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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

My vision for Metro: Buses

I’ve said before that I would have some suggestions for new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman and her team as they take their places. This post is where I start sharing those suggestions. The idea is to focus on proposals that I believe are doable in the current political and economic climate, in the short […]

Endorsement watch: For making the Heights less dry

The Chron is rooting for that petition effort to change the alcohol rules in the historic Heights. Today, sitting down in some of the restaurants in the Heights is like slipping through a wormhole into a bygone era when respectable Texas businessmen carried flasks of whiskey in their pockets. Waiters invite you to sign up […]

One year of the Green and Purple light rail lines

Ridership keeps trending up, but it’s hard to get a handle on the details from this story. Monday marks one-year of Metropolitan Transit Authority’s two newest rail lines. Well, most of Metro’s two newest rail lines. The last mile or so to the Magnolia Park Transit Center will not open until after a long-delayed overpass […]

Memorial residents file lawsuit over flooding

This ought to be interesting. A group of residents sued the city of Houston and one of its local redevelopment authorities Wednesday, alleging that they approved commercial development in the Memorial City area without requiring adequate storm water mitigation, resulting in increased flooding in residential neighborhoods. Claiming federal and state constitutional violations, the west Houston […]

Remembering Buckyballs and the Nobel Prize they won

Twenty years ago, two Rice University chemists won the Nobel Prize for a revolutionary idea about carbon molecules. The discovery of Buckyballs, a new form of carbon that ushered in the era of nanotechnology and won a Nobel Prize, happened largely by accident. In 1985, Rice University chemists Robert Curl and Richard Smalley hosted British […]

Council unanimously passes Turner’s first budget

Good job. Mayor Sylvester Turner achieved his goal of securing unanimous passage of his first general fund budget Wednesday morning, a month ahead of the typical schedule and after an unusually brief and uncontentious discussion of council members’ proposed changes. The $2.3 billion general fund budget, which pays for most basic city services with revenues […]

More on the effort to make the Heights less dry

From the Chron: With the intention of building a new store in the Heights, H-E-B said Wednesday that it has been working with a political consulting firm in Austin to help change a law precluding beer and wine sales in a dry part of the historic Houston neighborhood. The grocer said it has contracted with […]

The Sugarek/Jeffery family is back together

Wonderful news. Seven weeks after Child Protective Services caseworkers removed the boys following their foster mothers’ repeated complaints about suspected abuse by an older sibling living elsewhere in foster care, a CPS supervisor brought them back. The move followed a contentious court hearing and a series of private meetings in which the mothers say CPS […]

Feds rescind Universities line funding

Not a surprise at this point. A proposal for a light rail line along Richmond Avenue, long left for dead because of strong opposition and years of languishing, has lost its shot now for funding from the Federal Transit Administration. In a letter released Friday by U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Houston, FTA associate administrator Lucy […]

San Antonio to re-revisit its rideshare requirements

Just when you thought it was all over… With Transportation Network Company (TNC) tension looming from Austin and Houston, the City of San Antonio is preparing its push to renegotiate with ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft. And one of the officials taking the lead on the talks believes they’ll be a model for […]

Making the Heights a little less dry

From Swamplot: A GROUP CALLED the Houston Heights Beverage Coalition PAC is hoping to bring about a vote on allowing beer and wine sales in the technically dry section of the Houston Heights. The group published a notice on May 5th announcing an application to the city to start collecting the petition signaturesrequired to get the measure on a local option ballot. […] The […]

Turner reiterates the need to rethink transportation

New audience, same theme. Houston’s transportation future – and perhaps its economic vitality – relies on more options than new freeway lanes to make room for more cars, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday. “The solution is to increasingly take advantage of other modes of travel,” Turner told business and elected leaders at a lunch event […]

Trash subsidy will not be trashed

From the inbox: After weighing the budgetary impact and obtaining input from City Council, Mayor Sylvester Turner has decided not to pursue elimination of subsidies to homeowners associations that opt out of City trash collection services. Under the program, which began in the 1970s, the City pays a monthly $6 per household subsidy to homeowners […]

HISD finishes renaming schools

From last week: Eight names that have adorned Houston school buildings, uniforms and yearbooks for decades will vanish next year after trustees came together Thursday to approve new ones without Confederate ties. The renaming decisions followed months of controversy that had split the school board, heightened racial tensions, and fueled mixed reactions from parents, students […]

Patman shares her vision for Metro

I like what I’m hearing from new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman. A regional transportation plan is critical, Patman said, because it allows everyone to establish what transit and transportation officials should be doing. Everyone, including counties and cities not part of Metro today, needs to be part of the dialogue and outline needs from […]

Harris County crime lab experiencing DNA testing backlog

These things do happen. Expanded testing for property crimes has helped create a backlog of more than 4,600 DNA cases in the Harris County crime lab, straining its ability to complete the processing of such evidence for sexual assaults and even homicide cases in a timely manner. Officials with the Harris County Institute of Forensic […]

So far, so good for Mayor Turner

That’s the general consensus of his first four-plus months in office. Faced with a $160 million budget shortfall that would leave some wringing their hands until deadline day, Mayor Sylvester Turner presented his plan a month ahead of schedule. The proposal being reviewed by City Council includes a few one-off gimmicks, by Turner’s own admission, […]

