"Pay to Play" practice will not be on the ballot in November

Recycling contracts, airport concessions, engineering deals, strip club regulation, and even hurricane recovery legal services - throughout much of his term, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has drawn allegations of "pay-to-play" practices.

Political opponent Bill King helped launch a ballot initiative to essentially ban those who do business with the City from dumping cash into the campaign war chests of council members and the Mayor.

But after a month-long effort, the drive failed to gather the 40,000 signatures needed to get the measure on the November ballot.

After today's meeting of Council, the Mayor reacted.

"I think that that whole movement was more political than substantive and the public responded to it," said Turner.

"We are not abandoning this effort. I am committed to keep collecting signatures so that l can get this on the ballot when I am in the mayor's office," Bill King said in a statement.

Rice political analyst Mark Jones believes the issue of potential corruption resonates with plenty of Houston voters, but the petition drive fell short, he says, because King and his allies didn't field enough folks to get the job done.

"It didn't fail because Houston voters like 'pay-to-play'. You need either a lot of volunteers or a lot of money and it looks like the King camp didn't have either, that's why this failed," said Jones.

Jones says the absence of the "pay-to-play" initiative on the November ballot is good news for Turner whose bid for re-election has been peppered with early challenges.