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Posts Tagged ‘Harris County’

Mail ballot update

Carl Whitmarsh forwarded me a breakdown of all mail ballot applications that have been received by the County Clerk’s office as of Friday, October 2. I saved the file here, but for ease of discussion here’s a screenshot: That’s a grand total of 30,337 mail ballot applications, with 14,799 of them coming from Lane Lewis […]

More jail troubles

It’s ugly, both in content and in timing for Adrian Garcia. Over the past nine months, the Houston Chronicle has reviewed more than 1,000 disciplinary reports provided by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Nearly half of those internal affairs investigations from 2010 through May 2015 resulted in discipline against jail staff who often brutalize inmates […]

County sues VW for $100 million

Good. Harris County on Tuesday set in motion a $100 million environmental lawsuit against Volkswagen, claiming emissions from 6,000 diesel cars circulating on roadways in the region have caused harm to the population. County Attorney Vince Ryan said his review of filings indicated this could be the first government suit against the car company since […]

No support for a jail administrator

Not without the consent of the Legislature. The idea of shifting leadership of the Harris County Jail to an administrator may be losing steam, several county leaders said Thursday after reviewing a feasibility study by the sheriff’s office. Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack asked newly appointed Sheriff Ron Hickman in May to look into the […]

Harris Health wants more people to enroll in Obamacare

Who can blame them? Harris County’s public health care agency, responding to a budget crisis, will eliminate more than 19,000 people next year from eligibility for free or nearly free services, hoping most of these patients will obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The board of the agency, Harris Health, voted Thursday to reduce […]

Ogg announces for DA

Rematch time. Kim Ogg, the Democrat who unsuccessfully ran for district attorney last year, launched her second bid for the office Friday, promising to pursue violent criminals, de-emphasize misdemeanor marijuana possession cases and aggressively combat prosecutorial misconduct. Ogg took a series of jabs at how the incumbent Republican, Devon Anderson, has chosen to prioritize some […]

Council approves inmate processing center deal with Harris County

Very good news. An end is in sight for the inefficient process of shuttling prisoners in and out of redundant local lockups after the City Council on Wednesday approved an agreement with Harris County to build a long-discussed inmate processing center. Public officials have discussed the need for a new booking center since the 1990s, […]

Getting back into the marriage game

It was too good to stay away. Two Harris County justices of the peace have resumed officiating weddings this week after a brief hiatus in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on marriage equality. Judges Russ Ridgway and Jeff Williams stopped marrying couples after the high court on June 26 legalized same-sex […]

JP Dale Gorczynski will not run for re-election

I’m not usually in the breaking news business around here, but today I have some: Judge Dale Gorcynski, who has served as Justice of the Peace in Precinct 1 since 1992, will not be running for re-election next year. I know this because he told me himself. He wanted to make sure that his decision […]

Hickman’s “plan” for an LGBT policy

It’s sort of something, I guess. Lou Weaver grew up respecting the badge. His father was a cop. His father’s friends were cops. And so Weaver never feared the police. That changed when Weaver, who is transgender, was pulled over several years ago on a traffic stop. The officer’s reaction to Weaver explaining that he […]

Time to guess the Chronicle’s endorsements

We are a bit more than a month out from the start of early voting, and as such we are getting close to the start of Chronicle endorsement season. I know from doing candidate interviews that the Chron has been holding screenings in recent days, so it shouldn’t be long now. So while we wait […]

DA’s office responds to Temple case allegations

Their view differs, to say the least. Three months after a judge ruled that a Katy man convicted of murdering his wife did not get a fair trial and excoriated the prosecutor who handled the case, saying she withheld evidence, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office filed objections to the decision, tackling it point-by-point, and […]

Chron Mayoral profile: Adrian Garcia

Here’s the third in a series of profiles on the top candidates running for mayor in Houston, in this case on Adrian Garcia. The youngest of six children born to poor Mexican immigrants could soon occupy the mayor’s office of the nation’s fourth largest city – an unlikely success story that started in a tattered […]

Who needs wetlands?

Development is all that matters, right? More than 38,000 acres of wetlands vanished in greater Houston over the past two decades despite a federal policy that “no net loss” can be caused by encroaching development. That’s an area about the size of The Woodlands and Sugar Land combined turned into neighborhoods, office buildings, strip malls, […]

2015 candidates’ voting history

Regular commenter Mainstream took the time to investigate and document the recent voting history of the candidates on the 2015 city of Houston ballot. Here it is, for your perusal. A couple of caveats: Data is for Harris County, with some additions for a couple of candidates included and noted on the document. Voting history […]

More on voting centers

I’ll be interested to see how this goes in Galveston. Just in time for the November election, Galveston County has launched the first mobile app of its kind in the state, called “Galveston Votes.” It uses GPS to direct people with lightning speed to the closest voting center. Fort Bend County in November will make […]

Does your JP still do marriages?

Some do and some don’t. Last Wednesday, Judge Dale Gorczynski, a justice of the peace in Harris County, heard 19 eviction cases, sent 147 traffic and misdemeanor cases to trial and presided over five weddings: Three for same-sex couples and two for heterosexual couples. It was the first time gay couples outnumbered straight ones in […]

Just how old are our city voters?

