Mayor Parker Hopes To Win Second Term

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HOUSTON - One of the most high-profile races on Tuesday's ballot is for Houston mayor.

In her first term, Mayor Annise Parker slashed the city budget, laid off more than 750 city workers, dealt with the drought and redistricting. She kept her campaign promise and did not create new taxes.

"I do not believe in walking away from problems," she said. "You do the hard things first."

She was criticized for her on again/off again decisions on red-light cameras and for backing the city's new drainage fee. She pointed out that both were ballot initiatives backed by voters.

"It's amazing to me that some of the same people who were opposed to red-light cameras, which also was a city initiative, democracy at work, believe I should have taken down the red-light cameras, which I did, but not implement the drainage fee, which I also did," Parker said. "Well, you can't have it both ways."

Parker is vying for a second term, but five other people want her job.

Deputy Fire Chief Fernando Herrera has promised to rescind the drainage fee if he is elected.

Candidate Kevin Simms said he wants to open city contracts to small businesses.

Amanda Ulman represents the Socialist Workers Party.

Businessman Jack O'Connor has promised to reduce government and create jobs.

Candidate Dave Wilson said he believes Parker should be voted out because she's gay. He claimed Monday that Parker's supporters are trying to smear him by spreading the rumor that he's a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Wilson admitted he has no real proof.

"Putting two and two together, reconnecting the dots," he said. "I feel like it's coming from her group."

Parker more than $2 million in her campaign chest.

Democratic political consultant Keir Murray predicts the she'll get a second term.

"Gut feeling is the mayor will be reelected without a runoff, but not with overwhelming numbers. She'll probably be north of 50 percent, but probably not by a lot," Murray said.

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