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Posts Tagged ‘Commissioners Court’

Settle the damn bail lawsuit already

Enough. Harris County commissioners Tuesday voted to add high-profile, conservative litigator Charles Cooper to a growing team of attorneys defending the county and several public officials against a civil rights lawsuit alleging the county’s bail system unconstitutionally jails the poor. Cooper, a former clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist and friend of U.S. […]

Commissioners get testy over bail practices lawsuit

Let’s hash it all out. Tensions flared at Harris County Commissioners Court Tuesday after new Commissioner Rodney Ellis filed legal papers supporting civil rights groups in their high-profile federal lawsuit against the county and its bail system. In a rare public argument before dozens of onlookers at the meeting Tuesday, Ellis’ colleagues — all Republicans […]

January 2017 campaign finance reports: Harris County officeholders

We may or may not have City of Houston elections this year, but we will definitely have Harris County elections next year. Here’s a brief tour of the finance reports for Harris County officeholders. First up, Commissioners Court: Rodney Ellis Jack Morman Steve Radack Jack Cagle (PAC) El Franco Lee Gene Locke Name Raised Spent […]

County will use public defenders at bail hearings

Good. Harris County commissioners on Tuesday approved a pilot program to make public defenders available at bail hearings, a step aimed at retooling a criminal justice system that has increasingly drawn criticism for jailing thousands of poor, low-risk offenders. Within months, county officials anticipate that two public defenders will be present at bail hearings for […]

We have an opponent for Commissioner Morman

From the inbox: DEMOCRAT MIGUEL LEIJA JR. ANNOUNES CANDIDACY For Harris County Commissioner Pct. 2 Houston, TX, March 6, 2017– Harris County is the most populous county in Texas and the third-most populous county in the United States with the fourth largest city in the United States.   It is known for its sports, ports and […]

County approves defense attorneys for bail hearings

Long overdue. Harris County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to develop a pilot program that would make public defenders present at bail hearings, a move aimed at reducing what officials say is the unnecessary jailing of thousands of defendants because they can’t afford bail or are unfamiliar with the legal process. The pilot could lead to […]

Twice the trials, twice the fun

The Paxton special prosecutors want to separate the charges into two trials. Special prosecutors said Thursday they would like to try Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton first on charges he failed to register as an investment advisor, pushing a lengthy trial on his securities fraud charges until a later date. Kent Schaffer, one of the […]

More on the Whitmire Astrodome bill

I still don’t care for this. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett voiced concern Tuesday that a bill filed by a veteran state senator jeopardizes the county’s plan to revitalize the Astrodome, adding that county representatives would continue to try to persuade legislators to support the $105 million project. Emmett said state Sen. John Whitmire’s bill, […]

We don’t need another vote on the Astrodome

Not for this we don’t, anyway. Less than five months ago, the future of the Astrodome seemed to be more secure than it has been in the decades since it hosted its last Astros game, with Harris County commissioners moving forward on a massive renovation project they said would usher in festivals, conferences and commercial […]

Paxton prosecutor pay suspended

Whiplash! Collin County must immediately stop paying the three lawyers prosecuting Ken Paxton’s criminal fraud case, a Dallas court has said. The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas on Monday temporarily halted the payments — the result of a lawsuit filed against the county and prosecutors by a local taxpayer — and will consider a […]

Chron favors a jail administrator

I remain unconvinced. Next month, we’ll have a new sheriff in town. Ed Gonzalez will take command of the largest sheriff’s office in Texas, the third-largest in the nation, with more than 4,600 employees responsible for serving and protecting the estimated 4.5 million people who call Harris County home. It would be nice if our […]

Here come the Dems

All the newly-elected county officials have now been sworn in. The new Harris County officials sworn in New Year’s Day had something in common: They were all Democrats. The swearing-in ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday followed the Democratic Party’s sweep of every countywide office in November’s general election, including closely watched contests against incumbent Republicans […]

Astrodome architects chosen

For the first phase. Harris County commissioners on Tuesday chose Kirksey Architecture to design a project to retrofit the Astrodome by raising its floor and installing parking spaces underneath. Commissioners designated the Houston-based firm as their top pick to conduct the architecture and engineering on the $105 million renovation of the Dome, a sweeping project […]

Commissioner Locke’s last day

He served well, and did a lot in his short time in office. Gene Locke, who was appointed Harris County commissioner nearly a year ago after the death of longtime Commissioner El Franco Lee, was praised for his effectiveness during a meeting Tuesday at which he cast his final vote. The former city attorney and […]

The new Sheriff in town

Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez has his work cut out for him. When newly elected Sheriff Ed Gonzalez takes office on Jan. 1, he will face a tangle of budget, staffing and jail inmate safety issues inherited from more than a decade of struggles at the nation’s third-largest sheriff’s department. Staff shortages at the troubled jail operation […]

Precinct analysis: Fort Bend State Rep districts

Following on from yesterday’s post, here’s a look at the vote in Fort Bend from the perspective of the State Rep districts. Office Rep Dem Rep % Dem % =============================================== President 35,005 31,558 52.59% 47.41% CJ, 1st CofA 40,047 28,336 58.56% 41.44% 1st CofA #4 39,311 28,940 57.60% 42.40% 14th CofA #2 39,351 28,873 57.68% […]

Precinct analysis: Fort Bend Commissioners Court precincts

I have not done Fort Bend precinct analyses in the past because I don’t get easily-worked-with CSV-format canvass reports from them after elections. However, it turns out that their election returns page for this year has a “Reports” button on it from which one can download an Excel-format canvass report. It’s laid out differently than […]

