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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Two city race updates

Item one: We have another candidate for Comptroller. Jew Don Boney, who sat on City Council for three terms in the 1990′s, will run for City Controller, he told the Chronicle Wednesday. Boney joins Houston Community College trustee Carroll Robinson and 2013 candidate Bill Frazer in the race for the city’s top financial officer. Two […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Quality of life and other issues

Preliminaries Transportation Public safety A few quick hits on topics that didn’t fit elsewhere. Making Houston affordable again Remember when Houston was an inexpensive place to live? If you haven’t been here at least a decade – more like two decades, for some neighborhoods – you probably don’t. The transformation of so many parts of […]

HERO repeal petition trial wraps up

There actually wasn’t all that much testimony in the HERO repeal petition trial. On Tuesday, former City Attorney David Feldman took his turn on the stand. City Secretary Anna Russell originally found enough valid signatures but did not verify the way each page was certified. When Feldman examined the pages himself, he testified, problems were […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Public safety

Preliminaries Transportation When I first started thinking about this series a couple of months ago, this section was all going to be about the budget. We’ve covered this ground before – public safety is about 65% of the total city budget, yet it’s always “off limits” for consideration when there are shortfalls. It’s always the […]

Now what do we do with those body cameras?

KPRC addresses an important question. HPD has been running a pilot program regarding body cameras for more than a year. 100 officers are currently wearing a body camera. The department has yet to finalize a policy on the use of these cameras and the retention of video. As it stands now, each officer is responsible […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: Transportation

Preliminaries Please note that I have called this part of my manifesto “Transportation” and not “Traffic”. I agree that traffic sucks and that the Mayoral candidates ought to have some ideas for how to deal with it. It’s my opinion that the best answers involve providing as many viable alternatives to getting into the car […]

Mayor Parker testifies at HERO repeal petition trial

Monday was Mayor Parker’s turn to take the stand at the trial over the validity of the HERO repeal petitions. You’d think this would be a momentous occasion of high drama, but since this whole thing is about technicalities and not about the merits of the ordinance, it was a lot less exciting than it […]

2015 Mayoral manifesto: The preliminaries

As you may have heard, we are electing a new Mayor this year. There’s already a large field of candidates in the race, and it is likely to grow before all is said and done. Each will have his own ideas about what Houston’s top priorities are and how he would address them (I’m using […]

On the seasonal return of term limits modification

Here’s a fuller version of that earlier story about Council moving forward with a modified term limits proposal. You can almost set your watch by it. Mayor Annise Parker is in her third and final term, which means it is time for the cycle that has repeated roughly every six years since voters imposed term […]

Two more for At Large #4

We know that At Large #1, one of two open At Large seats for this year, has already drawn a crowd. Now the other open seat, At Large #4, is drawing one as well. Laurie Robinson, Amanda Edwards and Larry Blackmon will all run for the at-large city council seat to be vacated by C.O. […]

There’s more than one player in the Texas high speed rail game

Cool. A company that operates France’s national high-speed rail network is exploring possible involvement in Texas bullet trains. “We’re here to listen, learn and evaluate,” Alain Leray, president and chief executive of SNCF America Inc., said Monday during a visit to downtown Fort Worth. Leray and a colleague with SNCF, France’s state-owned railway company, attended […]

First test for flex zones

This is worth watching. Though many Acres Homes dwellings and shops are in disrepair, a community still thrives here. Churches and some well-kept homes anchor corners and dot small, residential streets, all of which dead-end or loop back to Sweetwater. Bus service in Acres Homes has been lackluster for years, some riders said, and the […]

Small fix, big (we hope) effect

This would be nice. Take the entrance ramp from Allen Parkway to southbound Interstate 45. Everyone from drivers to transportation officials knows it is a problem. “At this location there are entrance ramps from both Memorial Drive and from Allen Parkway which merge onto the freeway on the right and left sides, respectively, at the […]

Supreme Court to hear Renew Houston lawsuit

Jeez, I’d forgotten this was still a thing. In a lawsuit filed after the election, three Houston property owners allege the ballot language was misleading. “You would have thought if you voted for this thing that it was a one-time, one-year tax,” said Andy Taylor, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, “when in fact […]

Term limits change approved by Council committee

One step closer to the ballot. Most council members are in favor of changing term limits from three two-year terms to two four-year terms. They will refer their recommendation to the mayor, who will then put it up for a vote during a regular council meeting. “If in fact the full council supports it, it […]

Uptown BRT lurches forward

One staggering step at a time. After some uncertainty, fears about rail development in Uptown appear less likely to delay a planned express bus project along Post Oak. Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board meets Thursday morning, and is scheduled to discuss progress on the Uptown plan. The addition to their regularly scheduled meeting comes after a […]

From industrial to residential

More changes coming to my neck of the woods. Some of the old warehouses lining a stretch of Sawyer Street across Interstate 10 from the Heights are being primed for new development, as this First Ward area continues to morph from industrial hub to an upscale artsy neighborhood. Houston-based Lovett Commercial is transforming a 1950s […]

