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HPOU files first Prop B lawsuit

And away we go.

Courthouse officials were scrambling to find a judge Friday afternoon to hear a lawsuit by the Houston Police Officers Union against the city of Houston and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association, that seeks an immediate halt to implementation of a voter-approved ballot initiative that would give Houston firefighters “pay parity” to police officers of similar status.

The lawsuit, filed midday Friday in the 234th state district civil court, seeks to block “Proposition B,” arguing it amounts to an unconstitutional amendment to Houston’s charter, and was void from the start. After hearing initial argument by the police union lawyer to put on the brakes, State District Judge Wesley Ward indicated to lawyers he planned to recuse himself and needed to find another judge in the building who could take over.

Ward, a Republican who was voted out last month on the same ballot with Proposition B, reportedly told attorneys in chambers he had a conflict of interest because he planned to join a law firm where one of the attorneys on the case works.

[…]

The 25-page suit argues that the pay-parity charter amendment is unconstitutional because it “is preempted by and directly conflicts” with state law requiring that firefighters be paid to comparable private sector employment, as well as posing an “irreconcilable conflict” with state law because it ties firefighter compensation to those of other public sector employees, and further conflicts with state law because the two professions do not require “the same or similar skills, ability, and training.”

The measure “undermines and interferes with HPOU’s right to collectively bargain, because both HPOU and the City are forced to consider the economic effect of a third-party’s interjecting interests,” according to the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s attorneys also argued that the requirements of Prop B put the HPOU in the position of representing firefighters who had not chosen the union to represent them and who do not have the same responsibilities as police.

The suit also argues that Prop B runs contrary to local government code mandates that say police and fire departments are “separate collective bargaining units unless they voluntarily join together” for collective bargaining with a public employer.

Well, I don’t know what the city’s lawyers will tell them, but clearly HPOU’s attorneys are not hesitating. The ordinance that Council passed to accommodate Prop B is set to take effect on January 1, so I presume the cops are seeking to get a judge to put it on hold pending the litigation. That’s usually the way these things work. We’ll see now if the city joins this lawsuit or files their own; I presume the latter, though most likely in the end the two will be combined. December is already shaping up to be quite the month.

UPDATE: That was quick:

A state district judge Friday evening granted a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of a voter-approved charter amendment requiring the city of Houston to grant its firefighters “pay parity” with police officers of similar rank and experience.

State District Judge Kristen Brauchle Hawkins granted the TRO Friday night at the request of the Houston Police Officers Union, which filed a lawsuit earlier in the day against the city and the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association. The judge set a hearing for Dec. 14.

The fire union opposed the TRO request, but lawyers for the city did not.

Buckle up, y’all.

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17 Comments

  1. Manny Barrera says:

    I will make a prediction today. If Turner gets quality opposition he will be the first one term Mayor in a very long time. With 4 years terms makes no sense for someone to wait to run against him.

  2. Jason Hochman says:

    They should have had a referendum for a physical fitness parity. Make the police have the same fitness standards as the fire fighters. Not sure why the police union is so upset. The police can now wear short sleeves and show off their ink, like they are Motley Crue. I hope the next chief will put a stop to that.

  3. Julian Deleon says:

    Council Members who voted against the lawsuit:

    1) Karla Cisneros – Most vulnerable related to reelection
    2) Dwight Boykins
    3) Greg Travis
    4) Jack Christie – Term limited
    5) Mike Knox
    6) Michael Kubosh
    7) Brenda Stardig – Term limited

  4. Steve Houston says:

    Manny, wouldn’t that hold true for any candidate running for any office? Given so many of the jokers that run are oblivious to reality, is it any wonder that so few people vote? I’ll be the first to admit that Mayor Turner has spent considerable political capital fighting Prop B, he did likewise helping pass pension reforms against the wishes of city employees too, but just about everyone agreed it needed to be done. But ultimately, shouldn’t we be electing people to do the right thing over the popular thing a lot more often? As far as making no sense to wait, Turner still has a considerable campaign war chest and the ability to raise a lot more than most. If the worse albatross hanging over his head is some disgruntled city employees, he’s looking better than some care to realize.

