Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mayoral Preview: TJ Huntley

TJ Huntley, the latest entrant into Houston's mayoral race, has a "business plan" for the city:
We will create a panel of telemarketers that will be trained and employed specifically for the purpose of attracting businesses. They will possess the necessary sales skills to ensure the largest possible business growth. In addition to his Business Growth Plan, TJ Huntley is creating a plan to aid the citizens of Houston in starting their own business. These two plans will work hand in hand to achieve short and long term economic growth.

I am sure that many Houstonians will find this appealing, but I am not one of them.

I certainly agree that attracting business is important for the city's long term economic growth. However, the most practical and moral means for doing so does not consist of marketing--it consists of promoting freedom.

Practically, I can only imagine the script that these telemarketers will use:
Good morning Mr. Gates. How is the weather in Seattle? I am calling today because your company is eligible for a special program being offered by the City of Houston. Because of the reputation of your company, we are prepared to offer seven years of tax rebates if you move your headquarters to Houston. We don't make such offers to everyone, and you should feel honored that we have placed your company has such an elite status. And if you sign up today, we will also give your company exclusive use of Discovery Green for an entire day.

I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt that telemarketing is going to be an effective means for attracting businesses to Houston.

Morally, such tactics are improper. Government's purpose is to protect our rights, not use annoying marketing methods to badger business owners to move their operations. Huntley is little different from the other mayoral candidates--he believes that city government should be actively engaged in the economy.

Regarding crime, Huntley offers a superficial solution similar to Peter Brown:
TJ Huntley plans to stop crime at the root by investing in our children and future generations. Various programs are offered throughout Houston that educate children about the dangers of crime and encourage them to live an appropriate lifestyle. Through support of these organizations we can help keep children and teens off our city streets and in safe habitable conditions.

According to Huntley, crime is essentially an educational issue--our crime rate will drop if we teach children that crime is dangerous. While I would agree that education should play a role in addressing crime, the nature of that education is considerably different. Rather than running vocational programs and "crime is dangerous" classes, government should be educating by example--if you violate the rights of others you will be punished. That is the only "lesson" that the city should be teaching.

Huntley's "me-tooing" goes beyond the economy and crime. He also wants to protect the planet and expand light rail. These positions are typical among Houston's politicians, and they are unprincipled pandering. He continues this trend when he writes about zoning:
We will work with real estate developers and encourage them to invest in these poorly constructed neighborhoods, giving the residents and their neighbors a better lifestyle.

When government "encourages" certain actions, it can only mean a carrot and stick approach. It means granting unearned benefits to some, punishing others, or both. It means using tax money to bribe individuals to act as government desires, prohibiting actions government dislikes, or both.

It would be easy to conclude that TJ Huntley offers nothing new in the mayor's race. But alas, that is not the case. His web site tell us that:
He is a strong advocate for pro-life, is passionately dedicated to the rights of the unborn, and believes that marriage should only take place between a man and a woman. Like our Founding Fathers, TJ does not support a state sanctioned or required religion but believes our nation can only achieve greatness under the hand of God.

While acknowledging that the mayor can have little, if any, impact on these issues, Huntley promises to "promote honorable morals". He makes it very clear that he would use the mayor's office to promote Christianity. He may dispute my claim, but if he seeks to make Houston great--which he does--and greatness can only be achieved "under the hand of God", his meaning is beyond question.

It is bad enough that Huntley promotes the same tired ideas as the other mayoral candidates. That he also wants to promote his religious beliefs puts him at the bottom of the list.


Rebeca said...

Honestly, the 1st part is all wrong. They way that I have heard the "telemarketers" explained that they will be ANSWERING calls more than making them. But hey, either way, if it gets more business into Houston and he fixes OUR economy, what does it matter?

As far as the rest of it, I think you are just looking for something to ramble about.

Also, I am a Christian. I may not be very active in my church but I WANT someone with those morals leading me. Not sure if any other candidates will pop up but so far this guy has my vote.

Brian Phillips said...

If the telemarketers will be answering calls, then they aren't telemarketers.

I completely disagree that anything that helps our economy is good. First, his plan won't do that. Second, any benefits will be short lived.

While I appreciate your comments, you haven't offered anything of substance that refutes my claims.

TJ might have morals, but they are evil and will lead to our destruction. If you wish to sacrifice your life, you are free to do so. But you have no right to force others to follow your lead. And that is what TJ proposes.

Anonymous said...

FWIW I am also a Christian, pro-life, and believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, as a Christian I believe that to force my beliefs on others is wrong: especially when I have to use the coercive hand of the government as the means to achieve those ends. Christians should work through their churches and families to teach Christianity peacefully and respectfully to the people of their community, if that is what they choose to do.

As for his specific plans for the city...those are not very "Christian" in my opinion either. Extorting money from the people through taxation, and then spending it on things that don't directly benefit them is STEALING. (Thou shalt not steal...remember?)

Jamie said...

What TJ believes in and plans to do is in no way "evil" Mr. Phillips. I do not agree with most of the things he promotes but as a personal friend of his, I can assure you he has no intentions of corrupting the city of Houston or the people in it. And as for you Mr. "Texas Conservative," TJ is NOT using the government to "force" his beliefs (Christianity) on others. He is simply telling everyone right off the bat that he is a Christian and that God will be guiding his decisions. So, if you have a problem with having God's opinion in running this city, than you might want to double check your life as a Christian. (That and mocking the bible... nice.) God gives us different talents to carry out His word. If TJ Huntley is suppose to be the next mayor of Houston then God put him there and who knows, He might want TJ to use his candidacy to spread the Word. Who are you to make rules as to where and when we (Christians) are allowed to teach others about Christ? We are to use every opportunity and every waking moment to be witnesses of the Lord and if TJ is mayor, I can guarantee you that will not stop while he is in office.

Brian Phillips said...


TJ has made it clear that he will promote Christianty as mayor. Government is an agent of force. How will he "promote" his religious beliefs if not through force--whether explicit or implied? He will be taking money from Christians, Jews, Muslims, and atheists to promote his views, even though those paying the bill may not agree.

As mayor, his sole responsibility would be to protect our rights. Instead, he proposes to force his religious beliefs down our throats.