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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Early voting for May elections begins Monday

From the inbox: Almost one million of Harris County’s registered voters will be eligible to vote in elections conducted during the May 9, 2015 Uniform Election, according to Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, the chief elections officer of the county. Early Voting begins Monday, April 27th. “Fifty political entities whose boundaries are solely or in […]

B-Cycle’s future

There’s some trouble in San Antonio. San Antonio B-Cycle could be on the verge of following rideshare and disappearing from the San Antonio landscape, multiple sources have told the Rivard Report, unless it can win the local government, corporate and philanthropic financial support that bikeshare enjoys in cities like Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Houston, and Austin. […]

TxDOT reveals its I-45 plan

Wow. Just, wow. A massive reconstruction of Interstate 45 through most of Houston would topple one of downtown’s most frustrating barriers – the Pierce Elevated – and move the freeway east of the central business district. That’s just one of the major changes Texas Department of Transportation officials included in the $6 billion-plus plan to […]

Statewide Uber/Lyft bill passes out of committee

It’s gotten better, but it’s still not good enough. A bill to establish statewide rules for “transportation network companies” like Uber and Lyft has been tweaked to address some concerns that its background check requirements weren’t stringent enough. That change – which would allow cities to require that drivers be fingerprinted as part of such […]

Lisa Falkenberg wins Pulitzer for commentary

Major congratulations. Houston Chronicle Columnist Lisa Falkenberg has won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary, the Pulitzer board announced Monday. It was the first Pulitzer Prize awarded to the Chronicle in its 114-year history. The Chronicle has had finalists on several occasions, including Falkenberg in the same category last year. Editorial cartoonist Nick Anderson won […]

Fixing sidewalks

I like this. Houston’s leaders often decry the condition of city sidewalks, whether missing, overgrown or buckled by tree roots. Then there’s the safety risks when pedestrians are forced to walk on the crumbling concrete or adjacent streets. But the city is unwilling to assume responsibility for all sidewalks in Houston – or foot the […]

Uber satisfies Mayor Parker’s demands

OK then. Tensions eased Friday in a dispute between Mayor Annise Parker and Uber, which partners with local drivers to coordinate paid rides via smartphone, after the company outlined plans to help drivers obey Houston’s for-hire vehicle rules. Responding to Parker’s demand, Uber’s Texas-based general manager, Chris Nakutis, outlined steps the company is taking to […]

AirBnB in Texas

The Rivard Report offers a useful overview of this growing service. With success comes regulation and Airbnb, the wildly popular “sharing economy” website that allows users to rent out portions of their home to adventuresome travelers, has had more than its share of success. Recently valued at $13 billion, the company has more than 340 […]

City prevails in HERO repeal petition lawsuit

Hallelujah! Opponents of Houston’s non-discrimination ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a repeal referendum, a state district judge ruled Friday, validating city officials’ decision to toss out the petition foes submitted last summer. After separate rulings from both a jury and state District Judge Robert Schaffer, attorneys for both sides entered dueling […]

Pennington withdraws from Mayor’s race

Sad news. City Councilman Oliver Pennington announced he would end his candidacy for mayor on Friday, citing his wife’s health. The term-limited councilman, who represents west Houston’s District G, said in a press release he would complete his third and final two-year term, which runs through the end of this year. The 75-year-old retired attorney’s […]

Mayor Parker pressures Uber

Good. After two weeks of rising tensions between the city and the ride-sharing service Uber, Mayor Annise Parker on Wednesday warned the company it risks losing the right to operate in Houston unless it submits a plan to bring its drivers into compliance with city regulations. Parker’s message, conveyed in a letter she distributed to […]

Widening I-10 to San Antonio

Like, all the way. The roughly 200-mile stretch of Interstate 10 from San Antonio to Houston could become more spacious, as the Texas Department of Transportation has raised the idea of adding a third lane to the highway in each direction. An expansion of I-10 between San Antonio and Houston would be the latest effort […]

Pothole progress

Hooray. Two months after Mayor Annise Parker called Houston’s pockmarked streets a “crisis situation” and pledged to clear a mounting pothole repair backlog, the city has reduced open work requests by about 1,000 despite a steep increase in calls for repairs. The welcome news for Houston drivers tired of dodging pesky potholes is tempered by […]

More Uber safety debating

It’s a topic that’s not going away. With the new, smartphone-based services, drivers and passengers said, the relationship between the person behind the wheel and the person paying for the trip is unique: “It’s just you and them,” one driver said, asking not to be identified. “That’s a big level of trust.” Accommodating the model […]

No HERO ruling quite yet

There was a hearing, but still no ruling quite yet. Opponents of the city’s legally embattled equal rights ordinance say they collected about 200 more valid petition signatures than they need to trigger a repeal referendum, a figure a district court judge will consider this week as he issues the final ruling in what has […]

How many crimes does your police department solve?

Fewer than you think, unfortunately. Violent crime in America has been falling for two decades. That’s the good news. The bad news is, when crimes occur, they mostly go unpunished. In fact, for most major crimes, police don’t even make an arrest or identify a suspect. That’s what police call “clearing” a crime; the “clearance […]

Robinson resigns from HCC Board

Yeah, it’s campaign season. Carroll Robinson, who has served as a Houston Community College trustee since 2012, will leave the college board to focus on his run for city controller, he announced Friday. In a letter announcing his resignation, Robinson counted among his accomplishments helping with the creation of a sixth-grade pre-admission program, pushing to […]

Where’s Adrian?

