May 14, 2009
Roy's self-inflation

This is not the kind of story candidates like to see written about themselves.

Houston mayoral candidate Roy Morales told a group of voters in March, "I manage the Head Start program."

The claim by the retired Air Force lieutenant colonel was untrue, which Morales acknowledged to the Chronicle last week.

As an elected Harris County Department of Education trustee, he leads a committee that monitors the agency's management of the federally funded preschool program. The agency is responsible for only a quarter of the Head Start programs in the county.

Since February, Morales has made several campaign assertions about his work experience that appear to inflate his record.


Morales served in the Air Force from 1980 to 2003, then became chief technology officer for the Houston Emergency Center. He has been a self-employed business consultant since 2005.

His work evaluations from Air Force and city government supervisors consistently portrayed him as an exceptionally valuable performer, whether on homeland security projects or as a creative developer of solutions to information technology problems.

But until he was prompted by the Chronicle last week, Morales indicated to voters he left the emergency center on 2005 on his own accord. In truth, he was fired.

His supervisor at the time, Sharon Counterman, listed no reason in an April 8, 2005, letter telling Morales his services would not be needed after May 20, 2005. Morales submitted a June 1, 2005, resignation letter and later that year launched the first of two unsuccessful campaigns for City Council.

"I resigned," Morales said in an interview. Prompted by a mention of his supervisor's letter, he added, "She didn't fire me; she said my service were not going to be needed." Shown a copy of the letter and told that it meant Counterman fired him, Morales remarked, "She did."


Morales, 52, said his departure came because of his disagreements with city officials about how the 911 call center should operate. The center's early operations were plagued with shutdowns; Morales blamed the problems on faulty systems and plans acquired before his arrival.

On his previous statement about his role with the Head Start program, Morales said, "Did I say 'managed'? I didn't mean 'managed.'‚ÄČ"

I suppose it depends on what the meaning of "is" is, right? I'll have to go back and listen to the interview I did with Morales for the 2007 At Large #3 special election again, but the subject of his time with the Emergency Center and his disagreements with them did come up. Seems to me that it would have been easy to tell the truth about his termination there in a way that fits nicely into his overall narrative as a candidate - someone who isn't afraid to buck the conventional wisdom and go against the grain, which he as the only Republican in this race clearly does. He could have made his firing into a positive, a badge of honor. But he didn't do that, and now he's faced with this. One could understand a reluctance to address the subject, and if that were the only thing he'd been less than forthcoming about, it might not be that big a deal. Put together with the other fibs, though, and it's hard not to see a pattern. I have a feeling future candidate forums are going to be a bit more challenging for him.

On a tangential note, this article was written by Alan Bernstein, who will be leaving the Chron to take a job in the Sheriff's office. If this is his swan song, it's a pretty good one. Congratulations and best of luck with the new gig, Alan.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 14, 2009 to Election 2009

This is nothing more than a hatchet job by a former political hack posing as a journalist. Quite a few people have taken note of the interesting fact that in several polls, Roy Morales has some significant support in the Hispanic community. Which Annise Parker needs. And quite a few people are putting two and two together. No doubt more to come in the days ahead.

As for Alan Bernstein, slanting a story is not really the mark of a professional journalist.

I don't know too many employers who give "30 day notice" to people they have fired, do you? One of many things wrong with the "article" as you call it. Which is not what others are calling it.

Good riddance to Alan Bernstein. Although the Chronicle should have refused him the "swan song." And just booted him out the door.

It's obviously going to be a very dirty campaign.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on May 14, 2009 10:10 AM

Oh and one other thing. For those few who don't know it Roy Morales of course is a Republican and as such really represents little threat to anyone outside of the Hispanic community. But of course does represent a threat to anyone who needs the Hispanic vote.

Harris County may still be "Republican territory" but Houston, with the exception of certain districts, is not.

And of course added to that is the reality that the Harris County Republican Party tends not to support Hispanic candidates unless they're running for a bench.
They tend to prefer their Hispanics on the benches for some reason. Probably because because they like to keep minorities in their place and it's easier to keep Hispanics in their place with Hispanic judges on the benches.

They love their Al Gonzaleses.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on May 14, 2009 11:38 AM

Orlando Sanchez is the Harris County Treasuruer

Leo Vaquez is the Harris County Tax Assessor Collector

Neither is on a bench.

Harris County is where 20 out of 24 Demos won last fall. I don't know if that's wht makes a Republican County.

Posted by: Burt Levine on May 14, 2009 3:03 PM

Orlando Sanchez wasn't exactly supported by the Harris County Republican Party. He was just listed as the Republican candidate in his various campaigns. Even after he got married and was no longer "single and presumed gay."

Leo Vasquez was appointed so we will see how much actual support he gets when he runs for the office unless of course Harris County Commissioners Court manages to find a way to turn the office of the tax assessor/collector into an appointed position instead of an elected position. Which Ed Emmett of course would like to do.

As for the judicial sweep, who knows what was behind Republicans voting for Democrats. Some Republicans perhaps merely got tired of being victimized by the agenda along with everyone else and wanted some sense of justice on the courts instead of agenda. Whatever the reason, it didn't carry over to commmissioners court and certainly didn't carry over to county judge. There he still sits. King Ed of Emmett. Still ruling over the Republican kingdom of Harris County.

The Harris County Republican Party may support Roy Morales. More than likely they are busy making deals with Gene Locke. The way they made deals with Bill White.
No doubt Gene Locke will have a "Second Chance" fundraiser at the home of Ned Holmes for those who didn't buy a piece of City Hall but still want to.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on May 14, 2009 4:16 PM

Kuff - I don't understand what you mean by saying that Roy Morales is the only Republican candidate.

How can the candidate picked by Bob Lanier not be referred to as a Republican candidate?

Posted by: Jay on May 15, 2009 12:17 PM
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