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:
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