I have three things to say about this.
Houston voters can be forgiven if they feel a bit confused.
They voted down red-light cameras, but the cameras are on. They may have heard the mayor say that voting for a drainage fee would result in a typical $5 monthly bill that everyone should pay, but sample bills were much higher, and churches and schools got a pass.
Mayor Annise Parker’s critics lay the blame at her feet. It’s her mishandling of the twin propositions on last November’s ballot, they say, that has people doubting what they hear out of City Hall these days.
The mayor and her supporters counter that the mayor has spent much of this year trying to walk a fine line between honoring popular will and the rule of law.
Asked whether she still has voters’ trust through all of the fallout from the propositions, Parker said, “I hope so. That will, I guess, be demonstrated this November,” when she is up for re-election.
1. I continue to find it remarkable that the two biggest problem children for the Mayor were the two things that weren’t of her initiation. There are some things you just can’t control. For what it’s worth, I think Rebuild Houston will quiet down as an issue over time. The main points of contention, namely who pays and how much, are largely settled. All that’s left is to start collecting the fees and planning for the street and drainage repair. The red light camera issue won’t go away until the cameras themselves go away, either as the result of a settlement or the end of the contract in 2014.
2. The reason the Mayor is running hard for re-election is not because she’s worried about her 2011 opposition but about her potential 2013 opposition. She needs to clear the Lee Brown Line, wherever that may be.
3. It sure is easier to be a non-candidate for something than to be a candidate, isn’t it? Nobody’s ever going to ask Paul Bettencourt what his plan to mitigate flooding in Houston is, or why he doesn’t think we need one. He gets to sit on the sidelines and chat with reporters about how much more awesome he is than the Mayor because…well, I’m not exactly sure why reporters bother to call him, since he’s just some dude these days. If being a former county official who has an interest in city politics is the criteria, I’m sure Bob Eckels or Sylvia Garcia would be happy to discuss these matters, too. But they’re not unannounced, unofficial uncandidates for anything.