Stay away from Hotze

The following is a message from HCDP Chair Gerry Birnberg:


Steven Hotze is a hatemonger.

For nearly twenty five years he has stoked the flames of bigotry in this community like no other local politico. In the mid-1980’s he masterminded the repeal of the City of Houston non-discrimination ordinance which had been enacted by Mayor Kathy Whitmire and the Houston City Council. The following year, he fielded a group of right wing zealots to run for City Council on the “Straight Slate.” Their platform consisted of unadulterated gay-baiting epitomized by the reply of their mayoral candidate to a question of what could be done about the AIDS epidemic: “Shoot the queers.” Hotze would not repudiate that response, nor the mayoral candidate who uttered it. Fortunately, they all lost.

Hotze continues vehemently to espouse his brand of extreme intolerance. For example, he regularly insists that the death penalty is fitting for homosexual conduct. And in 2008, he insisted, without one iota of evidence, that gays and lesbians were devoted to “recruiting sexually confused adolescents into their lifestyle.”

Hotze’s bigotry and extremism are not confined to homophobia. His anti-women beliefs are evidenced by his strident insistence that “a wife may work outside the home only with her husband’s consent.” And in 2008, he was reportedly behind the financing of a blatantly racist piece of campaign literature which depicted Barack Obama, Harold Dutton, Congressmember Sheila Jackson-Lee, and the Anglo Democratic candidate state legislature in House District 144, and an ominous line of black crows on a dead tree, with the caption “birds of a feather flock together.” Maybe he wasn’t the person who arranged financing for that shameful piece as has been suggested, but the political consultant with whom he has worked for years was the author of the flyer.

And Hotze is virulently anti-Obama and ardently anti-Democrats. He intently opposes health care reform. And on November 12, 2009, he sent an e-mail across Texas in which he disclosed his commitment to defeating Democratic state legislative candidates in the 2010 elections, asking, “Will we continue down the road of socialism, universal health care, and the leadership of Obama / Pelosi / Reid? Or will conservatives finally stand united and declare ‘Enough!’ in the face of economic and moral starvation?”

Anyone who is as dedicated to destroying the Democratic Party and crushing its candidates and unyieldingly opposed to the anti-discrimination principles of the Democratic Party as is Steven Hotze cannot be embraced by Democrats.

It has been reported that before the November election, more than one Democrat still running for city office in the December 12 runoff sought the support of Hotze or one of the gay-baiting groups with which he is associated. The Houston Chronicle has recently called on all candidates to repudiate the hateful and divisive rhetoric of these folks. (Do The Right Thing – It’s time to disavow the politics of discrimination and bgotry. Click here to read.)

I do, too.

Hotze did not endorse the Democratic mayoral candidate who sought his endorsement before November. Instead, he threw his support to the Republican in the race, Roy Morales. And the Democratic mayoral candidate who solicited Hotze’s help before November has publicly condemned the “divisive rhetoric” and “style of campaigning” Hotze has always embraced. Good for him.

But all candidates – judicial, city council, and mayor – take heed: whether in the December 12 runoff election, the March, 2010 primary election, or the November, 2010 general election, accepting support from anyone who, like Steven Hotze and the right wing extremist groups with whom he is associated, spews homophobic rhetoric, racial hatred, and intolerance, who would subjugate women to the dictates of their husbands, and who is working tirelessly to destroy the Obama administration, block heath care reform, and defeat Democratic legislative candidates would be anathema to Democrats and contrary to the cherished ideals for which we stand. Courting endorsement from such despicable individuals or groups – or failing unequivocally to repudiate and reject it should such support be unsolicitedly bestowed – would be reprehensible, condemnable, and utterly unacceptable to Democrats.

My Dad used to say, “You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” He was right.

Gerry Birnberg
Chair, Harris County Democratic Party
November 17, 2009

I could not agree more.

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11 Responses to Stay away from Hotze

  1. Daniel Williams says:

    One wonder’s if this directive extends to Dave Welch (of the infamous Nov 13th Houston Chronicle Article ( and his cohorts at the Houston Area Pastor Council?
    Mayor Bill White is scheduled to ‘recognized’ by the group at a luncheon on Monday. If Democrats are supposed to stay clear of this sort of hateful campaigning, shouldn’t the Mayor set an example of cancel his engagement?

  2. Baby Snooks says:

    You do have to wonder how much influence Hotze really has if candidates are seeking his endorsement. That in itself a scary thought. I joke about the 20 followers. But I have to wonder if it’s 20,000. Which isn’t something to joke about.

