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Posts Tagged ‘Ellen Cohen’

Vape ‘em if you’ve got ‘em

E-cigarettes are not affected by the city of Houston’s smoking ban. For now, anyway. When city officials announced a sweeping ban on smoking in public parks last month, many in Houston’s growing ranks of electronic cigarette users worried the new rules applied to them. They do not, but the concern was well founded. Of the […]

It’s past time for a garbage fee

Yes, this. For years, Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes has suggested the city implement a garbage fee to expand curbside recycling and pay for other initiatives. And for years, Mayor Annise Parker has demurred. Now, with a looming budget deficit that could force widespread layoffs and cuts to services, the idea may […]

The bricks of Freedmen’s Town

Surely we can do something about this. Most in the Fourth Ward community know the lore – that freed slaves and descendants first laid the bricks on the streets 100 years ago. Now most agree the roads need repairs, but residents and preservationists worry a recently approved city plan to remove the bricks to fix […]

Council adopts its budget for next year

Might be the last easy budget for a couple of years. The Houston City Council agreed to boost funding for after-school programs, add cameras to catch illegal dumpers and give $1 million to each district council office to spend on projects for their constituents during a marathon session Wednesday to approve Mayor Annise Parker’s $5.2 […]

Falkenberg on Wilson and the NDO

Lisa Falkenberg weighs in on the “Reverend RJ Ballard” email. The e-mail is the handiwork of Houstonians for Family Values, the group affiliated with none other than Dave Wilson. You may remember him as the old white anti-gay activist who got elected to the Houston Community College board last year in a predominantly black district […]

NDO delayed two weeks

I thought it would be over by now, but it’s not. A proposal to extend equal rights protections to gay and transgender Houston residents, which had been swiftly advancing to a City Council vote, stalled Wednesday as council members voted for a two-week delay to allow more public input on the increasingly divisive measure. Mayor […]

Combs tells strip clubs to pay up

Interesting. Texas Comptroller Susan Combs is pressing the state’s strip clubs to cough up millions of dollars she says they owe under a new “pole tax” even though the $5-a-patron fee still faces a court challenge. “Any claim that ongoing litigation is a basis for nonpayment of the Sexually Oriented Business Fee is not valid,” […]

GHP endorses proposed NDO

Good for them. The Greater Houston Partnership came out in support of Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed equal rights ordinance, giving the measure a boost as it heads to a City Council committee hearing on Wednesday. Parker plans to put the measure before the full City Council for a vote next week. The Partnership initially had […]

Mayor Parker releases draft of non-discrimination ordinance

From the inbox: Mayor Annise Parker today released a draft of her proposed Equal Rights Ordinance. The document is the result of more than two months of collaborative discussions with various stakeholders. “As I stated in my State of the City Address earlier this month, the Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally […]

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 […]

Yes, Council is short on women

It is what it is. The Houston City Council will have its fewest women in 15 years this January, which political observers called a troublesome regression for one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. Just two women will remain on the 16-member council. And for the first time in about 25 years, a […]

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 […]

Interview with CM Ellen Cohen

Welcome to the start of the 2013 interview season. Things are going to be a little different for me this year, because my personal schedule is not as flexible as it has been in years past. What that means is that it’s going to be more of a challenge for me to schedule interviews, and […]

Alexan Heights trying again

The Leader News reports that the proposed mid-rise apartment complex for Yale at 7th Street has been reworked in a way that would avoid the need for a variance. The deed restrictions involved single-family homes within the proposed complex — properties that the owners did not want to sell and that TCR was able to […]

Memorial Park will not become the Riverwalk

Council will vote on the proposed Uptown/Memorial TIRZ this week, which may or may not put an end to some of the wild speculation about what expanding the Uptown TIRZ boundaries to include Memorial Park may mean. Imagine you’re jogging through Memorial Park, squinting past rows of neon signs in front of fast food joints, […]

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 […]

Clearing the rape kit backlog

Some excellent news from the Mayor’s office. Mayor Annise Parker and the Houston Police Department today announced details of a plan that will eliminate the backlog of untested sexual assault kits (SAK). Under the plan, which will be formally considered by Houston City Council next week, the untested kits will be sent to two outside […]

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 […]

On the Parking Benefit District

A proposed ordinance to create a parking benefit district in the Washington Avenue corridor was on Council’s agenda this week, but it was tagged and will wait a week while everyone gets up to speed on it. District C Council member Ellen Cohen says the city has been working with business owners to come up […]

