In Plain View Home of the Rich And Shameless

April 1, 2002 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Welcome, welcome to the newly converted official mayor?s residence of Houston, the Save You Money! Mansion. As you know, it was Mayor Lee Brown who first suggested that we needed an official mayor?s residence for city entertaining since Houston was totally without any hotel ballrooms or city buildings, not to mention football stadiums, baseball parks or basketball arenas with luxury lounges. And our three restaurants were usually full.

With the huge surplus in the city?s coffers, the public overwhelmingly supported this project. The job was turned over to the lowest bidder, the City Public Works Department, which explains the cracked slab, peeling paint and potholes in the hallway. Now, if you?ll come this way ? watch your step, you might twist an ankle ? this is the kitchen where they cook the books. Notice the kitchen cabinet, made up entirely of lobbyists and contractors. Next, we have the Lee Brown Cloakroom where he hangs his coat while passing through town.

Here is the Houston Sports Authority Game Room. As you might know, the Authority was originally established to build our three new sports venues, but its members managed to perpetuate and expand their positions and, of course, their budget, so that today they run our parks, libraries, most topless bars and this, the Game Room. You don?t often see an indoor polo field, do you?

A question? Well, no, the mansion was not quite built on schedule, but we stuck to the original blueprints, which explains the stockade and watchtower. If you?ll come with me, behind this velvet rope is the Ben Reyes Law Library. It honors all those city officials who got in trouble with the law. Most are serving their sentences concurrently, which gives a whole new meaning to ?term limits.? That reminds me. The Save You Money! Mansion has a regular pest control check. It?s run by a little-known company, the J. Edgar Hoover Pests R Us. They don?t take bugs out, they put them in.

No, ma?m, we do not have glass ceilings, but our overhead is fantastic.

One floor below, we have the T.S. Allison Memorial Swimming Pool, formerly the wine cellar. Now, let?s go upstairs. Again, watch your step. The Public Works people say the banister will be installed any month now. Incidentally, some of you are no doubt wondering about the name of this residence. It beat out Your Remarkable Mansion by 10 grand. We also get a yearly payment for the Golden Arches Garage.

Here we go. Look to your left. You?ve heard of the Lincoln Bedroom? This is the Enron Restroom because, due to Enron, all of Houston took a bath. You will notice that there are a lot of closets in the house. That?s where we keep the skeletons.

Uh, yes, sir, the price of this mansion is still to be determined. There seems to have been some slight cost overruns but relatively minor when compared to, say, the annual budget of the Defense Department. Because of unforeseen expenses such as nails and paint, there had to be some cost cutting in city services. You may have noticed the coin-operated fire hydrants around town, and studies show most people do not mind driving themselves to the hospital if the city furnishes the ambulance. However, we?ve been less than successful with our Adopt-A-Cellblock program. In any event, we should have a general idea of the costs within a few years or after the present administration leaves office, whichever comes first. That is according to our auditors, Arthur Andersen.

Come back downstairs, and let?s go out on the front porch. That?s it, walk right through the doorway while the butler holds it open. Thank you, Orlando. There is the statue of Sam Houston, the statue of Jesse Jones and, most importantly, the ?statue? of limitations. Some of you may be curious as to why the front driveway is dug up. We dug it up so that we could re-pave it then dig it up again. Currently, we are ahead of schedule. Well, I think that about does it with the tour of the mayor?s mansion. And people wondered what we would do with the Astrodome. ih

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