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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council’

Interview with Jim Bigham

District J is a geometrically compact district with a high population density, carved mainly from the former District F and anchored in the Sharpstown area. It is in Sharpstown that we meet Jim Bigham, who is challenging two-term incumbent CM Mike Laster. Bigham is an Army veteran and business operations manager who has been active […]

Judge rules Wilson petitions must be counted

Thanks, Supreme Court. Thanks a hell of a lot. City of Houston officials must count the signatures on a petition filed by anti-gay activist Dave Wilson, who is seeking a vote to amend the city charter and bar men “who perceive or express themselves as women” from entering women’s restrooms, a judge ruled Tuesday. State […]

Interview with CM Mike Laster

In addition to the two open District Council seats, there are several District Council members who have drawn opponents for November. I am going to focus on two of these races, with the first one being District J this week. Council Member Mike Laster has represented District J since its creation in 2011. An attorney […]

Revisiting the historic preservation ordinance

This sort of thing is always fun. Houstonians who live in historic districts, including the Old Sixth Ward, the Heights and the High First Ward, weighed in this week on proposed updates to the city’s rules that create areas preserved from most demolition and new construction, agreeing with some proposed changes, pointing out loopholes for […]

Supreme Court rules HERO must be repealed or voted on

Ugh. The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Houston City Council must repeal the city’s equal rights ordinance or place it on the November ballot. The ruling comes three months after a state district judge ruled that opponents of Houston’s contentious non-discrimination ordinance passed last year failed to gather enough valid signatures to force a […]

Interview with Greg Travis

We come now to our second and final interview in District G. There are only two candidates for this open seat, which is a lot fewer than you might normally expect. It’s quality that matters more than quantity, of course, and both contenders here are well qualified. Today’s interview subject is Greg Travis. Travis is […]

Interview with Sandie Mullins Moger

We move on now to the other open district seat, which is District G, currently held by CM Oliver Pennington. G is a Republican district stretching out to the west, just south of I-10, encompassing the Energy Corridor, the Galleria, and Memorial Park inside the Loop. There are two candidates running, and I have interviews […]

Interview with Jason Cisneroz

We come to the last of the interviews I did in District H, where current Council Member Ed Gonzalez is termed out. Today’s candidate, Jason Cisneroz, is a former staffer for CM Gonzalez, and for CM Adrian Garcia before him. A resident of the Near Northside, Cisneroz is a veteran, having served in Operation Enduring […]

Finance reports come trickling in

As always, the Mayoral reports lead the story. Former Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia closed out the first half of the year with more than $1.3 million in the bank, eclipsing City Councilman Stephen Costello by a mere $7,423. According to their campaign finance reports, Garcia raised $1.5 million and spent just over $122,000, while […]

Interview with Karla Cisneros

We continue with candidates in District H, where incumbent Council Member Ed Gonzalez is term limited. Today’s interview is with another Heights neighbor of mine, Karla Cisneros. Cisneros is a longtime educator and education activist, having served six years on the HISD Board of Trustees, including a stint as Board President. She was a teacher […]

Parker wants a vote on lifting the revenue cap

So do I. Mayor Annise Parker plans to press City Council this month to reconsider loosening a decade-old revenue cap for public safety spending as talk of a looming budget deficit and possible service cuts grows more ominous around the dais. The cap limits the growth in city revenues to the combined rates of inflation […]

Interview with Roland Chavez

And so we begin another campaign candidate interview season. I will be talking to candidates in various contested races on the ballot here this fall and presenting those interviews to you over the next three months. (Yes, it takes that long. Lots of races, lots of candidates.) I make no claim or promise to talk […]

There are too many questions that need to be answered before we can talk about expanding HPD

Chief McClelland is going to have to start answering them if he wants support for increasing HPD’s budget. Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland last year asked City Council for $105 million over five years to hire hundreds of new officers, a request that came on the heels of a report that showed his department leaves […]

On regulating city lobbyists

Still a work in progress, it would seem. Four years after Mayor Annise Parker’s administration tightened Houston’s lobbying rules and pledged to enforce them, not a single person or firm has been cited despite records showing that many lobbyists have failed to abide by the regulations. A Houston Chronicle review of city records and interviews […]

Election 2015 page is up

If you look at the top of my homepage, you will see a tab up in the top right for my Election 2015 tracker. It’s a listing of all the candidates that were known to me at the time I put this together, with webpages and January campaign finance reports as I could find them. […]

From the “Who not to vote for” files, part 1

The embedded image is a scan of a mailer we got about two weeks ago. Abel Davila is a former HCC Trustee; his wife Diana, whom I had originally heard was interested in running for District H, is a former HISD Trustee. That makes him a credible candidate, but it doesn’t make him a good […]

Fighting illegal dumping

Illegal dumping of trash is a huge problem in some Houston neighborhoods. Enforcement is especially tricky because unless you catch someone in the act, there’s little to no evidence to go on. One way to help catch dumpers in the act is with cameras at locations where dumping frequently occurs. Council Member Jerry Davis has […]

Mayor Parker’s last budget

Here it is. Despite sounding the alarm for months that a multimillion dollar deficit could force service cuts, new fees and employee layoffs, Mayor Annise Parker rolled out a $5.1 billion city budget on Tuesday that largely preserves spending levels by drawing on one-time funding sources and higher-than-expected revenues to plug the gap. Parker warned […]

Who you calling lame duck?

