I’ve heard from numerous people, including several in the comments here, who have received a nasty anti-Ronald Green robocall in the past week or so; at this point, I believe there are at least two variants on the call. It has no identifying information associated with it, which makes it illegal, but also basically untraceable as well. Anyway, one of the recipients of this call was Mayor Bill White, who wrote on his Facebook page to condemn it. From an email sent out by the Ronald Green campaign:
Yesterday Houston Mayor Bill White condemned anonymous phone calls attacking Ronald Green, candidate for Houston City Controller. Green, a three-term At-Large City Council Member, is running for an open seat to succeed the current Controller, who is term-limited.
Mayor White said the following via Facebook: “At home I just got a recorded call urging Democrats to vote against Ron Green for City Controller because he would hurt D’s. Who paid for this? …it does seem to me that if another candidate or party paid for it, they should say so upfront.”
Over the past several days, some Houstonians have reported receiving multiple anonymous automated phone calls attacking Ronald Green, and urging a vote against him. The announcer in the calls does not identify himself, there is no callback number given, nor is there a disclaimer identifying who paid for the call, which is required by law.
“I join Mayor White in condemning these anonymous false attacks,” Green said. “These calls are illegal and have no place in our political discourse. It is disappointing that my Republican opponents have stooped to such tactics. I am going to keep talking about the issues that matter to Houstonians – weathering this economic downturn and securing the City’s long-term financial health.”
While City races are officially non-partisan, Ronald Green is the lone Democrat running against two Republican opponents.
Since the calls purport to come from “Democratic leaders” and address the recipients as “fellow Democrats”, the HCDP has responded as well:
It has been reported to the Harris County Democratic Party that someone is making anonymous telephone phone calls claiming that certain unnamed “Democratic leaders” have some reservations about Ronald Green as a candidate for City of Houston Comptroller. These illegal calls are not coming from the Harris County Democratic Party and do not reflect the position of the Harris County Democratic Party, or its chair.
On the contrary, while the Harris County Democratic Party is officially “neutral” in the non-partisan City of Houston elections (unless and until a run-off election emerges), we can inform the public that Ronald Green is the only candidate in the Comptroller’s race who has a Democratic voting history (Ron has a strong one) and Ronald Green has long been a Sustaining Member of the Harris County Democratic Party and consistent supporter of Democratic causes. The chair of the Harris County Democratic Party regards him as highly qualified to be Houston’s City Comptroller.
The Harris County Democratic Party and its leaders would not stoop to making anonymous telephone smears against any candidate – let alone one as competent, capable, and loyal to the Democratic Party as Ronald Green.
I hope these messages get out to those who may have been taken in by these calls. Green has certainly provided some fodder for his opponents, and I have no problem with them jumping on it. This is different. I have no idea who’s doing these robocalls, but I consider it to be sleazy and cowardly, no matter who it is. Have the guts to sign your name to your work – which, I remind you, is the law for stuff like this – or go crawl back under your rock.
UPDATE: Just got a robocall from Gerry Birnberg reiterating this message.