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.
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