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The new mayor, city controller, and council members were sworn in on Jan. 4. I want to welcome them all, but especially want to extend a warm welcome to Mayor Annise Parker. She takes over at one of the most critical times in recent history. With a burgeoning budget deficit, which is approaching $200 million next year, manpower shortages in the police department, and ballooning pension deficits, she certainly has her hands full. I met with Mayor Parker on Dec. 29. In our one-on-one meeting, she shared her ideas with me on how she will work with city council, asked me for input and feedback, and discussed some of the problems that she is facing. I pledged to work with her, and spent considerable time bringing her up to speed on how I work with my constituents and what their needs are. It was a productive meeting and I am confident that she will pay attention to the needs of my council district. There is no doubt that 2010 will be an extremely difficult year for the city of Houston. Revenues have dropped like a rock, the economy is still in the doldrums, and there are ever increasing calls for more city services. As I said when I voted against Mayor White’s budget last year, we just cannot spend more money than we take in. It’s that simple. To spend more that we have is a recipe for disaster. We are beyond “making tough decisions.” We have to change the mindset of how we do business. Please know that I am working full time as your council member and that I will fight to make your voice heard. I am optimistic that we will make progress under Mayor Parker, but in any event, I will continue to be the most conservative voice on Houston City Council. I appreciate the chance to represent you again as the District E Council Member. – Mike Sullivan Council Member Mike Sullivan is serving his second term representing District E, which is composed mainly of Kingwood, Clear Lake, and the South Belt areas.