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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Parker proposes new firefighter pension plan

We’ll see about this. With the city of Houston facing huge and rising pension costs, Mayor Annise Parker on Thursday unveiled a proposal to put new firefighters in a separate, less generous plan that would do away with expensive automatic cost-of-living adjustments. The move would not affect current firefighters covered by the Houston Firefighters Relief […]

Bringing commuter rail into downtown

From The Highwayman: As has been reported, the Gulf Coast Rail District is studying the best possible routes for commuter rail in the Houston area, and one of the biggest challenges is bringing the trains into downtown. From the looks of the initial analysis of the U.S. 290 corridor, the trip to the central business […]

RIP, Randy Ertman

If you’ve lived in Houston long enough, this story will bring back a flood of memories and emotions. Randy Ertman, a house painter who became a blunt-spoken, combative advocate for crime victims’ rights after his daughter and another teen were raped and murdered in a northwest Houston park, died Monday of lung cancer. In the […]

And we (finally) circle back to food trucks

We’ve done HERO, we’ve done vehicles for hire, what other high profile issues are there out there? Oh yeah, food trucks. I’d almost forgotten they were still an agenda item, but they’re back and they should be getting a vote soon. Proposed changes to three major ordinances could provide food trucks with new freedom. While […]

Financing the high speed rail line

A long story in the Trib about Texas Central High-Speed Railway and its ambitious Dallas to Houston rail line. It’s a good primer if you haven’t been paying close attention to the story and want to cover all the basics. A couple of points: Central Japan Railway Co., also known as J.R. Central, sees a […]

An outsider’s view of the Ashby Highrise

From Governing.com. It contains the Z word, so you might want to shield the eyes of innocent children and Joel Kotkin. Whatever views one may hold about a city without zoning, it’s hard to deny that Houston has done pretty well for itself over the past generation or so. Its population has grown faster than […]

Transforming the GRB Convention Center

I don’t think I’d realized that there was a renovation of the George R. Brown Convention Center in the works, but after reading this story, I’m excited about it. By late next year, people strolling the George R. Brown Convention Center plaza can take in restaurants, sidewalk cafes, landscaped walk-ways and a water fountain. At […]

San Antonio will take its time on Uber and Lyft

As was the case in Houston, San Antonio City Council is in no rush to take action on updating their vehicles for hire ordinances to deal with Uber and Lyft. After an emotional and colorful Citizens to be Heard session, the City Council Public Safety Committee unanimously agreed to hold-off on sending a staff-recommended ordinance […]

Vape ‘em if you’ve got ‘em

E-cigarettes are not affected by the city of Houston’s smoking ban. For now, anyway. When city officials announced a sweeping ban on smoking in public parks last month, many in Houston’s growing ranks of electronic cigarette users worried the new rules applied to them. They do not, but the concern was well founded. Of the […]

HERO repeal petition lawsuit set for January

There will be no HERO repeal referendum on the ballot this year, but depending on how the trial (and likely appeal) goes, there could be one next year. Opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance dropped their request for a temporary injunction Friday that could have triggered a process to set a repeal referendum this November. […]

Uber and Lyft go prank calling each other

I find this pretty funny, in a juvenile-delinquent sort of way. Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 rides from rival Lyft since last October, according to new data provided by Lyft. The data was obtained at CNNMoney’s request when reporting another story on the companies’ competition. It’s the latest in a pattern […]

Game room lawsuit dismissed

From last week: After a lengthy tussle over new game room regulations for Harris County, a federal judge Tuesday issued an order denying requests from a local game room owner to stop the new regulations. “The game room situation in Harris County is a big problem,” said Fred Keys, an assistant attorney for Harris County. […]

A second chance to get a piece of the Dome

There’s going to be another Astrodome memorabilia sale in the near future. The Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. is considering selling more seats out of the Astrodome after raking in $1.5 million late last year during two online auctions and a walk-up “yard sale” at NRG Center where thousands of nostalgic fans waited hours […]

The case against tossing the HERO repeal petitions

Jerad Najvar makes a constitutional argument that the city of Houston should have accepted the HERO repeal petitions even though many of the petition pages fell short of the requirements laid out in the city charter. While we lack clarity as to exact numbers, it appears that given a blatant constitutional infirmity with part of […]

HERO repeal hopefuls try another venue

Whatever. Conservative opponents of Houston’s equal rights ordinance have asked an appeals court to force the city secretary to certify the signatures on their petitions to force a repeal referendum on the November ballot. Equal rights ordinance critics filed a request late Monday with Houston’s 14th Court of Appeals for an emergency writ of mandamus […]

San Antonio has begun curbside recycling of plastic bags

As of August 1, to be exact. “We are starting with a new recycling processor that can accept the bags so that allows us to add it to the list of items we can accept,” [Solid Waste Management Department Public Relations Manager Tiffany] Edwards said, adding that the move gives San Antonians another option to […]

Chron on One Bin

The Chronicle is ambivalent about the city’s One Bin for All proposal. Details of the One Bin For All recycling proposal aren’t even solid yet, but groups like the Sierra Club have already started to line up against it. This gut rejection seems misguided, but people should have a healthy skepticism of this relatively untested […]

