one of the arguments I heard a few Saturdays ago at the GLBT Caucus meeting for supporting Sylvester. Let me reprint this from the Chron’s coverage of the GLBT meeting three weeks ago:

“I want to win the HERO ordinance,” longtime caucus member Kevin Hoffman said to a packed hall in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union building, in northwest Houston. “We need every single vote. If we (GLBT) don’t endorse Sylvester Turner, who can bring the African American vote and coalition with us, we are going to fail.”

That wasn’t evident last night.

Here is what Adrian Garcia told the clergy leader: “If my city attorney ever sent you a subpoena, I’d fire him.”

Like I said, Ben set the tone on the HERO.

If someone else there had a different take, let them put it out. If you weren’t there then you really can’t describe what happened.

This is what happens when you invite the minor candidates:

Marc Campos ‏@MarcCommentary 60m60 minutes ago
She definitely went over her allotted time for closing remarks at the SN6/Acres Home Mayoral Forum. #houvote

So this is what happened at the Museum District forum. Check this tweet:

Miya Shay ‏@miyashay 1h1 hour ago
Tidbit from #HouMayor forum early this week: McVey wasn’t invited, waited at Zaza bar for organizers to change their mind. They didn’t.

Trump called Jorge Ramos a “Spanish journalist.” Oh, well, they all look the same.

The Red Sox of course have been the Wild Card team seven times.

We are at Target for three with a five game lead.

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Ben’s Play

New ‘Stros pitcher Scott Kazmir didn’t disappoint us last night, going 7 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and zilch in the run department. Kazmir was drafted in the first round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Who selected him?

We will find out if this works. Commentary is talking about mayoral candidate Ben Hall trying to catch an anti-HERO wave. The play isn’t about Ben getting to City Hall. It is about who he hurts politically in the process. The Chron’s Rebecca Elliott has a lengthy piece on Ben’s play. It is definitely an insider story. Here it is:

Two years after coming up short in his first mayoral bid, a well-funded but unfocused affair, Ben Hall has found his campaign issue: taking down Houston’s equal rights ordinance.

Already a staunch opponent of the nondiscrimination law, Hall has become more vocal in the wake of last week’s Texas Supreme Court ruling that City Council must repeal the ordinance, known as HERO, or place it on November’s ballot.

From Twitter to television, Hall is using his criticism of HERO to set himself apart from the largely progressive mayoral field.

“There’s only one candidate in this race who has consistently for the last two years opposed HERO and supported the right of voters to vote,” Hall said in a Fox 26 segment that aired Tuesday. “When the pastors wanted to fight in the court system, none of the other candidates was present. I was.”

Most of Hall’s competitors have remained out of the HERO limelight, issuing a single press release about the Supreme Court’s decision or staying silent.

Five of them – former Congressman Chris Bell, City Councilman Stephen Costello, former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia, state Rep. Sylvester Turner and businessman Marty McVey – have said they support the ordinance, while former Kemah mayor Bill King has tried to straddle the fence.

“I do not see the empirical need for a discrimination ordinance,” King said last Saturday, after previously saying he would not have put the item on City Council’s agenda.

Like Costello, King is seeking the support of Houston’s conservative west side.

Through a spokesman, King declined to comment Thursday on whether he would vote to repeal HERO.

“He’s between a rock and a hard place,” said University of Houston political scientist Richard Murray. “The right conservative base doesn’t like HERO, but the people who write big checks are more moderate on this issue.”

Passed in May 2014, Houston’s equal rights ordinance bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, and family, marital or military status.

It applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting, and violators could be fined up to $5,000. Religious institutions are exempt.

Since the ordinance went into effect, 11 complaints have been filed with the city, five of them alleging racial discrimination, five alleging LGBT discrimination and one claiming gender discrimination, according to Houston’s Office of Inspector General. A settlement was reached in one of the five LGBT cases, and the gender case was closed due to insufficient evidence.

In accordance with the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling that the city suspend enforcement of HERO, the OIG is not continuing to investigate the other nine cases. The law’s most controversial provision remains its protection of transgender individuals’ ability to use the restroom consistent with their gender expression, regardless of their biological sex.

Like many of HERO’s conservative critics, Hall has voiced concern that the ordinance would allow men dressed in drag to enter ladies’ bathrooms to potentially harm women and children, and he is among those who signed anti-gay activist Dave Wilson’s petition to define gender identity.

In staking out that position, Hall has endeared himself to some on the right, including local donor Steven Hotze, who publishes an influential Republican endorsement mailer.

