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More on that Rebuild Houston push poll

Remember that push poll on Rebuild Houston? The results are out and they’re pretty much what you’d expect.

A state district judge could decide this week whether to hold a trial on the validity of November’s election in which voters approved a new pay-as-you-go program for improving Houston’s drainage.

Opponents say voters were misled about Proposition 1, that they did not know how it would hit them in the wallet. The city attorney said that information was available in newspaper advertisements, media coverage, campaign mailers and on the city’s website.

The opponents also released a poll they say shows Houstonians would have rejected the drainage fee proposition had they known more about it.

[...]

“What has now been implemented by the city is not what the voters voted on,” former county tax assessor and drainage fee opponent Paul Bettencourt said. “If the public had known any word about a dollar sign in the referendum, it wouldn’t have passed.”

Opponents of the fee financed the poll of 502 people who voted in the November election.

Asked if they would have voted for Proposition 1 had they known the City Council would grant exemptions to certain institutions, leaving others to pay the entire assessment, 65 percent of respondents said no, according to the poll results.

“If the ballot language had some real meat in it like (top) rate and everything else, this issue would have gone down long before we had to split hairs on exemptions,” Bettencourt said.

The irony of this, of course, is that Bettencourt has been at the forefront of arguing that the churches should 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 make this an argument that Council should reconsider exempting the churches, which is something I never wanted them to do in the first place, go for it. As someone who was a respondent to this push poll and who seriously thought about answering No to that question even though I knew what the pollsters were doing with it, I don’t see how this advances their argument. It’s just more disinformation from people who just aren’t interested in dealing with Houston’s flooding issues. Hair Balls has more.

Oh, and by the way, Bettencourt’s lawsuit against the city was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment, meaning that it was such a meritless suit it wasn’t worth wasting anyone’s time on it. Good thing for Bettencourt this happened before the new loser pays law kicks in. Here’s a statement from Mayor Parker about the ruling:

“This is yet another frivolous lawsuit that has cost taxpayers money at a time when the City can least afford it.

Last fall’s ballot language clearly indicated that Prop 1 was an initiative aimed at fixing Houston’s drainage problem. I hope this ruling answers any lingering questions raised about the voters’ decision to implement this solution.”

Sensible people, yes. Losers like Paul Bettencourt, no.

UPDATE: Here’s the Chron story about the suit being dismissed. Expect an appeal to be filed shortly.

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6 Comments

  1. JJ says:

    Every time the Mayor is pissy with Bettancourt in press releases or conferences, it just encourages him. It is exactly what he wants. She also walks out of Council and hides in the back room when he comes to speak. Horrendous “leadership”. Bill White would have handled it far better.

  2. With all due respect, I don’t think the Mayor will discourage Bettencourt from filing frivolous lawsuits against the city by being nicer to him. He’s acting on his own agenda, as he always has.

  3. JJ says:

    You should look at how White handled him or ask someone who saw the White-Bettencourt interactions. Fleeing to the back room and being pissy in press releases is childish and weak and a sign of a mediocre leader. Bill White was none of those. And I am in no way saying “be nicer to him”, and would like to point out that such a mischaracterization does not lead me to believe that your introductory four words are very sincere.

  4. You said “Every time the Mayor is pissy with Bettancourt in press releases or conferences, it just encourages him.” I took that to mean that you thought she should be less pissy with him. What am I missing?

    When Mayor White was in office, so was Paul Bettencourt, and as Harris County Tax Assessor he wielded real power over the city. It was very much in Mayor White’s best interests to have a good working relationship with Bettencourt. Perhaps Mayor Parker should treat him more like Mayor White did even though he’s a private citizen now. My point is that doing so is not likely to prevent him or one of his cronies from filing these lawsuits in an attempt to undo an electoral result they don’t like. Bruce Hotze filed and lost four lawsuits over Mayor White’s rev cap proposition from 2005, using the same kind of arguments about the voters not knowing what they were voting for. Between these suits and the whole Metro “The referendum said Westpark!” BS, I’m more than a little tired of being disrespected by these guys, and so I don’t mind seeing some of that disrespect given right back to them.

  5. JJ says:

    I keep needing to remember what my momma used to say: when people show you who they are, believe them.

  6. JSC says:

    The Mayor should practice what she preaches: ‚ÄúThis is yet another frivolous lawsuit that has cost taxpayers money at a time when the City can least afford it.” Yet residents in the Heights and other areas in Houston are being forced into historic districts all while the Mayor insists on spending too much time and money ‘that has cost taxpayers money at a time when the City can least afford it’ on something the people do not want. Ultimately, this in turn will lead to ‘lawsuits that will cost taxpayers money at a time when the City can least afford it’.

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