Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt pledged legislative action to protect voters from out of control city officials who use public money to suppress the will of local citizens.
“It is an outrage that Mayor Parker continues to expended taxpayer funds in a systematic effort to suppress the lawful actions of citizens. For the third time in just six weeks, the Texas Supreme Court and a local court, have ruled against the Mayor’s attempt to keep lawfully collected petitions off the ballot,” said Bettencourt.
Two major defeats for the Mayor came in opinions from the Texas Supreme Court. They ruled the City acted improperly by rejecting the petition, gathered by the Houston Area Pastor’s Council, to put Houston’s equal rights ordinance (H.E.R.O.) on the ballot, and they also ruled that the City used deceptive ballot language, duping the voters to enacting a new drainage fee on Houstonians. The third blow came yesterday in a mandamus ruling by a State District Judge, ordering the City to count the petition signatures that were recently submitted by Trustee Dave Wilson.
“The fact that the City would simply refuse to count lawfully collected signatures is absurd,” Bettencourt continued. “That Mayor Parker and her legal team would choose to ignore petitions signed by more than 50,000 of the voters they were elected to represent cannot stand. The Mayor has shown time and again that she puts personal political interests above everything else and she remains chronically opposed to the laws she is sworn to uphold.
“The ability of people to petition their government is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution and must not be ignored. When the Legislature comes back into session, I will propose legislation to enact substantial penalties and fines on city officials who refuse to do their ministerial duties in cases where there is no discretion – like counting petitions. No matter what your opinion of the ordinance in question is, the idea that our city leaders can spend taxpayer money to actively ignore lawful requests from the taxpayers they represent is an insult to all of us, has not stood with the courts, and should not happen again,” concluded Bettencourt.