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Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance Passes


Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker’s Equal Rights Ordinance passed 11-6 and proved to be almost as tedious as her mayoral election.

Although it is a major victory for the LGBT community, Councilmember Jerry Davis, who voted for the ordinance, emphatically expressed to the citizens of Houston that this is for the people of his district, the young men of color who are disenfranchised because of the color of their skin.

Councilmember Dwight Boykins of District D, stressed how conservative his constituents are and he made his decision based on his district which turned out to be a no vote.

Councilmember C.O. Bradford At- Large, Larry Green, District K both voted yes citing it was just the right thing to do.

The weeks of waiting caused both the pro and con sides to grow in there fervor for their cause.

City Council and Mayor Parker heard over 200 constituents that ranged from clergy, transgendered, transitioning, homosexuals, heterosexuals, students, elected officials and everyone in between.

There is a six month period where the ordinance can be contested but Mayor Parker hopes it doesn’t come to that at all.

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Houston’s mayor Annise Parker weds long-time partner

Mayor Annise Parker weds long time partner.
Mayor Annise Parker weds long time partner.

Mayor Annise Parker and her long-time partner, First Lady Kathy Hubbard, were joined in marriage today in a sunset ceremony held at a private home in Palm Springs, California. A small gathering of family and friends, including the mayor’s mother and Ms. Hubbard’s sister, were on hand for the exchange of vows, which were presided over by the Reverend Paul Fromberg, a family friend from San Francisco. Two other close friends from Houston, Judge Steve Kirkland and Mr. Mark Parthie, served as the attendants and formal witnesses. Mayor Parker and the First Lady selected January 16th for their wedding because it marks the 23rd anniversary of the start of their lives together.

“This is a very happy day for us,” said Mayor Parker. “We have had to wait a very long time to formalize our commitment to each other. Kathy has been by my side for more than two decades, helping to raise a family, nurture my political career and all of the other ups and down and life events that come with a committed relationship. She is the love of my life and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life married to her.”

Ms. Hubbard has other insurance options available to her and will, therefore, not participate in the new policy granting city health insurance benefits to the spouses of legally-married city employees.

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Ben Hall Invites Ms. Parker To Join Him In Ethics Reform


(Houston, TX) – Today, mayoral candidate Ben Hall sent a letter to Ms. Annise Parker inviting her to join him in supporting a comprehensive reform package to eradicate the corrupt pay-to-play practices rampant in the City of Houston. Following last week’s discovery of Ms. Parker handing out $65 million in taxpayer funded contracts in exchange for $1 million in political campaign contributions this election cycle, it is clear that something must be done to stop this corrupt behavior.

Hall has outlined a 10-point ethics plan and has pledged his commitment to end pay-to-play. Ms. Parker has remained silent on this issue and has failed to bring forward meaningful solutions. For the good of all Houstonians, the Hall campaign encourages Ms. Parker to join us in support of these proposals.

The letter is attached and included below along with the new ethics rules to end corruption at City Hall. Now we wait for Ms. Parker to break her silence on at least one issue relevant to Houstonians this election.

October 2, 2013

Mayor Annise Parker,

It is evident that the City of Houston has become victim to rampant pay-to-play practices. This corrupt behavior should not be tolerated at any level of government. We must set an example here in Houston and open up the doors of City Hall to all Houstonians and foster a transparent process so that taxpayers are kept fully aware of how their tax dollars are being spent.

It is shameful for any individual or business to contribute money to a candidate and receive a lucrative reward in return. I believe that we must hold all our elected officials to the highest ethical standards.

Last week I committed to supporting policies that will eradicate these corrupt pay-to-play practices. I invite you to join me in supporting this comprehensive reform package that will increase transparency and remove the corrupt element. These policies include:

1.     Two-year moratorium on accepting campaign contributions after vendors receive city contracts.
2.     Two-year moratorium on accepting campaign contributions from municipal appointees.
3.     A candidate may not accept any contributions over $250.00 from an officer, director, or employee of a city contractor.
4.     When a contract is awarded or a person appointed, all campaign contributions given by that individual and/or company during the previous municipal election cycle must be disclosed immediately.
5.     Two-year moratorium on any city employees registering as a lobbyist or working for a lobbying firm.
6.     Require lobbyists to file reports and create a searchable online database showing information like names of companies they lobby for, amount paid, amount spent, amount spent on contributions, etc.
7.     No gifts will be accepted by the Mayor within the six months preceding an election.
8.     Create a searchable online database of city contracts awarded by all departments.
9.     Create a searchable city check register available online.
10.  Increased accountability through improving search capability for ethics reports.

