Establishment of the office of Election Administrator in our County

Dear Harris County Election Administrator:

I am writing to recap and expand on my recommendations to the Harris County Commissioners Court, regarding the establishment of the office of Election Administrator in our County.


By Carroll G. Robinson

First, under the law, once the Commissioners Court creates the office of Election Administrator, it will be the Harris County Election Commission that will have the power to hire and fire the election administrator, not Commissioners Court.

The members of the Election Commission are the County Judge, County Clerk, Tax Accessor Collector, Harris County Democratic Party Chair and Harris County Republican Party Chair.

Four of the five members of the Harris County Election Commission are Democrats and include Ann Bennett the Tax Accessor-Collector and Chris Hollins the Interim County Clerk. Once a new County Clerk is elected, they will replace Chris Hollins on the Election Commission. This is why I am supporting Teneshia Hudspeth for County Clerk. I hope that all the Harris County Democratic Party Precinct Chairs will also support putting her on the November ballot as the Democratic Party candidate for the job.

Second, Commissioners Court and the Harris County Election Commission should create a 15-member Community Advisory Board composed of both Republican and Democratic precinct chairs and other community leaders to participate in the hiring process for the election administrator.

This process should be similar to the process utilized by community colleges and universities when they hire a new President or Chancellor. There should be community forums to introduce the top two or three candidates to the public so that voters can ask the candidates questions and the candidates can understand that public interaction with voters would be an essential part of their duties.

Third, the Advisory Board should remain in place after the hiring process and the Election Administrator should be required to meet with the Advisory Board on a quarterly basis every year.

Fourth, the Election Administrator should be required to report to and brief Commissioners Court at least thirty (30) days before all elections and provide an after-action report to both Commissioners Court and the Advisory Board within sixty days following an election.

Fifth, the County Attorney should specifically be designated General Counsel for the office of Election Administrator. The County Attorney should be required to designate an Assistant County Attorney to work full time in the office of the Election Administrator.

Sixth, any and all changes in election polling locations proposed by the Election Administrator must be discussed in advance with the Community Advisory Board and be subject to pre-clearance by the County Attorney before any such changes could be implemented.

Seventh, the Election Administrator and their office should be subject to an annual performance evaluation and a sunset review every five (5) or ten (10) years.

Finally, the office of Election Administrator should be charged with the responsibility of achieving 100% voter registration among the voter eligible population of Harris County by 2025.

It is my belief that if these structural safeguards are adopted and implemented as a part of the creation of the office of Election Administrator, in Harris County, the voice of the community will be enhanced and the rights of the voters elevated and better protected.

Thank you and God Bless Houston. For constructive dialogue, you may contact me directly >>>

Carroll G. Robinson, Esq.

Hon. Robinson is the former Chairman, City of Houston Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee; Former Vice Chairman, Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council (H-GAC TPC) and Associate Professor of Public Administration, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University.

Have Black Women Finally Been Included in, “We the People”?

When the United States Constitution was completed on September 17, 1787, women and people of color were arguably excluded and marginalized. The first three words of the Preamble—“We the People”—were written to affirm that the government of the United States exists to serve its citizens. Moreover, it proclaims who is adopting the Constitution. This poses a conundrum for Black women because it suggests that we intentionally adopted provisions that purposely underserved us. Or, as the late Hon. Barbara Jordan once said, “I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton just left me out by mistake.”



By LATRESHIA A. HAMILTON

Still, a Black woman’s presence on the presidential ticket and in the White House—by itself—is not enough. Black women are not interested in tokenism and symbolism. Systemic change is required.


When the Framers of the Constitution drafted the governing document during the Constitutional Convention, enslaved African Americans, then-referred to in the text as “other persons,” were counted as three-fifths of a free person for taxation and congressional representation purposes. This was done under the Three-Fifths Compromise proposed by delegate James Wilson of  Pennsylvania and seconded by Charles Pinckney of South Carolina. However, such a compromise would later be repealed by the ratification of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Despite the initial stature relegated to us, in recent years, Black women have become a powerful voting bloc. In 2008, with the help and support of Black women, Barack Obama became the first African American ever elected president of the United States. Moreover, during the 2018 midterm elections, 55% of non-Hispanic Black women turned out to vote, a slightly higher share than for the total voting-age population. According to the Pew Research Center, Black women voted for Democratic congressional candidates 92% of the time. Meaning, African American women voted for Democratic candidates at a higher rate than any other demographic—across gender, race, and ethnicity—in the United States.

