Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Annise Parker’

HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing after an 11th-hour decision not to call in major reinforcements to face the catastrophic storm. […]

Lawsuit filed over untested rape kits

This could be a big deal. A former Houston woman is suing the City of Houston and a long list of current and former mayors and police chiefs for failing to investigate a backlog of more than 6,000 untested rape kits, and not identifying her attacker as a man who had been in a national […]

Pastoral malignancy

Know your enemy. A day before the Texas Legislature ended its special session this week, a session that included a high-profile fight over a “bathroom bill” that appeared almost certainly dead, David Welch had a message for Gov. Greg Abbott: call lawmakers back to Austin. Again. For years, Welch, executive director of the Texas Pastor […]

Houston city employees file their own lawsuit (again) on spousal benefits

A shame it’s had to come to this, but this is where we are. On Thursday, three married couples from Houston filed a lawsuit in federal court aimed at forcing the city to preserve health coverage and other benefits for same-sex spouses of city employees. That’s because, despite the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Obergefell […]

Lina Hidalgo for Harris County Judge

From the inbox, our first announced candidate for Harris County Judge: Today, Lina Hidalgo, a young, Harvard and Stanford-educated immigrant, announces her candidacy for Harris County Judge, the top seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court. Ms. Hidalgo and her family fled Colombia in the height of the drug war, and arrived in Houston after […]

EcoHub sues over OneBin failure

All right. Continuing the saga that has unfolded at City Hall — in which City Council members have said a deal with one company “smelled,” and in which another company, EcoHub, claims Mayor Sylvester Turner snubbed him out of the whole process — EcoHub is now suing the city to find out what happened. EcoHub […]

July 2017 campaign finance reports – City of Houston

Let’s continue our survey of campaign finance reports with reports from the city of Houston. Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ================================================ Turner 520,430 138,068 0 1,643,519 Stardig 59,470 36,402 0 102,289 Davis 5,500 13,231 0 147,050 Cohen 5,000 8,382 0 63,120 Boykins 93,839 40,547 0 57,358 Martin 20,092 8,221 0 106,427 Le 12,250 1,788 […]

There will be no city elections this November

Here’s the early version of the story. I’ll add a link to the full story in the morning. The Texas Supreme Court on Monday denied plantiffs’ attempts to expedite their case challenging the [2015 term limits referendum] ballot language that lengthened city officials’ terms two years ago, making it unlikely the matter will be resolved […]

Recycling deal gets a rough reception at Council

Feisty. Houston City Council members blasted a proposed 20-year recycling deal Tuesday, questioning the $48 million price tag, the process by which the winning bidder was chosen and Turner administration officials’ reluctance to share information about the deal. The proposal on the council’s Wednesday agenda would have Houston send all 65,000 tons of bottles, cans […]

Firefighters’ lawsuit over pension reform law tossed

There it goes. A state district judge on Friday dismissed Houston firefighters’ lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the city’s pension reform package, removing a potential barrier to the city’s efforts to solve a 16-year fiscal crisis. State District Judge Patricia Kerrigan granted the city’s request to dismiss the case while denying firefighters’ motion to temporarily […]

Mayors (still) against climate change

Someone’s gotta do it. On Thursday, President Donald Trump officially announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, citing the deal’s failure “to serve American interests.” Hours later, governors, mayors, and environmental groups all had a different message: We’ll take it from here. “Donald Trump has absolutely chosen the wrong […]

January 2017 campaign finance reports: Houston officeholders

Normally, at this time I would be scanning through Houston candidate campaign finance reports, to see where incumbents stand at the start of the season. Of course, barring near-term court action there is no season for Houston municipal officeholders this year, and unlike past years they have been able to raise money during what had […]

Texas Dems look to 2018

I have a few things to say about this. A tight-knit group of Texas Democratic leaders traveled to the state capital [in late January] to begin preliminary conversations about the 2018 midterm races. According to over a dozen interviews with Texas Democratic insiders and national Democrats with ties to the state, the meeting included some […]

Emmett says he will run for re-election in 2018

Well, this was unexpected. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said Thursday that he plans to seek re-election when his current term is up in 2018, ending speculation that he might step aside after more than a decade at the helm of the nation’s third most-populous county. Emmett, a Republican known for his pragmatic, steady approach, […]

Checking in with Kim Ogg

That’s District Attorney-elect Kim Ogg now. Kim Ogg, still hoarse from shouting over the jubilant victory party crowd after winning her race for Harris County District Attorney, said Wednesday that her first order of business would be to evaluate and secure all of the evidence used in thousands of pending criminal cases. Ogg, who will […]

Jared Woodfill never stops never stopping

Here we go again. Fifteen months after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, anti-LGBT groups in Texas are still fighting the decision. Jonathan Saenz, president of the right-wing lobby group Texas Values, and Houston anti-LGBT activist Jared Woodfill announced Tuesday that they’re again asking the Texas Supreme Court to […]

City loses in appeal against firefighters’ pension statute

Here’s a pension fund-related litigation update for you. Houston can’t overhaul a state-governed firefighter pension system that the mayor claims is pushing the city towards insolvency, a Texas appeals court ruled. Houston sued the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund in January 2014, seeking a declaration that a state law setting how the fund is […]

