Bill King attended an African American Leader's breakfast recently, a focus group meeting, to hear about their concerns and to clarify some of his positions on various issues. King lost a nailbiter to our current mayor Sylvester Turner.
Bill King discusses a possible run for Houston Mayor
Bill King is getting his narrative together for what is more likely than not a run for Houston Mayor in 2019 that may not be close as the former. He implied that unlike his previous race, he has started engaging all communities early. King addressed three major issues, the misuse of the drainage fee Houstonians voted for, pay to play, and Houston's Proposition B to bring firefighter pay to equity with police pay.
King believes that Houston is not implementing the will of the people. He said that only about 50% of the fees Houstonians voted in for drainage work is used for that purpose. The City uses rest in areas he believes they should not.
He said one of the reasons there are such poor services in the city is because it is a pay for play town. He said 85% of political donations come from entities doing work for Houston.
While Bill King does not believe salaries and pay schedules belong in a charter, he was not against Proposition B. He said that given the citizens have spoken, it is the responsibility of the mayor to implement their will.
Bill King markets himself as an independent. In reading his blogs, his email blasts, and speaking to him face to face, it is clear to me that he is an old-time pragmatic fairly Progressive Republican. Of course, qualifying oneself as a Republican in Harris County, let alone Houston is now political suicide. That is unfortunate because one prevents excesses and complacency when ideas compete.
Does Bill King have a chance? Yes, he does. Mayor Sylvester Turner's war with the firefighters is now a war with the voters because they told him they wanted their firefighters compensated at the levels of the police and deservedly so. The police do not have a monopoly either on the danger they face or their necessary qualitative intellect.
Much of the city's streets and other infrastructure remain in disrepair because of our politician's timid aversion to taxing appropriately. I sat down with my District E Councilman Dave Martin alongside a firefighter recently and told him that directly. He merely said that the citizenry would be against tax increases. I reminded him that for too long Conservatives have trained the citizens that they could get increasing governmental services while lowering taxes. In other words, disregarding arithmetic, they continuously lied to their constituency.
Bill King seem like the type of politician that also has an aversion to raising taxes if one reads his blogs. But unlike many Republican politicians, he leaves the door open to do the right thing. The fact that he said when the citizens speak the politicians must move on the will of the people is welcomed from politicians these days. I am sure his team will prepare a "will of the people" narrative that may prove detrimental to Mayor Sylvester Turner if he did not abide by the voters yes-vote when they approved Proposition B.
Bill King barely lost the 2015 election to Turner. Houston's realities and the mayor's tunnel vision on the firefighter issue just may cost him a second term. His adoption of balancing Houston's budget and outlays on the backs of people, employees, and not on those who benefit the most from this great city is not progressive. If one listens to Bill King in the interview posted in this article, you will hear him talk about recessive fees imposed by Houston's rulers (taxes on those who can least afford them). Interesting and intelligently calculated!