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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Maglev pods in the sky

And now for something completely different. skyTran, Inc., headquartered at the NASA Research Park (NRP) near Mountain View, California, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), a company headquartered in Lod, Israel, entered into an agreement today for the construction of a skyTran Technology Demonstration System (TDS) on the grounds of IAI’s corporate campus. The agreement was […]

Back to the drawing board for the city and the firefighters’ union

Don’t expect much at this point. Negotiators for the city of Houston and its firefighters union will return to the bargaining table to discuss a new labor contract weeks after union members soundly defeated the last proposed deal, Mayor Annise Parker announced Wednesday. The mayor and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 president Bryan […]

Hands off a hardbody

This is the most interesting theater-related story involving a canceled play that I’ve ever heard about. Theatre Under The Stars and director Bruce Lumpkin kicked up a heap of dust with the company’s production of “Hands on a Hardbody,” which had to shut down early on June 20, after the show’s creators protested extensive unauthorized […]

Get ready to defend the HERO

From the inbox: Surrounded by members of the community who are impacted by the ordinance, Mayor Annise Parker announced today that the City will mount a vigorous effort to defend Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance from being repealed. “The Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic […]

HISD redistricting underway

As we know, the Houston Independent School District now includes all of the former North Forest ISD. The addition of all that new territory, and especially all those new voters, means that the existing HISD Trustee districts will have to be redrawn. HISD is going through that process now. The Houston Independent School District will […]

Uber is working hard to make itself unlikeable

It’s almost as if it’s a deliberate part of their business plan. “We’re in a political campaign, and the candidate is Uber, and the opponent is an asshole named Taxi,” Travis Kalanick, the CEO of ride-sharing company Uber, said while on stage at a conference in late May. “Nobody likes him, he’s not a nice […]

One less food desert

From the inbox: With high hopes of more to come, Mayor Annise Parker, Council Members Stephen Costello and Dwight Boykins, the Houston Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and others broke ground on the first project to target a Houston food desert. With financial assistance from the city, Pyburn’s owner John Vuong is building a first-class grocery store […]

Don’t kill no-kill

I don’t like the look of this. Stricter enforcement of a previously obscure state regulation is threatening the no-kill movement across Texas and could result in animal shelters euthanizing tens of thousands of additional pets each year, advocates warn. A “clarification” of state rules by the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners last August already […]

A lesser overpass

I’m not very happy with this. A City Council delay in contributing funds for a contentious East End overpass will likely lead Metro back to build a span only for its light rail line and not drivers, and without some of the attributes transit officials and some nearby residents said they wanted. [...] The delay […]

Bill King gets on the reimagining bus

I’ve made plenty of sport about Chron columnist Bill King’s failure to acknowledge Metro’s proposed new bus routes despite his longstanding argument that Metro should be prioritizing bus service over light rail, so it’s only fair that I acknowledge that he has finally gotten into the game. I recently read somewhere that Metro’s prescient critics […]

Petition deadline coming

Scott Braddock takes a look at the petition effort to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which must turn in its homework this week. Opponents led by longtime – and now former because he was recently ousted – Harris County Republican Party Chairman Jared Woodfill are working to turn in at least 17,000 signatures of […]

A step forward for Uptown BRT

Progress. Texas transportation officials Thursday kicked in $25 million to build a dedicated bus lane along Loop 610, ensuring the second piece of a planned bus rapid transit corridor in the Uptown area. As part of a larger statewide transportation spending plan for the next decade, members of the Texas Transportation Commission added $25 million […]

Grits on the HPD staffing debate

Grits weighs in on the HPD no-investigations story with some suggestions for how to proceed. Here’s how to boost the number of police officers available on patrol while freeing up officers to work as detectives in the burglary and other backlogged divisions: Implement verified response for burglar alarm calls, requiring alarm companies to verify a […]

City exploring new pension for new firefighters?

Maybe. Long concerned about the cost of Houston’s pensions and stymied in her attempts at reform, Mayor Annise Parker is considering a dramatic step to place new firefighters into a separate, less generous pension plan, sources with knowledge of the discussions said. Officials acknowledge the existing Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund likely would sue […]

The bricks of Freedmen’s Town

Surely we can do something about this. Most in the Fourth Ward community know the lore – that freed slaves and descendants first laid the bricks on the streets 100 years ago. Now most agree the roads need repairs, but residents and preservationists worry a recently approved city plan to remove the bricks to fix […]

Environmental impact studies can begin for Texas high speed rail

Another step forward. The Federal Railroad Administration published a document on its website Wednesday officially kicking off a highly anticipated environmental review of a proposed high speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. The document, called a Notice Of Intent To Prepare An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), marks the start of a process that will […]

We need more context to the HPD no-investigations issue

Regular commenter Steven Houston left this feedback on my “More reaction to the HPD no-investigations report” post. It raises some good points and helped me focus my thinking on a couple of things, so I wanted to reproduce it and react to it here. I’ve commented on this issue for years, including a number of […]

