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Posts Tagged ‘Houston City Council’

Change to term limits will be on the ballot

Whatever. Houston voters will decide whether elected city officials should serve two four-year terms rather than three two-year terms starting in 2016, potentially lengthening the terms of some current council members. The City Council voted 12-5 Wednesday to place the item on the November ballot. Councilmen Richard Nguyen, Mike Laster, Steve Costello, Michael Kubosh and […]

Interview with Tom McCasland

We continue with the deep field of candidates to succeed term-limited CM Steve Costello in At Large #1. Up next is Tom McCasland, making his first run for public office. He does have campaign experience, however, having worked on Bill White’s team. An attorney and the son of missionaries, McCasland has worked with the Houston […]

City says West Gray will be ready for early voting

I sure hope they’re right. The city’s Metropolitan Multi-Service Center should be partially open and ready for early voting in October after a water main break in late April that shut down the facility. City Council on Wednesday approved a contract for up to $1.85 million to reconstruct parts of the center at 1475 West […]

Interview with Lane Lewis

We are now done with the district Council interviews, so we move on to the At Large races, where most of the non-Mayoral action is happening this year. There are two open At Large seats, and both of them have drawn a large field of candidates. This week we focus on At Large #1, currently […]

Change to term limits may be on the November ballot as well

Here we go again. Mayor Annise Parker’s proposal would wait until 2020 to lengthen City Council members, the mayor and and controller’s terms; while Councilman Jerry Davis is proposing a staggered roll-out starting in 2016. Supporters say the 2020 plan would be the easiest sell to voters, with no current elected officials standing to benefit. […]

Endorsement watch: Houston GLBT Political Caucus 2015

Congrats to all the endorsees. A raucous municipal endorsement meeting brought mayoral candidate Sylvester Turner the coveted backing of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus on Saturday, positioning the 26-year state representative to broaden his coalition to include the city’s progressive voting bloc. Caucus members voted 142-85 to endorse Turner after more than an hour of […]

And now we have a lawsuit over HERO repeal ballot language

Oh, for crying out loud. Last month the Texas Supreme Court suspended the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, more commonly known as HERO, and ordered City Council to either repeal the non-discrimination measure or put it up for a public vote. On Wednesday council voted 12-5 for the latter, and in November Houston voters will be […]

HERO affirmed by Council

It’s official – HERO will be on the ballot this fall. City Council voted to affirm Houston’s equal rights ordinance Wednesday, a move that will send the law to voters in November per a Texas Supreme Court ruling. City Council voted 12-5 to leave the law in place, with Councilmen Dave Martin, Oliver Pennington, Michael […]

Interview with Steve Le

As noted, District F is a diverse and growing area, out along the southwest part of Houston, including a piece of Fort Bend County. A lot of District F residents are immigrants or children of immigrants. One such person is District F candidate Steve Le. Le emigrated to the United States in 1975 with his […]

Pastors file a lawsuit over HERO

I have three things to say about this. Organizers of the anti-Houston Equal Rights Ordinance petition have filed suit against Mayor Annise Parker, saying she and unnamed “conspirators” unconstitutionally rejected valid petition signatures and “smothered the Citizen Referendum Petition in the crib.” (Gotta love a lawsuit whose opening salvo includes infanticide imagery!). Filed by four […]

Interview with CM Richard Nguyen

One more set of District Council interviews before we move on to the At Large races. District F covers a stretch of fast-growing, very diverse southwest Houston. It was the location of the biggest political upset of the 2013 election, when a little known and lightly funded candidate knocked off a two-term incumbent. That candidate […]

If HERO then no other ballot items

Makes sense. With her signature nondiscrimination law likely to appear on the November ballot, Mayor Annise Parker left in doubt Wednesday whether she will ask City Council to also place before voters long-discussed changes to term limits and the city’s revenue cap. Parker said she has no interest in putting the latter two items to […]

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 […]