King: New county judge takes on pay to play

Image Credit: Christopher Dombres, flickr (CC0 1.0)

by Bill King

I don’t know how incoming County Judge Lina Hidalgo will do for the balance of her term, but in my books she is off to one heck of a start by by refusing campaign contributions from County vendors and contractors.  She is the first elected official to  take on the endemic play-to-play that has so corrupted our local governments, .  [Click here for Houston Chronicle story.]  It will be fascinating to see if any other local elected officials have the moral courage to follow her lead.  I would not recommend holding your breath waiting on that to happen.

I have previously written about this problem at the City of Houston [Click here to read.]  My analysis of one council member’s contributions showed that the vast majority were raised from people who either do business with the City or are regulated by it.

We have been extensively researching other City campaign contributions and will be sharing the results of our research in the near future.  Most of you will be shocked to see the millions of dollars of campaign contributions from businesses which, in return, receive tens of millions of dollars from the City.  I think you will also be surprised to see how much comes from businesses that are directly regulated by the City, such as utilities, taxi cab companies and, yes, even sexually oriented businesses (SOBs).

In perhaps the height of hypocrisy in 2018, one of our City elected officials, who complained loudest about a sex robot business coming to town, had previously  taken thousands in campaign contributions from strip clubs and other SOBs.  For example:

I am certainly not naïve about how local governments operate.  I have owned several businesses which had government contracts and I have written my fair share of campaign checks.  But the pay-to-play at City Hall has escalated to a level today that is little more than a legalized extortion scheme.

I have been visiting with some legal experts and other concerned citizens about how to address the pay-to-play cesspool at City Hall and we think we have come up with a way to attack the problem.  We will be sharing more with you soon.  Stand by.

The article above is reprinted by permission of Bill King. Feel free to submit topical posts/essays/releases for our consideration to bloghouston@gmail.com. As with our usual blog posts, the views expressed are those of the author.