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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County’

Interview with Kim Ogg

It’s time to start the interview series for the fall elections. As you know, I did interviews with various Democratic primary candidates earlier this year. As a rule, I’m not going to re-interview candidates that made it to the fall ballot, since in most cases there isn’t much ground to cover that wasn’t already discussed. […]

Abbott’s voter registration persecution

Now this is what a partisan witch hunt looks like. On an overcast Monday afternoon, officers in bulletproof vests swept into a house on Houston’s north side. The armed deputies and agents served a search warrant. They carted away computers, hard drives and documents. The raid targeted a voter registration group called Houston Votes, which […]

More on the Emmett Astrodome Park plan

Good to know that an architect thinks its feasible, but it will need more than that to become reality. Kinder Baumgardner, president of SWA Architects, the firm behind several public projects in Houston involving parks, said plenty of big-idea architectural concepts that have been successfully carried out around the world initially were dismissed as impractical, […]

How about Astrodome Indoor Park?

County Judge Ed Emmett gives his vision for the Astrodome. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday proposed turning the Astrodome into “the world’s largest indoor park” and recreation area, a concept he said would honor the reason his predecessor built the iconic stadium 50 years ago: “To provide for traditional outdoor activities in an […]

Trying again with pre-K

Different approach, hopefully a different result will follow. On the first day of school for most Houston-area children, a coalition called “Early Matters” organized by the Greater Houston Partnership announced Monday it would release a 10-year “game plan” at a summit next month to expand pre-kindergarten and child care programs and assist parents so they […]

“Environmental tort reform”

Oh, hell no. After failing in their attempt to limit cities and counties’ ability to take industrial polluters to court, some Houston businesses and statewide lobbyists now want to limit how much local governments can collect in penalties, a sort of environmental tort reform effort aimed squarely at a Harris County Attorney’s office they say […]

Astrodome Park proponents tout a survey showing people like the idea of Astrodome Park

How can you argue with that? The NRG Astrodome should be turned into a green space similar to Discovery Green downtown, said a majority of people recently surveyed about the future of the former sports arena. The survey, ordered by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and conducted by the University of Houston Hobby Center […]

Ogg challenges Anderson’s handling of Ryan Chandler investigation

This gets a little complicated, so stay with me. A county prosecutor who was engaged to fired Houston homicide detective Sgt. Ryan Chandler emailed him an office database search of all his cases as he was under investigation for possible criminal prosecution, according to documents released Thursday by district attorney candidate Kim Ogg. Assistant District […]

The debate over handling drug cases in the DA race

An update from the Chron. Incumbent Devon Anderson and challenger Kim Ogg have somewhat similar thoughts on dealing with misdemeanor marijuana possession, but are on polar opposites when it comes to trace amounts of crack cocaine, a perennial debate in Harris County. On marijuana, both are proposing a diversion program, which offers the opportunity for […]

Greg Enos turns his spotlight to Gary Polland

This ought to be good. There can be no doubt: Gary Polland is a smart, successful lawyer who knows how to make a lot of money from the practice of law. Polland is politically powerful and able to influence and profit from every Republican primary election. Polland should be your hero and role model if […]

Game room lawsuit dismissed

From last week: After a lengthy tussle over new game room regulations for Harris County, a federal judge Tuesday issued an order denying requests from a local game room owner to stop the new regulations. “The game room situation in Harris County is a big problem,” said Fred Keys, an assistant attorney for Harris County. […]

A second chance to get a piece of the Dome

There’s going to be another Astrodome memorabilia sale in the near future. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. is considering selling more seats out of the Astrodome after raking in $1.5 million late last year during two online auctions and a walk-up “yard sale” at NRG Center where thousands of nostalgic fans waited hours […]

Hassan drops out of County Judge race

I’m okay with this. Democrat Ahmad Hassan has ended his campaign for Harris County judge, saying incumbent Republican Ed Emmett should be given another four-year term to finish projects vital to the community. Hassan, owner of the Katy-based Alexandria Realty and Mortgage, said he decided to withdraw after a recent meeting with Emmett, the county’s […]

The Astrodome isn’t officially a historic landmark just yet

The decision has been delayed until there can be a meeting to discuss it in Houston. Honoring a request by Harris County officials to table the vote and meet much closer to Houston, the Texas Historical Commission voted Wednesday at a meeting in far West Texas to postpone designating the iconic Astrodome a so-called “state […]

County Attorney asks judge to overturn Wilson verdict

I’m not sure what the point of this is. Although a jury decided Dave Wilson lived where he claimed when he ran for the Houston Community College seat he holds, the drama surrounding the perennial candidate continues. Harris County attorneys filed a motion Wednesday asking Judge Mike Engelhart, who oversaw Wilson’s three-day residency trial earlier […]

Harris County settles with HCAD

Not sure about this. Less than two months after formally challenging the way the local appraisal district calculates the value of vacant commercial land, Harris County has backed down. Commissioners Court on Tuesday OK’d the withdrawal of a petition filed in early June by the county attorney challenging the Harris County Appraisal District after the […]

Ogg proposes marijuana prosecution reforms

I like the sound of this. Kim Ogg, the Democratic nominee for Harris County district attorney, said Friday she will ticket and enforce community service for, instead of arrest and jail, thousands of people arrested each year in Houston for low-level marijuana possession. “We can save up to 10 million dollars a year, folks,” Ogg […]

