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Posts Tagged ‘Commissioners Court’

County approves floodplain regulation change

Five hundred is the new one hundred. The Harris County Commissioners Court voted unanimously on Tuesday to make significant changes to the way the county regulates new development, including a slew of new restrictions in Hurricane Harvey’s wake that officials say are necessary to prepare the Houston area for future flooding events. The regulations will, […]

Filing news: Adrian Garcia is in for County Commissioner

From the inbox: Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia announced his candidacy for Harris County Commissioner, Precinct Two, citing his experience in bringing people together around smart government, transparency, and delivering results for taxpayers. “We all know that sometimes government can come up short, so it’s up to leaders who love what we do to […]

Filing news: The “What’s up with Lupe Valdez?” edition

On Wednesday, we were told that Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez had resigned her post in preparation for an announcement that she would be filing to run for Governor. Later that day, the story changed – she had not resigned, there was no news. As of yesterday, there’s still no news, though there are plans […]

Harris County to consider floodplain regulations change

Seems like a good idea to me. Nearly three months after Hurricane Harvey, Harris County is proposing using 500-year floodplains instead of 100-year floodplains for new development, the first significant overhaul of county elevation requirements in nearly two decades. The regulations, which still must be approved by Commissioners Court, would force developers to build new […]

An incomplete filing update

First, a little Republican action in CD02. Hurricane Harvey is reshaping congressional campaigns in Houston. When the flood waters socked the Meyerland area, it also washed out the home of former hospital CEO David Balat, a Republican, who was hoping to unseat fellow Republican and current U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston. “Like so many people, […]

Harris County sues Arkema

Good. Harris County filed suit Thursday against Arkema over chemical fires at its Crosby plant in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, saying the company violated a long list of environmental, safety and building regulations and put first responders at risk. The lawsuit, filed in state district court, seeks up to $1 million in penalties and […]

Who’s in for CD29?

Start your engines, y’all. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia and state Rep. Armando Walle threw their hats in the ring Tuesday to represent the district that covers much of eastern Houston and part of Pasadena. State Rep. Carol Alvarado, meanwhile considering running, and former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has asked the county party for filing […]

Dome bash planned

Mark your calendars. Next year, Astrodome lovers will be able to once again take a gander at the stadium’s iconic roof before it embarks on its next adventure. During a mixer/meeting for friends and supporters of the Astrodome Conservancy, organizers revealed that a party to honor the Astrodome’s history is tentatively set for April 9, […]

City buys out some flooded homes

Expect to see more of this. Houston City Council on Wednesday approved funding nearly 60 home buyouts across three flood-prone neighborhoods, the first such step from City Hall in recent memory. The city typically leaves buyouts to the Harris County Flood Control District and, in fact, the measure approved by the council would send $10.7 […]

We’re going to need another jury building

Good luck with that. Harris County is unlikely to repair Hurricane Harvey flood damage to the six-year-old, $13 million jury Assembly Building that sits beneath a park in downtown Houston’s courthouse square near Buffalo Bayou, County Judge Ed Emmett said Tuesday. While no official action has been taken, the county will likely find a replacement […]

Harris County files lawsuit against Arkema

More trouble for that nasty and troublesome chemical plant. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday authorized the county attorney to file a lawsuit against Arkema over its struggles to manage stores of hazardous chemicals during Hurricane Harvey. The county’s Pollution Control Services Department found serious violations of the Texas Clean Air Act by Arkema, County […]

Harris County considers its budget post-Harvey

They have some choices, and some constraints. Harris County government departments could see their budgets reduced by up to 5 percent as property taxes take an expected dip due to Hurricane Harvey’s widespread destruction. The estimate is preliminary, County Budget Officer Bill Jackson said Friday. The extent of an anticipated decrease in property tax revenues […]

A couple of race updates

The county slate is one step closer to being filled out for 2018, as Josh Wallenstein has announced his intent to run for the HCDE At Large Position 3 Trustee seat that Diane Trautman is giving up to challenge Stan Stanart. I had a brief chat with Wallenstein via Facebook over the weekend, but as […]

Emmett calls for changes to county’s flood strategy

Good to see. Calling Tropical Storm Harvey’s devastation a “game-changer,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday called for a sweeping reexamination of the region’s flood control strategy, a process that could include billions of dollars to upgrade aging dams, building a new storm water reservoir and ramping up regulations to tamp down booming development […]

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 […]

Paxton prosecutors to petition CCA

Last chance to get paid. The state’s highest criminal court will get a chance to decide whether the special prosecutors appointed in the criminal cases against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton can be paid the $300-an-hour rate they were promised. Kent A. Schaffer, one of the three special prosecutors in Texas v. Paxton, said the […]

5th Court of Appeals screws Paxton prosecutors

Ugh. The prosecutors pursuing charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton haven’t been paid in more than a year and a half — and they will continue to wait on a payday. On Monday, the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas voided a $205,000 invoice dating back to January 2016, saying state laws and local rules […]

July campaign finance reports – Harris County candidates

The Harris County situation for candidates and campaign finance reports is a bit complicated. Take a look at my January summary and the reports and data that I’ve found for July, and we’ll discuss what it all means on the other side. Ed Emmett Jack Morman Jack Cagle Stan Stanart Chris Daniel Diane Trautman David […]

Fort Bend DA to retire

The end of an era, and an opportunity for change. Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey announced Friday that he will not seek re-election, marking an end to what will be 26 years in office, according to a news release. Healey said he will retire at the end of his term in 2018 to […]

New county risk assessment system coming

We’ve been waiting. Harris County officials on Tuesday touted their revamped strategy for deciding whether tens-of-thousands of individuals should be jailed before their criminal trials, a process that critics and a federal judge say disproportionately affects the poor who are unable to come up with the money to make bail. On July 29, the county […]

Was the Harris County election system hacked?

