Polling indicates that Bill White, former Houston mayor and former deputy secretary of energy under Clinton, is leading the field for the Democratic nomination for governor. Republicans, conservatives, Tea Party activists, etc., listen up. Whatever happens in our own primary, it is vital that we remember who it is we’re really fighting. Bill White is the best the Democrats can do, it seems, and here are some things you need to know about him.

1 – Bill White, while mayor, may have bankrupted the city of Houston. There is some fascinating information to be found on this. Not to mention, White stood against taxpayer protections and reforms in Houston, and rejoiced in finding a way to go around the will of the voters on the issue. From this Houston Chronicle story:

Does the city of Houston have a balanced budget? Like so many things in politics, it depends on whom you ask. For wealthy businessman Bill King or City Councilwoman Pam Holm, the answer is no, since Mayor Bill White’s administration is planning to spend about $50 million more from its general fund in fiscal 2010 than it will take in from taxes and other revenue streams.

2 – Bill White appointed a Planned Parenthood leader to his administration in Houston, and then the city got what may be the world’s largest abortion clinic, built by Planned Parenthood. Bill White is no moderate on this or any other issue.
3 – Bill White’s message of “Moving Texas Forward” means one thing: if elected governor, White would push us in the same direction as those other paragons of fiscal “responsibility”: California, New Jersey, Michigan.
4 – Did you ever hear about Bill White and the downtown Houston developer? Texas Watchdog has a story that might intrigue you.
5 – Bill White and property taxation – the double standard. Sigh. From Bob Lemer’s response to a July 30, 2006 Houston Chronicle column about White and oil company property taxes:

“It seems quite odd that White is out beating the bushes for more property tax revenues at a time when he refuses to give back to Houstonians the $8 million by which the city exceeded the mayor’s own Prop 1 cap on total property tax revenues in the cap’s first fiscal year, 2006. The $8 million violation is per pages II-7 and II-8 of his fiscal 2007 city budget document. That conclusively proves that White’s Prop 1 was a fraud upon Houston voters and that he never intended to honor his own words uttered during the Prop 1 campaign.”

“FYI, White’s residence is taxed at an assessed value of $1,635,799 for 2006, while HCAD states its FMV is $2,895,916 (incredibly, this FMV figure is only 3.3% higher than three years previously). Thus the city is losing out on more than $8,000 in annual property taxes which otherwise might be collected every year from its very own CEO, mayor Bill White.”

“The 1415 Louisiana office tower owned by White’s old Wedge Group saw its 2000 assessed value continually drop until in 2004 it reached a low of 64.2% of its 2000 assessed value. It has now risen in 2006 to 80.6% of its 2000 assessed value, perhaps as a result of my publicly exposing the previous reductions. Here again, clearly the mayor and HCAD officials owe the public an answer.”

“While they are at it, they can answer how the five largest property taxpayers in Houston had lower assessed tax values in 2004 than in 1994.”