Nonetheless, the Democratic Party has overlooked and undervalued the support of Black women. However, that could change under a Joseph R. Biden Administration.

In his campaign promise to “Build Back Better,” Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden has vowed to prioritize the full inclusion of and equality for women—particularly women of color.

As President, Mr. Biden has said that he “will pursue an aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.” Specifically, The Biden Agenda for Women will improve economic security, expand access to health care and tackle health inequities, help women navigate work and families, end violence against women, and protect and empower women around the world.

To hold steadfast to his promise, Joe Biden knows that he must enlist the help of Black women. In doing so, his first order of business was selecting Senator Kamala Harris of California as his running mate, making her the first-ever African American woman and the first woman of Asian descent nominated for vice president by a major political party.

On August 19th, Senator Harris accepted the Democratic Party’s historic vice-presidential nomination. If elected, Harris would be the sixth African American woman to ever enter the line of succession for the presidency of the United States, behind former cabinet members Patricia Roberts Harris, Hazel R. O’Leary, Alexis M. Herman, Condoleezza Rice, and Loretta E. Lynch.

Biden was astute in naming Senator Harris as his running mate. Not only does Senator Harris have a multicultural background, but she is uniquely aligned with the African American community in a way that no president or vice president has ever been before. Senator Harris attended Howard University, a historically black university and the so-called “Mecca” of Black education, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first historically African American Greek-letter sorority.

Still, a Black woman’s presence on the presidential ticket and in the White House—by itself—is not enough. Black women are not interested in tokenism and symbolism. Systemic change is required. To improve the quality of life for Black women and their families, transformative laws, policies, reforms, and initiatives must be put in place.

Biden pledged that, if elected president, he would nominate the first African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Vice President Biden is cognizant of the necessary changes that must take effect to empower Black women and he has a plan.

After becoming the presumptive Democratic nominee, Biden pledged that, if elected president, he would nominate the first African American woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. Such a nomination and subsequent Senate confirmation would not only be historic, but it has the potential to have a generational impact on the judicial system—especially the criminal justice system, the African American community, and our Nation.

Additionally, Biden has vowed to address the gender and racial wage gap that disproportionately impacts women of color, particularly Black women.

On average, Black women make $0.62 (cents) for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. According to Equal Pay Day, Black women had to work an additional seven and a half months this year, on top of the 12 months they worked last year, to make as much as their white male, non-Hispanic counterparts in 2019.

Such statistics are staggering given that 80% of Black women are the primary breadwinners for their household, roughly two-thirds of Black women are the head of households, and a large percentage of Black women have a high debt-to-income ratio due to student loans.

On August 13th, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day, Vice President Biden acknowledged the discrepancy by stating, “Black women are the backbone of their families, communities, our economy, and our country. And we will ensure they earn the pay, and the dignity and respect they deserve.”

In addition, Biden’s “Lift Every Voice” proposal for Black America can make far-reaching investments in ending health disparities by race. African Americans have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), Blacks (and Latinos) in the U.S. are three times more likely to become infected than their white counterparts. Additionally, Black (and Latino) people are nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people.

Per the CDC, “long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting sick and dying from COVID-19.” Underlying factors that contribute to these increased risks include discrimination, healthcare access and utilization, occupation, educational, income, and wealth gaps, and housing.

Suffice it to say, several issues are plaguing the African American community and must be addressed in the upcoming election.

On November 3rd, Americans will cast their ballots to decide who will be President and Vice President for the next four years. Black women are at a critical juncture because, in large part, we have a say in who that will be. The Black community has a lot at stake in this election—education, healthcare, the economy, environmental justice, criminal justice, and voting rights. Black women have to be forward-thinking in deciding who to vote for.

If Black women are to be included in “We the People,” we must elect leaders who will ensure and guarantee our full inclusion, participation, and representation in the democratic process. I urge you to consider what Black women stand to gain under a Joseph R. Biden Administration.

LaTreshia A. Hamilton, J.D. is a lawyer, writer, and global affairs professional from Houston, Texas. She holds a Juris Doctor from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, a Master of Arts in Global Affairs from Rice University’s James A. Baker, III Institute for Public Policy and the School of Social Sciences, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Texas Tech University.

