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She showed me her manifesto, I had no reply

I got nothing.

A little light reading before bedtime

District E Councilman Mike Sullivan, until January by far the Council’s most conservative member, was so outflanked from the right by a Council newcomer Wednesday that he found himself uttering into his microphone: “I am not a communist.”

The energy company Entergy is proposing raising rates on 1,500 of his Kingwood constituents by about 13 percent. He championed the Council’s denial of Entergy’s request.

But when the item came up for discussion, District A Councilwoman Helena Brown announced she would vote against the denial. That is, she would support the rate increase.

“We need to support their rate increase because it is justified,” Brown said. She then continued:

I understand my colleague Sullivan expressed the concerns of his constituents in the Kingwood area. But I also understand the folks in Kingwood are conservatives. They do not believe in the regulation of rates of businesses. That’s communism. I will be standing in support of this business and the need that they have.

“Truthfully, I don’t think you have a clue what Kingwood believes in,” Sullivan shot back.

Sullivan explained that a study commissioned by a coalition of cities in Entergy’s service area concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support a rate increase.

“I am not a communist by voting for this rate denial,” Sullivan said.

As Dogbert says, sometimes no sarcastic remark seems adequate. The woman defies parody. If anyone reading this happens to bump into Toni Lawrence or Bruce Tatro, would you mind asking them just what it was they were thinking? Thanks.

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16 Comments

  1. [...] just leave it at that.”“They do not believe in the regulation of rates of businesses. That’s communism. I will be standing in support of this business and the need that they have.”“Why do [...]

  2. Eileen says:

    I can often conjure up some grudging respect for smart people who were born without the usual moral compass — “smart but evil” — at least their machinations can be interesting to watch. But this woman? She’s just dumb. Dumb and Selfish is never pretty to watch. Ugh.

  3. Eric Weinmann says:

    Keep in mind that Entergy is not on the ERCOT grid. Customers do not have the ability to select their provider. Entergy has complete vertical integration of the supply chain; They own the power plant, grid and then sell the electric to retail customers.

    Entergy supplies almost all of Louisiana’s electric. It’s not the “small company” with little elasticity than is implied.

  4. Paul Kubosh says:

    You know the problem is her delivery. The City has been deficit spending since 2004. The City will be bankrupt in 2014. There has to be drastic changes. When we are on world news becasue we declared bankruptcy what will you say then?

  5. Katy Anders says:

    Brown is sort of a nut.

    One day when I was down at City Hall, she was voting against the City’s allocation of federal housing dollars because “What about Greece? Has anyone thought about Greece?”

    The problem is not that she is a libertarian, it’s that she is entirely ineffective. She doesn’t have an effect on the outcome of these votes but sucks yup enormous amounts of time.

    And if she starts alienating Sullivan and other conservatives on the Council, she could find herself in a position similar to former Councilmember Jones on the left, where would-be allies are discouraging folks from voting for her.

  6. East Ender says:

    No Paul, God luv ya, but it isn’t her delivery. It is she is just out there. Way out in lah-lah land. Sorry. By the time her first term is up, she will be voted out. If there are certain principles or actions you would like to see carried out at the city council level, do you really continue to see her as being effective in getting any of the things you want accomplished? I don’t see how. She has not been able to effect a real change, or any change, and has become marginalized. Her antics have made a punch line out of many of the positions she tries to make or uphold. Oh and btw Katy Anders, she has long ago alienated Sullivan. Her COS put together a facebook page titled “Mike Sullivan is a sham” or something like that. Chris Moran has a story once on that. No, Helena will have her one term, she will accomplish nothing, and then be on her way. In the mean time, sorry Kubosh, even if I agreed whole-heartedly with all your positions, you put your money on the wrong horse with Helena Brown.

  7. Spring Branch says:

    Helena Brown is just plain nuts and needs to go.

  8. Joseph Houston says:

    Paul, the city is nowhere near bankrupt, its various revenue streams ample to cover all basic functions of city government and more. The problem is the continued spending on frills, secondary, and tertiary items that few outside of special interests want. As intelligent as you may be, you must not be reading the city budgets each year or watching city council meetings to see the weekly boondoggles passed on an emergency basis to satisfy one small group or another.

    Even on the pension issues facing Houston, the current liabilities are spread across a 30 year time horizon, the idea pressed by a handful of pundits that the city must write a check right now for every potential market swing in the next three decades laughable. The city can fix its problem quickly and any federal court, the source of all bankruptcy proceedings, would balk at the city filing based on current information, certain to deny any such petition given how much the city takes in. There are needed cuts, both to programs and handouts, but the core services and operational needs are well covered (and will be for the foreseeable future even if projected property values and tax revenues do not increase).

