Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas, Aloysius: The Newly Elected Houston City Councilman from Brazoria County Just Doesn't Want to Talk About It

Thanks to the able reportage of the Chronicle's Mike Snyder, we now have a fuller portrait of Houston councilman-elect Al Hoang, who, as noted in this space recently, did not legally meet the residency requirement to run for the District F seat he won on Dec. 12 and whose campaign finance reports don't exactly fulfill the legal requirements demanded of these disclosures. The picture ain't that pretty at all. (Up high and for the record: Snyder contacted us before publication of his story and we requested that this humble blog be left out of it, based mostly on the timeless "What's in it for us?" calculation but also not to detract from the serious nature of the enterprise.*)

What's truly amazing about Snyder's story––aside from the pathetic defense of Hoang offered by county Republican chairman Jared Woodfill, in yet another manifestation of the tiresome partisanship that now infests local municipal politics**––was Hoang's refusal to even discuss the residency issue with the reporter. First, he apparently issued a Gary Hart-like challenge to Snyder to "prove it," then hung up the phone when the reporter contacted him later after meeting the challenge. Think about that: A newly elected public official flat-out refuses to discuss legitimate issues of concern raised by the public record with the city's leading daily newspaper. We know the power of the printed press is much diminished, but this is not a real politic way to begin a career as an elected officeholder (hopefully, one of very short duration).

Instead of trying to come up with some half-assed explanation, Hoang resorted to the first refuge of the scoundrel, telling the newspaper, "You're trying to pick on me." We can only surmise that the unstated reasoning was "Because I'm Vietnamese." This is the sort of matter that inevitably ends up with one set of white people calling another set of white people racists. Watch.
So what is to be done? Oh, the new Houston City Council could actually do something about it, but won't, for at least five reasons we can think of, starting with, "We don't want to be bothered with this." Perhaps another elected official with subpoena power wouldn't feel as constrained by political sensitivities. Or perhaps she would. At the very least, Hoang should be subjected to unceasing public embarrassment, as well as a stiff fine from the Texas Ethics Commission for his campaign finance reports (which he, a lawyer, weirdly insisted to the Chronicle met the requirements of the law, which they clearly don't).

In the meantime, we extend our sincerest wishes to Aloysius Hoang and family for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We just hope Santa Claus can sort through the confusion and alight at the correct address, whether it's 2702 Sunfish Dr. in Pearland, or 10001 Westpark Dr., Apt. 83, in Houston City Council District G, or 4403 Bugle Dr in Houston City Council District F, or....

To be continued.

*More for the record: While we did vote for Mike Laster, Hoang's runoff opponent, we have had no contact whatsoever with Laster or anyone connected with him, and he wouldn't know us if he ran over us with a shopping cart at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.
**Yes, Democrats have gotten much worse about this, but then again there are a lot more Democrats than Republicans in the city limits.


John Coby said...

So who is going to write the TEC complaint?

Slampo said...

We're hoping Jared Woodfill's gonna step up on this one, in the name of good government and such. If not him, maybe Gerry Birnberg. If not him, we'll do it. You get 3 years, should be able to come up with something in that time. Meantime, the councilman could file amended statements, but you get the feeling that A.) He won't but B.) If he does they still won't add up.