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Houston Mayoral runoff: Sylvester Turner devours Tony Buzbee to reclaim incumbency

Mayor Sylvester Turner thanks his supporters and talks about his plan for the next four years during his runoff election night watch party on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Houston.

Anthony Obi Ogbo | International Guardian Houston, TX

Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner last night, redeemed his tenure in a voting runoff when he smashed his rival Tony Buzbee to end a contentious electioneering moment. According to results released by the Harris County Clerk’s Office, Mayor Turner cleared the polls with a 56.04% of the votes, leaving his rival gasping with an insufficient 43.96%. 

Mr. Buzbee who equally addressed his supporters has not conceded as of press time.

From the start of the campaign till the Election Day, polls have consistently favored Mayor Turner over a lineup of challengers, but Mr. Buzbee’s overzealous rivalry infiltrated the voting populace with division and resentment.  His campaign had choreographed  a thread of sensational publication teasers, stories, media Ads, and destructive memes, accusing Mayor Turner of  unethically hiring a 31-year-resident in an airport’s Executive Internship Program.  

Mr. Buzzbee aided by a clique of media reporters amplified these claims, calling for a full investigation of Mayor Turner. He also took advantage of a pending issue between the City and Fire Fighters, accusing the incumbent of gross neglect of the police, firefighters, and flood victims. 

Mayor Turner countered with ads showing Mr. Buzzbee’s DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) mug shots and depicting his rival as ethically unfit. Though Mr. Buzzbee’s drunken-driving was dismissed, the Turner Campaign launched corruption allegations, airing television ads accusing the millionaire lawyer of donating to  the district attorney’s campaign in exchange for dismissal of his drunken-driving case.

Even as the Houston firefighter union voted unanimously to endorse Mr.  Buzbee in this runoff, his campaign struggled feverishly to defend a string of clueless actions and proposals. For instance, Mr. Buzbee’s contribution of almost $10 million to his campaign; his association with Donald Trump; and his political romance with Houston’s most outspoken anti-gay activist Dr. Steven Hotze were very extreme values inconsistent with Houston’s diverse populace.

To make matters worse, Mr. Buzbee’s vowed to fire a highly rated Police Chief, Hubert “Art” Acevedo and replace him with someone focused on “increasing more patrols instead of political grandstanding.” This was after Acevedo called out federal lawmakers over lackadaisical gun culture. This was where this contender dug his grave.

As of press time, Houston Mayoral runoff has been fought and won, with Mayor Turner tearing Mr. Buzbee apart to reclaim his tenure. He has been Houston Mayor since 2016 after he defeated King in a runoff election in 2015.  By late Saturday evening, Mayor Turner had already given a victory speech promising to represent every Houstonian as usual, irrespective of any affiliation. Mr. Buzbee who equally addressed his supporters has not conceded as of press time.

Enemies within: Novice African-American Women Judges might be under vindictive surveillance

Judge Smoots-Thomas is in trouble today because she is not  Senator Ted Cruz. Novice African-American Women Judges must reassess their community activities, political conduct, and financial practices to comply with the demands of their new designation.

After a Harris County District Court Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas was indicted and later suspended for allegedly misappropriating $26,000 in campaign contributions, it became obvious that “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under disgusting surveillance. Every move, every breath might be under systemic scrutiny.  “Black Girl Magic Texas,” represented 19 Black women (17 beginners) who ran for a judge in Texas Harris County–and all 19 won. Together, they made history, becoming the largest group of Black female judges to be elected at the same time in Harris County history.


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

The fine art of judging is a complex phenomenon provoked by thoughtful application of law and the test of constitutionality.  


Smoots-Thomas’s indictment was brutal. For instance, earlier this month, she was led into a federal magistrate’s courtroom in Houston wearing handcuffs where she pleaded not guilty to all charges. Her attorney, Kent Schaffer, said the judge’s prosecution was political.  Schaffer, a partner at Schaffer Carter & Associates in Houston, claimed it happened because Smoots-Thomas was an African American and a Democrat.  Smoots-Thomas was first elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016.

