22 days until Election Day in the City of H-Town runoffs.
This is a follow-up from my Rude Amy take from yesterday. Here is from Chron.com:
Outgoing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner doesn’t seem to like being asked about high water bills. When approached on Wednesday by KPRC 2 Houston investigative reporter Amy Davis regarding her ongoing investigation into water bill issues, Turner appeared to swiftly show her the door. “Amy, you are very rude!” Turner is heard telling Davis in a video that’s been widely shared on X, formerly known as Twitter. “You’re interrupting this event that deals with a specific subject matter. I don’t appreciate that, and so I will not be talking to you.”
Davis responded, saying, “But, you already said you wouldn’t talk to me before this.” That’s when Turner shot back, “I told you years ago when you were rude and disrespectful that I was done with you.” Davis then accused the mayor of, “running from questions that are important to taxpayers.” That’s when Turner said he planned to reach out to Davis’ general manager to express “strong dissatisfaction” and directed his spokesperson Mary Benton to escort Davis out of the building.
“You are not going to get away with this,” Turner added. “You are not professional and you do not represent KPRC 2 very well and I’ve gotten to the point where enough is enough.”
Video of the tense exchange was aired on the Channel 2 Wednesday and posted to X on Thursday, where it has garnered hundreds of reposts and comments. Users called out the mayor for dodging Davis’s questions, many coming to her defense. “He should’ve answered the question first, then he can go on his rant about his personal dissatisfaction with Amy. But he deflected her question which is a bad look for him,” read one post under the video. “She was not rude or disrespectful. He just doesn’t want to answer the question that we all have on our minds,” another wrote.
Some found the heated interaction humorous, resulting in some interesting images depicting Turner wearing a blonde bob. “He went full Karen,” one user posted.
Davis defended herself yesterday, telling Chron “I waited until the end of the press conference and only approached Mayor Turner when other attendees also made their way to the front to greet him. Turner is an elected leader. He does owe his constituents an explanation about the water department failures and systemic billing issues many are seeing. The time he spent berating me could have been used to help water customers understand what his administration is doing to address these issues,” she added.
KPRC’s Creative Services Director defended her reporter: “It is important for elected officials to be able to handle tough questions, and it is concerning when they dismiss or belittle those who are seeking information or accountability.”
Davis’ colleagues also stepped in to defend her, including KPRC anchor Keith Garvin. “Our [Amy Davis] is an amazing journalist, the consummate professional, & a fantastic human being,” Garvin wrote on X. “Elected leaders have a DUTY to answer to their constituents & we journalists have a constitutional right to ask the questions…. even the ones that make people uncomfortable.”
Mario Díaz, another investigative reporter at KPRC, also posted, writing: “One of the finest and kindest professionals I know.. holding the top man accountable [Sylvester Turn mayor of Houston] for one of the biggest quagmires on his watch..and [Amy Davis’) questions are the very same being asked by hardworking Houstonians day and night.”
Per Channel 2, Davis has been working on her investigation, dubbed Drained, for the past 18 months, covering residents dealing with water bill issues, but has reportedly not had luck getting a hold of Turner on the matter. Turner’s office did not immediately respond to a request for a comment by the time of this writing.
The water billing issue has overwhelmed folks running H-Town City Hall. The Mayor’s response to Amy Davis obviously confirms this. The next administration will have to fix this for sure.
I have been closely following Amy’s coverage on water billing for a year now. Heck, I experienced my own issues with my broken water meter, and I really didn’t get any help from the city. I had to figure it out on my own and with my plumber. The water division is obviously structurally flawed – big time.
Amy has certainly gotten under the Mayor’s skin. The video has gone viral. America has weighed on Team Amy. Scoreboard goes to Amy.
Last night, Amy had another story on the water division. Here is a part:
KPRC 2 Investigates confirmed Patrece Lee, a Houston Public Works Project manager, gave emergency contracts to at least two relatives.
Lu’s Construction and Inspection received a $4.5 million contract. State business filings show the company is owned by Lee’s brother, Andrew Travis Thomas. The company was created on February 23rd, just six months before Council approved the contract. We also discovered the registered business address for Lu’s is the same address Lee has used for multiple other businesses in her name. The address goes to the same box at a UPS Store in Bellaire.
Here is the entire story from Channel 2: KPRC 2 Investigates uncovers millions of dollars in questionable contracts (click2houston.com).
Incompetence. Ethics failures. Corruption. Conflicts of interest. I don’t know what else to say other than to stay tuned.
This is the latest on the Mayor’s book from Channel 13 news:
HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — Houston First Corporation made an 11th-hour decision to remove an agenda item during its Thursday board meeting that would’ve addressed whether the agency would be paying for outgoing Mayor Sylvester Turner’s book.
Questions arose about why the public organization that’s funded by taxpayer money would be footing the bill. Houston First focuses on promoting tourism and attracting conventions to the City of Houston.
The agency was slated to vote on whether to fulfill the $124,000 invoice for Turner’s book, which was given out during the State of the City luncheon. The book is called “A Winning Legacy” and was given out to all 600 guests at the event back on Sept. 27.
Credit my friend Bill King for putting this on the public radar. Why did they even put this on the agenda? See the featured photo.
I found this interesting. See this from the Chron:
League City will hold a special election in January to fill the unexpired term of Position 4 on council following the resignation of John Bowen in early November.
The city council on Tuesday approved the special election scheduled for Jan. 13. The candidate filing period began Wednesday.
Bowen announced his resignation from the position on Oct. 31 and officially stepped down Nov. 10, leaving the seat vacant, according to council documents.
Bowen said he stepped down over his objection to a state law that recently took effect in League City requiring elected officials in cities with a population over 100,000 to file an annual statement to the city clerk and secretary disclosing the financial activity of spouses and dependent children.
According to the Texas Municipal League website, the law also requires elected officials to disclose specific income sources, including investments and earnings, business and real estate interests, contracts with governmental entities, and loans and gifts. Bowen said if he had known the law would go into effect when the city reached 100,000, he wouldn’t have run for office.
Bowen, who said he doesn’t object to disclosures when it relates to council members’ possible financial interests in anything they’re voting on, believes the state law infringes on his Fourth Amendment rights, which is meant to protect people from “unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.”
“It’s one thing if the citizens ask for it, but because it’s a law, to me that’s a violation of my rights,” he said. “Why should anybody need to know where my wife works, how much she makes?”
I have worked on the mandated Personal Finance Statement (PFS). They don’t ask for salary amounts. They are not intrusive. The PFS is there to make sure you are not using your elected position to benefit yourself financially. If you are using your position to enrich yourself, the public has the ability to know.
Have a nice and safe weekend.