Houston is hot under the collar after election slam

HOUSTON, TX: Beleaguered Houston leaders struggled to hold their tongues while dodging slings and arrows during the presidential race, but now that the campaign is over, they are fighting back.

HOUSTON, TX: Beleaguered Houston leaders struggled to hold their tongues while dodging slings and arrows during the presidential race, but now that the campaign is over, they are fighting back.

HOUSTON, TX: Beleaguered Houston leaders struggled to hold their tongues while dodging slings and arrows during the presidential race, but now that the campaign is over, they are fighting back.

Democrats had painted a bleak picture of Texas while attacking George W. Bush's record as governor, frequently citing Houston as the most polluted city in the country.

The Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) took exception and, among other actions, is posting statistics and links on its Web site refuting the claims (www.houston.org). In fact, Riverside, CA led the nation last year in the number of days exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index, noted Marilou Schopper, the GHP's Communication VP. Houston ranked sixth behind Knoxville, TN. 'The people down here are angry,' she said.

Some residents criticized city leaders for not countering the Houston-bashing sooner. The day after the election, Mayor Lee Brown announced he would focus on image rehab during his annual goodwill missions to New York and Washington, DC in March. Both Republican and Democratic city council members questioned why Brown hadn't started earlier.

Houston didn't have the ad dollars or cache with reporters to compete with the politicos during the campaign, GHP president Jim Kollaer explained in a November newsletter that listed talking points for countering negative claims. City supporters still can't afford ads, but are waging a war of editorials and publicity.

'We are going to flash this as far and wide as we can,' said Schopper.



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