Schaffer was right. Smoots-Thomas is Black and Blue. It was obvious that a sudden change of the County’s court districts from red to blue would come with dire consequences. This strain actually started years back when the “Black Girls Are Magic” campaign mantra was conceived. But this campaign was only a strategic move to elect African-American women in various sectors of the society where they were under-represented. “Black Girl Magic Texas,” was later accomplished in the Judiciary when 19 Black women who ran for a judge in Texas Harris County won.

PRIVILEGED: Texas Senator Cruz (left) had a similar issue and was neither arrested nor handcuffed. Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton (middle) conveniently ran for reelection even as he was grounded with a filthy securities fraud indictment. He narrowly won this race. Judge Smoots-Thomas (right) is in trouble today because she is neither Cruz nor Paxton.

Prosecutors claim Judge Smoots-Thomas misused nearly $25,000 (not 25 million) in campaign funds between January 2016 and March 2017. Her seven-count indictment reveals that she spent the money on a home mortgage, private school tuition, jewelry, and travel. Texas law required her to report to the Texas Ethics Commission whenever she used campaign funds for non-political expenditures.

UNDER VINDICTIVE SURVEILLANCE: The chambers of the fraternity of the “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under vindictive surveillance. Our novice Black Judges must therefore watch out for two major evaluation competencies: effective application of judicial practice and exemplary bench demeanor.

But let me be clear, that the aim of this article is not to categorize ethical violations within race and gender. I am simply discussing an uneven justice system; inequity of law prosecution; and unequal treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system, which is one of the most serious problems facing our society. For example, Judge Smoots-Thomas is in trouble today because she is not  Senator Ted Cruz.

Texas Senator Cruz had a similar issue and was neither arrested nor handcuffed. The racially privileged Senator was caught in a deep hole of financial fraud. He ascribed his failure to disclose two bank loans totaling more than $1 million in federal election filings as a clerical oversight. An in-depth investigation of these transactions which involved Goldman Sachs Group — where his wife, Heidi Cruz, was employed at the time—and Citigroup was suppressed. Also other details regarding this scandal were under-reported.

There is also this bizarre case of the Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton who conveniently ran for reelection even as he was grounded with a filthy securities fraud indictment. He narrowly won this race. This was in 2018.

The chambers of the fraternity of the “Black Girl Magic Texas,” might be under vindictive surveillance. Our novice Black Judges must therefore watch out for two major evaluation competencies: effective application of judicial practice and exemplary bench demeanor.  

The fine art of judging is a complex phenomenon provoked by thoughtful application of law and the test of constitutionality.  In fact, the essential qualities of a good judge were explained by Socrates: “Four things belong to a judge: To hear courteously; to answer wisely; to consider soberly, and to decide impartially.” These characteristics, in conjunction with relevant moral necessities, remain the hallmark of effective exercise of the extensive powers of the judiciary.

The Novice African-American Women Judges must not just live up to expectation but also watch out for amoral conduct. This is because the enemies are within the County court districts, tapping phone lines, shuttling courtrooms, listening to every conversation, snooping manila folders–all in search of actionable misconducts and process oversights. While most of these judges are focused on the vision and honor of doing justice and administering the law, they must also make changes in their community activities, political conduct, and financial practices to comply with the demands of their new designation.  

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

African Americans and Clean Climate: Texas Coalition of Black Democrats must step up

We need an organization strong and powerful enough to hold elected leaders accountable for protecting our health and environment, and advancing our interests.

There has been a major divide between the Republican and Democrat lawmakers when it comes to voting on measures to tackle the climate crisis.  It is true that the fossil fuel industry now almost entirely favors Republicans in campaign contributions. However, the truth remains that at this point, the Black community should prioritize health over material electioneering support.


By Carroll G. Robinson

Studies by researchers with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveal that Black Americans are subjected to higher levels of air pollution than their white counterparts irrespective of social status.  Most such mucky pollution comes from burning fossil fuels. The study published in the American Journal of Public Health explains disparities in distribution of particulate matter emission sources by race and poverty status. It suggests that black Americans were exposed to significantly more of the small pollution particles associated with various long and heart-related disease and untimely death.

To this end, Black Democrats must be environmentalists. Protecting our planet matters to our health, our children, our seniors, our safety and our prosperity. Climate change, environmental injustice, air pollution, water pollution, flooding and contaminated land are all on-going threats to the health, safety, quality of life, prosperity and the future of Black America. So too is transportation, infrastructure and economic inequality, the education and wealth gaps and food deserts.

