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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Urban Land Institute report on the Astrodome

Is this, at long last, The Plan for the Astrodome? The iconic, yet aging Astrodome is worth saving from the wrecking ball and could find new life as a massive indoor park and green space, a national land use group said Friday. A panel of experts with the Urban Land Institute released a preliminary proposal […]

Feldman resigns

Mayor Parker loses a key member of her team going into her final year as Mayor. City Attorney David Feldman on Friday announced that he plans to resign next month, citing, among other reasons, that he could better defend the city’s embattled equal rights ordinance as a key witness than as a lawyer in an […]

Metro gets some new rail cars online

Finally. Eight of the long-delayed railcars needed to expand light rail service in Houston are expected to start ferrying passengers in the first week of 2015, promising some relief from rush-hour crowding, transit officials said Thursday. The cars, the first of 39 from CAF U.S.A. to clear their testing, are ready to roll, according to […]

Commissioners Court approves body camera purchase

Good. Harris County Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously approved District Attorney Devon Anderson’s plan to spend $1.9 million in seized assets to equip Houston police officers and Harris County sheriff’s deputies with body cameras. County officials also said they would move toward giving about 700 deputy constables the same equipment, though the precise amount of […]

Plastic bag makers fight back

I expect they will be busy during the legislative session working to block municipal laws that tax, limit, or ban single-use plastic bags. For years, Superbag in northwest Houston quietly manufactured the sacks that grocers and retail chains hand out to customers in the checkout line. The business garnered little attention. Now, however, the industry […]

Treating all fares the same

Good idea. A six-month test starting in February will gauge the effects of letting cash-paying rail riders switch to buses for free. The vast majority of riders use a Q card, day pass or some other form of Metro payment. Transfers with those items are free, provided subsequent trips are along the system and not […]

Lane Lewis announces for At Large #1

Interesting. Harris County Democratic Party chair Lane Lewis will run for an at-large city council position, he told Democratic activists Wednesday evening. Lewis, who has led the county’s party operation since 2011, is running to succeed Stephen Costello in At-Large Position 1, one of two open-seat at-large races next year. Lewis will remain party chair […]

I’ll see you in C-U-B-A

Among the many likely winners of the new US policy towards Cuba will be the city of Houston. As an established travel gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, Houston is positioned to benefit from any potential easing of tourism restrictions in Cuba. “There’s a lot of fascination with Cuba,” said Michelle Weller, a travel […]

On game rooms and gambling

Looks like Fort Bend County wants to follow in the footsteps of Harris County when it comes to dealing with game rooms. Last weekend, Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputies raided the H-90 Game Room on U.S. 90A east of Richmond, hauling away 97 slot machines, interviewing and releasing about 30 customers and charging one employee […]

Valero’s special deal

I’m sorry, I just can’t get behind this. Companies routinely relocate to the city or state that lures them with the best tax break, but Valero wants Houston City Council to give its eastside refinery the same treatment without having to pack its bags. Valero wants most of its Manchester facility, the only refinery inside […]

Repair or replace?

Consider this an object lesson in the cost of deferring maintenance. A new Houston police headquarters and courthouse complex, discussed for decades, could reach a key turning point this week as Mayor Annise Parker seeks to force City Council members to choose between repairing the city’s existing facilities or tackling an enormous project to construct […]

HSPVA groundbreaking

Looking forward to seeing how this turns out. A slab of cracked cement painted over with yellow parking lines sits at the corner of Rusk and Austin – with downtown skyscrapers looming overhead. Come Tuesday, the cement will be ripped up and construction will begin on a new five-story, 168,000-square-foot building for the Houston ISD’s […]

Three thoughts on the state of the Mayor’s race

Inspired by this story, which doesn’t name any potential additions to the ever-large field of Mayoral wannabes for 2015 but which does put some things in context. Most observers consider Rep. Sylvester Turner, with his support base from the African-American population that could cast a third of next year’s vote, to be the man to […]

Houston gets a Bitcoin ATM

Just what you were waiting for, I’m sure. Houston unveiled its first bitcoin ATM on Wednesday, hoping to attract international travelers and more conventions to the George R. Brown Convention Center. Bitcoin is like digital cash. And this ATM, on the downtown center’s second floor next to a Starbucks, allows users to convert cash to […]

Republicans will push pro-discrimination bills

I have three things to say about this. Two days after the Plano City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people, a Texas legislator filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the ability of cities to enforce such laws. On Wednesday, Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas) filed House Joint Resolution 55, which is […]

DA’s office to help buy body cams

Very good news. Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson plans to purchase hundreds of body-worn cameras for Houston police officers and sheriff’s deputies, weeks after widespread protests erupted when a white Missouri police officer was not charged for fatally shooting an unarmed black teen. In the aftermath of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., […]

Heights bike trail connection update

Good news from Swamplot: OVER THANKSGIVING weekend city workers opened a portion of the proposed hike-and-hike trail that will one day link downtown and Acres Homes. Work began last October on this new section, one that heads west from the MKT hike-and-bike trail’s former official western terminus at Lawrence Park, under the N. Shepherd Dr. […]

