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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Gonzalez’

And we (finally) circle back to food trucks

We’ve done HERO, we’ve done vehicles for hire, what other high profile issues are there out there? Oh yeah, food trucks. I’d almost forgotten they were still an agenda item, but they’re back and they should be getting a vote soon. Proposed changes to three major ordinances could provide food trucks with new freedom. While […]

Sobering center status report

It’s working as planned, which is great news. When Mayor Annise Parker opened the center at 150 North Chenevert St. last year, the idea was to cut police costs and reduce recidivism, creating a place other than jail for those whose only crime is public intoxication. Prior to the center’s opening, police were making about […]

Do we really have to talk about the 2015 Mayoral race right now?

sigh All right, all right, if you insist. But let’s make it quick. The list of possible candidates thus far includes mainly those who have held or sought public office before, though analysts said the guessing game at this point is difficult. “There are always people who get in the race who no one expected […]

One more week till vehicles for hire

You didn’t expect Council to vote on it so quickly, did you? They’ll get to it next week. The proposed changes would place specific requirements on the independent drivers and the technology companies, which connect drivers willing to ferry people around with people looking for a ride. The companies must acquire permits to operate in […]

Meet your first parklet

It’s in the Heights, because of course it is. A parking space converted into Houston’s first parklet brought a mini-media frenzy — and fun street party — to 19th Street in the Heights, where New Living artisans, city officials and community supporters gathered to officially dedicate the green space outside New Living Bedroom Thursday morning. […]

City exploring new pension for new firefighters?

Maybe. Long concerned about the cost of Houston’s pensions and stymied in her attempts at reform, Mayor Annise Parker is considering a dramatic step to place new firefighters into a separate, less generous pension plan, sources with knowledge of the discussions said. Officials acknowledge the existing Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund likely would sue […]

Hackathon II: Son Of Hackathon

From the inbox: Houston Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston will host its second annual “Open Innovation Hackathon” on May 31-June 1 at the Houston Technology Center. This year’s Hackathon is also part of the National Civic Day of Hacking series of civic innovation events being hosted across the globe during the […]

Counting votes on the non-discrimination ordinance

From the Houston GLBT Political Caucus Facebook page: Members have asked for the responses on our questionnaires to the questions below. The President of the Caucus, Maverick Welsh, has asked me to post the information. As the chair of the Screening Committee, I have reviewed the questionnaires from 2013 and below is the result: Mayor–We […]

Fearing the fire reform

This ought to be interesting. Rumblings of coming reforms in Houston Fire Department’s operations have union leaders and the department’s command staff wary, despite Mayor Annise Parker’s insistence that these concerns are unwarranted. HFD’s staffing shortage has driven up overtime costs, creating a budget crisis that has, on some days, seen ambulances and fire trucks […]

January campaign finance reports for Houston officeholders

One more set of finance reports to document, from city of Houston officeholders and candidates. I’m not going to link to the individual reports this time, since the city’s system automatically downloads the PDFs and I don’t feel like uploading these all to my Google drive. Here are the basic summaries, with my comments afterwards […]

It’s still Gene Green’s world

I have three things to say about this story about Rep. Gene Green. The affable, low-key former printer’s apprentice is a legend across his gritty, blue-collar domain along the 54-mile Houston Ship Channel, where he represents the most heavily Hispanic congressional district in the nation that has not elected a Hispanic to Congress. By virtue […]

Council hears the Mayor’s payday lending ordinance

Reaction was mixed, though it appears likely there is enough support to pass. The proposed ordinance would limit payday loans to 20 percent of a borrower’s gross monthly income and auto title loans to 3 percent of the borrower’s gross annual income or 70 percent of the car’s value, whichever is less. Single-payment payday loans […]

Chron overview of District I

The Chron covers the District I race. The contrasts in this eastside, heavily-Latino council district are dramatic: from the gleaming George R. Brown Convention Center in the heart of downtown, to older neighborhoods lacking modern street drainage where vacant lots become clandestine dump sites. Four candidates are campaigning to represent a historic slice of central […]

Complete Streets coming

This is good to see. Houston, long ruled by the automobile, will give more consideration to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in designing its streets and neighborhoods. Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday said she is drafting, with public works and planning officials, an executive order stating that the city will adhere to “complete streets” […]

City reaches settlement with developer over Woodland Park damage

Good news. Mayor Annise Parker, the City of Houston Legal Department and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) announced the City has recovered $300,000 to restore recent damage to Woodland Park by a private developer. Woodland Park, located at 212 Parkview, is a 19.67 acre park near White Oak Bayou in the Woodland Heights […]

Interview with CM Ed Gonzalez

Council Member Ed Gonzalez is serving his second term in District H. He’s actually already four full years into his service, as he was the winner of the 2009 special election to succeed former CM and now Sheriff Adrian Garcia. Like Garcia, Gonzalez is a former HPD officer who made a successful entry into politics […]

Council to consider wage theft ordinance

Good. The Houston City Council may step up its efforts to combat wage theft, sanctioning companies that deny workers pay to which they are entitled and monitoring firms accused of doing so, regardless of whether they do business with the city. City Attorney David Feldman laid out a proposed ordinance to a City Council committee […]

