Houston City Council proceedings stall almost entirely as a result of Proposition B debate

District D Council Member Dwight Boykins spoke with reporters March 20 following the second City Council meeting during which he postponed every new item on the agenda.

District D Council Member Dwight Boykins spoke with reporters March 20 following the second City Council meeting during which he postponed every new item on the agenda.

For the second Houston City Council meeting in a row, District D Council Member Dwight Boykins utilized a controversial method March 20 to stall proceedings by “tagging,” or postponing, all new items on the agenda.

“Tagging everything makes a mockery of the process,” Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Cohen said. “It's insulting to the citizens of Houston.”

Sparking multiple heated exchanges and interruptions among council members, Boykins used the maneuver as a last-resort effort to get Mayor Sylvester Turner to swear in fire cadets who recently completed training at the fire academy. The cadets are awaiting getting sworn in while city staff determine how to implement Proposition B's voter-approved pay raises for the entire department—and possibly issue layoffs as early as April.

“The purpose of my tagging is just to stand up for who I believe and what I believe is right,” Boykins said.

A few agenda items Boykins said he deemed too crucial to tag were then tagged by District G Council Member Greg Travis, who said while he disagreed with Boykin’s methods and called them “extortion,” he said Boykins should be willing to commit to tagging the entire agenda to prove his point.

“I am here today putting these tags on [items] 9, 10, 11 and 12 to save Council Member Boykins from himself,” Travis said. “... If you're going to have a set of principles, then live by those principles.”

The agenda items were proposals for general property insurance for the city of Houston as well as one agenda item that proposed a terrorism insurance contract for the city. Turner said while he wanted to make progress on the items, delaying votes on them by one week would not immediately impact the city’s public safety.

Following the meeting, Boykins spoke with reporters, saying he stood by his tagging and also went into details of three amendments he hopes to have approved as agenda items for next week’s meeting. The amendments, which offer varying levels of citywide trash collection fees, are aimed at curbing the cost of implementing the firefighter pay raises without requiring layoffs.

“All I am trying to do is present an option,” Boykins said. “It may not be the answer but until we get sustainable information that makes sure we do the will of the voters.”

Turner and Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña briefly hosted a joint press conference after the meeting, during which Turner said he does not oppose the idea of the amendments getting added to the agenda; however, he would not vote in approval of them.

“It is regressive is nature,” Turner said. “It will hurt the poor and low-income families in the city of Houston, but nonetheless, that is his proposal to pay for Proposition B.”
By Emma Whalen
Emma is Community Impact Newspaper's Houston City Hall reporter. Previously, she covered public health, education and features for several Austin-area publications. A Boston native, she is a former student athlete and alumna of The University of Texas at Austin.


MOST RECENT

The first-ever Williamson County Fair and Rodeo opens its gates to guests Oct. 21 with live music, carnival rides, food vendors, rodeo events and more. (Courtesy Pexels)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo underway; delivery drones coming to Friso and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 22.

Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)
Commemorative COVID-19 exhibit opens at The Health Museum

Houston-area residents who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are being memorialized in a new exhibit now on display at John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Science in Houston.

From left: Laura Ryan, Eliza Paul and Craig Raborn discuss the future of the Texas Department of Transportation. (Sierra Rozen/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Department of Transportation discusses I-45 expansion, vehicle fatalities at annual event

The Texas Department of Transportation held its fifth annual State of TxDOT event Oct. 21 to discuss the I-45 expansion, plans for the future and safety issues facing Texans.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

Winter Wanderland is coming soon to downtown Houston’s Bagby Street corridor. (Courtesy Houston Downtown Management District)
New downtown holiday attraction coming soon to Bagby Street corridor

Winter Wanderland will comprise more than 100,000 LED lights installed between Lamar and Franklin streets.

Heather Lagrone, Adrienne Holloway, Luis Guajardo, Maya Ford and Charleen Jones sit onstage while Holloway introduces the audience to the Harris County Housing Needs Assessment study on Oct. 19. (Emily Lincke/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kinder Institute housing survey results reveal Harris County's needs

To meet the need for additional, more affordable housing for only 20% of the 500,000 cost-burdened residents, 8,174 housing units would need to be added annually through 2031, according to the study.

Construction on Hawthorne and Woodhead streets is slated to kick off in the first quarter of 2022 and is expected to last about nine months. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montrose Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone targeting early 2022 to begin improvements on Hawthorne, Woodhead streets

The project is being designed to convert the corridors into "neighborhood safe streets," a designation that officials said involves making streets safe for all modes of transportation, including cars, pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users.

Want to know more about new businesses coming to the Katy area? Below you can find details on the five latest commercial projects filed in Katy. (Courtesy Canva)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Read the latest top news about restaurants, businesses and other commercial projects that are coming soon or now open

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 19.

Harris County Commissioners Court's revised redistricting map as of Aug. 31. (Screenshot courtesy Harris County Commissioners Court)
Harris County Commissioners Court to take public comments on redistricting Oct. 21

The meeting will be held at the Harris County Commissioners Court, located at 1001 Preston St., Ste. 934, Houston, at 4 p.m.