Newsmakers May 18: Houston divided over Equal Rights Ordinance

By Khambrel Marshall - Meteorologist, 'Newsmakers' Host

HOUSTON - Mayor Annise Parker is proposing an Equal Rights Ordinance for the city of Houston that is running into major opposition. Why?

Harris County Republican Chair Jared Woodfill says it's mayoral politics at its worst.

"When she's no longer going to be subject to the will of the voters she came out with a very aggressive pro LGBT agenda," said Woodfill. "It's an agenda I think she would have lost early on had she tried to pass early on and would not have been re-elected mayor."

Lane Lewis is the Chair of the Democratic Party and says it's not about politics but about doing the right thing for Houston.

"There's 180 cities across the nation that have already passed similar ordinances including Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso," he said. "Even Mississippi cities have passed ordinances protecting individuals from discrimination. I think Houston it's time that we caught up."

Lewis and Woodfill square off on this week's Houston Newsmakers with Khambrel Marshall. It is an animated discussion about the ordinance which is scheduled to come to a vote at the May 28 Houston City Council meeting. Organizers from both sides promise big turnouts between now and then.

Also this week, Rice University Professor Dr. Stephen Klineberg, Co-Director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research. The 33rd annual Houston Area Survey has been released and provides interesting and insightful looks into the thinking and attitudes of Houston-area residents. The survey is based on random interviews with more than 1,300 residents from the nine counties that make up the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area. Respondents have clear thoughts about gay rights, education, job outlook, and much more with the area respondents representing an ever more diverse community.

"Fort Bend County is 19 percent Asian, 23 percent Latino, 21 percent African American, 36 percent Anglo. You can't get much closer to one fourth, one fourth, one fourth," said Klineberg. "That's the story of Houston. There are very few Asians in Miami, very few Hispanics in San Francisco, very few African-Americans in Los Angeles -- this is where the four communities meet."

Great insight on a number of important issues unique to Southeast Texas. Watch it this and every Sunday at 10 a.m., right after Meet the Press with David Gregory.

More Information:
•Lane Lewis, Chair-Harris County Democratic Party,  713-802-0085,
•Jared Woodfill, Chair-Harris County Republican Party ,  713-838-7900,
•Stephen Klineberg, Ph.D. , Co-Director, Kinder Institute for Urban Research, 713-348-4199

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