(City spends $360,000 on sculpture despite budget problems, Gabe Guitierrez, KHOU.com)
The city’s decade-old public arts ordinance is being questioned after the Houston Arts Alliance bought a $360,000 sculpture.I'm never a fan of overpaying for art in public spaces, although the trinket-based, world-classiness crowd seems to get all agog over them. For my taste however I'd be more interested in seeing the money deployed to critical departments to hire staff, the police department for instance.
The sculpture, “Standing Vase with Five Flowers,” is the work of Texas native James Surls and will be displayed outside the parks and recreation department’s headquarters on Wayside Drive in southeast Houston.
Council approved the purchase back in August, before the city’s finance director announced that Houston could face a $50 to $80 million budget shortfall by the end of the fiscal year. There is talk of potential furloughs to close the gap and several departments are consolidating to save money.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the ordinance responsible for this expenditure is a relic of the Lee P. Brown administration, after all, we've seen this before. Hopefully this time a newly motivated city council will work to get this onerous provision stripped from the books.
On another note: This is more bad PR for the increasingly snake-bit administration of Mayor Parker. It's very rare for a Houston Mayor to not win re-election to the point they're term-limited out. Given her administrations generally unfocused, market unfriendly and unpopular start. (The dithering before turning off the RLC's was just odd) One wonders if she's destined for a second term*?
While I'm not too worried about it, there are many who will use Mayor Parker's appointment of a transgendered judge as proof she's pushing the so-called "gay agenda". There are many social conservatives who took her word for it that she wasn't going to push this. I wonder how ready they'll be to take her at her word the next time? (My position still is that if their good at being a judge....then who cares?)