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And now we move forward with Prop B

No other option.

Mayor Sylvester Turner

Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday his administration is moving forward to implement the voter-approved charter amendment granting Houston firefighters equal pay to police of corresponding rank and seniority, though the city has not yet determined when firefighters will begin receiving increased paychecks or how the charter amendment will impact individual city departments.

Turner’s administration plans to lay off hundreds of city employees, including firefighters and police officers, to cover the cost of paying firefighters on par with police officers, a move city officials say will amount to a 29 percent raise costing the city upwards of $100 million annually.

The mayor said he did not know when the city would begin layoffs, but indicated to reporters Wednesday that it likely would take several months to put Proposition B into effect.

“I don’t want anybody to operate under the assumption that even as we move forward to the implementation that checks are going to start flowing in January,” Turner said. “It will take some time.”

[…]

Asked why the city is only now beginning to put Proposition B into effect, Turner said his administration did not take action while the temporary restraining order was in place from Nov. 30 until Tuesday. Proposition B passed Nov. 6 with 59 percent of the vote.

The fire union, meanwhile, has sought to negotiate a new contract with Turner that would allow the city to phase in Proposition B. Fire union president Marty Lancton has cast Turner’s refusal to return to the table as vindictive, and said after state District Judge Randy Wilson’s ruling Tuesday that the mayor could implement the amendment or “pick up the phone and call firefighters so we can work toward a solution that implements the will of the voters in the best possible way.”

Asked Wednesday about the union’s negotiation offer, Turner did not indicate he has was any closer to sitting down with the firefighters, saying that doing so would go against “what people wanted” when they approved Proposition B. The firefighters, who have contended that the police union’s lawsuit is aimed at circumventing the will of the voters, say it is possible to arrive at “a solution that implements the will of the voters in the best possible way.”

The mayor previously has said the city could not phase in Proposition B, and since has accused firefighters of attempting to confuse the issue by calling for negotiations while the lawsuits play out in the courts.

See here for the background. I don’t know what else there is to say at this point. It’s not clear what happens from here, but I’m pretty sure no one is going to like it.

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75 Comments

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    I was wondering if Bill’s second chair would butt in (that would be Steve), lay some cheese and one catches mice.

    You sound just like the people that believe only white people with property and pay taxes should vote. I have heard that argument all my life. Steve your racist and bigotry are making and appearance again. Didn’t you say that you did not have a racist bone in your body?

    Steve should we take away the vote from people that serve in the military and don’t have property in Houston, but lived here with their parents? How about women or men that stay at home to take care of the children? It is a very long list Steve, who do we take the vote away from? Do you have an idea when 18 years old were given the right to vote and why it may have happened? Do you care? Should we bring back slavery Steve? Should we take away veteran benefits especially if disabled during service, Steve? You are an evil person Steve and you fit perfectly in the Republican Party.

    Bill you had acted as a decent human being for a while, but your racist and bigot being appeared again.

    Bill why not actually go to streets in Sunnyside and look at the tax rolls, rather than just googling something.

    Let me restate you are a racist and bigot and will use all types of ignorant information push your hate of people of color. Steve does it more eloquently than you do.

  2. Steve Houston says:

    Manny, your charm speaks for itself. The spin you apply to what I said is exactly what readers here have come to expect but for the record, I never advocated taking away anyone’s right to vote. Quite the contrary, I merely suggested that those voting should have a direct stake in what they are imposing on the rest of us, a reasonable proposition that has nothing to do with race, disabilities, or service to one’s country. How that “sounds just like the people that believe only white people with property and pay taxes should vote”, is a mystery only you can explain but I favor everyone that can legally vote do so. That you so easily invent a cause to wring your hands over and then apply it to someone who said no such thing is just part of your charm I suppose.

    Was all that you invented just a means to spin away how much you pay in property taxes? Whatever the amount is, I’m sure you believe that paying for services in the past does not entitle you to keep getting a free ride. I’ll let you and Bill argue about that point while I go finish some seasonal shopping, I do not profess to be more or less eloquent than anyone here but thanks (I think).

    PS: I’m all for people earning citizenship by means of a career in the military.

  3. Ross says:

    Jose, I would be perfectly willing to tell an EMT or firefighter that I think their union is a disgusting pile of crap that misled voters into giving away money. If that affects how the staff does their job, then I will do my best to get them fired for not performing up to standard. They get paid to do a job. If they don’t like the attitude of taxpayers that disagree with the unearned raise they will get, they need to find another line of work.

