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Posts Tagged ‘Annise Parker’

Appeals court reverses ruling about pension retiree information

So much for that. A state district court’s 2013 ruling that Houston’s fire pension board must turn over detailed information on its retirees to help city officials better project future pension bills has been overturned on appeal. Justices with the 1st Court of Appeals issued the opinion Tuesday, arguing that, in essence, state law protects […]

Front and center with the fraud allegations

The city goes on offense as it defends the equal rights ordinance at the repeal petition trial. In his opening argument in court Tuesday, Alex Kaplan, an attorney for the city, said the petition is “full of problems.” “It is precisely these kinds of cases where there are high public passions where the rules must […]

It’s going to be a long trial

Settle in and get comfortable, the HERO repeal petition trial is going to take some time. Ultimately, though, the trial is expected to be tedious and technical. So much so, that even after the city lost a significant motion two weeks ago to send the trial before a judge rather than a jury, Parker focused […]

Don’t look for a meet-and-confer bill in the Lege this year

Buried in this story about the city and the county preparing to play defense during the legislative session is this update on the state of relations between the city and the firefighters. In her first two sessions, Houston Mayor Annise Parker failed to gain traction with legislation that would grant the city meet-and-confer powers that […]

HERO petition repeal trial starts

It could actually be over before it really starts, though I would not expect that. For the next three to four weeks, the Harris County Civil Courthouse will be the stage for the trial over Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance. If everything works out according to plan, opening statements will begin next Tuesday. That is, […]

January campaign finance reports – Mayoral wannabes

I wrote yesterday about the start of the 2015 campaign season in Houston, and how it’s started a bit early thanks to the ruling in the lawsuit filed by Trebor Gordon that invalidated the blackout period. This week also marked the January 15 finance report filing deadline, so now is as good a time as […]

And they’re off

Gentlemen, start your fundraising engines. The Twitter handles have been rechristened, the first attacks have been fired and the “DONATE!” buttons have gone live. The yearlong slugfest for mayor of Houston has begun. In what is expected to be Houston’s most wide-open mayoral race in recent history, most of the dozen potential candidates are shedding […]

Saving money by throwing away less

Good strategy all around. As a committee mulls an ambitious and controversial “one bin” project that could overhaul recycling and waste collection in Houston, the city’s traditional mode of getting rid of trash just got cheaper. A renegotiated contract with the city’s primary waste hauler, approved by City Council late last month with little fanfare […]

Still no consensus on how to deal with the criminal justice complex

And it’s back to the Mayor. Pushed by Mayor Annise Parker to decide whether Houston’s aging police and courts buildings should get patchwork repairs or be fully replaced, with both options carrying staggering price tags, City Council members instead opted for indecision. By a 12-4 vote, the body sidestepped both options – one of which […]

HERO repeal petition trial will be heard by a jury

Let’s get on with it. A state district judge ruled Tuesday that the lawsuit surrounding the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance will go before a jury trial rather than a bench trial, a decision that conservative opponents of the law are hailing as a major victory. Critics suing the city over its equal rights ordinance […]

On playing small ball

Campos reacts to Mayor Parker’s future statewide plans. And here again is my small ball take from a few weeks ago: It is time for small ball instead of the big inning. In baseball, small ball is a strategy where you manufacture runs by utilizing the bunt, stealing bases, the hit and run, walks, hitting […]

Injunction granted against Houston fundraising blackout period

It’s a whole new ballgame out there. A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a law limiting when candidates in Houston municipal elections can raise money, prompting a scramble to contact donors sooner than campaigns had intended. The injunction, two months after a City Council candidate said the law infringed on his constitutional rights, could […]

Judge or jury ruling on HERO should come soon

From the other big lawsuit action on Friday. A district judge offered little insight Friday as to whether he will grant a jury trial to conservative critics who have sued the city over its controversial equal rights ordinance. During a brief but lively hearing in the 152nd District Court in Houston, Judge Robert Schaffer said […]

Safe passing law update

The city of Houston has an ordinance requiring vehicles to give bikes a three-foot buffer on the streets. How much of an effect has it had so far? A law authorizing police to ticket drivers for encroaching on bicyclists and pedestrians has yielded fewer than a dozen citations in the 20 months it has been […]

First HERO repeal petition hearing today

Have I mentioned that this is a really busy month for big ticket courtroom action? Conservative opponents suing the city over its equal rights ordinance are pushing, along with several City Council members, for the upcoming case to go before a jury, a move the administration said is unprecedented and would defy election law. After […]

Donna Edmunson

From the inbox: Mayor Annise Parker has selected Donna Edmundson to be the new city attorney. Upon confirmation by City Council, Edmundson will become the first woman to hold the position. She has nearly 30 years of experience with the City Legal Department. “With just a year left in my term and a wealth of […]

Mayor Parker keeps looking forward

Always in motion is the future, at least for Mayor Parker. Mayor Annise Parker left open the idea on Sunday that she would endorse one of the dozen candidates positioning to possibly succeed her, though she said she hoped to avoid doing that early in the race. “I don’t know that I will endorse. I […]

Creating a bike plan for the city

Moving forward. It would be hard to argue that bicycling in Houston is not on the upswing, with many millions of dollars approved and numerous policies passed in recent years, all aimed at welcoming and protecting riders. City planners and cycling advocates see significant gaps in this progress, however, from uncertainty about the kind of […]

It pays to go green

It’s a simple enough formula – reduce energy usage, save money. As Houston leaders push the counter-intuitive notion that the world’s energy capital can go green, and pledge ever-lower emissions goals for municipal operations, installing energy-efficient lighting and low-flow toilets can seem like hopelessly small measures. City data show a seven-year effort to retrofit municipal […]

Feldman resigns

Mayor Parker loses a key member of her team going into her final year as Mayor. City Attorney David Feldman on Friday announced that he plans to resign next month, citing, among other reasons, that he could better defend the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance as a key witness than as a lawyer in an […]

Repair or replace?

Consider this an object lesson in the cost of deferring maintenance. A new Houston police headquarters and courthouse complex, discussed for decades, could reach a key turning point this week as Mayor Annise Parker seeks to force City Council members to choose between repairing the city’s existing facilities or tackling an enormous project to construct […]

City deficit not as big as feared

This is a nice surprise. A huge budget deficit looming at City Hall – which has spurred talk of layoffs, service cuts, new fees and higher taxes – has been cut in half, relieving some pressure to scramble together a budget patch but doing little for Houston’s long-term financial health. The unexpected boost of good […]

Mayor Parker wants body cameras for HPD

Good. Houston won’t wait for federal funding before buying body cameras for all of the city’s uniformed police officers, Mayor Annise Parker said Wednesday, as activists launched a petition drive for an ordinance essentially mandating the mayor’s plans. Both the mayor and police chief have announced their commitment to body cameras designed to record all […]

Texas For Marriage

This. Law enforcement officials, state legislators, faith leaders and a great-grandmother are among those lending their voices to a new campaign to bring marriage equality to Texas. The national group Freedom to Marry plans to spend $200,000 on the campaign launched Tuesday, in advance of oral arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals […]

Uber to be available at Houston airports now

This was part of the original vehicle for hire ordinance overhaul, to be implemented later. “Later” has now arrived. Uber and other app-based ride service companies won coveted access to Houston’s airports Wednesday when the City Council quietly passed new regulations, a move likely to increase competition in a market that has long been a […]

Ben Hall 2.0

Oh, hell no. Ben Hall, the lawyer who lost to Mayor Annise Parker in 2013, will run for mayor again in 2015, he told the Chronicle on Wednesday. Hall will announce his candidacy in a radio advertisement that will begin airing this week, a year before the November 2015 election. While candidates are not allowed […]

Lyft to leave November 20

So long. Lyft plans to suspend its Houston operations on Nov. 20, according to a letter sent to Houston Lyft users. The San Francisco-based ride-sharing service is upset over the new regulations approved by the Houston City Council in August. Those regulations include requiring drivers to have background checks and required medical exams, and installing […]

Woodfill gets another injunction

WTF? A state district judge on Wednesday ordered the city of Houston to stop offering health and life insurance benefits to the same-sex spouses of married employees, but city attorneys say they plan an immediate appeal that, once filed, could leave the benefits in place. Days after being elected to her third and final term […]

Red light cameras: The final insult

Awesome. In settling the lawsuit with camera vendor American Traffic Solutions, whose contract was supposed to run through 2014, the city agreed to pay the Arizona-based company $4.8 million. The city had $2.3 million in red-light ticket revenue on hand at the time of the settlement, and officials said they expected to be able to […]

Jared Woodfill sues again

Dude is obsessed. Former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill isn’t giving up on his fight to block the city of Houston from providing benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees. After Mayor Annise Parker extended benefits to same-sex spouses last year, Woodfill sued on behalf of two Republican taxpayers seeking to halt them. But […]

McClelland wants more money for more cops

And I want some answers before we go along with this request. Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland asked city leaders Tuesday for an additional $105 million over five years to hire hundreds of new officers as part of a plan to shore up divisions where thousands of crimes are never investigated and bolster traffic enforcement […]

Parker orders withdrawal of pastor subpoenas

They got what they wanted. With local pastors standing with her, Mayor Annise Parker has told the City Legal Department to withdraw the subpoenas filed against five local pastors who have identified themselves as the leaders of the petition drive to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO). “This is an issue that has weighed […]

Mayor Parker for pot reform

The list of people who think it’s time to talk about reforming our drug laws keeps growing. Add Houston Mayor Annise Parker to the growing list of officials calling for a new approach to the nation’s drug laws, especially when it comes to marijuana. She said as much during an interview this week with community […]

Lies are worse than missteps

But you know what we’re going to hear more about. Conservative outrage over the Parker administration’s admittedly bungled subpoena of five pastors’ sermons last week marked just the latest episode in a messy political saga surrounding the city’s equal rights ordinance, with both critics and supporters making significant blunders. For example, a recently leaked deposition […]