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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

What do you want in a new HISD Superintendent?

Take the survey and let them know. The Houston school board has started seeking community input on the desired traits for a new superintendent, with the goal of hiring a new leader by July. A survey posted on the district’s website lists 33 qualities and asks parents, students, teachers, staff and others to pick the […]

Term limits lawsuit against city could be dismissed

This was unexpected. Last November, Houston voters approved an amendment to the City Charter that changed the length and maximum number of terms elected officials can serve. The lawsuit by Phillip Paul Bryant alleges the language on the ballot tricked voters into thinking they were voting for limiting terms, when they actually extended them. But […]

Harrisburg line overpass delayed again

Ugh. Just, ugh. A rail overpass vital to completion of the East End light rail line that has divided neighbors and eroded public confidence will be delayed another four months, Metro officials confirmed Monday. “It has been the project from hell from the beginning,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Cindy Siegel said. “It needs to […]

Yet another record year for Obamacare signups in Texas

It’s like a trend or something. A record 1.3 million Texans signed up for health coverage during the 2016 Affordable Care Act’s enrollment period, topping last year’s number by more than 100,000, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department final tally released Thursday. Houston enrolled 346,822 for 2016 during the three-month sign-up period […]

Meet the woman in charge of prepping Houston for Super Bowl LI

The countdown is on, and the spotlight is already ours. When Sallie Sargent applied to take charge of Houston’s preparations for next year’s Super Bowl, she faced a rather daunting audition: find 11 major sponsors to finish a $25 million fundraising project. “I told Sallie she had six months,” said Ric Campo, the chairman of […]

TOP releases report on inefficiency of development tax subsidies

From the inbox: [Thursday], the Texas Organizing Project and the Workers Defense Project released a report on the ineffectiveness of tax subsidies in cities across Texas, and proposed ways to increase requirements for such deals in Houston to offer benefits in the form of good paying jobs with community investment for Houstonians. The report, compiled […]

Things are tough all over

HISD faces a big deficit: Houston ISD leaders are bracing for a projected $107 million budget shortfall that, in a worst-case scenario, could prompt the district to slash jobs. During the school board meeting Thursday, however, officials pledged to try keep cuts away from schools. “We get it,” Ken Huewitt, the district’s deputy superintendent and […]

The Mayor’s education czar

Former HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche has joined the Turner administration. Mayor Sylvester Turner has named former Houston ISD board president Juliet Stipeche to a newly created Director of Education role in his administration, seeking greater collaboration between the city and area schools, community colleges and universities. Many council members and education advocates praised the move, […]

Another look at AirBnB

Interesting. The hotel industry is starting to object. On Wednesday, a report funded by a national trade group claimed some Airbnb hosts function illegally and operate essentially as full-time hotels without the same health and safety oversight. It also says they can reduce the number of affordable options for full-time renters. The home-rental site has […]

State of the county 2016

This year’s theme is cooperation and meeting challenges. In his ongoing effort to revive the Astrodome, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Tuesday proposed using the aging landmark for an outdoor light show when Houston hosts the Super Bowl next February. Emmett discussed the future of the Ddome and touched on the challenges the county […]

HPD Chief McClelland to retire

From the inbox: Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced that he has accepted the retirement of Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, effective February 26, 2016. McClelland was sworn in as a police officer in September 1977. He rose through the ranks at HPD and was sworn in by former Mayor Annise Parker as police chief on […]

Can you ever truly “fix” the 59/610 interchange?

I kind of think the answer is “No”, but they’re going to try anyway. With Houston choking on traffic congestion from Clear Lake to Jersey Village, an infusion of $447 million in state funds promises relief sooner than expected at three notorious freeway bottlenecks. That sum amounts to more than one-third of $1.3 billion allocated […]

Chron story on the bus map tweaks

A few bits of interest here. Metro leaders hope more frequent service on popular routes will build on the ridership gains the system is experiencing. “I think as you get higher frequency and people know it is going to come, we are going to see higher ridership,” Metro CEO Tom Lambert told board members Wednesday. […]

The Jolanda Show

Set your DVRs. The Houston school board just got a little more star power. Jolanda Jones, the former city councilwoman who joined the board last week, is starring in a new reality show called “Sisters In Law,” set to air in March. As the cable network WE puts it, the Houston-based program follows a “close-knit […]

The Dream takes on The Donald

You tell ’em, Hakeem. Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon, a devout Muslim splitting his time between homes in Houston and outside London, England, on Saturday called the proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States “not worthy of a president.” Olajuwon, who had returned to the United States on Wednesday, had heard of the proposal […]

Resign to run has kicked in for Council members

Another change that our new term limits law has wrought. Houston elected officials who become a candidate for another elected office are now automatically required to resign their current seat, uncharted territory for city officeholders who previously had not been subject to the so-called “resign-to-run” provision of the Texas Constitution. The requirement that has long […]

Under the Dome

The latest plan to save the Dome takes a step forward. Harris County Commissioners Court moved forward on Tuesday with one piece of the Astrodome revival that needs to happen whether or not the park plan is achieved, according to County Judge Ed Emmett. The court asked for an internal cost assessment for building two […]

So what happened to One Bin for All?