  4. Jules says:

    Steve, you are far from eloquent, you contradict yourself at every turn. You don’t want to take away anyone’s right to vote except those over 65? Terrible.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve, you are lying as you normally do, you want to take rights away, that is exactly what you said. Only people that have a stake should vote. Almost all those groups I mentioned would not be allowed to vote based on what you wrote. Just come out and say it, old people, young people, people of color should not be allowed to vote unless they meet Steve’s have a stake, by stake that you are paying taxes on that.

    I expose people like you that twists words around and least Bill is honest about what he states. He is a better person than you are and probably will ever be.

  6. Jules says:

    And don’t forget the war widows, who pay no property taxes at all.

  7. Steve Houston says:

    Ross, good point.

    Jules, you are as full of **** as a Christmas goose and you know it. Nowhere did I contradict myself, I merely believe that changes need to be made to the system. Some of those changes involve fixing how commercial properties are valued and other changes are that everyone who owns property should be paying something to each taxing entity. That both you and Manny would automatically jump the gun to take away voting rights or think someone else would, speaks volumes as to where your minds are at.

    Manny, that is not what I said so if this is your reason for “exposing”, please go back in the closet and learn to read. We’re talking about wide-scale property tax exemptions here, not property ownership. If those war widows or disabled happen to be renting an apartment, they are paying property tax via their rent, if they are “young” (whatever you mean by that), they are paying through rent, through their families home they stay in, or what have you. I have no idea how you brought race into the discussion since all of that applies to people in general, race not a factor but as you’ve long had a chip on your shoulder about imagined slights, I’ll chalk it up to just who you are.

    But I’m sure Bill is a fine gentleman and honest, he might want to copy that comment given your normal rants toward him. That he made you squirm because you pay no city or county property taxes was funny, I doubt you pay much in any property tax given the way you are so ready to tax others more to pay for things you want done but again, the specifics are not important. Twist that as you see fit, you always do after all, but every time you exempt someone from a tax, it means the rest of society has to pay the difference and many are getting sick enough of that proposition that they elected Trump. If that is what you want in your advancing years, someone to complain about, have at it.

    Enjoy some Christmas spirit everyone, the grinches have spoken and will undoubtedly return as this is all they have…lol

  8. Jules says:

    Steve, it’s not my fault you write paragraph after incomprehensible paragraph. And then have to write more paragraphs trying to explain what you meant.

  9. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve you are are either very stupid and don’t know what you write or you are the second best liar in the United States after Trump.

    If one is means tested in order to vote a very large number of the group that I stated would not be allowed to vote. Like I said you want to go back to the plantation mentality where only white male property owners could vote. You are evil, you would prohibit a soldier fighting for this country how considers Houston home but does not own a home here the ability to vote for his home town.

    Steve you are evil, you would prohibit a disabled vet who has numerous exemptions from voting because he does not pay property taxes because of the exemptions.

    Like I said Steve you want to go back to the plantation mentality.

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    How much have you lost in the last few weeks in the market Steve, you too Bill, how is your president doing? It took Obama eight years to build a strong economy and Trump has ruined it in less than two years. You two make a good Laurel and Hardy.

    Why do you two hate old people so much?

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    Ross,

    Oops. Yes, I agree, you are right. I intimated that most all of those areas were senior owned properties, and of course that’s not correct. I’m sure a significant portion of those areas are owned by pinche gueros, abuelas and T. Jones’ who are over 65, but correct, not all, and probably not even half.

    Manny,

    I really don’t understand why you think Steve and I are chomping at the bit to disenfranchise people who don’t pay CoH property tax. I didn’t say that, and Steve didn’t say that, so……your fertile imagination running wild again?

    As to the market, your anti-Trump heros are really working overtime to sink him. Look at the Fed. 8 years of Obama? What? One or two interest rate bumps? This is fine. Trump? Every time I change underwear it seems like the Fed is bumping interest rates, trying to sink the Trump economy. Trump is ending the Syrian War and beginning the end of the Afghan War, and your globalist leaders just can’t stand it. It’s just killing them, pun intended. So here we are. They will do whatever they have to in order to separate Trump from his base, and if they have to wreck the stock market, so be it. (Pro tip: won’t work.) The GDP, unemployment, and other metrics are still very strong, so there’s no reason for the stock market to sink, other than a market correction, which the Fed and others are trying to intensify.

    And finally, Manny, I don’t hate old people. I hope to be one one day!

    Feliz Navidad, Manny. Merry Christmas, all.