The games our tax system plays

I find this just fascinating. It’s been described as bribery, taxation without representation and a shady political maneuver. Others have called it an innovative way to deal with budgetary problems and get things done. Ever since Texas lawmakers made it more difficult for cities to absorb suburbs into their boundaries 15 years ago, Houston has […]

Appeals court reverses ruling about pension retiree information

So much for that. A state district court’s 2013 ruling that Houston’s fire pension board must turn over detailed information on its retirees to help city officials better project future pension bills has been overturned on appeal. Justices with the 1st Court of Appeals issued the opinion Tuesday, arguing that, in essence, state law protects […]

Front and center with the fraud allegations

The city goes on offense as it defends the equal rights ordinance at the repeal petition trial. In his opening argument in court Tuesday, Alex Kaplan, an attorney for the city, said the petition is “full of problems.” “It is precisely these kinds of cases where there are high public passions where the rules must […]

January campaign finance reports – HCC Trustees

There are nine trustees on the HCC board. With them serving six-year terms, in a normal year three trustees are up for re-election; 2013 was an abnormal year, with two extra races to fill out unexpired terms. We are back to normal this time, so we have three races. As with HISD, at this time […]

From the “Good problems to have” department

Metro will have a few million dollars left over when it is done building the remaining light rail lines. After more than three years of construction, Metro officials estimate $39.9 million of the $900 million awarded by the Federal Transit Administration is left over and unlikely to be spent as work wraps up. Contingencies for […]

HISD considers a different kind of redistricting

It would likely be just as contentious as the usual kind. Houston school officials may rezone students from roughly two dozen elementary schools over the next few years in an effort to meet the state’s class size limits. District officials presented a proposal to the school board Thursday morning. It would be the largest redrawing […]

The situation in Plano is complicated

I had not realized this. The nation’s largest LGBT political advocacy group indicated this week it is unlikely to help defend a nondiscrimination ordinance in Plano due to exemptions affecting the transgender community. The announcement from the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign could amount to a costly setback for supporters of the ordinance, as the […]

It’s going to be a long trial

Settle in and get comfortable, the HERO repeal petition trial is going to take some time. Ultimately, though, the trial is expected to be tedious and technical. So much so, that even after the city lost a significant motion two weeks ago to send the trial before a judge rather than a jury, Parker focused […]

Chris Oliver joins the At Large #1 crowd

From the inbox: Houston Community College Trustee Chris Oliver has announced his candidacy for the open Houston City Council, At-Large Position 1 seat to be filled this November. Chris brings years of experience as a businessman, legislative advocate, and Houston Community College Trustee for District IX to his campaign for Houston City Council. “It’s exciting,” […]

January campaign finance reports – HISD trustees

Four HISD Trustees are up for re-election this year. There are nine Trustees in all, and they serve four-year terms, so in a normal year either four or five are up for re-election. As things stand right now, all four incumbents would be running for re-election, which would be the first time there would be […]

Don’t look for a meet-and-confer bill in the Lege this year

Buried in this story about the city and the county preparing to play defense during the legislative session is this update on the state of relations between the city and the firefighters. In her first two sessions, Houston Mayor Annise Parker failed to gain traction with legislation that would grant the city meet-and-confer powers that […]

By the way, Dave Wilson also hates transgender people

I mean, no surprise, right? What’s more, he puts his money where his mouth is. Now, anti-LGBT activist Dave Wilson is circulating another petition that would place a charter amendment on the ballot to repeal trans protections in both HERO and Mayor Annise Parker’s 2012 executive order covering city employees. Wilson, of Houstonians For Family […]

Robinson Warehouse, eight years after

From the Free Press Houston Worst of 2014: WORST WASTE OF SPACE: CORNER OF ALLEN PARKWAY AND MONTROSE In 2006, The Aga Khan Foundation purchased the massive swath of land at the Southeast corner of Allen Parkway and Montrose. This sprawling piece of property is centrally located, is adjacent to some of Houston’s most beautiful […]

Bell makes his announcement tomorrow

Making official what we had long known. Former Democratic congressman Chris Bell will announce his mayoral bid this Sunday afternoon in Sam Houston Park, becoming the first candidate in a crowded field to officially kick off a run to lead City Hall. […] In recent weeks, Bell has hired finance and policy staff, and he […]

Meet your Harrisburg overpass

Looks nice enough. Going to be painful getting to the finished product, though. Metropolitan Transit Authority board members are set to approve a $30.66 million construction contract on the half-mile overpass next week. The overpass is needed to complete the Green Line rail along Harrisburg to the Magnolia Park Transit Center, near Gus Wortham Golf […]

January campaign finance reports – San Antonio

As we know, while we wait for the Mayoral field to shape up here in Houston, there’s already a hot open-seat race going on in San Antonio, featuring now-former State Rep. Mike Villarreal, State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte (who has submitted a letter of resignation but is staying on until her successor is sworn […]

Garcia appears to be in for Mayor

Not official yet, but stories like this don’t get run without justification. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia is sending every possible message that he intends to run for mayor this year, aggressively increasing his political operations and signaling to some of his closest advisers and fiercest backers that a campaign may be imminent. Garcia, under […]