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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Want to buy a big piece of land near the Medical Center?

Here’s your chance. A single tract of land large enough to hold multiple office towers, high-rise residential buildings and a hotel doesn’t often come available inside Loop 610. One near the Texas Medical Center is even more uncommon. After 45 years, Shell Oil Co. is selling 21 acres it owns at the southwest corner of […]

First look at how HISD will balance its budget

Seems to be fairly well-received. The Houston school district’s interim superintendent on Thursday rescinded his proposal to reduce funding for gifted students amid concerns from parents and board members. At the same time, Ken Huewitt proposed bolstering the budgets of schools with significant concentrations of low-income students, using $21 million from federal funds. Schools with […]

An outside view on Uber in Houston

The Statesman looks at how Austin’s fight with Uber and Lyft over fingerprint requirements compares with other cities in Texas, including Houston. Officials in Houston said they decided early on that their city, despite having almost 2,500 licensed taxis, could benefit from the emerging ride-hailing industry. So they approached Uber and Lyft a few years […]

The dry run for the Super Bowl

It went pretty well. In less than a year, the Super Bowl is expected to draw almost twice as many as the 70,000 out-of-towners who flocked here for the Final Four. More than 1 million are expected to come downtown and to NRG Park from the Houston region, presenting even greater logistical and security challenges […]

The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund

From the inbox: After receiving calls from corporations and others who want to help financially, Mayor Sylvester Turner is establishing The Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund, to accept flood relief donations. “We’ve been hearing from residents who are confused about where they should donate to get assistance directly to the residents of our city who […]

Business as usual with the Texas Enterprise Fund

Raise your hand if this surprises you. In July of 2013, Gov. Rick Perry announced that he had closed another deal. Chevron would build a 50-story tower in downtown Houston next to one of its existing office buildings. The $662 million capital investment was slated to create 1,752 high-paying jobs. “The state is providing $12 […]

On drainage and flooding

Two items of interest from Gray Matters, both on the subject of the week. First, from Cynthia Hand Neely and Ed Browne of Residents Against Flooding: Man-made, preventable flooding has surged dirty, sewage-ridden water through Houston living rooms three times now in seven years, yet city government fails to prevent these recurring emergencies. Really? If […]

How you can help or get help in Houston

Via email from State Rep. Gene Wu: I hope this email finds you safe after yesterday’s flooding. While we are seeing most of the high water receding from our neighborhoods, there is still a good deal of cleanup work to do today. Please stay safe as we anticipate even more rain throughout the day. For […]

Why North Carolina and not Houston?

John Nova Lomax asks why Houston has not suffered the same backlash as North Carolina after the repeal of HERO last November. In the aftermath of the repeal of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance in November, the bill’s proponents predicted dire economic consequences. Then-Mayor Annise Parker predicted a “direct, economic backlash” for the Bayou City. A #boycotthouston campaign […]

Ghosts of Allison

I sure hope everyone made it through yesterday’s ferocious rain all right. The storm that flooded the greater Houston area on Monday – drenching the region with the most rain since Tropical Storm Allison dumped more than 24 inches in June 2001 – packed a mighty punch in mere hours. Some areas saw as much […]

Turner announces his budget

From the inbox: Utilizing a shared sacrifice approach, Mayor Sylvester Turner today unveiled a proposed Fiscal Year 2017 General Fund budget that eliminates a projected $160 million shortfall that was the result of cost increases, voter imposed revenue limitations, a broken appraisal system and the economic downturn. The budget totals $2.3 billion, which is about […]

UberACCESS debuts in Houston

Good to see. A partnership that has helped disabled people connect with a popular ride service launched in Houston at midnight. Uber officials confirmed UberACCESS, which offers wheelchair-accessible rides for the same price as UberX, began service Wednesday. Like all Uber service, it is available via smartphone app, 24 hours a day. “I’m thrilled to […]

I now pronounce you man and machine

Yeah, no. Chris Sevier says he’s being denied his right to marry – his computer. The persistent Tennessee lawyer – who has carried his challenge to same-sex marriage to courthouses across the nation – has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Houston saying he and his 2011 MacBook were rejected for a marriage license […]

HPD rolls out its body cameras

The first wave has been deployed. The Houston Police Department handed out Thursday the first wave of 4,100 body cameras being distributed to all first-line officers over the next 12 to 18 months, initiating a new policy that will require officers to wear the cameras for all law-enforcement related activities. About 200 officers – those […]

Meet the toucan light

The first of its kind in Houston, though maybe not the last. The new traffic signal suspended above Appel at Yale and Seventh is a first for Texas, but also an adjustment for residents – some of whom are unsure of its benefit. Called a toucan, as in “two can go,” the signal gives pedestrians […]

Take transit to the game

If you can, you should. The transformation of downtown from a work place that empties after dark to a true community is finally underway in earnest, with residents, retail shops, and restaurants that remain open long after the lunch rush. The building boom is everywhere, and that includes the area around Minute Maid, which had […]

Fundraising for the next city election cycle has begun

Whether you realized it or not. Last year’s court ruling undoing Houston’s fundraising ban during non-election seasons means that the city’s contribution cycles reset immediately after last year’s general and runoff elections, according to the city, instead of in early spring. As a result, unless a candidate is retiring old campaign debt, money raised post-election […]

Criminal complaint filed over Uptown land acquisition

All righty then. A consultant who represents property owners in the Galleria area has filed a criminal complaint with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, alleging the Uptown Development Authority and related entities broke state open meetings and disclosure laws in relation to acquiring property for a dedicated bus lane project. The complaint, filed last […]

Have I mentioned lately that the revenue cap is stupid public policy?

