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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council’

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A look ahead to Houston’s 2017 elections

I want to return to something in that story about Mayor Turner’s 2017 agenda, which was near the bottom but which is a very big deal for the coming year: A lawsuit over the ballot language used last year to extend terms to a maximum of two four-year terms, from three two-year terms, hovers in […]

Council approves Uber deal

I’d forgotten about this. Uber will remain operating in Houston at least through the Super Bowl, after City Council approved changes to the city’s paid ride rules ironed out between the popular ride-hailing service and Mayor Sylvester Turner. Council members, after a sometimes contentious discussion on Wednesday, approved the revised city rules for taxis, so-called […]

Next B-Cycle expansion approved

Good. Expansion of Houston’s bike sharing system is pretty much in high gear after City Council on Wednesday signed off on a $4.1 million plan to roughly triple the number of bikes and kiosks. With the agreement in place, local B-Cycle operators can proceed with their plan to purchase 568 bikes and install 71 new […]

Acevedo and Pena confirmed by Council

They’re officially official now. City Council unanimously confirmed Art Acevedo and Samuel Peña as Houston’s new police and fire chiefs Wednesday, clearing the way for the mayoral appointees to take office. Acevedo, Austin’s former police chief, is poised to take the helm of the city’s police department Thursday, while El Paso Fire Chief Samuel Peña […]

Time once again to discuss Latino political participation

Let’s jump right in. The long wait continues for Houston and Harris County residents eager for a steep uptick in elected Latino representation. Hispanic residents last year were 42 percent of the county population, up from 23 percent in 1990, yet Houston has yet to elect a Latino mayor, and no at-large City Council members […]

Smoke-free Houston, ten years later

From the inbox: It’s been 50 years since the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health and the harmful consequences from the use of tobacco. 2016 marks the 10th year of the adoption of Ordinance No. 2006-1054 prohibiting indoor smoking in Houston public areas and places of employment. Individuals could no longer […]

Council ratifies Turner’s pension plan

From the inbox: On a 16-1 vote, Houston City Council has endorsed Mayor Sylvester Turner’s historic package of pension reforms. The vote clears the way for the City to move forward in partnership with the pension systems to seek legislative approval of the reforms. “I am bubbling over on the inside,” said Mayor Turner. “I […]

Pension deal approved by firefighters

It’s a big deal, though it’s hardly a done deal yet. For the first time ever, the Houston firefighters’ pension board agreed Monday to accept benefit cuts for current workers and retirees, potentially paving the way for a solution to a 15-year-old crisis that has threatened to bust budgets and weaken the city’s financial stability. […]

Council approves city cab-hailing app development

Here it comes. Houston residents soon will be able to hail a city cab via smartphone app, after City Council signed off on a plan Wednesday to consolidate dispatching in a single program. The Arro app, already operating in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, is expected to be fully operational in Houston by […]

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 […]