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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Interview with Robert Glaser

One more time with HCC – it’s possible I may have more of these, but this is what I have at this time. Robert Glaser, like Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, is running for his first full term in office, after having won a special election in 2013 to complete the term of then-Trustee Richard Schechter. Laila Feldman […]

Council passes dumb forced tax cut

This is where we are. City Council rejected Mayor Sylvester Turner’s proposal to leave Houston’s tax rate unchanged from last year Wednesday, instead approving a tiny rate cut to comply with the voter-imposed cap on property tax revenues. Turner had proposed using Hurricane Harvey to invoke a disaster exception clause in the 13-year-old revenue cap […]

Interview with Jasmine Jenkins of Houstonians for Great Public Schools

For obvious reasons, there’s going to be a lot of focus on HISD, both in the next year as the district recovers from Harvey and tries to fend off a takeover by the Texas Education Agency, and going forward, as these issues and others may fade but will never go away. The Board of Trustees […]

Another property tax rate dustup

I have four things to say about this: Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city council on Wednesday to sidestep the voter-imposed revenue cap by approving the same property tax rate as last year. According to City Controller Chris Brown, the city would need to cut the property tax rate by about one fifth of […]

Interview with Carolyn Evans-Shabazz

HCC Trustee races never get the attention they deserve. That’s on me too, as I could spend more time with them, but it’s a systemic problem as much as anything. What I can do about it right now is bring you this interview with Trustee Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, running for a full term in District 4 […]

Amazon and Houston

Does our city have a shot at landing Amazon’s HQ2? Eh, maybe. Bringing Amazon to Houston almost certainly will be a heavy lift. The pursuit of the company that revolutionized the retail industry has highlighted both the potential and shortcomings of the local technology sector, made up of scattered groups of engineers in the energy, […]

More on HISD IX, and a little on HISD VII Alief ISD

As noted before, I did not do interviews in HISD Trustee races in districts VII and IX. In VII, I did interview now-incumbent Anne Sung and challenger John Luman last year when they were running in the special election to fill the vacancy left by Harvin Moore. You can listen to those again if you […]

Still some fretting about the bonds

Generalized anxiety, nothing specific. Fire engines bursting into flames at a scene. Roof leaks damaging walls at city health clinics. Bike trails eroding into the bayou. Those are among the reasons Mayor Sylvester Turner is asking voters to approve $495 million in public improvement bonds this fall. Early voting starts Oct. 23. As with the […]

The Acre

Meet downtown’s newest park. As park spaces go, Houston’s newest urban oasis is a mere postage stamp, occupying just over an acre of privately held land, developed with private money. But in post-Harvey Houston, the value of every inch of permeable green space suddenly seems more evident. Known as the Acre, the signature piece of […]

Endorsement watch: HISD VII and XI

Last two. Houston ISD, Trustee, District VII: Anne Katherine Sung Anne Katherine Sung won in a runoff for this district last year after former trustee Harvin Moore resigned. Now voters are faced with a rematch between Sung and her former opponent, John Luman. During her short time on the board, Sung has proved herself an […]

Curbside recycling is coming back

Because most of the Harvey debris has been picked up. Win all around. Houstonians who have been dragging their overflowing recycling bins to the curb every other week only to roll them back again untouched finally should have their cartons and cans hauled off early next month, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday. City crews and […]

Endorsement watch: HISD V and VI

Two more HISD endorsements, two more to go. Houston ISD, Trustee, District V: Sue Deigaard Four qualified candidates are running for an open seat in this southwest Houston district, which covers West University, Bellaire and Meyerland. Yet Sue Deigaard stands above them all. Her knowledge of this district is so deep and broad that she […]

An unsatisfying attempt at projecting turnout

So as we all know, this in an unprecedented election, as there are no city races on the ballot. This has everyone wondering about turnout, because the usual drivers of turnout are a Mayor’s race and/or a big referendum, and we have neither of those. What can we guess from past turnout? There are two […]

Wilson sues HCC

It’s a thing with him. Dave Wilson, a District II trustee, is accusing Carolyn Evans-Shabazz, the board’s vice chair, of improperly voting remotely during a September trustee meeting. Board bylaws say that only trustees present in person can vote, though absent trustees can listen to the proceedings electronically. Wilson’s lawsuit says the meeting in question […]

Endorsement watch: HISD I and III

We have our first candidate endorsements of the season. Houston ISD, Trustee, District I: Monica Flores Richart In this heated race between three passionate candidates to represent Garden Oaks, the Heights and Near Northside, we endorse Monica Flores Richart. No other candidate in this race or others has demonstrated such a clarity of vision about […]

The fire department’s needs

This is a conversation we need to have, but it’s one we need to dig into and work all the way through. Fire Chief Sam Pena gave City Council a bleak assessment Tuesday of his department’s readiness to respond to significant rainstorms, or even daily fire and medical calls, saying a ramshackle fleet and inadequate […]

Interview with Sergio Lira

We come to the end of our week with candidates in HISD District III, to succeed Manuel Rodriguez. Bringing us home is Sergio Lira, who has been an assistant principal in HISD since 2006 – he is currently at Bellaire High School – and in Pasadena ISD for seven years before that. Lira holds an […]

