Let me start with this: I’m against raising the revenue cap. It’s not needed. The city wastes millions of taxpayer’s dollars and public monies. The money is there to put more police on the streets and pay the firefighters, as well as to efficiently and promptly provide the core services that residents expect.
Recently, it was revealed that the Airport Enterprise Fund had spent $85 million in the intended renovation of the international receiving terminal. Unfortunately, only $11 million of that was spent on actual brick and mortar. The rest was wasted on a plan that all of those involved agree was “flawed.” We have to do better. There should be immediate accountability of all of those involved in this debacle, including the mayor himself. The current mayor is frequently prone to calling himself the “CEO” of the city. We all know that any CEO who oversaw a debacle similar to what is happening at the airport would have already been fired.
The current mayor offered up, and pushed through, a spending item that the city would spend $3 million to hire performance bands for the airport. Why? This is a colossal waste of money. There are individuals in this town who would provide this service for free. We have to do better in the way we spend money.
Every year the city spends upwards of $500,000 on holiday lights at City Hall. Again, in light of the current budget situation, we simply can’t afford that. There are many light companies in this town that, if asked, would likely provide this service for free in exchange for the name recognition. Houston needs a mayor who is cognizant of the fact that every dollar spent doesn’t belong to the city; it instead belongs to the taxpayer. The answer to a need or problem is not always to spend more money!
Similarly, it is my belief that every department of the city is overstaffed. Have you looked at the various departments within the city? When I’m mayor, department heads will have to justify the necessity of every employee, detail what that employee does for the city, and why that employee is needed. They will also have to justify the existence of their very department. I believe in motivating and keeping good personnel. I also believe that in any organization there are those who do not pull their weight and don’t really provide a service. We all have to understand that the existence of a city job is not to provide an income for the employee, but is instead to provide a service for the citizens. With regard to personnel, of course, I will start with the mayor’s office itself. Currently, the mayor has—in his personal office—almost fifty individuals. If you count the other offices of which the mayor has direct control, that number is more than 100. That is too many! As mayor, I will make it clear to city employees that we work for the citizens of Houston, not vice versa.
We currently employ an individual whose entire job is to encourage moviemakers to come to Houston to shoot their movies. We pay this individual more than $150,000 yearly and provide her a fully paid for condo in Los Angeles. Do you know how many movies she has convinced to film in Houston? ZERO. We cannot keep spending money irrationally. This will end when I’m mayor.