UPDATED Houston Council Candidate Graci Garces Demands Apology Over Photo

garces.jpeg
OMG, a political candidate eats food -- don't vote for her!
Houston City Council District I candidate Graci Garces is calling for opponent Ben Mendez's apology after Mendez -- or someone with his campaign -- allegedly e-mail-blasted a photo of....um, Garces enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

"I was appalled that Ben Mendez and his campaign would distribute a photo of me that is intended to bully, harass and discriminate," Garces explained in her statement.

She continued: "The Mendez campaign crossed the line of decency and should be held accountable."

Hair Balls has to admit: We're a little confused by the whole thing. We're not sure what the Mendez campaign hoped to gain by distributing the photo, or if it was just someone's idea of a joke. What's the message of this photo? That Garces is not a size 2, and therefore is a freak of nature whose very existence must be documented and shared with the rest of the world?

We think Garces and her supporters -- some of whom have written their own open letter demanding an apology -- are raising too much of a stink over this, but that's politics. What bothers us most of all is the way Mendez's campaign is(n't) dealing with this.

We asked Mendez's campaign manager, Joaquin Martinez, about the photo Monday, and he claimed that this was the first he's heard of it. Strike one, dude. If it really was the first he's heard of something that one of his opponents is now turning into a campaign issue, then he needs to be let go and replaced by a more effective manager, like perhaps an orangutan or a block of wood. There is no reason Martinez shouldn't have had some canned statement at the ready.

Martinez said he'd get back to us, and of course he did not. Nor has Mendez returned our calls. But sometime between our brief conversation Monday afternoon and this morning, the contact number on the campaign's Web site changed. Strike two, dude. That's just freakin' stupid.

And here's strike three: The new number's voice mail doesn't identify the campaign or name any associated individual. It doesn't even state the actual phone number -- what it does is state the phone number as if it's an actual number, as in, "You have reached two-billion-eight-hundred nineteen million..."

We're guessing this is what happened at Team Mendez Monday night.

Martinez: Hey, Ben, some jackoff reporter asked about that photo. What should I tell him?

Mendez: (thinking long and hard before a luminescent bulb clicks on over his head) By Jove, I've got it! Don't call him back -- just change the number on our campaign site. And make sure it has a really fucking stupid outgoing message!

Martinez: Sir, how did you get to be so smart?

Mendez: By never eating, my son. By never eating.

Curtain.

Update: Martinez just sent us a response, which states, "Ben Mendez is running a positive, energized, grass-roots campaign based on the needs and concerns of the citizens of District I, and at no time indulges in or condones negative campaign tactics. In the face of competition, we're aware that campaigns sometimes present items in attempts to get traction in the news....[Mendez's] campaign staff and volunteers will continue to work hard to energize and engage the citizens [of] District I in discussions about ways to improve the overall quality of life in the community."

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30 comments
coferje
coferje

Evidentaly the word "racist" has lost it's punch.  The new replacement is "bully".

jaseo45
jaseo45

If she were comfortable in her own skin then this would be deflected by her and her handlers as a non issue. Obviously the image is not flattering, but neither were beyonce's "fierce" photos. Thin skin makes for a great tangerine, not politician.

matt
matt

Welcome to the world of social media.  When someone is running for City Council, you are in the public eye.  Non-issue. 

flaggler
flaggler

Great move Mendez, pulling the Chris Christie card. It's apparently a game changer or the big guy wouldn't have undergone lap band surgery. Kudos to a sharp campaign for paying attention and knowing what's important to voters in 'fat city'.

Robin Varner
Robin Varner

It is the Houston Press..hello....they report all kinds of stories..

PDiddie
PDiddie

That Marc Campos is stirring this turd tells you all you need to know about its newsworthiness. Everyone just please do yourselves a favor and ignore this "story".

observantguy
observantguy

I would think she'd be more upset with the photographer. Maybe she should take her fight to him and ask how / why  he released it. Oh, and BTW,  note to Graces: when you're public figure or aspirant thereto, anything is fair game. Maybe instead of whining like a bratty-poo, you should laugh it off and show some grace under pressure. People like that. As for HP. Obviously a slow news day guys. Not your best, not your best at all.

miss_msry
miss_msry

Why, she's eating. She obviously isn't ashamed to eat. So what's the problem.

Jerald Jason Aguilar
Jerald Jason Aguilar

why is this news? its hardly a story...ones actions and the other ones bad picture prove one thing...they are already both pretty shady

cagg1978
cagg1978

Wow, Houston Press.. really??

delrvich
delrvich

Well, their taking and posting of this photo is childish and doesn't reflect too kindly on Mendez but asking for an apology is almost as bad. I'd MAYBE turn it around into a quip and ask if there is a stalker in the Mendez campaign.

MommieDawn
MommieDawn

Wow...what people don't throw a fit over. Look...Mendez is doing something that we all do. Eat. It isn't a photoshopped photo. So she really can't moan about that. I mean, how many people saw her in the restaurant she was eating in? Should she demand an apology from all them because they may have thought something unpleasant about her from looking at her? Geez...Mendez needs to move on, maybe eat in private and then frisk anyone within an arm's reach for photography equipment. Ugh. People. 

BobbyG
BobbyG

isn't gluttony still one of the seven deadly sins?

fattynono
fattynono

a person who makes bad choices regarding something as important as their own health would also make bad choices regarding the health of the city.  

anonymoose
anonymoose

What does this photo have to do with Mr. Mendez, if he or someone in his camp did in fact take the photo? Sounds to me like Graci is insecure about her weight, and will use anything as a tactic to make her very formidable opponent look foolish. Take your hat out of the ring sweetheart. Hurt feelings have no place in the political arena.

Craigley
Craigley

The message is she eats with her hands.

katydidknot
katydidknot

This reminds me of the old LBJ story about him accusing his opponent of having relations with a pig. 

In this case, I guess Graces can choose between assuming that voters are smart enough to know when someone is resorting to silly tactics... or looking like she's whining. 


BigGirlPanties
BigGirlPanties

@anonymoose Insecurity is right! Who can trust this waste of time article or the accusations thrown at the Mendez campaign... Just a reminder that not everything on the internet is true, though I did read that Ben Mendez is a french model. Bonjour!!!

craig.malisow
craig.malisow

Hi BigGirlPanties -- could you please tell me which part you believe is not true? Thanks.

craig.malisow
craig.malisow

@BigGirlPanties OK -- if you think it's a dumb story, that's fine. I was just concerned about your suggestion that there were errors, that's all. Thank you.

BigGirlPanties
BigGirlPanties

@craig.malisow Don't understand why you would waste your time writing about what someone allegedly did and the fact that she's demanding for an apology. You elaborating on not being able to contact the Mendez campaign only makes the reader assume they had something to do with it. Who's to say that it wasn't a fan from her own campaign who ended up with a terrible shot? It does appear to be pretty close to her table, don't you think?????

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