Latinos Stick With Parker
I think when the numbers come out, the above reference will be true.
Many readers and friends kept telling me that Annise was in trouble–Latino-wise–seeing how a vast majority of Latino electeds and the one Dem-Latino group had picked Locke (although local attorney and Parker supporter Roland Garcia may beg to differ). There is no doubt that both campaigns were vying for what probably turned out to be 7 to 10 percent of the total turnout–Latinos.
As it turns out, I was right: Latinos trended Parker more than likely because of the work groups like UNITE HERE and SEIU (Justice for Janitors) did in those precincts (as well as Parker’s volunteer corps). When I ran into a fellow Parker supporter who has also worked the Latino side of things, she brought news of rumblings that Parker had taken Denver Harbor and other parts of the East End. Talk about relief; although, internal numbers shared by the Parker campaign showed this was occurring. But we all know that it’s election day that counts.
Unfortunately, the conversation turned to one question: Why did they all come out in support of Locke? I am sure they all have their reasons. This Latino voted for Parker because of her qualifications, her record as an elected, and the mere fact that she was more than willing to lend an ear and even discuss with a critic like me. On top of that, Parker remained consistent in her message, whether one agreed with everything or not. And I think that if Latinos got a chance to know her, whether through the blockwalking and phone bankers or if they got a chance to meet her, they saw that she was just a good person who had Houston in mind.
That said, the whole 287(g) issue creeping into the race angered me. I wasn’t afraid to criticize Parker and the rest for taking a more punitive approach, rather than use the bully pulpit to demand comprehensive immigration reform in order to strengthen the Houston economy and families. After I realized that neither would take that sort of risk, it became about choosing who I thought would best serve Houston. As the run-off campaigning progressed, I thought that 287(g) would stay out; unfortunately, the Roy Morales mailer and Gene Locke’s “immigration-as-crime” add-on to his TV ad brought it back up. The thing is, neither message is what right-wingers really want to hear, and usually, they do not trust a “liberal” talking up the issue (just ask Nick Lampson).
Ultimately, I think the Morales mailer could have helped both since it was relatively harmless; although one of Locke’s Electeds attempted to somehow make a Parker-connection to the Minutemen (there’s a YouTube of it that I would delete). Locke using the issue in a 6-figure ad-buy was not a smart move, though. Although his supporters tell me he is clear in saying he wanted to arrest immigrants “in the jails,” why even bring it up?
Still, given Parker’s similar “in the jails” stance and the fact that 287(g) is a costly and ineffective program, this blogger/activist will continue to call upon her fiscally responsible mind to convince her that Houston does not need it.
Congratulations to Mayor-Elect Parker. I appreciate her campaign team was still willing to talk to me after my criticisms and questions, and even respect my advice and commentary. Mutual respect, even when differing on issues, always wins out.
Congrats also go to State Rep. Jessica Farrar, Hon. Rick Noriega, and Council Member Melissa Noriega.
Los Gays y Los Latinos
Finally, as I have mentioned previously, no two groups have been targeted by right-wing forces this year (or have been made to hurry up and wait on policy decisions) than the LGBT community and Latinos, and I strongly believe that the election of Annise Parker provides an opportunity to work together toward progress. Ultimately, we are talking about civil and human rights and more can be gained through unity, as this election has proved.