Welcome to the “long day of flying” edition of news and views:
- City of Houston ethics plan would restrict outside employment, tighten lobbyist rules (Steve Miller, Texas Watchdog)
In the midst of cuts to balance the city budget, massive water-rate increases, and cheerleading for a massive drainage tax, of course Houston’s pols support a minor enhancement of the city’s ethics policies. It’s a happy, feel-good move for the pols that probably won’t affect The Houston Way one bit.
- Houston Prop 1 Funding – An Engineers Money Grab Dream (Big Jolly Politics)
- Harris County tax rate stays the same (Chris Moran, Houston Chronicle)
- DNA lab would cost at least $4.8 million (Chron Houston Politics)
- The Bill White story the Chronicle doesn’t want you to read (Unca Darrell)
- Bill White, Houston Police, and Sanctuary Cities (Perry vs World)
- White praised for Katrina, but left headaches (Jay Root, AP)
White generally gets praise for reforming the city’s lavish pension system, which threatened to sink Houston in a sea of red ink after White took office in 2004. In part, White used controversial financial maneuvers in the reforms — essentially using new debt to pay for old debt — that Parker opposed and has since quit doing.
The bolded part is the only real misstep in an otherwise solid review of White’s record as mayor (that, inexplicably, comes a week and a half into early voting). As BH readers know, Mayor White talked of making some tough choices to deal with the city’s massive unfunded pension liability… before ultimately punting the problem down the road, as we’ve noted recently and the Baker Institute blog has pointed out.
UPDATE (10/28/2010): That’s not the only misstep. The story refers to METRO’s $40 million dollar contract with a Spanish vendor that violated federal law. The contract was a $330 million dollar contract. Again, if journos started reviewing White’s record a little sooner (than the end of early voting), there might be time for better fact-checking.
- In final week, Perry and White parry over two pivotal issues (Joe Holley, Houston Chronicle)
“The polls have been steady for three months or so,” Jillson said, “which suggests that White has made his best case and 45 percent of Texas are impressed with it. But it takes 50 percent-plus-one.”
As Perry vs World and a commenter explain, that is one strange sentence the Chron’s reporter chose to include.
- Miles asked to leave polling place (Chron Houston Politics)
At least he didn’t plant an unwanted smooch on the lips of anyone at the polling place.
- Two suspects blamed for 150 burglaries (KTRK-13 News)
Houston police have arrested two suspects believed responsible for committing up to 150 home burglaries in the Montrose area during the past year. One suspect apparently drank orange juice and pickle juice from the refrigerator in one victim’s home.
It’s nice that these guys were finally caught. It’s not so nice, on the other hand, that it took a year to catch two guys committing roughly a dozen home burglaries per month in the same neighborhood.