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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council’

Houston’s payday lending ordinance is now in place

Part of me hopes that there’s a lot of complaints, and part of me hopes there’s very few. Houston’s stringent new rules on payday and auto title lenders took effect Tuesday, reviving industry complaints that it would drive companies out of business, or at least out of the city, but giving borrowers a clearer path […]

Back to the drawing board for the city and the firefighters’ union

Don’t expect much at this point. Negotiators for the city of Houston and its firefighters union will return to the bargaining table to discuss a new labor contract weeks after union members soundly defeated the last proposed deal, Mayor Annise Parker announced Wednesday. The mayor and Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 president Bryan […]

Get ready to defend the HERO

From the inbox: Surrounded by members of the community who are impacted by the ordinance, Mayor Annise Parker announced today that the City will mount a vigorous effort to defend Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance from being repealed. “The Houston I know does not discriminate, treats everyone equally and allows full participation by everyone in civic […]

Uber is working hard to make itself unlikeable

It’s almost as if it’s a deliberate part of their business plan. “We’re in a political campaign, and the candidate is Uber, and the opponent is an asshole named Taxi,” Travis Kalanick, the CEO of ride-sharing company Uber, said while on stage at a conference in late May. “Nobody likes him, he’s not a nice […]

One less food desert

From the inbox: With high hopes of more to come, Mayor Annise Parker, Council Members Stephen Costello and Dwight Boykins, the Houston Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and others broke ground on the first project to target a Houston food desert. With financial assistance from the city, Pyburn’s owner John Vuong is building a first-class grocery store […]

A lesser overpass

I’m not very happy with this. A City Council delay in contributing funds for a contentious East End overpass will likely lead Metro back to build a span only for its light rail line and not drivers, and without some of the attributes transit officials and some nearby residents said they wanted. [...] The delay […]

City exploring new pension for new firefighters?

Maybe. Long concerned about the cost of Houston’s pensions and stymied in her attempts at reform, Mayor Annise Parker is considering a dramatic step to place new firefighters into a separate, less generous pension plan, sources with knowledge of the discussions said. Officials acknowledge the existing Houston Firefighters Relief and Retirement Fund likely would sue […]

We need more context to the HPD no-investigations issue

Regular commenter Steven Houston left this feedback on my “More reaction to the HPD no-investigations report” post. It raises some good points and helped me focus my thinking on a couple of things, so I wanted to reproduce it and react to it here. I’ve commented on this issue for years, including a number of […]

Council adopts its budget for next year

Might be the last easy budget for a couple of years. The Houston City Council agreed to boost funding for after-school programs, add cameras to catch illegal dumpers and give $1 million to each district council office to spend on projects for their constituents during a marathon session Wednesday to approve Mayor Annise Parker’s $5.2 […]

Firefighters union rejects contract deal

Oops. The contract rejected Tuesday by 93 percent of the roughly 2,900 firefighters voting would have taken a similar approach, granting a pay raise in exchange for concessions on members’ ability to take leave. With the no vote, as of July 1 members of Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 341 enter an “evergreen” period […]

More talk about bathrooms

The HOUEquality webpage returns to a familiar topic. 1.) Over 180 cities and municipalities across the country have implemented nondiscrimination ordinances, some have been in place for decades. There are no reports of incidents of sexual assault or rape causally related or attributed to the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or […]

On cops and the revenue cap

Mayor Parker again calls attention to the city’s stupid revenue cap and the things it will prevent the city from doing if it is left in place. If Houston voters do not want police pulled from the streets next year, Mayor Annise Parker says, they better think twice about a cap on city revenues they […]

Another taxi survey

From the inbox: Vehicle for hire industry survey The City of Houston has retained Taxi Research Partners to conduct a study of demand within the vehicle for hire industry in Houston. The study will review current market conditions, identify key players and stakeholders in the industry and will establish a baseline for demand for those […]

Vehicles for hire vote put off till end of July

Seriously? The Houston City Council delayed a vote until July 30 on regulations for the vehicles-for-hire industry, keeping Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.’s legal status in Houston in limbo. Council member Mike Laster proposed an initial delay of 60 days, saying, “I believe this cake is not fully baked.” The delay was then reduced […]

Here comes the Uber and Lyft vote

Barring anything unexpected, today is the day that Houston City Council settles – for now, anyway – the Uber/Lyft issue. Houston is not the only place where transportation network companies are seeking to do business in Texas, of course. The Trib takes a look at the state of play around Texas. “As the current city […]

More reaction to the HPD no-investigations report

I’m not the only one that wasn’t impressed by Chief McClelland’s response. [Burglary victim Heather] Heinke’s experience is not unusual in the nation’s fourth-largest city. A recent HPD staffing study says that 15,000 burglaries and thefts, 3,000 hit-and-run crashes and 3,000 assaults were simply set aside last year without a follow-up investigation. Houston police commanders […]

On bathrooms and menaces

Nonsequiteuse has something to say. Steven Hotze, M.D., recently published these outright lies about the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance: Mayor Parker’s ordinance would include minority status for the so called “transgendered,” allowing a biological male to legally enter women’s public bathrooms, locker rooms and shower areas and expose himself to women and girls or just […]

