The electorate is worked up about flooding and it is clearly an important issue in the 2015 Mayoral elections. Flooding in political parlance refers to “drainage.” The streets are flooding because water does not have anywhere to go. Those better building standards, drainage and public infrastructure projects will improve the potential of flooding.
The issue of flooding seems a little bit like a game of chess. Everytime one area of the city improves, another area floods. With the addition of more concrete everywhere in the city limits, areas that flood change. It is a challenge for a world-class city that arose from a swamp.
But the other issue that still dominates the election is the condition of our streets. This issue will not stop or fade from the minds of voters. Every single day, Houstonians hop in their cars and drive down our roads. The city has made an attempt to “patch” some of the thousands of potholes that make our streets look like they have a case of acne – a pox on the city.
Alas, the rains came and though not every area flooded, most of the patched potholes reappared as ideal opportunities to tear up your car. Many of the “quick fixes” for potholes involve a temporary fix with a mix of asphalt. The powerful rains washed away the mix exposing the gaping holes once again.
Historically, Mayoral campaigns will focus on a variety of issues but the one closest to the heart of voters will emerge as a top priority. My free advice to candidates this year is “It’s about the potholes!”
When there are such intelligent candidates seeking the office this year, many of them are talking about other important issues. Finances and pensions are vitally important to the well-being of the city and to the services it provides. Pensions alone could lead the city into bankruptcy. Yet, voters will likely receive a small tax roll back this year and the city just doubled the tax exemption for seniors. Voters will not necessarily be actually, tangibly experincing the looming financial crisis.
But, every day they get in their cars and drive. Every day. There is not a neighborhood in the city that does not have potholes, at least on a major thoroughfare.
I’m declaring a theme song for the Mayor’s race. It is by Twenty One Pilots and officially named “Tear in my Heart”. When you listen here, replace the word “heart” with car! Pay close attention to the lyrics.
Now! Tell us how you will fix the potholes! Go!