Houston's rich diversity is seldom more apparent than it was in the La Griglia party room earlier this week when Chris Brown, chief deputy controller, officially launched his campaign for City Controller. Anglos, African-Americans, Hispanics, Southeast Asians, Chinese, Iranians and his first-generation American wife, Divya, the daughter of immigrants from India, gathered rainbow coalition style in support of his candidacy.
Ironically, Brown is a fourth-generation Houstonian. His name is familiar to politicos as he has worked in City Hall for 11 years, first as a City Council chief of staff and now in his current position in the controller's office.
"Houston continues to be strong economically, but faces fiscal challenges," Brown told the gathering. "As Controller, I won't sugarcoat or exaggerate. I will level with Houstonians about city finances and increase transparency at City Hall, and I will be vigilant in watching over their tax dollars."
Also in the highly-contested race are Bill Frazer, Houston Community College trustee Carroll Robinson and former City Councilman Jew Don Boney. Current city controller Ron Green is term limited.
Brown's candidacy attracted an impressive coterie of political veterans including Green, Scott Atlas, Michael Moore, Kenny Friedman, Jonathan Frels, Bob Collie and Mike Garver. Friends in the group included the candidate's campaign treasurer Jimmy Robertson and his wife, Carolyn. Chief supporter was former City Councilman Peter Brown, the candidate's father.
The turnout included a number familiar bold-face types, many from the city's young professional and next generation of leadership pool. Among them were Janae and Kenneth Tsai, Hasti Taghi, Claire Cormier Thielke and Rick Thielke, John Guess III, Kristy and Chris Bradshaw, Jared LeBlanc, Jason Arnoldy, Joshua Espinedo and Nathan Reddy, Julie and Ian Rosenberg, Rima Linville and Hooman Amiralai.