Hair Balls had a sit-down yesterday with Mayor Annise Parker -- come on, it's already one month into her term and there's still traffic at rush hour!!!!
A lot of the talk was dedicated to future items we're working on here at the Press, but there were some other scattered stuff discussed:
On the international media reaction to her election:
In the first three days after the election, it was constant -- we couldn't get anything else done...I was frankly surprised. I have been an activist for a long time, I think it's important the GLBT people get elected to office, I've worked for other candidates and promoted it, but I didn't expect the level of international media attention.
Outside of Houston, people don't understand the city and what makes it tick and it gave me the opportunity to pivot and talk about Houston, which is a good thing.
The other thing is if you look at so-called quote-unquote "gay votes," primarily the marriage initiative, around the country, we keep on racking up losses and there were a lot of votes who saw my election as being against that tide.
On "walkable areas" and the chance Ziggy's will close for lack of parking spaces:
I'm very aware of where it is and that they opened in the first place with three or four parking spaces [An aide clarifies that the original owners leased a lot; the new owners have not.] If you're in a transit corridor where you have easy access to some form of mass transit to get you to a restaurant or an entertainment venue...We are trying to be flexible, but I don't see many solutions for that Ziggy's location which is -- Fairview is arguably a commercial street, but it's in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
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And that's just a tough one. I think they need to go find some parking.
On the proposed Dynamo stadium:
I think there will be a Dynamo stadium. I think it's always preferable when you can do a major project like this completely with private financing. And when you look at the siting of the proposed location and the proposed light-rail lines, the possibilities are really, really exciting...We've been waiting for the Dynamo and the county to get their act together. I've said consistently I would honor Mayor White's pledge on that....I can't say I understand how they do things over there [in county government]. I am going to go visit my counterparts over there in the county; I've gotten the feeling that Houston has gotten the reputation of not always playing well with others, and I'm going to do my best to at least start off on the right foot.
On HPD officers checking people for immigration status:
I don't want police officers trying to make an immigration determination out in the community. I want people to use the health clinics if they need them; I want people to call the cops if they want to report a crime or they have been the victim of a crime. I want people to cooperate with the public agencies.
At the same time, we operate a law-enforcement agency; we will interface with ICE just as we do with ATF or the FBI, we will share data, we will communicate in a professional manner, it's just that immigration status [will be checked] when you're being booked into the jail, just like you do in the county jail. And I understand that Sheriff Garcia is planning on putting together an advisory committee on how the 287g program functions at the county jail, spoken with him about it, they're going to survey the community and share that information with me as we put our own program in place.