Friday, October 29, 2010

The real Bill White record...

Bill White may get kudos for being nice to evacuees during Katrina, but he also left headaches in Houston (link). Excerpt follows...

But White, a Democrat, also quietly left behind budgetary headaches for his successor, a controversy over the use of federal housing dollars and a gigantic financial mess at Houston Metro, the city's lead transit agency.
White's mixed six-year tenure as Houston mayor, from January 2004 until January 2010, has been dissected repeatedly as he tries to unseat Republican Rick Perry, the longest serving governor in Texas.
White rarely misses a chance to tout his mayoral service on the campaign trail, while Perry has run a barrage of negative TV ads criticizing White's leadership, including one spot that claims it's "a miracle Houston survived Bill White."

But some critics say White's micro-management skills abandoned him in overseeing Houston Metro, which didn't build any rail during White's tenure after a furious start under his predecessor, Lee Brown. The agency now faces a financial mismanagement scandal that federal transit authorities have called "alarming and disturbing." The agency had to tear up a $40 million rail contract with a Spanish company, overseen by White appointees, because the deal violated contract procurement laws.
The agency now faces major rail-line building delays, scaled-back bus service, jeopardized federal funding and an uncertain future for the regional public transportation system, experts say.
"I thought that somewhere along the line the red lights would have come on for him," said former Metro Chairman Billy Burge. "Bill White would never do a business deal like that."
Jones called Metro a "complete debacle" under White.
There have also been a series of problems at Houston's public housing agency, where officials might have to refund federal housing dollars on projects worth more than $30 million.
Bill White's Houston record has rarely been written about like this in the entire campaign. I am almost surprised some of these blurbs made it through the draconian editing process...

There is a lot more about Bill White that never came out in this election, I am sure of that.

1 comment:

  1. Jay Root is normally good, but he got the amount of the botched/illegal METRO contract wrong. It wasn't $40 million -- it was a whopping $330 million! As a result, METRO has been forced to cut its budget by a third and put capital projects on hold.

    Root also mischaracterized the state of the city's pension plans. White talked tough early on about dealing with a massive unfunded liability that he inherited, and at the end of the day, punted the problem (the Baker Institute blog estimates it's a much larger problem than anyone lets on, but even the HMEPS self-assessment is pretty bad -- $1.2B unfunded liability to 2018).

    Discussion and backup links here:

    Keep up the good work!


Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.