Houston Mayor Celebrates Passage Of $410 Million Bonds

Now that houston voters have authorized the city to take out more than $400 million dollars in bonds for various improvements — Houston Mayor Annise Parker says she's ready to get to work on various city-wide improvements to parks — libraries — public safety and affordable housing.

All of the bond measures on the ballot passed, including $410 million for five City of Houston initiatives.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker expressed what a lot of local officials were feeling.

"Woo hoo! Yes! Election's over and all my stuff passed!"

Parker quickly got back to her normal businesslike manner. She says she was concerned about possible sticker shock when voters saw the amount of bond dollars on the ballot.

"The other two bond items had significant tax increases with them and I tried hard not to, and did succeed, in not bringing forward a bond item that had a tax increase attached to it. So I was concerned about sticker shock, but as the election progressed it became clear that Houstonians were feeling that it was the right thing to do and the right time to invest."

While all five of the city's bond measures passed, Prop E passed with a closer margin — 55 to 44 percent.

Prop E authorizes $15 million for affordable housing.

Parker says even though it passed, she wishes she had done a better job of explaining Prop E to the public.

"While it can be used for affordable housing, it is intended to be used for demolitions. Once we explained that it was to be used for demolitions, support ramped up and very few people who were opposed to it at all. So it fell into an area where I think there's just a philosophical divide of some folks who don't believe in the government being involved in any way with housing opportunities."

Parker says she hopes the passage of the bonds indicates voters trust her with the city's finances.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...