A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912

22 A THUMB-NAIL HIsToRY OF
ularly on the reduced debt. Since that day the city
has been free from great financial embarrassment.
It seems strange to say in one breath that Houston
has the best and the most dangerous form of
government that could possibly be conceived. And
yet that is literally true. The form, as all know,
gives almost absolute power to a few men chosen,
not by wards as was done formerly, but by all the
people of the city regardless of ward and sub-ward
divisions. The advantages of this method are apparent,
for the Mayor, or Chairman, and each Commissioner
represents the whole city and not any particular
part of it. Each is responsible to the whole
people and not, as formerly, to that one part of it
where he might chance to have lived and from which
he was chosen by the votes of his friends and neighbors
only. He owes no political debt to any single
ward and it becomes his duty to legislate for the
good of the city as a whole and not for any subdivision
of it.
The dangerous feature is the power the commission
form gives a few men. Should a dishonest or
incompetent Board of Commissioners chance to secure
election, the result might be disastrous before
the people awoke to their peril and took steps to
check it. Of course such a condition as that is very
unlikely to occur, still there is a possibility of its occurring
and in that one thing alone lies the danger.
The mere fact that there is danger in the form,
assures its safety, for it puts the voters on their
guard and they are more careful than ever they
were under the old method, in selecting their servants,
so that it is almost impoible for unworthy or

Young, Samuel Oliver. A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912. Houston, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth24649/. Accessed July 14, 2014.