The Texas Coalition of Black Democrats must remain a leader in the fight for environmental justice and to end climate change and environmental health disparities. The Texas Coalition of Black Democrats must be not just the leading defenders of our voting rights, but also our health, our children, our elders, our families, our neighborhoods and our planet.

There should be no more crushed concrete plants, landfills or illegal dumping of old tires, garbage and broken furniture in our communities. These are public health, safety, quality of life and environmental justice issues.

Without more explanation about significance of a clean and safe environment, l must conclude; it’s not enough for us to just elect Democrats to public office. We need an organization strong and powerful enough to hold them accountable for protecting our health and environment, and advancing our interests. That organization must be the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats.

Thank you and God Bless Houston. For constructive dialogue, you may contact me directly >>>

Carroll G. Robinson, Esq.

Hon. Robinson is the former Chairman, City of Houston Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee; Former Vice Chairman, Houston-Galveston Area Council Transportation Policy Council (H-GAC TPC) and Associate Professor of Public Administration, Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, Texas Southern University.

Houston Judge Surrenders for 7-Count Wire Fraud Indictment

Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas surrendered to federal authorities. She’ll make an initial appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Bray.

Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas, 44, is currently the presiding judge for the 164th District Court for the State of Texas and has jurisdiction over Texas civil cases located within Harris County.

A Houston jurist, 164th District Judge Alexandra Smoots-Thomas, was indicted for wire fraud, according to a Friday news release by U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

The judge’s Oct. 24 seven-count indictment was unsealed Friday when Smoots-Thomas surrendered to federal authorities. She’ll make an initial appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Bray, the news release said.

The indictment alleged that the judge embezzled campaign contributions through people and political election committees, promising to use the funds on her reelection campaigns in 2012 and 2016. In reality, she paid for noncampaign expenses such as her mortgage payments, private school tuition, travel, luxury items and cash withdraws, alleged the news release. She concealed her wrongful spending through her campaign treasurer and false Texas Ethics Commission filings, it said.

Wire fraud charges can be punished with up to 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 maximum fine.

Smoots-Thomas earned her law degree from South Texas College of Law Houston in 2001, and was licensed to practice in 2002, said her State Bar of Texas profile. She does not have any public disciplinary history as an attorney. The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct also does not list any public discipline for her.

She worked at Brown McCarroll in Houston right out of law school and stayed until 2007, when she opened a solo practice, according to her profile on her campaign website. Her private practice centered around insurance law, commercial litigation, construction litigation and real estate.

Under her former name, Smoots-Hogan, the judge was elected to the 164th Civil District Court in 2008. She was reelected in 2012 and 2016.

In her personal life, Smoots-Thomas is raising two boys, the campaign website said.

According to the judge’s Twitter profile, she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January and needed surgery and chemotherapy. She tweeted in September that she’s progressing well through treatment and “starting to see the light at the end.”

When judges are facing criminal charges, it’s fairly routine for the judicial conduct commission to suspend them from the bench as their cases wind through the criminal justice system, said Austin solo practitioner Lillian Hardwick, who practices judicial ethics law.

If the allegations in the government indictments are proven in court, and Smoots-Thomas is convicted, then it’s the type of crime that could boot her from the bench for good, Hardwick said. She could either resign instead of facing discipline, and promise never to run for election again, or the Texas Supreme Court could remove her, Hardwick explained.

“The judge has to comply with the law, and that has been interpreted as in dispensing the law and in personal behavior,” Hardwick said. “If you look at the constitutional provisions, about willful or persistent conduct that’s inconsistent with the proper performance of judicial duties, nobody would argue this behavior, if proven, is consistent with judicial duty.”

Houston Mayor Race – Turner takes an intimidating lead, set to retain office

Mayoral race collation announcement suspended as incumbent Sylvester Turner takes a commanding lead

Mayor Turner mounts the stage of the third-floor ballroom at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston to avow his confidence as the crowd yells, “Four more years!”

International Guardian Houston, TX – As the results from Tuesday’s election gradually trickled in, Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner took a commanding lead over his two closest rivals, Anthony Buzbee and Bill King.