In my previous installment, we talked about how many people vote across city elections. In this post, we’re going to look at another aspect of our city races that is often remarked on but seldom specified: The ages of the people who vote. As before, all the data comes from the voter files I got […]

Siegler responds to Temple case allegations

She comes out swinging. Legendary former prosecutor Kelly Siegler for the first time has responded to allegations of 36 instances of prosecutorial misconduct during an infamous 2007 murder trial. In a statement to the Houston Chronicle by her lawyer, noted Atlanta attorney Lin Wood, Siegler said: “The Chronicle has neglected to mention that the findings […]

Harris County DA to investigate Planned Parenthood clinic here

I haven’t spent any time writing about the misleading attack videos on Planned Parenthood being put out by yet another shadowy anti-abortion group, so let me dispense with this. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson said Wednesday her office has begun a criminal investigation into the Houston branch of Planned Parenthood after the release earlier […]

Harris County will have a bond issue on the ballot

More things to vote on this November. Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to put four bond measures totaling $848 million on the November ballot to address tremendous population growth in Harris County during the past two decades. “When you consider that Harris County has more people than 24 states, it really isn’t that much,” County […]

Is this the plan that will save the Dome?

Maybe. A few months ago Ed Emmett had a breakthrough moment about how to save the Astrodome, a goal he’s been chipping away at for the better part of eight years. The Harris County judge was driving out of the county administration building lot headed straight for the historic 1910 courthouse in downtown, and he […]

BP settlement cash

Nice. The city of Houston, Harris County and Metro netted $23 million in compensation from BP for revenue they could not collect in the wake of the company’s 2010 Gulf oil spill, officials announced Thursday. Houston will pocket about $12.2 million from the costliest environmental lawsuit in U.S. history to cover hotel and sales tax […]

Auditing HCDE

We’ll see about this. Later this summer, state auditors are expected to release their final report on the Harris County Department of Education. They’ve been examining the agency since last December. Superintendent James Colbert told lawmakers about it at a hearing in April. “We should have absolutely nothing to hide as far as I’m concerned […]

The future of Fort Bend transit

Public transportation in Fort Bend County has grown quite a bit since its inception, and there’s a lot of potential for future growth if the pieces can be put into place. On Tuesday, county leaders, staff and transit partners gathered in Richmond to celebrate the rapid evolution of the Fort Bend Public Transportation Department since […]

More allegations against Kelly Siegler

Here they come. Howard Guidry was 18 years old when he was charged being the triggerman in a 1994 murder-for-hire case that involved a Missouri City police officer and his estranged wife. Twice he was convicted and sent to death row, and both times the prosecutor who sent him there was Kelly Siegler, the legendary […]

The David Temple case

I have not followed this very closely, but it definitely deserves all the attention it has received. There’s a 1,300-page offense report detailing the investigation into the fatal shooting of Belinda Temple in 1999. There are audio tapes of witnesses who saw the pregnant teacher at Katy High School on the day she was killed […]

Our forthcoming early voting problems

This is the view in front of the West Gray Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, also known as the busiest early voting location in Houston. 8,390 people voted early here in the 2013 election. There was a water main break there, which caused foundation damage, and as you can see it is closed for repairs. Given the […]

Sheriff asks for more funds for body cameras

Good move. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office recently applied for a grant from the Department of Justice to purchase 750 wearable body cameras, a new technology aimed at improving government transparency and accountability after a year of high-profile police-involved shootings around the country. A 30-day trial run with body cameras by a few dozen deputies […]

What Dallas County can teach us about jail overcrowding

Why can’t Harris County be more like Dallas County, at least in this regard? Dallas County’s jail population has hit an all-time low. That means more spacious jail tanks and fewer bologna sandwiches. If the trend continues, it could add up to big savings for taxpayers. The jail, the seventh-largest in the country, is the […]

Here come the lawyers

I don’t see how the squadron of anti-equality attorneys has a case in the wake of Obergfell, but they’re gonna try their best to muck things up anyway. Now, conservative attorneys are gearing up to defend [government employees who refuse to recognize gay marriage because of religious objections], saying they are confident existing laws will […]

Outsourcing inmates again

We’ve been down this road before. For the first time in three years, the Harris County sheriff began transferring busloads of inmates this week to other correctional facilities to avoid overcrowding at the state’s largest jail. The jail population is currently at 93 percent of its 9,434-bed capacity, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said Monday. […]

Bail reform for Harris County?

This would be a big deal. In jails across the country, including Harris County, a majority of the people behind bars have not been convicted of a crime. In the jail complex on the north side of downtown Houston, more than 6,600 people, about three-quarters of the prisoners there, are waiting to go to trial. […]

Harris County road bond

Harris County voters may be asked to vote on a bond issue this fall. Rapid population expansion and development in unincorporated areas of Harris County have strained roads, facilities and infrastructure so much that for the first time in eight years the county is considering a major bond referendum for the November ballot. Harris County […]