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“Nobody likes a sore winner”

Mayor Parker’s updated drainage fee proposal, which would allow for exemptions to schools and churches, was introduced to City Council amid a torrent of whining from the pro-exemption forces.

Church and school leaders testified at a special council meeting that it still was not good enough.

For one thing, critics said, the exemptions cover only existing buildings. Future schools and churches would have to pay the drainage fee on any increase in impervious cover — such as roofs, parking lots or playgrounds.

In addition, religious leaders criticized the proposal for not exempting church schools and other private campuses.

Councilman C.O. Bradford also said that public schools chartered by the state — independent but publicly funded campuses not affiliated with Houston Independent School District — also deserved exemptions.

For Councilwoman Melissa Noriega, who said she has not decided whether she will support any exemptions when the ordinance reaches the council agenda Wednesday, the criticism of the mayor’s compromise proposal was a little too much.

“Nobody likes a sore winner,” Noriega said, “If someone says, ‘Yes,’ take yes for an answer.”

CM Noriega speaks for me. You want to see what a sore winner looks like, read their statement. I’ll say again, I understand why the Mayor did what she did here, but from where I sit if you extend a hand and it gets slapped away, the logical thing to do is to un-extend it and go back to what you had originally wanted. If these guys want to fight, I say let’s fight. And while we’re at it, let’s clarify once and for all whether these guys agree that flooding and drainage is an issue in Houston, and if so just what exactly they think we should do about it. I hate to break it to them, but the Magic Drainage Fairy doesn’t actually exist. In the real world, solutions cost money.

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7 Comments

  1. Al Clarke says:

    This has become an excellent example of how referendums should NOT be handled. Houstonians were convinced to support and vote for a small increase in drainage fees because it would be a “fair and equitable fee” based upon the size of one’s property and ability of water to run off (“hardening” of property would be considered). However, that was not written into the referendum at the time of the vote. In fact, there really was no written referendum for the public to review and pass judgement on. So, Houstonians voted in favor of the referendum and it narrowly passed. Now we have politics entering the fray and there are proposed exemptions after no exemptions were understood to be part of what Houstonians approved at the polls. Those who are seeking exemptions know the Mayor will back down because she already has, so they are pushing for greater exemptions – lifetime expemptions for future expansion and “hardening” of their properties. Churches and schools are usually large properties with lots of concrete and poor drainage – lacking retention ponds and water run-off collections areas.
    The taxpayers and voters of Houston are being “screwed” by the Mayor and our City Council. Perhps the efforts to undue this action in court need to succeed so this can be redone and done correctly.

  2. jerden says:

    The ONLY way the run off regulation shoud be enacted is if it requires the fee to also be paid by ALL existing and future schools and churches. I’m sorry, but God doesn’t divert the rain to have it fall everywhere except on church property and I know from experience that it comes down in buckets on school property as I got drenched walking from the front door of a school to my car. If everyone else has to pay it in their fair share, then let schools and churches pay a share commensurate with the run off they cause!

  3. Sayswho says:

    Anyone who voted for Prop 1 without an implementation ordinance is getting EXACLTY what you deserve.

  4. Al Clarke says:

    Sayswho, I agree with you. When voters support a Proposition that has yet to be written and do so on a promise then we are always destined to get screwed.

  5. [...] Mayor framed the point about future construction being subject to the fee. I still marvel at the arrogance of some of the churches, acting as if what they do makes no contribution to the problem. I suppose [...]

  6. Al Clarke says:

    Well it is official……………..those opposed to the drainage fee got their exemption nonetheless. I am not a fan of the legislation being pushed and promoted by Dan Patrick but I hope it is successful and everyone is required to pay the drainage fee. There were no exemptions approved by the voter so there should be done granted administratively “after the fact”. Maybe if Patrick’s bill prevents the implementation of the current proposition we can get this issue on the ballot with real language and make an informed decision this time, as opposed to passing a thought and not a proposal with specifics.

  7. [...] be made exempt from the drainage fee, but even after getting what they wanted he and his fellow sore winners are still working to undermine a valid election result by any means possible. Hey, if you want to [...]

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