With 23 percent of the votes in, as of press time, Mayor Turner led with 47 percent, compared to Tony Buzbee with 29 percent and Bill King with 13 percent. If Mayor Turner doesn’t reach a 50 percent benchmark, he would face the second winner in a runoff election.

But statistical analysis so far shows a minute chance of any runoff. “Mayor Turner needs just three percent to retain his tenure, and his victory is a matter of Time”, a senior aide in his campaign office told International Guardian.

Earlier in the evening, Mayor Turner mounted the stage of the third-floor ballroom at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston to avow his confidence as the crowd yelled, “Four more years!”  According to mayor Turner, “The numbers are very, very, very encouraging, in fact, I would say they are super encouraging…We’re almost there. We know it’s going to be a long evening … but today was an incredible day of voting.”

Mayor Turner was surrounded by local and statewide officials, including Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, and U.S. Reps. Sylvia Garcia, Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green.

His closest rival, Buzbee also made an appearance at a different location telling his supporters,  “We’re gonna make the runoff…we are going to win.”

Turner has been Houston Mayor since 2016 after he defeated King in a runoff election in 2015. Along with the mayoral race, several city council, Houston Community College trustee and Houston Independent School District trustee seats were on the ballot.

The County Clerk’s Office had issued a release indicating a delay in counting process. The Office promised to announce the results as soon as they are available.

Unprecedented delays at County Clerk’s Office punctuate round-the-clock Houston’s election coverage

First boxes of election day results arriving downtown. County Clerk’s office says due to the delays in process, they would not be able to accommodate any media requests for early morning newscasts, including access to the election office.

International Guardian – Houston, TX. A minute-by-minute election coverage of a nerve-wracking 2019 Houston’s citywide election coverage has been interrupted by unprecedented delays at County Clerk’s Office. As of 11:56 p.m. an official report provided results from 176 voting centers while the Central Counting Board worked diligently processing figures in what the County office described as “a secure and efficient manner.”

At 2:30 a.m. however, the county issued a statement:

“Due to the delay in election results, our office will not be able to accommodate any media requests for early morning newscasts, including access to the election office.  The final unofficial results will be emailed as soon as they are available, but the next media availability will not be until 2 p.m. at the Harris County Clerk’s Office at 201 Caroline, 4th floor conference room.”

The delays are anticipated, International Guardian gathered. It may be recalled that late in October, the Secretary of State issued an election advisory requiring Harris County Clerk’s office and law enforcement to drive mobile ballot box cards from each of the 757 Election Day polling sites to the downtown central counting station.

The previous plan, considered more effective, required bringing the cards to ten drop-off sites spread around the county to transmit electronically.

Meanwhile, incumbent, Sylvester Turner currently leads mayoral race over his closest contenders, Anthony Buzbee and Bill King. With 23 percent of the votes in, as of press time, Mayor Turner led with 47 percent, compared to Tony Buzbee with 29 percent and Bill King with 13 percent. If Mayor Sylvester Turner doesn’t reach the 50 percent mark needed to win in Tuesday’s election, a runoff election would be held.

The Policy of Dishonesty–Between the War Situation Room and a shameful Photo Op

President Trump created his own Situation Room moment. He set up his table, gathered and positioned some available officials, ushered in the photographer and pretended to be watching the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

From fabricated or deceptive claims about trade and the economy to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, the United States’ President Trump has made ‘dishonesty’ the core focus of his policy-making scheme. Apparently, the only time he doesn’t lie is when he is asleep. 


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

Apparently, the only time President Trump doesn’t lie is when he is asleep. 


Two days ago, the White House released what would have been a War Situation Room showing President Trump and his team supposedly directing and monitoring the killing of the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.  But this bizarre gathering was actually a sham to replicate a historic 2011 moment when President Barack Obama watched from the Situation Room as commandos went after Osama bin Laden the leader of al-Qaeda.

The difference in the photos reveals the difference between a real war situation room and a discreditable photo-shoot situation

Obama’s ‘Bin Laden Situation Room photo was impromptu, capturing a tensed moment as  this President flanked by his national security team, received live updates from Operation Neptune Spear, which led to the killing of bin Laden. But last week, eight years later, President Trump created his own Situation Room moment. He set up his table, gathered and positioned some available officials, ushered in the photographer and pretended to be watching the raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

President Trump’s photo in the real sense reveals the dishonest face of this administration. It may be recalled that early in September, President Trump displayed his fabricated version of Hurricane Dorian forecast map to show the powerful storm was on track to hit Alabama. Of course, he had to lie. He had falsely stated in a tweet earlier that Alabama was among the several states expected to face impacts from this storm.

