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Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Two election-related bills to watch

From the Texas Election Law Blog: For this legislative session, Representative Mike Lang has filed two bills to further a couple longstanding goals that have been planks in the Texas Republican Party’s party platform; namely (1) enforcing voter registration by party (see party plank 66), and (2) drastically cutting down on the frequency with which […]

January 2017 campaign finance reports: Houston officeholders

Normally, at this time I would be scanning through Houston candidate campaign finance reports, to see where incumbents stand at the start of the season. Of course, barring near-term court action there is no season for Houston municipal officeholders this year, and unlike past years they have been able to raise money during what had […]

Metro preps regional transit plan

This could be on our November ballot as well. A pending long-term regional transit plan, and likely voter referendum as early as November, will determine where Metro goes. More importantly, they will show what level of support people in the Houston region have for more buses, longer train routes and commuter service to increasingly urbanizing […]

Interview with Bill Kelly

You may have heard that the city of Houston has some legislative business to take care of this session. Most notably, the city wants to get a bill passed to implement its pension reform plans, which may or may not have been complicated by the news that a vote could be required for the city […]

Uptown lawsuit filed

I suppose we should have expected something like this. The city’s Uptown Development Authority and the economic development zone that feeds it were created in violation of the Texas Constitution, two critics allege in a lawsuit that seeks to void all resulting actions and block Uptown from collecting or spending another dime. The Galleria-area agency’s […]

The NBA is keeping an eye on SB6, too

I’d be shocked if they weren’t. While lauding the work of New Orleans to take on the NBA All-Star game after the league pulled its events from Charlotte because of House Bill 2, which limited anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people in the state, NBA commissioner Adam Silver did not sound eager to […]

We may be voting on pension obligation bonds

Oh, boy. A state lawmaker carrying Houston’s pension reform bill says her version of the proposal will require a public referendum on a $1 billion cash infusion central to the negotiations, an idea Mayor Sylvester Turner called a “poison pill” that could derail the reforms and force “massive” layoffs. The requirement that voters have a […]

Abbott shakes fist at NFL

Seriously? Gov. Greg Abbott is blasting the NFL for raising the prospect that Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill” could impact future events in the state — wading into a debate he has so far mostly steered clear of. “The NFL is walking on thin ice right here,” Abbott told conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. […]

Houston’s tourism business

People like to spend money here. In particular, people from Mexico like to spend money here. Mexicans are the largest group of international tourists who visit Houston – and recently, their numbers have grown. In 2015, Houston received 2.5 million international tourists, 1.8 million of whom came from Mexico. In 2016, the convention and visitors […]

Super Bowl or bathroom bill?

Choose one or the other. Texas’ next trip to the Super Bowl may hit a roadblock in Austin, where conservative lawmakers are pushing a bill to ban transgender people from the public bathrooms they feel most comfortable using. “If a proposal that is discriminatory or inconsistent with our values were to become law (in Texas), […]

ReBuild re-vote?

It could come to that, but it’s not clear to me that it has to. The funding scheme for ReBuild Houston, the city’s street and drainage repair initiative, remains in limbo after a state appeals court agreed Thursday that the 2010 charter referendum creating the program is void. The Texas 14th Court of Appeals ruling […]

We don’t need another vote on the Astrodome

Not for this we don’t, anyway. Less than five months ago, the future of the Astrodome seemed to be more secure than it has been in the decades since it hosted its last Astros game, with Harris County commissioners moving forward on a massive renovation project they said would usher in festivals, conferences and commercial […]

Recapture re-vote will happen

Mark your calendars for May 6. On Thursday, the board voted 5-3, with one abstention, to put another referendum on recapture on the May 6 ballot. Placing a second referendum on the May ballot will cost the district $800,000, according to an HISD spokesman Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones, who campaigned in favor of not paying recapture […]

Your Super Bowl AirBnB dream probably did not come true

Alas. Vacation rental websites like Airbnb and Home Away still have pages of listings available for this weekend. Many are asking well over $1,000 per night for, in some cases, run-of-the-mill two-bedroom apartments. Data from Airbnb Thursday show the typical price of booked listings in Houston for the Super Bowl is $150 per night. Listings […]

HISD Board to discuss recapture re-vote today

We should find out today if a re-vote on recapture is in our future. At their monthly meeting Thursday, trustees for the Houston Independent School Board will consider putting recapture back on the ballot. […] In November, HISD voters rejected the traditional way to send a check to the state. Now HISD must pay with […]

Nancy Drew – I mean, Dan Patrick – and the case of the missing jersey

Seriously? Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked the Texas Rangers and Houston Police Department to team up in finding New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s football jersey, which was stolen Sunday night after the Super Bowl, according to an emailed news release. “In Texas we place a very high value on hospitality and football,” Patrick wrote. […]

Another point about Metro and marketing

Metro receives a good report in its quadrennial audit, and also a good suggestion. The public perception of vagrancy, loitering and even crime remains a challenge for Houston transit officials that has made its way into Metro’s new performance audit. The audit, which Metropolitan Transit Authority’s board accepted Wednesday- a largely perfunctory approval – gave […]

