When I am elected emperor of Houston, which is only a matter of time, my first act will be to abolish the City Council. Those positions continue to attract bickering, small-minded people who are simply using the job as a stepping stone to something bigger, like becoming a rodeo clown.
Next, I will clean up this city! Have you noticed how downright filthy Houston has become? Look out your car window at any intersection. On the street are cigarette butts, paper cups, used TV sportscasters, and every bit of it has come from one of our neighbors’ vehicles. Well, I say, enough of this. It is time to clean up Houston. I thought of having a janitor come by every Wednesday, but that did not seem sufficient. One final solution to this problem: Every square inch of Houston is owned by some person, company or government. Whoever the owner may be, it/they will be responsible for keeping their real estate spiffy, or there will be severe punishment. The offenders will have to spend every Saturday night in Waco (which, come to think of it, is probably cleaner than Houston).
My next program will be to institute better driving manners. Many motorists in this town are downright rude. To teach some folks how to behave, police will be given a daily quota of tickets to write for inconsiderate drivers, especially those who run red lights. Maybe we could have an Adopt-A-Jerk program whereby rude people are assigned nagging back-seat drivers who constantly correct the motorist’s bad habits. If that fails, I have my ultimate plan to ensure more courteous driving: tail gunners.
There are several other changes I shall make: No one will be allowed to host a radio talk show who doesn’t have a basic knowledge of the King’s English, the U.S. Constitution and Roget’s Thesaurus (and, no, it is not pronounced Rogg-jet, and “thesaurus” is not a dinosaur). Billboards will be limited to a one-block stretch along the Ship Channel. Personal ads in the Houston Press shall be kept from children and any adult who needs leather discipline.
Factories which pollute will be given a warning by the U.N. and, if no inspection is allowed, well, hee-hee, you get the picture. Speaking of dirty air, vehicles entering from neighboring counties will be stopped and checked for efficient anti-pollution devices. Any drivers stinking up our air will be eligible for flogging – in Waco.
A few months ago, I asked the Houston Public Library for a book, “The Man Who Never Was.” The library system had two copies, one of which was missing. A month later, having heard nothing, I inquired about my book. It finally arrived a month after that. There will be a big change in our libraries. No multi-million-dollar sports facility will charge the owners an admission. That way we all get in free. Emperors don’t need speechwriters or spin doctors. The term “world-class city” will be banned. If we are, indeed, a “world-class city” like Paris, others will call us that. If we are not, under me we shall be. (Did you ever notice that the Eiffel Tower looks like an oil derrick in drag?)
As emperor of Houston, I shall decree that any street paving project will have written in the wet concrete, “Inspected and approved by Public Works Inspector (name) on (date). He/she lives at (address) and can be reached at home anytime at (phone number).” That might prevent our streets from growing potholes while the white stripe is still drying.
As you can see, some of these changes will be fought by the vast middle-wing conspiracy, but someone has to step in and run Houston, now that we’ve lost Ken Lay. And yes, there will be the usual whiners complaining about “freedoms” and “rights.” Picky, picky, picky. You want an efficient city government, clean air and safe streets or the chaos of a democracy? To put it another way, which has the smoothest operation, Singapore or Mexico City? Well, you get my drift. You mess with Houston, and I’ll run you over with my chariot. If I miss, there is always the tail gunner. ih