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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County’

Kirkland for Supreme Court

Good. Houston State District Court Judge Steven Kirkland has announced his candidacy for a seat on the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, making him the first openly gay candidate to run for the state’s highest civil court. Kirkland, a Democrat, is seeking Place 2 on the court, which is currently held by Justice Don Willett. Willett […]

We have a candidate for Treasurer

The Democratic slate for countywide offices in 2018 is now filled out as Dylan Osborne has announced his candidacy for Harris County Treasurer. Osborne has been a City Council staffer and currently works in the Planning & Development Department for the City of Houston. He joins the following on the ticket for next November: Lina […]

The lost Harvey tax break

I have mixed feelings about this. Owners of nearly 300,000 homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Texas won’t see any break in their property taxes because of political wrangling this year in the state Legislature over completely unrelated issues – including, one Houston Republican says, the bathroom bill. A property tax reform bill that would […]

More on the courthouse shuffle

The Trib takes a look at how things are going at the flooded-out Harris County Criminal Justice Center. Since Harvey hit Harris County in late August, one of the busiest criminal court systems in the country has suspended all jury trials. It’s just one of a slate of challenges facing the county’s justice system in […]

What the Harvey needs are from the state

It’s not just about recovery. The long term needs, including mitigation against future events like Harvey, is where the real money will need to be spent. More than one month after Harvey’s deluge hit, local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, testified at a state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee […]

MUDs and Harvey

City governments have their pros and cons, and their challenges getting things done. But at least their existence means residents of said cities have places to go when they need various services. Not everyone has that, and in times of crisis like what Harvey has wrought, that’s a big deal. Cinco Ranch, a master-planned community […]

Some voting locations were damaged by Harvey

Not a surprise, but we’re not doing much about it. More than three dozen polling sites were damaged in Hurricane Harvey and might not be available for the upcoming November elections, Harris County election officials announced Wednesday. Voters in Harris County are urged to cast an early ballot. Those displaced by Harvey or voters who […]

Paxton trial delayed again

This will happen some day. I hope. Attorney General Ken Paxton’s trial has been put off for a third time. The judge in the securities fraud case against Paxton sided Wednesday with prosecutors who had been pushing for another trial delay because of a long-running dispute over their fees. The decision by Harris County District […]

Fifth Circuit hears bail lawsuit arguments

Big day in court. Amid a stream of pointed questions from the bench, lawyers for Harris County Tuesday asked panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss a lower court ruling that the county’s criminal justice system violated the constitution by holding poor defendants on low level offenses simply because they could […]

DA’s office ends trace case prosecutions

Good. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has stopped prosecuting thousands of so-called trace drug cases, which typically stem from glass pipes seized from users containing little more than residue of crack cocaine, officials said Thursday. The recent change means it is not prosecuted at all, unless there are extenuating circumstances said Tom Berg, First […]

We’re going to need another jury building

Good luck with that. Harris County is unlikely to repair Hurricane Harvey flood damage to the six-year-old, $13 million jury Assembly Building that sits beneath a park in downtown Houston’s courthouse square near Buffalo Bayou, County Judge Ed Emmett said Tuesday. While no official action has been taken, the county will likely find a replacement […]

What should the people living near the dams have known?

More than they were told, is what they’re saying. A federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims government officials knew for years that water impounded behind Addicks and Barker dams would flood thousands of suburban homes during an extreme storm – and yet did nothing to advise or compensate property owners. The […]

Harris County files lawsuit against Arkema

More trouble for that nasty and troublesome chemical plant. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday authorized the county attorney to file a lawsuit against Arkema over its struggles to manage stores of hazardous chemicals during Hurricane Harvey. The county’s Pollution Control Services Department found serious violations of the Texas Clean Air Act by Arkema, County […]

Harris County considers its budget post-Harvey

They have some choices, and some constraints. Harris County government departments could see their budgets reduced by up to 5 percent as property taxes take an expected dip due to Hurricane Harvey’s widespread destruction. The estimate is preliminary, County Budget Officer Bill Jackson said Friday. The extent of an anticipated decrease in property tax revenues […]

A couple of race updates

The county slate is one step closer to being filled out for 2018, as Josh Wallenstein has announced his intent to run for the HCDE At Large Position 3 Trustee seat that Diane Trautman is giving up to challenge Stan Stanart. I had a brief chat with Wallenstein via Facebook over the weekend, but as […]

The Sports Authority at 20

A few stadia, a little mission creep. Where has the time gone? As the Harris County Houston Sports Authority celebrated its 20th anniversary Monday night with a reception for current and former directors and board members, it moves into its third decade as a considerably different agency than the one that came into being in […]

Let’s review those flood control regulations

Seems like a good idea, wouldn’t you say? The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to review Harris County’s flood control regulations to gauge whether they sufficiently neutralize the flood risk posed by the region’s booming development, a question that has drawn increasing scrutiny after a series of storms in recent years, capped by […]

