Ahoy Sylvester!

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Bill King is a sailor. While I have never sailed with him, I am pretty sure that he has always returned to the dock with all his crew and passengers.

On the other hand, Sylvester Turner’s client “disappeared” in Galveston Bay and was later found in a Spanish prison…after the insurance paid on the life insurance claim. During Sylvester’s first campaign for Houston mayor in 1991, Wayne Dolcefino found him living in a house with Dwight Thomas (since the home Turner owned with his wife was outside the city). Dwight had introduced Sylvester to a man named Sylvester Foster – a “male model” and “hairdresser.” Turner prepared a will for Foster who then went missing from a boat in Galveston Bay and then worked to probate the will and have Foster declared dead in order to collect the life insurance funds. It is a story of insurance fraud but more importantly it is a story of character. Read on.

During his second race for mayor in 2003, Sylvester Turner taught Dave Wilson a trick or two. In 2003, Doris Hubbard, a campaign consultant for Sylvester’s 1991 failed bid for mayor, paid Brenda Flores to recruit a black Bill White to run against the white Bill White. An Acres Homes political organizer paid a white, rabble-rousing democratic political operative to recruit a guy with the same name to mislead and confuse voters so the black liberal dude could win his second mayoral bid. Would the white Bill White have a claim under the Sylvester Turner supported HERO ordinance? I love this stuff. It does not end here.

As you know, Bob Lanier beat Sylvester Turner in the 1991 mayor’s race. On Lanier’s inauguration day, Turner’s wife, Cheryl Gillum Turner, filed for divorce. On April 19, 1994, Cheryl Turner, a ten year veteran of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, was deposed in Sylvester’s lawsuit against Wayne Dolcefino and Channel 13. During the divorce, Ms. Turner, an experienced attorney, signed an affidavit recounting Sylvester’s trysts (which she now recants). Sylvester has made his ex-wife an issue as he brought her out to refute the allegations made in her own affidavit and deposition.

Cheryl TurnerOn May 19, 2005, Cheryl Turner was indicted by a Harris County Grand Jury for misapplication of fiduciary property – or stealing between $100,000 and $200,000 of client funds. After a year and a half of court appearances, on September 9, 2006, Cheryl Turner pled guilty to the second degree felony and was sentenced to ten years in prison. A few months later, Turner was released and placed on a ten year probation (to end in January 2017) with a condition that Turner pay $63,000 in restitution to the complainant. On December 15, 2005, the Texas Supreme Court accepted Turner’s resignation from the State Bar of Texas. That order lists nine complainants and over $180,000 in stolen funds.

In May 2012, Turner’s attorney filed a motion asking the court to subtract $30,000 paid to the complainant in the criminal case by the State Bar of Texas.

$63,000

-$30,000 (State Bar of Texas)

                         

$33,000

-$14,859 (approximate restitution paid by Turner from January 2006 – May 2012)

                         

$18,141 (restitution owed)

A few months later, in December 2012, Marc Brown signed an order terminating Turner’s probation – four years early. Why was Turner’s restitution reduced by money paid by the State Bar of Texas? Was Turner able to pay $18,141 from May – December 2012? Was the probation terminated before Turner paid all the restitution owed? Was Turner treated differently than other thieves?

Over the years, Sylvester Turner has closely aligned himself with special interest groups including public employee unions. We know that the police and fire unions endorsed Sylvester Turner for mayor even before this election season began. This should furrow your brow.

Clifford CostelloGood citizens of the city should also question Turner’s alignment with people like Stephen “king of conflicts” Costello and Cindy Clifford. Following the general election, Costello was quick to endorse Sylvester: “Sylvester and I agree that ReBuild Houston [READ: RAIN TAX] is a good baseline infrastructure program that can and must be improved to meet the needs and expectations of Houstonians.” I was not surprised to hear Costello continue to support his rain tax. The remainder of Costello’s statement should cause Houstonians great alarm: “Sylvester Turner is the best candidate to connect all of Houston through multi-modal transportation, and I look forward to working with him on critical transportation issues like commuter rail.” I fully expect Turner, if elected, to appoint Costello as the Chair of METRO. In a time when our city is in dire financial straits, the father of our rain tax needs to quickly exit stage left. The connection between Turner and Costello should cause Houstonians to run to the polls for Bill King.