    Jason, while I’m not sure what tattoos have to do with an individual’s ability to serve as a firefighter, a cop, or any other job, the police union made it clear as to why they were upset. This parity measure is one sided and doesn’t consider all forms of compensation & work conditions. I questioned their standing to sue awhile back when they made the threat but as Manny pointed out, that’s for the courts to decide, not us. As far as fitness to perform a job is concerned, I vividly remember a number of times when firefighters loudly proclaimed women shouldn’t be given double standards to work in their field yet I can’t recall a single instance where it mattered in practice.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve, did you not make fun of me when I said that the HPD union would file suit? Yes you did.

    Mormon had quite a large war chest also, didn’t he Steve.

    Steve, I don’t recall you being right about anything. Even the HPOU lawsuit does not say 100 million. Fact is they have no idea, neither did Turner.

    Turner has much more than one thing, against him. Water leaks taking weeks to be repaired, and there are other things that the City is not taking care off. Need to see how many thing are outstanding?

    http://mycity.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=cb3c94a31dfa489f9a8872ffe04cda25

    Murder

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/investigations/unsolved-homicide-database/?city=houston&utm_term=.8ef213a5a0a7

    Steve you write will, but your research or lack thereof is lacking.

    I could go on, but it ain’t a one trick pony.

  6. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve, did you not make fun of me when I said that the HPD union would file suit? Yes you did.

    Mormon had quite a large war chest also, didn’t he Steve.

    Steve, I don’t recall you being right about anything. Even the HPOU lawsuit does not say 100 million. Fact is they have no idea, neither did Turner.

    Turner has much more than one thing, against him. Water leaks taking weeks to be repaired, and there are other things that the City is not taking care off. Need to see how many thing are outstanding?

    http://mycity.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=cb3c94a31dfa489f9a8872ffe04cda25

  7. Manny Barrera says:

    I have to post more than once, otherwise the comment does not post

    Murder

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/investigations/unsolved-homicide-database/?city=houston&utm_term=.8ef213a5a0a7

    Steve you write will, but your research or lack thereof is lacking.

    I could go on, but it ain’t a one trick pony.

  8. Steve Houston says:

    Manny, I did not make fun of you when you suggested it would happen, I merely questioned what standing they had to sue. That was presented in Kuff’s article # 88608. I am not alone in asking that question either but you can remember it any way you like as that is on you. As far as my track record is concerned, you’ve been so obsessed with Trump and racial issues that you simply ignored anything you didn’t agree with. You might recall where I said many in the GOP would fall on their sword before allowing Obama’s Dreamer Act to continue, where I pointed out the cameras the cops now use would be used against citizens much more frequently than cops, or any of the other times when I was correct.

    As far as the next mayoral election is concerned, those who have already announced they would run seem to be gadflies at best. That doesn’t mean Turner is a lock for the position but my question to you above seems reasonable, don’t quality opponents typically fare better? Are you denying the edge incumbency gives candidates most of the time? Do you think a Republican opponent (setting aside that city elections are non-partisan) is going to do well in the increasingly Democrat city? Don’t you think Turner’s campaign funds and ability to raise such funds helps him? Do you think his political party is going to push anyone else for the spot or that the GOP is going to throw money away for the first time in ages at a city election? These are valid points whether you like them or not and if you think adding another large chunk of expenses (be it King’s estimate of 80-something million or Turner’s 100+) is going to make repairing roads any easier, there’s nothing much more to say.

    Regarding murder rates from 2007 to 2017, keep in mind that Turner became mayor in 2016 so most of that has nothing to do with him, his continued insistence that the city needs more cops instead of using the existing staff with better prioritization a debatable point. And if you go to the 311 page, you will find that the bulk of 311 requests were handled quickly. So compare him to a Republican during a Democrat sweep or just hate on him for whatever reasons you like, it will be an uphill battle for anyone else to win the election from him.