Wouldn’t you like to know? Despite widespread alarm over the breadth of Russian cyber attacks on state and local election systems last year, including revelations of Dallas County being targeted, Harris County officials are refusing to say whether hackers similarly took aim at the nation’s third-largest county. Releasing information on whether Harris County election systems […]

Harris County Attorney files amicus brief in SB4 lawsuit

Good. Last week, Harris County Commissioners Court opted not to join a lawsuit challenging the state’s controversial “sanctuary cities” law as unconstitutional. Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, however, has filed a brief asking a federal court to halt its implementation on Sept. 1. “S.B. 4 will do irreparable damage to this State’s child welfare process, […]

Still a few bugs in the system

A continuing story. While Harris County officials are complaining that a federal judge’s bail order threatens public safety, the county has failed to provide more than 100 low-level defendants with pretrial services aimed at ensuring they make their court dates. The latest revelations come amid criticism from District Attorney Kim Ogg, who accused county officials […]

Harris County will not enter SB4 litigation

Unfortunate. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday decided not to join a lawsuit against the state’s controversial sanctuary cities law. A motion made by Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis to move to join the lawsuit died after it failed to receive a second by another court member. The move comes as pressure had been building […]

How much will the county get repaid for Super Bowl activities?

Quite possibly not very much, as it turns out. After the New England Patriots stunned the Atlanta Falcons with a storybook comeback in Super Bowl LI, after the crowds drained away and the national spotlight left Houston, Harris County officials turned to organizers and asked to be repaid for security and around-the-clock support, part of […]

State to help defend county bail policies

Of course it will. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the top lawyers in five other states are backing Harris County in its protracted battle over money bail for poor low-level defendants, as the tally of those released on no-cash bail nears 1,000. Paxton and the lead attorneys in Arizona, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana and Nebraska […]

Ellis seeks Harris County entry into SB4 litigation

From the inbox, an email from Commissioner Ellis: Despite strong opposition from law enforcement officials, faith leaders, local governments, civil rights organizations, constituents, and advocacy groups, Senate Bill 4 (SB4), the “show-me-your-papers” legislation, has been signed into law. The new legislation unfairly targets immigrant families, allows state-sanctioned racial profiling, and violates rights to due process. […]

Ellis shakes things up

Good. It’s what he should be doing. When former state Sen. Rodney Ellis launched his campaign to succeed the late El Franco Lee as Precinct 1 commissioner last year, he said he would shake up Harris County government. He’s kept his promise. Not even three months into his tenure, Ellis filed court papers siding against […]

SCOTUS will not hear Harris County bail appeal

Let this please be the end of the line. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has denied Harris County’s request to stop the release of misdemeanor inmates who can’t afford to post cash bail. The county had appealed late Tuesday to halt Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s directive that it begin releasing some […]

Fifth Circuit reinstates bail order

Good. Harris County took the fight over its controversial bail system to the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, even as county officials scrambled to plan the imminent release of dozens of misdemeanor defendants held behind bars who cannot afford to post cash bail. A federal appeals court ruling earlier Tuesday had greenlighted the release of […]

No Astrodome vote this fall

This is a bit of a surprise. [Sen. John] Whitmire filed a bill that would force the county to get voter approval before spending any money on the Dome. “It’s a dream and you shouldn’t spend taxpayer dollars on a dream,” Whitmire said. Whitmire’s bill sailed through the Senate, but hit a brick wall in […]

Time for the 5th Court to decide on Paxton prosecutor pay

Do your job, y’all. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s months-long effort to remove the judge in his securities fraud case is coming to a head in a Dallas appeals court. Prosecutors say the 5th Court of Appeals has no jurisdiction to get rid of the judge, George Gallagher, because he has moved the case out […]

Collin County punts prosecutor pay question back to appeals court

Incoming! The Collin County Commissioners Court has voted to not pay the prosecutors pursuing criminal charges against Attorney General Ken Paxton. The 5th Court of Appeals last week directed the commissioners to vote on the prosecutors’ latest bill before it can rule on a lawsuit challenging the fees’ legality. On Monday, the commissioners voted against […]

Appeals court chooses not to decide in Paxton prosecutor pay case

This is oddly fitting. The 5th Court of Appeals on Wednesday said they won’t make a decision on whether the three prosecutors’ fees are legal until the county votes to pay their last bill, which topped $205,000. The prosecutors’ pay has been on hold since January. The court has told the Collin County Commissioners Court […]