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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Interview with John Luman

My final interview for the special election in HISD District VII to fill the remainder of outgoing Trustee Harvin Moore’s term is with John Luman. Luman is an intellectual property attorney with engineering degrees from George Washington University and the University of Texas. He’s an active member on the Briargrove Elementary School’s PTO and PTO […]

Hochberg speaks on recapture

We should listen and at least consider what he’s saying. HISD loses the recapture money, one way or another, even if it doesn’t actually write a check. And the state gets its money one way or another, because the taxes from the removed properties will go to a poorer district in Harris County, letting the […]

Pension deal takes a step forward

Not quite there yet, but getting close. Houston’s police and municipal pension boards have agreed to a landmark reform package produced over months of intensive negotiations at City Hall, and Mayor Sylvester Turner hopes the firefighters fund will follow suit with a vote Monday. The pending proposal, which puts Houston the closest it has come […]

Interview with Victoria Bryant

As noted, one of the more interesting races on the ballot this year is the special election to fill the remainder of outgoing HISD Trustee Harvin Moore’s term. There are four candidates running for this seat, and today I have an interview with Victoria Bryant. Bryant is a graduate of HISD schools and the recipient […]

Republicans join Woodfill’s ridiculous anti-spousal benefits crusade

Shoveling sand against the tide. Fifty Republican members of the Texas Legislature have signed a court brief arguing that the same-sex spouses of government employees shouldn’t be entitled to health insurance and other benefits. The “friend-of-the-court” brief was submitted Friday in a lawsuit brought by anti-LGBT activists against the city of Houston in response to […]

Another look at the case for HISD recapture

Dale Craymer taps the brakes on the vote-NO-on-recapture train. Houston Independent School District voters face an unhappy choice this November – vote “YES” or “FOR” on Proposition 1 to authorize the state to recapture roughly $160 million of the school district’s property taxes or just vote “NO” or “AGAINST.” It seems like a no-brainer. School […]

Interview with Anne Sung

One of the more interesting races on the ballot this year is the special election to fill the remainder of outgoing HISD Trustee Harvin Moore’s term. There are four candidates running for this seat, and I will have interviews with three of them. First up is Anne Sung, who had run for this position before […]

The Reliant Stadium area is ready for its closeup

For the Super Bowl, of course. Gotta look pretty, you know. Currently, the area surrounding NRG Park, which includes NRG Stadium and the Astrodome, is “functional” but hardly an impression-maker for a throng of out-of-town guests, said Ed Wulfe, chairman of the Stadium Park Redevelopment Authority. “The Super Bowl was the motivating factor the area […]

HISD Trustee Mike Lunceford to resign

This came as a surprise. Mike Lunceford — who has represented Bellaire on the Houston ISD Board of Education for seven years — made a surprise announcement at Thursday night’s board meeting that he is resigning, effective immediately. He had just assumed blame for some trustees’ concerns over communication about a proposed $7.5 million gift […]


That will be the new acronym for the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. After impassioned debate, the Houston school board voted 7-2 Thursday to accept a $7.5 million gift for the district’s renowned arts high school and to rename the campus after the donors in an unprecedented move. The Kinder Foundation, run […]

HEB confirms interest in Heights location

As rumored. Residents have seen and heard speculation and rumors for months, wondering what the fate would be regarding H-E-B’s potential Heights move. Well wait no more. After the rumor mill ran wild following the No-Dry Vote petition spearheaded by H-E-B and the Houston Heights Beverage Coalition earlier this year, president of the company’s Houston […]

Interview with David Thompson

You’re probably aware of the HISD referendum on the ballot this fall, which authorizes the Board of Trustees to pay $162 million to the state of Texas to comply with recapture, a/k/a Robin Hood laws. There’s a lot of opposition to this referendum, from several HISD Board members, the Chron editorial board, the Houston Federation […]

Council approves city cab-hailing app development

Here it comes. Houston residents soon will be able to hail a city cab via smartphone app, after City Council signed off on a plan Wednesday to consolidate dispatching in a single program. The Arro app, already operating in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, is expected to be fully operational in Houston by […]

Endorsement watch: In case you didn’t hear us the first time

The Chron reiterates its opposition to the HISD recapture referendum. Statewide property taxes are unconstitutional in Texas, but don’t tell that to the legislators in Austin. For decades, the Legislature has been shifting its obligation to fund public education to local communities. Now, this November, Houston is facing a new sneaky invoice from the state. […]

Have we reached peak beer in Texas?