North Line ridership continues to be strong

Awesome! Nearly six months since trains began rumbling north of the central business district along Main and Fulton on the north side, residents and community leaders said the train is becoming a valued part of the neighborhood and a critical link for many transit travelers, even as it contributes to record-setting use of the rail […]

HISD passes its budget

They restored a lot of funding, but it’s the changes to magnet school funding that everyone is talking about. Bouncing back from recent cash-strapped years, the Houston school board Thursday approved a bigger budget that gives raises to all employees, provides more money to campuses and may require a tax rate increase. The board, over […]

Reading and writing and operating systems

Religion, politics, and operating systems – three things sure to start a spirited discussion. By January 2016, when the Houston Independent School District’s latest tech initiative hits full stride, the district will issue laptops to every high school student and teacher in the district. All 65,000 of those laptops will run Windows 7 and cloud-based […]

Council adopts its budget for next year

Might be the last easy budget for a couple of years. The Houston City Council agreed to boost funding for after-school programs, add cameras to catch illegal dumpers and give $1 million to each district council office to spend on projects for their constituents during a marathon session Wednesday to approve Mayor Annise Parker’s $5.2 […]

Bad signs of the times

I don’t even know what to say. Cypress-Fairbanks ISD will spend $55 million to tighten school security, including installing strategically placed panic buttons on campuses and replacing existing entry windows with bullet-resistant glass – upgrades experts call a necessary but unfortunate sign of the times. Voters overwhelmingly approved the improvement, which will be completed districtwide […]

Dave Wilson reminds us again why elections matter

Because now when he does crap like this, it’s as an elected official and not just a yahoo crank of long standing. Dave Wilson, an anti-gay activist who won a contested race for a seat on the Houston Community College board last November, wants HCC to cancel its plans to sponsor a float in this […]

HISD prepares its budget

Teacher pay raises and magnet school funding changes are the main points of interest. Thanks to rising property values, all Houston ISD employees would receive raises and schools would get more money for supplies, field trips or tutors next year under a budget proposal drawing complaints for its long-term cuts to some popular magnet programs. […]

Firefighters union rejects contract deal

Oops. The contract rejected Tuesday by 93 percent of the roughly 2,900 firefighters voting would have taken a similar approach, granting a pay raise in exchange for concessions on members’ ability to take leave. With the no vote, as of July 1 members of Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 enter an “evergreen” period […]

More talk about bathrooms

The HOUEquality webpage returns to a familiar topic. 1.) Over 180 cities and municipalities across the country have implemented nondiscrimination ordinances, some have been in place for decades. There are no reports of incidents of sexual assault or rape causally related or attributed to the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or […]

There’s an app for alternate mobility in Houston

This makes a lot of sense. Technology companies might soon upend Houston’s paid ride market, but they’re already adding new options for getting around the region. Local groups and software developers are tapping into Houston’s sophisticated traffic management system to offer solutions beyond heading onto the freeway. The hope is that better information will help […]

HISD hires its defenders for the teacher evaluation lawsuit

I have to say, I’m a bit uncomfortable with this. Earlier this year, seven teachers sued the Houston Independent School District in federal court over their evaluation system. That system uses a statistical formula and student test scores to grade teachers. At its meeting this week, the Houston school district decided to hire a high-profile […]

On cops and the revenue cap

Mayor Parker again calls attention to the city’s stupid revenue cap and the things it will prevent the city from doing if it is left in place. If Houston voters do not want police pulled from the streets next year, Mayor Annise Parker says, they better think twice about a cap on city revenues they […]

Comcast wants to use your routers

For a massive WiFi network. Comcast is expected to flip a switch Tuesday in Houston that will turn 50,000 of its customers’ home Wi-Fi routers into a massive network of public Wi-Fi hotspots. Comcast residential Internet subscribers with one of the newer cable modem/wireless router combos will show a public network called “xfinitywifi.” Other Comcast […]

Another taxi survey

From the inbox: Vehicle for hire industry survey The City of Houston has retained Taxi Research Partners to conduct a study of demand within the vehicle for hire industry in Houston. The study will review current market conditions, identify key players and stakeholders in the industry and will establish a baseline for demand for those […]

Would you let Reliant turn off your air conditioning?

In the name of conservation, of course. “Our objective is to have more and more customers participate so we can make a material difference in an event when the state needs us to make a difference,” said Elizabeth Killinger, senior vice president and retail regional president for Texas at NRG, Reliant’s parent company. The program, […]

Here comes the 346

We’re getting another area code. Starting July 1, Houston area residents might see phone numbers that begin with 346, when a new area code comes to town. The Public Utility Commission of Texas last year announced a new area code was being added and this week cell phone companies are texting their customers as a […]

City reaches contract agreement with firefighters

Give a little, get a little. Houston firefighters would give up some of their ability to schedule time off in return for a pay hike under a tentative new labor contract that city officials hope will enable them to rein in overtime costs that threatened to bust the fire department’s budget this year. The City […]