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Can’t we all just get along?

I have a question about this.

Commissioner Steve Radack has already been heaped with praise from his colleagues for helping broker a deal with Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia and Houston Mayor Annise Parker that replaced an earlier proposal that would have drastically reduced the county’s share of that mobility money.

As the court voted to formally endorse the referendum, Radack got another few rounds of applause.

“I think that you, in representing us in this endeavor, have done a stellar job and I want to commend you for your leadership and your ability to bring about a positive resolution in what could have been a very negative situation,” said Commissioner Jack Cagle.

County Judge Ed Emmett joked that Radack should give an acceptance speech, to which Radack replied it might give him a “bounce,” the tired term reporters keep using when looking at polling data to determine whether the recent political conventions helped the presidential candidates.

Garcia, who spoke before the court in support of the ballot item, also praised Radack for working with him all through a weekend last month to hash out a deal.

“What really changed is when he said, ‘Gilbert, what does Metro really need?’ Not what does Metro want, what do we really need? We rolled up our sleeves and we really looked at it and there were two primary areas, which is to pay down the short-term debt that’s been building over the last couple years, and to expand the bus system and shelters,” Garcia said. “We found a great plan that… brings everyone together.”

Emmett said the situation is a good example of inter-governmental cooperation, noting that it was important for the court to be on record supporting the ballot item

Okay, so this heartwarming little episode demonstrates that it is possible for Steve Radack to not be a jerk and actually work with others in the public interest rather than his own. Is there any reason this can’t be the norm and not a once-in-a-blue-moon exception? All this praise of Radack sounds a lot like what we’d say to a kindergartner who finally learned to not hit his classmates as a first response to any stimulus. I realize that everyone has their own style and that some people succeed through combativeness rather than conciliation, but sheesh.

As for the referendum itself, it’s clear that everyone involved agrees on what is at stake.

Voters will decide on the distribution of the tax already received. If the measure fails, Emmett says the money would go back to Metro, and not to the county and the smaller cities.

Link via Houston Tomorrow, which is their reason for advocating a No vote. In the warm glow of Steve Radack’s cooperativeness, there’s no mention of what Plan B would be for the county and the other entities in the event the referendum fails and they lose their access to this funding, but we already know what’s likely to come in that case: Some new form of revenue sharing that will be called something other than the General Mobility Program, and very likely some meddling by the Legislature. These are some of the questions I’ll be exploring in my upcoming interviews.

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