Posts Tagged ‘Houston Equal Rights Ordinance’

Commentary is thinking that this is more of a campaign and political tactic heading into the HERO election. You know, a lot of folks didn’t like the idea of the clergy getting served with subpoenas, so this is more of a reminder. I am talking about Deborah Wrigley’s lead story about the pastors suing the Mayor and the City that ran last night on the 10 pm news. Here it is:

HOUSTON (KTRK) — The fight over Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, or HERO, goes on, despite a Texas Supreme Court decision that ruled the anti-discrimination initiative has to either be repealed by city council, or go to the voters.

A lawsuit is preparing to be filed, claiming religious freedoms and the right to vote by the ordinance, approved last year by council. The objection by various pastors, and the Houston Pastors’ Council was that gays were included as protected classes in the ordinance, which bans discrimination in housing, employment and other areas.

Mayor Annise Parker is named in the lawsuit. It claims that the pastors’ religious freedoms were “trampled” when their sermons were subpoenaed by the city. It later withdrew the subpoena.

The lawsuit also claims that civil rights were violated when voters were not allowed to cast ballots on the measure in a referendum.

We attempted to contact a member of the mayor’s staff for comment. Our call has not yet been returned.

The lawsuit asks for damages. If the lawsuit succeeds, any money awarded would go toward paying legal costs generated by the pastors and the pastors’ council, which are said to be several hundred thousand dollars.

In a statement released this evening by Rev Dave Welch, of the No Unequal Rights group, he writes, “The Mayor of Houston violated the law, attempted to use raw intimidation and trampled on the rights of one million Houston citizens.”

The group, including pastors of several small congregations whose sermons were subpoenaed by the city, will hold a news conference Monday, the same day the lawsuit will be filed.

Serving subpoenas was a bonehead play by the City so these folks will score some points on this.

The ‘Stros lead MLB with 148 team dingers. How many ‘Stros players have 10 or more dingers to date.

It looks like we will have a vote on term limits this November. On the H-Town City Council agenda for this week:

36. ORDINANCE repealing Ordinance No. 2014-530, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance or “HERO”

37. [If Ordinance No. 2014-530 is not repealed]: ORDINANCE ordering a Special Election to be held on November 3, 2015, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, Ordinance No. 2014-530, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance or “HERO”

38. ORDINANCE ordering a Special Election to be held on November 3, 2015, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the City of Houston, Texas, a proposition to amend the City Charter to reduce the number of terms of elective offices to no more than two terms in the same office and limit the length for all terms of elective office to four years, beginning in January 2020; and provide for transition; containing findings and other provisions related to the foregoing subject; providing for severability

The ballot language for the HERO has not been posted in the backup materials.

Texas Attorney General Paxton appears to be in hot water. Don’t blame this one on the Dems and politics. Last I heard, the Texas Rangers – not our AL West rivals – are not a partisan bunch.

If Vice-President Joe Biden wants to run, I am OK with that. Here is this tweet from this morning:

TODAY ‏@TODAYshow 1h1 hour ago
Would @DavidAxelrod advise @VP Biden to run for president? “I would not,” he tells @SavannahGuthrie.

The Chron ran a piece yesterday on the H-Town mayoral candidates and “Game of Thrones” characters. Commentary is not a Throne fella so I had no idea what the Chron was talking about.

How about this tweet from Tags:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ ‏@brianmctaggart 8m8 minutes ago
Astros gained five games on the Angels this week and lead the AL West by four games. Last Monday, they trailed by one.

We got informed on Friday that the price of our ‘Stros tickets will go up next season. Thanks.

We have seven players with 10 or more dingers of course: Valbuena (19), Carter (17), Gattis (17), Rasmus (13), Spinger (13), Correa (12), and Tucker (10).

We have a four game lead with 56 games remaining including 25 at The Yard. It is too early to be talking playoffs but we can still be scoreboard watching. We begin a nine game roadie tonight in Arlington. We are contending so Go ‘Stros!

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I try not to get into the business of telling our local news organizations how to conduct their operations.   I will say this.  If newsies are going to cover the H-Town Mayor, the former City Attorney, and the sermon subpoenas, then they have to cover the trial of the HERO petitions if you ask me.  After all, the story has gone freaking national!

I really didn’t find much detailed coverage of what happened yesterday over at the courthouse on the first day of the petitions trial.

