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Posts from ‘January, 2013’

When, Wendy?

When will Sen. Wendy Davis run for statewide office? Fortified by a convincing re-election victory, state Sen. Wendy Davis is resuming her role as a fierce critic of Republican-led education cuts as she enters her third regular session of the Legislature. Political watchers say the session could set the stage for Davis to run for […]

More from the Larry Marshall files

This guy is a piece of work. HISD trustee Larry Marshall, fresh off a two-day school board retreat, flew from Houston to Tampa, Fla., on a clear winter day to watch the 2009 Super Bowl in Raymond James Stadium. Cheap seats for the match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals cost $500 each, […]

One place where a little austerity would do some good

Rick Perry’s slush funds get no love in the opening budgets. The House and Senate’s initial two-year budgets would force Perry’s deal-closing Texas Enterprise Fund to exhaust its last $7 million and throttle back on state film incentives and subsidies for major sporting events. The Emerging Technology Fund, which subsidizes high-tech commercial ventures, would face […]

San Antonio strip club lawsuit

If you’re a lawyer representing strip clubs these days, you sure don’t lack for business. More than a dozen strip clubs have sued the city of San Antonio over amendments to ordinances requiring entertainers to wear bikinis, claiming the changes are another heavy-handed attempt to shut the cabarets down. The federal lawsuit resembles one at […]

January finance reports for Houston offices

Previously, I gave the July campaign finance numbers for Houston elected officials who are eligible for the ballot this fall. Here now are the cash on hand figures from the January reports, with all incumbents and a few assorted extras thrown in: Dist Name Cash on hand ================================= Myr Parker 1,043,827 Ctrl R Green 35,753 […]

Last day of early voting in SD06 today

Today is the last day for early voting in the SD06 special election. Voting has not been terribly brisk so far. Through Monday there have been 7,178 total votes cast. You can see the daily figures here. Monday was a little slow because of MLK Day and no mail ballots arriving – we’ll see if […]

Second attempt at Sunday liquor sales

If at first you don’t succeed. Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson filed a bill last week that proposed liquor stores be allowed to operate seven days a week. Under the current law, liquor stores may operate from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The stores must close on Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day […]

You simply must see us this year

The New York Times commands you. Houston is probably best known as the Texan center for energy and industry, but it’s making a bid to be the state’s cultural and culinary capital as well. The Houston Museum District is a formidable coterie of institutions that includes the Rothko Chapel, the Museum of African American Culture, […]

More on Hall’s announcement

Here’s the full Chron story from the weekend about Ben Hall’s announcement that yes, he really is running for Mayor this year. “Hall is a formidable challenger but is a long shot to unseat the mayor,” University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said in an email. Rottinghaus noted Hall’s funding capability, his vision and […]

Looks like we’ll be waiting on SCOTUS for awhile

Texas Redistricting: The Texas redistricting appeal wasn’t on the list of cases reviewed by the Justices at their screening conference today. With the passage of time – and the case not even being listed for review – the calendar now makes it highly unlikely that the court could take up the case even if it […]

Here come the tax cut proposals

When the sunny revenue forecast came in, we immediately got one crappy tax cut idea, to eliminate the margins tax at a cost of $4.5 billion. The Texas Association of Business didn’t care for the idea, at least at first, but are now warming up to it, because this is what they do. For Bill […]

Yale Street Bridge work set to begin

Good to hear. Work to rehabilitate the Yale Street Bridge south of Interstate 10 is scheduled to begin in April. According to the Houston Department of Public Works and Engineering, the process will involve installation of external carbon-strip reinforcement along the bridge beams, significantly increasing the load-bearing weight of the structure, which now is set […]

Weekend link dump for January 20

Hail to the Chief, it’s the Chief that we are hailing… Woo hoo! Flying cars! About damn time. Google wind. That’s a noun, not a verb. How to not be a menace during cold and flu season. These eight words come in handy in many other contexts as well. The semi-open gay lives of some […]

Some things you can vaccinate against

Saying dumb things isn’t one of them. As the council considered a proposal Wednesday to accept $3.1 million in federal funding for childhood immunizations, Councilman Jack Christie voiced his opposition to the measure, apparently conflating it with flu vaccinations. “I’m going to vote against this,” Christie said before the 15-1 vote. “You don’t die from […]

Who gets the water?