  9. Manny Barrera says:

    I keep forgetting more than one link an the comment may disappear in the unknown internet never to surface again.

    Steve you are good at one think, attacking me, because I point out how you are wrong most of the time. Even Trump is right some of the time.

    Think that Bill King is the only one looking at running at mayor? Your ignorance is showing again, https://www.click2houston.com/news/newsmakers-for-dec-2-harris-county-judge-ed-emmett-on-election-day-loss-future

  10. Manny Barrera says:

    Bill King 104,125
    Turner 104,711

    Gadflies, you have no idea what you write about Steve. Throw in Emmett and he siphons some vote off Turner.

    If they are smart like Bob Lanier, they will find a strong African American to run also, and Turner may not even make it to the run-off.

    So Steve you stick to what you can do attack someone that knows more than you do.

    Be like that smart old owl Steve. Speak or write less and hear and learn more, otherwise you keep publishing your ignorance for the world.

  11. Steve Houston says:

    Manny, aside from Ed living in West University, he specifically stated he was not going to run for Mayor. If that is your idea of research, by all means, keep at it. Otherwise, Tony Buzbee has announced-you may have read it here if you were paying attention, he might be notable to you for holding fundraisers for Trump. The other person that has announced to run is a wrestler, Booker T., call them whatever you like but gadfly seems fair. Note that with less than a year away, King hasn’t announced another run and I never mentioned him as a contender above; if you know something, by all means let the rest of us in on it. I think Buzbee would take away more votes from King than Booker would take from Turner but I’d rather see Kubosh run.

    That being said, where do you get the impression that I’m “attacking” you? You claimed yesterday that I made fun of you on 12/2 and for the life of me, I don’t see how a rational person could claim that. Then you claim my last comment attacked you when I merely pointed out some of the specific advantages Turner has in his next run for Mayor. It doesn’t bother me that you couldn’t answer the genuine questions posed but why you took them as an attack is curious to me. Turner is not invulnerable but your dismissive attitude seems to reflect wishful thinking more than anything else.

  12. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. Mosbacher lived in West U. We have two at large and at least 2 district Council Members that did not reside in Houston, until they did.

    But please keep posting, but why make it personal, you keep it up I make consider it stalking and have to report you to the City.

    You do know that you called me irrational above, right? You had no genuine questions, you seldom do, you make statement that often are not true.

    You forgot to mention, King, he is keeping a blog going for a reason. While I did initiate the conversation this time, you normally begin. How much research have you done on me Steve? Why? Are you using City equipment for the research?

    It would not surprise me if Orlando runs for mayor.

    Turner barely won last time, what he is doing is stupid. I voted for him, but I will reconsider this next election.

  13. Manny Barrera says:

    I will leave it at that. I don’t mind discussing things and every one is entitled to opinions. But you went out way beyond, by posting what I used to do, by posting my name when I was not using it. That is not normal Steve, that is stalking.

  14. Steve Houston says:

    Manny, you’re such a card. You became a public figure when you ran for office and now you’re trying to reinvent stalking because another regular on a popular political forum dares to find fault with a few of your comments. Now you’re trying to reinvent history, first claiming I’m currently making fun of you, then I’m somehow attacking you yet unable to come up with just how I’m doing it. So if you don’t like my wondering how a rational person could arrive at the same conclusions as you, feel free to fill in the blanks.

    As far as Ed, beside that fact that he claimed he couldn’t run for the mayoral position because he lives in West University, he also clearly stated he had no intention of running for the spot. For all your supposed research, you might want to watch the videos you post as it would further the discussion.

    As far as Mr. King is concerned, his blog is well known for criticizing everything Turner or someone at the city does, not for providing better solutions. You may recall that his primary solution for fixing the pension problem when he ran last time was to issue large amounts of debt. His solution to fix the streets and infrastructure was also to issue large amounts of debt. He then lost the race and what did he complain about Turner doing to help fix the pensions? That’s right, he complained about the much smaller amount of debt Turner used than his plan had offered. Until his blog focuses on better solutions than just criticisms, he’s probably better off not announcing for any elected offices. If you find either of the announced candidates worth your vote, please share why.