Precinct analysis: Gonzalez v Hickman

Ed Gonzalez scored a solid win for Sheriff, knocking out incumbent Ron Hickman to win the office back for Democrats. Let’s break it down. Dist Hickman Gonzalez Hickman% Gonzalez% ============================================= CD02 162,915 111,689 59.33% 40.67% CD07 139,292 113,853 55.02% 44.98% CD09 26,869 106,301 20.18% 79.82% CD10 81,824 36,293 69.27% 30.73% CD18 48,766 153,342 24.13% 75.87% […]

Precinct analysis: District courts

Today we will look at the Harris County-specific judicial races, by which I mean the district courts plus two County Court benches. I’m going to begin with something a little different, which is a look at the distribution of how many votes each candidate received. We know that most people know little to nothing about […]

Collin County Commissioners Court are a bunch of jerks

Unbelievable. In an attempt to lay the legal groundwork to quit funding Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s prosecution, Collin County is refusing to pay a longtime local attorney for his work defending indigent clients. On Monday, the Commissioners Court voted 3-2 to block payment to J. Matthew Goeller, a McKinney defense attorney who has provided […]

Sustaining the Harris County Democrats’ success

All things considered, I feel reasonably optimistic about Democratic prospects in Harris County going forward, but I felt that way in 2008 as well, so I certainly understand the inclination to be cautious. Democrats swept Harris County last Tuesday in nothing short of a rout, claiming every countywide position on the ballot as Hillary Clinton […]

Precinct analysis: Hillary in Harris County

Let’s get started with the precinct data, shall we? Here’s a Chron story from the day after the election about how things looked overall in the county. The country’s most populous swing county turned a shade bluer Tuesday, when Hillary Clinton trounced Donald Trump in Harris County despite trailing nationally. Clinton’s commanding victory here is […]

Checking in with Ed Gonzalez

Also known as Harris County Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez. Ed Gonzalez will have a lot to do when he assumes the position of the county’s top cop in January. He’ll have to rein in overtime pay, manage the Harris County jail population and win over the thousands of employees who backed his opponent in Tuesday’s election. […]

The answer is to always cram more people in the jails

Seriously? Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman is asking the state jail commission to let nearly 200 inmates sleep on plastic cots on the floor of the already overcrowded county jail system, a request challenged by more than a dozen Houston-area lawmakers. The lawmakers note that county officials have not fully followed the advice of their […]

Collin County won’t fight its special prosecutor bill

For now, anyway. The Collin County Commissioners Court on Monday voted to take “a careful review” of the cost of prosecuting Attorney General Ken Paxton, while appealing to residents to set aside emotions and avoid attacking the court’s future decisions. “Regardless of how any vote comes down today, or future votes come down, one thing […]

RIP, Constable Ruben Davis

Sad news from Fort Bend. At a time when the public and law enforcement officials contemplate how to best blend policing and community, Fort Bend County has lost a man many describe as a role model for the perfect mix of serving and protecting. Longtime Fort Bend County Precinct 2 Constable Ruben Davis died on […]

The Reliant Stadium area is ready for its closeup

For the Super Bowl, of course. Gotta look pretty, you know. Currently, the area surrounding NRG Park, which includes NRG Stadium and the Astrodome, is “functional” but hardly an impression-maker for a throng of out-of-town guests, said Ed Wulfe, chairman of the Stadium Park Redevelopment Authority. “The Super Bowl was the motivating factor the area […]

Chron overview of Commissioners Court Precinct 3 race

Lower profile, and less competitive, but still worth paying attention to. Steve Radack has built close to five dozen parks and spent millions of dollars expanding road and trail networks in 28 years as Harris County commissioner for Precinct 3. It is a prolific body of work for the longest-serving, and most outspoken, member of […]

Interview with Fort Bend County Commissioner Richard Morrison

Fort Bend County Commissioner Richard Morrison is an old friend. He’s the first candidate I ever interviewed, on an old-fashioned tape recorder way back in 2003 as he was gearing up to challenge then-Rep. Tom DeLay in CD22. He fell short in that effort, but he gained a lot of respect and wound up on […]

More lawyers for the bail practices lawsuit

I’m still not thrilled about this. Harris County commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to add another law firm to the county’s court fight against bail reform, a group whose job will be representing 16 county criminal judges who were recently added to a pending federal civil rights lawsuit. […] Records show Harris County already has paid […]

Commissioners Court approves Astrodome parking plan

Here we go. Harris County commissioners approved the first piece of a $105 million plan to transform the stadium into part parking garage and part event space for things like concerts and trade shows. After years of indecision, advocates for preserving the Dome are hailing the move as one that might breath new life into […]

The Astrodome parking proposal is about to get real

Here it comes. Harris County commissioners are poised to make their largest investment yet in the Astrodome’s future next week. They are slated to vote on the first piece of a $105 million plan to raise the ground level two floors to fit in roughly 1,400 parking spaces, which would make the Dome suitable for […]

Spending money to defend our terrible bail practices

Ugh. About $170,000 in tax money has been paid to outside attorneys to defend Harris Country officials from a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that the bail bond system discriminates against poor people, records show. That’s more than the cost of a six-month pilot project that would have provided attorneys for indigent misdemeanor offenders at […]

Endorsement watch: The one man term limits debate

Here’s one of the more interesting endorsements so far. Steve Radack is at once an argument for and against term limits. The Precinct 3 county commissioner and former Precinct 5 constable, who will turn 67 before Election Day, has been in his seat for 28 years and wants voters to sign him up for 32. […]