Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Payday lenders lose

They don't lose much, but at least they got beaten.

It wasn’t even close. Today, the Houston City Council voted 15-2 to join every other major Texas city except one (hello, Fort Worth) in regulating payday loan companies.

Last month, Houston Mayor Annise Parker dropped a compromise plan, saying she wanted “a united front” with other Texas cities.

The lopsided vote surprised some Council observers, who had at least expected a procedural move to delay the vote. Instead, seesawing councilmembers said they felt city action was necessary in light of the Texas Legislature’s failure to do much of anything to rein in the payday loan industry.

The "procedural move" would have been a 'tag' by CM James Rodriguez, who has distinguished himself in the worst possible way with regard to the payday lending ordinance.

One of the ‘nay’ votes came from Councilmember Helena Brown, aka “Helena Handbasket,” who rails against funding for things like AIDS prevention. The other ‘nay’ was Councilmember James Rodriguez, who evidently was unpersuaded by a withering column this morning (“This payday loan column is for you, Councilman Rodriguez”) by the Chronicle‘s Lisa Falkenberg in which she checks out Rodriguez’s claim that his constituents are unconcerned about the issue by, you know, talking to his constituents.


Rodriguez, who is on his way out of office and is tied to a Cash America lobbyist, has been real cute about his post-council plans, laughingly telling Falkenberg that he’s “keeping all options open” when asked whether he plans to go into the payday loan business.

My friend Neil called it like it is on FB yesterday.

Is it any surprise that Councilman James Rodriguez -- who was a force behind the repulsive anti-food sharing ordinance -- is now leading opposition to City of Houston regulation of the payday lending industry? I've long thought Mr. Rodriguez a lousy public servant. His imminent departure from City Council will benefit Houston. 

To refresh: Rodriguez is a member of the Carol Alvarado/Marc Campos gang, affectionately referred to as "We Know How to Lose and Not Get Things Done", which just lost another city council race last week.  Some serious self-examination is long overdue among that crew.

Update: Rodriguez completely lost his mind on Twitter yesterday evening after the vote, lashing out at Falkenberg, Chron sportswriter Jose de Jesus Ortiz, and Texpatriate's Noah Horwitz. See his Tweets embedded at the end of Texpate's post here.  That's a person who needs to take their medication.

Update II:  You know you've struck a nerve when Marc Campos is calling somebody "chickenshit".

Texas Leftist runs down the changes the ordinance mandates, and Stace gave the instructions this morning that helped predict the outcome.  Here's to more progress like this in the new year.

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