Lawsuit filed against Comcast over residential WiFi hotspots

This ought to be interesting. Two San Francisco-area residents are suing Comcast for plugging their home’s wireless router into what they call a power-wasting, Internet-clogging, privacy threatening network of public WiFi hot spots. The class-action lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court on behalf of Toyer Grear and her daughter Joycelyn Harris, claims Comcast […]

San Antonio City Council passes vehicles for hire revision

Unlike Dallas, it’s the cab companies that are happy about it. After nearly three hours of debate Thursday, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to approve new rules for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft that provide service in the city. Only council members Ron Nirenberg and Rey Saldana opposed the motion. Councilman Roberto Trevino, […]

Houston pastors to fight against the Plano equal rights ordinance

Of course they will. When Houston passed its Equal Rights Ordinance earlier this year, the Texas Pastor Council came out strongly in opposition of the law. Now the Houston-based group is challenging the nondiscrimination ordinance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of Plano. Director Dave Welch says the group will work with pastors in […]

City deficit not as big as feared

This is a nice surprise. A huge budget deficit looming at City Hall – which has spurred talk of layoffs, service cuts, new fees and higher taxes – has been cut in half, relieving some pressure to scramble together a budget patch but doing little for Houston’s long-term financial health. The unexpected boost of good […]

Dallas City Council approves vehicles for hire revisions

It was smooth sailing, relatively speaking. Starting in late April, ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft will be able to operate legally in the city of Dallas. The City Council on Wednesday voted 13-2 to overhaul the city’s ordinance for taxicabs, limos and those app-based companies. In doing so, they introduced more competition and brought […]

Will the TNCs leave San Antonio?

The upcoming Council vote in San Antonio over vehicles for hire could have some repercussions. City Council will meet Thursday to vote on proposed rules that would allow rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber to operate legally in San Antonio. But the new regulations and requirements are so onerous, say rideshare company representatives and advocates, […]

San Antonio City Council to vote on vehicles for hire this week

As we know, the San Antonio City Council is set to update its vehicles for hire ordinances, which is to say it’s getting ready to approve rules that would allow Uber and Lyft to operate legally there. The Express News story on the Council meeting to review the proposed ordinance updates is here, but this […]

There will be charter referenda next year

Details are pending, but one way or another we’ll get to vote on some charter changes next November. City Council members on Thursday agreed that any city charter reforms, including changes to term limits, should go to voters in November rather than May next year, but they kicked most substantive discussion of those issues to […]

Mayor Parker wants body cameras for HPD

Good. Houston won’t wait for federal funding before buying body cameras for all of the city’s uniformed police officers, Mayor Annise Parker said Wednesday, as activists launched a petition drive for an ordinance essentially mandating the mayor’s plans. Both the mayor and police chief have announced their commitment to body cameras designed to record all […]

A chance to help the sobering center

It’s a good cause. When the Houston Recovery Center turns to the public in coming months for the first time and asks for help, the request will likely seem small and perhaps odd: The city-backed sobering unit wants to raise funds to pay two van drivers. But it’s a request that says a lot about […]

Re-redistricting HISD

Well, this would be different. The Houston school board would grow from nine elected trustees to 17 under a bill filed by state Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who said she wants to give residents of the former North Forest school district increased representation. The Houston Independent School District took over the northeast Houston district in 2013 […]

Searching the couch cushions for loose change

That’s basically what this is. To say the city of Houston is working to cut a looming $120 million budget deficit one color copy at a time would not be accurate. It’s more like millions of color copies. Cellphones no one is using, old cars no one is driving, a 50-step process for approving fire […]

Charter review gets set

From Campos: This Thursday, December 4 the City Council’s Ad Hoc Charter Review committee will meet and several members of Council want the following in BOLD discussed. I have added a few devil’s advocate observations. BTW: All members of City Council are on the committee. Here are proposed changes: 1. Authorize any item(s) acknowledged and […]

A “Mike Brown Law” for Houston

From the inbox: COMMUNITY TOWN HALL 12/4 TO DEMAND MIKE BROWN LAW HOUSTON- Hundreds plan to attend a town hall organized by Houston Justice, a grassroots activist group aimed at local criminal justice reform. The first goal is to pass necessary legislation to adopt the Mike Brown Law that requires body cams for on duty […]

RIP, Father TJ Martinez

Some sad local news. Father TJ Martinez seemed comfortable anywhere and with anyone. Raised in Brownsville and educated at some of America’s finest universities, he could charm princes of industry and encourage children born to paupers to study hard to make something of themselves and their community. To greet first lady Laura Bush, he donned […]

Bill King to run for Mayor

Because there aren’t enough candidates for Mayor already. Bill King is inching toward a run for mayor of Houston as the field in next year’s open-seat election continues to grow. King, an attorney and the former mayor of Kemah, designated a campaign treasurer earlier this month, the initial step needed to start a campaign structure. […]

Houston needs a swimming hole

A fascinating proposal from Gray Matters. The good idea: Houston needs a great big swimming hole. Idea guys: Monte Large and Evan O’Neil, of Houston Needs a Swimming Hole. Where the idea came from: Enduring the Houston heat. Large, an urban real-estate developer, doesn’t have a car and bikes everywhere. One summer day, the friends […]