Over the weekend the Houston Chronicle released their Mayoral endorsement for former State Rep. Sylvester Turner (D-Houston). True to form, they opted to express their political leanings, instead of looking at the harsh realities the city faces, and objectively determine which of the 7 leading candidates’ plans to resolve the issues is most thorough.
To anyone who is remotely familiar with the publication, a Turner endorsement should come as no surprise. The Chronicle has been little more than a press shop for Mayor Annise Parker these last six years. It’s widely understood that Parker severely mismanaged the city, but the Chronicle couldn’t help but to throw in a praise for her saying, “For the past six years, Houston has been well led by Annise Parker’s competent hand.”
One can only wonder if Turner garnered the endorsement because, as the perceived frontrunner, being on his favorable side would ensure continued privy access to Houston’s highest office.
Turner’s campaign platform emphasizes the need to combat economic inequality. He offers up fixes such as increasing both minimum wage within the city, and the economic incentives, loosely known as corporate welfare.
Turner has spent his last twenty-eight years fighting for increased government control and the ability to levy more taxes and regulations, and now he wants to regulate Houston into prosperity—a method that doesn’t work.
During this critical time Houston needs a mayor that understands that their role isn’t to be a social justice crusader, because when these personal projects are taken on it leaves fewer resources for government’s intended purpose.
The endorsement of Turner goes on to say how years of refining his political knack, watching the workings of City Hall from his place in the legislature, and being charged to broker a deal with Houston and the various pension boards last session will enable him to bring everyone to the table when mayor. However, that’s a farfetched dream, since pensions are controlled in the legislature Turner had a stronger voice in the reform debate from his perch in Austin than he would as Mayor of Houston. Houston’s pension boards are well aware of his inaction on reform, which is primarily why they unanimously endorsed him before even interviewing with any other candidates.
So while the Chronicle has chosen to take the easy path and award an endorsement to the candidate whose major accomplishment is that he has been a politician the longest, they are doing a disservice to not only their readers, but also Houston taxpayers.
After six years of failed leadership, Houstonians deserve, and should demand, better of their public officials. Unfortunately, if some of the Bayou City’s powers-that-be have their way, we will be seeing another lackluster mayor that placates to small factions of the city rather than its some 2.1 million residents.
*Just in case you wanted an example of how bad policies under Mayor Turner could be, here are some of the legislative votes Turner has made. What’s frightening is that these positions will have more of an impact if he is mayor because of the power the office yields.
-Voted for tabling an amendment requiring conference committees to be open and transparent (HR 4 Amendment 22)
-Voted for tabling an amendment that would’ve required state agencies to report ways they can cut their budgets (HB 1 Amendment 253)
-Voted for taxpayer funded lobbying (HB 2037)
-Voted against reducing the rate of the franchise tax (HB 32)
-Voted for permitting higher tax rates for certain school districts (HB 506)
-Voted for creating unconstitutional requirements on political speech while exempting labor unions (SB 346)