On Monday, August 4th, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman held a press conference to announce the petition drive to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (H.E.R.O.) failed to garner the requisite number of valid signatures in order for it to be placed on the November ballot.
Prior to the decision, the Houston Forward Times announced they would be holding a forum entitled "Let’s Talk Politics" as a way for the community to have ongoing conversations about various issues of the day. Ironically, the first forum topic was centered on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance.
The Houston Forward Times wanted to deal with the facts surrounding the ordinance and hopefully dispel any rumors about the ordinance that existed after all types of information had been given out to the community. Through all the commotion surrounding the passage of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance and the petition drive that followed, the Houston Forward Times invited both sides of the issue to be fair and to ensure all voices would be heard.
At the very last moment, the Houston Forward Times received a notification from the majority of those who opposed the ordinance informing the organizers that they decided to drop out of the discussion after they had already confirmed their appearance.
"Due to the Mayor’s announcement of invalid signatures of our petitions and the upcoming court proceedings, it is with my apologies that we will not be attending the forum tonight."
Puss in Boots tells the story of a cat that uses trickery and deceit to gain wealth, power, and the hand of a princess for his lowly master. Much like the mischievous cat, the opponents of the ordinance used every manner of trickery and deceit to get their point across and try to sell their side to the citizens of Houston. But when given the opportunity to actually talk about the ordinance in a sensible approach, none of the leaders of the petition drive decided to show up.
I have always been one who is open to hearing opposition and trying to understand where they are coming from, but it is impossible for me to do that if they do not show up when it is important. The mayor’s announcement should have not deterred the petition leaders from attending the forum; it should have been a rallying cry.
If you truly care about bettering the city of Houston and believe the ordinance would lead to its downfall, then you should use whatever avenue is given to you to get your point across. Do not just say you are going to attend and back out at the last moment as though you are cowering in defeat. Especially now since the window for the repeal to be placed on the ballot is approaching fast.
I hope this serves as a cautioning for anyone, especially elected officials or anyone trying to bring something to our community, who make commitments and fail to live up to his or her promises.
How can we support or trust you if you can’t even face the people you are trying to persuade to join your cause and go your way? In other words, do not let your mouth write a check that your behind can’t cash!