Houston City Council sent an ordinance that could potentially extend metered parking hours within the city of Houston to the Proposition A Committee for further examination and discussion.

Current situation

Council members Edward Pollard, Fred Flickinger and Tiffany Thomas brought an item to the April 3 agenda to extend paid parking in Houston from its current hours of 7 a.m.-6 p.m. to 7 a.m.-2 a.m.

The item was tagged April 3 to allow the council more time for discussion and was scheduled for a vote April 10.

However, with a 13-4 vote, the item was selected to go through the Proposition A Committee before returning to council.

Pollard, who voted against the motion, said he feels the decision goes against the will of the voters.

“When the voters came to the ballot box last November, they did not vote for our items to automatically have to be referred to a committee for further discussion or to eventually die,” he said. “They voted to ensure that council members have the ability to bring items so that we can discuss as a body here in chambers and then go forward.”

If the council wants to get more engagement from the public before passing an item, Pollard said the council has a process for that through the use of a tag or motion to delay.

Some context

Proposition A passed with 83% of voter approval in the November election.

The proposition gave Houston City Council members more power to place items on the council’s weekly agenda. Any member of the 16-member council can now place items on the agenda as long as they have support of at least two other council members.

The change, according to previous Community Impact coverage, moved the administration away from the existing system where only the mayor can set agenda items.

Long story short

After Houston Mayor John Whitmire took office in January, he created the Proposition A Committee to oversee items proposed by council members before they’re added to the agenda.

However, approval by the committee is not required for council members to get an item placed on the agenda.

Two agenda items have now been sent to the Proposition A Committee this month.

An April 3 agenda item intended to allow council members more flexibility to install speed cushions on their streets was also sent to the committee last week with an 11-6 vote.

Offering input

Council members Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, Martha Castex-Tatum and Tiffany Thomas voted against the April 10 motion along with Pollard.

Whitmire and 12 other council members voted in favor of sending the proposed ordinance to the committee.

“We put [the item] on the agenda in compliance with the voters, but I think the voters expect us to be informed, transparent and include the public,” Whitmire said. “If nothing else, we are emphasizing to the public that we want them in the process.”

The Proposition A Committee will have its first meeting April 23.