in Houston, Texas
Houston City Council member's shower plan all wet
Friday, Nov 06, 2009, 03:18PM CST
By Steve Miller
A proposal to build a shower in the women's restroom near City Council offices in Houston's City Hall Annex is dead, according to a councilman who opposed the project.

At-Large City Councilmember Jolanda Jones, an attorney and an alum of the reality show Survivor, bikes to work each day. Last summer, she asked that a shower be built in the City Hall Annex, on the floor where Council offices are, so she could stop taking bird-like sponge baths in the ladies' room once she gets to the office -- that's one less car on the road, she told newsman Isiah Carey.

E-mail traffic between city officials obtained by Texas Watchdog shows that District E Councilman Mike Sullivan blew a gasket when he heard of the idea.

In a June 1, 2009 email to Issa Dadoush, director of general services department at City of Houston, Sullivan said - and we think he was yelling via keyboard - "PLEASE tell me that we are NOT putting in a shower/bath of some sort in the women's rest room on this floor. I am appalled at the very concept and am more than strongly opposed to the idea. I will not subject myself to the extreme criticism of the media on this, which is certain to come. Please respond by email so I have a written record."

Dadoush responded about 30 minutes later, telling Sullivan that the shower would require the "removal of two toilets" but should be a "small project."

Also copied on this exchange was Mayor Bill White.

In another e-mail Sullivan sent to White's chief of staff, Michael Moore:
1. While cost is negligible, it's still an expense.

2. Female employees on the floor were not asked about the project. I'm not so sure they would give an honest answer, because they could be viewed as disrespecting a Council Member.

3. If a shower is going to be built for the women's restroom, then a shower needs to be built for the men's as well."

4. When I tried to build a wall for my Council Office area, and offered to pay for it from my own budget, two seemingly unaffected Council Members were able to kill the project. I expect the same.

5. The media will have an absolute field day with this.

6. Last but not least, if the behavior of a Council Member is objectionable, then that Council Member should be talked to, not accommodated. That is the advice that I was given when I first arrived here.

The shower project is off the table, Sullivan said by telephone this week. But he was still a bit miffed that the idea was considered.

"After all these cuts we have made at the city level, this was not a good idea," Sullivan said. "The rebuttal was that others would use the shower, and my feeling is that they need to work when they come to work."

A spokesman in Jones' office said that the idea was a "family-type rest room" but he did not know about the shower and would forward a message to Jones.
Comments
tired dog
Friday, 11/06/2009 - 04:26PM

Wait a minute, Sullivan might not have gotten the wall he wanted, but he did get a wall. Several thousand bucks worth. And 'offering' to pay from his 'own' budget? C'mon, where the hell does 'your' budget come from?

As for sweaty Jo, deal with it or take a cab. That also leaves your car at home.

AR
Saturday, 11/07/2009 - 01:19PM

A few years ago a fully-equiped gym was built at HPD headquarters for use by HPD's brass and desk jockeys. I recall that Council Members where also allowed to use it. I assume that there are taxpayer supplied showers to go along with the expensive gym equipment in the building (which may not be getting much use, judging by the appearance of many HPD officers). Those showers are substantial, but tunnel-enclosed, walk from City Hall. There may also be showers in the dressing rooms available at the Hobby Center, Alley Theater and Jones Hall, all City-owned facilities.

As for Sullivan, quit your sour grape whining!

Shadowguv
Sunday, 11/08/2009 - 10:13AM

"After all these cuts we have made at the city level, this was not a good idea"

Sure. The City will spend over $1 BILLION dollars more next FY than in 2004. "Cuts" my ear. These are the simple lies that we allow to be spread. ANYONE think I'm wrong about the numbers, check the Controller's website for the CAFR(s) from 2004 to present.

"After all these cuts".

RIDICULOUS!

tired dog
Sunday, 11/08/2009 - 08:39PM

Shadowguv, it's amazing how CoH budget went from about 2.5 bill a couple of years back to about 4 bill now. Of course cncl speaks only of the general fund, about 1.8 bill and dismisses the rest of the off budget wink wink stuff with a wave of the hand.

Engineered by Parker who now would be mayor...as for Sully, 17k of dist E's 125k registered voters made their wishes known last week...what a turnout, what a mandate, what a flyin' crock o' crap. Excuse my francais.

Shadowguv
Wednesday, 11/11/2009 - 06:42PM

tired dog:

A late follow up to your post. Yes, ask Council how they would spend $1 Billion dollars more than the current budget in say 2014 and they would lose their minds, unable to think up all the ways to spend that windfall. But that's exactly what's happened over the last five years. You're right, from 2.5 Billion to a little over $4 Billion. A MASSIVE increase in spending. "After all these cuts" HA!

If you delve into the CAFRs closely you might just think that we've actually been borrowing money all this time to fund that increased spending. You'd be spot on. Much of the increase was funded with rising property and sale taxes, with borrowing to fill the gaps.

Of course, how much the local "management districts", off-the-books entities like HAS Development, and the like have have borrowed, we just don't know.

tired dog
Thursday, 11/12/2009 - 10:52AM

Shadowguv, a later late note to your comments: not one of the contenders for mayor or for controller (choose a) the tax evader, or b) the guy who doesn't even live in CoH) will discuss the pension fiasco and the approx billion bucks of pension bonds authorized, but darn let's get that smoke & mirrors TIRZ done to put up the soccer pork. Excuse me, td needs some relaxing time at the range.

Paula
Monday, 11/16/2009 - 08:18AM

I admire Jones for biking to the office and wish there were more opportunities to do so around Houston. I went to law school with Jones and she has been an athlete all of her life. Now that she has gotten older and no doubt faces more stress in her life as we all do, to sneak in exercise at any point is great, Maybe the addition of the from what I understand - an inexepensive shower will encourage others to bike to work, walk during lunch etc. Jones lives in third ward and that is some trek. Kudos to her.

Jennifer Peebles
Monday, 11/16/2009 - 12:58PM

Paula,

Welcome to our site. Thank you for reading us and commenting here. :)

Take care,

Jennifer P.

jennifer@texaswatchdog.org

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