“Not me”, says Mayor Parker. City Council has voted down or delayed several items put forward by Mayor Annise Parker in recent weeks, events that some City Hall observers interpret as a sign of the term-limited mayor being afflicted with lame-duck syndrome as the race to succeed her heats up. Parker and her allies dismiss […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Changing pothole procedures

Mayor Parker seeks to reduce the number of campaign issues for this fall by half. City officials are hoping to replace more concrete segments of streets in lieu of simply patching over Houston’s many potholes, part of an emergency response that Mayor Annise Parker called for earlier this year when she branded the onslaught of […]

Fixing sidewalks

I like this. Houston’s leaders often decry the condition of city sidewalks, whether missing, overgrown or buckled by tree roots. Then there’s the safety risks when pedestrians are forced to walk on the crumbling concrete or adjacent streets. But the city is unwilling to assume responsibility for all sidewalks in Houston – or foot the […]

Pothole progress

Hooray. Two months after Mayor Annise Parker called Houston’s pockmarked streets a “crisis situation” and pledged to clear a mounting pothole repair backlog, the city has reduced open work requests by about 1,000 despite a steep increase in calls for repairs. The welcome news for Houston drivers tired of dodging pesky potholes is tempered by […]

Robinson resigns from HCC Board

Yeah, it’s campaign season. Carroll Robinson, who has served as a Houston Community College trustee since 2012, will leave the college board to focus on his run for city controller, he announced Friday. In a letter announcing his resignation, Robinson counted among his accomplishments helping with the creation of a sixth-grade pre-admission program, pushing to […]

Council approves Memorial Park plan

Done deal. The plan, which could see up to $300 million invested, also would restore the park’s ecosystem, which was greatly harmed in the 2011 drought, through ambitious plans to add fire suppression and irrigation systems and improve drainage to end serious erosion problems in parts of the park. The plan was developed through months […]

What kind of Memorial Park do you want?

Council is set to vote on the Memorial Park Conservancy plan, whether you like it or not. Joe Turner does not want more drawings gathering dust on a shelf. Houston’s parks and recreation director inherited more than a few unrealized master plans when he was hired 10 years ago. Now he’s shepherding the most complex […]

Two challengers emerge in At Large #5

After Jan Clark bowed out in At Large #5, incumbent CM Jack Christie was left with no opponents after he announced his intent to run for re-election. That lasted until yesterday. Early in the morning, this email hit my inbox. Philippe Nassif is proud to announce his candidacy for Houston City Council At-Large Position 5. […]

Alvarado’s term limits bill

From the inbox: State Representative Carol Alvarado has filed HB 2917 that, if passed by the Legislature and approved by voters, would change the city’s term limit structure to two four-year terms for the mayor, city controller and councilmembers. “The city’s current structure of three two-year terms restricts an elected official’s ability to truly dive […]

Police officers’ pension fund speaks up

The firefighters’ pension fund is the one that gets all the attention, but it’s not the only one the city is responsible for. The Houston Police Officers Pension System (HPOPS) has sent a letter to the city reminding it that they have a deal that restricts what the city can request from the Legislature. Police […]

Christie will not run for Mayor

From the inbox: Jack Christie announced this morning that he will run for a third term as the At-Large Five Member of Houston City Council. Christie stated, “Numerous people asked me to run for Mayor, which was incredibly flattering, but after careful consideration, I have decided to run for re-election. There are several great people […]

How many candidates are too many?

The Rivard Report brings up a point I hadn’t considered before. Candidates or their representatives arrived at City Council chambers Monday morning to draw lots to determine the order of name placement on the ballot. As candidates waited in the audience, the room seemed to be filled with equal parts anticipation and dread. It doesn’t […]

At Large comings and goings

Meet Atlas Kerr, who will be running in At Large #3 against CM Michael Kubosh. I am an accounting and finance double major at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. I have in-depth knowledge over capital budgeting, debt/bond valuation, and capital asset price modeling. I am a registered volunteer instructor at the Women’s […]

Overpass groundbreaking

Progress. After years of conflict among community members and leaders, construction of Metro’s new Harrisburg overpass is officially underway in Houston’s East End. “It’s not just a bridge; it’s going to be a landmark in the city,” Metropolitan Transit Authority board member Diann Lewter said at a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday. […] City Council member Robert […]

Council’s pension meeting

It was about what you’d expect. Many City Council members who attended a special meeting Friday to discuss Mayor Annise Parker’s controversial deal with the city’s firefighters pension called the gathering a success, despite two members walking out and breaking a quorum before a vote could be held to support or oppose the agreement. The […]