Candidates sling mud during poorly
Daily Cougar Staff
If the amount of audience interest that Lee Brown brought to the mayoral
candidate forum held Tuesday at southwest Houston's Jewish Community Center
is any indication of his chances in the coming elections, then Brown would
seem to have little to worry about.
Brown arrived 20 minutes late to the forum, but brought some previously
unseen crowd enthusiasm with him.
"I'm sorry to be late, I was just at (an) ambassador's house and the
trip delayed me a little," Brown said. "I couldn't not show up at his house
after I promised him that I would be there tonight."
Before Brown arrived, candidates Orlando Sanchez and Christopher Bell,
who are both City Council members, spoke to a less-than-attentive crowd.
After Brown's arrival, the real forum began, with random bursts of applause
for each candidate.
Jason Yuen/The Daily Cougar
Republican City Councilman Orlando Sanchez, left, Democratic
Mayor Lee Brown and Democratic City Councilman Chris Bell square off at
a mayoral candidate forum Tuesday evening at the Jewish Community Center
in southwest Houston.
During the forum, each candidate was allowed three minutes to answer
questions that the audience had written on note cards beforehand. The questions
ranged from the possibilities of terrorist acts in the city of Houston
to the construction that is plaguing downtown.
One controversial question regarded healthcare and other benefits, if
any, that city workers who are currently in same-sex relationships should
receive. A referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot would, if passed, prohibit the
city from extending these benefits to homosexual employees.
This question received a consensus agreement from Democrats Bell and
Brown, who compared the lack of benefits for same-sex relationships to
discrimination. They both promised that, if either were elected, no form
of discrimination would be allowed during their respective terms in office.
Sanchez, a Republican, didn't agree, saying it was not a matter of discrimination.
"Being an immigrant, I have experienced discrimination before," Sanchez
said. "But this isn't a matter of discrimination, but of priorities, and
I just don't think that this is a priority."
After that, the forum turned into a mud-slinging contest, from Brown
attacking the inexperience of his opponents to Sanchez attacking Brown's
"I have been a civil servant for 40 years now," Brown said. "My opponent
Christopher Bell's experience is with a two-man law firm that went out
of business a little while back, while the only business that Sanchez knows
how to run is the no-profit business of City Hall."
The only candidate who did not participate in the insults was Bell,
who actually turned the insults that were hurled at him into jokes that
warmed up the crowd.
One of the biggest concerns voiced by the audience was about the construction
going on in downtown Houston. Each candidate offered his own way to fix
"We shouldn't have people driving down one street, then be detoured
to another street which detours into yet another street," Bell said. "We
need to have a grid technology system which would eliminate problems such
The candidates will participate in another debate, sponsored by the
League of Women Voters, at 7 p.m. Thursday at downtown's South Texas College