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Posts Tagged ‘Commissioners Court’

Harris County takes a step towards jail reform

Good. Harris County commissioners voted Tuesday to back a sweeping plan to reform the criminal justice system, a week after the Harris County Jail began shipping inmates to other counties to avoid reaching capacity. Commissioners voted to accept a $2 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation and to allocate more than $3.3 million from general-fund […]

Once again with what we want from the next County Commissioner

Campos: The Chron has a story today on County Commissioner Gene Locke changing his mind and now wanting to become the Dem nominee for Commissioner. It looks like a race between Gene and State Sen. Rodney Ellis. The Chron mentions a few others that may be interested though. Here is from the story today that […]

Locke makes it official

He would like to continue being County Commissioner. Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke said Monday he has decided to seek the Democratic nomination — and thus another term — for the Precinct 1 seat. Locke was initially appointed by county Judge Ed Emmett as a caretaker commissioner to fill out the term of […]

The Chron looks at Rodney Ellis

Not a very flattering look. Over the past 26 years, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has voted to confirm gubernatorial appointments to the Lower Colorado River Authority, a powerful electric utility in Central Texas. During the same time, financial firms he either owned, worked for, or owned stock in have profited handsomely by helping underwrite […]

We haven’t heard the last of TMF

He’ll be back. State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer says he laments nothing about a failed gambit for the state Senate that will end his 16-year stint with the Texas Legislature. The boisterous San Antonio Democrat, however, is leaving office at the end of the year with a message: Don’t write off his political career just […]

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 […]

On vacant lots and city/county cooperation

I just have one question about this. Houston residents living in neighborhoods afflicted with blight could see twice as much money poured into boarding up abandoned houses and mowing overgrown yards under a partnership city and county leaders trumpeted Tuesday. Harris County Commissioner Gene Locke plans to invest $750,000 to $1 million in mowing lawns, […]

Court hears arguments over paying Paxton’s prosecutors

I am rooting for this to be thrown out of court. Dallas County Court at Law Judge Mark Greenberg heard arguments Friday over jurisdictional issues in the civil case brought by taxpayer Jeffory Blackard. Blackard is challenging the $300 per hour fees being paid to the three Houston attorneys handling the criminal prosecution in the […]

What’s next for Adrian Garcia?

We haven’t seen the last of him, I suspect. In less than a year, former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia has gone from being the top Democratic elected official in Harris County to an also-ran in back-to-back elections. Garcia’s resounding primary loss to U.S. Rep. Gene Green on Tuesday leaves him politically precarious, having alienated […]

Steve Radack supports Medicaid expansion

I have three things to say about this. When Harris County commissioners were asked this week by a member of the public to lower the property tax burden, Steve Radack had a response prepared: tell Austin to let millions of Medicaid dollars flow to the county – then the commissioners might be able to lower […]

Chron story on Locke running for Commissioner

It’s officially official now. Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke, appointed to fill the unexpired term following the sudden death of longtime Commissioner El Franco Lee last month, said Tuesday he may seek the nomination for the powerful local office in the November election. Locke said he has not made a final decision, but […]

Chron overview of the Sheriff races

The candidate who isn’t there nonetheless plays a central role. Appointed incumbent Ron Hickman faces two repeat challengers in the GOP primary, while four others, including former Houston City Councilman Ed Gonzalez battle for the Democratic nomination. The candidates square off in an election year when criminal justice issues are on the forefront of the […]

Gene Locke is reportedly seeking the Commissioners Court nomination

Please see update at the end of this post. There is new information at the bottom. Remember this? Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Friday named Gene Locke, a former city attorney and mayoral candidate, to complete El Franco Lee’s term on Commissioners Court. Locke, 68, a senior partner at the Andrews Kurth law firm, […]

Collin County argues against anti-Paxton prosecutor lawsuit

Reluctantly. [Collin County Commissioners] Court on Thursday urged a Dallas judge to drop a lawsuit seeking to block payment to the special prosecutors. The suit, filed in December by local real estate developer and Paxton donor Jeffory Blackard, should be declared moot because the commissioners already had sent the prosecutors their six-figure check, the county […]

Under the Dome

The latest plan to save the Dome takes a step forward. Harris County Commissioners Court moved forward on Tuesday with one piece of the Astrodome revival that needs to happen whether or not the park plan is achieved, according to County Judge Ed Emmett. The court asked for an internal cost assessment for building two […]

More Commissioner hopefuls make themselves known

The race is on. With former city attorney Gene Locke in place to finish the late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee’s term, Democratic players are quickly emerging as candidates in the November general election. State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, said late Thursday that he intends to run, sacrificing 25 years of legislative seniority in […]

