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Hexit?

The Chron’s Ken Hoffman asks a burning question.

HoustonSeal

Just for fun, how would the vote go if Houstonians had a crack at “Hexit” – leaving Texas?

I don’t mean another “Brexit” – in which British voters elected to leave the European Union, but apparently many didn’t know what they were voting for or against or why.

There are plenty of reasons Houston might think, “You know, Texas, this relationship just isn’t working for me anymore. I mean, we can still be friends. We’ll still co-parent Sugar Land, but maybe we should go our separate ways.”

I was talking with some friends, including one who draws a government paycheck, and we wondered, “Could Houston go it alone?”

Texas needs Houston, that’s for sure. But the other way around? Are we getting out what we’re putting in?

[…]

No need to get into social issues, but Houston doesn’t look, vote, sound, cook or think like the rest of Texas. The top elected officials in Texas look like the board of directors of Bushwood Country Club in “Caddyshack.”

Houston’s city council looks like a casting call for “The Village People: The Movie.”

This is about Houston’s cultural might and economic power. “What if” and “could it” succeed independent from the rest of Texas?

One of my buddies, who knows a lot about transportation, said, “All those highway projects in West Texas and the Panhandle and other parts of Texas – they’re funded in part by state gas taxes. Where do you think that money comes from?”

So next time you’re stuck in traffic, about to blow your stack, burning gas going nowhere on Interstate 10, 610 Loop and the Southwest Freeway, remember that we’re paying for lonely, lightly traveled roads in other parts of Texas. That will calm you down.

Most of the rest is a paean to Houston and the ways that it ranks #1 as a city in Texas. Hoffman is a features writer, so when he says “just for fun” at the beginning of this piece, he means that. This isn’t a serious exploration of the idea, just a bit of blue-sky thinking with some jokes (the “Caddyshack” one cracked me up) thrown in. So take a deep breath and try to appreciate what he’s written for what it is.

That said, I will confess that I’ve had the same thought, and for the same reasons. Especially now with the Legislature hell-bent on meddling in local affairs, the idea of telling them to get bent, we’re out of here, has a deep appeal. Go back to “Caddyshack” and watch Ted Knight’s performance if you want an idea of what the reaction at the Capitol might be like to that.

However, this is a Serious Blog, so we must consider the reality of this, which gets pretty daunting right off the bat. Putting aside the legalities that I am not qualified to address – does the city even have the ability to do this? how exactly would we apply for statehood? – several practical issues jump out at me. Houston’s borders resemble a Mandelbrot set in their complexity. We overlap three counties. There are other, completely separate, municipalities that are entirely within our borders – do they have to come along for the ride, or would they represent “islands” of Texas within our new state? And not to put too fine a point on it, but there are parts of Houston that do look, vote, sound, cook, and think like the rest of Texas, and they may not be so hot for this idea. I’m sure at the first mention of the concept, Kingwood and Clear Lake would yell out that they never wanted to be part of Houston in the first place, and they want to stay right where they are in the Lone Star State.

I’m sure there are plenty more reasons why this would never get off the ground, but you get the drift. It’s a fun idea, but in the long run the way to go is to make Texas be more like Houston. The path to that destination isn’t any clearer, but at least we know it exists.

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15 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Would Clear Lake and Kingwood finally get a vote on whether to remain part of Houston? ‘Cause the last go round, they kinda got robbed. Also, will the blood money payments forced on the Woodlands finally be over? Maybe the Woodlands could hire a border patrol force to keep marauding Houstonians from entering their territory?

  2. voter_worker says:

    Several media giants had a field day hyping “Texit” a few weeks ago. I suspect these hypothetical separations, along with the UK-EU split, are so complex that they’re beyond the pay grade of anyone now living. The UK has had to change leadership to even initiate the process, and the end result is so ephemeral right now that nobody can predict with any assurance how it will all play out.

  3. It depends on how lazy houston city council is…

    5 lawyers, 2 former state reps, former ceo, doctor, etc and these idiots can’t put together basic non-partisan policies.

