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Posts Tagged ‘Annise Parker’

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 […]

Council members complain about open records requests

Oh, please. Councilmen Michael Kubosh and Dave Martin on Tuesday blasted a records request from a D.C.-based nonprofit to those council members who voted against the Houston equal rights ordinance, known as HERO, last year. The Campaign for Accountability’s request seeks communication between prominent local anti-HERO activists as well as anti-LGBT groups, such as the […]

An app to help the homeless

This is a great idea. A shower. A meal. A place to sleep. Those basic needs come to mind when most think of the homeless. Our Calling, a Dallas nonprofit, has given the homeless an iPhone app. The faith-based nonprofit is using technology to help people who live under bridges, near crack houses and in […]

Mayor will seek texting-while-driving ban

One more agenda item before it’s all over. It’s not the first time Houston officials have broached the issue; Mayor Annise Parker has long lobbied to impose a Texaswide texting-while-driving ban. But months after another legislative session with no action, term-limited Parker said she would ask council members to consider a local ban before she […]

Lawsuit filed over term limits referendum

As if on cue, the following hit my inbox on Wednesday afternoon, from Eric Dick: Phillip Paul Bryant is filing a lawsuit to invalidate Proposition 2 because the ballot language misled Houston voters. Annise Parker and the City of Houston have a history with misleading voters when it comes to ballot language. Indeed in 2015 […]

Council approves body camera contract

Moving forward. City Council approved a $3.4 million contract Wednesday to equip Houston Police Department officers with body-worn cameras despite some lingering concerns that key pieces of the city’s policy for the equipment have not been finalized. Councilmen Mike Laster, C.O. Bradford and Michael Kubosh along with councilwoman Brenda Stardig voted against the contract with […]

Endorsement watch: Bell for King

As the headline notes, this came as a surprise to many. Former Congressman Chris Bell publicly backed fiscal conservative Bill King in the Houston mayoral runoff Tuesday, a move that could bolster King’s efforts to make inroads with progressive voters. Bell’s endorsement came as a surprise to many political insiders expecting the progressive former mayoral […]

A new HERO will be up to the next Mayor

As it should be, whether we like it or not. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who championed the city’s ill-fated equal rights ordinance, HERO, said she no longer plans to try to revive it before leaving office at the end of the year. In the aftermath of HERO’s resounding defeat at the polls November 3, Parker […]

Will someone sue over the term limits referendum?

Maybe. Pre-election polling showed voters slightly favored the change, but not if they were told that it benefits sitting council members. Rice University political scientist Bob Stein conducted the News 88.7/KHOU 11 News election poll. “When we informed voters that the adoption of the two four-year (terms) would take place immediately in 2016 and advantage […]

Leave a new HERO to the next Mayor

I hate having to say this. Opponents of Houston’s repealed equal rights ordinance haved placed 300,000 calls and will release a new TV ad next week warning about a possible City Council revival of the controversial non-discrimination law. All that despite no certainty that Mayor Annise Parker will find the political will and, most importantly, […]

No idling

From the inbox, from last week: Mayor Annise Parker and Houston City Council today approved two significant ordinances that will improve Houston’s quality of life and protect public health: an anti-idling ordinance for motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds; and a commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. […]

What next for HERO?

Before I get into some thoughts about how to approach a second attempt at passing a non-discrimination ordinance for Houston, let me begin by dispensing with this. 2. HERO Will Be Back The lopsided defeat of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) will send the next mayor and city council back to the drawing board […]

Initial day-after-election thoughts

– We now have two cycles’ worth of data to suggest that having more good candidates in a Council race does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Following in the footsteps of At Large #3 in 2013, a handful of Democratic candidates in At Large #1 split the vote with sufficient closeness to keep them […]

What the passage of the term limits referendum means

It’s a little unclear from this story. The passage of Proposition 2 also means some current officeholders will be able to serve longer than the six years they originally signed up for. Current freshman council members will now be able to serve two more 4-year terms, for a total of 10 years. Those serving their […]

Omnibus election results post

I’m going to take the easy way out here, because it’s been a long day/week/month and I’m hoping to get some sleep tonight, and just hit the highlights. There will be plenty of time for deeper analysis later, and of course we are now officially in runoff season. There’s absolutely no rest for the political […]

Back to square one for ReBuild Houston

Here we go again. A state district judge on Thursday voided the 2010 charter referendum that enabled the city to create the ReBuild Houston program, muddying the fate of the multi-billion-dollar funding scheme to dramatically improve Houston’s streets and drainage. Visiting Judge Buddie Hahn ordered the city to hold a new election on the drainage […]

Ground broken on the joint processing center

Good. The majority of suspects arrested by Houston police get booked at one of two city jails, and within 48 hours they are transferred and booked in all over again at the Harris County Jail. Two years from now, officials say, this duplication will be a thing of the past. The central and southeast police […]