‘You’re rude!’ Houston mayor refuses to answer ‘DRAINED’ customers questions. What do council members say?

HOUSTON – With less than two months left in office, Houston City Council members are finally paying attention to the water crisis that’s ‘DRAINED’ customers. But the Mayor of Houston is still refusing to answer questions and told Investigator Amy Davis he wasn’t ever planning on meeting with her.

How did this start?

KPRC 2 Investigates has been working for 18 months to help people dealing with water bill issues. At the council meeting on October 31, 27 customers signed up to share their stories with city leadership.

At the time, At-Large Council Member David Robinson said, “There is nothing short of a failure on the part of the city.”

Resident shows her water bill to council. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

District F Council Member Tiffany Thomas added, “It’s not an anomaly. It’s not an isolated event.”

Then Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin told the body, “I along with my colleagues, literally two months left to figure this out cause we exit stage left.”

Since the meeting, we followed up with a specific question:

‘What, if anything, are you doing as a City Council Member to fix these problems and/or get answers about why there are so many problems?’

Out of the 16 current Council Members, 11 got back to KPRC 2 Investigates Amy Davis. Only District A Council Member Amy Peck and District D Carolyn Evans-Shabazz made time to sit down for interviews.

“First, we need to make sure that we’re installing the electronic meter reading nodes on everyone’s meter so that way people can know in real time what their water bill is,” said Peck. “And, if there’s an issue like a leak, they would know in real-time and can address it as it’s happening.”

“We certainly need to fix the system. It didn’t just happen. And so, I believe in the meantime, I’m asking that there be a moratorium and people pay their historical bills, the bills that they had prior to this,” says Council member Evans-Shabazz. " I am encouraged that we will get someone to look at this, and it will be abated. Certainly, the Mayor is always sensitive to what’s going on with the constituents.”

The Houston Mayor wasn’t so open to answering questions

Investigator Amy Davis has tried for weeks to get Mayor Sylvester Turner to answer questions about the issues we’ve uncovered at the Water Department. On Wednesday Amy showed up to an event to talk to the mayor in person. She waited until the event was over and approached the mayor to ask questions. He wasn’t happy.

“Amy, you are very rude! Let me finish. You came to me now. you’re interrupting this event that deals with a specific subject matter. I don’t appreciate that, and so I will not be talking to you,” says Mayor Turner.

Houston Mayor refuses to answer questions from Investigator Amy Davis about the KPRC 2 'DRAINED' Investigation. Amy has asked repeatedly to meet with the Mayor. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Davis responded saying, “But, you already said you wouldn’t talk to me before this.”

“I told you years ago when you were rude and disrespectful that I was done with you,” said Mayor Turner.

Then Davis fired back saying, “Because you keep running from questions that are important to taxpayers.”

Houston Mayor refuses to answer questions from Investigator Amy Davis about the KPRC 2 'DRAINED' Investigation. Amy has asked repeatedly to meet with the Mayor. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Like the Mayor, four other Council Members didn’t answer our questions.

Houston City Council members who did respond to questions about water bills

At-Large Council Member Letitia Plummer gave us her four-step plan.

  • Review the manufacturer of the smart meters due to delays.
  • A moratorium on high water bills.
  • Audit of the Water Department
  • Outsource Customer Service needs to a reputable company.

We’ve gathered each of the full statements on this page. You can also search to see who your council person is so you can contact them. We will keep updating this article as we hear from city leaders.

The KPRC 2 Investigates team will not stop our ‘DRAINED’ Investigation until we get better answers for you. Email Investigator Amy Davis and Producer Andrea Slaydon if you need help. You can also look through the many ‘DRAINED’ stories we have done so far to see if you can find the help you need there.

About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.