  12. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules,

    Steve has a very clear and simple point. Every time you give a break to one group, everyone else carrying the load has to work harder. Doesn’t matter if that is war widows, seniors, or any other group. Eventually the folks carrying the whole load are going to either revolt or die. Did you never read Animal Farm? The draft horse ended up working himself to death because other animals got a free ride.

    For what it’s worth, I voted against the war widows. They already get a payout from Uncle Sam, and a lifetime tax exemption is too much. I can’t remember now, but I think if they got remarried, they lost the exemption, which gave them a terrible incentive NOT to remarry. Had the exemption been for a set time, say 2 or 3 years, maybe. 5 years? Maybe. Lifetime? No.

  13. Manny Barrera says:

    Well Bill I hope you live long enough to be an old person, over 65, so you can enjoy all those deductions. But you also get the aches and pains that come with old age.

    Feliz Navidad.

    Bill as to your response, tax the very rich more, they should be happy to pay as they have more to lose when the country fails.

    Guess who is losing money in the stock market? Think of it this way they count 19 Republicans in the Senate that may be ready to vote to impeach Trump. You know why? Of course you don’t, so I will tell you. The base may love Trump but they don’t pay the bills.

  14. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill in response to “my fertile imagination”, if you state that since I don’t pay City property taxes I should not be advocating one way or another, what exactly are you saying? Steve said “Mean Tested” you and him said the same thing in different ways, if you don’t pay taxes don’t advocate and should not be allowed to vote.

    Acting like you are stupid does not do you justice. Like Trump proudly stated he will own it, the shut down.

  15. Jules says:

    No, Steve is not clear in what he says. At the bottom of page 1 of the comments, he says “You are correct though, it’s always easier for someone to support a measure they benefit from but won’t have to pay for and that should change.” He does not say how it should change, at least 2 people interpreted this as curtailing voting.

    In his first comment on page 2 he says he was merely suggesting that those voting have a direct stake in what they are imposing on the rest of us. This sounds like curtailing voting, not having everyone pay taxes on everything.

    It’s not until his last post that he says eveyone that owns property should be paying something to each taxing entity. Which may have been his point all along, but it was neither clear or simple. And I disagree with that too.

    And I disagree with a means test for those over 65 to get exemptions. It’s a property tax, not an income tax.

    I am not surprised that Bill voted against the war widows.

  16. David Fagan says:

    Hey Steve Houston! Who are you calling “old timers” when you claim you are too old to make the sacrifices to become even a volunteer fire fighter in your given area?

  17. Steve Houston says:

    “Guess who is losing money in the stock market?”
    Ans: People that have not listened to the experts like Warren Buffet, the man pointing out market volatility and corrections for awhile now. Those that try to time the markets were likely the biggest losers, those who stayed put with good stocks will do fine over time.

    Bill, we’ve seen Manny go from hating on hispanics that weren’t hispanic enough for him, his promises to sweep them out of office as laughable then as they would be today. Then Manny started his hatred toward local gays, long before his opposition to the HERO ordinance where he couldn’t come up with a single example of a transgender or even a guy identifying as a woman then attacking a biological woman in a public bathroom. Throughout it all, he continued to throw the label of racist at anyone who dared disagree with him (and still seems to favor the silencing tactic over substance) and of course there’s his hatred of the GOP. Given his past of hate politics, it’s easy to roll your eyes at the conclusions he draws out of thin air, Jules joining him on this latest escapade.

    At any time, Jules could have asked what specific changes I advocated. Instead, he projected his own despite a complete lack of anything supportive in that regard. He and Manny attacked the term “means test” despite my explanation that not all seniors are destitute and eating cat food to survive, so why should some River Oaks multimillionaire/billionaire get a free ride from paying taxes that pay for core city services? I’d add that a lot of those “war widows” remain widows on paper only, having what amounts to common law husbands, because they are also gaming the system; once they formally remarry, they lose the exemption.

    It’s okay to disagree with one another. I advocate reform’s that include fixing how commercial property is treated, how exemptions are handled, and how funds are prioritized. As long as the state is going to tie such a large percentage of budgets (city, county, state, etc.) to property taxes, there should be discussions on these things. Frozen property values, often complete exemptions from paying for desired services, and then the usual clueless mantra of “tax the rich guys to pay for everything”, just lead to class wars. If you are such a big supporter of Prop B, dig into your pocket Manny by rejecting those massive exemptions you get in order to help the city pay for it, the same if you want better schools in the hood.