Strip clubs sue city over $5 fee

Remember the $5 per customer strip club fee that was added as a budget amendment by CM Ellen Cohen as a way to fund clearing HPD’s backlog of rape kits? The clubs threatened to sue the city at the time this was debated, and last Thursday they followed through on that threat. In the lawsuit […]

After school programs

I see a lot of merit in this. After-school programs prevent crime, Councilman C.O. Bradford said, so some of them should be paid for by the police. “This sounds strange to hear a gun-packing, badge-toting, 24-year cop talking about this,” said Bradford, Houston’s former police chief, but he proposes hiring 20 fewer police officers in […]

Funding to rebuild Yale Street Bridge acquired

Good news. Calling the Yale Street bridge “functionally obsolete” after a recent engineering study, the Texas Department of Transportation has secured “out of cycle funding” to replace the bridge, Councilwoman Ellen Cohen announced late Monday. Cohen said that means the project won’t have to go through federal bureaucracy and that a new bridge could be […]

Yale Street Bridge to get makeover

You may recall that last November the load limit on the Yale Street Bridge was reduced by TxDOT to 8,000 lbs per single axle and 10,000 lbs per tandem axle, which has resulted in truck traffic being forbidden on the bridge. That hasn’t stopped trucks from actually using it, of course, but they’re not supposed […]

Council adopts strip club fee

Here it comes. Seeking a solution to the bedeviling problem of untested rape evidence that is in some cases decades old, council imposed a $5-per-customer fee on strip clubs Wednesday so it can buy speedier lab work. That simple solution, however, may come with complications of its own, starting with court costs. “Houston has now […]

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 […]

Budget amendment time

Now that Mayor Parker has formally submitted her proposed budget for fiscal year 2013, it’s time for Council members to submit their amendments for consideration. I’m going to start at the bottom of the story with the two proposals that intrigues me the most. Two members called for a November election to amend the city’s […]

January finance reports: Harris County state races

In addition to county candidates, my 2012 Democratic primary election page has information about state and federal candidates who will be on the ballot in Harris County. There are numerous contested primaries, and while I’m not tracking information about Republican races on that page, I thought it would be useful to check on the finance […]

More thoughts on the Council elections

One district at a time… – I confess that I did not see the District A result coming. Helena Brown did raise a decent amount of money since entering the race at the filing deadline, about $22K through the end of October, which makes me wonder how she might have fared if she had gotten […]

2011 Houston results

Let’s go through the races… – Mayor Parker won with a shade under 51%, with none of her opponents cracking 15% on their own. Obviously, this is not a position a Mayor with no serious opposition wants to be in, and it won’t surprise anyone if one or more potential opponents for 2013 are on […]

Eight day reports, part 1

The eight day finance reports started getting posted on the city’s campaign finance page yesterday. I’m still working through putting them on my 2011 Election page, but here are a few highlights so far: – Next to Mayor Parker, the big spender in October was CM Stephen Costello, who made full use of his deep […]

Chron overview of District C

The Ashby Highrise is casting its shadow over the race for the open seat in District C. Even with substantially redrawn boundaries, which in January will extend from north of Loop 610 down through the Heights and south to the Braeswood area, District C still is ground zero for the battle over height regulations. After […]

30 day finance reports for City of Houston races

The 30 day campaign finance reports for City of Houston elections were due last week, and they are now mostly up on the city’s campaign finance report website, with a large number showing up today. Already I’m seeing questionable, curious, and interesting things in the reports. Some highlights so far: Helena Brown, the late-filing candidate […]

Endorsement watch: Cohen and Adams

It’s a twofer, and it’s apparent confirmation that the Chron is going alphabetically by district. First, they tap Ellen Cohen for the reconfigured District C. Among a strong field of candidates for Houston City Council District C – the district that includes Montrose, Meyerland, Braeswood, Oak Forest, Southampton and parts of the Heights – Ellen […]

Supremes uphold strip club tax

In a ruling that reverses the 3rd Court of Appeals, the State Supreme Court has unanimously held that the so-called “pole tax” is constitutional. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that a $5-per-customer fee on strip clubs that serve alcohol doesn’t violate free speech rights. [...] “We think a $5 fee poses no greater burden […]