Mayor Annise Parker concluded her first City Council meeting this morning with a bang, warning citizens about icy roads in days ahead as Houston braces for what's expected to be its coldest temperatures in decades.
"We're covering our pipes, doing what we can to keep ice away from our entrances," Parker said. "If you do encounter ice on the road and start to skid, don't push on the brakes, because that can further the skid."
Okay, so no real fireworks. It was actually quite dull. In fact, Parker at times seemed ready to wrap up the meeting, cheering other council members who didn't talk. For example, shortly before the meeting ended, Councilwoman Jolanda Jones entered the chambers and made her way to her seat. It was during the council comment portion of the meeting, and Parker prompted Jones to speak.
"Pass," Jones said.
"Woo-hoo," Parker responded. "Let's see some more of that."
Councilwoman Anne Clutterbuck, during her speaking time, informed the crowd that council comments were required by law and a necessary part of the Open Meetings Act. Clutterbuck then went on to praise a century-old fraternity.
"Oh, I think [Parker] did an outstanding job [with her first meeting]," Clutterbuck told Hair Balls after the meeting. "It was prompt. She was very efficient."
Parker did take time to answer some important questions after the meeting.
On a city budget shortfall that is close to $100 million, Parker said: "We have a minor gap left to cover."
The city has proposed raising additional cash by selling property, including the building that houses Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church. Parker was asked if she had an estimate for how much money that sale would bring.
"Not at this time," she responded. "We are currently in negotiations."
On the hunt for a new police chief: "I plan to bring in expert help to assist me in evaluating [candidates]," Parker said. "My goal has always been to hire from within the department. If you go into it thinking you want to bring in someone from the outside, that's saying you think you have a broken or corrupt police department."