Vehicle for hire vote tagged

No surprise here. I had thought the ordinance was still in committee, but it went before the full Council yesterday. It was of course tagged – we weren’t going to have this vote only one week after the HERO vote, no way in hell on that. Most of the story recapitulates stuff we know, so […]

Bell op-ed for eliminating the revenue cap

More like this, please. A decade ago, Houston voters restricted city property tax revenues to the combined rates of inflation and population increases. Like most arbitrary rules that politicians apply to math, this revenue cap sounds like a great idea until it meets the realities of a growing and expanding city. During the Great Recession, […]

And we circle back to Uber and Lyft

Took longer than we thought it would, but on we move to the next contentious debate. Companies that connect riders with drivers via smartphone and tablet applications could operate legally in Houston, subject to certain conditions, under a proposal to be considered Wednesday by the City Council. The suggested changes to Houston’s taxi and limousine […]

Wilson’s petitions

Here, courteously sent to me by reader and regular commenter Mainstream, is a copy of Dave Wilson’s petition for a charter amendment to “prohibit men (who perceive or express themselves as women) from using the women’s restroom. The petition itself is in addition to a scare-mongering letter from Wilson, sent from his current “residence” on […]

We’ve got some budget challenges coming

Some chickens are coming home to roost. Beginning next summer with fiscal year 2016, Houston will face a projected $142 million gap between expected revenues and expenses in its general fund, which is fed chiefly by property and sales taxes and funds most basic city services. That exceeds the $137 million budget gap Houston had […]

HERO passes

Finally. After nearly nine hours of chanting and tears from seas of opponents and supporters in color-coded T-shirts, Houston City Council passed an ordinance on Wednesday extending equal rights protections to gay and transgender residents. Despite weeks of discussion and dissent over the measure, the final vote was 11-6, a count that matched guesses made […]

Today really is the day for the NDO vote

And as we finally head for a vote, the hysteria and fearmongering have reached a fever pitch. In just five words, Mayor Annise Parker handed her increasingly vocal opponents exactly what they wanted in the battle against her proposed equal rights ordinance: “The debate is about me.” That comment, part of a longer utterance at […]

Recall effort against Mayor Parker?

The haters huff and puff with their last breath. Opponents of Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed Houston equal rights ordinance have vowed to take the issue to voters in a referendum, but now they’re seriously discussing a sort of nuclear option at the polling place: a recall election to remove her and some council members from […]

TransGriot on the current status of the NDO

Monica Roberts wants to set the record straight about Mayor Parker and the latest version of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance that will (eventually, we swear) be voted on by Council. The local trans community asked for Section 17-51 (b) to be pulled from the proposed ordinance. I’ve written and testified it needed to go. […]

A letter to Ed Young

Found on Facebook, from an alumnus of Second Baptist School to Pastor Ed Young, reprinted in full because you need to see it. MY LETTER TO THE SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION: Thank you again for featuring me in the Eagle magazine recently. It was an honor to be included. A friend of mine forwarded the below […]

Falkenberg on Wilson and the NDO

Lisa Falkenberg weighs in on the “Reverend RJ Ballard” email. The e-mail is the handiwork of Houstonians for Family Values, the group affiliated with none other than Dave Wilson. You may remember him as the old white anti-gay activist who got elected to the Houston Community College board last year in a predominantly black district […]

NDO delayed two weeks

I thought it would be over by now, but it’s not. A proposal to extend equal rights protections to gay and transgender Houston residents, which had been swiftly advancing to a City Council vote, stalled Wednesday as council members voted for a two-week delay to allow more public input on the increasingly divisive measure. Mayor […]

Today is the day for the non-discrimination ordinance

Yesterday’s open Council session and today’s vote will provide one last chance for fearmongering before the NDO finally passes. Among clergy trading pulpit for soap box is the Rev. Ed Young, senior pastor at Houston’s Second Baptist Church, who denounced the proposal for seeking to “elevate sexual preference to a constitutionally protected class.” [...] In […]

San Antonio City Council has its first hearing on Uber and Lyft

Sounds pretty familiar. Chief William McManus said Wednesday that the Police Department might impound vehicles belonging to Lyft and Uber drivers if they continue to violate the city’s regulations for vehicles for hire, such as taxis and limos. The city has cited 10 drivers for Lyft and Uber for providing a taxi or chauffeurlike service, […]

NDO vote will be next week

The proposed non-discrimination ordinance was on Council’s agenda yesterday, but it did not come to a vote as it was tagged, which means it’ll be voted on next week. The Chron’s preview story gave some insight into what we should expect from the ordinance based on the experience of other cities that already have protections […]

The small number of competitive legislative races in November

The Trib discusses the lack of legislative action in November. In the House, nine Republican and two Democratic races are still undecided. An early list of competitive November races — this is in a House with 150 seats — comes in under a dozen. Put another way, there are about as many competitive races in […]

Council hears NDO testimony

It went about as you’d expect. Houston is the last of America’s largest cities not to have local anti-discrimination protections, a fact some lauded and others condemned Wednesday during the first opportunity for public comment on Mayor Annise Parker’s proposed equal rights ordinance. Parker is poised to place the ordinance before City Council for a […]