Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Posts Tagged ‘Houston’

Get ready for lots of road construction

Because a lot of money is fixing to be spent on it. A sweeping revision of state highway plans adds nearly $9 billion in new funds for improving Texas roadways, including a $1.32 billion infusion in the Houston area for a major overhaul of Interstate 45 and nine other projects. Projects along Texas 36 in […]

The Rodeo and the immigrants

Interesting story about who’s working the carnival midway. Why, you might wonder, is a South African working at the Houston rodeo’s midway? “The American workforce is not interested in this kind of work,” said Chris Lopez, vice president of carnival provider Ray Cammack Shows (RCS). “We couldn’t do it without these folks.” Condon is one […]

Reintroducing recapture

The tune has changed, and it’s time we make sure everyone knows it. It felt like déjà vu to many of the 150 people who packed into Tinsley Elementary School’s auditorium Wednesday evening. Facing another controversial Houston ISD school finance referendum, speakers debated two unfavorable options, both of which will cost the school district millions […]

Busy day in the Senate

They got stuff done, I’ll give them that. Whether it was stuff worth doing or not, I’ll leave to you. 1. Senate bill would let Houston voters weigh in on fix to pension crisis. The Senate on Wednesday voted 21-10 to give preliminary approval of a bill that would require voters to sign off before […]

Metro still fixing rail car issues

Someday this will all be over. Houston’s light rail system is fully open, but closing out a complicated rail car purchase that nearly derailed the new lines remains a challenge for transit officials. Metropolitan Transit Authority officials continue withholding $12.9 million from CAF U.S.A. – the builder of the vehicles – as they debate the […]

House hearing for pension bill

Another step in the process. Houston’s pension reform plan got its first hearing Monday in the state House, where rows and rows of current and retired firefighters appeared to voice opposition to the plan. Municipal and police leaders testified in support, however, as did representatives of the Greater Houston Partnership and, of course, Mayor Sylvester […]

Two for HISD V

In the past week or so, I have become aware of two candidates for HISD Board of Trustees, District V, which is the seat that is now held by Trustee Mike Lunceford but will be open in November as Lunceford will be stepping down at the end of his term. Both of them are Democrats. […]

Major League Rugby in Houston

Meet the Houston Strikers. A group of rugby supporters are kicking around plans to build a rugby stadium in the area. The ownership group behind the new Major League Rugby franchise the Houston Strikers is finalizing plans to develop a plot of land adjacent to the Houston Sports Park along TX-288 and south of Mowery […]

Let’s use mutant mosquitoes to fight Zika

What could possibly go wrong? The Bayou City’s teeming mosquito population spawns in dark, wet nooks and carries a slew of deadly tropical diseases that could ravage the region. So Houston is pondering a sneak attack, something akin to a Trojan Horse. Harris County officials are negotiating with a British biotech company, Oxitec, to create […]

Bike plan finally gets approved

Long time coming. Houston has a bike plan. Though there’s no clear plan to pay for it and ongoing concerns with exactly where the planned trails and lanes will be located, City Council approved the bike plan on Wednesday morning. Council members Mike Knox, Steve Le, Michael Kubosh and Greg Travis voted against the plan, […]

Millennials for office

I have four things to say about this. These days, Kylie Mugleston spends a lot of time on street corners, piquing drivers’ curiosity with a sign that says “Talk to Your Future Politician.” The 19-year-old is heading a political campaign in her hometown of Vidor, northeast of Beaumont. A young independent in a mostly conservative […]

Tom Brady’s jersey recovered

Our long national nightmare is finally over. On Monday morning, the NFL and Houston’s police chief reported [Tom Brady’s Super Bowl] jersey was located and will be returned to the Patriots. Investigators with the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division traced the jersey to Mexico, Chief Art Acevedo tweeted Monday morning, adding that it was […]

TOP responds to Chron story on Mayor Turner

Via the inbox, we come full circle: The following is a statement by Tarsha Jackson, Harris County director of the Texas Organizing Project, in reaction to the article “Progressives fret over Turner’s focus”: “Far from fretting over Mayor Sylvester Turner’s focus, I am energized that the mayor of the third-largest city in America is committed […]

The updated bill for recapture and detachment

Here are the numbers as we now face them. Houston ISD voters will face a choice of either paying the state’s $77.5 million recapture fee, or risk losing $98.4 million in tax revenue over the next fiscal year, according to new dollar figures given to trustees. Those were the options presented to HISD trustees Thursday […]

Bike plan vote delayed

What’s another two weeks? Houston’s long-term plan for improving bicycle routes around town will wait a couple more weeks after a handful of elected officials voiced various concerns. City Council members Greg Travis, Michael Kubosh, Steve Le, Mike Knox and Dave Martin tagged the proposed Houston Bike Plan on Wednesday morning, delaying its approval for […]

The long-term future of public transit

By “long-term” I mean by 2050 or so. For an agency that’s spent decades guiding freeway expansion, it was a stark admission for members of the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s transportation policy council. “Future growth and the resulting travel is expected to surpass our ability to meet regional mobility needs by relying solely on increased roadway […]

Get ready for more I-45 chaos

Lord have mercy on our souls. Relieving one of Houston’s worst bottlenecks will come with some lengthy complications for northbound drivers on Interstate 45 headed into Houston’s central business district, starting Friday night. After years of delay, work is starting on a modification to Spur 5, the ramp that connects northbound I-45 traffic to downtown […]

No one ever said pension reform was going to be easy

The firefighters’ pension fund isn’t happy with the way things are going. The plan to reform the City of Houston’s pension system is running into opposition from the Houston Firefighters’ Relief and Retirement Fund (HFRRF). In a recent letter sent to its members, the HFRRF criticized Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for ending the negotiations on […]

Supreme Court hears ridiculous same-sex marriage appeal

Was this trip really necessary? Same-sex couples are entitled to the same treatment as opposite-sex couples, a lawyer for the city of Houston argued before the Texas Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. As part of Texas Republicans’ ongoing fight against same-sex marriage, justices of the […]

State Supreme Court hears same sex marriage appeal today

Gird your loins. Almost two years after same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, Texas Republicans are still fighting the ruling — and they’re getting another day in court. The Texas Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a Houston case challenging the city’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. Though such policies […]

TxDOT accelerates I-45 construction timeline

Gird your loins. For many long-suffering Houston drivers, a solution to the infuriating bottleneck on Interstate 45 through downtown is likely something they thought they wouldn’t live to see. More than a decade ago, a plan pitched to solve the problem – moving the interstate to the east side of downtown and demolishing the Pierce […]

Some dude opposes pension reform

Presenting this in a slightly redacted form. [Some dude] has joined friend and ally Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, in rallying opposition to [Mayor Sylvester] Turner’s [pension reform] proposal among conservatives. He has attended at least three dozen forums on the topic, by his count, and has been running social media ads touting his views on […]

The Trib and the DMN on the train

The Texas Tribune and the Dallas Morning News are teaming up on a deep dive into the Texas Central Railway’s high-speed rail proposal. This story, the third in their set, explains where the money to build this thing may come from. But, really, how does a private company go about lining up the billions of […]

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 […]