City Council

Guidelines for Attending, Speaking, and/or Viewing Houston City Council:
“The City of Houston City Council agenda is published on Friday afternoon and details the actions that Council will consider at its meeting the following week. Per Houston City’s Charter, Council meets at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons and 9 a.m. on Wednesday mornings in the Council Chamber on the second floor of City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston 77002.
The Tuesday session is devoted to public comment. The Wednesday session is for consideration of actions that require Council approval. Be sure to check the Council meeting calendar at www.houstontx.gov/citysec/calendar.pdf since there are scheduled break weeks throughout the year and meetings that are consolidated due to holidays.
Sign up to speak for Tuesday Public Session by calling the City Secretary’s office at 832.393.1100, sending an email to citysecretary@houstontx.gov or coming by the office on the public level of the City Hall Annex, 900 Bagby, Houston 77002 by 1:30 p.m. that Tuesday. Note:  If a translator is required, please so advise when reserving time to speak.”
http://www.houstontx.gov/council/

Solution:
We believe the public comment for city council should be moved to 5:30pm making it more convenient for community members to speak to city council after work hours.

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“Some of Houston’s top elected officials are poised to get ample pay increases thanks to state and local laws that tie their salaries to those of state district judges”
“Council members, who currently make $56,000, would be able to earn up to $62,000. ”
http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-s-top-elected-officials-poised-to-get-pay-4581116.php

Solution:
We believe that salaries for city council should start at $45,000 and be tied to COLA (cost of living allowance), not district judges.

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While running for city council I have noticed that lesser known candidates were not invited to some/most forums for various.  The biggest reason being their “viability” and the amount of money their campaign had, irregardless of their platform.

Solution:
As an incumbent I will make sure every one of my challengers is invited to the same public forums where I speak and provided with an equal amount of time.

1. Any community organization that does not follow this process will be removed from hosting future forums for At-large 3.
2. I will work with my challengers and other at-large candidates to host our own community forums and debates.

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“Council is responsible for the appropriation and issuance of bonds, the awarding of contracts and the approval of City expenditures over $50,000
http://www.houstontx.gov/abouthouston/citygovernment.html

Solution:
We believe that requiring city council to approve line items that account for less than 0.00001% of the budget is a waste of taxpayers time and money.

We believe that this amount should be increased to $100,000 to free up city council members to focus on big picture items. Department heads are more than qualified and responsible to manage this amount.

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The City Council spent 14 hours on June 17, 2015 deciding the budget for fiscal year 2016.

Solution:
A more transparent option could include passing department budgets on separate days from 5pm to 9pm.
Doing this will allow for community input, transparency and allow for voters to watch the discussion in person or at home after work hours.

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Placing items on the Houston City Council Agenda
http://www.houstontx.gov/council/h/charterreview/placingitemsonagenda.pdf

1. Secure the agreement of the Mayor to add the item to an agenda
2. Obtain the agreement of two additional council members to seek a special meeting by presenting a written request to the city secretary pursuant to the Article VII, Section 3, paragraph 1 of the city charter; or
3. Seek an amendment to the city charter to provide authority of individual members of the City Council to add items to a council agenda

Solution:
We support a simple majority to be able to put items on the city council agenda. The mayor will be able to veto line items and/or entire policies with a 2/3 override. Since there are 16 members (plus the mayor) on city council we believe that 8+ votes is sufficient.