More about the hack of the Astros

Fascinating stuff. A federal judge has unsealed details about former St. Louis Cardinals executive Chris Correa’s hacking of the Astros’ email and player evaluation databases, clearing the way for Major League Baseball to impose sanctions against the Cardinals as soon as this week. Three documents entered into court records but made public by U.S. District […]

Look for the helpers

They’re at the airports now. Luis Ruiz, an immigration attorney with his own practice, set up shop early Sunday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. He’d seen news of attorneys around the country flocking to airports to help people detained under the terms of the executive order President Donald Trump issued Friday, and he figured duty called. […]

Welcome to Houston, y’all

Lots of visitors in town this week. Our goal is for them to leave with a positive impression. With the city’s third Super Bowl a week away, Houston appears ready for its close- up. The national press has taken turns lauding America’s fourth-largest city as a burgeoning 21st century cosmopolis. No longer is Houston dismissed […]

Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi

This is who the now-injuncted executive order suspending refugee resettlement and immigration visas from certain countries was supposed to “protect” us from. The lawyers said that one of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq […]

Astrodome gains antiquities status

Nice. The aging behemoth billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World has joined the revered ranks of the Alamo and State Capitol as an honored historical site. Just days before a crowd of more than 70,000 files past for Super Bowl LI in neighboring NRG Stadium, the long-vacant Astrodome has won the coveted designation […]

Sheriff Hernandez not backing down

Good for her. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez indicated Thursday she is not backing away from her recently introduced “sanctuary” policy. Her comments came a day after Gov. Greg Abbott proposed the removal of Hernandez, who announced Friday she would reduce her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged […]

More flood mitigation coming

This is ambitious. After local leaders stood on the banks of Brays Bayou to celebrate a creative agreement that is expected to speed up work on a long-delayed effort to lessen the risk of flooding in southwest Houston, some angry Meyerland-area flood victims peppered them with questions. The press conference was called to tout a […]

Yale Street Bridge reopens

Woo hoo! Heights area residents woke up Tuesday to a bright sunny day in more ways than one, finding that crews had opened the new Yale Bridge spanning White Oak Bayou. The opening late Monday is roughly 10 months ahead of the original schedule laid out by Texas Department of Transportation officials when the old […]

Ready for driverless cars, Houston?

Well, they’re coming, ready or not. Researchers, business leaders and elected officials are about to turn Texas into the biggest laboratory for connected cars in the nation, with the likeliest place to spot a self-driving car in Houston along the high occupancy vehicle and toll lanes along some of the region’s busiest freeways. Officials are […]

Now is the time to rent out your house

If it was your plan to do that, anyway. The teams playing in next month’s Super Bowl [are now set] and the final rush for last-minute lodging will be in full swing. That also means more house and apartment rentals will hit websites like Airbnb, VRBO and Austin-based HomeAway, which says demand for Houston-area vacation […]

Marching

In Austin. Up to 50,000 activists swarmed the Capitol grounds on Saturday to fight for women’s rights on the heels of Trump’s inauguration. The high-spirited crowd joined more than a million protesters nationwide. The Austin march was so large that the front of the rally, which left from the Capitol and traveled down Congress Avenue, […]

Be careful what you flush

Yeesh. Grease blockages are the main cause of Houston’s epidemic of sewer overflows, a problem so widespread that it has drawn the city into negotiations with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The multibillion-dollar enforcement action that could result – likely increasing residents’ water bills – would be aimed at limiting raw sewage spills by replacing […]

State Supreme Court will take up same sex marriage appeal

Somehow, this wasn’t the worst thing that happened yesterday. After pressure from Texas GOP leadership, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court on Friday reversed course and agreed to take up a same-sex marriage case. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, the state’s highest civil court will reconsider a Houston case challenging […]

“Nixon in China” returns to HGO

This is very cool. It’s been three decades since the Houston Grand Opera presented John Adams’ “Nixon in China,” the company’s beloved world premiere that changed not only how modern political operas were viewed but signified an audacious move by HGO to put its stamp on the operatic world. 6 This Friday, “Nixon” returns to […]

The Super Bowl economic impact calculators have figured out it’s all a game

They’ve adjusted their methods in anticipation of your criticisms. With less than a month to go before the big day, let no one say that Super Bowl LI — as an economic event, not a football game — has been inadequately forecast. We’ve already seen two studies on the financial boost that the two-week extravaganza is expected […]

Sung and Vilaseca sworn in at HISD

The HISD Board is back at full strength. As Anne Sung and Holly Flynn Vilaseca took their oaths of office and became Houston ISD’s newest Board of Education trustees on Thursday, their husbands swaddled their months-old babies in one hand and held holy books in the other. Sung’s 11-month-old daughter, Sarita, and Flynn Vilaseca’s 13-month-old, […]

Who wants to rent their house out to Super Bowl visitors?

I don’t, but some people hope to make a lot of money renting theirs. With the Super Bowl heading to Houston next month, locals are starting to see dollar signs as well, hoping to cash in on visitors’ willingness to pay thousands to rent their homes or apartments during the biggest football game of the […]