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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council’

Renaming Dowling Street

The process has to change before the name can be changed. For years, Third Ward residents have had to roll with the changes in their community, often having to live with decisions made in the corridors of power at City Hall. That’s how East Broadway, the main road running through one of Houston’s historical African-American […]

Now let’s take on the revenue cap

With the pension issue settled, this can be the next big item on Mayor Turner’s to-do list. Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to ask city voters next fall to do away with a decade-old cap on city revenues, but for now he’s stuck with it. So City Council on Wednesday will consider cutting Houston’s property tax […]

The city cab app

Meet Arro. Houston’s fractured taxi market is headed toward a rare bit of unity, with a push by the city toward how people hail cabs in the 21st century. As the taxi and limo industry adjusts to new ways of doing business, under intense competition from firms like Uber, city officials plan to consolidate dispatching […]

More on the pension deal

The full version of the Chron story adds a lot of detail. Under the tentative deal, the funds would assume more realistic investment returns – 7 percent rather than 8 percent to 8.5 percent – and would recognize all recent market losses on their books at once. The city also would erase the plans’ underfunding […]

What do we want of a Fire Department study?

Whatever it is, this wasn’t it. A much-anticipated analysis of fire department operations essentially was dead on arrival Friday after it failed to identify cost savings and called for a multitude of investments, including three new fire stations. Mayor Sylvester Turner promised to conduct another review of the $500 million department to supplement the $297,000 […]

July finance reports for State Rep candidates

Hey, it’s July, and you know what that means: Campaign finance reports! There aren’t many State Rep races of interest this November, but there are four that I wanted to look at. HD134 Rep. Sarah Davis Ben Rose Name Raised Spent Loans On Hand ================================================ Davis 92,972 252,457 0 53,839 Rose 83,047 31,278 0 54,691 […]

Looking again for a new justice complex

Got to do something about this sooner or later. Mayor Sylvester Turner has formed a committee to study how to acquire a new police headquarters and courts complex for Houston. Former mayor Annise Parker spent more than two years studying how to replace the city’s aging “justice complex” but ultimately abandoned it without having found […]

Council approves proposed finance law changes

That was easy. City Council approved changes to Houston’s campaign finance law Wednesday with no discussion, effectively doubling contribution limits per general election cycle and boosting the amount many candidates can reimburse themselves for personal loans. The revisions, which go into effect Friday, are meant to clarify rules left unclear after the court struck down […]

Mayor proposes raising contribution limits

Not sure how I feel about this. Incumbents and wealthy candidates would get more of an advantage under proposed changes to Houston’s campaign finance law, which would effectively double contribution limits per general election cycle and allow many candidates who pour money into their own campaigns to recoup more of that cash. The modifications, reviewed […]

City bike plan finalized

Here it comes. Bicycling advocates – fresh off finalizing a plan for Houston’s bike future – face the challenge of getting formal city approval of their ideas as they incrementally piece together what could be a $500 million investment. Changing attitudes, however, have proponents optimistic that most if not all of the 1,800 miles of […]

On finding the next HPD Chief

I don’t know about this. Mayor Sylvester Turner has chosen to select Houston’s next police chief through a private executive search firm, taking the position that the applications and résumés of job candidates do not have to be made available through the Texas Public Information Act. The process stands in stark contrast to that used […]

My vision for Metro: Buses

I’ve said before that I would have some suggestions for new Metro Board Chair Carrin Patman and her team as they take their places. This post is where I start sharing those suggestions. The idea is to focus on proposals that I believe are doable in the current political and economic climate, in the short […]

Council unanimously passes Turner’s first budget

Good job. Mayor Sylvester Turner achieved his goal of securing unanimous passage of his first general fund budget Wednesday morning, a month ahead of the typical schedule and after an unusually brief and uncontentious discussion of council members’ proposed changes. The $2.3 billion general fund budget, which pays for most basic city services with revenues […]

Trash subsidy will not be trashed

From the inbox: After weighing the budgetary impact and obtaining input from City Council, Mayor Sylvester Turner has decided not to pursue elimination of subsidies to homeowners associations that opt out of City trash collection services. Under the program, which began in the 1970s, the City pays a monthly $6 per household subsidy to homeowners […]

What Council members think about the Uber threat

I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon this post from CM Michael Kubosh: Mayor Turner wants UBER to stay, but they must follow the city’s ordinance that requires a CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK and FINGERPRINTS. Council Member Michael Kubosh said that all public service drivers for buses, cabs, train, limos, shuttles and jitneys require the […]