Maybe not, but we are surely testing the limits of the market. Owners of Eureka Heights Brewing Co. signed up 40 bars and restaurants to sell their beer during their first three weeks in business. The taproom was drawing such crowds that they quickly expanded hours. Saturday afternoons are now quite a scene, especially when […]

Jared Woodfill never stops never stopping

Here we go again. Fifteen months after the U.S. Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, anti-LGBT groups in Texas are still fighting the decision. Jonathan Saenz, president of the right-wing lobby group Texas Values, and Houston anti-LGBT activist Jared Woodfill announced Tuesday that they’re again asking the Texas Supreme Court to […]

The State of Metro

Metro Chair Carrin Patman gave a “State of Metro” speech at the Greater Houston Partnership this week, and among other things she said that another referendum is in the works to finish some tasks from the 2003 vote and to address the issues we see today. One of the projects that remains unfunded is the […]

City and county confer on critter control

Hope they can work something out. Harris County and Houston city officials will meet [this] month to better tackle the region’s significant stray animal problem. City and county leaders and private animal welfare representatives will meet Oct. 12, according to a spokesman for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. One focus of the “summit” is expected […]

Coming back to the US90A rail extension

Lots of talk, and a case for action sooner rather than later. A Metro rail extension from southern Houston to Missouri City is gaining momentum, fueled by rare near-unanimous support from local, state and federal officials who represent the area. The hope is one day whisking commuters from Fort Bend County into the Texas Medical […]

Endorsement watch: Sung in the special

The Chron endorses Anne Sung in the HISD special election. Out of the four names on the ballot, Anne Sung is the only candidate who will be prepared to do a good job immediately. Sung, 38, a product of HISD schools, not only says that “education is the foundation of the American Dream,” but her […]

Endorsement watch: Against recapture

The Chron recommends a No vote on the forthcoming HISD referendum to authorize recapture. Voters will face a test on Election Day, and whether they answer correctly will determine the future of the Houston Independent School District. It should be a simple question, but it’s written in the obtuse vernacular of lawmakers who really don’t […]

The Astrodome parking proposal is about to get real

Here it comes. Harris County commissioners are poised to make their largest investment yet in the Astrodome’s future next week. They are slated to vote on the first piece of a $105 million plan to raise the ground level two floors to fit in roughly 1,400 parking spaces, which would make the Dome suitable for […]

Kinder Institute analyzes Mayor Turner’s pension reform plan

From the inbox: Rice University’s Kinder Institute has done the preliminary math on Mayor Sylvester Turner’s historic pension reform plan and determined the numbers appear to add up if all of the components are implemented as envisioned. The institute is one of several agencies to analyze the mayor’s proposal since it was unveiled last week. […]

Rice prof wins MacArthur grant

Awesome! Babies were dying in the Malawi hospital and there was little Rebecca Richards-Kortum could do about it. For Richards-Kortum, a bioengineering professor at Rice University, it was a heartbreaking realization, one that haunted her as she toured the modest health care facility more than a decade ago. But her despair was quickly replaced by […]

Renaming Dowling Street

The process has to change before the name can be changed. For years, Third Ward residents have had to roll with the changes in their community, often having to live with decisions made in the corridors of power at City Hall. That’s how East Broadway, the main road running through one of Houston’s historical African-American […]

Now let’s take on the revenue cap

With the pension issue settled, this can be the next big item on Mayor Turner’s to-do list. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city voters next fall to do away with a decade-old cap on city revenues, but for now he’s stuck with it. So City Council on Wednesday will consider cutting Houston’s property tax […]

The city cab app

Meet Arro. Houston’s fractured taxi market is headed toward a rare bit of unity, with a push by the city toward how people hail cabs in the 21st century. As the taxi and limo industry adjusts to new ways of doing business, under intense competition from firms like Uber, city officials plan to consolidate dispatching […]

HISD board members against the HISD ballot item

I missed this when it first appeared. Three Houston school board members on Thursday evening publicly urged voters to oppose a measure that would authorize the district to forfeit $162 million to the state. Trustees Jolanda Jones, Harvin Moore and Rhonda Skillern-Jones went on the offensive at the live-streamed board meeting, asking voters to join […]

The Houston Furniture Bank

Get to know them, they do great work. [Oli] Mohammed, a native of Bangladesh who has devoted his life to helping the poor, came to Houston after several years of working with refugees in Kenya. “I’m from Bangladesh, and poverty and people in need are not foreign to me,” Mohammed said. “But when I saw […]

Let’s cooperate on animal welfare

Yes to this. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett called Tuesday for a summit of county and Houston city leaders, along with animal welfare organizations, to address the region’s “outrageous” problem with stray animals. While the details are still being developed, Emmett said one focus would be better collaboration between Harris County, which focuses primarily on […]

More on the pension deal

The full version of the Chron story adds a lot of detail. Under the tentative deal, the funds would assume more realistic investment returns – 7 percent rather than 8 percent to 8.5 percent – and would recognize all recent market losses on their books at once. The city also would erase the plans’ underfunding […]

Mayor Turner announces pension fund deal

From the inbox: Negotiators for the City, the Houston Police Officers’ Pension System, the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund and the Houston Municipal Employees Pension System have developed Preliminary Points of Understanding on a structural approach to long term, sustainable, defined benefit pension reform. Detailed formal plans continue to be developed and will need […]

City loses in appeal against firefighters’ pension statute

Here’s a pension fund-related litigation update for you. Houston can’t overhaul a state-governed firefighter pension system that the mayor claims is pushing the city towards insolvency, a Texas appeals court ruled. Houston sued the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund in January 2014, seeking a declaration that a state law setting how the fund is […]

The bigger debtors’ prison problem

It’s not just Harris County. Last week, an Amarillo attorney released documents that he said showed the city jailed disabled people simply because they were unable to pay municipal fines. According to the Amarillo Globe-News, the victims of this apparent debtors’ prison system include “a disabled veteran on social security who owed $539; a woman living on $490 […]