Parker and Clifford

Parker and Clifford

Turner is also very close to Cindy Clifford – a “lobbyist” and “strategic marketing specialist.” Recent stories have questioned Clifford’s failed adherence to the city’s procurement and lobbying rules. After Clifford’s client received the latest airport contract earlier this year, Clifford received a citation for shoving a fellow lobbyist at City Hall. There is a reason why Clifford’s Twitter feed is filled with Turner stories. She and her buddies (like Annise Parker) are scared to death that Bill King could come in and make the city’s politics honest.

This is one of the most important city elections of my lifetime. When you think about the upcoming race, think about the massive cronyism machine that will be cranking down at City Hall with a Turner administration. Sylvester Turner as mayor could mean the death of a once great city. The very people who have bankrupted the city are desperate to get Turner elected. If Turner is elected, there is only one thing to do – abandon ship!

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Mommy, there is a man in the restroom

Lincoln MorenoYesterday, I had the opportunity to see D-Day Normandy 1944 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This movie discussed Operation Overlord, otherwise known as the Battle of Normandy. On that day, the longest day, the allies lost countless lives. Memorial Day is an important tribute to those who have given their lives for our freedom and liberty.

The Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution contains the Equal Protection Clause that prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. So, why would Annise Parker, in her last term, champion an equal rights ordinance, especially when our Constitution covers discrimination? Could it be that this is simply a slight of hand, a distraction for the true purpose? Maybe Exxon wasn’t enough and she wants to run every business out of town? Why would she say that the ordinance was created in response to a Washington Avenue bar denying entry to a black man but never discuss the ordinance with NAACP leaders?

I have followed much of the local reporting on Parker’s edict and I feel like many people are missing the bigger picture. One of the basic government functions is public protection. The government is tasked with providing police, fire, and ambulance for the general public. Also, the government should pass laws that assist public safety. So, how would Parker’s policy affect public safety?

Imagine that you are the parent of a young child. After church, your family visits a local restaurant and your daughter needs to use the restroom. You take her to the bathroom. Inside, there are two small, narrow stalls; so, you send your daughter into one of the stalls as you stand guard outside. Your daughter is speaking, but you can’t quite understand her words. Just then, you see a man peering under the bathroom stall and staring at your four-year-old daughter as she uses the restroom. You think this is fiction? Think again.

On a Sunday morning in October 2010, Lincoln Moreno, a serial peeper, was looking at a four-year-old girl as she used the bathroom at Café Express in Meyerland. The child told her mother, “Mommy, there is a man in the restroom.” The mother did not see anything at first. Then, she looked down and saw a shadow of a head underneath the stall and a bag. Once captured, law enforcement discovered that the man had electrical tape, duct tape, a sock with a pacifier, a plastic bag, and a recording device.

Moreno also has a lengthy criminal history. This was his eighteenth criminal trespass conviction in Harris County. He has a prior conviction for indecency with a child. After he was arrested for the Café Express peeping, several of his relatives came forward and said that he molested them in the past.

Since Moreno was not using the recording device, the only crime on the books that fit the facts of Moreno’s voyeuristic conduct was criminal trespass and that, in itself, failed to result in adding Moreno to the sex offender registry.  State Representative Garnet Coleman publicly decried this “serious flaw in our system” because the “punishment didn’t fit the crime.” Garnet Coleman said that he wanted to create a new legal penalty for peeping in a restroom that defined the offense as a sex crime. Coleman told reporters at the time that these crimes are “most often committed against women and children.” “Individuals who grotesquely and repeatedly violate an individual’s privacy during a private moment should be on the registry.”

In 2011, Coleman sponsored House Bill 2822, which amended the criminal laws relating to disorderly or lewd conduct in a public place. This bill was lost in committee. Today, the law remains unchanged.

During the 83rd Legislative Session, in 2013, Garnet Coleman, instead of taking up the Lincoln Moreno matter, authored House Bill 3324, which added the words “gender identity or expression” to the penal code. This language would enhance an offender’s punishment if the crime was committed with this specific bias or prejudice. This bill was left pending in the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Given this context, the obvious question of the day is whether the equal rights ordinance now provides a defense (or a cover) for people like Lincoln Moreno. Is this equal rights ordinance the type of liberty that men and women have sacrificed their lives for? Doesn’t the Constitution already cover equal rights and discrimination? Shouldn’t the focus be on protecting women and children? Should this equal rights ordinance be made law before we make laws to protect children from Lincoln Moreno? As the city council members vote on this ordinance, they need to think about Lincoln Moreno and his victims.

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