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October 27th, 2017:

Friday random ten: Black and blue, part 2

My odds are stacked/I’ll go back to black

1. Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall
2. Black Is The Color – SixMileBridge
3. Black Lipstick – Chicano Batman
4. Black Magic – Little Mix
5. Black Night – Deep Purple
6. Black Rain – Fastball
7. Black Water – The Doobie Brothers
8. Black Widow – Michelle Shocked
9. Black Widow – Iggy Azalea
10. Black Woman – Fred Anderson Quartet

Has anyone done a good cover version of “Black Water”? I feel like someone should have, but if they have I don’t know about it. Iggy Azalea’s “Black Widow” is not a cover of Michelle Shocked’s, though I bet that would have been interesting. We need more good cover songs, that’s what I’m saying.

Ken Paxton is officially running for re-election

In case you missed it.

Best mugshot ever

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will seek re-election as he fights three criminal indictments that are expected to go to trial next year.

Paxton, who was expected to run again despite his legal woes, made it official in an email to his supporters Wednesday.

“Without a doubt, it’s been my greatest honor to serve the people of Texas as your Attorney General,” wrote Paxton, a Republican. “Much has been accomplished since I took office three years ago, but there’s much more to be done.”

[…]

About six months into the job as the state’s top lawyer, Paxton was indicted on three counts of violating state securities laws. He’s accused of duping two men, including outgoing Corsicana Republican Rep. Byron Cook, into investing in a failing North Texas technology company and of failing to register with the state while acting as an investment adviser representative.

The more serious of the charges, the two first-degree felonies, carry a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison and tens of thousands in fines.

Paxton denies all the allegations, which he says are politically motivated, and has twice defeated similar charges lobbed against him by the federal governmentHe is scheduled to go on trial for the lesser of the three charges sometime next year.

The Republican primary election will take place in March. Paxton has not drawn a challenger.

Paxton is also being investigated for accepting a $100,000 gift from a man who settled a multi-million dollar Medicaid fraud case with the state. That bribery probe is expected to wrap up soon.

See here and here for more on the bribery investigation, which may turn out to be nothing, or may turn into a raging inferno that consumes him. No one has announced a candidacy on the Democratic side yet, though I know some people have been sniffing around this, and I fully expect someone will step forward. And who knows? Independent of any considerations about the prevailing political atmosphere in 2018, whoever that is may just get lucky.

Curbside recycling will resume November 13

Hooray!

Houstonians stockpiling cardboard and aluminum cans, rejoice: the city will resume curbside recycling service next month.

Recycling service has been suspended since Aug. 30, when city waste crews dropped all efforts other than weekly trash pickup to focus on removing the thousands of piles of debris resulting from Hurricane Harvey.

Residents wondering whether their service will start the week of Nov. 13 – the “B” schedule – or Nov. 20 – the “A” schedule – can visit the Solid Waste Management Department’s website and click the “City Services Info Viewer” link.

[…]

Homeowners are reminded not to place any of Harvey debris in their 96-gallon green recycling bins, and also to keep glass out of the containers.

Pending the selection of a new recycling processer – an effort that was scrapped earlier this summer after council members questioned the procurement process – residents are stuck taking glass to any of the city’s six neighborhood drop-off sites or the Westpark recycling center.

See here for the background. Everything you need to know is here, so click over and remind yourself of the dos and don’ts, as well as the schedule. I’m just delighted to have a little piece of normality restored. Click2Houston has more.

2017 EV daily report: Just remember, the reports we get are all of Harris County

Here are today’s numbers, and here are the daily totals from previous years:

2015

2013

2011

2009

2007

And here’s a select comparison:


Year    Early    Mail    Total   Mailed
=======================================
2017   11,953   7,513   19,466   19,581
2015   36,322  19,789   56,111   42,520
2011   10,818   3,823   14,641   13,697
2007    8,080   3,126   11,206   12,775

So 2011 appears to be the closest comparison so far. That might imply a much higher level of turnout than what I’ve been suggesting, but I’m not prepared to believe that yet. The main reason for this is that less than 40% of the vote was cast early in 2011, and I seriously doubt that’s what we’re going to get this time. Odd year elections skew more towards Election Day and less towards early voting than even year elections – in 2015, just over half of the vote was cast early – but I think this year we will see a higher percentage of the vote cast early. The message from the County Clerk is to take advantage of the early voting period because a number of polling sites are unavailable thanks to Harvey, and I think people will heed that. We’ll take our guesses about that later in the EV period, but for now just keep that in mind. 2017 may be a bit ahead of 2011 in early voting, but I suspect that’s because more people will be voting early than usual.

It should also be noted that these reports encompass all of Harris County, so some of those numbers above are not for Houston or HISD. I’ve gone through this exercise before, but let’s review the percentage of county turnout that was in Houston in these elections:


Year   Harris  Houston   Share
==============================
2015  421,460  268,872   63.8%
2013  260,437  174,620   67.0%
2011  164,971  121,468   73.6%
2009  257,312  178,777   69.5%
2007  193,945  123,413   63.6%
2005  332,154  189,046   56.9%
2003  374,459  298,110   79.6%

“Share” is just simply the percentage of the county vote that came from Houston. There’s a big span here, but that comes with an asterisk, because the conditions were not the same each year. For example, in 2015 and 2007, Harris County had bond elections in addition to the state constitutional amendments. In 2005, the notorious state anti-gay marriage referendum was on the ballot, which coupled with a non-competitive Mayoral election meant a much larger county share. Finally, in 2003 there was the Metro referendum, which covered all of the county. There were also no state constitutional amendments on the ballot, as those had been voted on in September, to enhance the odds of the tort “reform” amendment passing.

Bottom line, with boring constitutional amendments on the ballot, I’d suggest that county/city ratio will be like the other years, which is to say between 67 and 73 percent. Let’s say 70%, just to split the difference. That’s another thing we’ll have to take into account when we do our projections later on.