Kris Banks retweeted this:

Kris Banks retweeted

Houston Equality @HOUequality  ·  21h 21 hours ago

Mayoral candidate Ben Hall just came into courtroom and sat with #HERO opponents. #HOUequality

And this:

Kris Banks retweeted

Houston Equality @HOUequality  ·  20h 20 hours ago

Mayoral candidate Ben Hall to #HERO opponent Pastor Nash in court corridor, “This is gonna happen.” #HOUequality

I really couldn’t find anything in the Chron or much with the local TVs with the exception of Fox 26 here:

Chances are you’ve heard of the fairly new Houston ordinance that allows transgender men to use women’s restrooms among other things. Now a judge and jury will hear about the ordinance. Today is day one of a trial that names Mayor Annise Parker as a defendant.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance or HERO as it’s called has been at the center of a lot of controversy since before the law was passed by Houston City Council last summer. There was a petition with thousands of signatures to try to get the law repealed. The city decided the petition isn’t valid and that brings us to where we are today. A trial started this morning to decide if the signatures on that petition are acceptable or not worth the paper they’re written on.

“We will fight to the legal death to repeal this bad law,” says the plaintiff’s attorney Andy Taylor. 65 people showed up but only 12 will be chosen as jurors to hear all about the petition opposing the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, known as HERO, which among other things gives transgender men the right to use public ladies restrooms.

“Why in the world would we create a law that confers special rights on men who just want to pretend they are women so they can go into female restrooms in Houston and take advantage of young girls?” asks Taylor.

“The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance provides protection for all Houstonians. There are 15 protective classes in the ordinance. I believe the majority of Houstonians support the equal rights ordinance,” says Christina Gorczynski a HERO supporter who was in the courtroom.

This trial isn’t to decide if the law is right or wrong. It’s to see if a petition against the ordinance, with 54,000 signatures, is valid. Defense attorneys claim the document is full of forgeries, fraud and people who signed more than once. “That kind of stuff is a tiny, tiny part of these signatures. So can the city come up with a couple hundred or couple thousand signatures that aren’t valid? Sure they can,” says Taylor. Taylor represents Houstonian Jared Woodfill and several pastors who are suing Mayor Annise Parker, The City of Houston and long time City Secretary Anna Russell. Russell first told the group they had more than the minimum number of signatures to get the law repealed and get the ordinance put on an election ballot to have voters decide on it.

“She’s going to testify in this trial and she’s going to say we had enough signatures to get this on the ballot and you know what? Anna Russell has outlasted a lot of Mayor Parkers. Russell has served as City Secretary under eleven different Houston Mayors. Taylor claims this case is going to trial not because of an invalid petition but because Mayor Parker doesn’t want the issue on the ballot.

“She just told her lawyers kill this thing. Smother this thing in the crib because she doesn’t want voters to have a chance to pass on the lunacy of this bathroom ordinance. Well her day off reckoning is about to come.,” Taylor says. Pastors from Grace Community Church, First Baptist and Second Baptist, to name a few, are among those fighting for the validity of the petition. A number of ministers are said to have jumped on board after the city moved to subpoena church sermons regarding the equal rights ordinance. “We have so much support for our side because of that one lone solitary idiotic move by the mayor. We are very confident the jury, after it hears all the evidence, is going to say one thing, mayor you got it wrong. Let the people vote,” says Taylor.

Attorneys for the mayor and the city declined to comment until after a jury is chosen. The trial is expected to last two to four weeks. If the jury decides the petition is valid city council will have to decide whether to repeal the ordinance. If they don’t, there will be an election in November so voters can decide.

You better follow Houston Equality @HOUequality for the latest from the courthouse.

It wasn’t until 1986 that a ‘Stro got a first place vote in the NL MVP Award balloting – 6 first place votes for a second place finish.  Name the 1986 ‘Stro?

Everybody knows that concussions are a very serious problem in the NFL – well just about everyone.   Check out what our local NFL owner had to say in GQ:

By the summer of 2013, (NFL Commissioner Roger) Goodell was determined to put Bountygate and the broader concussion issue behind him. He held a series of meetings with team owners in New York and persuaded them to settle the class-action lawsuit brought by more than 5,000 players who were seeking financial payouts for concussion-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression. Goodell argued that while the league could fight in court and likely prevail, the litigation would be a festering wound on the league’s image.

“It was about protecting the brand,” recalled Bob McNair, who attended the sessions. “Do we want the brand attacked on this for the next ten years? Or do we want to go ahead and take the high road? In effect, we don’t think most of these concussions referenced even occurred in the NFL, but we’re not going to complain about it.”

Chron.com put the above out yesterday but it is not in today’s hard copy.  I give credit to KHOU-TV’s Bob Allen for calling out McNair yesterday.   I didn’t see anything else locally.  I hope the local newsies are not giving the owner a local homer pass during this Super Bowl Week.  Stay tuned!

Glenn Davis of course scored 6 first place votes out of 24 for second place in the NL MVP Award balloting in 1986.  Mike Schmidt won that year.

The new MLB Commissioner is thinking about doing away with one the ‘Stros’ key strategies – the defensive shift.  Oh no!   Say it ain’t so!

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