Because it is. Sales taxes are Houston’s second-largest source of revenue for the general fund, which pays for most core services. Just as concerning for city officials, however, was more news about the city’s largest general fund revenue source: property taxes. Mayor Sylvester Turner, as he did in February, criticized what he said is an […]

Mayor Turner releases transition team report

From the inbox, a glimpse of what to expect in the near to medium future from Mayor Turner. Mayor Sylvester Turner has released a 17-page report that details the work of his transition team chaired by businessman and long-time civic advisor David Mincberg. More than 250 Houstonians from all walks of life participated. They have […]

Yale Street Bridge to be closed for construction

Three words: Find alternate routes. There’s about to be a lot of yelling about Yale Street, as the historic span makes way for a modern replacement. Crews will close the bridge carrying the road over White Oak bayou on April 18 to prepare for demolition. For the next 20 months, drivers in the area will […]

Lots of people took the train to the games

Nice. After handling more than a quarter-million rail trips over the four-day NCAA Final Four period, Metro is calling it a slam dunk. “These are numbers are fantastic for us,” spokesman Jerome Gray said. Metro said 255,700 rail boardings occurred from Friday until Monday. That’s roughly 87,000 more for the four days than the system […]

Strategizing for the next HERO fight

Good move. Stung by setbacks related to their access to public restrooms, transgender Americans are taking steps to play a more prominent and vocal role in a nationwide campaign to curtail discrimination against them. Two such initiatives are being launched this week — evidence of how transgender rights has supplanted same-sex marriage as the most […]

Final Four weekend was pretty good for Houston

We’ll take it. Beyond the basketball court, the Houston economy appears to be the big winner of the Final Four. Across the city, several restaurants, bars and hotels reported big boosts in customers and cash flow, as an estimated 70,000 out-of-town basketball fans arrived for the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Organizers say those fans could […]

Mayor Turner names new City Attorney

From the inbox: Mayor Sylvester Turner has announced his selection of Ronald C. Lewis as the new city attorney. Like the mayor, Lewis is Harvard educated and has run his own law firm. “I wanted a lawyer’s lawyer, someone highly respected who can relate well to me as well as City Council and the general […]

The Chron looks at Rodney Ellis

Not a very flattering look. Over the past 26 years, state Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, has voted to confirm gubernatorial appointments to the Lower Colorado River Authority, a powerful electric utility in Central Texas. During the same time, financial firms he either owned, worked for, or owned stock in have profited handsomely by helping underwrite […]

Reimagining public transportation is hard work

Noted for the record. Four years ago, Helsinki launched an innovative bus service as part of a long-term plan to make cars irrelevant. It was called Kutsuplus—Finnish for “call plus.” And it was one of the world’s first attempts to reinvent carpooling for the algorithm age. The service matched passengers who were headed roughly in […]

We Heart Houston…someplace else

A popular piece of public art is looking for a new location. It’s difficult not to smile while driving east on I-10 when passing the “We Heart Houston” sculpture near the Patterson St. exit in the Heights. Since 2013, the colorful, 20-foot-tall work has been a great sight for those with pride in Houston. However, […]

Yao Ming elected to Basketball Hall of Fame

Congratulations! Ground-breaking former Rockets center Yao Ming has been elected for inductions in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, a person with knowledge of the voting confirmed on Wednesday. Yao, the first player taken in the 2002 draft who became a bridge to the NBA’s successful outreach into China, was an All-NBA second-team selection twice […]

The Ashby legacy

What hath it wrought? The plot of land where developers promised the so-called Ashby high-rise would be built in an affluent neighborhood still sits empty. Yet the 1.6-acre lot at 1717 Bissonnet, which in 2007 sparked a battle that came to symbolize the impact of a lack of formal zoning in Houston, is still high […]

City wins first round of term limits ballot language lawsuit

It’s round one, of course, but it’s still a win. The ballot language Houston voters used to change term limits for elected officials was “inartful” but not “invalid,” a state district judge ruled Wednesday, a move that nonetheless left the plaintiffs claiming victory ahead of an expected appellate battle. […] Much of the debate before […]

Gilbert Garcia will be a tough act to follow at Metro

Let me bid an early and fond farewell to outgoing Metro Board Chair Gilbert Garcia. With only weeks to go as chairman of Metro, Gilbert Garcia bounds down the hallway to his transit agency office greeting workers, talking about how much he’ll miss the place. He’s not shy in expressing pride about what he’s leaving […]

The pros and cons of merging the crime labs

The calls to merge the city and county crime labs are back, but not everyone likes the idea. Merging Houston’s and Harris County’s crime labs, an idea that was rejected several years ago by the city’s mayor when forensic work was shifted from the police department to a new independent agency, is getting a fresh […]

The reverse Ashby

You have to admit, this is kind of clever. A Houston developer has filed a pre-emptive strike against the owners of a luxury high-rise near the Galleria to head off an “inevitable lawsuit” over its plans to build a tower next door. “We’re a little bit in shock,” said Karen Brown, president of the Cosmopolitan […]