Introducing Bill White to Texas voters

In the countdown to Election Day, November 2, the ads for Texas Governor are flying fast and furious. While many of our friends across Texas may be familiar with Gov. Rick Perry, you might be interested in knowing more about former Houston mayor Bill White from someone who lives in Houston.

Hurricane Katrina

Bill White received kudos for his immediate bi-partisan response to the plight of victims from Hurricane Katrina and was decisive in his decision to accept the influx of hundreds of thousands of Katrina evacuees. Houstonians were deeply moved to volunteer and provide humanitarian aid; however, people in Houston and the surrounding areas were angered with the Mayor’s lack of long term planning and the resulting ramifications. An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 Louisianans resettled in Houston, increasing our city’s population by 10% overnight.

While many people expected evacuees to eventually return to Louisiana, two out of every three stayed in Houston, straining all key city services – our schools, hospitals, emergency services and public safety. Many evacuees arrived dependent on Medicaid and the state’s children’s health insurance programs. This increase to a system already struggling will “continue to be a financial burden to our system.” The increase in crime immediately following the evacuees arrival cannot be overlooked, even though many attempt to dismiss it because it was predominantly evacuee on evacuee crime.

Rice researchers, studying the sociological impact on Houston, found residents remain conflicted about the experience. Mayor White’s not well thought out good deed will continue to impact our city long after he has left office.

Houston Police & Firefighters Endorse Perry

Texas voters may be surprised to learn that the Houston Police Officers Association and the Houston Professional Firefighters Association publicly endorsed Rick Perry over Bill White. The third-largest firefighters union in the nation, Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local #341 President stayed largely neutral in speaking of the two candidates, stating simply that they have “a good working relationship … that we expect to continue” with Perry.

On the other hand, Houston police are not silent on their reasons for endorsing Perry over White. Though state and local media limit the story to a few short sentences, the Houston Police Officers Union PAC unanimously agreed to endorse Gov. Rick Perry.

In their own words officers speak out about Bill White for major understaffing issues, a number of broken promises, including White’s choice of outsider Harold Hurtt for police chief, and particularly the “sanctuary policy,” a general order prohibiting officers to ask about citizenship status. In the past four years, three policemen were killed, and two seriously injured by repeat criminal illegal aliens. Please remember Officer Rodney Johnson, Officer Gary Gryder, Officer Joe Pyland, Officer Richard Salter, and Officer Henry Canales.

Personal testimony starts at :29 on the video below.

Houston is Bankrupt

Perhaps the strongest indicator of White’s potential as Governor for is the economic and financial status of the city at the end of his term.

In March, current Houston Mayor Annise Parker addressed the financial state of Houston she inherited from former Mayor Bill White. “For years now, we have spent more money than we have taken in,” she said. “You can’t spend more than you earn. It is a very unbusinesslike approach to running things.”

To offset budget deficits, services have been trimmed, a 30% increase in water and sewer bills over the next four years started this summer, and if approved by voters this November, Prop 1 would institute a new drainage fee on all Houstonians, including churches and schools traditionally exempt. Six months ago Parker raised the possibility of furloughs and layoffs for city workers, and called for police, fire, and municipal employee unions to offer concessions.

Texas Economy Remains Strong

During this time of economic uncertainty, Texas remains the strongest in the nation. As the world’s 11th largest economy, Texas experienced a delayed, slower decline than the overall U.S. economy. The Texas state comptroller reports that during the first seven months of 2010, reports signal “a Texas job growth rate that is more than three times the national average.”

In light of Bill White’s fiscal record as Houston Mayor before and during the initial effects of the recession, do we really want him responsible for the Great State of Texas’ economy?

We think it is important that Rick Perry continue to lead Texas, represent Texans, and fight for Texas in the coming months.


Shelly Henley Kelly