Sen. Ellis to seek Commissioner’s position

We have our first public announcement of interest in filling the late El Franco Lee’s seat on Commissioner’s Court. Longtime state Sen. Rodney Ellis has begun making calls to local Democratic Party leaders and plans to run for the Harris County Commissioner seat left vacant after the death of El Franco Lee, a spokesman said […]

Emmett preps to name interim Lee successor

We will know who it is soon. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday announced he expects to appoint a successor by Friday to complete El Franco Lee’s term on the county’s governing body. Emmett wants the new Precinct 1 commissioner to be in place for the court’s yearly budget meeting the following Tuesday, Jan. […]

The Chron on the El Franco Lee successor selection process

First, a lamentation. Not even a month has passed since Sylvester Turner was sworn in as Houston’s new mayor, and already the next election cycle is just around the corner. Early voting for party primaries is about a month away, running from Feb. 16 through Feb. 26. Election Day is March 1. Safely gerrymandered districts often […]

Selecting a successor for El Franco Lee: What I’m looking for

Building on what we discussed last time, what am I, as one of maybe 100 people who has the privilege of selecting a Democratic nominee to take El Franco Lee’s place on the November ballot – and most likely, on Commissioners Court for the foreseeable future – looking for? What qualities do I want that […]

Selecting a successor for El Franco Lee: Process and questions

From the inbox, sent by Carroll Robinson. The Issue During the past few days, there has been a great deal of speculation about the legal process for selecting someone to replace the late Commissioner El Franco Lee on the November 2016 General Election ballot. (Texas Election Code, Subchapter C. Sections 172.057, 172.058 and 172.054 (1).) […]

Collin County agrees to pay Paxton prosecutors

Grudgingly. For now. The special prosecutors handling the criminal case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be paid for their work so far at the rate they were promised. Commissioners voted 3-2 on Monday to pay the more than $254,000 in legal fees and expenses that have accumulated since April. […] “We have very […]

County finally takes jail overcrowding seriously

We’ll see what this actually becomes. Chasing $4 million in grant money, Harris County officials on Thursday announced reforms in the criminal justice system to unclog dockets, lower jail population and address racial and ethnic disparities. And because the changes are so important, they said, they will do it even if they don’t get the […]

Lee’s campaign finances

Among other things, Commissioner El Franco Lee leaves behind a lot of money in his campaign finance account. When Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee died unexpectedly Sunday, he left friends and allies in mourning, political hopefuls jockeying for his job and an uncommonly large campaign war chest of nearly $4 million. What happens to […]

On succeeding El Franco Lee

Don’t rush anyone. Within hours of longtime Commissioner El Franco Lee’s sudden death Sunday, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett received calls from three people vying for his seat. Emmett, who alone must appoint a temporary successor, said he will not consider these three or five others who by day’s end expressed their interest. “There’s such […]

RIP, El Franco Lee

The longest-serving and first African-American Harris County Commissioner passed away suddenly on Sunday. El Franco Lee, Harris County’s first African-American commissioner and a popular mainstay in the political community, died Sunday morning of a heart attack. He was 66. The Houston native served more than three decades as commissioner in Harris County’s Precinct 1, and […]

2016 Election page is up

Here it is. A few notes: – This is for races that will appear on the Harris County ballot only. Our ballot is big enough, with enough contested primary races, that I didn’t have the time or the energy to do anything more ambitious. It’s great that there is such interest in running for office […]

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 […]

Filing deadline highlights

I’m taking a look at interesting bits from the state and Harris County Democratic Party filings. You can see the latter here; there isn’t a page dedicated to this on the TDP webpage (why?) but via this press release we find the SOS candidate filing report, which once filtered for Dem only gives us what […]

Harris County keeps considering vote centers

Perhaps one of these days they will move forward on this. Seeking to making voting easier on Election Day, Harris County officials are considering shifting to a system that would allow voters to cast ballots at any county polling place rather than only at their neighborhood precinct. These so-called “vote centers,” modeled after the countywide […]


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 […]

Commissioners Court to get deposed

This ought to be interesting. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and all four county commissioners are scheduled to be deposed Monday in a federal lawsuit filed by former Houston Police Department crime lab supervisors who said they experienced retaliation after exposing problems with a mobile DUI testing program. Amanda Culbertson and Jorge Wong say the […]

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 […]

County sues VW for $100 million

Good. Harris County on Tuesday set in motion a $100 million environmental lawsuit against Volkswagen, claiming emissions from 6,000 diesel cars circulating on roadways in the region have caused harm to the population. County Attorney Vince Ryan said his review of filings indicated this could be the first government suit against the car company since […]