Turner and Hidalgo rebuke GHP over voting rights failure


Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo no longer plan to hold their annual state of the city and county addresses with the Greater Houston Partnership because of the chamber group’s silence on bills in the Texas Legislature that the pair say will add unacceptable obstacles to voting.

The move, which the pair announced at a news conference, was a rare public rebuke of the region’s largest chamber of commerce, which typically has enjoyed a close relationship with Houston-area politicians. Hidalgo’s comments amounted to an accusation of cowardice, echoing comments a prominent Black member of the partnership board made a day earlier.

“We can’t in good conscience stand at the dais of the partnership when their will to represent their members and their community so easily crumbles in a time of need,” Hidalgo said. “We do not feel comfortable letting them after seeing them shrink from the civil rights fight of our time.”

Hidalgo said she would announce a new venue for her annual address at a later date. Turner said he would instead have Houston First Corporation host his state of the city speech.

“I think it’s important this year for me to find that venue that better reflects the diversity of our city and the values we hold so dear,” Turner said.


The partnership issued a statement saying it regretted Hidalgo and Turner had canceled the annual events, which its members “greatly enjoy.” The statement said there is no consensus among members on the voting bills, which prevents the group from taking a stance on the legislation.

Board members told the Chronicle, however, that GHP leadership had declined to hold a special meeting at which a consensus could be reached.

Hidalgo also questioned the partnership’s commitment to fighting racial injustice the group made after the killing of Houston native George Floyd last summer, given its inaction on the voting bills.

“The blunt truth is, you cannot stand for that and at the same time say silent on voter suppression,” Hidalgo said. “The right to vote is at the core of all of those rights.”

See here and here for some background. This is entirely appropriate and justified, and I hope it leaves a mark. You can’t proclaim yourself an icon of good government and civic engagement while sitting this out, and Judge Hidalgo is exactly right to question their self-proclaimed commitment to racial justice. (If you need a better understanding of why, read this Texas Civil Rights Project report on the sordid and racist history of poll watchers, which SB7 and HB6 and other bills are set to unleash.) This is an attack on democracy for partisan gain and based on a brazen lie, and if the GHP can’t or won’t recognize that then it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. Good for Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Turner, and shame on the GHP. The Press has more.

UPDATE: The Chron editorial board piles on.

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13 Responses to Turner and Hidalgo rebuke GHP over voting rights failure

  1. C.L. says:

    I wonder if Ed Emmett whiling away his day, championing the Astrodrome.

    Me thinks it pains him slightly to see his predecessor actually take a stand on something and serve as a community advocate…

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I’m happy to see the GHP stay in their lane, and avoid partisan politics altogether. This is the tack all businesses and apolitical organizations should take…..refuse to be drug into political infighting. All getting involved will do is infuriate half of their potential customer base.

    As an example, imagine if the GHP came out today and said, “We support ‘constitutional carry,’ AKA Texans being allowed to carry guns without permits.” I fully agree, but that’s not really in the GHP’s wheelhouse, and if they did that, the same people apoplectic about the GHP staying out of the voting bill controversy would be upset about a GHP pro gun position. Can we see how futile it is? Just stay out of the political fray entirely, refuse to be dragged in, which is exactly what the GHP has done here. Good for them.

  3. David Fagan says:

    What’s obvious here is the GHP runs Turner and Hildago, not the other way around. The GHP wants to look like a local business group, but they’re made up of companies that are not headquartered here and people who run them that don’t live here. Therefore, fewer dollars stay here.

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    What is the richest irony is that Mayor Turner was convicted by HUD of promoting segregation in housing, and is himself, therefore, a racist, by definition.

    another irony is that the airlines are against requiring ID to vote, but they require ID to board their government subsidized planes. They also made a family leave one of their planes because their two year old child wouldn’t wear a paper mask on the plane, and they told the parents to hold down the child and force it but they didn’t do that. The hypocrisy of the airlines is stunning. It makes Jim Crow look like John Eagle.

    The racism of those who say that they fight against racism is stunning. Like I saw in the movie, “the greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing people that he doesn’t exist.” Since the Democrat party was founded for purposes of segregation, Jim Eagle, and preservation of the Lost Cause, everything related to it should be toppled with the statues. At the least it should be forced to use its logo, the party of racism.

    Even more so now, when I read that the Foodarama in the area is closing, certainly to be replaced with a more effete White business. I had been asking the people there for more than a year if the store would be closing soon, because it has had a smaller inventory each time I go. The unfortunate employees there of course, have no idea what their bosses are up to. But I knew that a store with such a selection of Hispanic items couldn’t last in the Whites Heights. They got rid of Fiesta, and the lone hold out, I knew would soon fall. There are no lo cost grocery options that will be left, making the neighborhood a food desert for regular people but not for the elite. They can to to the New H.E.B which has a gluten free section the size of the entire H.E.B. Pantry that was once in the area. Who eats gluten free? The amber waves of grain are made of gluten. I am happy though, that the Dian Street Villas began groundbreaking last week. I am one of the last true Socialists, who is opposed to anything supported by the corporations.

  5. Andrew Lynch says:

    This is another failed leadership example by Turner and Hidalgo.
    Why draw partisan lines around Houston non-profits.

    This hurts the Houston residents, not helps.

