We Have No Money, and You Want Buy What??

As Houston City Council continues with their annual budget process, some new ideas have been thrown out by council members.  Some are good, and others show me that City Council has no plans of reducing the budget. 

Bad Ideas:
– Council Member Jolanda Jones wants to add showers to restrooms used by council members.  First she used our tax money to paint her walls pink and for pink office chairs (see here).  Now she wants showers??  Shower on your own time!  I don’t understand why this is necessary.  Unless she’s secretly on a new show called “Pimp my Office”, we don’t need this!  Now we will need money to maintain the showers.  Then there will be the ordinances about who can use them and when they can use them.  Since transgendered individuals can use either the male or female restroom now, does that mean they can use either shower too? So a shower isn’t just a shower.  It is going to bring more problems than she might realize.

– Council Member Ed Gonzalez wants an assessment made of the total number of unlicensed pets in Houston.  Why??  What will the knowledge of this number do for us?  Nothing!  Why spend the time/money?  Why do we even have to license our pets?  I know we can’t have rabid dogs running around, but the cost structure for licensing pets doesn’t even make sense.  To license a certified “seeing/hearing” dog is free, but a renewal of the license costs $2.  Why? 

It’s not all bad though.  Here are some good ideas from our council members:
– Council Member Anne Clutterbuck proposed eliminating the extra pay for bilingual workers.  This is currently given to more than 1,400 employees in Houston.  The stipend is $70 extra a month, and it costs the City more than $1 million a year.  This proposal received a lot of press recently after various Latino groups protested.  Let’s panel the argument here.  This has nothing to do with ethnicity.  The reason why this program should be halted is because the City has no oversight over it.  There is no proficiency test for workers who claim to be bilingual, and there is no oversight to see if those getting paid even use their other language for their job. 

– Council Member Mike Sullivan wants to limit the SafeClear program to only weekdays at peak traffic times/areas.  If the original goal of this program was to get broken-down cars off the street quickly so that traffic can move smoothly, then they really only need to operate during times when a stalled car on the road would cause traffic jams.

– Council Member Stephen Costello proposed a study for best practices in other US cities for drainage funding.

– Council Member Melissa Noriega wants a review of possibly better uses of emergency communication systems.

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