Thursday, November 18, 2010

And here comes the art debate

Arguments like this happen when government coffers are full, so it should come as no surprise that folks aren't happy about a $360,000 vase.

(City spends $360,000 on sculpture despite budget problems, Gabe Guitierrez,
The city’s decade-old public arts ordinance is being questioned after the Houston Arts Alliance bought a $360,000 sculpture.
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.
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.

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?)

1 comment:

  1. That last part is the big "IF". This part time judge is also representing the transgendered "widow" in his/her effort to obtain her/his husband's death benefit money. But the black letter of the law states that she is not a she, never was a she, and can never be a she, no matter how much surgery he has had and hormones he takes, and therefore no marriage ever took place because a marriage between two people of the same genetic gender is illegal in Texas. What kind of lawyer takes such a case and spends his client's money on a case that the black letter of the law says is unwinnable? How is that remotely ethical?


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