Can we get a charter review?

Council Member C.O. Bradford and HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson would like one.


Houston needs a Charter Review Commission to review, update and propose recommendations to the voters to modernize our charter, the structure and operations of city government, with specific attention paid to the budget process.

It might seem counterintuitive to call for appointment of a Charter Review Commission now, with municipal elections set for Nov. 5 and some faces likely to change on the City Council. We don’t think so. By appointing a Charter Review Commission in the next few weeks, the City Council can lift the process of improving and modernizing the operations of city government above politics.

A Charter Review Commission appointed now to make recommendations for the November 2014 ballot could not reasonably be perceived as an attack on any candidate currently seeking to serve as our city’s next mayor. The commission’s membership should be former city elected officials, academic and legal experts on Texas municipal governance, finance and infrastructure issues as well as local business leaders and entrepreneurs. No current elected city official or employee should be allowed to serve on the commission. The work of the commission should not be a political exercise.

As I’ve noted before, I’m pretty sure the next charter referendum cannot be until May of 2015, because two full years will not have passed between Election Day 2012 and Election Day 2014, but that’s a minor point. I’m happy to have the discussion – really, we should be having this same discussion at a national level, not that that will ever happen – though I don’t know how many of the suggested changes Bradford and Robinson include that I’d vote for. But sure, let’s talk about it, and if there’s enough support for this change or that, let’s vote on it. It’s our city, and just because we’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean we have to continue doing it that way.

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4 Responses to Can we get a charter review?

  1. Paul kubosh says:

    I agree with you. Lets talk about it.

  2. joshua ben bullard says:

    i know alot of these city council members want to think that they should have the same 4 year term as the president of the united states,however when it comes to the person thats in charge of the road in front of your house you better keep them a little closer to the vest,you can give them as many terms as you wish,but every two years keeps them grounded with the voters and engaged,we are fools to let local city council members have 4 year terms because i swear to god we will only see them every 3 and half years.

    keep council engaged with the voters by keeping 2 year terms.
    joshua ben bullard

  3. Carl Whitmarsh says:

    You know this whole term limits thing has always been rather odd to me…of course I have the distinction of living in an area once represented by an 11 term incumbent, who said he favored term limits and wanted one final term to help show folks how to implement them. Guess what? The voters did a pretty decent job of limiting the buttcrack by overwhelmingly defeating him…so we get to two year terms….and the question is, do we really want to subject the voters, candidates and officeholders to what amounts to ear round fundraising and campaigning at the expense of time and effort which could be spent on city issues..again, the voters have a pretty good idea when they vote who has been naughty and nice and on occasion, they have rewarded same with a sack of coal. theoretically I guess you would say that two years gives the voters a quicker say, but at what expense. When you are constantly raising and expending funds, the potential for bad deeds increases..and we have enough of that already.

    Lots to look at in this proposal, but I have to wonder why Carroll Robinson would be so worried about the City of Houston when he serves on the HCCS Board and should be tending to the business of that hell hole governing body. Could this be a way to kep the name out front in anticipation of a 2015 City race for Mayor or Controller….Carroll, your reputation precedes you my friend.

  4. joshua ben bullard says:

    council members run for office on the off time carl whitmarsh,not on city clock,also they are part time paid,not full time,are they going to get 4 year terms=no,theyll keep 2 year terms and i dont care how many terms they get=if they want four year terms=they need to run for president of the united states…

    how u like them apples carl????????????
    joshua ben bullard

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