by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

Portland is a lovely city, but please. Houston may not be known, loved or respected by many, but we are the 4th largest city in the nation (Portland is merely 29th). Our metropolitan area is the 6th largest, with 5.7 million people. When Katrina hit New Orleans, we took in 150,000 refugees, about one third of Portland's entire population. Houston may not win many beauty prizes, but we are a MAJOR city, and any city with less than a million people should just acknowledge that and shut it.

This is important, because I don't think most people throughout the country know how powerful Annise Parker has become, and how excited gay rights activists should be about that. Houston has a very strong mayorship.

There is no deference to a city manager, or much opposition from council members. The city agenda is controlled 100% by the mayor. Annise Parker has an enormous platform to make her mark and show the country that a gay mayor can be successful and popular. And since she is now mayor of a relatively (compared to Portland) conservative and pro-business city, she can show that a gay politician can do a great job without causing anyone to be afraid of her ramming a liberal "agenda" down anyone's throats.

And though Texas remains very conservative - who knows? The demographics are changing in favor of democrats. Bill White, Annise Parker's predecessor, is running hard for governor against Perry and Hutchinson. He has something of a chance because of how well he did in Houston (and how much of a goofball Perry is). Who knows how far Annise Parker could rise?

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