Paul Bettencourt advocates doing nothing to rebuild after Harvey

He has nothing constructive to offer, that’s for sure. One of the top Republicans leaders in the Texas Legislature is slamming the city of Houston and other local governments for trying to raise taxes on homeowners in the name of hurricane recovery. And he’s certain the increase will provoke a response of some sort from […]

The courthouse shuffle

Justice rearranged. Flood waters damaged several buildings in the courthouse complex , which is spread across a dozen city blocks in north downtown. The county’s shiny new underground jury assembly building flooded, but the biggest casualty was probably the destruction that has closed the 20-story criminal justice center for at least six to nine months. […]

Emmett calls for changes to county’s flood strategy

Good to see. Calling Tropical Storm Harvey’s devastation a “game-changer,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday called for a sweeping reexamination of the region’s flood control strategy, a process that could include billions of dollars to upgrade aging dams, building a new storm water reservoir and ramping up regulations to tamp down booming development […]

Harris County may do Harvey bonds

Turns out Harvey recovery will cost money. Who knew? A majority of the Harris County Commissioners Court on Wednesday said they would support a large bond issue, perhaps upwards of $1 billion, and a tax increase to pay for it. The bond issue would bolster cash-strapped flood control initiatives, which could include a improvements to […]

Will we spend on some flood mitigation projects?

Maybe. We’ll see. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is calling for the construction of flood control infrastructure in the Houston area — things he said should have been built “decades and decades ago” — including a coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge. “We need more levees. […]

More post-Harvey ideas

From the Chron, which likens this moment to what Galveston faced after the great hurricane of 1900: 1. Establish a regional flood control authority Floodwaters ignore city-limit signs and county-line markers. We can’t adequately address drainage issues with a mélange of municipal efforts and flood control districts split between local jurisdictions. Instead of dividing these […]

Lawsuits filed over dam releases

This ought to be interesting. A group of flooded-out Harris County homeowners and businesses sued the federal government on Tuesday, accusing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of knowingly condemning their properties by releasing water from the Barker and Addicks reservoirs after Hurricane Harvey. Bryant Banes, a civil attorney whose Heathwood home and his wife’s […]

Lawsuit filed over Crosby plant explosion

This ought to be fun to watch. Seven first responders who were exposed to fumes from a chemical fire last week at a Crosby, Texas, manufacturing plant have filed suit against the plant’s owner, alleging that the company’s negligence caused them “severe bodily injuries.” The plaintiffs, who include police officers and medical personnel, say in the […]

Local government buildings took it on the chin from Harvey

Houses, businesses, schools, churches, government offices – the destruction caused by Harvey and the bill to fix it all keeps adding up. Local governments grappled Tuesday with the staggering costs of responding to and cleaning up after Hurricane Harvey, a trifecta of wrecked infrastructure and damaged buildings, around-the-clock overtime for rescue and recovery and a […]

Remember the Katy Prairie

From the four things we could have done differently to maybe mitigate some of the worst effects of Harvey: Preserve and restore as much prairie land as possible Much of northwest Houston used to be covered in prairie land, where tall grasses could absorb huge amounts of floodwater. But most of it has been paved […]

Please don’t complain about the lack of an evacuation

There are good reasons why there was not an evacuation order for the greater Houston area in advance of Harvey. Ultimately, mayors and county judges are charged with making such decisions. Leaders in Houston and Harris County told residents to stay put ahead of the storm and have since defended those decisions — even as […]

Houston signs memorandum of understanding with Texas Central

This makes a lot of sense. At City Hall, Houston and Texas Central Partners announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding, which commits both sides to share environmental surveys, utility analysis and engineering related to the project and surrounding area and work together to develop new transit and other travel options to and from […]

Typhus in Texas

One more thing to worry about, in case you needed it. Strickland spent four days in a hospital receiving treatment and needed about a year to fully recover from the potentially fatal disease transmitted by fleas believed nowadays to be carried most abundantly by opossums and other backyard mammals that spread them to cats and […]

OutSmart talks to Kim Ogg

Another good read about our new DA, one that goes into her personal background in some depth. John Wright: Your father, Jack Ogg, was a longtime Texas state legislator, and your late mother was well-known for her charity work. What it was like coming out to your parents? Kim Ogg: It was traumatic. My parents […]

The rural/suburban tradeoff

Martin Longman returns to a point he has been making about the way the vote shifted in the 2016 election. Let’s try to be clear about what we mean. Hillary Clinton won a lot of votes in the suburbs from people who had voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney. She lost even more votes […]

Lina Hidalgo for Harris County Judge

From the inbox, our first announced candidate for Harris County Judge: Today, Lina Hidalgo, a young, Harvard and Stanford-educated immigrant, announces her candidacy for Harris County Judge, the top seat on the Harris County Commissioners Court. Ms. Hidalgo and her family fled Colombia in the height of the drug war, and arrived in Houston after […]

July campaign finance reports – Harris County candidates

The Harris County situation for candidates and campaign finance reports is a bit complicated. Take a look at my January summary and the reports and data that I’ve found for July, and we’ll discuss what it all means on the other side. Ed Emmett Jack Morman Jack Cagle Stan Stanart Chris Daniel Diane Trautman David […]