It’s a matter of trust

This is a long story that recaps what incoming Mayor John Whitmire promised to do as Mayor, with a bit of analysis about how and when he might try to do them. It’s a good review for anyone who slept through this past year, and while there are things one might quibble about, I’m not here to do that. The election is over, Mayor-elect Whitmire won, and he has earned the right to do the things he said he was going to do. I wish him well and hope he is successful at them, as that would be good for Houston. There will be plenty of time to argue over the details of the various implementations as they come up.

All that said, there is one thing I cannot let go:

Sen. John Whitmire

Houston’s relationship with the state government in Austin is icy, to say the least.

Turner routinely criticizes Gov. Greg Abbott and the Republican controlled state Legislature over policies that many say target the state’s largest city and its largest source of Democratic votes.

City and Texas leaders have clashed on the recent state takeover of Houston Independent School District, the passage of the “Death Star” law and the passage of a law abolishing Harris County’s Elections Administrator position.

On the campaign trail, Whitmire routinely promised to improve relations between the city and the state, arguing the current vitriol is bad for Houston residents.

Whitmire frequently points to his experience as the longest-serving member in the Legislature as evidence of his bipartisan bonafides. He said he would “use my experience and contacts for all of Houston.”

Since his election, Whitmire has exchanged texts with Abbott and had a conversation with Abbott’s chief of staff, he said.

“They’re ready to sit down and see how they can assist Houston,” Whitmire said. “From Day One, there is going to be much better cooperation between the state and the city, and Houston will benefit.”

I do not believe this. Not for one minute.

Oh, I believe that Whitmire has texted Abbott and his chief of staff, and I believe that they told him that they were ready to work with him. I believe that Whitmire believes them. I don’t understand why he believes that.

I’ve covered this before, and I stand by what I said. There is no incentive for Greg Abbott to change what he says or does about cities in general and Houston in particular. Republican primary voters, who are the only people Abbott cares about, hate cities and think we’re crime-infested vermin holes that should be taken over by the state. Greg Abbott has no incentive to change how he talks about or acts toward the city of Houston, regardless of his existing relationship with John Whitmire.

In a universe of infinite possibilities anything can happen. Maybe Abbott has some undisclosed reservoir of good will towards Whitmire that he’d be willing to extend to his administration. Maybe Abbott recognizes that hatred for a huge part of the state and its economy is a long-term loser for himself and the state of Texas. Maybe Whitmire engineered a pod person takeover of Abbott, the truth of which will be slowly revealed to us all in the coming year.

I dunno. What I do know is that it’s one thing for John Whitmire to ask me, and all of us, to trust him. It’s another thing entirely to ask us to trust Greg Abbott. I cannot, I will not, and I’m not happy that I was asked.

One can certainly argue that the battle between cities and the state government has been bad for the cities. I would agree with that premise. I would also point out that the cities didn’t start this fight, and that under the beliefs that the Republican Party that Greg Abbott came up in, local governments were revered for being closest to the voters and thus given wide latitude for responding to their will. We could also argue about how much of a virtue that was, but the point is that as soon as those local voters started doing things that Greg Abbott and his buddies didn’t like, those old rules went right out the window. What we have now is the result. That’s worked pretty well for Abbott so far. And so I ask again: Why should we believe him when he says he’ll act differently now that John Whitmire is the Mayor of Houston? Why does John Whitmire believe him?

Like I said, I could be wrong. Maybe Abbott et al will let up on introducing even more new laws to make responsive local government a thing that can’t be done in Texas. Maybe that will stop things from getting even worse, but if it puts any kind of damper on the efforts to fight to make things better, it’s not worth it. Ask me again after the 2025 Legislature finally goes home and we’ll see where we are on this.

As a palate cleanser and a reward for making it this far, I give you this, inspired by the post title:

We did not fully appreciate the 80s when we had them. I will not be taking any questions at this time.

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11 Responses to It’s a matter of trust

  1. David Fagan says:

    Too many men, too many people making too many problems…..

  2. Manny says:

    David, why so racist? Why not add some white to the mix?

    I could put the faces of all the mass murders from this country, why don’t you look at that?

  3. Flypusher says:

    Technically Houston is a home rule city. But when you can’t trust SCOTx to do the right thing……….

  4. David fagan says:

    Manny, I did not know that the band Genesis was in your narrow bullseye. Please provide a list of musicians that will offend you so I can take all of your feelings into consideration so there will be no doubt that all music videos, musicians, the history of music, the history of music videos, and everything that has to do with music, or hearing for that matter will not offend anything you may find to be unable to consider for consideration of……….things…….and…..stuff……..and……whatever…….nevermind.(the word, not the album, unless the album is not offensive to you, then maybe the album, but not the album if you may, or possibly will be, offended, etc.)

  5. Manny says:

    It was not the music it was the image that came out. I have no idea who Genesis is. The topic was crime.

  6. David Fagan says:

    Well, Manny, follow the link, watch the video and come back later.

  7. C.L. says:

    There was no Genesis in my rotation after Peter Gabriel left. Had nothing to do with Gabriel’s or Collins’ skintone (or hairstyles, in case Manny was wondering).

  8. Manny says:

    Df, your link is about crime, has nothing to with music. Crimes committed by black people, of course that is racist.

  9. David Fagan says:

    This is the link I was referring to:

    It should be Genesis ‘Land of Confusion’

  10. Manny says:

    I was in my 30s by that time and into country music. Went to Gilley’s at least once a month. Well, I learned about a new band that seems to be very popular.

  11. Pingback: Texas blog roundup for the week of January 1 | Off the Kuff

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