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Posts from ‘September, 2017’

Saturday video break: Ship of Fools

I give you Bob Seger and his amazing 70’s-era hair: If we must have a musician from Michigan run for the US Senate, shouldn’t it by right be Bob Seger? I’m pretty sure it should. A different song by this name is a Grateful Dead standard, and while I don’t have that in my library, […]

Houston gets state recovery funds, property tax rate hike shelved

Was that so hard? I ask you. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The exchange came as the mayor and governor held a joint City Hall […]

What should the people living near the dams have known?

More than they were told, is what they’re saying. A federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims government officials knew for years that water impounded behind Addicks and Barker dams would flood thousands of suburban homes during an extreme storm – and yet did nothing to advise or compensate property owners. The […]

Harris County files lawsuit against Arkema

More trouble for that nasty and troublesome chemical plant. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday authorized the county attorney to file a lawsuit against Arkema over its struggles to manage stores of hazardous chemicals during Hurricane Harvey. The county’s Pollution Control Services Department found serious violations of the Texas Clean Air Act by Arkema, County […]

Huffman gets a Republican challenger

This is definitely one to watch. Kristin Tassin, the president of the Fort Bend ISD Board of Trustees, is running against state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, in the 2018 GOP primary. “I’m officially running,” Tassin told The Texas Tribune on Thursday. “The final decision really came down to the fact that the state Legislature is […]

Friday random ten: Big talker, part 1

This list is so big it will take three weeks to get through it. 1. Big Balls – AC/DC 2. Big Bang Theory Theme – Barenaked Ladies 3. Big Bangs, Black Holes, Meteorites – Love Is All 4. Big Blue Sky – Sandra McCracken 5. Big Bottom – Hayseed Dixie 6. The Big Country – […]

Abbott says he wants a list from Turner

A list of funding priorities, he says. Because he’s passive like that. Answering Houston’s latest complaints over funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday told Mayor Sylvester Turner the state can step up with more money as soon as the city gets a list of its top needs to the state. […]

Can our dams handle the load?

Pretty important question, wouldn’t you say? The state climatologist is warning that Texas dams will become less able to withstand extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey, which are expected to occur more frequently as the earth’s atmosphere and oceans warm in coming years. Dams are designed with a wide margin of safety and are meant […]

Ken Paxton REALLY wants your “sanctuary complaints”

What could possibly go wrong? Texans who suspect their elected or appointed officials of enforcing policies that protect undocumented immigrants can now file an official complaint with the office of the state’s top prosecutor. Attorney General Ken Paxton on Tuesday announced his office is accepting sworn complaints against “sanctuary” jurisdictions that prohibit local police from […]

Texas was a hacking target in 2016

We’re just finding out about this now? Hackers targeted Texas and 20 other states prior to the 2016 presidential election, the United States Department of Homeland Security has formally informed the states. But the hackers who tried to mess with Texas didn’t get far, officials with the Texas Secretary of State’s office said Monday. The […]

Harris County considers its budget post-Harvey

They have some choices, and some constraints. Harris County government departments could see their budgets reduced by up to 5 percent as property taxes take an expected dip due to Hurricane Harvey’s widespread destruction. The estimate is preliminary, County Budget Officer Bill Jackson said Friday. The extent of an anticipated decrease in property tax revenues […]

Don’t expect any further redistricting activity this year

Michael Li explains it all to you. In one-line orders today (here and here), the Supreme Court rejected a request by plaintiffs in the Texas redistricting case that the Supreme Court expedite appeals by the State of Texas. The plaintiffs’ requests would have sped up the cases by having the parties forgo the filing of […]

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges our government to take utmost care of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Interview with Sean Cheben

We come to the end of my interviews in HISD Trustee District V, to succeed the outgoing Mike Lunceford. There are four candidates in the race but i have done three interviews, which is mostly a reflection of how much time I have available. Today’s candidate is Sean Cheben, a Houston native and Clear Creek […]

Abbott has no interest in helping Houston

So much for that. If the state taps into the Rainy Day Fund to help with recovery following Hurricane Harvey, it won’t be until the next legislative session, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Tuesday. Abbott’s announcement comes after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote to the governor asking the state to use the […]

CCA stays Paxton prosecutor pay ruling

A bit of sanity at last, though we’re not out of the woods yet. Texas’ highest criminal court has stepped into the long-running dispute over the prosecutors’ pay in the securities fraud case against Attorney General Ken Paxton, putting on hold a lower-court ruling that voided a six-figure invoice. In a decision Monday, the Court […]

Hyperloop versus high-speed rail

I’ve been pondering whether our state is big enough for two high speed land-based forms of transportation, and I think the answer is “yes, at least for now”. The Hyperloop is nearly twice as fast as Texas Central’s High-Speed Rail project already in the works to connect Houston and Dallas. To boot, the lightning-quick travel […]