“Hall speaks his mind forthrightly with conviction,” Hotze wrote Tuesday in an email sent out through his Conservative Republicans of Texas group.

Campaign finance records show Hotze and his wife each contributed $5,000 to Hall’s campaign, the maximum allowed in a city race.

HERO also puts Hall in a position to chip away at Turner’s support in the African-American community, particularly its more religious subgroups, said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “If you’re Turner, this is not a positive development,” Jones said.

Among Hall’s donors is African-American pastor F.N. Williams, one of the plaintiffs in the case seeking to repeal the nondiscrimination ordinance.

“I’m excited that God has gained a victory. It’s not our battle, it’s his battle,” Williams said last Friday following the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling. “We’re standing for him. We’ll continue the fight against sin.”

Even with the resurgent HERO issue, Murray said it is unlikely that Hall, who earned little conservative support in 2013, will have the votes needed in November to make the expected runoff.

As it was two years ago, Hall’s campaign largely is self-funded; he received contributions from just 36 individual donors in the first half of the year, taking in some $94,000, according to his finance report. Hall lent himself an additional $850,000.

“I don’t think you can ride that single issue into the runoff,” Murray said. “I don’t think it has enough resonance with voters that are so much more concerned about infrastructure and the deterioration of the streets.”

Reporter Mike Morris contributed to this story.

No doubt Ben will get votes on this. But he becomes the anti-HERO candidate. A one issue candidate. Let’s see who he ends up hurting.

Scott Kazmir was drafted by the Mets of course in 2002.

Last night was electric! A scoreless game with two out, two on, and a one and two count against Jason Castro in the bottom of the ninth then his dinger to right and The Yard erupted! I was actually getting ready to settle into extra innings, instead, we swept the Angels. Baseball doesn’t get any better, folks!

The team is making some moves. We have us a two game lead. The D-Backs are in for three. Baseball is alive in H-Town and welcome to H-Town, Carlos Gomez

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“I Am In” trumpeted HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson in announcing this morning in an email that he is running for H-Town City Controller.

Yesterday, Chron.com posted a story saying that former H-Town City Attorney Ben Hall would be running for Mayor again.

State Rep. Sylvester Turner has already said he’s running and has signed up consultants.

H-Town Council Members Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington both had full page ads in Gary Polland’s latest TCR and are telling folks they are running.

My friend Bill King is telling folks he is running.

Chris Bell’s law partner is complaining about the fundraising rules so I guess Chris may be running.

Without spending a whole lot of time dissecting the race, I will say that Carroll Robinson probably benefits if both Hall and Turner make the race and spend a lot of dough – the African-American turnout thing.

I am also thinking that The Mayor isn’t going to sit on the sidelines and quietly watch the race. Here is what she tweeted yesterday after word of the Hall announcement got out:

Annise Parker @AnniseParker • 15h 15 hours ago
Ben Hall to run for Houston mayor? Wants debate on issues? If he paid his taxes & tickets no one would about them.-A http://bit.ly/1xOAYmP

Turner’s spokesperson also got into the tweeting act here:

Sue Davis @suedavis1974 • 15h 15 hours ago
I can’t wait! Chron:”Ben Hall to run for mayor in 2015.” And it’s not even Christmas yet. I must have been a very good girl this year.

The MLB Cy Young Award winners were announced yesterday. Name the MLB clubs who have never produced a Cy Young Award winner?

I really did want to move on but then I saw my pal Jay Root’s Trib piece on more of the Team Davis loss. Jay Root got ahold of some internal memos from Team Davis’ former consultants. Now just how did these memos fall into Jay’s hands? Is this a case of someone getting even? How convenient. Here are parts the Jay Root Trib piece:

Consultants for Democrat Wendy Davis warned her campaign months ago that the Fort Worth senator was headed for a humiliating defeat in the Texas governor’s race unless she adopted a more centrist message and put a stop to staggering internal dysfunction.

The warnings are contained in two internal communications obtained by The Texas Tribune and written at the beginning of the year by longtime Democratic operatives Peter Cari and Maura Dougherty.

After the drubbing Davis got from Gov.-Elect Greg Abbott last week, they seem eerily prescient.

“The campaign is in disarray and is in danger of being embarrassed,” Cari and Dougherty wrote in a lengthy memorandum on Jan. 6. “The level of dysfunction was understandable in July and August, when we had no infrastructure in place — but it doesn’t seem to be getting better.”


