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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

The games our tax system plays

I find this just fascinating. It’s been described as bribery, taxation without representation and a shady political maneuver. Others have called it an innovative way to deal with budgetary problems and get things done. Ever since Texas lawmakers made it more difficult for cities to absorb suburbs into their boundaries 15 years ago, Houston has […]

Appeals court reverses ruling about pension retiree information

So much for that. A state district court’s 2013 ruling that Houston’s fire pension board must turn over detailed information on its retirees to help city officials better project future pension bills has been overturned on appeal. Justices with the 1st Court of Appeals issued the opinion Tuesday, arguing that, in essence, state law protects […]

Front and center with the fraud allegations

The city goes on offense as it defends the equal rights ordinance at the repeal petition trial. In his opening argument in court Tuesday, Alex Kaplan, an attorney for the city, said the petition is “full of problems.” “It is precisely these kinds of cases where there are high public passions where the rules must […]

January campaign finance reports – HCC Trustees

There are nine trustees on the HCC board. With them serving six-year terms, in a normal year three trustees are up for re-election; 2013 was an abnormal year, with two extra races to fill out unexpired terms. We are back to normal this time, so we have three races. As with HISD, at this time […]

From the “Good problems to have” department

Metro will have a few million dollars left over when it is done building the remaining light rail lines. After more than three years of construction, Metro officials estimate $39.9 million of the $900 million awarded by the Federal Transit Administration is left over and unlikely to be spent as work wraps up. Contingencies for […]

HISD considers a different kind of redistricting

It would likely be just as contentious as the usual kind. Houston school officials may rezone students from roughly two dozen elementary schools over the next few years in an effort to meet the state’s class size limits. District officials presented a proposal to the school board Thursday morning. It would be the largest redrawing […]

The situation in Plano is complicated

I had not realized this. The nation’s largest LGBT political advocacy group indicated this week it is unlikely to help defend a nondiscrimination ordinance in Plano due to exemptions affecting the transgender community. The announcement from the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign could amount to a costly setback for supporters of the ordinance, as the […]

It’s going to be a long trial

Settle in and get comfortable, the HERO repeal petition trial is going to take some time. Ultimately, though, the trial is expected to be tedious and technical. So much so, that even after the city lost a significant motion two weeks ago to send the trial before a judge rather than a jury, Parker focused […]

Chris Oliver joins the At Large #1 crowd

From the inbox: Houston Community College Trustee Chris Oliver has announced his candidacy for the open Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1 seat to be filled this November. Chris brings years of experience as a businessman, legislative advocate, and Houston Community College Trustee for District IX to his campaign for Houston City Council. “It’s exciting,” […]

January campaign finance reports – HISD trustees

Four HISD Trustees are up for re-election this year. There are nine Trustees in all, and they serve four-year terms, so in a normal year either four or five are up for re-election. As things stand right now, all four incumbents would be running for re-election, which would be the first time there would be […]

Don’t look for a meet-and-confer bill in the Lege this year

Buried in this story about the city and the county preparing to play defense during the legislative session is this update on the state of relations between the city and the firefighters. In her first two sessions, Houston Mayor Annise Parker failed to gain traction with legislation that would grant the city meet-and-confer powers that […]

By the way, Dave Wilson also hates transgender people

I mean, no surprise, right? What’s more, he puts his money where his mouth is. Now, anti-LGBT activist Dave Wilson is circulating another petition that would place a charter amendment on the ballot to repeal trans protections in both HERO and Mayor Annise Parker’s 2012 executive order covering city employees. Wilson, of Houstonians For Family […]

Robinson Warehouse, eight years after

From the Free Press Houston Worst of 2014: WORST WASTE OF SPACE: CORNER OF ALLEN PARKWAY AND MONTROSE In 2006, The Aga Khan Foundation purchased the massive swath of land at the Southeast corner of Allen Parkway and Montrose. This sprawling piece of property is centrally located, is adjacent to some of Houston’s most beautiful […]

Bell makes his announcement tomorrow

Making official what we had long known. Former Democratic congressman Chris Bell will announce his mayoral bid this Sunday afternoon in Sam Houston Park, becoming the first candidate in a crowded field to officially kick off a run to lead City Hall. […] In recent weeks, Bell has hired finance and policy staff, and he […]

Meet your Harrisburg overpass

Looks nice enough. Going to be painful getting to the finished product, though. Metropolitan Transit Authority board members are set to approve a $30.66 million construction contract on the half-mile overpass next week. The overpass is needed to complete the Green Line rail along Harrisburg to the Magnolia Park Transit Center, near Gus Wortham Golf […]

January campaign finance reports – San Antonio

As we know, while we wait for the Mayoral field to shape up here in Houston, there’s already a hot open-seat race going on in San Antonio, featuring now-former State Rep. Mike Villarreal, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (who has submitted a letter of resignation but is staying on until her successor is sworn […]

Garcia appears to be in for Mayor

Not official yet, but stories like this don’t get run without justification. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is sending every possible message that he intends to run for mayor this year, aggressively increasing his political operations and signaling to some of his closest advisers and fiercest backers that a campaign may be imminent. Garcia, under […]

