Black Elected Officials Condemn Proposition 1 Supporter’s Remarks

I posted earlier about the letter sent by Proposition 1 supporter Bob Jones to  Council Member Wanda Adams.

Jones, an engineer and RENEW Houston contributor,  is upset that Adams has voiced her concern to the proposed drainage fee.

But some say he crossed the line when he questioned her leadership in the African-American community and whether she is putting personal ambition over the community’s needs.

Today some elected officials are condemning the letter:

  (news release) 

We, the undersigned elected officials, are incensed at the inappropriate remarks made by J.R. (Bob) Jones, P.E., President of Jones and Carter, Inc.  (See e-mail below.)  Whether we support, oppose or take no position on Proposition 1, we find these comments counterproductive to healthy public discourse.

Mr. Jones has taken it upon himself to criticize “our African American council members” for their opposition to Proposition One, the drainage fee issue on the current ballot.  He criticizes a well-thought-out op-ed piece by these Councilmembers opposing Proposition One not by arguing facts but by attacking them for their supposed lack of leadership because they have taken a position opposite of his.

Criticism is fair game and to differ with the Councilmembers or anyone else on policy is legitimate but to castigate them for not supporting Proposition 1 and to say further that this confirms his view that “we do not have any leadership from our African American council members” is insulting and arrogant by a key supporter of Proposition 1 and typifies the kind of attacks that are leveled when people do not agree with this measure.  This was also demonstrated when supporters of Proposition 1 viciously attacked the Houston School District Board when it requested that the district be exempted from this fee.

Some of these Councilmembers were elected by voters in their districts and some were elected at-large.  They have a responsibility to speak and vote in the best interests of their constituents and the City.  The people, not Mr. Jones, will hold them accountable, as they should all elected officials.

For Mr. Jones to say that these Councilmembers have placed their own political interests above the needs of the citizens for voicing their opposition to Proposition 1 would be laughable if it were not so offensive.  Mr. Jones, as one of the many engineers supporting this measure, will potentially financially benefit by the billions of dollars in contracts that will be produced.  Proposition 1 will supposedly tax Houston homeowners about $5 a month (if not more) for at least 20 years, raise $125 million dollars a year for at least 20 years and will generate  $8 to $10 billion, much of this money raised from people who are struggling now to stay in their homes.

And since no plan for spending these billions of dollars has been put forth, it is disingenuous to say that these Councilmembers will be at fault for continuing drainage and flooding problems if the measure fails.

Lastly, Mr. Jones writes that he hopes that the “community” and their districts will be able to find some leadership in the future since it is “certainly lacking right now.”  We are offended by his statements.  Today we stand in solidarity with the right of these members of City Council to exercise their responsibility to act and speak in the best interests of their constituents.  They have every right to express their concerns as others have expressed their support of Proposition 1.  Disparaging comments like those found in Mr. Jones’ e-mail serve no useful purpose and can only be intended to intimidate and to avoid a legitimate debate on Proposition 1.  We call on Renew Houston to debate this issue on its merits or lack thereof.

Sylvester Turner                                                          Al Green

St. Rep., District 139                                                   Congressmember, District 9

Chair, Texas Legislative Black Caucus

Sheila Jackson Lee                                                      Rodney Ellis

Congressmember, District 18                                     State Senator, District 13

Alma Allen                                                                  Garnet Coleman

St. Rep., District 131                                                   St. Rep., District 147

Harold Dutton                                                             Al Edwards

St. Rep., District 142                                                   St. Rep., District 146

Borris Miles                                                                Ron Reynolds

St. Rep.-Elect, District 146                                          St. Rep.-Elect, District 27

Senfronia Thompson                                                   Ron Green

St. Rep., District 141                                                   City Controller, Houston

Carol Mims Galloway                                                 Paula Harris

HISD Board Trustee, District II                                    HISD Board Trustee, District IV

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3 Responses

  1. If ‘leadership’ is the question, a visit to Jones and Carter’s website indicates the ‘leadership’ they prefer- and it’s not very diverse or representative of the community!

  2. Race was already bought into the issue weeks ago. The African-American News and Issues has website described the pro Proposition 1 people thusly:

    “Proposition 1 was initiated by a group of White engineers approximately three years ago. It has been promoted as “Good Streets. Good Drainage. A Better Houston.”

    http://www.aframnews.com/websitepublisher/articles/houston%E2%80%99s-black–council-members-take-historic-stand.html

  3. Where’s the email?? All I see are quotes, I would like to see the whole email and not just quotes. Quotes are too often taken out of context, and without reading the email in it’s entirety how is one to form their “own” opinion

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