Dougherty and Cari, founders of the national consulting firm Prism Communications, had helped guide Davis to two tough Senate wins in a Republican-leaning North Texas district, and they were deeply invested in her campaign.

But the media strategists complained that they and other consultants who had been involved in her past races, and who knew her strengths and background, were being sidelined and had been unable to communicate directly with Davis.


“Running Wendy Davis as a generic national Democrat is not only the quickest path to 38 percent, it’s also a huge disservice to Wendy, her record and the brand she has built,” they wrote. Davis got 38.9 percent of the vote, compared to the 59.3 percent of voters who cast ballots for Abbott.

Given the national wave that swamped Democrats around the country, including in governor races that Republicans won in traditionally blue states such as Maryland and Massachusetts, it’s highly unlikely that any political strategy would have ushered Davis into the Texas Governor’s Mansion.

But Dougherty said it didn’t have to be such a rout.

“It’s possible to lose and still look good,” she said in the phone interview. “Our worry in January was it was setting Wendy up for embarrassment throughout the course of the campaign. I think the way the campaign played out was far, far worse than it should have been.”

Here is the entire Trib piece:

This is from the Statesman a few days ago on Battleground Texas:

They lost ground,” said Christian Archer, a Democratic political consultant in San Antonio who has worked on several mayoral and gubernatorial campaigns in Texas.

“It was frustrating to watch,” Archer said of Battleground Texas’ performance. “The bar kept getting lowered and lowered and lowered and lowered and lowered, and then they tripped over it.”

By every measurable outcome, Battleground Texas failed to live up to its promise: More women voted for Abbott than Davis, there was no surge in Hispanic registration or turnout, and the numbers of Democratic voters plunged. (Democrat Bill White’s 12.7-point loss to Gov. Rick Perry in 2010 looked good by comparison.)

Here is the entire piece:

Cincy, the Fish, the Rangers, and the Rockies have never produced a Cy Young Award winner of course.

The ‘Stros are saying they will increase their payroll to $70 mil this season. We will see.

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This past Saturday I checked my mailbox and I found a mailer that included skeletons and it was an attack mailer on Ben Hall.  I don’t have a problem with this because that is the name of the game.  I thought the skeletons were kind of creative it being 17 days from trick or treat and the skeletons referenced Ben Hall’s closet.

I checked the disclaimer and it said Houston Turnout Project.  I could not find them on the City’s political action committee list or with the Texas Ethics Commission so I put them in the google run and found a not so fresh website.  On one page was a generic message to vote in the 2009 elections and on another was touting the H-Town Mayor running for Mayor before she became a Mayor back in 2009.  I just made the assumption that this was one of those so called independent expenditures not so aligned – wink-wink – with The Mayor’s campaign.  According to the website, it certainly didn’t look like the IE had been doing a whole lot of turning out voters since 2009.

Here is what I tweeted:

@anniseparker to @Benhallforall: “Dem bones, Dem bones, Dem dry bones!”. pic.twitter.com/sLwYxY26yF

The “Dem bones” was a reference to the song “the foot bone connected to the ankle bone” tune to kind of inject a little humor into the mailer and tweet.

If Commentary had seen or heard of Houston Turnout Project activity over the past four years, my tweet probably would have looked different.

Name the Red Sox with the most dingers in a season?

Let’s get back to my Saturday night tweet.  The Chron and a few others retweeted my tweet and called it a negative mailer and it brought a quick denial and pushback from The Mayor’s Campaign.  They said to check out the disclaimer.  The Chron immediately tweeted a correction and Commentary kind of clarified a correction via tweet.

I guess the Mayor’s Campaign had to point out the disclaimer on the attack. Of course all they have done on TV is go negative so stay tuned.

The Chron E-Board as expected endorsed The Mayor yesterday.  They also had a lengthy piece on her.

I would hope that Dems would have enough sense to make sure The Kinkhole isn’t on next year’s ticket.

Some of the Texans players were not happy with some fans booing Matt Schaub when he went down yesterday.  I don’t want to defend the fans that booed but you have to expect this when a whole frenzy is created over a football team and just about everyone in H-Town contributes to the frenzy.

In 2006, Big Papi hit 54 dingers and is the top Red Sox of course for most dingers in a season.

Big Papi hit a game tying grand salami last night as the Red Sox went on to beat the Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS at Fenway.  It was a Salty and Papi night.

The only thing to say about the Texans is scoreboard.  I wonder when the ‘Stros report to training camp?


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