We just got a statement from Mayor Annise Parker about the ethics charges against Jolanda Jones that her review panel punted to the District Attorney's Office:
The District Attorney's review affirms my original opinion that the findings detailed in the Office of Inspector General's report do not rise to the level of requiring prosecution. Still unanswered is whether there has been a violation of the City's Code of Ethics. However, it is my recommendation that the three-member panel looking into the ethics questions not resume deliberations until after the November election.
I view this option as the fairest way to avoid any unintended interference or undue influence in the political process. The investigation by the OIG stands. The review panel does not have the authority to overturn or change that. It is simply a matter as to whether some City Council action is warranted. Council Member Jones has already taken steps to change policies and procedures in her office to prevent further violations.
We just got a statement from Jones:
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From the start, I have maintained that when the facts came to light, I would have acted within the acceptable standards of conduct and was always confident that the District Attorney would come to the same conclusion. In the face of baseless accusations, I cooperated, was truthful, respectfully observed the city's questionable process and consistently maintained the confidentiality that was required by the Mayor.
I have never used my role as a council member to benefit anything or anyone other than the people I was elected to serve.
It is time for all of us to put this distraction aside and focus on the significant challenges this city faces. I am again asking that the Review Panel bring this matter to a close.
As a council member, I have worked to expand economic opportunities and equality for all Houstonians. I negotiated a water rate and drainage fee that provided for increased fairness to the poor, seniors, and the disabled, and advocated for property rights and flooding mitigation across the city. I pushed for city leaders to recognize the will of the voters and turn off red-light cameras, and I supported aggressive change for BARC and spoke up against police brutality. I have never backed down from a fight for what I believe is in the best interest of Houston, and I will continue to work hard for positive change....
I have never lost sight of the needs of our citizens and I take very seriously my role as an advocate for the people of Houston. I will always take a stand on important issues and I will never stop speaking up for citizens that have no voice at City Hall. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and my fellow council members to address the issues we were elected to resolve.