    It’s a little late for the warning but a good plug for Annise Parker which probably is the purpose of the warning.

    As for the fleas, Gerald Birnberg has some fleas of his own from some of the dogs he has laid with.

  3. Daniel, Mayor White isn’t attending as a candidate, and this doesn’t sound like a campaign-related event. Be that as it may, the issue here is Hotze, and seeking out his support. He has an awfully long track record, and anyone who’s been in politics for five minutes knows what he’s about and what his “issues” in this race would be. Frankly, if Gene Locke had not met with Hotze, his statement about Welch would have been sufficient. It’s the playing footsie with Hotze, about which Miya has much more, that’s the problem.

  4. JJ says:

    With all this attention, it’s like Locke has his support without “having” his support officially – so the best of both worlds for Gene. He can denounce the guy but everyone Hotze influences will vote for Locke so he ends up winning anyways.

  5. Baby Snooks says:

    Mayor White isn’t attending as a candidate, and this doesn’t sound like a campaign-related event. Be that as it may, the issue here is Hotze, and seeking out his support.

    You must be joking. This is just as much about Dave Welch as it is about Steven Hotze. Gerry Birnberg says “stay away” from Steven Hotze but not Dave Welch? Maybe because Gerry Birnberg knew about the luncheon and didn’t want to embarrass Bill White?

    I guess since he might need some of those “old time religion” votes for his race for the Senate, which may be in 2012 instead of 2010, it’s okay to pander but not Gene Locke?

    This is why so many obviously don’t support the Harris County Democratic Party. Too many “sacred cows” all of whom have fleas.

  6. Baby Snooks says:

    It’s also why so many don’t support the Harris County Republican Party. Its “sacred cows” all of whom have fleas. There were lots of problems with Chuck Rosenthal including his penchant for “pulling strings” but Jared Woodfill said nothing until *gasp* sex was involved.

    The Tea Baggers are coming to both parties. To get rid of the Republicrats in both parties. And the assorted mongrels and their fleas.

  7. Baby Snooks says:

    And as for Bill White he should know that not everyone really loves the Bushes that much at this point and so the “he’s a friend of the Bushes” isn’t going to work this time with regard to Issam Fares.

    That’s a real mess of fleas right there. And over 200 dead Marines.

  8. Pingback: Oh, and avoid Blakemore, too – Off the Kuff

  9. Daniel Williams says:

    Charles: if the Houston Area Pastor’s Council was (as it’s name suggests) a professional association I might agree with you that Mayor White’s appearance was not a campaign event. However HAPC in reality is something closer to a Caucus, from the HAPC Purpose Statement (

    “Inform congregants in regard to candidates’ positions and important local, state and national policy issues… An oft spoken – albeit poor – reason for not voting is a lack of credible information about the values and beliefs of candidates… The Community Impact Coordinator and ministry team can use the information in this section to help develop a plan for acquiring and/or producing voter education materials for each election. Also in this section is information about such issues as: Scriptural qualifications for leaders – including those seeking public office, How to inform the congregation without being “used” by opportunistic candidates, Encouraging those who are called to this area of ministry as workers and candidates, Discerning “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who speak “Christianese” well”

    HAPC is an organization whose stated purpose is to shape the opinion of voters. When a candidate for office (which White is) appears before such a group is it not reasonable to assume that there is at least some campaign component to the appearance?

    The leadership of HAPC is made up of some of the most virulently homophobic pastors in the city. Pastor Steve Riggle, who invited Mayor White, is on the executive committee and is the pastor of Grace Community Church, whose “Sexual Wholeness Ministry” practices so called “ex-gay” therapy, which has been rejected by reputable medial associations including the American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychiatric Association (APA).

    There are a multitude of ideas that are with-in the sphere of public debate, but the concept that all people are equal should not be one of them. It is deplorable that our cities mayor is legitimizing the work of the HAPC, and it’s efforts to marginalize LGBT Houstonians, by attending this luncheon.

  10. Baby Snooks says:

    Reality is Bill White has never really been “gay-friendly” and I don’t remember if it was in the Chronicle or the Press or in one of the “gay” publications but he made a rather “dismissive” comment when his brother died.

    Regardless of anything, Bill White is one of those “sacred cows” who can do whatever he wants and no one will say a word. Hypocrisy is not limited to either party.

    I never cast a vote for him. And never will.

  11. Pingback: Hotze endorses Locke – Off the Kuff

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