Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Veggie Police

Before becoming mayor, Annise "Ma" Parker told the Chronicle:
I’m going to be the mom telling you to eat your vegetables and you don’t get dessert.
Last week Ma took a step towards making this a reality, when she announced a multi-prong effort to implement numerous promises made during her mayoral campaign. Before a cheering throng of vegans and vagrants in front of City Hall she announced the formation of the Cauliflower Commission, which will recommend members for the Potato Panel. The Potato Panel will study the feasibility of establishing a Bean Bureau, which will oversee vegetable consumption in Houston.

Ma introduced former Mayor Louie Welch as the chairman of the Cauliflower Commission. Welch, who died in 2008, insisted that the commission had no preconceived recommendations. "We will consider all Houstonians for the Potato Panel," he said, "except those with connections to the cattle industry."

The irony of Welch's appointment was not lost on reporters. (In 1985 Welch was once asked how the city could combat the spread of AIDS. He responded, "Shoot the queers.") When asked about this, Ma said, "Since his death, Louie has been extremely remorseful for that statement. And, since he was outed by Slampo he has been eager to work with my administration."

Ma stressed that she was not going to impose any mandates on the commission, panel, or bureau. However, she envisioned that the city would eventually need to hire about 200,000 police to enforce the new laws that she suspected the Bureau would ultimately recommend. This, she pointed out, would add some badly needed jobs to the city's economy. "I said that my administration would create jobs, and this should do the trick," she said.

While the crowd chewed on free tofu and picked lice off of one another, Ma announced that the city had started condemnation proceedings against the Astrodome, with the intent of using eminent domain to seize the venerable stadium for the purpose of turning it into a giant indoor hydroponic spinach farm. When it was pointed out that the roof of the Astrodome does not allow sunlight into the stadium, Ma responded, "That might be a problem."

The reaction by city council members to the mayor's announcement was far from unanimous. Council members with 9 or more letters in their last name opposed the proposal. Members with 6 to 8 letters in their last name were sharply divided, while the 3 members with 5 letters in their surname expressed confusion. New council member Al Hoang captured that sentiment. When reached at his home in Pearland, he said, "If we are growing spinach in the Astrodome, where are the Oilers going to play?"

Meeting with reporters in her office later, Ma shrugged off the council's concerns. With Helen Reddy's anthem "I Am Woman" blaring from her secretary's office, Ma said, "Spinach is high in iron, and we all know that women need goo-gobs of iron in their diet. I'm sure if I promise to support some sewer project in their districts, I can get enough council members to support this to ram it through."

When asked how the city would pay for another 200,000 police officers, as well as the operation of a huge indoor farm, Ma twisted her lips into that cute little smile that Houstonians have come to fear. "Don't know, do you?" she responded.

No comments: