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Posts Tagged ‘bonds’

My thoughts following the 2017 election

1. Turnout in Houston was considerably higher than anyone predicted. Adding in Fort Bend to Harris yields 101,178 voters. Harris County had 149,730. The Houston share of Harris County was 66.43%, which is lower than I expected as well. 2. Early voting in odd years is not the same as early voting in even years. […]

2017 results: City bonds

Pension obligation bonds pass easily. Houston voters passed a $1 billion pension bond referendum by a wide margin late Tuesday, securing Mayor Sylvester Turner’s landmark reform package and, the mayor hopes, marking the beginning of the end of a 16-year fiscal crisis. The ballot item’s passage now means the city can follow through on its […]

Election Day 2017

It’s time to vote if you haven’t already. Not many people have, as we know. Harris County turnout is expected to remain feeble through Election Day, with no marquee race to draw voters to the polls and thousands still displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Fewer than 59,000 of the county’s more than 2.2 million registered voters […]

2017 EV daily report: Day 8, and one more look at a way to guess turnout

Here are the numbers through Monday. Now that we are in the second week of early voting, when the hours each day are 7 to 7, these reports arrive in my inbox later in the evening. Here are the daily totals from previous years: 2015 2013 2011 2009 2007 And here’s a select comparison: Year […]

What about those constitutional amendments?

Would you like someone to explain to you what those seven Constitutional amendments are about, in painstaking detail, with a recommendation for how to vote on each? Daniel Williams is here for you. It’s that time of the biennium again! Time for voters to consider constitutional amendments on small minutia of public policy. Texas has […]

Early voting for November 2017 begins today

From the inbox: “The best option to vote in the upcoming Nov. 7 election is during the early voting period,” advised Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. Early Voting for the November 7, 2017 General and Special Elections begins Monday, October 23 and will run through Friday, November 3. There will be 45 Early Voting locations […]

Endorsement watch: Don’t forget the city bonds

The Chron circles back to where they started this endorsement season. The spotlight of public attention has focused on the billion dollar pension bond referendum, Proposition A, whose passage is absolutely critical to Houston’s financial future. But if you’re a Houston voter, you’ll also find on your ballot four bond issues that will pay for […]

Endorsement watch: State propositions and Katy bonds

Hey, did you know that there are constitutional amendments on the ballot? It’s true! (Spoiler alert: There are constitutional amendments on the ballot every odd-numbered year.) The Chron has some recommendations for how to vote on them. State of Texas, Proposition 1: For This amendment would allow the Legislature to exempt partially disabled veterans and […]

Another contemplation of turnout

Let’s see where this one takes us. Last time, I made some guesses about turnout in the HISD races based on overall turnout in the city of Houston. Now I’m going to turn that around and take a shot at pegging city turnout based on HISD. It was suggested to me that we do have […]

Still some fretting about the bonds

Generalized anxiety, nothing specific. Fire engines bursting into flames at a scene. Roof leaks damaging walls at city health clinics. Bike trails eroding into the bayou. Those are among the reasons Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking voters to approve $495 million in public improvement bonds this fall. Early voting starts Oct. 23. As with the […]

The fire department’s needs

This is a conversation we need to have, but it’s one we need to dig into and work all the way through. Fire Chief Sam Pena gave City Council a bleak assessment Tuesday of his department’s readiness to respond to significant rainstorms, or even daily fire and medical calls, saying a ramshackle fleet and inadequate […]

Endorsement watch: The bonds

Endorsement season has officially begun. The key referendum, Proposition A, is a solution to Houston’s potentially disastrous pension problem. A complex deal ushered through the Texas Legislature by Mayor Sylvester Turner would reduce the $8.2 billion unfunded pension burden now carried by Houston taxpayers to $5.2 billion. Union leaders representing police officers and municipal employees […]

Lift Up Houston

Hey, you know there are bonds on the ballot, right? And Mayor Turner would like you to vote for them. Mayor Sylvester Turner spent much of his first year and a half keeping the civic conversation focused on winning legislative approval of his plan to end Houston’s spiraling pension crisis, and then, last May, achieved […]

The Sports Authority at 20

A few stadia, a little mission creep. Where has the time gone? As the Harris County Houston Sports Authority celebrated its 20th anniversary Monday night with a reception for current and former directors and board members, it moves into its third decade as a considerably different agency than the one that came into being in […]

Harris County may do Harvey bonds

Turns out Harvey recovery will cost money. Who knew? A majority of the Harris County Commissioners Court on Wednesday said they would support a large bond issue, perhaps upwards of $1 billion, and a tax increase to pay for it. The bond issue would bolster cash-strapped flood control initiatives, which could include a improvements to […]

Bond issue set for November

Should be pretty straightforward, though I suppose you never know. November’s ballot will feature $495 million in public improvement bonds after City Council agreed Wednesday to send the package to Houston voters. The general bonds, which would not require a tax hike, would fund improvements to libraries and parks, as well as items like new […]

Bonds on the ballot

Mayor Turner has one more item to deal with this November. Mayor Sylvester Turner is poised ask voters to approve bonds this fall to fund improvements to city parks, community centers, fire stations and health clinics, adding hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to a crowded November ballot. The proposed five-year capital improvement plan, […]

The State of Metro

Metro Chair Carrin Patman gave a “State of Metro” speech at the Greater Houston Partnership this week, and among other things she said that another referendum is in the works to finish some tasks from the 2003 vote and to address the issues we see today. One of the projects that remains unfunded is the […]

HISD board members against the HISD ballot item

I missed this when it first appeared. Three Houston school board members on Thursday evening publicly urged voters to oppose a measure that would authorize the district to forfeit $162 million to the state. Trustees Jolanda Jones, Harvin Moore and Rhonda Skillern-Jones went on the offensive at the live-streamed board meeting, asking voters to join […]

Mayor Turner announces pension fund deal

From the inbox: Negotiators for the City, the Houston Police Officers’ Pension System, the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund and the Houston Municipal Employees Pension System have developed Preliminary Points of Understanding on a structural approach to long term, sustainable, defined benefit pension reform. Detailed formal plans continue to be developed and will need […]

Precinct analysis: The Harris County bonds

Courtesy of Mike Morris at the Chron. It’s an open secret of local politics that, when Harris County needs voter approval for big projects, they turn not to suburban county residents but to those in the city of Houston’s urban core. Just look at this month’s elections: Though county offices are on the ballot in […]

Bondings

Congratulations, Montgomery County! After rejecting two bond measures for new and improved roadways in four years, including one last spring, traffic-weary voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a $280 million plan to unplug bottlenecks in rapidly growing Montgomery County. With all precincts reporting, the road bond received the support of more than three-fifths of county voters […]

More on MUDs

The Chron covers this topic. A few months ago, a cabinet maker and his wife were recruited to move into a manufactured home parked on a dirt road that was plowed into the woods on the west side of Conroe in Montgomery County. Daniel and Deborah Spiecher are now the only residents of a newly […]

Chron overview of the Montgomery County bond referendum

The voters there are engaged in this issue, that much is for sure. Life is on hold in the parking lot that is Rayford Road, 4 miles of too many cars squeezing into too few lanes. Even when it isn’t so busy, which isn’t often, there is a chance a passing train can bring traffic […]

The parks part of the county bond package

The plans are more specific for the part of the bond package that’s easier to sell. Commissioner Jack Morman thinks of the East Aldine residents waiting outside Crowley Park before dawn for workers to unlock the gates. Commissioner Steve Radack cites Easter weekend crowds of roughly 75,000 at Bear Creek Park. Commissioner El Franco Lee […]

Endorsement watch: Bonds, five bonds

There are four Harris County bond issues on the ballot this fall. The Chron supports them all, with some reservations. I’m just going to focus on the first one, since it’s by far the biggest and the one for which there is the strongest argument against it. Proposition 1 – For More than 75 percent […]

ReVote Houston?

Mayoral candidate Bill King calls for a do-over on Renew/ReBuild Houston. Houston mayoral candidate Bill King wants to put ReBuild Houston, the city’s controversial streetand drainage program, back up for a vote. […] King, the most vocal opponent of ReBuild Houston in the race, has seized the moment to attack ReBuild. “I only see one […]

Another HCC lawsuit

Hard to keep track of them all. The former top attorney and acting chancellor of Houston Community College filed a lawsuit Monday alleging she was fired because she told the FBI of her suspicions that board members sought to use bond funds to award kickbacks. Renee Byas, ousted in August, said in the lawsuit that […]

Appeals court revives MBIA lawsuit against Sports Authority

Here we go again. A lawsuit against the agency that pays the debt on Houston’s sports stadiums is back on following an appeals court ruling. Last April, a state district court judge ruled that a bond insurer could not sue the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority or the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp., saying they […]

Help HISD review its design plans

HISD would like your input in determining the designs for the schools to be built or rebuilt with the 2012 bond money. The Houston Independent School District is hosting another series of community meetings for the first 17 schools slated for construction in the 2012 bond program to give participants a chance to review designs […]

Maybe there’s a problem with building roads where there are no drivers

The high speed toll road keeps having problems relating to not having enough paying customers. SH 130 has not been the immediate success story its backers had hoped. Last week, lower-than-expected traffic revenue prompted credit ratings firm Moody’s Investors Service to severely downgrade the SH 130 Concession Company’s debt and warned that a default may […]

The New Dome Experience

Behold: If the future of the Astrodome has been keeping you up at night, you’ll rest easy knowing that a major step was taken in favor of preservation at a board meeting on Wednesday afternoon: The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (HCSCC) board unanimously agreed on a recommendation to repurpose the Houston landmark. Willie […]

MBIA appeals lawsuit dismissal

Here’s the brief that MBIA has filed with the First District Court of Appeals to overturn the dismissal of their lawsuit against the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation. The issues presented for review are pretty straightforward: 1. The Sports Authority was authorized to waive its purported governmental immunity […]

There’s no such thing as a free road

I have an issue with this. Texas’ boom of toll roads has made the “free” part of freeway mean something different lately. As toll lanes become the preferred choice for adding capacity to Texas roads, a growing number of state lawmakers and toll critics are looking for assurances that state-built freeways will stay open to […]