Interview with Mayor Annise Parker

Mayor Annise Parker

Mayor Annise Parker

We are in the last few days of the administration of Mayor Annise Parker. Having served three terms each as Council member and Controller, she is finishing up eighteen years as an elected official in the city of Houston. I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to her one last time before she heads out into the private sector about her tenure as Mayor. What is she most proud of, what does she regret, what would she have done differently, what would her agenda be if she were still in office? There was much to talk about.

I hadn’t done one of these “exit interviews” before. I might have with then-Mayor Bill White, but by this time in his last term he was already a candidate for Governor and busy with a contested primary (for which I interviewed him) so there wasn’t much point. I’ll note here that Mayor Parker’s eighteen years in office is easily a record for the term limits era. With the change to two four-year terms, someone could beat her record by equaling her achievement of being elected to Council, Controller, and Mayor, and a Council member currently in his second term (e.g., Michael Kubosh or David Robinson) who could wind up with ten years on Council could match her by being elected either Controller or Mayor afterwards. I suspect it will be awhile before we see anything like that again, however.

The Chron did an exit interview chat with Mayor Parker, and there is some overlap with the questions she fielded there. She was able to give longer and more detailed answers in this interview, however:

Next week I will begin publishing interviews and judicial Q&As for contested Democratic primaries. You can see the races that are in scope on my 2016 Election page.

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12 Responses to Interview with Mayor Annise Parker

  1. Paul Kubosh says:

    Biggest failure Red Light Cameras. You are welcome. Good Luck in Harvard I hope you get a tenured position.

  2. Paul Kubosh says:

    at Harvard…..Sighhhhhh

  3. Joshua ben bullard says:

    Correction-the mayor was not full time at the city for 18 years,she served the city part time in her 6 years as a council member, she was fulltime for controller and mayor but part-time for council member

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Interesting that she considers the liberation of the CoH from the scourge of red light cameras a failure. I’d say it was an erstwhile success….while she did kick and drag, eventually, she did the right thing and let the voters have their say. The will of the people was done. That’s not failure.

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  6. Steve Houston says:

    There is a lot to say regarding her interview and I think Paul & company are just being kind when they say her biggest failure was the red light cameras but she falls into yet again when she blames pensions for city fiscal woes of her own making. If she “loves the city” as much as she claims, she’ll want to retire her hypocrite status by giving back her pension since she claims it is too generous.

    But looking at some of her failures:
    1) The continued expansion of TIRZ’s as a method of skirting the revenue cap.

    2) Her “all or nothing” approach to the (formerly) proposed criminal justice center.

    3) Her restoration and expansion of programs the year before scheduled cost increases.

    4) Her longstanding rhetoric of how HFD pension costs, stable for years at about $65 million, are breaking the bank of a $5.1 Billion dollar a year budget.

    5) Her willingness to increase retiree medical costs in excess of 300%, often forcing retirees off the program.

    6) The red light camera fiasco, including but not limited to how the contracts were written so favorably to the vendor.

    7) The HERO fiasco that she let slip through her hands.

    8) Her refusal of using the county crime lab when they had ample excess capacity in favor of building an all new scandal prone city lab.

    9) The cop body camera contract and policy fiasco.

    10) The continued corporate handouts to businesses shuffling existing employees as well as greatly expanding parks/green space in and around the city limits when funds are limited.

    11) The “rape kit” fiasco, including the curious method of adding in new cases to bolster the numbers, but doing so poor a job that state law was changed to require cities to test kits.

    There are many, many more…

  7. Julain Deleon says:

    No Mayor is perfect. Mayor Parker did a great job, really loved Houston — and it showed through her work.

    Red light cameras are a very old issue. Michael Kubosh seemed to blame Parker a lot, let’s see if he does the same thing with Turner.

  8. Steve,

    You forgot about Rebuild Houston.

    That was also created to avoid the revenue cap, it must be thrown out.

  9. Paul Kubosh says:

    One last thing. She did mention Mike Kubosh 3 times.

  10. Steve Houston says:

    Julain, I’m sure we could cobble together a shorter list of positive achievements.

    Joseph, barring court interference, I have mixed feelings regarding ReBuild Houston. Even left alone, I don’t think it works fast enough to achieve its goals. The problem with all the ways politicians have used to avoid the revenue cap has been the additional inefficiencies, all the petty bureaucracies wasting money and not concentrating on the bigger picture in favor of provincial interests.

    PK, it must warm Mike’s heart to know he had such a prominent place in Parker’s thoughts…lol.

  11. Paul kubosh says:

    It does… Maybe one day they will run against each other. Batman vs. Joker

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