January 04, 2005
Mayor White: Year One

Kristen Mack takes a look at Year One of Bill White's term as Mayor.

White can count several successes after a year in office, even as he faces a continuing tight budget, complaints from some City Council members that they're left out of decision making and the possibility of obstacles in Austin.

"Houston has had a great year," White said. "I'm proud of the role my administration played in that. We've started to change the culture at City Hall. There's a sense of confidence that it works."

City Controller Annise Parker also is completing her first year on the job, but she served three terms on the council and says she likes the new atmosphere.

"I think people inside and outside of City Hall feel like things are happening," she said. "There is a sense of optimism in the city, and there is an air of activity. It certainly has a different feel."


White succeeded Lee Brown, who could not seek re-election because of city term limits. Brown had successes three new sports facilities and a light rail system were completed on his watch but he struggled with partisan splits on City Council, failed to pass a drainage funding plan and was criticized for inattention to detail during his lame-duck third term.

I feel like one of White's biggest successes from last year has been a lack of major screwups. Whether by luck or design, road construction has gone pretty well. The next phase of the US 59 redesign, including the shutdown of the downtown spur started a month into White's term, and all the bad things people thought might happen have for the most part not happened. There wasn't anything he could do about this, but had it been the disaster that it might have been, it would have been a major distraction. Same thing with the completion of the light rail in time for the Super Bowl. Lucky? Sure, but you better believe it helped.

This is not in any way to sell short what White accomplished last year. As Bob Stein put it, he pushed the envelope and did very well at it. He tackled some very big problems and made headway on them, all without much dissension in the City Council. Agree with what he's done or not, you've got to respect the achievement.

I think this year will be more difficult for all the reasons Mack states, but I think White will remain popular overall and will continue to get most of what he wants to do done.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 04, 2005 to Local politics | TrackBack

If the worst thing people can say about our Mayor is that he decides on an issue, works through the process, and gets results without City Council, please give him a lifetime contract.

I want my City Council member to work hard and get results, and if that means being a cheerleader for the Mayor because in this system he has the power, then get your blommers on and here's your pom-poms.

The Red Dog is all about results and the bottom line. If the worst thing this guy did was make City Council feel less like local celebrities, that's pretty damn good.

I've noticed some CMs are more worried about working hard (CM Lawerence) than making headlines.

I say let City Council feel important this next year and have the election be all about who will support the Mayor more.

Posted by: Red Dog on January 4, 2005 10:34 AM

White's been effective and has steered clear of partisan bickering despite the various Republican councilpersons' attempts to draw him in. Truth is a lot of the city's GOP power brokers like the guy.

I wonder if the cameras monitoring stoplights and the Safe Clear program will knock the bloom off his rose with the public. It seems to me that neither of these is very popular. *shrugs*

Posted by: PDiddie on January 4, 2005 1:30 PM

I would love to see him as our future president!
This man is amazing! He takes pride in serving, and that is what makes him a wonderful and successful leader!

Posted by: GentleTexan on May 2, 2005 5:02 AM