Endorsement watch: The bonds

Endorsement season has officially begun. The key referendum, Proposition A, is a solution to Houston’s potentially disastrous pension problem. A complex deal ushered through the Texas Legislature by Mayor Sylvester Turner would reduce the $8.2 billion unfunded pension burden now carried by Houston taxpayers to $5.2 billion. Union leaders representing police officers and municipal employees […]

Interview with Jesse Rodriguez

We continue with interviews in HISD Trustee District III, where four candidates vie to fill out the term of the late Manuel Rodriguez. Today’s interview subject is Jesse Rodriguez, no relation to Manuel, also known as DJ Jumpin’ Jess. Rodriguez has a long and varied background in radio and the entertainment business; it’s hard to […]

Lift Up Houston

Hey, you know there are bonds on the ballot, right? And Mayor Turner would like you to vote for them. Mayor Sylvester Turner spent much of his first year and a half keeping the civic conversation focused on winning legislative approval of his plan to end Houston’s spiraling pension crisis, and then, last May, achieved […]

Interview with Carlos Perrett

On we go to District III, which would normally not be up for election this year, but the untimely passing of longtime Trustee Manuel Rodriguez created a vacancy that needs to be filled. The Board appointed an interim Trustee to finish out the year, but he was chosen with the agreement that he would not […]

Don’t hold your breath waiting for federal Harvey recovery money

Settle in for the long haul. It could be months, if not years, before southeast Texans and scores of counties and cities receive federal funds to pay for the long-term rebuilding and recovery of homes and communities battered by Hurricane Harvey’s epic rains. Federal Emergency Management Agency money for short-term relief like debris removal and […]

What the Harvey needs are from the state

It’s not just about recovery. The long term needs, including mitigation against future events like Harvey, is where the real money will need to be spent. More than one month after Harvey’s deluge hit, local officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, testified at a state House of Representatives Appropriations Committee […]

MUDs and Harvey

City governments have their pros and cons, and their challenges getting things done. But at least their existence means residents of said cities have places to go when they need various services. Not everyone has that, and in times of crisis like what Harvey has wrought, that’s a big deal. Cinco Ranch, a master-planned community […]

HFD and disaster preparedness

There’s a lot here to think about, and to do something about. The Houston Fire Department’s limitations quickly became clear as Harvey’s floodwaters rose. Just one high-water rescue vehicle. Decades-old evacuation boats. Sparse training for swift-water rescues. And limited staffing after an 11th-hour decision not to call in major reinforcements to face the catastrophic storm. […]

Interview with Robert Lundin

I have one more interview to bring you in HISD Trustee District VI, where longtime Trustee Greg Meyers stepped down last November and Holly Flynn Vilaseca was appointed to fill out the remainder of his term. Robert Lundin is a Rice graduate who has served as a bilingual 5th grade teacher and school support officer […]

You don’t have to attend those tax rate hearings now

They’re not a thing any more. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. That also likely means few public hearings on the proposed rate hike, which would have been the first from […]

Lawsuit filed over untested rape kits

This could be a big deal. A former Houston woman is suing the City of Houston and a long list of current and former mayors and police chiefs for failing to investigate a backlog of more than 6,000 untested rape kits, and not identifying her attacker as a man who had been in a national […]

Interview with Holly Flynn Vilaseca

We turn now to HISD District VI, where longtime Trustee Greg Meyers resigned last year. Holly Flynn Vilaseca was selected by the remaining Trustees to fill out the last year of Meyers’ term, and now she seeks election to a full term. The first member of her family to go to college, Vilaseca has degrees […]

Houston gets state recovery funds, property tax rate hike shelved

Was that so hard? I ask you. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday said he would withdraw a proposed property tax rate hike after Gov. Greg Abbott handed him a check for $50 million to help fund the city’s recovery from Hurricane Harvey. The exchange came as the mayor and governor held a joint City Hall […]

What should the people living near the dams have known?

More than they were told, is what they’re saying. A federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers claims government officials knew for years that water impounded behind Addicks and Barker dams would flood thousands of suburban homes during an extreme storm – and yet did nothing to advise or compensate property owners. The […]

Abbott says he wants a list from Turner

A list of funding priorities, he says. Because he’s passive like that. Answering Houston’s latest complaints over funding for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday told Mayor Sylvester Turner the state can step up with more money as soon as the city gets a list of its top needs to the state. […]

Can our dams handle the load?

Pretty important question, wouldn’t you say? The state climatologist is warning that Texas dams will become less able to withstand extreme weather events like Hurricane Harvey, which are expected to occur more frequently as the earth’s atmosphere and oceans warm in coming years. Dams are designed with a wide margin of safety and are meant […]

Interview with Sean Cheben

We come to the end of my interviews in HISD Trustee District V, to succeed the outgoing Mike Lunceford. There are four candidates in the race but i have done three interviews, which is mostly a reflection of how much time I have available. Today’s candidate is Sean Cheben, a Houston native and Clear Creek […]