KUHF asks the question. It has been almost three years since the city won a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the One Bin For All concept, which would let Houstonians throw all their waste in one bin, to be separated for recycling later. Former Mayor Annise Parker tried to start the project, but […]

Maybe the state should regulate Uber and Lyft after all

Texas Monthly reviews the current state of affairs with transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft and their fight against mandatory fingerprinting as part of the background checks that new drivers must ondergo, all of which is playing out in Austin right now. The argument in favor of the [fingerptint] provision is simple: Lyft and […]

Houston Tomorrow presents its Vision Zero plan

Here you go. Following other “vision zero” programs nationally, Houston Tomorrow encouraged officials – especially Houston lawmakers – to crack down on speeding and distracted driving while investing more in rebuilding streets so that vehicles can share them safely with pedestrians, cyclists and other users. “Vision Zero does not discriminate based on how you choose […]

Metro bus system tweaks coming

From the inbox: You spoke, and METRO listened. Beginning Jan. 24, 2016, METRO will put in place a series of route and schedule modifications based on feedback received from riders and bus operators since launching the New Bus Network Aug. 16, 2015. These service enhancements are expected to reduce overcrowding and improve on-time performance, and […]

The Chron on the El Franco Lee successor selection process

First, a lamentation. Not even a month has passed since Sylvester Turner was sworn in as Houston’s new mayor, and already the next election cycle is just around the corner. Early voting for party primaries is about a month away, running from Feb. 16 through Feb. 26. Election Day is March 1. Safely gerrymandered districts often […]

HISD board moves to change some school names

There may be more to come at a later date. The five-trustee majority also voted to rename Henry Grady, Richard Dowling and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson middle schools and Robert E. Lee High School. Now, a committee at each school, including a teacher, student, parent and alumnus, will be charged with proposing a new name to […]

Know any good, solvent highway construction firms?

TxDOT is looking for a few. Drivers on Interstate 45 will wait longer for better connections to Loop 610 and U.S. 59 because a Woodlands-based contractor will have to be replaced. The jobs, totaling about $102 million, were won by Tradeco Infraestructura, based in The Woodlands. The contractor is the American wing of the Mexican […]

“Bad, but not awful”

Your Houston economy, folks. As Houston enters the second year of the worst oil downturn in decades, its once-booming economy has sputtered, and the strain finally is starting to show. Houston could flirt with recession in 2016 as the oil and gas industry cuts jobs and spending, but the local economy isn’t collapsing the same […]

When will there be a special election to fill Mayor Turner’s legislative term?

The Leader News brings up a point that I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere, namely that HD139 is now vacant since the inauguration of Mayor Sylvester Turner. They have their top-of-page-one story devoted to this, but of course you can’t find it on their crappy website, so you have to go to their digital edition to […]

RIP, Yale Street post office

It’s gone. Clues could have been the overgrown landscaping, multiple notices taped to the doors and, for the keenest observer, the bare pole without a U.S. flag or clanging metal cables. Headed back to his SUV on Thursday, one man with an envelope threw up his hands and yelled to a lady scurrying to the […]

Another Uber lawsuit update

Looks like we are headed towards a jury trial soon. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore has denied Uber’s request for summary judgment and rejected parts of the company’s motion to dismiss. “This court has found that the question of the literal falsity, or allegedly misleading nature, of Uber’s representations is a question of fact to […]

B-Cycle’s 100,000 rides

Okay, almost 100,000. Still impressive. Houston’s growing bike sharing system – poised for a big 2016 – nearly pulled off 100,000 checkouts last year. After adding two stations in the last weeks of the year, bringing the total to 31 kiosks and 190 bicycles, Houston B-Cycle logged 98,388 uses, according to organizers of the system. […]

Mayor Turner sworn in

The new era begins. Lauding Houston as a city where, “when you dream big, big things can happen,” Mayor Sylvester Turner delivered his inaugural address Monday morning at a packed Jones Hall downtown. Turner also announced his first policy plan, saying by Jan. 18 each pothole reported to the city help line will be “assessed […]

Austin versus San Antonio on ridesharing

The Current reviews the state of play. In the spring of 2014, Lyft led the way in Austin, but the company launched without city approval and was eventually banned, along with Uber, which launched in the capital a short time later. Roughly a year ago, Austin’s city council eased its fight, allowing ride-hailing companies to […]

The Magic Bus

Cool. Just like that, faster than Uber, the Magic Bus is seven minutes from its first passenger of the day. For the next 12 hours, the bus – in actuality, a brightly painted van bearing the slogan “For all who labor for a better life” – will make 20-minute loops around Gulfton, a working-class neighborhood […]

The Katy Freeway cautionary tale on addressing congestion

Turns out that throwing more lanes at the Katy Freeway hasn’t helped all that much. Several years ago, the Katy Freeway in Houston was a major traffic bottleneck. It was so bad that in 2004 the American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA) called one of its interchanges the second worst bottleneck in the nation wasting 25 […]

The challenges transgender children face

At least now we’re starting to talk about those challenges openly. One month after voters in Houston rejected an equal rights ordinance that proponents say would have protected transgender people from discrimination, Ben and his parents, Ann and Jim Elder of Friendswood, are among families nationwide challenging their communities to respect the identities of kids […]