July 2013 finance reports for district Council candidates

We move now to the remaining Council races, which are the district races. Here are the July finance reports for candidates in District Council races. Please note that all reports now appear on my newly-published Election 2013 page. Refer to that page for future updates, candidate interviews, and so forth. Dist Candidate Raised Spent On […]

Council approves Costco tax rebate

I still don’t think this is a good idea. The Houston City Council on Wednesday approved a $1 million economic development deal to help Costco build a store outside the city limits. In a rambling discussion ending in a 12-3 vote, supporters argued that the sales tax rebate would drive further development in the area […]

First Hackathon project released

Cool. Budget Bootcamp, a new city website application that provides easy access to city budget information, is the first Houston Hackathon project to become reality.  Budget Bootcamp is hosted on the Finance Department’s website and provides citizens an educational walkthrough of the City’s budget data – both for the recently adopted Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, as well […]

They name the development after whatever they bulldozed in order to build it

The title of this post is an old joke, but what happened recently at Woodland Park is not. Nonsequiteuse explains. I was alerted to an egregious clear-cutting along Woodland Park, a City of Houston public park at the edge of the Woodland Heights, by a neighbor’s posting on our online bulletin board: The Friends of […]

The Houston Hackathon

From the Mayor’s office: Houston Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston will host a 24-hour “Open Innovation Hackathon” on May 17-18 at the Houston Technology Center and at Start Houston. A hackathon is a day-long event in which software developers, designers, and data analysts collaborate intensively on data and software projects. Over […]

Houston considers a “Safe Passing” ordinance

Glad to hear it. Though it boasts a growing biking culture, Houston is the only major city in Texas without a safe-passing law requiring motorists to share the road with cyclists and others. City leaders now want to change that. City attorneys proposed an ordinance to the City Council’s public safety committee Wednesday that officials […]

Endorsement watch: Planned Parenthood gets an early start

From the inbox on Friday: Today the Board of Directors of the Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast ACTION FUND Inc, (PPGCAF) voted to endorse the following candidates for the November City Election. Each of the endorsed candidates has demonstrated a strong commitment to the health and well being of Texas women and families. PPGCAF encourages all […]

Sobering center opens up

Good. Mayor Annise Parker joined council members on Thursday to unveil the innovative Houston Recovery Center, a place where people who are intoxicated can sober up instead of being arrested. Officials say there’s only one other similar facility in Texas. “Turns out that a significant percentage of the people we were putting in jail, were […]

The off-street parking debate

I believe the new offstreet parking requirements that have been proposed and are being debated are at least as big a deal as the Chapter 42 revisions. We really need to get this right. Under the new rules, some eateries – dessert shops, carryout restaurants – would need less parking, but requirements on most restaurants […]

Ready or not, here comes Chapter 42

Changes are coming to Chapter 42, the section of Houston’s ordinances that deal with density and development, and to Chapter 26, the section on off-street parking for bars and restaurants and what have you. The revisions would allow neighborhoods to create special parking areas tailored to their needs, reduce parking requirements for historic buildings, allow […]

January finance reports for Houston offices

Previously, I gave the July campaign finance numbers for Houston elected officials who are eligible for the ballot this fall. Here now are the cash on hand figures from the January reports, with all incumbents and a few assorted extras thrown in: Dist Name Cash on hand ================================= Myr Parker 1,043,827 Ctrl R Green 35,753 […]

Council approves Washington Avenue parking benefit district

We’ll see how this works. The Houston City Council on Wednesday formed a special parking district along Washington Avenue, intended to ease the woes associated with the bustling corridor’s mix of bars, restaurants and residential streets. The plan will add parking meters on about 350 spaces along Washington, and will make it easier for residents […]

Pothole app

Harris County now has an app for reporting potholes and other problems. Users must download the app and set up a profile. After that, one can take a photo of the problem, point to its spot on the map or let GPS technology mark the location, label the report with a category – say, “dead […]

Spending a little to save a lot

Remember HPD’s Chronic Consumer Stabilization Program, in which the police department attempted to deal with some of the people who interact with them the most often in a better, more humane, and more cost-effective way? Well, it’s been working. Since the program began, run-ins between police and the top 30 chronic consumers have declined by […]

Parklets

Not really sure what to make of this. Six years ago, a posse of guerrilla designers fed a parking meter on a busy San Francisco street, unrolled sod in the parking space and plopped down a potted tree. The result was a tiny, fleeting swath of green that since has become known as a parklet. […]

Council defers on strip club fee

Tagged for a week. Consideration of a $5-per-head fee on customers of strip clubs to pay for reducing the city’s backlog of untested rape kits has been delayed for a week. Council members Melissa Noriega and Al Hoang both tagged the item, a parliamentary maneuver that puts off an agenda item for one week, no […]

All the budget amendments

Here’s a Google doc upload of all of the budget amendments from Council members to Mayor Parker. All members except CMs Bradford and Hoang submitted at least one amendment, with some (Brown, Sullivan, Green) submitting more than others. I’ve given the whole thing a cursory look, and while much of what is in here has […]