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Posts Tagged ‘Commissioners Court’

Public Integrity Unit employees get layoff notices

What is to come if nothing changes. Travis County commissioners are still holding out hope the state will fund the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit, but took an early step to let employees know their jobs are on the line. Voting unanimously Tuesday, commissioners are giving layoff notices to more than 30 employees whose jobs […]

If we need more courts, we should ask for more courts

I’m not sure why there hasn’t been more of a push to deal with this. As Harris County’s population continues to swell, more people means more crimes. And that results in more work for the county’s 22 felony courts. But no court is busier right now than the 209th, which is overseen by Michael McSpadden, […]

Commissioners Court approves HCSCC Astrodome plan for further review

I noted this briefly in an update to my interview with Willie Loston, but on Tuesday Harris County Commissioners Court unanimously approved the proposal by the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation to redevelop the Astrodome for further study. Commissioners did not comment on the proposal before or after the vote, but County Judge Ed […]

Interview with Willie Loston

Willie Loston is the Executive Director of the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation, which is the not-for-profit company that operates and maintains the public facilities at Reliant Park, including Reliant Stadium and the Astrodome. It was the HCSCC that called for and evaluated the private proposals for the Astrodome, and the HCSCC that ultimately […]

No override of Public Integrity Unit funding veto

Alas. A legislative move to restore state funding for the ethics-enforcing Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office died Friday afternoon. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, said no vote is expected on House Concurrent Resolution 6 — the attempt by state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, to override Gov. Rick Perry’s […]

More on the New Dome Experience

The Chron’s subscription site story adds some more details to the news about the New Dome Experience. [Harris County Judge Ed] Emmett said that if the court signs off on the plan next week, it likely would ask the county budget office to look for alternative ways to pay the $194 million tab, which includes […]

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 […]

Would you pay more for pre-K in Harris County?

You might get the chance to vote on it. The recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a group whose membership includes former Houston first lady Andrea White, is circulating a petition calling for the placement of an item on the next election ballot that would increase the county property tax rate by 1 cent, […]

Turner seeks a way to get around Public Integrity Unit de-funding

Rep. Sylvester Turner takes aim at one of Perry’s vetoes. Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, said he would propose a House Concurrent Resolution advocating restoration of funding for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County district attorney’s office, which was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry last week. [...] This morning on the floor of the […]

So many Dome ideas

The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation has plenty of material to work with as it prepares to make a recommendation to Commissioners Court about the Astrodome. Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. staff will spend the next week evaluating 19 plans for redeveloping the Astro­dome and putting the finishing touches on the agency’s own […]

The Texans and the Rodeo will have their say on the fate of the Dome

There’s this little matter of their lease agreement to deal with. Five years ago, Harris County appeared on the brink of striking a deal with a group of entrepreneurs to turn the Astrodome into a 1,300-room hotel and convention center, a $450 million plan that never came to fruition. County officials say its failure came […]

Astrodome-palooza

In case you aren’t completely full of my opining on the Astrodome and its possible fate, I was the author of a op-ed in the Sunday Chron on the subject. It’s kind of the Reader’s Digest version of the things I’ve been saying here, so if you don’t click over you won’t miss anything new […]

The fault lies not with Commissioners Court

Chron columnist Ken Hoffman fired a shot in his Sunday column. What to do with the Astrodome? It’s had its day. Let it go before it becomes even more of an embarrassing money pit. Dump the Dome! M. Meagher, Houston I figured out why the Astrodome is just sitting there falling into disrepair – because […]

It’s about use, not just sentiment

NYT reporter Jere Longman, who hails from Houston, penned a love letter to the Astrodome after hearing about its possible impending demise. So it was despairing to hear that the vacant Astrodome might be torn down and its site paved over as Houston prepares to host the 2017 Super Bowl. Demolition would be a failure […]

Making San Antonio more musical

San Antonio is a little jealous of Austin, it seems. Tired of San Antonio playing second fiddle to Austin when it comes to a live music scene, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Friday laid out ambitious plans to change that. Wolff said he’s ready to work with two top-notch promoters to raise San Antonio’s […]

Does the Super Bowl doom the Dome?

The Texican ponders what the announcement about Houston landing Super Bowl LI means for everyone’s favorite unused arena. So what does this mean for our Dome? A parking garage would be an ignoble end for the Dome, though I am sure many would settle for parking somewhere in the former lodge section if it meant […]

Getting all of the courts ready for e-filing

I confess to being a little confused at first when I read this. A half-dozen Harris County departments will spend the rest of the year scrambling to fulfill a Texas Supreme Court mandate that all civil courts accept only electronic filings, starting next January. In a ruling issued last December, the high court said large […]

A Q&A about the TCDCC

Last week, I introduced you to the Texas County Democratic Campaign Committee (TCDCC), which is focused on recruiting and supporting county-level Democratic candidates outside of our current urban strongholds. It’s an idea and an organization that is long overdue. I wanted to know more about it, so I sent some questions to TCDCC founder Robert […]