Commuter rail status

There’s still a push for commuter rail in Houston. With freight trains on Houston area tracks teeming with cargo, supporters of commuter rail to the suburbs are focusing on three spots where they can potentially build their own lines for passengers. The Gulf Coast Rail District – created in part to find a way to […]

Vaping in jail

Not sure how I feel about this. As a way to allow some inmates to get their nicotine fix and sheriffs to shore up tight budgets, county jails across the country have begun selling electronic cigarettes. Though the trend has largely bypassed Texas, jail officials say that could change as sheriffs begin to warm up […]

July finance reports for Harris County candidates

All of the July finance reports for Harris County candidates are in. You know what that means. County Judge Ed Emmett Ahmad Hassan Candidate Raised Spent Loan On Hand ================================================== Emmett 312,885 177,017 0 532,257 Hassan 0 0 0 0 Judge Emmett is the big dog, and he has the finance report to show it. […]

Chron agrees that the Astrodome Park plan is silly

So there you have it. There is something uniquely Houston about tearing down an historic structure to build a memorial commemorating the history of that very structure. But that is exactly what the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the Texans have suggested in their recent proposal for the future of the Astrodome. Harris County […]

Bikes on buses update

Keeps going up. More METRO bus rides are bringing along their bicycles to complete their trip and get from point A to point B. In June, the number of bikes on buses hit a record 21,941, a 32 percent increase over June a year ago. For the first nine months of this fiscal year (Oct. […]

Emmett doesn’t like Astrodome Park

And he’s not afraid to say so. Hoping to jump-start another discussion about redeveloping the Astrodome, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Thursday called the Houston Texans and the Rodeo’s proposal to demolish the iconic stadium and replace it with a park-like green space “a silly plan” and pleaded with members of the Hotel & […]

How to solve the traffic problems of The Woodlands

All that growth has its downsides. The Houston-Galveston Area Council, along with local entities including The Woodlands, Montgomery County, the City of Oak Ridge North and the Texas Department of Transportation, are working on a South Montgomery Mobility Study that they hope will ultimately ease the woes of commuters. Officials say they realize there are […]

Could Astrodome Park actually work?

Lisa Gray asks a good question about the proposal to turn the Astrodome into green space. Could that really be a park like Discovery Green? It’s easy to imagine that green space being useful, say, for a Super Bowl party, tailgating during home games, or as an extension of the Rodeo. But outside of those […]

The Rodeo and the Texans would like to demolish the Dome now, please

Yeah, I don’t know how well this will go over. County leaders said Thursday they are open to considering a $66 million plan devised by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the NFL’s Houston Texans to demolish the iconic Astrodome and turn the nearly 9-acre site into a massive outdoor space reminiscent of downtown’s […]

White return flight

Some interesting demographic trends going on. Between 2000 and 2010, [Harris] county, like much of the U.S., saw a sharp decline of its white population, losing about 12 percent of Anglos or about 83,000 people. The drop mirrors demographic shifts across the nation as white birthrates have slowed. But in the past three years, Harris […]

One point of perspective on the repeal petitions

Here’s the Chron story about the HERO-haters turning in their repeal petitions. Opponents of Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance Thursday turned in well more than the minimum number of signatures needed to trigger a November vote on whether to repeal the measure. Staff in the City Secretary’s office will have 30 days to verify that the […]

Construction of joint processing center and forensics facility approved to begin

Good. Several major building projects – including a state-of-the-art facility for the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences and a voter-approved jail inmate processing center – officially are in the pipeline after Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a $305 million capital improvement program. [...] At the top of the list is the $100 million city-county […]

Medicaid expansion: Still a great deal, especially for cities

So many uninsured people could get covered if Medicaid expansion were universal instead of just here and there. Expanding Medicaid under the new health care law would do a lot to slash the number of uninsured people, at least in some of the nation’s largest cities, according to a new report. A review of 14 […]

Of course some people will split their votes

It’s just a matter of how many of them do so, and if the races in question are close enough for it to matter. Democrats are hoping the Republicans will eventually make some of the mistakes Democrats themselves made back when they were on top and the GOP was trying to break down the doors […]

Perry appoints Pratt replacement

As expected. Gov. Rick Perry on Friday appointed Houston family lawyer Alicia Franklin as presiding judge of Harris County’s 311th state District Court, a position left vacant in March after the resignation of disgraced freshman jurist Denise Pratt. Franklin won a May 27 Republican primary runoff against Pratt, who appeared on the ballot despite her […]

Competition is good, except when it isn’t

I honestly don’t get this. As the Houston City Council prepares to vote Wednesday on whether to make its longtime back-tax collector share the lucrative work with a rival, city officials are getting ample pushback from the man responsible for collecting the taxes. Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Mike Sullivan is not the only one opposed […]

County to challenge vacant lot appraisals

It’s a start. Harris County is challenging the local appraisal district’s valuation of vacant commercial land after a study it commissioned concluded the agency had undervalued those properties by more than 80 percent this year. The finding was based on a random sampling of two dozen vacant commercial properties across the county with a collectively […]