Still seeking a downtown connection for the high speed rail line

I’m hoping one gets found. Texas Central Partners, the private firm proposing the Houston-to-Dallas line, briefed a city council committee Monday, telling officials they remain on track to break ground in late 2017. “That might slide into early 2018,” said Shaun McCabe, vice-president of Texas Central Railway. Any connection to downtown, which would likely require […]

More on the Uber ultimatum

Initial reaction is not terribly receptive. Ride-hailing giant Uber threatened Wednesday to stop operating in Houston unless city leaders amend local regulations the company said are making it tough for them to recruit drivers. The ultimatum, the latest skirmish in what has been a contentious relationship between Uber and the city since it started operating […]

Council approves body camera storage funds

Good. City Council voted Wednesday to spend $1 million to buy servers and other equipment to store video collected by city police officers equipped with body cameras. The vote, passed with relatively little fuss following months of sometimes-contentious public debate, marks the next step in the Houston Police Department’s ongoing effort to equip more than […]

Kill that trash subsidy

Works for me. Mayor Sylvester Turner, working to close a $160 million budget deficit, has proposed scrapping payments that scores of Houston neighborhoods served by private trash haulers receive to help offset the cost of their waste contracts. The idea when the program started in the 1970s was that residents should not have to pay […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Recycling officially re-upped

That new recycling agreement with Waste Management was on Council’s agenda yesterday. Here’s a reminder of what it was about. Originally, Houston was to ink a four-year deal with Waste Management, paying a $95-per-ton processing fee, a nearly 50 percent price hike. [Mayor] Turner, hoping the market would rebound quickly and strengthen the city’s negotiating […]

More speed bumps coming

Like ’em or not. Houston officials are speeding up the process of slowing down residential street traffic. A laborious process to improve traffic and safety by installing traffic calming devices such as speed humps is radically streamlined in a new method by the city’s public works department, unveiled Monday at a City Council committee meeting. […]

Now what for recycling?

Sure hope there’s a plan. Houston’s curbside recycling program is in limbo after Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council rejected a new contract with Waste Management on Wednesday, prompting concern among residents and environmental activists about a potential lapse in service. Such a lapse would come about a year after the city finally expanded its […]

Recycling contract impasse

Uh, oh. The city of Houston’s curbside recycling program could be put on hold after negotiations between Waste Management and Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office reached an apparent impasse over a new contract Tuesday. Though Turner said he remains committed to recycling and his office said he will be “pursuing any and all available options” before […]

RIP, One Bin For All

It had a good run, but at the very least the timing was all wrong. The One Bin For All program would let Houstonians throw all trash in the same bin, to be separated for recycling later. The hope was to push up Houston’s low recycling rate. But now the city could end up with […]

It’s hard out here on a recycler, part 4

It was a bad year last year. Recycling continues to hurt Waste Management’s bottom line, as low oil prices and low commodity prices have made that a challenging business for at least the past year. The Houston company on Thursday reported a decline in revenue and earnings for its fourth quarter and full year in […]

Questioning CM Le’s residency

This sort of thing is practically a tradition in District F. Houston City Councilman Steve Le last month became the fourth man to represent District F in the last seven years, and the third to face questions over whether he actually lives in the Alief-area district. Houston’s city charter requires district council members to have […]

Layoffs are coming

It’s gonna suck, though hopefully not as hard as last time. Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday that a still undetermined number of city employees will be laid off in the coming months, making his first formal acknowledgment that Houston’s projected $126 million budget gap can’t be closed by July without personnel reductions. Though Turner did […]

More questions about body cameras and video accessibility

Still sorting it all out. Months after statewide body camera legislation took effect and the Houston Police Department outlined its policies regarding the devices, local criminal justice watchdogs worry that some video from high-profile incidents may never see the light of day. At issue, they say, are provisions in the law that could stymie requests […]

HPD Chief McClelland to retire

From the inbox: Mayor Sylvester Turner today announced that he has accepted the retirement of Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland, effective February 26, 2016. McClelland was sworn in as a police officer in September 1977. He rose through the ranks at HPD and was sworn in by former Mayor Annise Parker as police chief on […]

Resign to run has kicked in for Council members

Another change that our new term limits law has wrought. Houston elected officials who become a candidate for another elected office are now automatically required to resign their current seat, uncharted territory for city officeholders who previously had not been subject to the so-called “resign-to-run” provision of the Texas Constitution. The requirement that has long […]