I-45 update: North St Bridge and more

The latest update from the I-45 Coalition: Dear I-45 Coalition member, October 2015 was the last update … it’s now May 2016 … several things have changed in the past 8 months. As a quick summary, TxDOT will be rebuilding I-45.  This will be a massive project that includes rerouting I-45 downtown by abandoning most […]

RIP, Carl Whitmarsh

This was certainly a shock. Carl Whitmarsh used to joke that when he died, there would be as many people ready to dance on his grave as to cry over his death. A towering figure in Harris County Democratic politics, Whitmarsh rarely held his punches against those he disagreed with, but was a loyal friend […]

Austin rideshare referendum goes down

Boom. Preliminary election day results in Austin show 56 percent of voters against Proposition 1, a ride-hailing ordinance supported by Uber and Lyft. With 76.76 percent reporting, 13,957 have voted against the ordinance and 10,901 have voted for. These numbers mirror early voting results, where of the 54,759 ballots cast, 30,683 (about 56 percent) voted […]

What Council members think about the Uber threat

I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon this post from CM Michael Kubosh: Mayor Turner wants UBER to stay, but they must follow the city’s ordinance that requires a CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK and FINGERPRINTS. Council Member Michael Kubosh said that all public service drivers for buses, cabs, train, limos, shuttles and jitneys require the […]

Will the Ashby highrise ever get built?

Who knows? Penelope Loughhead’s house in the leafy neighborhood near Rice University abuts the land where, nearly a decade ago, a proposed high-rise sparked a land-use battle that resonated citywide and throughout the local development community. This week marks two years since a judge ruled the proposed Ashby tower could go forward after a monthlong […]

Mayor Turner delivers State of the City 2016

Here’s the press release. Flooding, pensions, City finances and public safety were front and center as Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered his first State of the City before the Greater Houston Partnership. In a major move designed to produce tangible results and instill confidence among residents, the mayor announced the selection of Stephen Costello to fill […]

A way to use the Astrodome while we figure out what to do with it

How does a Super Bowl light show grab you? The future of the Astrodome still might be in the dark, but that doesn’t mean the iconic building can’t return to the spotlight for at least a few minutes. A pair of 25-year-old Rice University graduates came up with an idea to display a light show […]

Still seeking a downtown connection for the high speed rail line

I’m hoping one gets found. Texas Central Partners, the private firm proposing the Houston-to-Dallas line, briefed a city council committee Monday, telling officials they remain on track to break ground in late 2017. “That might slide into early 2018,” said Shaun McCabe, vice-president of Texas Central Railway. Any connection to downtown, which would likely require […]

Austin Uber referendum update

There’s still a crapload of money being spent by Uber and Lyft to win this thing. In the last month, Ridesharing Works for Austin – the PAC established by transportation network companies Uber and Lyft – raised $4.9 million and spent $4.6 million promoting Prop. 1, the TNC-supported ride-hailing ordinance. With another million in the […]

Hauling Glass

In times of change, there are always opportunities to do well. Where some saw rubbish, 8-year-old Pan Berlanga saw opportunity. He launched his first business after the city of Houston and Waste Management in March negotiated a new recycling contract that cut glass from the curbside pickup program. To recycle their glass, Houstonians now must […]

Help a brick out

From Swamplot: AN INDIEGOGO PAGE has just been launched to crowdfund the removal and reuse of an unexpectedly large group of well-preserved 1930s bricks from thenow-under-deconstruction Yale St. bridge over White Oak Bayou. The group calling itself Friends of Houston’s Yale Bridge Bricks says the funds will be used to preserve the bricks for reuse both around the bridge and elsewhere around the city. The […]

Houston’s anti-pollution ordinance killed by Supreme Court

Alas. In passing two ordinances designed to regulate air pollution, the city of Houston overstepped its authority and illegally subverted state law, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling is a victory for a coalition of industrial facilities whose emissions were subject to inspection and possible prosecution by the city. The case pit the […]

GetMe waits in the wings

No matter what happens with the rideshare repeal referendum in Austin, there will be at least one vehicle for hire company in the capital city. Early voting is underway in Austin on Proposition 1, where residents will decide which regulations the city should adopt for vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft. Both companies have pledged […]

Don’t let the mosquitoes bite

That’s going to be a challenge. Mosquitoes don’t breed in flood waters. They drown in them, said Dr. Mustapha Debboun, director of the Mosquito Control Division at Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. But it’s after the flood waters subside that mosquito breeding becomes an issue, he said. And with the Zika virus on […]

More on the Uber ultimatum

Initial reaction is not terribly receptive. Ride-hailing giant Uber threatened Wednesday to stop operating in Houston unless city leaders amend local regulations the company said are making it tough for them to recruit drivers. The ultimatum, the latest skirmish in what has been a contentious relationship between Uber and the city since it started operating […]

Council approves body camera storage funds

Good. City Council voted Wednesday to spend $1 million to buy servers and other equipment to store video collected by city police officers equipped with body cameras. The vote, passed with relatively little fuss following months of sometimes-contentious public debate, marks the next step in the Houston Police Department’s ongoing effort to equip more than […]

Uber says it will leave Houston if it does not change its fingerprinting requirement

I called it. Uber announced Wednesday that the company plans to cease operations in Houston if the city council does not repeal its existing regulations relating to vehicle-for-hire companies. Houston is one of two cities in the country where Uber continues to operate despite a local requirement that its drivers undergo fingerprint-based background checks. Uber […]