    Now that Sanchez has been kicked out of office by the voters, an office he claimed he was going to close down as part of his initial run, I don’t see him moving from the more conservative friendly county to the more liberal friendly city and winning but maybe he and Buzbee, or King, can fight it out for second place (again for Sanchez or King).

    I will agree with you on one point though. If Turner’s sole concern was getting elected to a second, final term, fighting to keep city finances in order versus the popular firefighters was a stupid move. People have shown they don’t care about city finances by electing the same types of candidates repeatedly while just about everyone likes HFD. So don’t be a hater Manny, Turner winning or losing the next election won’t be the end of the world; if there is a better candidate running for office next time, I hope that person wins.

  15. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve when I was using a made up name, like you are doing now, I was not running for office. You are who you are a one trick pony that uses made up facts to support your opinion.

    I don’t make up history, you do, what a small person you must be. But that is easy come out and post who you really are so everyone will know.

    As to Emmett running or not running only time will tell, I think he has a good chance of winning.

    Bill King is a credible opponent to Turner, he got too close to the Republicans which probably hurt him enough.

    Turner is beatable.

    There is your way to look at what King proposed, the other is that Turner saw that it worked and used King’s idea. Like many solutions there is no clear black and white.

    You don’t understand campaigns or politics and I doubt that you will ever be able to grasp the concepts. Try reading the prince ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prince ) and studying how people are manipulated.

    Houston consists of different groups with different backgrounds and certainly as to what government should do. No one person or group can easily manipulate all of them. The last mayor to do that was Lanier. He beat Turner after getting Whitmire out, she was the incumbent.

    So why do you hate fireman/women so much Steve and love the Mayor so much?

  16. Manny Barrera says:

    Steve want some proof that I tell the truth and you tell lies,

    http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=83056

    How do you respond to neither here nor there,

    Answer: Manny

    Question: What was the purpose?

    Steve, I consider you a stalker, whether I am right or not, that is my opinion.

  17. Steve Houston says:

    Manny, your personal interpretation of anything doesn’t bother me, it’s just another means of you trying to rewrite history. If you read that thread, we started out largely in agreement and were having a cordial exchange until you do what you so often do; anyone reading it will see so easily. That being said, if you mention me by name or take to a public political forum in general, why do you show surprise that I might respond if I see the comment? If that is stalking, boy howdy are there a lot of stalkers on this website.

    “Steve when I was using a made up name, like you are doing now, I was not running for office. You are who you are a one trick pony that uses made up facts to support your opinion.” Manny, perhaps you forgot about the time you ran for the spot on the Houston Community College board? Look at the dates of your application and that posting of mine you linked, Kuff has covered these races in the past in case you forgot again….lol

    Otherwise, Ed specifically ruled out running for the Mayors spot in the clip you provided. You can spin it any way you like but that was not some second hand PR flack, it was the man directly. King has not uttered a peep as of yet so we are left with a wrestler and a colorful lawyer who have announced, both considered gadflies in political circles. But if you read what is written, I not only mentioned some of Turner’s strengths but his vulnerabilities for the race, he just has not yet had any real competition announce. How that translates into me being his cheerleader is like many of your other opinions, a mystery no one cares to solve.

    But to deny King campaigned on issuing tons of debt to fix things and then later seeing the man denounce Turner/City Council all the time for issuing much smaller amounts as part of a solution to a long standing problem, well, that’s just another one of your forgetful moments where you apply a double standard to people that you don’t like. It’s too early to say whether a quality opponent will run against Turner but I hope anyone who runs will have quality ideas this time and convey them to the public. I’m not talking about Joe’s wacky wish list either.

    PS: I never claimed to be an expert and if you’re offended that your writing style is so easily deciphered by someone, perhaps that falls on you.