I suspect a lot of people have been wondering the same thing. Standing on the cusp of what could easily be the most competitive mayoral race in Houston history many wonder what Adrian Garcia is waiting for. Still officially on the sidelines, the longtime cop, former councilman and current Harris County Sheriff appears to be […]

Who’s up for a macrobrewery tour?

This used to be a thing in Houston, and now it is once again. The local Anheuser-Busch plant was under construction at the same time as the Astrodome, and its ambitions were just as grand. With an annual capacity of 900,000 barrels of beer, it would be the biggest brewery Houston had ever seen when […]

Get ready for the HERO ruling

Should happen on Monday. With a ruling expected next week in the protracted legal battle surrounding Houston’s equal rights ordinance, city attorneys entered a motion for judgment late Friday afternoon that says opponents of the law are 650 signatures shy of triggering a repeal referendum. District Judge Robert Schaffer will hold a formal hearing Monday […]

Uber and background checks

Uber is back in the news again, and as has often been the case it’s not in a good way. Houston officials discovered crimes ranging from aggravated robbery to driving on a suspended license when they checked the backgrounds of prospective Uber drivers who had been cleared by the company’s review, according to a new […]

Do we need a statewide solution for Uber and Lyft?

Bill Hammond of the Texas Association of Business thinks so. Fans of apps like Uber and Lyft may find that the rules governing their operations in one city differ dramatically from those in a community down the street or across the state. That not only creates unnecessary confusion for consumers and drivers who use the […]

Wilson completes his latest troll job

He totally half-assed it, too. Houston Community College trustee and longtime anti-gay activist Dave Wilson has submitted a city charter amendment petition seeking a November vote to bar men “who perceive or express themselves as women” from entering women’s restrooms, but it appears he misread state law and submitted about 300 fewer signatures than he […]

News flash: Traffic is getting worse

I know, I’m as shocked as you are. It’s a common dilemma for Houston motorists. Congestion in Houston increased sharply from 2013 to 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by TomTom, developer of the mapping and traffic data fed to phones and other GPS devices. Analysts said trips in the region on average last […]

The Dome at 50

We still don’t know what to do with it. The late Judge Roy Hofheinz was a raconteur with a 57-inch waist and affinity for cigars and Diet Dr Pepper with Jack Daniels, a larger-than-life man who hatched the idea of climate-controlled sports with the Astrodome. He thought his beloved Dome trumped France’s best-known landmark. “The […]

Turner & Whitmire

No, not the latest buddy cop movie, just two old legislative friends helping each other out. Texas’ most senior state senator turned to the crowd during a September fundraiser for state Rep. Sylvester Turner and ribbed his friend and would-be Houston mayor. “My name is John Whitmire, and I’m Sylvester Turner’s state senator,” he said, […]

Dave Wilson goes trolling again

It’s what he does. The battle over Mayor Parker’s efforts to protect gay and transgender Houstonians is roaring back to life. A petition is making the rounds saying, sign if you agree gender is assigned at birth. The man behind it says he has enough signatures to take it to a city-wide vote. “Whatever you’re […]

Let Indiana be our guide

Chron business columnist Chris Tomlinson has a warning for us. Watching Indiana Gov. Mike Pence call for a revision to a week-old religious freedom law this morning should be required viewing for every Houston politician and business person. After refusing to denounce discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals for days out of fear […]

Council approves Memorial Park plan

Done deal. The plan, which could see up to $300 million invested, also would restore the park’s ecosystem, which was greatly harmed in the 2011 drought, through ambitious plans to add fire suppression and irrigation systems and improve drainage to end serious erosion problems in parts of the park. The plan was developed through months […]

What kind of Memorial Park do you want?

Council is set to vote on the Memorial Park Conservancy plan, whether you like it or not. Joe Turner does not want more drawings gathering dust on a shelf. Houston’s parks and recreation director inherited more than a few unrealized master plans when he was hired 10 years ago. Now he’s shepherding the most complex […]

Still unclear where One Bin For All stands

Your guess is as good as mine. The fate of the city’s cutting-edge “one bin” waste system that would feature a privately built, $100 million sorting facility is becoming increasingly uncertain, as sources familiar with the company proposals say there remain significant operational and financial concerns. It’s no secret that the One Bin review has […]

One way to lower speed limits

Purple City makes an interesting observation. One of the quieter actions of the late Parker administration has been to slowly alter speed limits from 35 or 40mph to 30mph. These reductions aren’t based on an engineering study or field measurements, but on a creative interpretation of state law. Texas sets the default urban speed limit […]

Still counting HERO repeal petition signatures

After more than a month, we finally have an update on the signature counting from the HERO repeal petition trial. The first publicly disclosed tally since the heated trial surrounding the city’s equal rights ordinance wrapped up last month leaves opponents of the law about 3,000 valid petition signatures shy of triggering a repeal referendum, […]

Metro writes off old light rail studies

What might have been. Houston transit officials Thursday wrote off $104 million wasted on multiple studies related to the controversial University and Uptown light rail projects that ultimately stalled due to a lack of funding and fierce opposition from the neighborhoods they would impact. The studies for the two lines, which were approved by voters […]