State Supreme Court declines to hear lawsuit over city’s same-sex partner benefits

I had totally forgotten this was still a thing that was happening. The Texas Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging Houston’s extension of health and life-insurance benefits to same-sex spouses of married employees, calling an apparent end to three years of legal battles over the policy change. Houston began offering employment benefits […]

Looking again for a new justice complex

Got to do something about this sooner or later. Mayor Sylvester Turner has formed a committee to study how to acquire a new police headquarters and courts complex for Houston. Former mayor Annise Parker spent more than two years studying how to replace the city’s aging “justice complex” but ultimately abandoned it without having found […]

Endorsement watch: Labor for Thompson, the Mayor for Miles

From the inbox: The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO today announced their support of Senfronia Thompson for State Senator District 13. “Our unions screened two candidates for Senate District 13 — Representatives Senfronia Thompson and Borris Miles,” said Zeph Capo, President of the Area Labor Federation. “Both candidates have been steadfast allies in […]

Strategizing for the next HERO fight

Good move. Stung by setbacks related to their access to public restrooms, transgender Americans are taking steps to play a more prominent and vocal role in a nationwide campaign to curtail discrimination against them. Two such initiatives are being launched this week — evidence of how transgender rights has supplanted same-sex marriage as the most […]

City wins first round of term limits ballot language lawsuit

It’s round one, of course, but it’s still a win. The ballot language Houston voters used to change term limits for elected officials was “inartful” but not “invalid,” a state district judge ruled Wednesday, a move that nonetheless left the plaintiffs claiming victory ahead of an expected appellate battle. […] Much of the debate before […]

The pros and cons of merging the crime labs

The calls to merge the city and county crime labs are back, but not everyone likes the idea. Merging Houston’s and Harris County’s crime labs, an idea that was rejected several years ago by the city’s mayor when forensic work was shifted from the police department to a new independent agency, is getting a fresh […]

Prepping for the city budget

Mayor Turner gives a brief preview of what is to come. Mayor Sylvester Turner said Friday that he expects to lay off 40 city employees and eliminate 54 vacant positions as he seeks to close a budget shortfall of as much as $160 million, his first public estimate of the personnel reductions required to balance […]

RIP, One Bin For All

It had a good run, but at the very least the timing was all wrong. The One Bin For All program would let Houstonians throw all trash in the same bin, to be separated for recycling later. The hope was to push up Houston’s low recycling rate. But now the city could end up with […]

Turner wants to rethink transportation

I like the way he’s thinking. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, in less than a month on the job, has hit the streets at full speed. First he tackled potholes. Last week he tackled a state transportation department that’s spent the past half-century developing a highway network that is increasingly getting farther from Houston’s core and, […]

Term limits lawsuit against city could be dismissed

This was unexpected. Last November, Houston voters approved an amendment to the City Charter that changed the length and maximum number of terms elected officials can serve. The lawsuit by Phillip Paul Bryant alleges the language on the ballot tricked voters into thinking they were voting for limiting terms, when they actually extended them. But […]

HPD Chief McClelland to retire

From the inbox: Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced that he has accepted the retirement of Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, effective February 26, 2016. McClelland was sworn in as a police officer in September 1977. He rose through the ranks at HPD and was sworn in by former Mayor Annise Parker as police chief on […]

So what happened to One Bin for All?

KUHF asks the question. It has been almost three years since the city won a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the One Bin For All concept, which would let Houstonians throw all their waste in one bin, to be separated for recycling later. Former Mayor Annise Parker tried to start the project, but […]

City-county relations should continue to be good

Glad to hear it. Prospects for increased city-county cooperation are looking up, Houston Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett say, forecasting further thawing of the historically contentious relationship between the jurisdictions. Turner spoke with Emmett and Harris County’s four commissioners just days after his narrow mayoral victory over Bill King, seeking to […]

Interview with Mayor Annise Parker

We are in the last few days of the administration of Mayor Annise Parker. Having served three terms each as Council member and Controller, she is finishing up eighteen years as an elected official in the city of Houston. I wanted to take the opportunity to talk to her one last time before she heads […]

Looking back and looking ahead for Mayor-elect Turner

Here’s a Q&A with our new Mayor that looks back on the campaign that just wrapped up. Q: Economically, electorally, this is a divided city. You campaigned on a platform of bringing people together. How do you overcome that split now that you’ve been elected mayor? A: When I woke up this morning, the campaign […]

More HERO public information requests

The bullying continues. Does President Barack Obama regularly drop a line to Houston City Council members? Probably not, but we could soon find out, thanks to a public records request that opponents of the city’s equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, filed this week. It’s a response to a public records request that a nonprofit […]

Turner’s Council

So what kind of City Council will Mayor-elect Sylvester Turner have to work with? In addition to Turner replacing term-limited Mayor Annise Parker, the council also will gain five new faces, four thanks to term limits and one who defeated an incumbent. Political analysts, however, sensed little ideological shift among the 16-member body. How city […]