Helena Brown

Highlights from Hair Balls

Political Animals

We had a major WTF moment when we saw that Houston Woman Magazine had named conspiracy theorist/elected leader Helena Brown as one of the city's "50 Most Influential Women" of 2012.

According to a statement by publisher Beverly Denver, "Influential people are often charismatic individuals with a vast network of social and professional connections. Many times they also have earned an enviable reputation for an expertise in a particular area. Because of that, they are credible. This form of influence draws upon the notion of trust."

The honor was heralded by Brown's office, which released a self-congratulatory statement about how the councilwoman "is considered by many in Houston to be a trailblazer — a woman paving a way for positive, eyes-wide-open approach to city governance."

We tried asking Denver questions about the selection of such a controversial figure, but she told us that it would be "inappropriate" to discuss any individual honoree and said she believed in all the women who've been selected over the past five years.

But how "influential" can Brown be when she's often the lone dissenter in Council votes, including her stance against spending $2.3 million on a bike trail, or her reluctant vote for a $26 million construction project that she believed was tied to a shady U.N. plot against American interests? Seriously, if the rest of your council members reach for the butterfly net every time you open your mouth, where's the influence?

And as far as we can tell, none of the other women on the list did the following:

1) Chose a "senior adviser" who was banned from the investment industry after failing to pay a woman $133,875 in damages and penalties for violating federal and state securities laws.

2) Had her staff sign a statement pressuring another staffer, newly pregnant with twins, to take a medical leave of absence, ostensibly because Brown believed that the staffer's working while pregnant might result in a miscarriage and thus a lawsuit against Brown.

3) Charged Houston taxpayers $11,000 for a trip to South Korea under the guise of meeting with airline executives, even though the executives had canceled the meetings weeks earlier.

4) Tried to get the city to reimburse $850 she spent to have her personal lawyer sit in on meetings she had with Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman, and $2,108 for gas money for aforementioned senior adviser William Park.

5) Was forced to repay nearly $3,000 in taxpayer money she spent on refrigerator magnets (!) that the Texas Ethics Commission categorized as campaign advertising.

Come to think of it, maybe everyone on the committee who tapped Brown for the magazine's list had one of those sweet magnets, and every time they went to the fridge for another beer to help lubricate the selection process, they caught a glimpse of Brown's mug. You know, subliminal advertising. Scratch everything we just said: Brown's a freakin' genius.


Man Chokes Roommate's Dog
And in return, roommate shoots man dead.

Jeff Balke

Reading the police blotter is a daily adventure. From meth addicts to bank robbers to perverts and everything in between, there is always some strange story that's enough to make anyone shake his head in wonder. Today is yet another one of those days.

According to police, a man is dead after being shot by his roommate during a disagreement about 11:10 p.m. last Wednesday at 5801 Hollister. In and of itself, this would not warrant much more than a casual glance, until you dig into the details. According to the report, the victim and his roommate were watching a movie and the victim began to provoke the roommate's dog. No details on what he was doing — those laser pointers can drive animals crazy — or what kind of dog it was — my money is on a bichon frise because those damn puffy heads are annoying as hell.

The roommate warned the victim that if he continued to provoke the deadly bichon frise animal, he might get bitten. It was at this point the victim allegedly became "enraged" and jumped on the dog, trying to choke it.

Seriously? Dude tried to choke a freaking dog?

At that point, the roommate leapt up to his dog's aid and pulled the victim off the pup. The victim allegedly got even more pissed off and tried to beat up the roommate. The roommate was so scared, he grabbed a gun from near his bed, shot the victim and called 9-1-1. The roommate said he feared for his life. Well, if someone is crazy enough to try and choke a dog, no telling what he'll do for an encore.

The victim died after being taken to the hospital. The roommate was questioned and released by police.

The lesson in all this is, don't choke a freaking dog!


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