  6. Jason Hochman says:

    UPDATE: I read the Texas Civil Rights Project report. Of the 12 pages, about 10 are talking about long ago history. If you have to go back that far to find injustice, things must be going well today. It’s also kind of like the silly idea that police today are some extension of the “slave patrols” of the past. Indeed there were patrols to round up runaway slaves, but the police of today are hardly a descendant. And it should be pointed out that police enforce the laws, don’t make them.

    the report also uses the LatinX term, which is highly colonial and racist, a term made by White people in the US, and forced upon their colonial subjects in LatinX America. LatinX just stinx.

    Also, I have attempted to contact Baker and Katz to find out if they are closing Foodarama on their own racism and greed, or if they have support from the city. Will report if they respond.

  7. Política comparada says:


    Re: LatinX just stinx.

    Nice zinger, Mr Hochman, phonetically speaking.

    On the merits, all Latin lovers would have legitimate grounds to object to the Latin label altogether. “Latinx” is even worse.

    Reason: There are many more Romance languages than just Spanish and Portuguese. And Latin denotes a language in its very own right, historically speaking. It may be a dead language, but one that left behind a large corpus.

    Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian account for more than 90%, if you base it on native speakers. But there are many more, depending on whether and how regional variants are counted (and whether they are recognized as separate languages).

    Galician for example belongs to the Western Ibero-Romance branch. It is spoken by some 2.4 million people, mainly in Galicia, an autonomous community located in northwestern Spain, where it is co-official with Spanish. Catalan is another one.

    Multilingual Switzerland has two Romance languages: Italian and Romansh, the latter spoken only in the canton of Graubünden.

    Italy itself has, like the German-speaking countries, a standard language (based on the Latin derivative spoken in Tuscany, with Dante Alighieri of Divina Commedia fame as the literary progenitor), but numerous other regional and insular dialects as well.


    There is nothing uniquely Latin about Latin American and Latin Americans. Indeed, the Italian and Sardinian language are today the closest to Latin, not Spanish.

    But at least the terms “Latin America”, and “Latino” and “Latina” are widely used. Latinx is a neologism, and hasn’t been widely adopted; even for self-identification purposes.

    To the extent gender neutrality is desired in writing, use either Latino for male and Latina for female, or latino/a [ie, slashed] if trying to be nonspecific.

    If the reference is to things rather than persons, like literature or culture, LATINO is arguably preferable as a generic because things are not gendered much in British or American English. In other languages you would have to chose the correct word ending based on the grammatical gender of the corresponding noun.

    Not to mention that genders of things are not consistent trans-lingually. Well-known example:

    La luna (fem. in Spanish, Italian, same for la lune in French) = Der Mond (masc. in German) = the moon (neuter in English).

    For more on [lack of] prevalence of LATINX usage in U.S., see:

    Pew Research Center (2020), “About One-in-Four U.S. Hispanics Have Heard of Latinx, but Just 3% Use It.”


  8. Paul kubosh says:

    I am shocked they set this one out. They sur we didn’t set out the red light cameras. Personally I don’t think the city should give them any money. They were also for the Hero ordinance. They said if the ordinance was over turned then it would be the end of the world. I don’t care what they ever do. There position pro or con is meaningless to me.

  9. Kibitzer says:


    Paul, I hope you are okay. I am having some Miller Lights myself in quest for enlightenment for the weekend (good reason to refrain from commenting on weighty OTK topics in the interim), but you sound like Hochman: Incoherent.

  10. Pingback: Fort Bend says No to GHP – Off the Kuff

  11. Bill Daniels says:


    Perhaps you were indulging a bit much in the suds yourself, because I understood Paul just fine. Paul found fault with the GHP for supporting the red light cameras, and the HERO, both positions, coincidentally, I agree with.

    Paul and his brother are folks heroes to many in the Houston area, for leading the charge to get rid of the red light cameras, which, after becoming victims of their own success, eventually were banned state wide…..and it wasn’t even a political issue. They were hated both by leftists and the right.

    And Paul’s position seemed to match my own…..the GHP should stay out of the political fray entirely, which they did here, but did not do with the HERO and the cameras.

    Finally, I’m surprised that a good German-American (nothing untoward implied by ‘good German,’ btw) would be drinking watery beer from a South African owned conglomerate, when there are so many more tasty options out there, not the least of which is Shiner Bock, or my own personal favorite, Shiner 97, affectionately known as Shiner Bohemian black lager.


  12. Jason Hochman says:

    I can understand Paul’s comment, he’s just saying that he doesn’t care what the GHP does or doesn’t support and that the city shouldn’t give them any money.

    I am not incoherent, but rather, simply when I put out the ridiculous contradictions and nonsense that the media spills out as Gospel, it is revealed to be incoherent. Yet, most people accept that claptrap without question.

    The CDC says those who are fully vaccinated can venture outside without a mask, and even talk to another person from ten feet away! Anyone who believes this, where have you been? Did you see the bars on Cinco D. Mayo? Packed. No masks.

    How is it scientific to deny that gender is real? And how can anyone deny that it is child abuse to start “transitioning” four year olds. This is the incoherence that is widely accepted by the woke. In order to get a president with dementia elected, they had to induce mass psychosis.

  13. C.L. says:

    “In order to get a president with dementia elected, they had to induce mass psychosis.”

    Dr.Hochman, which President are you referring to ?

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