Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner credits the city's resiliency during the pandemic, which includes a soaring murder rate and number of domestic violence cases.
"COVID has been like a house guest that just wouldn't go home. No matter how hard you try to push them out the door, it's just kind of lingering around," he said during his annual state of the city address Wednesday.
Mayor Turner still insisted Houston is on the rise.
"We want to be one city that no matter where you come from. No matter your language. No matter your religion. No matter your faith. No matter your age. No matter your sexual orientation. In this city, we stand and rise as one. Welcome to the new dawn of our future," he added.
Much of Turner's speech focused on the positives and his accomplishments, while pinning the past 18 months on COVID.
"We have faced rising crime from 2020 going into 2021," he said. "Homicides are up. Domestic violence is up. And on an annual basis, 3,800 guns are stolen from vehicles in our city."
Councilman Michael Kubosh argues too much credit has been given to the pandemic when it comes to rising crime in Houston and across the nation.
"What a horrible thing this virus really has turned out to be, that it affects people's minds and makes them murderers," he said. "It's really ridiculous that we're blaming everything on this COVID virus."
Kubosh also didn't buy the mayor's response to recent allegations by the former housing director over a development run by his former business partner.
Mayor Turner pulled his support Monday.
"Even though there's nothing on the desks of city council members. Even though no project has been funded. Even though I have no procuratory interest. Even though the person said nothing illegal, illicit or fraudulent. I could end up spending my time fighting this. Or I can simply pull it back and focus on my bigger agenda," Turner said.
Kubosh says he's not confident he can vote on another housing project under Turner's administration.
"The mayor doesn't want to address it. He wants to avoid it. He hopes it just goes away. But people like me are going to keep bringing it up and keep talking about."