■ Surprisingly, Hall also wants to transform our oil and gas city into a “world-class entertainment venues.” Now, this is Clutch City, not New Orleans. Houston's demographic changes over the years are a validation of a multi-national city with diverse interests. Perhaps, a simple scale of preference would have helped Hall to outline his priorities.
The 2001ferocious Houston electioneering battle between a third-term mayoral incumbent, Lee Brown, and conservative challenger Orlando Sanchez left some indelible lesson notes for prospective aspirants. Most outstandingly, it instilled some gravity into Houston’s political arena and authenticated the perception that the power of the incumbent is not an illusion. In other words, to unseat a popular incumbent, a candidate needs to be armed with effective strategies rather than talking points; he or she needs to showcase a reformation blue print, not display political godfathers.
Somebody just flunked that test, and it was not Sylvester Turner. Houston popular attorney, Turner lost that race so many times, even Google lost count. At one time, he lost to a real estate money bag, Bob Lanier and blamed it on channel 13’s Wayne Defacino. It was a long story, but that was not enough. In another horrible outing, he crumbled again against another affluent contender, Bill White; this was the last time I heard about the Turner’s campaign.
As if history was repeating itself, former City Attorney Ben Hall came out last week to exercise his constitutional rights to be voted for and declared his mayoral candidacy for mayor of Houston. Good thing is that he came out better than Sarah Palin, but bad news - a lot worse than Turner. One could tell from his package – a composition of unconvincing lyrics, showcasing a few community big names, mainly political godfathers.
Flanked by his wife, Saundra, and two sons, Benjamin and Zachary, Hall declared his candidacy faulting the incumbent Annise Parker as a manager who relied on “stagnant tax policies” and abnormal licensing and permit fees as revenue sources, claiming that “As mayor, I will not continue the stranglehold of taxes and fees that are choking the taxpayers.” He continued, “ We must not tax residents to death, but rather expand our revenue opportunities by opening our doors aggressively to world markets.”
Attorney Hall made some substantial proposals but left them watery without supporting statistical figures, or any meaningful sources. For instance, he wants “Criminals to know that they are not welcome in Houston.” He believes that “A mayor must do more than simply balance a budget.” Hall is running for mayor because “I know that the best is yet to come.” Hall believes that “We need more than just a manager, we need a leader.” Surprisingly, Hall also wants to transform our oil and gas city into a “world-class entertainment venues.” Now, this is Clutch City, not New Orleans. Houston's demographic changes over the years are a validation of a multi-national city with diverse interests. Perhaps, a simple scale of preference would have helped Hall to outline his priorities.
At this time, when the nation’s economy is sailing into unprecedented austere budget measures, how does re-baptizing Houston to a world-class entertainment spot alleviate the economic urgency? How does the current fiscal sequestration forcing automatic cuts on the Health Centers Program totaling a loss of $120 million in Health Center funding this fiscal year affect Houston? Specifically, how or where has the incumbent failed woefully that necessitated her replacement? Why would Houston risk their hardworking mayor for a brand new contender, known only in the downtown court district? These are some fundamental research questions that must be explored before any candidate other than the incumbent steps into the arena.
Most disappointedly, Hall left behind a complete blueprint on balancing a complex budget, fighting crime, growing market, and establishing business; instead, he showcased some community big names— Reverend William “Bill” Lawson, Pastor Emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and Former State District Judge Alvin Zimmerman, who were also designated to serve as co-treasurers for the campaign. In another effort to apparently impress electorates, Hall released a letter of commendation he received from a former Mayor Bob Lanier while he was the City Attorney. To make his situation worse, visitors who searched for Hall’s Internet sites got another surprise. As of this day, Hall, who is hoping to challenge a popular incumbent in the country’s fourth largest city, operates without a webpage and a broken down campaign Facebook page – a sign of unpreparedness and an utter manifestation of doubts about readiness to lead.
Parker, Incumbent since January 2, 2010, brags more than 15 years city politics experience, having served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 1998 to 2003 and city controller from 2004 to 2009. Proficient in communal security and financial management, Parker has over her years as mayor positively penetrated this city like kerosene, exhibiting the courage of Obama, and the heart of Mother Theresa, and collaborating with virtually every single community to execute significant projects. To unseat such an incumbent, a contender needs an effective strategy to convince the electorates on why they should risk the known to the unknown; a contender must be armed with substantial problem statements, along with some constructive solutions. In addition to such solutions, this contender must demonstrate effective machineries to translating proposals into action. Does hall really want to weather the storm?