Orlando Sanchez’s bizarre press conference

What a weird thing.

Orlando Sanchez

It was an absolutely wild afternoon for Harris County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez. He planned to have a news conference across the street from the HISD administration building, but things didn’t go as planned.

Protestors showed up and completely disrupted Sanchez’s news conference. When he tried to get it started, the group would chant things like, ‘Go away, TEA’ and ‘You got voted out.’

Things really got heated when he was answering one of our questions. Someone from the group ran up and dumped water on him.

Someone from Sanchez’s team confronted the man. He ended up on the ground and police were called. Both sides claimed they were assaulted.

The news conference was supposed to be for Sanchez to call for the state to take over HISD.

“Taxpayers are fed up and it’s time for the governor and the Texas Education Agency to step up and make sure that children in HISD, which 83 percent of them are minority, get an education,” said Sanchez.

“To have somebody like that step on my toes like that when I have sacrificed so much for these kids, yeah, it’s emotional,” said HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern. “It is because it’s personal. These kids mean a lot to me; not just my five but all 215,000.”

Click over to see pictures and video. Far as I can tell, the only coverage of this fiasco has come from the TV stations; I’ve not seen anything in the Chron as yet.

Let me say up front that whoever poured water on Sanchez is an idiot, and what he did sure sounds like assault to me. It’s also terrible strategy from a public relations perspective. Sanchez’s purpose for calling the press conference was ridiculous on its face, and would have been easy to dismiss on its merits. Anyone who felt the need to attack Sanchez physically is someone who has no faith in their own political position.

Why do I say that Sanchez’s purpose is ridiculous? The law is clear that the authority of the TEA to step in only occurs after the schools fail to meet state standards. We won’t have that data for several months, a fact that everyone knows. It is entirely possible that the four schools in question, which were all granted one-year waivers due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, could meet standards this year, as the other schools that had originally been under scrutiny and which did not get Harvey waivers did. One could easily argue that by making this needless and premature call for a TEA takeover, Sanchez is expressing a complete lack of faith in the students at the four schools. That’s an insult to them and their parents and teachers. Maybe he had some qualifiers and weasel words in his prepared text, but still, the message is clear: Orlando Sanchez expects you to fail, and so he wants the consequences of your failure to begin now.

One also can’t help but notice that Orlando Sanchez, who just got voted out of a cushy elected position where he was basically invisible for twelve years and has never before expressed any opinions about education or ideas about how to improve it, is jumping up and waving his arms in front of Greg Abbott at a time when he really needs something to do. It’s a clear grab for attention at a time when the news cycle is quiet and he can still call it in his capacity as an elected official. There’s also the rumors that Sanchez is prepping to run for Mayor (again). No such thing as bad publicity, am I right?

Finally, there will surely be litigation over the process of replacing an elected board with an appointed one – for sure, there’s a Voting Rights Act complaint to be made. There were lawsuits over the closure of North Forest ISD and La Marque ISD, and while the state prevailed in each of them, the situation with HISD, which is a much bigger district with many successful schools and is financially solvent, is vastly different. The state may well prevail in any litigation that will occur, but it will take time. There’s also the very real possibility that the Lege could modify the law in question that delays or makes less likely a TEA takeover. The point here is that in every way, this was way premature, and served to do nothing more than call attention to Orlando Sanchez. On that score at least, mission accomplished.

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7 Responses to Orlando Sanchez’s bizarre press conference

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    Mayor or City Controller, he is making noise for a reason. We will know in a short while. However, pandering to Republicans is not going to get him elected in Houston, Texas. But then again I believe that we have three Republicans in at-large positions. They are there with the support of the Houston Chronicle and the Greater Houston Partnership.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I saw the presser.

    1) Yes, Sanchez did it for exposure.

    2) What does his current job have to do with HISD? It’s no different than Mayor Turner weighing in. HISD is not their circus, not their monkey.

    3)The one thing the presser did was make the usual suspects, the pro-illegal alien folks, and other assorted liberals that were there look like idiots. Forget about the water dumping (which could have easily been an acid attack or the Antifa weapon of choice, urine), do we really need to show up and shout down a lightly attended press conference by minor player like Sanchez? Really?

    Note that conservatives and libertarians don’t show up and protest when liberal players have pressers, generally. Way to go protesters, you played yourselves. Free speech? Not in THEIR America.

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    The water attack looked like it was staged and how convenient to run into Sanchez’s bodyguard.

    Bill “Illegal Alien” your racism never ceases to amaze me.

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    After I posted, I thought about the possibility it was false flag attack, because surely no one would be that stupid. I mean, would this presser even have made the news without that attack?

    It would be interesting to read the police report and find out who the guy was. Is he tied to Sanchez?

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill I something engage in conspiracy theories that was one of them, I have no idea. The principle is not whether it is true, but is it something people will believe is true. Some times it does not take much as way too many people are not playing with all the marbles they are given.

    Interesting article a few weeks back in the LA Times, what Republicans get that Democrats don’t. Repeat, repeat, repeat, it time people will think it is true.

    If you like to read something interesting, read the “Undoing Project”.

  6. Manny Barrera says:

    Now as to why it may have been staged,

    Sanchez did not react as most people would have if they had water thrown at them.

    By creating that water throwing, he made the event something that would make the news and TV stations.

    Those are why it is plausible that it was staged, but I have no idea.

    But it is good free publicity. If he is running for anything to do with the City, his target audience are the Republicans and the Spanish Surname. That is what he did when he ran for mayor and when he was in City Council. It does not hurt him with either of those two groups. He has also maintain ties to the Latino Community.

  7. Mark Kerrissey says:

    I appreciate your support for the teachers (200 +) at our IR5 schools. What Orlando and his kind who judge schools by high stakes test score is the fact that all schools are not the same on the testing field. Kashmere and Wheatley have sped sub populations around 19% compared to other high schools who fall in the range of 10%. I admire my fellow teachers who are raising up to slay the dragon called generational poverty. ELA (English) Staar is first week of April.

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