HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Against the back drop of a now notorious scene of alleged racial discrimination, where blacks were treated differently than whites, victims and their lawyers announced an impending federal lawsuit made necessary, they say, because Houston has no local equal rights ordinance.
"People like me, Dan and Ken could have had a local tool to attack discrimination. That's what Proposition 1 represents," said Brandon Ball, a plaintiff in the discrimination suit.
"We can't have this kind of thing going on in Houston anywhere, for anyone," said Brian Tagtmeier, attorney for Ball and two others.
Those favoring passage of HERO hope this account of discrimination, in concert with a strong endorsement from the NAACP will generate strong African American support.
But the NAACP endorsement is now drawing heavy fire from some of its own members.
"I feel that I have been betrayed by leadership," said Loretta Brock, an NAACP member.
Brock says a May 28, 2014 letter to Mayor Annise Parker is proof the membership of Houston's NAACP voted to endorse HERO only if transgender access to the bathroom of their choice was removed from the law. The endorsement was to be finalized after the NAACP Executive Committee received an opinion letter from the City Attorney confirming the deletion.
"That this ordinance would not be used to protect men going into the women's bathroom," said Brock.
Brock and half dozen others contend acting NAACP president Dr. James Douglas has since defied the will of members by unilaterally and very publicly backing a version of HERO which includes transgender bathroom access.
"In my opinion what Dr. Douglas has done is specifically gone against what we the Houston chapter of the NAACP have approved. The voters should know that we did not approve this ordinance as it is written and appears on the ballot," said Brock.
Douglas tells Fox 26 he's done nothing wrong because the ordinance was in fact altered in a manner that was satisfactory to the organization.
Douglas also referred to Brock as an isolated critic within the civil rights group.