Meeting the Mayor

Commentary likes Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. I was disappointed in the way she attacked Mayor John Whitmire when he was running for mayor last year. My good friend Mayor Whitmire has been a great Democrat who has been fighting for Democratic Party values for 50 years at our State Capitol.  Judge Hidalgo bought into the Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee campaign BS of questioning Mayor Whitmire’s Democratic Party cred. It was such a stupid attack that backfired on them and was soundly rejected by the voters.

This story from Channel 11 should not surprise folks:

HOUSTON — April made four months into Houston Mayor John Whitmire‘s administration and he had yet to meet face-to-face with Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.

“It has me worried, but it’s outside my control,” said Hidalgo. “I can’t force someone to meet with me.”

Whitmire held countless meetings since becoming mayor of Houston, but one person who was never on his schedule was Hidalgo, who is head of the state’s larger county. 

“We’ve had ongoing requests to meet, offered different times, I’ll go there, whatever, but he’s too busy,” said Hidalgo. 

In March, when President Biden visited Houston, Hidalgo thought she’d get her chance. 

“Normally we all wait in one room with the pastries and coffee and I didn’t see him,” said Hidalgo. “Turns out he was in a different room. We always are in the same room.”

Hidalgo said building a relationship with Whitmire is “critical,” especially with hurricane season approaching. 

“The problem is that there’s real policy at stake,” said Hidalgo. “It’s about to be hurricane season. I still haven’t walked him through the emergency operations center. We haven’t been able to get us at this level to build a relationship and work together.”

There is a complicated history between Hidalgo and Whitmire. Hidalgo endorsed Whitmire’s opponent in the mayoral race – Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. 

“As I said during the campaign, if he wins, I’ll work with him, that’s how it works,” said Hidalgo. “I’ve had to work with a lot of people who didn’t support me. You have to do the job.”

A key part of that job is partnership during crises. It’s something KHOU political analyst Brandon Rottinghaus said voters saw up close between past administrations. 

“If there is some disagreement, that has to be put aside,” said Rottinghaus. “The good of the region is in the hands of these two critical leaders.”

Mayor Whitmire opted not to speak with KHOU 11 News on camera. His spokeswoman released this statement: 

“While the mayor and county judge have not met in person, the work is being done on behalf of the city and county. Their teams have been in contact through the City’s Office of Emergency Management and Harris County Emergency Management. They have met at least ten times this year regarding emergency planning and response. There is ongoing discussion and collaboration. Mayor Whitmire is confident the city is prepared to work with the county before and during hurricane season. Mayor Whitmire has met with Harris County Commissioners Garcia, Briones, and Ramsey and is confident he and Judge Hidalgo will meet when it’s time to meet.”

Commentary doesn’t do City Hall stuff. My job was basically over on election night. Last time I talked to the mayor was on Opening Day when we got together before the Astros game.

I will say it again. Judge Hidalgo should have known last year that there was a good chance that Mayor Whitmire would win, and she would have to work with him when he took office. Going off on him and trying to lump him with the MAGA crowd was dumb, stupid, silly, and irresponsible. Stop whining, please.

Just an observation.

The featured photo was from election night last December.


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