January campaign finance reports – PACs

Mayoral reports Controller reports Council reports There are a lot of PACs that play in Houston’s elections. It’s hard to keep up with all of them, and I say this as someone who reads far more campaign finance reports than is healthy. Very few of them file finance reports with the city of Houston – […]

HERO petition repeal trial starts

It could actually be over before it really starts, though I would not expect that. For the next three to four weeks, the Harris County Civil Courthouse will be the stage for the trial over Houston’s controversial equal rights ordinance. If everything works out according to plan, opening statements will begin next Tuesday. That is, […]

January campaign finance reports – Council

Mayoral reports Controller reports Four Council members are term limited this year. Two, CMs Stephen Costello and Oliver Pennington, are running for Mayor. The other two, CMs CO Bradford and Ed Gonzales, do not have any announced plans at this time, though both were on the list of Mayoral possibilities at one time or another. […]

January campaign finance reports – Controller wannabes

Like the Mayoral race, the 2015 race for City Controller is wide open, as incumbent Ronald Green is term-limited. There are three candidates of which I am aware so far – HCC Trustee and former At Large city Council member Carroll Robinson, who formally announced his entry last November; 2013 Controller candidate Bill Frazer, who […]

Flying to Cuba

You can get there from Houston, or at least you will be able to soon. United Airlines made it clear Thursday it intends to offer regular commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba, saying it would look to offer service from its Houston and Newark hubs to the Caribbean island. The Chicago-based carrier’s statement came […]

January campaign finance reports – Mayoral wannabes

I wrote yesterday about the start of the 2015 campaign season in Houston, and how it’s started a bit early thanks to the ruling in the lawsuit filed by Trebor Gordon that invalidated the blackout period. This week also marked the January 15 finance report filing deadline, so now is as good a time as […]

Feldman’s parting memo

Outgoing City Attorney David Feldman shares his thoughts on the state of the city’s campaign finance rules as he makes his exit. City Hall began its attempt to use a federal court ruling declaring its own election rule unconstitutional to its advantage it in a second, unrelated suit in a letter this week. In the […]

And they’re off

Gentlemen, start your fundraising engines. The Twitter handles have been rechristened, the first attacks have been fired and the “DONATE!” buttons have gone live. The yearlong slugfest for mayor of Houston has begun. In what is expected to be Houston’s most wide-open mayoral race in recent history, most of the dozen potential candidates are shedding […]

Saving money by throwing away less

Good strategy all around. As a committee mulls an ambitious and controversial “one bin” project that could overhaul recycling and waste collection in Houston, the city’s traditional mode of getting rid of trash just got cheaper. A renegotiated contract with the city’s primary waste hauler, approved by City Council late last month with little fanfare […]

Andy Fastow’s second act

I don’t know what to make of this. “I’m always surprised when people ask me to speak about business ethics; it’s like getting Kim Kardashian to speak about chastity.” These words, from the lips of Andrew Fastow, elicit generous laughs from a roomful of bankers and attorneys at Dallas’s Belo Mansion this past September. Over […]

Still no consensus on how to deal with the criminal justice complex

And it’s back to the Mayor. Pushed by Mayor Annise Parker to decide whether Houston’s aging police and courts buildings should get patchwork repairs or be fully replaced, with both options carrying staggering price tags, City Council members instead opted for indecision. By a 12-4 vote, the body sidestepped both options – one of which […]

HERO repeal petition trial will be heard by a jury

Let’s get on with it. A state district judge ruled Tuesday that the lawsuit surrounding the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance will go before a jury trial rather than a bench trial, a decision that conservative opponents of the law are hailing as a major victory. Critics suing the city over its equal rights ordinance […]

Heights-Northside mobility study

Mostly of interest for folks in my area, here’s the city’s report on mobility for neighborhoods in the upper left quadrant of the Inner Loop. Final Report: Heights-Northside Sub-regional Mobility Study The Planning and Development Department, in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Engineering and Houston-Galveston Area Council, is pleased to announce that […]

City does a 180 on campaign finances

Not all losses in court are created equal. City officials will argue that the city’s election ordinance is unconstitutional as part of a strategy to strengthen their position in a lawsuit that could shape the early stages of this year’s mayor’s race. After defending the city Monday in civil court, City Attorney David Feldman said […]

On playing small ball

Campos reacts to Mayor Parker’s future statewide plans. And here again is my small ball take from a few weeks ago: It is time for small ball instead of the big inning. In baseball, small ball is a strategy where you manufacture runs by utilizing the bunt, stealing bases, the hit and run, walks, hitting […]

More on the ULI Astrodome plan

From Tory Gattis: This was not a presentation of, “well, if the all the stars line up you might be able to make this work.” The theme was more, “this is an absolutely incredible opportunity and you would be fools to not seize it.” In fact, Tom Murphy, former mayor of Pittsburgh, was the anchor […]

Injunction granted against Houston fundraising blackout period

It’s a whole new ballgame out there. A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a law limiting when candidates in Houston municipal elections can raise money, prompting a scramble to contact donors sooner than campaigns had intended. The injunction, two months after a City Council candidate said the law infringed on his constitutional rights, could […]