    As far as Brown is concerned, she often shows the attitude that comes from ignorance; a belief that due to some self-perceived moral imperative and high ground, that her stances are superior. Others on council have shown similar traits in the past including Tatro, Kelly, and various others that achieved little in their time on the government teat. Being a stand alone “no” vote gets you some attention but despite cries that the city is full of tea party enthusiasts, few are willing to accept cuts to anything they personally believe in, hence her unwillingness to compromise a far cry from her peers. Make no mistake about it, the others need to cut back on how often they agree to various projects but wholesale no votes will be dismissed unless they are brought forth intelligently.

    Sincerely, your pal invoking the Switzerland clause :)

  9. Paul Kubosh says:

    Joseph…did you read the report presented to the Mayor by that Committee. ( I can’t remember the committees official name) That report shows a deficit in 2014. If you have read it, do you think it is wrong?

  10. Joseph Houston says:

    Paul, read the minority report put out by the same committee’s members most intimately aware of city finances. If you look at the makeup of the entire committee, you have a lot of people selected for the specific purpose of pushing an agenda. That is why there was such a strong emphasis on pension related topics which comprise less than 10% of the city budget; it was the pre-programmed agenda, hence the fact that representatives of each of the three pensions were placed on it in lieu of financial experts in other fields.

    When the committee was formed, the mayor was pushing for various concessions from each employee union and pension, most of the six groups (3 unions and 3 pensions) readily giving in with something or other. Classified personnel gave up raises for years, the police even tossing their new hires to the curb with fifteen less days off in the future, previous concessions so bad that any of their people hired after 10/2004 have to stay longer for less benefits. The civilian employees were likely impacted in this manner. Her goal now is to push HFD into a similar pension arrangement, something that is not going to happen since they are already underpaid substantially compared to other major departments in the country. The “Long Range Financial Task Force” was just a smokescreen to continue attacking that pension and try to negotiate the others into losing their DROP benefit because according to the report, it seems that 80% or more of any future liability relating towards pensions is tied to already vested employees, not newcomers.

    The most likely scenario for the pensions is that they continue to outperform the market as they have most of the time over the last 30 years, making most of the projected liabilities a moot point. Picking a point immediately after one of the worst double market crashes in history to sound the alarm is a scare tactic that buys into the obvious agenda of the political wannabes out there like King and the financial crowd led by hedge fund owners and their bought & paid for academics trying to gain access to billions in retirement funds they can’t get now. What all of them forget is that there are no guarantees that a federal bankruptcy court judge will automatically cast aside employee contracts, a case for simply defaulting on bond debt easier to make (earned employee compensation is not typically the first thing cut, nor are such cuts as deep as those who gamble on bonds, of which the city has billions).

    And the legal solution is simple in all this too. Stop making foolish handouts, start paring programs that are strictly for the feel good crowd, and start making the tough decisions that were needed years ago. The majority of the solution is cutting expenses, not increasing fees as the city has done for years now (though Houston could join most every other city in implementing a garbage fee like you pay north of the city via your HOA, that would just hasten the recovery). Dump the TIRZ programs that spend on frills while other parts of the community go wanting, privatize the zoo and related park programs, get the city out of art funding schemes, and adjust fire & crime fighting priorities according to true voter priorities (just make sure they are given the facts instead of propaganda).

  11. paul kubosh says:

    O.k. I will read the minority report and get back with you.

  12. Jonathan Spears says:

    In person and in private circumstances, Helena is much better informed but she appears to be pandering to the LCD types that comprise her core constituency. She does not let her guard down in public situations very often and very few outside her inner circle have likely seen the real woman.

    Joseph, the citizens of Houston are currently on the hook for a lot of money due to promises made its employees. According to the mayor much of this is because of pension benefits. As a regular guy all I want to know is what is her plan to fix the situation before it gets worse. If workers leave in droves over benefit cuts, the new ones hired will get paid less and be under new mandates. How is that bad when it would save so much money?

  13. Paul Kubosh says:

    Johnathan, what is a LCD?

  14. Jonathan Spears says:

    LCD means least common denominator. She has other supporters, some of who support her potential rather than how she has fared to date, but I believe the game plan has always been to gather a loyal following that doesn’t pay too much attention to the world around them.

  15. Spring Branch says:

    She’s a crackpot, nothing more, nothing less.

  16. Joseph Houston says:

    Spring Branch, while I think Brown is a loose cannon and could speak ill of many things associated with her, name calling without substance (such as you’ve posted repeatedly) adds nothing to convince others of your assertions. The voters in Spring Branch voted her in and the rest of us have to live with her too; thanks a bunch.

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