President Trump on holds a chart showing the original projected track of Hurricane Dorian that appears to have been extended with a black line to include parts of the Florida Panhandle and Alabama.

In an administration pervaded with mediocrity and policy-making inaccuracies, the White House is experiencing an alarming decrease in trust and reputation.    Just last month, the Washington Post reported that President Trump has made 13,435 false or misleading claims over 993 days by significantly uttering exaggerated figures, making unwarranted claims and irritating the social media with horribly outright falsehoods.

So it is not a coincidence that the photos reveal the difference between a real war situation room and a discreditable photo-shoot situation. 

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

November 5 Houston’s Mayoral race is no joke: you must vote the incumbent or perish

Politics is all about interests grounded on a philosophy of “who gets what?” Voters make their choices based on their individual and communal policy-making expectations and necessities. Thus, the choice of keeping the incumbent must be based on not just his accomplishments but also the quality of his challengers.

In just is few days, voters in Houston would go to the polls to make their choices over a roster of candidates running for various city office positions. Among those contests, the mayoral race is considerably critical—coming when the disastrous team in the White House has flung democracy in the United States into a chaotic experience. They have created bogus laws and executive orders to destroy families, law enforcement, commerce, and strangulate the very fundamental rights America was built on.    


BY ANTHONY OBI OGBO

Buzbee says he wants to end corruption, restore effective government and deliver results for all Houstonians, but it would take an ethical leader to restore ethical leadership.


But the Houston city government led by Mayor Sylvester Turner stood its grounds to protect the city against such challenges. He liberated the city from two major catastrophes; Hurricane Harvey and the Political Storm Donald Trump. Besides his leadership performance during this historic Harvey catastrophe, Mayor Turner also resisted Trump’s cold-blooded immigration policies; and rallied his law enforcement to focus on saving lives rather than a collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to tear up families. According to Mayor Turner,

“My job starts with the never-ending effort to provide a safe, secure and prosperous environment for every resident of Houston in their places of work, their places of worship, their school, their homes and elsewhere. The city does not try to do ICE’s job, nor does it try to impede ICE. And we will continue to be a city that builds relationships, not walls.”

There are other policy issues at stake in this election, but let us remember that no strategy actions would persevere without a peaceful and secured city.

While this may sound satirical, there are essentially two major candidates in this race–Mayor Turner and others. Turner’s argument rests on his first-term stewardship, touting a successful handle of the budget, a deadly Hurricane Harvey, pension system reforms and the economy. His closest rival, Tony Buzbee, objected. Buzbee is a decorated Marine, a successful lawyer and business owner running on governance ethics. He says he wants to end corruption, restore effective government and deliver results for all Houstonians.

Cover of International Guardian’s election edition.   Houston’s Mayoral race is, therefore, a fraternal call to vote the incumbent or perish. Just like America and Trump, if Houston scorns the current opportunity to keep its current leadership, this city might end up in self-destructive misery.  

But it would take an ethical leader to restore ethical leadership. For example, to date, Mr. Buzbee has not properly come clean on how and why a young Dallas-based female court reporter descended on his home and vandalized his valuable collections.  29-year-old Lindy Lou Layman was accused of smashing and destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of paintings and sculptures in Buzbee’s mansion. Layman according to Harris County court documents, poured liquid onto paintings, tore paintings off the wall and threw sculptures across the room, resulting in about $300,000 damage.

Challengers from left: Tony Buzbee, Bill King , Dwight Boykins, and Sue Lovell. In any election process involving an incumbent, the choice of a candidate must be based on not just his accomplishments but also the quality of his challengers.

In furtherance of his questionable moral worthiness, Mr. Buzbee has shuttled in-between parties courting the most questionable moments and supporting underhanded politicians. For instance, in 2002, he unsuccessfully ran for the Texas state House as a Democrat. But in2012, he supported squarely, Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry’s presidential campaign. That was not all.  In 2016, Buzbee hosted a fundraiser at his River Oaks mansion for then Presidential candidate Donald Trump, and subsequently gave $500,000 to Trump’s Inauguration Committee.

