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Outgoing Houston Mayor Annise Parker Leaves Some Unfinished Business To Her Successor

Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner will have to deal with several important issues Parker hasn’t been able to resolve.



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At a press conference last month, Parker said she has been trying to get some of the more difficult issues resolved before she leaves office.

"I don't really want to leave a whole lot of contentious items for the next administration," she said.

But there's no question that Mayor-elect Turner will have to deal with several important issues Parker hasn't been able to work out.

"Well, I think probably the large one is deal with finances," Bob Stein, a political science professor at Rice University, said. "And probably the largest is the pension problem – unfunded pension liabilities – particularly with the fire department."

In March, Parker reached a deal with the firefighter pension board to chip away at the pension debt, but it ultimately failed in the Legislature.

Another unresolved issue is the drainage fee, which is a central part of the Rebuild Houston program to fix streets. A court ruled that the election establishing the fee is invalid.

"Right now, it's in the hands of Sylvester Turner whether we will have a drainage fee or whether we have to return the money back to the property owners," Stein said.

Other unfinished business includes HERO, the equal rights ordinance, which was repealed by voters. Stein said Turner may at one point revisit that issue.

Parker also failed to bring forward a proposal to ban texting while driving in Houston, although she's said that's something she wants to do.

And her revolutionary One Bin For All recycling project seems to be in limbo. The city plans to release an update report on that next week.