Thursday, April 2, 2009

Term Limits, Political Ambition and Raw Political Power

Term limits, political ambition and raw political power are dangerous to our future.

Last year, I had lunch with a wealthy man who was seriously contemplating running for mayor of Houston. He pointed out the problem with the storm water system that would require a $2 billion bond referendum to fix. I remember former City Councilwoman Ada Edwards saying that Houston had nearly 3,500 miles of old stormwater and waste water infrastructure that needed to be repaired or replaced. What are we waiting for?

To me, Houston city mayor and council term limits was the worst thing that ever happened to this city. Each city official appears to be positioning themselves toward the next political office. Since the political hereafter for mayor and city council is achieved through partisan means, I have observed our city council table debate become more politically partisan and ideologically divided than ever before. Worse yet, it appears that no one at City Hall dares tell the taxpayers the truth about the hard choices that await them. This is because their political ambition gets in the way.

Each player on the city level keeps kicking the infrastructure and bond debt can down the road. The courage to make hard decisions requires telling the taxpayers that some things cannot be put off and will require major sacrifice. The longer we wait, the more severe the problems will become and the higher the price we will have to pay. We should abolish or radically alter our term limits charter amendment. The city suffers great damage today. Damage greater than all the corruption and career politician fears that were the impetuous for term limits in the first place.

On another note, the educational situation in Texas is most dire. The drop out rate in Texas is at crisis proportions. Especially, if you factor in middle school drop out rates with the high school numbers. In Texas, raw political power is spelled T-E-A. I have encountered elements within TEA who have told me to may face that they don’t care anything about our children. They only care about acquiring more bureaucratic control over our educational process while carrying out personal vendettas. They once told the 3rd Court of Appeals panel that no one has jurisdiction over them if they decide to go after a charter school in Texas; even if done without due process. Had I not been there to hear it with my own ears, I would not have believed it. The Texas Education Agency too often behaves like a criminal enterprise requiring an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department under the RICO (Racketeering and Corrupt Organization Influence Act).

Read the book "The New Texas Challenge: Population Change and the Future of Texas" (2003) by Steve H. Murdock, Steve White, M. Nazrul Hoque, Beverly Pecotte, Xuihong You and Jennifer Balkan. If we don't radically address the education system and stem the negative trend, particularly among Hispanic students, we are toast! Hispanic population growth will only increase. If they are not educated properly, there will not be anyway we will have enough of a workforce with per capita level of income and wealth to carry the weight of the society they will inherit. This is why TEA’s raw power must be checked, and checked fast.

Go to and download the free Study Guide entitled The Education Challenge a New Educational Paradigm for the 21 Century.

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