If only it were that easy to get our act together

Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has some blunt words for Houston about light rail. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood likes Houston’s light rail that’s up and running but warns that regional transit officials have squandered opportunities the past decade by not building greater consensus. “The region needs to get its act together,” LaHood said during […]

The emotional Dome decision

Nobody really wants to tear the Astrodome down. That in a nutshell is why the process to determine what to do with it has taken so long even though there aren’t any viable alternatives to demolition at this time. A failure to come up with a feasible plan with the financing to make it happen […]

Astrodome anti-climax

That’s it?!?!?!? The Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. board of directors approved a resolution Wednesday calling for staff to collect ideas for what to do with the vacant Reliant Astrodome between now and June 10. The Sports Corp., the agency that manages Reliant Park, would analyze any proposals its receives before bringing them to […]

A STEM vision for the Astrodome

Tory Gattis has an idea for what to do with the Astrodome. Where can America’s kids go to be inspired toward careers in our country’s most crucial need: science, technology, engineering and math (aka STEM)? Something far beyond their little local science or children’s museum? Houston could be that city, building not only on our […]

Someone will do something sort of soon about the Dome

I can’t be more specific than that. While Houston’s Super Bowl Host Committee continues its bid to win the vote for Super Bowl LI, the next step in the possible demolition of the Astrodome could be taken next week by the board of directors of the Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation. The HCSCC presides […]

Watch the county’s business

I wholeheartedly approve of this. Meetings of the Harris County Commissioners Court and the governing boards of the Port of Houston Authority, the Harris Health System and the Harris County Department of Education soon could be streamed live online. County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday [asked] the court for permission to find a vendor to […]

Fort Bend County Commissioners Court supports Medicaid expansion

Fort Bend County, y’all. RESOLUTION OF THE FORT BEND COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT IN SUPPORT OF EXPANSION OF MEDICAIL) COVERAGE WHEREAS, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured [24%) and underinsured in the United States and 23% of the residents of Fort Bend County are uninsured, and WHEREAS, Expanding Medicaid would ensure 1.5 million more Texans […]

The Chron would like someone to do something about the Dome

Something other than turning it into a parking lot, please. Whatever we do with the former Astrodome location should bolster Reliant Stadium’s capability to host events and make the overall complex a more attractive location during bidding processes. For inspiration, county officials should look north along the light rail line to downtown’s Discovery Green. During […]

Harris County wants to be like the city in regulating eight-liners

One of the main differences between Houston and Harris County is that the city can generally do what it wants to do while the county had to get a law passed to do the same thing. When the city of Houston began enforcing stricter regulations on topless clubs and massage parlors, officials saw complaints against […]

Are we getting close to a Dome decision?

Maybe by the end of the year. But don’t rush County Judge Ed Emmett, who has a few things to say about that study that claimed it would be cheaper than originally reported to demolish the Astrodome. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett put that study with all the ones that have been done over the […]

County disputes cheaper Dome demolition price tag

It’s on. Harris County officials on Thursday disputed an estimate released this week showing it would cost $29 million to implode the vacant Reliant Astrodome and build a 1,600-space parking lot in two and a half years. The figure, calculated by local firms Linbeck Construction and Walter P. Moore and Associates after a three-month study […]

Maybe it wouldn’t be so expensive to demolish the Dome after all

Hey, look! It’s another What To Do With The Astrodome study! Woo hoo! The Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have commissioned a study showing it would cost $29 million to demolish the 48-year-old stadium and build a 1,600-space parking lot, less than half what consultants hired by the Harris County Sports […]

No increase in jail population as yet

Good to hear. When Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson toppled incumbent Pat Lykos in last year’s Republican primary, some county budget hawks got fidgety. The campaign’s central issue, after all, was Anderson’s opposition to a Lykos policy that treated cases with drug residue of less than 1/100th of a gram as misdemeanors. Lykos was […]

County redistricting lawsuit costing a bundle

Redistricting is expensive, y’all. Harris County has spent nearly $1.3 million fighting a 2011 lawsuit filed by a group of Hispanic activists against the redistricting plan it adopted that year for its four county commissioner precincts. The plaintiffs, led by Houston City Councilmen James Rodriguez and Ed Gonzalez, and represented by Chad Dunn, general counsel […]

No Dome referendum yet

If you’ve been waiting for a chance to vote on the fate of the Astrodome, you’ll just have to keep waiting. Harris County officials unveiled options for the future of the long-vacant Astrodome last summer, with some members of Commissioners Court saying voters might be presented with a bond referendum last November, or perhaps this […]

The next step to closing the city jail

The sobering center was Step 1. Step 2 is a joint processing center with the county, and that is now closer to happening. With backing from the city of Houston, Harris County is reviving a long-discussed plan to build a facility to process inmates into the county jail, and to offer the mental health services […]