Council Member Brown Will Not Contribute to the Financial Ruin of the City
Houston, TX - Today Council Member Brown issued the following statement regarding Mayor Parker's proposed Bond Election which is up for a Council vote this Wednesday:
When faced with a crisis, it is said that an ostrich sticks its head in the sand hoping that the crisis will resolve itself; the end result is devastating. For too long the City of Houston and its leadership have deceived its citizens, the investors, and the general public concerning its austere financial condition. Houston is beyond broke. Combining both the unfunded liability of the City's pension plans of over $4.5 Billion dollars, and its current accumulated deficit of over $2.5 Billion dollars, Houston is upside down for over $7 Billion dollars which is almost half the total debt of the entire state of California.
The Mayor has proposed that we issue another $410 million dollars of debt, which will only sink the city deeper. Certain questions must be asked: What kind of firm would underwrite these bonds? What investment adviser would violate his fiduciary responsibility and recommend anyone buy these bonds? What investor, having the proper disclosed information, would buy these bonds?
The city is headed toward total financial collapse and this administration chooses to bury its head in the sand.
The Mayor is probably not solely to blame for Houston's financial demise, but as Council Member she was Chair of the Budget Committee for two years, then as City Controller she signed all the city expenditures for five years, and now she has been Mayor for almost three years; a total of ten years in which she was in a position to not only thoroughly understand what is going on but also do something about it. Instead, the city's property tax supported debt has increased 74% during that time.
It seems like she continues to refuse to listen to the voices of so many warning her of the financial devastation that Houston faces. The voices of Bill King, Bob Lemer, John Diamond, Mike Nichols, Craig Mason, and many others who have warned of the urgency of the financial situation, have fallen on deaf ears.
The situation begs the question: Is this administration helping or even planning the coming financial collapse of Houston? The Mayor of Houston has been on a partisan political circuit recently. She has been campaigning and fundraising for the U.S. President's re-election, will likely be speaking at the Democrat National Convention, and is rumored to be in line for a Cabinet appointment. In addition to following Saul Alinsky and Bill Ayers, this President is a follower of Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven who in an article entitled "The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty,"1 advocated increased enrollment in social welfare programs in order to collapse the system and force "reforms," leading to a guaranteed annual income through a redistribution of everyone's money. This political strategy has been referred to as the Cloward-Piven Strategy2 (The Nation, 1966). Robert Chandler, a retired Air Force colonel and former strategist for the White House, the Departments of State, Defense, Energy and Justice, and the CIA, wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Times in 2008 stating, "The strategy's goal is to bring about the fall of capitalism by financially overloading and undermining government bureaucracy."3
Cities and municipalities across the nation are filing bankruptcy (such as Jefferson County, Harrisburg, San Bernardino, Mammoth Lakes, Stockton, and Central Falls) for outstanding debt and pension liabilities to the tune of $21 million to as much as $4 billion - but that is nothing compared to the City of Houston's $7 billion. Be it a Cloward-Piven strategy, or simply the Mayor's continued ineptness, we cannot stand by and allow the fourth largest city in the nation, and one of the most prosperous cities in America, to suffer bankruptcy because of inaction.
The City has maxed-out all of their credit cards, borrowed against all of their equity, and now the administration wants the taxpayers to underwrite another $410 million dollar note. I, for one, will not be a part of the further undermining of this great City of Houston. I will vote "No" when this proposed Bond Election comes before Council for a vote.