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Houston School Breaks Law by Promoting Trustee Candidate

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Gretchen Himsl is a local Houston area resident running for HISD Trustee District 1. HoustonISD Trustees set the policy guidelines for HoustonISD schools and serve four year terms. HISD Trustee District 1 is currently occupied by Anna Eastman.

Himsl graduated from Beloit College. She has been a Houston area resident since 2002 and has had two children attend HISD schools. Gretchen is currently a policy analyst for children at risk. Gretchen was also the former PTA president at Travis Elementary School in Houston, Texas.

This morning a source informed Truth Against The Machine there was an election sign in the window of a Travis Elementary classroom. The source also informed Truth Against the Machine that the was sign (and possibly still is) facing the part of campus where the PTO had it’s fall festival and fundraiser over the weekend of October 27-29, 2017. Travis Elementary School is located at 3311 Beauchamp St, Houston, Tx 77009.

This is a Election Code violation, Education Code violation, and HISD policy violation.

Seen at Travis Elementary School
Seen at Travis Elementary School

Truth Against The Machine reached out to Himsl for comment. Himsl stated she was not aware that the sign was there and the sign was placed there by a supporter, she would like to see the sign removed, she supports the enforcement of election rules, and that she is currently not involved with the Travis Elementary School PTA, nor does she currently have children in attendance at the school. Himsl apologized for the placement of the sign and thanked Trust Against The Machine for bringing it to her attention.

This is not the first time Himsl’s campaign broke campaign law. On Sept. 12, a Himsl campaign sign was on Hike and Bike trail off 7th and Harvard before being taken down. A week later, the another sign popped up in the same area. On October 21, there was another sign on Arlington and Hike and Bike trail. It is not clear if Himsl knew of these incidents or not, however, it is a pattern that is difficult to ignore.

[UPDATED Oct. 31, 2017] Comment from Himsl’s campaign:

 

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1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Collin, thank you for writing this article. As the sign delivery guy for the campaign (and the candidate’s husband — it’s a small campaign), I thought I would provide some additional information in case it is helpful to your readers.

    With regards to the big sign shown in the photo (and the small sign that replaced it), our intent was to place it on the private property of a supporter on Harvard St. whose property abuts the hike and bike trail. We apparently misjudged where the supporter’s property ends and the city’s easement begins (we went by the mow line). As a result, they were rightfully taken down.

    With regards to a sign on the bike trail and Arlington St., I can tell you I have delivered signs to supporters on Arlington, but none near the bike trail. It is possible a supporter took a sign home from one of our events and erroneously placed it in a city right-of-way. We obviously cannot control that behavior, but if that happened, we support that sign being taken down.

    As an aside, in my experience it is not uncommon for enthusiastic supporters–who do not know election law–to place signs where they think they will be more visible, which can result in signs being inappropriately placed in public rights-of-way. When this happens, we support those signs being taken down.

    Thank you again for your reporting, and please don’t hesitate to reach out again if we can provide information or assistance in the future.

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