    David: There’s a difference between a working “old timer” that runs into burning buildings, and someone who is too old to qualify to do such. If you are otherwise advocating HFD start switching to a volunteer system, or at least including a large supplemental force of volunteers to cover the possible forthcoming personnel losses, I still have my doubts as to how effective that would be. Friends in the county suggest it is the best way to go financially and their volunteers save a great many lives but I doubt the free riders would join to help and those of us who pay for your services on their behalf really do need to put time in at work while paying all our taxes. Best of luck in the new year no matter what happens.

  18. Jules says:

    Houses in River Oaks are valued at less than $200,000, who knew?

    The means test for property tax exemptions is dumb, is this just for seniors or all exemptions? I don’t think you needed to explain that not all seniors eat cat food, I would imagine that most do not. Maybe when you turn 65 you will develope a taste for meow mix. If so, you can write a long para about it!

    I would guess that 100% of the war widows would appreciate you and the government butting out of their bedrooms.

  19. Steve Houston says:

    Jules, you argue in favor of exemptions so why not expand your willingness to exempt a group based not on wealth but out of the feel good nature of your belief? You didn’t address whether the specific amounts currently exempted were enough for your taste in generosity so I interjected an example, much like you completely made up your claim I was trying to stifle voting.

    A means test for exemptions makes sense because it would allow for us to differentiate between those in true need and those doing just fine, the same applying to other exemptions you so casually approve of while denying those poor firefighters their due…lol

  20. Jules says:

    I did not make up a claim, I reached a reasonable conclusion based on what you wrote. I was not the only one who didn’t understand you.

    Means tested exemptions would require some sort of proof, federal tax forms for example. Should everyone have to make their tax forms public or do we remove transparency from property taxes? I am against making the system more confusing, expensive, intrusive and/or less transparent.

    Sure let’s reform commercial property taxes and stop giving out corporate tax breaks.

    Steve, Props on just 2 relatively short paragraphs.

  21. David Fagan says:

    Well, to me, Steve, it doesn’t look like you know what you’re talking about. Just because you can measure the distance to the moon and you can say ‘it’s a long way over there’ doesn’t mean you know anything else about it. If you want to know something about the moon, guess you should ask someone who has been there, otherwise you can accept anything as true and not even know it. You should go volunteer for a fire department.

  22. Steve Houston says:

    David, that’s just it; your expertise in fighting fires does not translate into expertise in municipal finance. You can tell me all day long which apparatus works best for which scenario, how many men are optimal for a given situation, or whether the 70% of communities in the country that rely on volunteers over a fully paid force meet your standard of approval but you can’t manage to convince voters to pony up the money needed to give you everything you want. If you could have, PROP B would have mentioned the cost and provided a funding device. My knowing which size hose to use to put out different kinds of fires isn’t going to be of assistance for that.

    Jules, of course you made up the claim. If you wanted to know more details, you could have asked instead of interjecting some dark motive, Manny’s ability to do that has been demonstrated for years on this website. If someone wants an exemption, expecting them to provide documentation to prove their claim is not much to ask given the rest of us are going to have to pick up their tab for all the services they want and in some cases, are very vocally demanding while refusing to pay for them.

  23. Jules says:

    Lol Steve, I bet you spend a lot of time whining that people “made up the claim” with your incomprehensible writing and unworkable ideas.

  24. David Fagan says:

    Steve, I think, after all the times reading and responding to you, that the one thing we have agreed on is that when it comes to counting, you are as good as it gets, when it comes to fire departments, volunteer or paid, your conclusions are speculative and you have no experience and are unwilling to gain any, which makes your comments made without you knowing what you are talking about. So, that’s fine.

  25. Steve Houston says:

    David, whatever speculation I engage in with regard to city of Houston fire department operations remains rooted in the costs. Of that I fully admit. To hear some of you, there is no possible way that a single firefighter can be laid off or not replaced upon retirement without the entire city being engulfed in a giant ball of fire (apologies in advance for the exaggeration). To hear other proponents of Prop B, massive numbers are leaving for greener pastures already, leaving the city at tremendous risk. Some of us have scoffed at these embellishments just as we did when the cops started demanding an additional 1500-2000 officers but were unable to tell us where the manpower would be used. So yes, when I visit a station and see employees sleeping or I eat out and see a bunch of cops parked out back during peak hours, I have reasonable doubts about the scare tactics y’all so freely use to get what you want.

    Jules, given only two of you have made that claim, not really..

    Everyone have a safe New Years, I’m off and going to enjoy myself.