On beautifying the city for the Super Bowl

Chris Andrews has some thoughts about what Houston should and shouldn’t do in preparation for Super Bowl LI in 2017. Things More Important Than Beautification Projects to a Super Bowl Visitor As a sports fan, and through my own experience, I would have to guess that a visitor’s experience in a host city will be […]

Sobering center status report

It’s working as planned, which is great news. When Mayor Annise Parker opened the center at 150 North Chenevert St. last year, the idea was to cut police costs and reduce recidivism, creating a place other than jail for those whose only crime is public intoxication. Prior to the center’s opening, police were making about […]

Moving out of Fitzgerald’s

Big music news in Houston. The successful concert promotion group behind Houston’s Free Press Summer Festival has secured land just north of downtown Houston to build a three-stage music venue complex with two indoor stages and an outdoor stage. Pegstar Concerts head Jagi Katial said Monday the project has been two years in gestation. Plans […]

HERO repeal lawsuit moves back to state court

Are we dizzy yet? Conservative activists seeking to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance trumpeted a small victory Thursday when a court hearing resulted in the ordinance being suspended pending an Aug. 15 hearing. Mayor Annise Parker, anticipating a lawsuit, had already said she would not enforce the ordinance until there was more legal clarity, […]

Council approves vehicles for hire overhaul

At long last. Technology companies that have unapologetically disrupted vehicle-for-hire markets in cities across the country will be able to operate legally in Houston after City Council on Wednesday ended 16 months of wrangling by approving new rules. Council voted 10 to 5, with two absent, to open the heavily regulated paid ride market in […]

HERO repeal lawsuit moved to federal court

And the bad guys are very unhappy about it. Conservative activists seeking to repeal Houston’s equal rights ordinance accused the city of stalling the issue Wednesday after city lawyers moved the opponents’ lawsuit over rejected ballot petitions from state to federal court. Opponents blasted the move, calling it a delay tactic aimed at keeping the […]

Remember Ray Jones

So now that the HERO-haters’ petitions have been rejected by the city for not having enough valid signatures after all of the petition pages that were not compliant with the requirements of the city charter were thrown out, the story shifts to the courthouse. We don’t know exactly what the antis are going to claim […]

HERO repeal effort falls short

Too bad, so sad (not really). Opponents of Houston’s new non-discrimination ordinance did not get enough valid signatures to force a November repeal referendum, Mayor Annise Parker and City Attorney David Feldman announced Monday. “With respect to the referendum petition filed to repeal the ‘HERO’ ordinance, there are simply too many documents with irregularities and […]

Do we really have to talk about the 2015 Mayoral race right now?

sigh All right, all right, if you insist. But let’s make it quick. The list of possible candidates thus far includes mainly those who have held or sought public office before, though analysts said the guessing game at this point is difficult. “There are always people who get in the race who no one expected […]

Decision on validity of HERO-repeal petitions coming today

Get ready for the fireworks. City of Houston officials plan to announce Monday whether a petition submitted by opponents of the city’s new nondiscrimination ordinance contains enough valid signatures to force a vote on repealing the measure this November. Opponents claimed to have gathered and verified 31,000 names, but City Attorney David Feldman said Friday […]

Houston municipal employees may see health insurance costs get hiked again

It’s one of many possible proposals for closing the upcoming budget shortfall. A key option, [Mayor annise] Parker has said, is to increase the share of health care costs employees pay. The city now pays three-fourths, and employees pay one-fourth. “We have a very generous health benefits plan, even with the changes,” Parker said, referring […]

More on San Felipe Highrise Lawsuit II

Here’s the Chron story on the latest adventure in urban planning via the courtroom. The basics are covered here so I’m going to cut to the speculation about effect. Observers have said the Ashby case could have an effect on development moving forward. Now, local land-use experts say the San Felipe project and the neighbors’ […]

Laura Murillo

Campos tosses a hat into the ring for Mayor 2015. Laura Murillo, CEO and President of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is telling folks she will be running for H-Town Mayor next year. I said this yesterday: She would certainly be a fresh face. Being a Latina and the only woman in the race […]

At an impasse

Doesn’t look like there will be any new collective bargaining agreement between the city and the firefighters this year. Houston’s firefighters union declared an impasse with the city over a new labor contract, which a union negotiator called a “slap in the face” on Thursday. The deadlock comes less than a month after Mayor Annise […]

The Astrodome isn’t officially a historic landmark just yet

The decision has been delayed until there can be a meeting to discuss it in Houston. Honoring a request by Harris County officials to table the vote and meet much closer to Houston, the Texas Historical Commission voted Wednesday at a meeting in far West Texas to postpone designating the iconic Astrodome a so-called “state […]

Council approves funds for Harrisburg Line overpass

Progress! The City Council is set to decide Wednesday whether to give Metro $10 million to accommodate traffic as well as trains on a controversial overpass the transit agency plans to build along its Green Line light rail route. The council delayed action on the matter for 30 days last month at Mayor Annise Parker’s […]

County Attorney asks judge to overturn Wilson verdict

I’m not sure what the point of this is. Although a jury decided Dave Wilson lived where he claimed when he ran for the Houston Community College seat he holds, the drama surrounding the perennial candidate continues. Harris County attorneys filed a motion Wednesday asking Judge Mike Engelhart, who oversaw Wilson’s three-day residency trial earlier […]