Interview with Sue Deigaard

We continue with interviews of candidates who seek to win the HISD Trustee seat held by the retiring Mike Lunceford. Sue Deigaard was the first member of her family to go to college, receiving two degrees from Rice University. She has a long record of volunteer service as a parent representative on HISD’s District Advisory […]

Fifth Circuit partially unblocks SB4

Terrible. A panel of three appellate judges ruled on Monday that parts of the state’s immigration enforcement legislation, Senate Bill 4, can go into effect while the case plays out on appeal. Last month, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia halted the part of the bill that requires jail officials to honor all detainers. He also […]

A couple of race updates

The county slate is one step closer to being filled out for 2018, as Josh Wallenstein has announced his intent to run for the HCDE At Large Position 3 Trustee seat that Diane Trautman is giving up to challenge Stan Stanart. I had a brief chat with Wallenstein via Facebook over the weekend, but as […]

Interview with Kara DeRocha

We move now to another district with a retiring Trustee. Mike Lunceford has served District V for two terms, and despite some confusion at the end of last year about his intentions, has decided to call it a career as a member of the HISD Board. Four candidates are vying to succeed him, and I […]

Has Harvey changed anything politically?

You’d think it would, but it remains to be seen as far as I’m concerned. A month to the day after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, the reality of the storm was beginning to sink in on the minds of politicians, policy makers and advocates bracing for a long recovery. In short, any political […]

Mostyn talks storm lawsuits

The Texas Tribune interviews Steve Mostyn, leading litigator in matters relating to storm damage, about what to expect after Harvey. TT: How will HB 1774 impact people after Harvey? MOSTYN: When you lower the penalties … if you lower them down to almost nothing and make it difficult for people to hire lawyers, then the […]

Weekend link dump for September 24

I guess this means my kids are Generation Z. I can already hear them rolling their eyes. How young is too young to take public transit by yourself? “In a just world, the name of Joseph De Laine would already be familiar to South Carolinians.” Basically, everything about this. Just go read it. “It is […]

Can anyone beat Greg Abbott?

It’s early days and all that, but the evidence at hand now isn’t positive. The reason for that is fairly simple. A poll circulating among the state’s Democratic leadership—which I was given on the agreement that I would not identify its source, but I have confirmed the information with additional Democratic operatives—shows Abbott is currently […]

What will we do with the hardest hit schools?

The Houston area was inundated by floods during Harvey. As bad as that was and is, we weren’t affected by the wind. The coastal region is dealing with that, and it’s a very tough road they have ahead of them. Hundreds of students languish at home, still out of school weeks after Hurricane Harvey made […]

The Sports Authority at 20

A few stadia, a little mission creep. Where has the time gone? As the Harris County Houston Sports Authority celebrated its 20th anniversary Monday night with a reception for current and former directors and board members, it moves into its third decade as a considerably different agency than the one that came into being in […]

Saturday video break: She’s No Lady

Here’s national treasure Lyle Lovett: You’ll have to ask him if he wrote that about Julia Roberts. In the meantime, here’s Lou Rawls: Also a national treasure. You might be able to get away with having this song dedicated to your wife if she hears Lou Rawls singing it.

Fifth Circuit hears SB4 injunction arguments

Big day in court. The immediate future of Texas’ immigration enforcement law hinges on whether a three-judge panel in New Orleans was swayed Friday by the state’s attorneys that the legislation is essential to public safety and should not have been partially blocked by a federal judge days before it was scheduled to go into effect. Attorneys on both […]

Let’s review those flood control regulations

Seems like a good idea, wouldn’t you say? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to review Harris County’s flood control regulations to gauge whether they sufficiently neutralize the flood risk posed by the region’s booming development, a question that has drawn increasing scrutiny after a series of storms in recent years, capped by […]

Ruby Polanco

This happened late last month, and kind of got lost in the Harvey fallout. A year after Ruby Polanco first noticed that the San Antonio Independent School District’s non-discrimination statement for students and employees didn’t mention gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation, the 17-year-old won her first policy victory. Polanco submitted a petition and […]

Friday random ten: Better than that

Because “better” comes after “best” in the dictionary. 1. Better – Kim Carnes 2. Better Be Good To Me – Tina Tuner 3. Better Days – Bruce Springsteen 4. Better In Stereo – Dove Cameron 5. Better Love – Robert Johnson 6. A Better Man I’ll Be – Larkin 7. Better Off Dub – Rupert […]

Mayor Turner lowers tax rate hike amount

I’m sure we’re all glad to see this. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday said the temporary property tax rate hike he has proposed would be cut in half after federal officials approved his request to increase reimbursement for the city’s Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Turner earlier this month had pitched an 8.9 percent increase for […]

Judgmental

The only bench this guy should be allowed on is a park bench. Jeff Mateer, a high-ranking official in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office who President Donald Trump has nominated for a federal judgeship, said in speeches in 2015 that transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan” and argued same-sex marriage would open the […]