    City council is a glorified retirement home

  4. Steve Houston says:

    If the entire country were converted to a series of city states like Ancient Greece, such a move would make more sense but aren’t most big cities significantly different on most levels than the rural areas of the other states too? The needs and wants of the population differ in such settings while giving rise to those who pretend to care, those that prefer to do for themselves moving as far away from the typically left leaning big cities just as those wanting free stuff moving into places like Houston, Dallas, etc.

  5. voter_worker says:

    Steve Houston, that “free stuff” canard works both ways. Cliven Bundy is no city boy but he sure likes him some free grazing for his cattle on property that he doesn’t own. Rural folks sure do like to drive on roads paid for mostly by city people. And yeah, life was a bowl of cherries in ancient Greece, wasn’t it? Perpetual war between hyper-masculine male-dominated enclaves dependent on slave labor and ruled by gods even crazier than the ones we have now. Our current arrangement is far superior. Will it last forever? My favorite (not hoped for but what I fear is very likely) theory is that in the near future, artificial intelligence will subordinate or eliminate humans, and all our concerns will be, as they say, moot.

  6. Steve Houston says:

    Voter, don’t misunderstand me; I was not advocating such a system, merely pointing out that our current state of interdependence doesn’t work too well for the gadfly groups that think exiting gains any real benefit without consequence. Your diatribe about males aside, just like the anecdotal example of an individual who unlawfully tries to benefit from the rest of us, does not change the fact that people migrate toward freebies.

  7. voter_worker says:

    I’ve met a lot of people over the years in Houston and not one of them moved here to get freebies. If that’s anecdotal, so be it.

  8. Steve Houston says:

    Voter, that is anecdotal but keep in mind I never said all people that move one way or the other follow the tendency, merely that a lot do. Unfortunately, I have met a lot of people that moved here for the freebies, and many that have moved here for the opportunities, others looking for both (all a function of this region growing substantially for years).

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    @voter:

    You know why there aren’t hordes of homeless people in rural areas and in the more tony suburbs around town? No free stuff readily available for those folks. And for those who would be homeless, without the taxpayer supporting them, again, same thing. If there isn’t Section 8 or housing project housing available in an area, those leaches will gravitate to areas where those things are, which means larger cities.

    You put out the welcome mat for those seeking freebies, and they will come. The movie “Field of Dreams” comes to mind.

  10. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Mr. Daniels you have no idea of how life works, but you are entitled to your uninformed opinion, as the saying goes “opinions are like arses, everyone is entitled to one.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/the-hidden-homeless-families-in-the-suburbs/

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/education/the-hidden-homeless-families-in-the-suburbs/

    I have read your comments before and like always they are full of hate.

    Not all homeless people are leeches, but keep your warp mind thinking the way it does.

  11. Steve Houston says:

    “Neither”, just a clarification without taking sides but “rural”, “suburban” as discussed in your linked article and “big city” are three different things. Locally, one can live in the city of Houston (big city), a suburb like Pearland or Sugarland, or somewhere north of Conroe (rural) to see the differences.

  12. voter_worker says:

    @Steve. Harris County is unique with it’s vast unincorporated populated areas. Anywhere else in the US, this expanse of suburbia would be governed by incorporated municipalities such as the ones you named, Pearland and Sugar Land. The article linked by Neither illustrates how assisting families through both private and public efforts is preferable to letting them fall through the cracks. Back to the original topic, a city like Houston “exiting” is absurd at all levels, imho. A county, or group of counties would be slightly less absurd but I’m not a separatist and am fundamentally biased against the concept.

  13. Steve Houston says:

    Voter, I agree that exiting, either the city or the state, would be a crazy bad idea, those who ponder the benefits almost always downplaying the detriments in a big way. But we’ll just have to agree to disagree where the bulk of perks/benefits are for the homeless or poor because most such support systems in Texas sure seem to be centered in and immediately around the big cities, drawing rural types in as a result.

  14. Neither Here Nor There says:

    Big cities have those benefits because they tend to get federal grants, in a way you can say they practice the teachings of Jesus while the other areas talk about the teachings.

  15. GMcK says:

    If they can make the District of Columbia the 51st state, they can make Houston the 52nd. The Territory of Puerto Rico, despite being eligible and having actually voted to request admission, will never be allowed in, because they don’t speak the de-facto national language. I’m sure that NYC would be happy to secede from upstate New York and become the 53rd state, too. I say go for it!