February 02, 2009
Parker to announce for Mayor today

City Controller Annise Parker will formally announce has candidacy for Mayor today.

"Houstonians want a mayor who can lead the city through tough economic times, and a mayor who can continue our forward progress with jobs and neighborhoods," she said in an interview last week.

"I have the skill set to do these things," she added as she prepared her announcement -- an e-mail blast referring voters to an online video of her speaking to voters.

Parker, 52, started thinking about running for mayor long before the nation's economic picture grew dark. But now that, in her words, "the No. 1 issue is going to be the economy and jobs," Parker is touting the ways she can cut city expenses. She's also worked as an engineering technologist for an oil company and as co-owner several years ago of a feminist bookstore.


She has about $230,000 in leftover funds from prior campaigns and is announcing her mayoral candidacy on the first day candidates are allowed under city ordinance to raise money for the contest.

Councilman Peter Brown also is running for mayor, and others edging close to joining the race include former City Attorneys Gene Locke and Benjamin Hall III, former Gov. Mark White and Harris County Department of Education Trustee Roy Morales.

As with District H, I intend to keep an open mind for as long as possible about who my preferred choice for Mayor is. I like Parker and Brown, and I don't really know enough about Locke or Hall or White to fairly assess their candidacies. (I'm pretty sure I won't be voting for Roy Morales. Sorry, Roy.) Having said that, if the election were today, Annise Parker would get my vote. I think she's got the best combination of skills and experiences. Still, I want to see how the campaign goes and how the candidates engage the issues. I want to hear what everyone has to say.

Parker got her start in local politics as a civic association president and leader of what is now the Houston Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual & Transgender Political Caucus.

Gay rights and the candidates' personal lives have been broached as issues in most major Houston mayoral races of the last 30 years. About the voters' mindset on those topics, Parker said, "Houstonians are interested in who can manage the city."

She said that because of her previous campaigns, "Houstonians know me."

I will say this: Any candidate who makes an issue of Parker's sexuality, or who doesn't distance himself from an ally who does, will be rejected from consideration for my vote. I hope it doesn't come to that, but if it does, that's how it will be.

UPDATE: The email announcing Parker's entry into the race is out. Her website is here, complete with a blog and an announcement video that's also available on YouTube. Email is reproduced beneath the fold.

Dear Friends:

I want you to be the first to know that it's official: I am a candidate for Mayor of Houston. I hope you will take a moment to watch the video below and learn more about the campaign at my new website: www.AnniseParker.com .

I am proud to have worked closely with Mayor Bill White - who is not running for re-election due to term limits - and many other leaders to make progress for Houston.

I am running because I am the most qualified to lead our city through tough economic times - and to make sure Houston keeps moving ahead.

* I have a plan to create jobs , secure Houston's future as the headquarters for new energy development and maintain fiscal responsibility . Read the plan at my website, and offer your ideas in our Houston Speaks section.

* As City Controller, I've used tough, independent audits to uncover millions of dollars in waste due to inefficiencies, redundancies and outright fraud. That money is now funding our police and fire departments, important after-school programs and senior centers.

* I've managed billions of Houston's tax dollars - and today, Houston is in much better shape than other cities that gambled their futures on risky investments and irresponsible budgets.

I love this city. I want to make sure it stays the best place in America to live and raise a family . And in this difficult economy, our next mayor will have no room for error.

The November 3 election may seem far away, but there is much to do. That's why I'm starting early - and asking you to join me now - so that we can make sure our city keeps moving forward.

Thank you.

Annise Parker

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 02, 2009 to Election 2009

Judging from the comments on the Chronicle story, Annise is already having to confront the issue that shouldn't be an issue - curiously it's being raised by members of the GLBT community itself. Half are leaving the impression she will be a champion of kinky sex and half are leaving the impression she never was a champion of anything for the GLBT community. With friends like that, who needs enemies? The race has just begun. No doubt her opponenst will make it an issue as well. Shouldn't be. But probably will be.

For some the real problem is her stating in her email, which is not stated in the Chronicle story, that she is proud to have worked alongside Bill White who a growing number of people regard as the most unethical and most corrupt mayor we have ever had which is saying a lot given our previous mayors.

None of the candidates really do much for anyone - the election probably will probably be decided in great part on who the previous mayors endorse with the exception of Bill White. Whose endorsement probably will be the proverbial kiss of death. And may have already proven to be for Annise Parker.

Maybe Roy Morales should switch parties?

Posted by: Baby Snooks on February 2, 2009 1:54 PM

How is Bill White the kiss of death?

I mean really, if he was so unpopular. corrupt, the republicans would have recruited someone to run against him in the last two elections.

Do you have any polls to back up your claims? Or this your own opinion that you are spouting as fact?

Posted by: trowaman on February 2, 2009 3:32 PM

"Do you have any polls to back up your claims? Or this your own opinion that you are spouting as fact?"

You don't need polls. You just need to read the Chronicle.

That the Harris County Republican Party didn't chalenge him in itself speaks of the corruption. They were just fine with things the way they were. Corrupt.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on February 2, 2009 5:02 PM

Okay, let's try this again.

1) How is White the kiss of death?

2) Sidetracked question, what should I be reading in the Chron, cause if you mean commentators, that is misleading. I mean, anyone who feels strongly can get an account on any blog or news website. It's an inaccurate sample of the whole. Those who comment are more likely to be there to dispute what is said. You don't see many posts that go "the author of this story is correct! Go them!"

Posted by: trowaman on February 2, 2009 11:23 PM

You might try reading the stories. They more or less speak for themselves. And do not speak well of Bill White. Has he done anything illegal? Probably not. But he has acted unethically. And ethics do matter to people. Some people anyway.

Posted by: Baby Snooks on February 3, 2009 9:48 AM
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