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What the Houston Water Crisis Says About Government Corruption

2 min read
Houston TX
Good Party Politics Team · Dec 5, 2023

Government corruption is nothing new. Issues like nepotism, bribery, and scandals have been around for almost as long as organized societies themselves. However, the United States has practically made government corruption into an art, and the unholy alliance between government and special interests has been codified through cases like Citizens United

There’s a saying that “everything is bigger in Texas,” and that seems to apply to government corruption and inefficiency as well. 

Unfortunately, the people of Texas are becoming accustomed to all the ways an ineffectual government can negatively impact their lives. Just a few years ago, residents experienced, first-hand, the result of government neglect when the power grid became overwhelmed and crashed during a spell of unexpectedly cold weather for the southern border state. 

Now, Texans in the city of Houston are facing a water crisis that demonstrates both the level of corruption and the inefficiencies that continue to plague the residents of this great state. 

Read on for a detailed analysis of the situation, contextualized within the broader themes of government corruption, partisanship, and legislative gridlock. We’ll also present the case for the independent political movement as a remedy for the long-standing lack of accountability and transparency in our government institutions. 

The Houston Water Crisis: A Case Study in Government Corruption

The recent water crisis in Houston, Texas, and the subsequent investigation into government corruption provides another striking example of the challenges facing municipal governance and the implications of unchecked corruption. 

Background and Initial Problems

Houston, Texas faced a severe water crisis that was complicated by an extreme drought, leading to hundreds of water line leaks. Customers were also billed outrageous amounts for high water consumption as a result of the leaks. To address this, the Houston City Council approved $48 million worth of emergency contracts on October 3, 2023, with the intention of repairing these leaks. 

This situation was becoming dire, with reported water leaks increasing from 100 to 500 a day since June 1. Altogether, more than 4,000 leaks were repaired after the emergency contracts were approved​​​​.

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Discovery of Wrongdoing

The crisis took a turn when allegations of corruption surfaced. Several employees at Houston Public Works were implicated in wrongdoing related to the emergency contracting process. This included an executive-level employee who resigned and another who was relieved of duty for steering contracts to family members. 

Misconduct wasn’t limited to the public works department, either. Accusations of cronyism and pay-to-play schemes dominate the electoral races for mayor, city council and other vital local government offices. 

This misconduct prompted an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, which began on November 7 to determine the extent of these allegations​​​​.

Systemic Issues and Government Response

The investigation revealed systemic issues in the contracting process, leading the city to terminate the emergency contracts with the involved contractor. This development is significant when you consider that the city had already spent around $36 million to address the water leaks before the emergency contracts were issued​​.

Call for Public Involvement

As the investigation progresses, Houston Public Works is actively seeking public assistance to identify any further acts of fraud in the emergency contracting process. This initiative demonstrates an effort to restore public trust and ensure transparency in the crisis management process​​.

Implications for Governance and Independent Movements

The history of corruption and cronyism in Houston politics is long-standing. The remedy isn’t voting for more of the same, but in changing the nature and makeup of government at all levels. By breaking the two-party stranglehold on politics, independent candidates can infuse more transparency and accountability into our political system.

Here are several ways the Houston Water Crisis is an example of such ingrained, wide-spread corruption, and how electing independent candidates offers a possible solution:

A Reflection of Government Corruption

The Houston water crisis highlights how corruption can infiltrate even the most critical public services, demonstrating the need for vigilant oversight and transparency in government operations. The situation in Houston is a microcosm of broader issues of corruption that so often hinder effective governance.

Independent Movements as a Potential Solution

In light of these challenges, independent political movements offer a refreshing change from politics as usual. Independent candidates, who are free from the constraints of the establishment and traditional partisan politics, can focus on providing practical solutions, transparency, and accountability. 

The Houston crisis illustrates the need for such approaches to prevent corruption and ensure that public resources are used effectively and ethically at the local level.

Addressing Legislative Gridlock and Partisanship

The water crisis also underscores the importance of overcoming legislative gridlock and partisanship. In situations like these, swift and decisive action is required, and this is something that partisan politics often hinders. 

Independent movements can bridge this divide by advocating for policies and actions that are based on the common good rather than party lines.

Final Thoughts

The water crisis in Houston is a sobering reminder of the pervasive nature of government corruption and its impact on public welfare. It also underscores the need for increased oversight, transparency, and public involvement in governmental processes. 

Independent political movements can play a crucial role in initiating these changes. For example, they can push for solutions that transcend traditional party politics and focus on the greater good. 

As Houston works to rebuild trust and address its water crisis, it serves as a lesson in the importance of integrity and accountability in our government.

Join the Movement to Put Accountability Back in Government 

Government corruption isn’t limited to stakeholders in Houston. It’s a widespread, ongoing issue that’s supported by traditional political systems and the money that makes them so lucrative and inviting. 

Good Party is on a mission to break the two-party system that’s dominating our country and put power back into the hands of the people. Independent candidates can offer an effective antidote to the problem of government corruption. 

If you’re tired of business as usual, join us in our efforts by supporting independent candidates or even running for office as an independent yourself. 


Photo by Alisa Matthews on Unsplash

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Political Corruption
Political Dysfunction
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Houston TX
By Good Party Politics Team
The GoodParty.org politics team is focused on transforming the political landscape by promoting transparency, accountability, and positive change. They aim to engage citizens in the political process, encourage informed decision-making, and support candidates who prioritize the common good. Their mission revolves around creating a more fair and just political system, fostering collaboration, and breaking down traditional barriers of partisanship.