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Shame on you, Shelley

Apparently, Shelley Sekula Gibbs has noticed the fact that she hasn’t been in the news much lately, not that this should surprise anyone. What surprises even me is the way she went about getting attention for herself.

Several City Council members walked out on Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs Wednesday, saying her rhetoric against a police policy on illegal immigrants exploited for political gain the death of an officer whose funeral they had just attended.

The symbolic move was the only time in recent memory that a group of council members left the chambers to protest a colleague’s comments.


Wednesday’s walkout occurred near the end of the weekly council meeting, when members get time to talk about issues of their choice.

Dressed in black after attending the morning funeral, most members offered condolences to the family of Rodney Johnson, who police allege was killed by an illegal immigrant he took into custody last week.

Johnson’s death has reignited debate about whether police should be able to ask people about their immigration status, an inquiry now prohibited by police policy unless the person has already been arrested on a serious misdemeanor or felony.

Several council members said they were proud that Houstonians had put that debate aside for the day as the city joined Johnson’s family in mourning his death.

When it was Sekula-Gibbs’ turn to speak, she said Mayor Bill White now had the chance to repeal what she calls the department’s “sanctuary” policy.

“I hope that you will use this opportunity to make this change that has been needed for many, many years,” she said.

At that, members of varying political stripes rose from their chairs and left the chambers. They returned after Sekula-Gibbs finished speaking.

“I was embarrassed to be in the room with somebody talking like that,” said Councilwoman Toni Lawrence, a Republican and one of the first to leave.

“There’s a lot of things I disagree with, maybe the way immigration is handled, federally, and this is not the time to make a comparison.”

Alvarado, a Democrat who has been on council since 2002, said she couldn’t remember another time when council members walked out on a colleague because of a comment. Some members left a meeting with former Mayor Lee Brown, but that move was a parliamentary tactic to keep the panel from voting on a contentious issue, she said.


White did not join the other council members when they exited the room during Sekula-Gibbs’ comments. When asked why, he said he was presiding over the meeting and filling out paperwork at the time.

“I’ll let other people judge whether they should make death a political issue,” he said.

Councilman Ronald Green, who spoke after Sekula-Gibbs, was applauded by his colleagues for denouncing her comments.

”You wouldn’t stoop so low to use this man’s memory to advance a political career that may or may not be going anywhere,” he said.

For shame. About the only way this could have been more dishonorable would be if she had concluded her remarks by singing her stupid jingle. Council Member Lawrence is correct: This was an embarrassment. If Shelley Sekula Gibbs doesn’t recognize that, she’s not just an unqualified candidate for Congress, she’s an unfit human being.

Well, you got your name in the papers, Shelley. I hope it was worth it for you.

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  1. […] when Council Member Lawrence walked out of a Council meeting along with several of her colleagues while then-CM/candidate for Congress Shelley Sekula Gibbs was […]