There might be nothing wrong with supporting candidates, but Mr. Buzbee’s double-dealing attitude with both the Republicans and Democrats possibly reveals con and disloyalty, and questions his moral decency in politics and leadership.

Please note that there might be nothing wrong with supporting candidates, but Mr. Buzbee’s double-dealing attitude with both the Republicans and Democrats possibly reveals con and disloyalty, and questions his moral decency in politics and leadership.

Another issue with Mr. Buzbee’s candidacy is his contribution of almost $10 million to his campaign. The message might be simple – that Bagby Street might be up to be mortgaged to a millionaire affiliated to Donald Trump. And you may not be surprised too if Hilton Americas becomes a Trump Tower.   

Other candidates in this race are rightly exercising their constitutional rights to vote and to be voted for. Yet their chances remain infinitesimal based on the latest poll by the University of Houston published on the eve of early voting. The poll shows that Mayor Turner could win without a runoff, as he keeps a wide lead over his opponents, with 43.5 percent support among likely voters.  Mr. Buzbee followed by 23.4 percent. Bill King and Councilman Dwight Boykins trail with 7.8 and 6.8 percent respectively. The rest of the candidates, including Sue Lovell, poled below 2%.

Replacing Mayor Turner must not just be based on his first-term superintendency, but also the caliber of his challengers.  Because the incumbent is not working does not mean that we should replace him with a numbskull unfamiliar with the people of Houston, their resources, and the city’s political terrain.

Mayor Turner is the incumbent. Replacing him must not just be based on his first-term superintendency, but also the caliber of his challengers.  Because the incumbent is not working does not mean that we should replace him with a numbskull unfamiliar with the people of Houston, their resources, and the city’s political terrain.

Mr. King actually  admitted when in an interview with ABC13, that  “I think that people probably don’t know the more human side of me because, uh, they see me as a sort of analytical person,” King says, proclaiming himself as somewhat of a nerd.”  So if the people do not know him, why is he in the race?

Politics is all about interests grounded on a philosophy of “who gets what?” It means that voters make their choices based on their individual and communal policy-making expectations and necessities. In just is few days (November 5), voters in Houston would go to the polls to make these choices. But as usual, the discussion question would be whether voters would go to the polls with emotional conscience regarding their interests or whether they would ignore those values to seek candidates peddling frivolous but deceptive campaign rhetoric.  

In typical electioneering process where the incumbent is seeking reelection, a contender must substantially establish four core causes;  

  • A blueprint to transform campaign promises into action.  To date, days before the election, these contenders have not offered any significant proposal besides the rendition of uncorroborated website campaign narratives.  
  • Contenders must show solid proof of policy-making competence. Buzbee and King had pledged to clean up the city office from corruption. But a proposal to fight corruption with amoral characters would bastardize any transformation process. It takes moral people to shape moral society.
  • Contenders must show a connection with the people. Houston, the most diverse nation in the country deserves a leader that is familiar with the multi-cultural face of the city. Mr. Buzbee does not know Houston beyond River Oaks’ vicinity where he resides. Another major contender, Mr. King actually  admitted when in an interview with ABC13, that  “I think that people probably don’t know the more human side of me because, uh, they see me as a sort of analytical person,” King says, proclaiming himself as somewhat of a nerd.” So if the people do not know him, why is he in the race?
  • Last, this position is for a city’s top leadership, not a store manager. Any contender ready for this position must have been tested in managing a high-figure budget; must possess unmatched knowledge of the legislation process, as well as running voluminous city’s day-to-day activities.  

Therefore, based on the aforementioned circumstances, Houston has a choice to make between an incumbent and some incompetent contenders yet to defend their campaign claims. In any election process involving an incumbent, the choice of keeping him must be based on not just his accomplishments but also the quality of his challengers.

Also, I must remind voters that Houston is a family. November 5 Houston’s Mayoral race is, therefore, a fraternal call to vote the incumbent or perish. Just like America and Trump, if Houston scorns the current opportunity to keep its current leadership, this city might end up in self-destructive misery.   

♦ Anthony Ogbo, PhD, Adjunct Professor at the Texas Southern University is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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