I have enclosed these new ethics rules and my signature as a formal commitment to the implementation of these policies. I believe it would be in the best interest of all Houstonians for you to join me in support.


Benjamin L. Hall, III


Pol. Adv. Paid for by All for Hall Committee, William A. Lawson and Alvin Zimmerman, Treasurers. 4669 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77027


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Crime Continues To Run Rampant Under Parker’s Watch


crime choice

(Houston, TX) – Crime in Houston is completely out of control. Last night, a man lost his life when two robbers opened fire in a Houston Subway restaurant. The day before, another man was shot at a local donut shop in northwest Houston. These crimes are far too common and Ms. Parker has failed to even acknowledge the problems, let alone offer a solution.

“We live in a city where the Sheriff is not immune from having his home burglarized and regular Houstonians cannot enjoy a meal or a night’s entertainment without being victimized. Ms. Parker seems content with letting this continue without leadership,” said mayoral candidate Ben Hall. “The real tragedy is that for every heinous act of violence that hits the front pages or the nightly news there are others that never even get acknowledged. Entire neighborhoods have been taken over by violence and whole communities live in constant fear. How much more of our city will be handed over to criminals before Ms. Parker speaks out?”

Just this July, Houston experienced the highest number of violent and non-violent crimes in the last year with non-violent crimes like burglary, theft and auto theft exceeding 10,000 incidents. But these crimes are more than just numbers. Each incident is another victimized Houstonian, and each victim is one too many.

“As the leader of this city, Houstonians have looked to Ms. Parker to set an agenda that first and foremost protects them. All other priorities are irrelevant if a mayor cannot deliver on that fundamental promise,” continued Hall. “Her ignorance towards this problem is concerning and her inability to offer solutions is a sign of failed leadership.”

Ben Hall released a plan to reverse Houston’s crime epidemic and implement meaningful solutions that will take back neighborhoods from the criminal element and protect Houstonians. The full plan can be found here.

Ms. Parker has offered no solutions to this disturbing trend. Her campaign is silent on these life and death issues. Ben Hall will not be!

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Mayor Parker reduces health insurance premiums for city workers

Mayor Annise Parker has approved a reduction in health insurance premiums for city workers, reversing last spring’s increased rates from 14.9 percent to 8.7 percent. The premium reduction is in addition to lower copays and reduced prescription drug costs.
The Mayor hopes that the combined cost reductions will provide some financial relief for employees while also ensuring they stay engaged in wellness activities.

“We budgeted very conservatively and have been transparent in reporting where we are at every step along the way,” said Mayor Parker. “I make no apologies for that. It is the same fiscally-responsible approach we apply to all matters related to city finances.”

Parker’s competition for the mayoral race, Ben Hall, believes it is no coincidence that there is a reform to the health insurance premium.

“It’s an election year and a lot of good policies are suddenly appearing because of the challenge of an election and that’s the good thing about our democracy that once an incumbent is made to justify policy positions during an election cycle that there is some reformation that takes place,” said Hall. “So I applaud this exercise of an election because it has causing the ship to right itself on some of the bad policies on healthcare coverage issues before.”

The city began to focus on employee wellness after an increase in claims which also was the alleged reason for the increase in premium contributions and copayments last spring. The city also moved an extra $14 million into the health benefits account to ensure minimum balances would be available to meet all claims, according to the Mayor’s office.

“In April, HOPE members spoke before City Council rallying around the issue of affordable healthcare,” said Melvin Hughes, President of the Houston Organization of Public Employees. “After detailed analysis we were able to provide the city with recommendations that found several opportunities for cost savings. This decision makes healthcare affordable for the workers that help make this city run. I am proud of our members for making this possible and thankful to Mayor Parker for being willing to listen.”

September 1, 2013 the lower cost will go into effect and remain until April 30, 2014.

Ben Hall commented at about it his press conference that he is confident there was a catalyst for the reduction but whatever it was the reduction is the right thing to do for city employees.

Many are pleased to see the reform to the health insurance premiums as healthcare is necessary but becoming such a tedious and hard to come by commodity in the country. The city is in the third year of a self-insured employee health benefits plan, where it pays only when employees submit claims rather than having to pay set monthly costs.