This will be worth watching. A simple idea has guided appropriations of Texas water for decades: First come, first served. Now, with drought conditions returning to almost the entire state, the principle is being put to the test by a fight over water in the Brazos River. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is withholding […]

Green batteries

This is very cool. In one more step of a global effort to develop greener battery technology, researchers at Rice University say they have found a way to replace a costly metallic component in lithium-ion batteries with material from a common plant. While many of today’s lithium-ion batteries incorporate cobalt, which has to be mined […]

The Eagle Ford Shale UFO

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a UFO! Strange things are afoot in the South Texas oil patch and in the sky above. In a region that’s seen its tax rolls and traffic problems swell from the scores of new residents, could extraterrestrials be the next wave? Roughnecks working […]

Saturday video break: No More I Love Yous

Song #35 on the Popdose Top 100 Covers list is “No More I Love Yous”, originally by The Lover Speaks and covered by Annie Lennox. Here’s the original: I’m familiar with the song because we have the Annie Lennox CD that contains the featured cover version, but that’s the only version of the song I’d […]

Cornyn says relax, we won’t do it

Texas’ senior Senator reassures us that Republicans won’t destroy the global economy in order to gain political leverage. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip, said in Houston Thursday that Congress will not allow an impasse over raising the debt ceiling to result in the federal government defaulting on its spending obligations. “We will […]

Alexan Heights on Yale

If you live in my neck of the woods you’re probably interested in the news (via Swamplot) of the new apartment complex being planned for the empty lot on Yale between 6th and 7th. The RUDH January newsletter has details. Trammel Crow Residential is planning its first project in the Heights, at the corner of […]

The epic fail of utility deregulation

Surely no one is surprised by this. The winners and losers in the nation’s wave of utility deregulation are clear. The winners? Shareholders and executives. The losers? Customers and workers. Over a decade of deregulation, the frequency and duration of outages have crept up, maintenance of aging infrastructure has been deferred, line workers have been […]

Friday random ten: Inauguration 2

It’s Inauguration 2 Weekend for President Obama. Here are a few suggested songs for the party playlist. 1. Back Where You Started – Tina Turner 2. Starting All Over Again – Mel & Tim 3. Serious Business – John Mellencamp 4. Work To Do – The Isley Brothers 5. Still Crazy After All These Years […]

Hall is in

It’s on. Former Houston City Attorney Benjamin L. Hall III announced his candidacy for mayor Wednesday, choosing a slogan of “Hall for All!” and emphasizing his ability to unite people. Hall said he filed a form designating a campaign treasurer late Tuesday, the first formal step in his bid to unseat Annise Parker this fall. […]

Dewhurst and Nelson push Medicaid reform

I’m reserving judgment on this for now. Lt. Gov David Dewhurst and Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, on Wednesday touted Senate proposals they say would bring down spending on Medicaid, the state’s health program for the poor, by instituting quality-based payment reforms for long-term care services and measures to catch Medicaid fraud and abuse. “Our […]

Where are the doctors?

The Morning News tries to verify that the Dallas-area providers listed for the new Texas Women’s Health Program are in fact providing health care services to the women in this program as advertised. It goes about as well as you’d expect. A Dallas Morning News survey of 336 contacts listed online for the program showed […]

City pension funds make their case

This deserves more visibility than it’s gotten. Representatives of Houston’s three employee pension boards told a Houston City Council committee Monday that the sky is not falling and pleaded with council members to be patient in examining the city’s pension obligations. The presentations from the firefighters’ pension, the municipal employees’ pension and the police pension […]

January reports for SD06 candidates

Stace beat me to the punch in reporting on the January campaign finance reports for SD06, so I’ll have to one up him by being more obsessive thorough in bringing the numbers. So here we go. Seven of the eight candidates filed a January report for the race. Susan Delgado was the lone exception, but […]

Abbott’s millions

If there’s one thing Attorney General Greg Abbott is good at, it’s accumulating money. Fueling growing speculation of a bid for the Texas Governor’s Mansion, Attorney General Greg Abbott reported Tuesday he has amassed a campaign war chest of $18 million, three times the amount claimed by incumbent Gov. Rick Perry. While both men publicly […]

Like it or not, Obamacare is coming to Texas

The Better Texas blog reminds us that as the Affordable Care Act fully kicks in next year there are things that need to be done in Texas to be compliant [W]hat I hope to see are bills that prepare Texas for 2014 market changes to help keep premiums reasonable, encourage competition, and ensure that the […]

One more election for 2013

There will be another special election in November to replace a departing member of the HCC Board of Trustees. The Houston Community College board will have two new faces after trustee Richard Schechter submitted his resignation and Mary Ann Perez was elected to the state House. HCC trustees will swear in former trustee Herlinda Garcia […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 14

The Texas Progressive Alliance is digging in for another long legislative session as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Meet the new budget

Same as the old budget. Republican leaders in both chambers of the Legislature on Monday offered spare first drafts of the state’s next two-year budget that continue $5.4 billion in cuts to public education made last session and freeze funding for an embattled state agency set up to find a cure for cancer. Upending recent […]

Baby Bush ready to claim his birthright

Perhaps we should just skip straight to the coronation once George P. Bush figures out what office he wants. George Prescott Bush is gearing up to run for a little-known but powerful office in a state where his family already is a political dynasty and where his Hispanic roots could help extend a stranglehold on […]

Mental health court coup

Interesting. Citing problems with the administration of Harris County’s mental health court, a board of judges has ousted the court’s founder and presiding judge, Jan Krocker, officials confirmed Friday. “There were a lot of valid complaints about Judge Krocker’s administration of the court, and she didn’t like the idea of oversight,” said Michael McSpadden, Houston’s […]