Just days before the November 8th election, sitting HISD Trustee Manuel Rodriguez made the decision to send out a bigoted mail piece that attacked his opponent because he had supported LGBT rights.
Rodriguez highlighted his opponent’s support of LGBT rights and the fact that his opponent was openly gay as reasons for the voters of District III NOT to vote for him.
In addition to the mailer, Rodriguez conducted a television interview with a Spanish-language news channel where he posed the open-ended question of why a 50-something year old gay man would want “access to our children”.
The obvious gay-baiting and veiled homophobia fly in the face of a recently adopted nondiscrimination policy adopted by the Houston Independent School District which protects both students and faculty from harassment on grounds which include sexual orientation and gender identity.
After an outcry from the community and a call to action by several advocacy organizations, the Houston Chronicle took the rare step of retracting its endorsement of Rodriguez in the District III race.
The Chronicle stated that the mail piece was, ”obvious gay-bashing, of the kind that HISD rightly prohibits on the playground. It has no place on HISD’s board.”
Rodriguez said he didn’t see anything offensive in his ad; he defended it and continued to distribute it to voters on Election Day.
Manuel Rodriguez won re-election by 25 votes. The offensive mail piece was sent AFTER the 2-week period of Early Voting had concluded. On election day, after the controversy and the retraction of the Chronicle endorsement, Rodriguez’s opponent won the majority of votes.
Had the voters of District III known who the REAL Manuel Rodriguez was prior to early voting, it is our belief he would not have been re-elected.
It’s time for HISD to begin holding its elected officials to the same standards it now holds any school-yard bully to.
Manuel Rodriguez has no business making decisions that affect our children.